Choosing the best indoor grow lights depends on a few factors. Powerful enough light is needed to cover the area in which the desired crop will grow, and that can vary depending on whether you have a dedicated space for cuttings and clones or whether the crop grows to maturity in the same location.
Another factor is if you want an off-road light or if you are going to complement it with other Led grow and bloom grow lamps.
Lastly, with the best indoor grow lights, you don’t have to worry about frequent bulb replacement, weight, or heat.
Let’s take a closer look at the best indoor grow lights for growth sorted by their coverage area. That will help you match a light to the size of your grow space.
Things to Consider When Choosing The Best Indoor Grow Lights
Here are some of the most important things to consider when choosing the best indoor grow light option:
- Space to light: The first thing to consider is the area you need to cover. This information is vital in deciding how many light panels you need and which type will achieve the best coverage. To illuminate more space, more lights can be placed adjacent to each other.
- The growth plant stages: If you need a complete growth cycle, you can select full spectrum indoor grow lights to assist in all phases (growth and flowering) such as LEDs.
- Lens angle: Find what tilt or angle your lamp needs. Larger angles mean more coverage, while smaller angles mean less scattering and more direct light.
- Your budget: They can be adjusted to your pocket.
The Best Indoor Grow Lights
Among the main options for interior lighting most used, we will find sodium kits, metal halide, fluorescent, and energy-saving light bulbs. All are worth it and are suitable for growing indoors, but some offer better benefits and yields than others. Let’s see them.
1- HPS (High-Pressure Sodium)
These types of lights can have a lifespan of 10,000 hours with 100 – 130 lumens per watt.
As we can see, HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) bulbs are the most inefficient lighting technology that exists due to their light spectrum loaded with green and yellow, which have a deficient physiological and photosynthetic response from our plants. These provide large amounts of light (photons) at a very low price, only that they radiate a lot of heat that is not transformed into light.
These are the most widely used lighting kits today, given their low cost and good performance. Production with a 600w lighting kit is usually around 600 grams and of good quality.
2- HM (Metal halides)
These types of lights can last for 10,000 hours, with 70 – 85 lumens per watt.
Metal halides (HM) like HPS are quite inefficient in producing a full spectrum, and like HPS, they are loaded with green and yellow colors. Furthermore, they have hardly any reds and far reds, essential colors for chlorophyll a. However, they have a significant amount of blue for the plant’s vegetative growth and ultraviolet for a more considerable amount of resin in the last flowering stages.
Many producers have supported their sodium lighting kits with halides to get that extra ultraviolet and a much more complete spectrum.
It must be said that HMs are still one of the most widely used products due to the high amount of blues and ultraviolets that they are capable of producing at a very low price, even though they are among the most inefficient. These lighting equipment are usually used only for growth or support in flowering.
These types of lights can be the most basic and have a useful life of 5,000 hours with just 75 – 95 lumens per watt.
Fluorescents have a much more balanced spectrum and a much higher efficiency (they do not lose energy in the form of heat). But they present great inefficiencies in the number of photons that they deliver (intensity of light). This big obstacle makes them not viable for flowering since the yield will be inferior. However, they are among the most outstanding options for healthy mothers’ growth and cuttings with low consumption. And they hardly generate heat.
4- High Power LED (high power LEDs)
These lights are the most attractive and can last up to 50,000 hours with 80 – 180 lumens per watt.
LEDs are a continually developing technology, and the advantage of LEDs is that you can configure your own spectrum to your liking. However, quality LEDs and their optics and cooling systems are still quite expensive, around $ 4 per watt. Therefore, it is costly to obtain a high photon flux density with LEDs. With a more inefficient bulb such as the HPS, a higher photon flux is obtained (which translates into more production) at the cost of higher electricity consumption and a worse spectrum of light.
There are also support LEDs for the cultivation, which complement the normal sodium spectrum (HPS). They are usually in a growing, flowering version and with an interchangeable spectrum.
