How to choose the best grow light?

by Krystal Zheng

Indoor plant grow lights can shine in places and when there is no sunlight. They can allow you to extend the growing season of plants; they can supply flowers, healthy vegetables and herbs throughout the year; they can also allow your seedlings to grow in advance before planting outside. How to choose the best grow lights to help our plants grow better?

What kind of lights do I need?

Due to the different spectra, there are several types of growth lights on the market, from simple incandescent lights, fluorescent lights to HID lights and then to LED grow lights.

The following introduces the different types of plant grow lights on the market, their prices, and advantages and disadvantages.

1. Incandescent lights

Incandescent lights are the lowest priced plant grow lights. A good 150-watt light bulb can be purchased at a local hardware store for only a few dollars. Incandescent lights can keep plants growing in a small house, but it is not the best grow lights for you if it is an indoor large garden.

2.Fluorescent lights

For a long time, fluorescent grow lights have low output, are too large and bulky to play a good role, so they are used as grow light for seeds or seedlings. It is not the best grow lights for the above reason.

Generally speaking, fluorescent lights are not a good choice for flowering and budding plants due to their low lumens, but they are suitable for herbs and other plants that do not require a lot of light.

Fluorescent lights can be purchased at local hardware stores or garden supply stores for less than $40.

The new "T5 lighting system" is very efficient and bright, and in some cases may be better than HID lights. T5 fluorescent lights are more compact and efficient than old-fashioned fluorescent lights, and they can be used for all plants, not just for seedlings.

The main advantages of these high-end fluorescent lights include: more light can be used by plants, they generate less heat than incandescent lights and HID lights, so they can be closer to plants.

How to choose the best grow light?

3.HID lights

The HID light is the brightest and the efficiency is very high, so does the price. A 1000-watt HID light can produce the same amount of light as 50 40-watt fluorescent lights.

In the HID category, there are several types of bulbs: high pressure sodium lamps, metal halide lamps, low pressure sodium lamps and mercury vapor lamps. Indoor gardeners only need to worry about high-pressure sodium lamps or metal halide lamps.

The most common specifications are 400 watts and 1,000 watts. 400 watts can provide enough light for about 15 square feet (1.4 square meters) of gardens. A 1,000-watt lamp can cover an area of ​​about 4.5 square meters. For rapid growth, about 25 watts of HID lights can be used per 0.09 square meter.

The metal halide lamp is blue and white, which is conducive to the lush growth of leaves and keeping plants compact. It is best used as the main light source. A single bulb can last about 10,000 cumulative hours. (The bulb will continue to glow for more than 10,000 hours, but the light will be reduced, so it is best to replace it before burning.) Metal halide lamps are also a lumen power source.

They can produce up to 125 lumens per watt, compared to 39 lumens per watt for standard fluorescent lamps and 18 lumens per watt for standard incandescent bulbs.

The high pressure sodium lamp is reddish orange, which is most suitable for flowering plants. At the same time, it is also economical because its average life span is twice that of metal halide lamps. High-pressure sodium lamps produce up to 140 lumens per watt.

Their main disadvantage is that they do not produce light in the blue spectrum. If the high pressure sodium lamp is the only source of plants, then the plants will grow lanky, which is not the type of plant most gardeners want.

How long the grow lights are on should be based on the plants and their needs. Most plants and vegetables need about 10 to 12 hours of light a day to grow. Plants that produce fruits or flowers require more time: up to 16 hours a day.

4.LED grow lights

The LED plant grow light uses LED as the luminous body, which can provide the required light conditions for the photosynthesis of plants in an environment lacking sunlight, so that the plants can grow and develop normally or better. LED lights have the functions of strengthening roots, promoting, adjusting flowering period and flower color, promoting fruit ripening and coloring, and improving taste and quality.

Why choose LED grow lights?

In recent years, new LED lighting technology has developed rapidly. As a fourth-generation new type of lighting source, LED has many characteristics that are different from other electric light sources, which makes it the first choice for energy-saving and environmentally-friendly light sources.

led grow light

Compared with the previous three similar products, LED grow lights are more powerful and efficient, and cost less. They can save electricity and generate less heat. Less heat can bring the plant light closer to the plant, and there is no need to worry about the plant being scorched.

Because of this, LED lights can effectively promote better plant growth, so LED plant growth lights are widely adopted worldwide.

Is LED lights the best grow lights?

LED plant lights also have the following characteristics: rich wavelength types, just in line with the spectral range of plant photosynthesis and light morphology; narrow half-width of the spectrum wave width, can be combined as needed to obtain pure monochromatic light and composite spectrum; it can concentrate light balance of specific wavelengths Irradiate crops on the ground; not only can adjust the flowering and fruiting of the crops, but also control the plant height and nutrient content of the plants; the system generates less heat and occupies a small space.

It can be used in a multi-layer cultivation three-dimensional combination system to achieve low heat load and miniaturization of production space .

The advantages of LED light sources are high luminous efficiency, long service life, safety and reliability, environmental protection and energy saving, so the prospect of LED in the lighting market will be more concerned. In this way, LED plant lights might be the best grow lights for most people.

If you want to know more about grow lights, you can check our previous articles below. 

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