I’ve written a lot of posts about growing indoors using artificial plant grow lights. These lights give off various wavelengths that plants need to grow. Some of them approximate the sun, while others remove all the wavelengths that the sun has that plants don’t actually need and only give the plants exactly what they want. Which of these is better depends on whom you ask. One thing is certain though: whichever one of these types you choose, there are thousands of options out there for you. Today I’m going to try to help you narrow those options down until you’re left with one light. The grow light that your plants need.
The first thing you need to know is that there are three different types of grow lights. There are florescent grow lights, HID grow lights and LED grow lights. In actuality, there are others, but these are the only three we need to consider today. Florescent grow lights are great if you’ve got a small garden or if you’re only supplementing natural sunlight or some other form of artificial lighting. But on their own, they are not as efficient as the other types and are not usually powerful enough to do any flowering.
HID grow lights (HID stands for High Intensity Discharge) are still the most popular and have been for a long time. These lights are incredibly powerful. There are metal halide bulbs, that have more of a bluish spectrum and are used for growing and high-pressure sodium grow bulbs, with a reddish spectrum that is ideal for flowering. These lights are incredibly efficient and incredibly powerful. They will grow and flower anything. The main drawback is that they produce a lot of heat and that they use a lot of electricity. Yield Lab are a good brand for HID lighting.
That is were LED lights come in. LED plant lights are much newer than the other two, but they promise to be the future of indoor gardening. There are two main types: those that use white LEDs, which are similar to an HID spectrum and to the sun and those that use mostly red and blue diodes. The latter are more efficint, because they do not give off much, if any, green and yellow light. Plants don’t use this light and it goes to waste. That is fine for the sun, a limitless supply of light, but makes no sense in an artificial grow light, where you are paying for every bit of light emitted.
The biggest problem with LED horticultural lights is the initial cost. Well actually, the biggest problem is that there are so many of them. There’s a huge selection but only a small percentage of that selection is any good. Tons of manufacturers from China have flooded the market with really cheap (and, to be frank, really crappy) LED grow lights.
The tricky part is wading through all the bad lights to find the ones are actually good. Of course you can buy the really expensive ones, but there are actually some pretty decently priced LED lights that are also great. Finding them is not easy though.
The best thing to do is to find a quality site that reviews some of these lights. The problem there is that most of the review sites are no good. They’re written by someone who has never actually used grow lights in their life and is just trying to make some money in commissions.
One site that is great for LED grow light reviews and for information is http://growlightinfo.com. This site has a ton of informative reviews and a table that compares some of the better grow lights on the market. It doesn’t focus on the extremely expensive ones, but rather on the slightly lower priced ones that are better for us home growers. It helps you find the real gems among the lower priced LED fixtures. There aren’t many of those gems, but they are out there and that site will help you find them.