If you are looking for the best CMH grow lights to take your plants from seed to harvest, you have come to the right place.
Not only are we going to share our top ceramic metal halide grow lighting picks of the year, but we’ll help you pick the right one for you and your grow room.
Whether this is your first light or you’re looking to upgrade from your existing grow light setup, we have something for you on this list.
Let’s start by covering some basic information on this technology, and explain our criteria in picking the candidates for this list!
What Are CMH Grow Lights?
CMH, or ceramic metal halide technology is relatively new to the horticulture industry, but it’s made a big splash and quickly secured a role as on the must-try grow lighting styles there is.
If you’re unfamiliar with these, they are essentially a modified MH (Metal Halide) grow light, but instead uses a ceramic arc tube.
This results in a tube bulb that can withstand higher temperatures, and thus, creates the ideal formation of gasses in the arc tube.
Because of this, CMH creates a full spectrum of lighting for your plants. This means you can use them from seed to harvest.
What Is A LEC Grow Light?
When you shop our collection of ceramic metal halide lights, you’ll also see that we carry an assortment of LEC grow lights - what are these?
These are the same technology, but patented by a different brand. It is essentially their take on CMH lighting.
What’s Better For Growing - LED or CMH Grow Lights?
When many growers look to upgrade their existing grow light setup, they wonder, what’s better for growing - LED or CMH grow lights?
The simple answer is, it’s not so simple. They’re both incredible lighting technologies for growing plants indoors. And you can’t go wrong with either one.
But which technology is better for you will depend on your specific grow, your budget, and the type of plants you’re growing.
LED’s are advantageous in that they offer a more optimized spectrum, higher efficiency (aka lower electricity consumption), cooler operation, and in some instances, increased terpenes and potency.
But, CMH grow lighting may be better for you if you’re on a budget, as LED’s can be as much as 2-4 times more expensive to invest in! Plus, CMH grow lights are best when it comes to yield/watt in most tests, and because of their increased intensity, they can penetrate your canopy deeper for heavier yields.
In the end, it also comes down to personal preference. If you’re interested, check out our article on the best LED grow lights of the year!
What Is The Best CMH Grow Light Kit?
Now, you came here to learn about the best CMH grow lights of the year, and we’re ready to share our picks with you.
We understand that every grow is different, so we are going to share some options for both small, hobby grows and large, commercial grows. Before that, though, we want to share how we came up with these choices - our criteria.
What Makes The Best CMH Grow Light - Our Criteria
To us, the best CMH grow light starts with brand reputation and reliability. These can be an expensive investment for a hobby grower, let alone a commercial grower who needs 100+ fixtures.
So, we are only displaying lighting brands that have a solid track record. You can rest assured any of these lights will be a sound investment for your grow, and stand the test of time. Plus, the warranty on each of them will protect you!
But the best CMH grow light kit also has to perform up to our standards. This means they need to operate efficiently, while still providing an ultra-intense full-spectrum of light for your plants.
Finally, we considered cost. But not necessarily in the conventional sense, but more so looking at value and bang for your buck. We understand that you get what you pay for, and this couldn’t be more applicable to grow lighting.
If you try to get by with a cheap, overseas light, you’re going to be disappointed when it comes harvest day. That is, assuming your light gets that far before breaking or causing problems!
Best 315w CMH Grow Light
We’re going to break this list of the top ceramic grow lights down based on wattage.
So, whether you’re looking for a couple 315 watt lights or a single 1,000 watt light, or anything in between - we’ll have something for you on this list.
NanoLux 315w CMH Grow Light Fixture
One of the best options for hobbyists is the NanoLux 315w CMH Grow Light Fixture. Covering a footprint of around 4’ x 4’ during veg and 3’ x 3’ during flower, most hobby growers can get by with just one of these in their grow tent or grow room.
This single ended fixture costs just around $13 a month to run, which you’ll barely notice on your electricity bill! But, this efficiency does not sacrifice power.
The included bulbs (you can choose a fixture with no bulb if you already have a lamp on deck to swap into this fixture) come equipped with up to 33,000 initial lumens, and maintain these very well over the course of the bulbs life - at about 87% PPF maintenance at 20,000 hours!
Furthermore, this fixture can be customized to meet the needs of your specific grow. Available in multiple voltages, with multiple bulb choices, choose whichever version of this fixture you want.
