Your reflector plays a much bigger role than you may realize. Sure, you know that it redirects wasted light back towards your canopy, rather than illuminating the walls and ceiling of your room and tent.
But, there are some huge differences between cheap hoods and the best grow light reflector.
If you are paying for electricity, the equipment to setup your grow, and putting serious effort into this, you should really be getting the most out of your hood.
In this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know about buying a reflective hood, including the best grow light reflector currently on the market.
We’ll cover the different types, and help you choose the right one for your grow light setup.
Why are reflectors useful in a grow room?
Unless you are using LED grow lights, you’ll need a reflector. More often than not, your fixture includes one, so you may not even think about it.
But you need to replace your reflector every so often, which is the whole purpose of this article - helping you choose the right grow light reflector hood.
Before we get to that, though, let’s cover why you need to replace yours every so often.
Why you need to replace your grow light reflector just like your bulbs
You replace your bulbs every so often, so why not replace your reflectors? Sure, cleaning them is an important task and can certainly prolong their life.
But, cleaning only does so much. At a certain point, you are better off buying a new one.
Some factors in your grow room can affect how quickly your reflector loses efficacy and will need to be replaced. One example of this is growers using coco as their media.
This is a great media, but it creates a lot of dust. This dust rises and coats the walls of your tent or room, along with your bulb and, that’s right, your reflector.
What are the different types of grow light reflectors?
There are a few different types of grow light reflectors. The main difference between these is shape and function.
The most common and useful type is the air cooled reflector. These are distinguished by the opening on each end of the hood, which is where you would connect your ducting for your ventilation system.
The purpose is to help expel any heat building up within the hood, over your canopy. This not only improves the grow room environment, but helps preserve the life of your bulb.
There are also non-air cooled reflectors, which have the same shape and style as the air cooled reflectors but without ventilation ports.
Another style of reflective hoods is the wing style. As the name suggests, these have two wings - this design also helps dispel built up heat, but not as actively as an air-cooled reflector.
Finally, you have the parabolic reflectors. These are shaped sort of like an umbrella, and are much less common than the aforementioned types of hoods.
Now, let’s get into what we consider to be the best grow light reflector, and the criteria we use to choose this.
What makes the best grow light reflectors better than others?
Metal type is the biggest determinant in how effective and efficient a reflector will be.
When you are shopping based on price and looking for a cheap solution, you are going to get a cheap metal, such as plain old oxidized aluminum or anodized aluminum.
These create plenty of issues in the grow room, including hot spots, loss of light, and heat buildup.
Equally important to the amount of light a hood reflects, is how well it maintains that reflection over time.
Cheaper metals will start to lose their reflection quickly, leading to light being absorbed by the reflector rather than reflected.
What is the best grow light reflector of 2023?
Now, we are going to cover the best grow light reflector choices of 2023.
Sun System 8" Double-Ended Air-Cooled Grow Light Reflector
The Sun System 8" DE Air-Cooled Reflector is a great option for those growing with MH/HPS lights. Because it's air-cooled, it will help cut back on heat building up over your canopy and protect your bulb.
Sun System is an incredibly reputable brand, and this particular 8" reflector features sealed optic technology, furthering the removal of heat without cooling the bulb too much. Its important to note that HPS/MH bulbs work best when warm.
From a reflectivity standpoint, this hood delivers. It is constructed from 95% reflective textured German aluminum, with 98% reflective corner inserts. This combination leads to excellent uniformity, output, and diffusion.
This reflector also features a Galvanized steel housing, with a durable powder coated finish to extend the life and withstand the rigors of an indoor growing environment.
Furthermore, the hood has double gaskets between the glass and reflector, and between the glass and the frame. This creates an air tight seal, allowing your DE bulb to run at peak performance.
The hinged glass makes cleaning and changing bulbs a breeze. This reflector is one of the best out there, and comes with a few more great features:
- 15' detachable lamp cord
- Built-in level for easy, consistent hanging
- 5 year warranty
- Fabricated in the USA
Note: This reflector is sold in a pack of two.
Sun System Yield Master 6" Air-Cooled Grow Light Reflector
The Sun System Yield Master Air-Cooled Hood comes with all kinds of benefits that set it apart.
It features the same great 95% reflective European aluminum interior as the Sun System 8" DE Hood we just talked about. It provides the utmost in output and uniformity, getting your plants as much light as possible.
It also comes with the completely sealed, hinged glass and double gasket build. With captured thumbscrews and a closure mechanism, this leads to an even greater seal and ease of use.
But, a few things that set it apart is that it has a swing-stop retention cable. This keeps the glass from abruptly swinging down, risking you breaking it during cleaning or changeout.
This light is designed for single ended bulbs. This makes it great for hobbyists, and at under $100, its affordable. If you are growing with SE HPS or MH bulbs, this is the reflector for you.
