Whether you want them for cloning and propagation, or to save some money during early veg, you need the best fluorescent T5 grow lights.
And luckily enough for you, we happen to have them all here at Hydrobuilder.
Better yet, though, we have the knowledge to help you find the right one for you and your grow.
We are going to simplify the buying process for you and ensure you end up with the perfect fixture.
We’re also going to teach you how to grow with it to the best of your ability, and explain why you should consider growing with fluorescents in the first place. We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s not waste anymore time!
Why Grow With Fluorescent T5 Grow Lights?
Fluorescent grow lights are a great way to save money while keeping temperatures low in your grow room. They’re super efficient, and don’t generate much heat at all.
Plus, they are typically low profile, so you can place them closer to your plants and stretch the space in your grow room even further!
Due to the lower light intensity these fixtures put out, they aren’t usually great for taking a flowering plant from seed to harvest.
They just won’t produce dense, resinous flowers that other technology will. If this is what you need your grow light to do, we recommend you check out the following lighting technologies:
- LED grow lights
- CMH grow lights
- MH/HPS grow lights
However, there are a few instances where a T5 fluorescent grow light is the best fixture for your grow room. Here are a few reasons you should grow with one.
Use For Cloning or Starting Seeds (propagation)
Because these lights put out a lower intensity, they are great for starting seeds or taking clones from a mother plant. These young plants don’t need bright, red light shining on them when they’re focusing on producing their first set of leaves!
However, they do need some lighting. And a T5 fixture provides the perfect intensity for them. Better yet, it does it at low temperatures, so you won’t burn the delicate little plants at an already stressful time in their life.
If you look at most propagation rooms across the US, they are powered by fluorescent tubes. This is because not only do they provide the perfect light, but they do so incredibly efficiently!
You can save money on electricity by putting the LED away for a month or two and simply using a T5 fixture.
Use As Supplemental Lighting To Your Existing Fixtures
Another reason you may be in the market for the best fluorescent grow lights is because they make great additions to an existing lighting regimen.
If you grow large, bushy plants, they won’t get much light on the sides of them when growing indoors - because your lights are hung overhead, and remain stagnant throughout the day. This isn’t an issue when growing outdoors, because the sun hits your plants at different angles as it moves.
You can hang these fluorescent fixtures along the sides of your plants, using them as supplemental side lighting.
Or, if you have ultra red light from your HPS bulbs, you can optimize your spectrum with different light colors by adding in fluorescents.
What Are The Different Types Of Fluorescent Grow Lights?
T5 grow lights are one of the best for propagation and supplemental side lighting, but they aren’t the only fluorescent technology out there. There are a few other types of fluorescent grow lights out there, including:
- T8 Grow Lights
- T12 Grow Lights
- Compact Fluorescent Grow Lights (CFL’s)
These all have applications of their own, and the differences across these lights just have to do with the width of the tube. For example, a T5 tube is ⅝” in diameter, whereas a T8 tube is 8/8” (1”) in diameter. A T12 tube is 12/8” in diameter.
While the focus of the remainder of this article will be on the best fluorescent T5 grow lights, we’ll also include some T8’s, T12’s, and CFL’s if that’s what you’re interested in.
What Makes The Best Fluorescent T5 Grow Light Fixture?
Similar to how we outlined the criteria for selecting our best LED grow lights of the year, we want to share how we chose our best T5 grow lights this year.
There are so many fluorescents out there, that it’s important to weed out some of the cheap, imitation fixtures and only present the best the horticulture industry has to offer.
Obviously, we only carry reputable brands in the first place here at Hydrobuilder. Some of the industry leaders when it comes to fluorescent lighting are Agrorbite, Sun System, Covert, and Sun Blaze.
These guys manufacture their fixtures using only premium components to withstand the rigors of an indoor growing environment, and they will stand the test of time.
Another important factor is the lumens produced by your fixture’s tubes. This tells you how much light is getting sent to your canopy, an incredibly important factor. Along with this, we considered how efficiently each lamp does this - energy savings is another crucial factor.
Because every grow is different, you need a fixture than can meet your specific needs. Many of the fixtures you’ll find on this list come in a multitude of options - from 2’ 2 bulb fixtures to 4’ 12 bulb fixtures.
What Are The Best T5 Grow Lights?
We are going to start off our list with what we believe to be the best T5 grow light of the year, and we’ll follow up with some additional choices that are just as great.
