How To Choose the Best Grow Lights for Your Needs

At GrowGeneration, we have a wide range of lighting options for all of your growing needs. We sell HID, LED, DE, and CMH lighting fixtures from top industry brands! Read on to learn more about the best type of light for your unique garden. When you find the right fit, you can purchase grow lights from our online store or any of our 60+ physical retail locations nationwide. 

Types of Grow Lights

Here are the most popular types of grow lights and a few advantages and disadvantages of each!

LED Lighting

LED lighting has grown in popularity over the last few years. The technology has gotten to a place where it can compete with traditional HID lighting that has dominated the industry in the past. LED lighting is great for both the hobbyist or the commercial cultivator. The market is headed towards 90% LED over the next couple of years because it provides high-quality results while reducing utility costs and increasing energy efficiency.

Advantages of LED Lighting

A main advantage of LED lighting is that you can keep the light fixture much closer to the plants than traditional HID lighting. This allows growers to double stack or even triple stack in commercial facilities.  For the hobbyist grower, it allows you to operate with lower ceilings than you could with an HID or DE lighting fixture. LED lights put out much less heat than HID lighting as well, which reduces your cooling needs. Some LED lights even allow you to tune the spectrum that they are giving your plants, which is a great way to manipulate plant growth and development. LED technology is known to run cooler and put out great crop quality. 

Disadvantages of LED Lighting

The main disadvantage of an LED light is higher startup costs. LED lights range from $650-$1100 per light depending on the brand and its features. You will save a little money on your cooling system, but will also have to increase the amount of dehumidification. Watt per watt, you will typically use about 30% less wattage to cover the same area compared to HID. Your energy bill savings will increase your ROI over time, but the up-front costs will be more when choosing LED. 

HID Lighting

HID lighting has been the industry standard since the beginning. HID lighting can be broken down into a couple of categories. Traditionally you would buy a ballast, bulb, and reflector. There are two main types of bulbs: Metal Halide (MH) and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS). Metal Halide is used for vegetative growth and HPS is use for flowering. They come in a wide variety of wattages anywhere from 250-1000W.  Industry standard tends to be 600W or 1000W. This particular style of light has become less popular with its cousin, the double ended light, taking a hold on the industry as well as LED fixtures becoming increasingly popular.

Double Ended Lighting

Double ended lights, also known as DEs, became really popular around 2015. The DE light provided superior performance to the traditional ballast/bulb reflector combo. DE lights are simple to install due to their small size and provide excellent lighting output and spread. This style quickly became very popular amongst commercial cultivators. Each 1000W DE can cover a 5 x 5 or 6 x 6 spread, compared to most lighting options covering a 4 x 4 at most.  Another advantage of the DE light is that it has a lower cost. DE lights will range anywhere from $200-$300 for the complete package, making it much cheaper than buying a bulky ballast, hood, and bulb combs and also much cheaper than the new LEDs that our hitting the market. DEs are still a preferred light by many of the biggest commercial growers. 

The main disadvantage of these lights is the heat. With the high output and spread, you will need 30% more air conditioning than with LED lighting. You also need to have tall ceilings to run a DE light.  The light must be kept 4’ from the top of the plant, making this type of light not an option for many home growers. 

Ceramic Metal Halide Lighting

Ceramic Metal Halide, or CMH, is another style of lighting sold at GrowGeneration that is known for having one of the best lighting spectrums. They come in two sizing options, a 315W or a 630W. These lights are commonly used for vegetative growth. They do not run quite as hot as an HID, but hotter than an LED. The 315W covers a 3 x 3 space and is most commonly used for vegetative growth. The 630W covers up to a 4 x 4 space for vegetative growth. 

There are growers who use these lights for both veg and flower. The CMH lighting spectrum is known for putting out tremendous amounts of resin but lower yields than HID or LED. Some growers who are truly focused on quality believe this is the best type of light in the industry. 

Get The Grow Lights You Need at GrowGeneration!

Choosing a grow light can be overwhelming, but at GrowGeneration, we have a wide variety of options for any of your needs. Shop online or at one of our 60+ physical retail locations nationwide to get yours today.

Still not sure what type of grow light is best for you? No worries, the Grow Pros are here to help! Message us on Instagram, stop into one of our stores, or call your local GrowGen store to get your growing questions answered by the experts!

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