The right types of marijuana grow lights are essential if you want to succeed in growing a crop indoors. While natural sunlight remains the best option for growing cannabis, using the right combination of artificial lights will also yield good results.
The use of artificial light to grow weed admittedly comes with a lot of challenges. But growers could argue that the benefits the different types of marijuana grow lights provide can outweigh any problems. For instance, you can control how much, when, and what kind of light the plant will receive.
What you need to learn is how to use grow lights to your advantage. So, read on and find out more.
3 Types of Marijuana Grow Lights
There are three essential types of marijuana grow lights that indoor growers utilize – fluorescent lights, high-intensity discharge (HID) lights, and LEDs.
#1 Fluorescent Lights
Fluorescent lights have been fixtures in homes for decades because they produce light that’s pleasing to the human eye. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, from long tubes, round bulbs, and twisty lights.
These lights are so popular you can easily purchase some at your local grocery or home improvement stores. They are very affordable, which makes them ideal as starter lights. They also are very effective when used in herb and other kinds of indoor gardens.
There are two types of fluorescent grow lights, the CFL and the T5. CFL grow lights have a twisted contour and can be purchased anywhere that sells conventional lighting fixtures. They generate a wide spectrum for growing marijuana. Due to their compact shape, CFL bulbs can be used in small spaces, like in the confines of a cabinet.
Meanwhile, T5 grow lights are larger than CFLs and typically come with a panel. The T5 can be used to help grow a wide range of plants, which is why they’re a staple in garden centers and home improvement shops.
Fluorescents have an impressive light spectrum. The “daylight” type of CFL is around 6500K while the “warm white” has a light spectrum of about 2700K. The former is ideal during the cannabis plant’s vegetative growth stage while the latter is more suited during the flowering phase.
Fluorescent lights are also very cheap and don’t use a lot of electricity. They also do not create a lot of heat. You can safely position them a few inches away from your crop, making them perfect for small spaces.
CFL bulbs have very low light output. You would have to put these bulbs close to the plant if you want it to get enough energy. Its low power also means you can only use this as a grow light for one to two plants.
While CFLs have been proven to be effective grow lights for seedlings, you’ll get a smaller output when they’re used in the plant’s flowering stage. Fluorescents usually yield around .25 grams of buds for each watt used. In contrast, HPS and LEDs generate two to four times more per electrical watt used.
#2 High-Intensity Discharge Lights (HID)
HID grow lights are a favorite among cannabis growers, and for a good reason. These lights reportedly help give the best and biggest bounty.
There are two kinds of HID lights – High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) and Metal Halide (MH) lights. The former sits at the reddish and hotter end of the color spectrum while the latter has blueish, cooler energy. HPS lights are better used when the plant is in the flowering stage while MH lights are ideal when the cannabis is still at its vegetative state.
HID is one of the most effective types of marijuana grow lights. A combination of HPS and MH will give you a nice balance of produced light and doesn’t consume a lot of electricity. They also cost less than other kinds of grow lights, and you can get a complete set – ballast, bulbs, and reflector – at a good price. HID grow lights are also easy to assemble and run.
HID lights are powerful and can generate intense heat. Your growing room should have enough vents and exhaust systems to handle these grow lights. The bulbs also have a limited life span and have to be replaced regularly.
HID grow lights also require a specialized ballast and hood, and the bulbs won’t work when plugged in a regular socket. This lighting system needs a lot of power, so expect an increase in your electric bill.
#3 Light-Emitting Diodes (LED)
Thanks to improvements in LED technology, modern LED lights can hold its own or even outperform HID lights. The new LED grow lights now come with higher lumens per watt and the latest Chips on Board (COB) technology. These give the lights sufficient intensity and diffusion to meet the demands of even the most difficult of grows.
This is the most energy-efficient grow light. LEDs can supply the most light while still having low operational costs. They’re cooler than HIDs, so there’s reduced risk of your cannabis crop “burning.” This lighting system doesn’t need a ballast so you can plug the bulb into any conventional outlet.
Your initial investment for this grow light will be quite high. Premier LED grow lighting fixtures with the latest modules can cost thousands of dollars. But the ROI is substantial if you plan on growing a lot of cannabis crops over an extended period.
Unfortunately, there’s no fixed standards or regulations concerning LED. Due to this, this particular grow light market is full of retailers that offer low-quality lights. You should do your due diligence so you won’t get hoodwinked by those making false promises and outlandish claims.
One Last Thing
There might not be one perfect grow light for your marijuana plants. Factors like the size of your growing space, your budget, and the plant’s light requirements have to be taken into account. Your best option is to study what the different types of marijuana grow lights can give you and find the combination that will yield optimal results.