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How to choose a Grow Light

March 27, 2013

gt-grow-light-500

One way to get off to a great start is to start seeds indoors.  An even better way is to add grow lights to the equation!  So since this blog is all about how to get more for either less time or less money, this is a great idea!

1) BUDGET:  Set aside the maximum amount of money you are willing to spend on a grow light.  Knowing your budget will make choosing easier, but if you want a healthy indoor garden, try not to go with the cheapest option. Sometimes a more expensive option yields a healthier plant. Grow lights range in price from the cost of a  small kitchen appliance to several thousand dollars.

2) TYPE OF GROW LIGHT: 

a. Incandescent lights – used for single plants.

b. Fluorescent lights – used for  seedlings.

c. Metal halide lights – emit white light, which works well with plants that normally grow better outdoors, such as vegetable plants.

d. High-pressure sodium lights – are beneficial for flowering and fruiting plants that would  naturally grow taller.

e. LED lights – are experimental and may or may not grow healthy plants.

3) BULB LIFETIME:  Read the product descriptions carefully to find out how efficient the grow  lights you’re considering are and how long each usually lasts before the bulb needs to be changed.

4) COLOR TEMPERATURE:  Find out the color temperature, measured in degrees Kelvin, for grow lights you’re considering.  What you choose depends on the needs of your plants. The seedlings of some common plants need cooler light, and older plants need warmer light.

a. Higher Kelvin temperatures are associated with lights that look cooler and are represented by the color blue.  (seedlings)

b. Lower Kelvin temperatures are associated with lights that look warmer and are represented by the color red. (older plants)

5) LUMENS: Go with higher lumens if possible. The number of lumens indicates the amount of  light that the grow light is capable of emitting. The more light the grow light emits, the better, so go with the light that emits the highest number of lumens within your price range.

6) SPACE: Check to be sure the grow light fits in the space you have available. Some grow  lights are pretty large, and since a grow light can be quite an investment, do the measuring and make sure it will fit nicely before bringing it home.

I would love to know what lights you use since this will be the first year I use them myself!

Cheers!

The UNgardener

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5 Comments
  1. I use just a regular 4′ long “shop” light fixture that holds two bulbs…and the bulbs I chose are T-8 Sunlight bulbs designed for plants. The light fixture was $12 and the two bulbs were $11 each and I’ve had wonderful results. I need to pick up one more fixture and bulb setup…more plant flats mean I need more lights! It’s far cheaper to build your own grow light set up than buy one specifically designed for plants. As long as you get the right bulbs, the fixture doesn’t need to be specialized. 😀

    • Interesting! Where did you buy them? I have a hydroponics store near my house and checked them out this week. Grabbed a catalog to peruse the possibilities. Wondering if people find good grow light parts at Walmart or other shopping centers? I have a good garden center too I could check.

      • Lowe’s and Menard’s! I’ve looked for them at Wal-mart and Home Depot and all they carry are basic fluorescent bulbs. I’ve seen the grow lights at farm supply stores, too, like Rural King and Buchheit’s.

  2. Relevant information keep continuing this blog

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