The fixture itself is designed with 97% German reflective material, getting as much of that intense light redirected back towards your canopy for minimum waste, and maximum penetration.
When you pair the NanLux 315w CMH fixture with the NanoLux NCCS APP Data Transfer Unit, you unlock tons of control over not just the light - but your entire grow room environment. Better yet, you get access to all of this on the cloud remotely, from your home desktop or your mobile smartphone.
Sun System Flower Power 315w LEC Fixture
Another great choice, if you’re seeking a 315 watt fixture, is the Sun System Flower Power 315w LEC Fixture.
Covering the same 4’ x 4’ veg and 3’ x 3’ flower footprint, this light costs around $13 per month too. But, this SE fixture is significantly cheaper than the NanoLux fixture we just broke down. So if you’re on a budget, this is probably the right choice for you!
Like the NanoLux, you can customize the setup of this fixture to suit your specific needs - pick your voltage, then pick your bulbs (or no bulb at all!).
Another reason you may choose this Sun System Flower Power LEC fixture over the NanoLux is the ultra-low profile of the light - making it perfect for compact grows, such as closet grow setups or grow tent growers.
Best 500w CMH Grow Light
There isn’t a ton out there, but as this industry grows, lighting manufacturers will likely continue to produce lights in different wattages.
And a 500w CMH grow light is a good middle ground between 315w and 615w. So, let’s discuss the best 500w CMH fixture currently on the market!
Growers Choice Master Pursuit 500 Watt CMH Fixture
The Growers Choice Master Pursuit 500 Watt CMH is one of the most innovative ceramic fixtures to date, implementing advanced low frequency, square wave technology which produces unparalleled efficiency, uniformity, and output.
This fixture covers a bit broader of a footprint than the previously mentioned 315w fixtures: a veg footprint of 5’ x 5’ or a flower footprint of 4’ x 4’. It costs a bit more to run at around $20 a month.
You get even more customization with this fixture than ever before, with three voltage choices and bulb color temperatures ranging from 3,000K all the way up to 10,000K.
If you were considering a 315w CMH grow light, you may consider upgrading for this fixture instead when you learn that it puts out about 65% more light energy. And when you look at how it stacks up to dual-bulb 630w fixtures, there is essentially no difference in output.
From an intensity standpoint, this fixture puts out about 1,000 umol/s of usable photon flux while implementing a diverse, full-spectrum of light. This fixture is designed to take plants from seed to harvest.
The Master Pursuit line is also available in other wattages, one of which we’ll cover later on. But for now, check out some of the additional features of this impressive light:
- AI Ignition Control
- Soft Start Technology
- Restrike Of Hot Lamp After Mains Failure
- Full Circuit Protection
- Automatic Frequency Adjustment
- Low Operating Temperature
- RF Shielding & Silent Operation
For the ultimate control with this light, pair with the Grower’s Choice Master Lighting Controller. Commercial growers absolutely need this, because it allows for daisy chaining of up to 100 fixtures per device.
But, this controller also allows you complete control over the light, including sunrise/sunset features, precise temperature readings, and timed on/off settings.
Best 630w CMH Grow Light
If you need a bit bigger of a light, you will want to see our picks for the best 630w CMH grow lights.
We have three choices we want to mention here, because we simply couldn’t pick one standalone winner.
Gavita Pro 630e SE CMH Grow Light
The Gavita Pro 630e SE CMH Grow Light was one of our top selling CMH fixtures this year, and for good reason! The fixture comes in two options, featuring dual 3,100K or dual 4,200K lamps - both in 208/240v.
Covering a 5’ x 5’ footprint during veg and 4’ x 4’ during flower, this more powerful fixture will run you about $27/month in electricity costs. But when you see the yields you’ve achieved with the light come harvest day, it’s an easy justification!
A unique feature of this fixture is the intelligent double ballast concept - it allows you to switch off one of the two lamps if needed, to save electricity/bulb life during early veg when lighting demands of your plant are lower!
This fixture is built to withstand the test of time, which is why it falls into their line of “professional” lighting solutions (that doesn’t mean hobbyists can’t use this light too, though). Electronics are completely sealed with Gore-Tex Plugs, and the integration of ballast and fixture results in ultra-low EMI - allowing you to remain FCC compliant.
