How to Choose the Best Grow Lights for your Indoor Garden systems

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How to Choose the Best Grow Lights

We all understand that light is a very essential element that plants and animals need in order to survive and grow healthy. If you are growing your plants in an outdoor setup, they will benefit from the natural sunlight. However, in instances where there is no enough sunlight or if you are practicing indoor gardening, then you will be required to mimic the sun by purchasing the best grow lights that will serve as the source of light.

There are many types of hydroponics/aquaponics lighting systems available in the market and many individuals often get confused when it comes to selecting the right grow lights for their system.

The type of grow light chosen depends on the following factors; 

a) The type of plants that you are growing in your indoor system

If your system is growing plants that will not flower or bear fruits, the right grow lights are the ones with less intense light. On the other hand, if your system grows plants that are going to fruit or flower, they require more intense grow lighting system.

b) The grow light spectrum

Different grow lights produce different colors of light each with specific target of plants. Therefore, understanding the idea behind the different colors of grow light is very essential.

For instance a full spectrum grow light contains;

White light which mimics the sun full spectrum solar light that is about 500-600nm.

Red light- It is used specifically when plants are at fruiting stage

Blue light this is essential to your plants when they are at green foliage stage

Visible light This is popularly known as PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) and it is very essential to different varieties of plants

BESTVA DC Series 1500W LED Grow Light Full Spectrum Dual-Chip Growing Lamp for Hydroponic Indoor...
444 Reviews
BESTVA DC Series 1500W LED Grow Light Full Spectrum Dual-Chip Growing Lamp for Hydroponic Indoor…
  • 【BESTVA Newest Technology】Dual-chip(10W) LEDs which is much brighter and more efficient than traditional 3W and 5W LEDs. It is the HIGHEST PAR/LUMEN OUTPUT PER WATT
  • 【VEG & BLOOM Switches】Nine different bands of LEDs make up our true full spectrum light, which helps plants, vegetables and flower indoor growing at all stages, just like in the natural sunshine. VEG for growing, BLOOM for seedling / flowering, we recommend lighting for 12-18 hours a day. If your plant needs more energy, please turn on both switches together
  • 【Powerful Cooling System】We use a 3mm thickness aluminum plate radiator for better heat dissipation. Holes on the aluminum plate and the glass make heat convection, run 50~60℉ lower than any other LEDs
  • 【Core Coverage Area】Compare to 1000 watt HPS while consuming only 280 watts! Twice effective coverage area than any Reflector Series lights, perfect for a 6.4′ x 6 growing area at 24″ height. Avoid Daisy Chain, Dangerous First & Energy overlap causes waste
  • 【3 years warranty】Plus 90 days satisfaction or return guarantee. We are so confident in our products’ quality control, if any question pls contact us directly, we will offer you professional guidance to help your plants grow better

Last update on 2021-08-27 at 00:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Read Also; LED Vs HPS Grow lights

c) Grow light strength and proficiency

Different light spectrum have different grow light intensity and proficiency. Grow light intensity is measured in terms of lumens.

Go for grow light with PAR spectrum that has several lumens that shine throughout the system and down to your plants. A grow light that is energy proficient utilizes energy to the fullest thus, minimizing both power loss and cost.

d) Cost of grow lights

Cost is a primary consideration when it comes to selecting the best grow lights. There are various elements of costs that come into place that you should be aware of to guide you in making the right decision. They include;

  • The initial cost (market value) of the chosen grow light
  • The replacement expenses
  • Recurrent expenditure that you will have to cater for in order to run the lighting structure

There are hundreds of different grow lights in the market to choose from. So as to help you select the best grow lights that match your grow system requirements, this article has highlighted the most common grow lights in the market detailing their specifications.

Related; Hydroponics Vs Aquaponics

Carefully read the below analysis to discover the best grow lights for your indoor garden system.

1. High Intensity Discharge (HID) Grow Lights

HID indoor best grow lights
Source; LittleGreenHouse

There are 3 varieties of HID grow lights in the market each with specific target plants.

  a) Metal Halide (MH)

Metal halide bulbs are designed to produce blue grow light. Therefore, metal halide bulbs are suitable for systems with plants during their vegetative growth phases.

