With indoor cannabis grow operations gaining popularity, selecting the best indoor grow lights is one of the most crucial factors to consider. For starters, the light on either end of the spectrum will have a massive impact on the plants’ photosynthesis process.
Indoor Grow Lights come in all manner of sizes, shapes, and price range. A general rule of thumb is that inexpensive lights are less efficient and expensive to operate and maintain.
Types of Grow Lights
One of the factors to consider when selecting the best indoor grow lights is to know your options. From the list below you will find the most common types of indoor grow lights:
These are the least expensive of all the grow lights, and they work well when placed at a minimum distance of 24” from the plant. They can also get extremely hot and should be used with caution. It should be noted most incandescent lights last less than 1,000 hours, although you can find brands that last longer.
Fluorescent lights have reasonable energy efficiency and typically last up to 20,000 hours. While these lights are not ideal for later stages of growth, they do offer the advantage of being on the blue end of the light spectrum. Blue light, for example, encourages bushy compact growth, and this makes fluorescent lights perfect for the seeding phase.
T-5 Fluorescent Lights
T-5 Fluorescent Lights have a high output, are long-lasting and energy-efficient. T-5 lights have a triple light output compared to the typical fluorescent lights at the same wattage. They do not generate a lot of heat and can be placed near your plants for maximum efficiency.
High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) Lights
These are the most common lights used by cannabis growers, and they are good for both the vegetative and flowering stages. The HPS lights produce a lot of heat, and for this reason, many farmers have to use air-cooled refractors connected to an air extractor.
Ceramic Metal Halide Lamps
These are gaining favor with a majority of the cannabis growers thanks to their superior features and high yields. The light-emitting ceramic produces a wider light spectrum, and this increases the performance of your plants.
These are some of the most popular grow lights, and while they have a similar output to the HPS lights, they are much more efficient. The best LED grow lights hardly generate any heat, and this removes the need for a costly air extractor.
Selecting the Best Grow Lights
These tips will help you select the best grow lights for your indoor cannabis garden:
Type of Light
The light spectrum has red and blue lights on different ends. Blue light is cool, and it encourages the growth of a compact bush. The red light, on the other hand, triggers a hormonal response, and this allows for blooming.
However, the best types of grow lights are those that produce reddish and orange light. With that said, you can find lights that produce a full spectrum and minimal heat.
Energy Output and Consumption
Cannabis plants will require different light amounts in different stages of growth. For example, during the flowering stage, the lights will be on for 12 hours, and this can increase your electric bill.
You should always check the number of units you get from the output. Preferably, you should not settle for LED lights that are less than 300 watts.
A majority of the grow lights are placed close to the plants. For this reason, the grow lights you choose should have a low heat output. This prevents heat damage on the plants.
On top of this, grow lights with a high heat output burn out faster, and you will need to replace them often. Besides, high heat output will mean that you need to invest in expensive air extractors.
Size of Your Growing Space
The size of your growth room will determine the number and type of growth lights you choose. Armed with the garden measurements, you can start calculating the lighting area size of the lamps.
Most cannabis gardens require at least 50 watts of light per square foot of grow space. For example, if you have a 5 ft. by 5 ft. grow room, you have a grow space of 25 feet. Multiply this number with 50 watts and you will get 1250 watts.
For this example, you will need LED lights that have an output of at least 1250 watts.
Finally, you need to consider the reputation of the brand. There are many options in the market, and it can be confusing to select the best one. However, settle for a brand with a long history and extensive R&D, since the chances are that they will have higher quality grow lights.