It is the technology of the future without a doubt, but at the moment, quality LEDs are costly and also require expensive cooling systems and optical lenses for their use to be correct. The production with LED lamps varies a lot depending on the type of spotlight, so a real estimate cannot be made.
5- CMH (Ceramic Metal Halide)
This variety of lights can last up to 12,000 hours, with 120 – 130 lumens per watt.
Ceramic metal halides are the latest technology in terms of lighting for indoor cannabis cultivation. These bulbs are not too expensive for the amount of light they offer. They are very efficient in generating a very high photon density flux, which transforms the energy consumed into light and not heat, being more effective in producing light while reducing the heat in your crop.
But the cherry on top of this technology, as we can see, is its spectrum. CHM LEC bulbs best mimic the color spectrum of sunlight. The result is more productive and healthy plants, with little electricity consumption or generating a lot of heat. The only problem is that they need a specific ballast that is expensive to use; however, the bulbs last 12,000 hours and offer an impressive final quality, something we were not used to.
Nowadays, when buying LEC lighting kits, they are undoubtedly the most demanded by growers, given their high efficiency, the amount of light they give, and their light spectrum. They also achieve productions of up to 1.8 grams per watt, achieving the best gram/watt ratio and with maximum quality.
6- DE-HPS (Double Ended High-Pressure Sodium)
These types of lights can last up to 32,000 hours, with 135 – 145 lumens per watt.
DE-HPS this acronym for Double Ended High-Pressure Sodium (Double Ended High-Pressure Sodium). It is so-called because the bulb fits into a connector with two ends. When it comes to photon flux density, DE-HPS is king. DE-HPS luminaires can emit large amounts of light much more significant than those of a traditional HPS and have an infinitely higher spectrum than HPS, with more blues and ultraviolet and deep and far reds.
These bulbs are the best if you want to have a high density of photons using the least amount of watts possible since they cover a large space providing a high density of photon flux, and all this without underestimating efficiency or spectrum. The only downside is that these bulbs need a somewhat expensive specific ballast to use them, but they are one of the most used in indoor agriculture.
7- DE-CMH (Double Ended Ceramic Metal Halide)
These types of lights have a useful life of 12,000 hours with 125 – 135 lumens per watt.
DE-CMH (Double Ended Ceramic Metal Halide), this technology is the latest in horticultural lighting and combines the concepts of double-ended bulbs with ceramic metal halide bulbs. They offer large amounts of photons and a complete spectrum. Without a doubt, the best type of lighting for indoor growing. Maximum efficiency and a full spectrum.
It would be equivalent to 1000W sodium (HPS), but with much less consumption (only 630w) and with a much better final quality thanks to its complete spectrum. And they achieve productions of up to 1.8 grams/watt.
What are The Benefits of Indoor Grow Lights?
Indoor grow lights have evolved by improving the amount of heat emitted and the need for an adequate ventilation system to prevent heat build-up. This has made it possible for these types of lights to be available to many individuals.
There are lights such as LED lights that occupy a minimal amount of space, do not generate extra heat, some do not need frequent bulb changes, do not have counterweights to manage, and use less electricity than other methods. They also have the following benefits::
The cost of the price of electricity and the lower generation of heat makes the kilowatt’s value to illuminate and ventilate much cheaper than the methods that were available until now.
- Consistent and Easy to Install:
These lights offer a very compact structure that is very easy to use. No specific knowledge is needed to get them installed. Simply have a suitable place to hang it above the plants at the required distance.
- No need for extra ventilation:
These lights do not emit much heat, and there is no need to have an additional ventilation system.
- Can be installed adjacent to each other:
Thanks to their compact design, most of them can be installed adjacent to each other to provide further coverage.
- Variety and control:
Its wavelengths can be easily adjusted. Also, the growth and flowering modes can be easily selected on all lights.
We hope this information gives you good results and you can enjoy the best indoor grow lights for your plants. Good luck and happy harvest!