Grow Light Bulbs
There will be different factors that you need to know about depending on the lighting option you choose. The two main factors you will look at is wattage and spectrum.
Wattage – Figuring out the wattage you need will depend on tent size, plant coverage, and light type. The last one is important to remember and not all light wattage is created equally. A 200W HID delivers lights much more efficiently than a 200W CFL.
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want a minimum 23-30 watts of light per square foot. If you have a grow space that is 4’ by 4’ you’ll want at least 400 watts to fill the space. Since fluorescents are weaker you’ll times that by 5, so 115-150 watts per square foot.
Spectrum – Color temperature has a strong influence overs plants and different temperatures will affect plants in different ways. A blue or bright white found in the temperature range of 5000 K is recommended for plants in the vegetative stage as it keeps them short and bushy. While the temperature range around 3,000 K that produces a yellow or red light is strongly recommend for flowering plants. If you can only afford one temperature for the entire growing period, it’s recommended to stay in the lower range of 3,000- 4,500 K.
Single Ended Bulbs
At Hydrobuilder, we offer four single ended bulb types: High Pressure Sodium, Metal Halide, Dual Arc, and Conversion (HPS <-> MH).
Tent size and cost play a large part in a grower’s choice when it comes to their wattage need and as such we offer single ended bulbs that range from 100 watts all the way up to 1,100 watts.
We know how important it is for growers to be able to customize their lighting spectrum. That’s why we offer bulbs with the following color temperatures: 2000, 2100, 2800, 3000, 3200, 4000, 4200, 4250, 4500, 5000, 5200, 5500, 6000, 6500, 7000, 7200, 7500, and 10000 K.
Expect to spend anywhere between $0.05-$0.20 per watt depending on brand and HID type.
Double Ended Bulbs (HPS and MH)
Get the most out of your HID light setup with double ended bulbs that deliver bigger yields while using less energy. We offer both HPS and MH double ended bulbs available in 600, 750, and 1,000 watts.
We also offer them in a range of different color temperatures: 1900, 2000, 2100, 4000, 6000, and 1000 K.
Expect to spend anywhere between $0.05-$0.20 per watt.
Double Ended Ceramic Metal Halide (LEC/CMH)
Often you can only find CMH bulbs that are 315 watts and may find it annoying to have to buy multiple CMH bulbs which each will need their own ballast and reflector. While a CMH bulb is a fantastic size for most home growers, larger operations will simply need more.
We do offer double ended CMH that range from the common 315 watts all the way up to an incredible 1000 watts. Our double ended CMH are available in three color temperatures: 3000, 3100, and 4200 K.
Expect to spend anywhere between $0.05-$0.15 per watt depending on brand and HID type.
Ceramic Metal halide (LEC/CMH) Bulbs
Most CMH bulbs are available in 315 watts and deliver better growth per watt compared to HID lights. 4,200 K is the most common color temperature we offer, but we also offer CMH lights in 3000, 3100, 3200, and 1000 K
Expect to spend anywhere between $0.20-$0.30 per watt depending on brand.
Fluorescent Tubes (T5, T8, T12)
Fluorescent tubes are great for growers that want a higher intensity light compared to CFLs, but can’t afford the height requirement HIDs and LEDs require.
We offer 4 available bulb lengths: 18”, 2 ft, 3 ft, and 4 ft that are 17, 24, 39, and 54 watts respectively.
Our fluorescent tubes wonderfully cover the color temperature spectrum and we offer tubes available in the following spectrums: 3000, 5000, 5200, 5500, 5850, 6400, 6500, and 8000 K.
Expect to spend anywhere between $0.70-$1.20 per watt depending on brand.
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL)
CFLs are often a go-to for beginners as they have an affordable startup cost, and most growers are already familiar with since they are the common spiral lights you’ll find in home lighting. However, those lights are usually too low in wattage and you will need to buy CFL bulbs that are at least 24 watts.
Make sure you’re looking at and calculating the actual wattage and not the equivalent wattage.
CFLs are great for mixing and matching spectrum and we offer the following color temps: 5400, 6400, and 6500 K.
Expect to spend anywhere between $0.30-$1.80 per watt depending on brand and type.
The history of grow light bulbs
Decades ago the choices were simple. Initially, we had one choice of the old-fashioned Edison incandescent. Then, by the nineteen twenties, fluorescent became the “modern” standard. That changed in 1960 with the introduction of the high intensity discharge lamp.
By the nineteen nineties, LED began to emerge and as we got into the 21st century that technology advanced even further.
There have been more advancements in grow light bulb technology in the past 20 years than there were the sum-total of the 20th century!
We seriously doubt if too many, if any, growers are lining up for incandescent anymore given the options available. Hydrobuilder recommends the Sun System LEC grow lights because of their large footprint and low electricity costs.
HID lights are still popular for grow light systems but keep in mind that the drawback is that they do produce a lot of heat. These are bulbs that require some venting and cooling or run the risk of burning plants.
If you’re a person with a small grow room HID is not the style of bulb to go with or you will constantly be fighting the heat. Fluorescent or LED are the best bulbs under these growing conditions.
Although, not practical for the large-scale or professional grower, there is nothing wrong with the weekender or new comer using CFLs as a short-term bulb. They’re still fluorescent, after all, and will serve you right when cost is a factor as you’re just starting out – just don’t expect a large plant or heavy yields.
Horticulture has always been the industry that doesn’t cling to the past or traditions and we are always the very first to embrace the future by welcoming any scientific advancement.