SMALL GROW LIGHTS
Compare the Best Small Grow Lights for your Hydroponics Garden
Grow lights are used in indoor gardening as a substitute for abundant, natural sunlight. They have the ability to power plant growth from the very beginning stages of germination all the way through the flowering and fruiting stages. Whether you are growing indoor plants in soil or with hydroponics, grow lights are often essential to keeping your plants at their healthiest. And since many indoor gardeners don’t need large and powerful grow lights to cultivate a few plants, small grow lights can be sufficient for your needs. With that said, let’s review some of the most popular and best small grow lights on the market
There are 3 major types of grow lights: Fluorescents, High-Intensity Discharge (HID), and Light- Emitting Diode (LED). Let’s take a look at how each type works before reviewing the best small grow lights.
There are two types of Fluorescents: CFL and T5 grow lights. Fluorescent grow lights are inexpensive, provide a good light spectrum, fit well into small spaces and can be used in a standard lighting socket, give-off a pleasant color for indoor environments, don’t use a lot of electricity. and work well for small and well-trained plants (like hydroponic herbs, lettuce, clones, and seedlings). The downside is they have a smaller yield per watt vs. HID and LED so they need to be positioned very close to the plant. As such, they are not recommended for taller plants like tomatoes or cannabis. Fluorescents also contain a small amount of mercury, which may turn off some to this type of lighting choice. CFL lights are usually twisted in their shape, while T5 grow lights are long and narrow.
High-Intensity Discharge (HID)
High-Intensity Discharge (HID) grow lights are a step above fluorescents in efficiency. They have a large, awkward shape and are normally used in conjunction with a reflector hood to direct light downward towards the plants. One notable disadvantage to HID lighting is that they are prone to running very hot, so exhaust fans are often used to vent the grow environment or grow tent.
The three types of High-Intensity Discharge lighting are Metal Halide (MH), High-Pressure Sodium (HPS), and Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH, LEC, Light Emitting Ceramic). Metal Halide’s blueish hues are especially good for vegetative growth, while HPS yellow lighting is great for the flowering stage and produce an amazing yield per watt. Ceramic Metal Halide grow lights are designed with ceramic, making them more efficient than standard MH lights.
LED Grow Lights
While HPS lighting is certainly efficient, the heating issues are a concern. As you may have read in our Best LED Grow Lights article, the primary benefits of LED grow lights over the more established light sources is it can significantly reduce heat and power consumption. Because they produce less heat than other options – and often have heat sinks and built-in fans – LED grow lights are more energy efficient and require significantly less expense to ventilate and cool.
Small LED grow lights can simply be hung over your plants and plugged directly into the wall without any other major adjustments. Most LED lighting can produce the particular spectrum a plant need for its various stages of growth. Another advantage is their longevity. LED bulbs do not need to replaced nearly as often as HID or fluorescents. Because of their numerous benefits, we recommend LED grow lights to hydroponics beginners and experts alike.
Now let’s look a some of the most popular small grow lights on the market. One of the key consideration of choosing the best small grow light is to find one with a combination of colors spectrums. Blue lights promote vegetative growth, red lights stimulates budding and flowering, and an orange to whitish tones are good for fruiting. Full spectrum LED grow lights are great for all stages of growth.