After we get through all the T5’s, we’ll share some other awesome fluorescent fixtures you may want to consider adding to the grow room.
Sun Blaze T5 LED Grow Light
The Sun Blaze T5 LED Grow Light with 5500K Bulbs is super unique in that it's a fluorescent fixture, but implements LED lamps! This saves energy by up to 25%!
These high-efficiency 2' T5 fixture is capable of producing an astounding 2,400 lumens per lamp. The 4' version is capable of putting out even more light, up to 4,900 lumens per lamp!
The included lamps are 5,500k, perfect for starting seeds or clones, but can be used all during veg too.
The design of the fixture disperses light more uniformly, and provide the most reflection possible in a grow light fixture. The steel housing is powder coated and louvered for maintaining cool temperatures.
To save money on electricity even further, you can cut the power to half the lamps (on the eight-lamp model) during time periods where lighting needs are lower.
AgroBrite Fluorescent T5 Grow Lights
Another incredible investment is the AgroBrite Fluorescent T5. These range from 2’ 2 bulb fixtures all the way up to 4’ 12 bulb fixtures - truly a light for every grower!
This is a fixture you can truly depend on for the long haul. It delivers a balance of high-performance, flexibility, and output.
From a materials standpoint, it combines highly reflective specular aluminum with its ultra-efficient, high-output T5 tubes.
And the interior is powder-coated steel, which helps protect from the intensity of a grow room atmosphere.
When we say flexibility, we mean it. This T5 fixture can be hung three different ways - vertically, horizontally, or overhead. Whatever your grow needs, you can make it happen with this light.
Sun Blaze T5 HO Grow Light
The Sun Blaze T5 HO Grow Light is easily the most versatile fixture in this article, as it’s the only one that can potentially be used as a full-cycle grow light - illuminating plants during flower, too! This fixture comes in 2’ 2 bulb options all the way up to 4’ 8 bulb options.
If you purchase the separate 3,000k lamps, you can swap out the included 6,500k lamps and attempt to flower your plants. The output will still be lower than an HPS or CMH, but it will be better than any other T5 on this list! If you have smaller plants, this will get the job done.
The fixture itself is built with an advanced, ultra-reflective design, to redirect as much light as possible back towards your plants.
This leads to robust, leafy growth during veg. If you’re using the 3k tube, it will contribute to dense, resinous buds. The design of this fixture also leads to excellent diffusion of light, for even coverage.
You can hang this fixture vertically or horizontally, and wire cables are included with each purchase to make hanging your light simple. Similar to the AgroBrite fixture, you can power down half the tubes when using the eight-lamp model to save money during the early stages when lighting needs are lower.
From an output standpoint, this fixture takes the cake as well. Each of the included tubes puts out a whopping 5,000 lumens each! The fixture itself is louvered to remain cool, while still delivering impressive results.
SunBlaster NanoTech T5 HO Lamp
Perhaps the best option for putting a light source over a seedling tray, some clones, or even small plants is the SunBlaster NanoTech T5. It's available in sizes ranging from 2'-4' long, is just a single lamp.
The unique thing about this T5 grow light is the included reflector - most single fluorescent tubes like this won't have a reflector, but this one does.
That means no light is being wasted illuminating your ceiling or walls of your tent/room. And, this reflector can increase lumen availability by as much as 300%!
This is a great option for supplemental lighting, too. It can be hung as strip lighting or horizontally/vertically, filling out the middle of your plants for more uniform growth.
AgroBrite Fluorowing Compact Fluorescent Grow Light
If you’re in the market for a CFL fixture, the best choice is the AgroBrite Fluorowing Compact Fluorescent Grow Light.
At under $70, this 125w fixture covers a 2’ x 2’ space and is great for starting a small room or grow tent with seeds or clones.
The included 6400k CFL bulb is great for veg, but can be used as supplemental lighting during the flower stage as well! The compact reflector saves you space in your grow for your plants, getting you bigger yields.
Plus, the dew guard will protect the reflector materials from water and humidity in the growing space. This fixture will stand the test of time, and be your favorite propagation light for years to come.
Final Thoughts On The Best T5 Grow Lights
Now that you know the best fluorescent T5 grow lights of the year, it’s just a matter of picking which one best fits your specific grow.
Whether you need a fluorescent light just for propagation, or you are hoping to use one as a supplemental side light - we listed options for you in this review of the best T5 grow lights!
If you want us to make a recommendation and help you pick the best one, reach out to our experts and we’ll figure it out together!