Many cannabis growers believe that good lighting equals better yields and they can’t be far from the truth. Those who cannot grow their cannabis plants outdoors under bountiful sunshine rely on the power of indoor grow lights. If you’re one of the many people who grow cannabis indoors, this guide will show you how to find the best grow lights for cannabis.
Light is food to plants and the intensity of your growing lights affects their growth and yield. Without proper lighting, even healthy plants will not produce much yield at all.
There are a lot of grow lights that you can use to grow cannabis in an indoor setup but when you consider the basic types, there are three to consider:
Fluorescent grow lights are the most common grow lights for cannabis cultivation. These include compact fluorescent lights and T5 growing lights. These are very easy to find and buy from any hardware shops or cannabis growing supplies shops and are usually the most affordable.
High-intensity discharge (HID) grow lights are not as commonly used indoors or in homes but are often used in commercial settings or from a lamp post. This kind of lighting shines the brightest but at the same time, burns very hot. Three of the most common HID lamps are metal halide lamps or MH, ceramic metal halide lamps (CMH, LEC, or light-emitting ceramic and LEC) as well as High-Pressure Sodium or HPS. If your home is located near the road or highway, lamp posts are surely fitted with high-intensity discharge grow lights.
LED growing lights are the latest addition to the best grow lights for the cannabis list. LED bulbs are fitted in a special lamp or receptacle and the bulbs vary in sizes, form factors, and colors. There are no standard types of LED growing lights however, some growers say that some lamps have better results than other lamps.
LEDs are preferred by many growers because these last longer compared to ordinary CFL or HID. These shine brighter but at the same time, are cooler and won’t make your growing area too warm. LEDs may be more expensive than other grow lights but these burn brighter and will shine longer.
Induction grows lights are rare but are used by some growers claiming that these are far better than other types of grow lights. There are two kinds of induction grow lights: magnetic induction grow lights and plasma induction grow lights.
Magnetic induction grows lights are good for cultivating cannabis and are even mentioned as grow lights that can give you good results. Meanwhile, plasma induction grows lights don’t perform well when it comes to growing cannabis.
There are some kinds of induction lights that are better at lighting large areas like stadiums and coliseums but are not as good as growing cannabis. Also, induction lamps are very expensive
Other types like old-school yellow/amber light bulbs are not suited for cultivating cannabis. Also, these burn very hot and will only turn your growing area to an oven.
You can choose from any of the three general types of grow lights and the best way to find the best one is to make a simple comparison.
Fluorescent growing lights are very popular and come in various shapes and sizes. You’ll find fluorescent bulbs in different shapes; from twisted bulbs to long and loopy ones. These also come in different tones or colors which favor people who use them in their homes.
Aside from growing cannabis, fluorescent lights are also effective for growing different plants including herbs, vegetables, and ornamental plants. These don’t use too much electricity however, you need several of these if you have a larger grow room or you have more plants to cultivate.
CFL growing lights are odd-shaped, twisty bulbs that you can find in almost all hardware stores. CFL lamps produce different spectrums of light and are perfect for growing weed in very small or tight spaces. Most growers use CFL lamps when growing cannabis inside growing tents or cabinets. Growers make their light fixture or holder or use large gooseneck lamps so it’s easier to adjust the position of the lamps.
T5 growing lights are another readily available type of fluorescent light. This is used not just for growing cannabis but also in cultivating indoor ornamental or flowering plants, herbs, and small indoor vegetable gardens. Although not as popular as CFL lamps, T5 grow lights are more available in garden and hardware stores.
T5 lamps are wider and bigger compared to CFLs. These come in a set with a panel or hood. With this setup, you can hang this over your plants and adjust the distance between the lamp and your plants.
Overall, fluorescent lights are the best choice for those growing clones, newly sprouted plants, seedlings, and also very young plants. This type is also great for small growing spaces and stealth growing areas.
By using smaller lamps like these while the cannabis plants are still small, you will save a lot of money in paying electric bills during the first weeks of your plants’ lives than using HPS lamps.
Fluorescent lights are recommended for growing clones and very young plants. It can also be used as supplemental lighting to save you money during the growing phase than using HPS lamps. These are perfect for smaller spaces.
HIDs are very efficient compared to fluorescent lights. These lamps come with very large transparent bulbs with weird shapes. Growing lamps come with large hoods with reflectors that will reflect light to your plants. Some lamps are already available with hoods while some ingenious growers make their own HID lamps with makeshift metal hoods and reflectors.
Another very important thing about HID grows lights is that these tend to burn brightly and emit a lot of heat. This heat is bad for your plants as these can dry up moisture and will make the growing conditions inside the growing room intolerable. To augment his, exhaust fans have been integrated into lamp hoods to removing building heat.
Another best grow light for cannabis is MH or metal halide. These are perfect for the vegetative stage because these produce blue light that growing plants need. But this light is not just for the vegetative stage but may also be used during the flowering stage up to harvest time. Cannabis growers who use metal halide lamps recommend this lamp to grow stronger and healthier vegging plants.
Another type of high-intensity light is the very popular high-pressure sodium grow lights. These are most commonly used during the flowering phase because these emit yellow light. This color of light helps stimulate the production of buds.
Cannabis plants exposed to HPS lamps during the flowering stage produce better yields for every watt of electricity consumed than other growing lights. This is why this type of lamp is very popular.
CMH lamps and LEC lamps pertain to the same thing. CMH is a kind of metal halide bulb that makes use of ceramic as a vital part of the lamp similar to HPS lamps. This is why CMH lamps are considered to be more efficient compared to MH Lamps according to users.
For a 250 watt HID bulb, you can get as much as 1 to 2 ounces per month. For a 400 watt HID lamp, you can get as much as 1.5 to 3.5 ounces per month. For 600 watts HID, 2.5 to 5 ounces of yield per month.
HID lamps are suited for cultivating cannabis and are also very straightforward to use. If you want to get the best yields then HID lamps are the best for your growing area.
LED lamps are very popular for growers and are used instead of HPS lamps. These are cooler and come with a cooling system such as fans and heat sinks. These are wall-plugged and hung over your plants. LEDs are known for their easy light penetration and thus these don’t need to be moved regularly.
The best grow lights for cannabis depend on several factors. Consider the size of your growing area, the number of plants you wish to grow, and your growing budget. Compare different lamps to get the best results according to your plant’s growth stage.
Also, consider the cost of maintaining your growing lights. Choose lamps that don’t require special maintenance and lamps with easily available parts from a local store or hardware shop.
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