When we are looking at setting up our first indoor space there is a lot to consider. Today we will be looking at the wide variety of grow lights available, what each of them does, which setups they best suit, and how to decide which type are for us. There are quite a few different grow light styles, and no one type is significantly better than the others. Just like with every aspect of a grow set up it depends entirely on a number of variants specific to the grower. Let’s talk about some of the aspects of the grow setup that will effect the lights we go for.
First, let’s think about the grow space we are using. Lights are necessary for all indoor setups to replace the cycle of the sun. However, a smaller and less ventilated space will require different lights to a large, open and airy space. Think about the amount of area the lights will need to cover in the space. The radius of the light will need to be different depending on how many plants there are, what sort of size they will grow to and how reflective the area is. To be safe most growers will use multiple lights to ensure full coverage, especially when growing multiple plants.
Like any piece of equipment, there are quite a few different budget levels. A lot of growers will try to splurge a little on lights initially so that they will last longer and prove to be a better long term investment. However, for the growers who don’t have the money to spend upfront, there are a lot of other, less expensive lights available.
Most plants, except autoflowering ones, will go through growth cycles that need to be assisted by the grow lights. Usually, the plants would use the phases of the sun, so we need to make sure our lights are capable of mimicking that. This means it is usually a good idea to purchase lights that can be dimmed or hooked up to a timer.
When it comes to setting up lights there will be different difficulty levels. This will depend on who the lights are aimed at, the space we are using, and how complex our timing systems are. We need to figure out how much light we need, how many plants we are going to grow, and the distance that the lights need to be from the plants. This very much depends on how strong the light is and how much head the light gives off. Once we have decided on the style of light we want to use we can go into more depth about how to actually set them up.
LED (Light Emitting Diodes)
These are usually thought to be one of the more popular types of grow light. This is due to the fact that they are energy-efficient, can be purchased in any colour spectrum, and rarely need any extra expensive bits and pieces. They also don’t emit heat, which many growers prefer because they don’t affect the delicately balanced growing environment. LED grow lights can pretty much be purchased anywhere and there is a lot of variety. Usually, growers will be able to find the perfect colour, size and style for their plants. These lights are longer lasting and better for the environment. The downside is that they do not come cheap. As usual, you have to pay a fair bit for quality, so they may not be ideal for growers who are starting with a small budget. They also have a relatively small light radius, so we will need quite a few of them even for a single plant.
High-Intensity Discharge Lights
These lights are most commonly used by professional and bulk growers. They are well known for helping plants to produce impressive yields and large, dense buds. For anyone who is looking for a high yielding crop, these are definitely the lights. Unfortunately, the power does come with a few setbacks. They get very hot, which means growers will have to be careful to balance the temperature of the growing space with fans and other ventilation equipment. They are also not particularly cheap, and because they are so extremely powerful, they need to be replaced more regularly. High-intensity discharge lights are definitely more at home in a professional set up with plenty of money behind it.
Fluorescent Grow Lights (Tube Lights)
These lights are most popular amongst newer growers or growers who need variety. They are efficient, long-lasting and don’t produce a lot of heat. Since they are energy-efficient, they also won’t run up massive electric bills. For those of us who are just setting up their first grow area, they are perfect because you can get fluorescent grow lights for almost nothing. For those who are looking for quality, these lights can also be found at a higher tier for a little more money. The set back with these lights is that they aren’t very powerful. Thus they can have trouble penetrating the leaves of the plant later in life. To make sure that they get every part of the plant they will need to be kept close, and we will likely need a few of them. So even though they are cheap to start with they don’t have the staying power or the growing power of some more expensive bulbs.
Within each of these subsets of grow lights, there are brands and styles that are better or worse than others. Later we will have a far more in-depth look into the individual styles of lights to ensure we have enough information to be going on with. As we can see they all have their pro’s and cons, just like with any growing setup or system, so it just depends on which are more important for the individual case. So as always do plenty of research and we will see you again soon for a more individual and in-depth analysis.
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