Sun System Double-Ended Boss Grow Light Reflector
The Sun System DE Boss Reflector is another excellent hood for double ended 1,000 watt HPS bulbs.
It is constructed from the same 95% reflective aluminum interior and 98% reflective inserts as the other Sun System hoods we've mentioned, so you know you're getting quality and the utmost uniformity/reflection.
Its non aircooled, and the deep design on this hood is to hold the lamp heat. In turn, this leads to the lamp burning at the optimal temperature for peak performance.
It has all the same benefits as the the rest of the Sun System line: a galvanized steel housing with power coat finish, detachable 15' lamp cord, and a five-year warranty.
Solis Tek SolisMax56 SE 6" Air-Cooled Grow Light Reflector
For hobbyists, one of the best grow light reflectors you can spend you money on is the Solis Tek SolisMax56. This is a single ended air-cooled hood that is built to last.
Its compatible with SE 400w, 600w, and 1,000w HPS/MH bulbs. It features a 95% reflective German interior that offers plenty of bang for your buck.
It also features RFI shielding, which keeps your grow discreet and prevents interuption with radio/TV nearby. This is a huge benefit for hobby AND commercial growers alike.
This hood puts out a huge 5' x 6' high PAR footprint, and the compact size is great for light deprivation techniques.
It comes with a 15' lamp cord, airtight construction, and 14 AWG highly conductive tinned wire.
Phantom 315W CMH Grow Light Reflector
If you are growing with 315w CMH bulbs, this Phantom 315W CMH hood is a great option.
Its very unique, in that the bulb sits within the hood vertically rather than horizontally. This creates a super intense downward light pattern.
The interior is multifaceted 95% European hammertone aluminum, and leads to incredible light uniformity and diffusion.
It also features a patented double-wall design, which helps to maintain the optimal bulb temp without heating up the reflector, which is a nice safety touch.
The hood has integrated hangers, a built-in 15' cordset, & a pre-galvanized powder-coated body for durability, strength, and longevity.
To really take this reflector to the next level, grab the optional cooling kit! It includes two 6" flanges and a sealed lens system with latches and a safety catch.
Sun System Dominator XXXL 8" Air-Cooled Reflector
The last hood we want to share with you is the Sun System Dominator XXXL 8" Air-Cooled Reflector.
This is a beast of a hood and probably won't be suitable for any hobby growers because of the large footprint it takes up: 36.5"L x 37"W x 8.2"H.
But, If you have the space and need for a reflector this large, you'll be blown away by the performance. It leads to huge coverage and incredibly uniformity.
You can place it closer to your canopy for deep penetration and creating a more balanced plant. It includes tempered glass, removable frame, built-in socket, and a 15' lamp cord.
Its completely sealed, and features a swing stop retention capable to keep your glass safe from abrupt swings.
A few other noteworthy features include captured thumb screws, closure mechanism, beaded air-cooling flanges, and a five year warranty.
Gavita Pro M110 DE SR Reflector
If you are a grow tent grower or you have a smaller grow room, the Gavita Pro M110 DE SR Hood is the best grow light reflector for you. Gavita is an industry leader in horticultural lighting, and this reflector is built to deliver.
This hood is actually a replacement for the Gavita Pro line, but is compatible with double ended HPS bulbs between 750-1,000 watts.
The reason it works so well with smaller rooms and tents is because of the angle at which it reflects light. It has a medium spread with a 110 degree beam.
This leads to incredible uniformity, and deep canopy penetration. If you have a powerful enough bulb, this hood will help you get deeper colas within your plant rather than small, dismal popcorn buds.
This reflector works best in grow room designs with a single light setup.
Gavita HortiStar 1000 Double-Ended Grow Light Reflector
This Gavita HortiStar 1000 DE Reflector is a state of the art piece of equipment.
They know that you can have the best ballast and lamp on the market, but without an equally impressive reflector, results will be dismal.
That's why they've focused so much time, resources, and research into creating the best grow light reflector.
This hood is built from Miro aluminum, and offers up to 96% reflectivity! Another really cool feature is that it can be switched with the bulb still in place.
This particular hood is designed for DE 1,000 watt lamps, and can be easily installed with just two eyebolts.
Final Thoughts On Choosing The Best Grow Light Reflector
There are plenty of great reflectors, as you have now learned after reading this post.
As long as you go with a reputable brand such as Sun System, Gavita, Solis-Tek, or Phantom, for example, you'll know you're getting quality. Your first step should be ensuring the reflector is compatible with your existing setup.
Then, look at the type of metal used. Make sure it not only offers great reflectivity (95% is standard on the aforementioned hoods), make sure it is built to last.
And, when the time comes to replace your hood, you know where to come.