They are perfect choice to farmers who grow plants for vegetation purposes.

  b) High Pressure Sodium (HPS)

HPS bulbs are very popular and their distinctive feature is high red/orange spectrum light output. The red/orange spectrum is necessary when growing plants at flowering and fruiting stages.

iPower 600 Watt HPS MH Digital Dimmable Grow Light System Kits Wing Reflector Set with Timer
790 Reviews
iPower 600 Watt HPS MH Digital Dimmable Grow Light System Kits Wing Reflector Set with Timer
  • 600W Digital Dimmable Electronic Ballast: Support 120V/240V Input; Dimmable Options: 50%, 75%, 100%; 8 Feet heavy-duty power cord included; Stable power output ensure flicker free light
  • 1 x 600W Super HPS Bulb 2100K; 1 x 600W MH Bulb 6000K; Optimized spectrum and high PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) to promote healthy plant growth and soonest flourish
  • 1 x Pair of 8-ft adjustable Ratchet Clip Hanger Rope: hold up to 150 lbs; 24-hour Plug-in Mechanical Timer: 15 minutes increments
  • 19-inch Wing Reflector: up to 4′ x 4′ light coverage; Built-in 15 feet heavy duty lamp cord with E39 Ceramic Mogul Socket and standard Hydroponic S-Plug; highly 95% reflective textured German aluminum maximizes the light reflected to the plants
  • CAUTION: This system will generate too much heat to be used in an enclosed area without ventilation. Adequate ventilation is required for all iPower grow light systems. We recommend the use of an iPower inline fan

Last update on 2023-01-05 at 09:38 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

   c) Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH)

Ceramic metal Halide bulbs are improved versions of HID lights which were designed and developed to offer a more improved efficiency and blended spectral output.

HID indoor best grow lights
Image Via; organicgardensupply


2. Light Emitting Diode (LED)

LED grow light bulbs have gained a lot of popularity among many gardeners due to their high energy proficiency with less light intensity loss. The improved versions of high-quality full spectrum LED grow lights performs better compared to other types of grow lights.

LED Indoor best grow lights
Image Via; Plantazoid

However, LED grow light bulbs are quite expensive when purchasing them (but cost-effective in the long-run) and you have to review your budget before making your final decision.

Some of the proven pros of LED lights are;

  • They use less energy
  • Highly durable thus reducing the replacement costs
  • They are smaller and they occupy less space
  • Less light intensity loss
Grow Lights for Indoor Plants, Four Head LED Grow Light with Full Spectrum & Red White Spectrum for…
  • 【Adjustable gooseneck & telescopic pole】The flexible gooseneck can be rotated 360 degrees, and the pole can also be telescopic, allowing you to more easily adjust the distance between the plant light and the plant
  • 【White & red LED lamp beads】Simulating natural light, especially red light, can make plants better photosynthesize to promote healthy growth
  • 【Efficient full-spectrum LED lamps】The plant growing light has 72 LED lamp beads, and vegetables, fruits or plants can be fully cared for and supplied without sun exposure
  • 【Designed for plant growth】This plant growth lamp can meet the needs of light in different growth stages such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc
  • 【multiple usage】You can put it on the balcony, living room, office, greenhouse, you can use it for indoor gardening, breeding, potted plants have a wide range of uses, especially suitable for growing plants in the dark or when it rains

Last update on 2022-09-20 at 10:54 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Plasma Grow Lights

Plasma indoor grow lights are designed to last longer thus, reducing the need for regular maintenance. In addition, plasma grow light bulbs have a more balanced spectrum of light, therefore, making them a perfect choice by a gardener who grows plants both for flowering and vegetation.

plasma indoor best grow lights
Source; Growweedeasy

The only hallmark of plasma grow light is cost. For you to enjoy this integrated lighting functionality, you will be required to dig deep into your pocket.

4. Fluorescent Grow Lights

Fluorescent grow bulbs are popularly used by many gardeners due to their ability of low energy output, and durability compared to other grow bulbs such as HID bulbs.

fluorescent best grow lights
Image Via; Raysace

Fluorescent indoor lights are perfect for indoor gardening systems that require low light intensity especially for plants at vegetation stage. They are easily available in the market in different varieties at fair prices.

In conclusion, knowing your indoor garden system light requirements is the  primary guide that will help you purchase the best grow lights that are efficient, reliable, and durable thus, giving you value for your money.

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