With no moving parts, you won’t have to worry about noisy, problematic fans. The fixture was designed with optimal thermal management, evenly and efficiently dispersing any built up heat to prolong the fixture life, all while keeping your plants healthy and happy!
The included lamps are premium Philips Master Bulbs, which feature ultra efficient, high 1.95 PPF/s and 90% lumen maintenance at 8,000 hours, with 85% maintenance at 20,000 hours.
Commercial growers can benefit by adding the Gavita Master Controller, as this allows for daisy chaining, control, and automation.
Growers Choice 630w CMH Grow Light w/ Bulbs
A second amazing option for lights in this wattage is the Growers Choice 630w CMH Grow Light with Bulbs. It costs about the same to run as the Gavita Pro, and covers the same 5’ x 5’ footprint in flower, and 4’ x 4’ in veg.
The spectrum these lamps put out is specifically engineered to replicate and harness the powerful, penetrating intensity of the sun - so you are getting your plants the closest outdoor experience possible, from the comfort of your home or commercial warehouse!
No other fixture offers this many options in terms of bulb color temperature, either. You can choose between the 3,000k or 3,100k - full phase lamps, or opt for a 4,200k bulb - better for veg. They even offer a 10,000k bulb, which has high amounts of UV light for your plants and is perfect for finishing plants.
The Growers Choice 630w CMH fixture has so many fixtures, it’d be tough to name them all here. But here are a few of the most noteworthy ones:
- Dimmable option
- Full circuit protection
- Smart Step Technology
- Smart Start Ignition Control
- Soft Start Technology
- Restrike of hot lamp after mains failure
- Automatic frequency adjustment
- Super lumen for high output (+10%)
- RF Shielding
Just like the Master Pursuit fixture we covered earlier, you can combine this fixture with the Growers Choice Master Lighting Controller for ultimate control.
Best 1000w CMH Grow Light
Now, let’s cover the best 1000w CMH grow lights currently on the market. There are two we want to cover, and these are perfect for those trying to cover a large space with just a single light, or those with very high lighting demands.
NanoLux Summit Series Modular CMH Grow Light System
One of the most unique grow lighting systems on the market today is the NanoLux Summit Series Modular Grow Light System. While we do consider this one of the best CMH lights, it can technically be configured as an HID light as well - so start by choosing your technology.
You can configure this fixture to be single ended or double ended, but for 1,000w, you’ll have to choose double ended. After that, you can choose between a 3k or a 4k bulb. Finally, choose your voltage and corde length.
The 1000w Summit Series CMH Light is powered by the NanoLux Summit Digital Ballast, which is the first of its kind in that it can power a wide range of lamp technologies, wattages, and voltages. Other fixtures are limited to one technology type, and one wattage/voltage.
The reason we consider this one of the best CMH lights available is because of this versatility. You can use HPS or MH bulbs if you’d like, or simply continue using your CMH lamp full spectrum.
Growers Choice Master Pursuit 1000w DE CMH Grow Light
The final fixture we want to cover on this list is the Growers Choice Master Pursuit 1000w DE CMH Grow Light.
While the 500 watt version of this light was covered earlier, this is the ideal pick for commercial growers, as it comes equipped with a 208/240v or 277v plug.
This beast covers a 6’ x 6’ veg footprint and a 5’ x 5’ flower footprint, and costs around $40 a month to operate. This added energy cost is more than made up for in terms of performance, though.
This fixture comes with all the same features of the 500w Master Pursuit, but a few others as well. For example, your garden or grow room is protected from any hanging failures. The fixture includes a built-in level to help you hang the light properly, and a lamp catch to prevent damage to your canopy from a falling bulb.
The featured reflector was meticulously designed to optimize cross lighting and PPFD dispersion. It also runs ultra cool, keeping your grow room temperature down.
Of course, you should pair this fixture with the Growers Choice Master Lighting Controller to daisy chain up to 100 fixtures per zone, for 200 fixtures total.
Final Thoughts On The Best CMH Grow Lights
As you can see, there is a great CMH grow lighting fixture waiting for you here at Hydrobuilder. No matter how you grow, you can invest in the best and enjoy reliable, heavy, and potent harvests for years to come!
CMH lighting is definitely one of the go to technologies these days, If you can afford it, we couldn’t recommend it enough. However, if you’re working with a lower budget, you may want to check out our review of the best HPS grow lights of the year.