How to Choose the Best Cannabis
Grow Lights

If you're growing marijuana indoors, you should be knowing how important the grow lights are, since they provide the necessary light energy for photosynthesis and bud production. With various options available in the market, choosing the right cannabis grow lights can be a daunting task.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at the different types of grow lights available, and help you understand their unique pros and cons. We'll also explain why grow lights for cannabis are necessary, and how to fine-tune your lighting to create a better growth environment. This guide will serve as your go-to resource for mastering the art of lighting in cannabis cultivation.

3 Most Common Types of Cannabis Grow Lights

common cannabis grow lights

When it comes to choosing grow lights for cannabis, there are three major types to consider: HID (high-intensity discharge), LED (light-emitting diode), and CFL (compact fluorescent lamp). Each type has its own advantages and considerations.

1. HID Grow Lights

They are known for their great intensity and are capable of giving cannabis plants enough light for the duration of their growth cycle. These lights can provide strong, penetrating light that can support the growth of cannabis plants and contribute to satisfying yields.

However, HID lights tend to consume more energy compared to other solutions, raising the cost from your electric bill. In addition, they generate significant heat, which, if not properly controlled, can be problematic. To maintain ideal temperatures in the growing space, you'll need adequate ventilation and cooling systems.

2. LED Grow Lights

LED lights have gained popularity among cannabis growers due to their energy efficiency and long lifespan. By consuming less electricity compared to HID lights, they're deemed as a cost-effective choice in the long run. Plus, their longer longevity means less need for maintenance and replacements.

Another benefit of LED lights is their versatility in light spectra. They can be customized to provide specific wavelengths of light suitable for different growing stages of a weed plant, which in turn promotes optimal photosynthesis. They also produce less heat.

A sticking point that stops some growers choosing LED grow lights is their higher upfront cost. While despite the initial investment, their energy efficiency and durability actually make them a worthwhile choice.

3. CFL Grow Lights

CFL lights are are an affordable and easily accessible option, particularly favored by beginners or small-scale growers. They emit a lower intensity of light, which is well suitable for seedlings, clones, or young plants in their early stage of growth.

CFL lights can be used in combination with other types of cannabis grow lights to provide a more comprehensive light spectrum. They are relatively compact and don't generate excessive heat, so you can place them somewhere closer to plants without worries over risking damage.

While CFL lights offer affordability and convenience, their limitations shouldn't be ignored. Due to their lower intensity, they may not be sufficient for larger, more mature plants that require higher light levels. That's why as the cannabis plants grow, cultivators often transition to more powerful lighting options.

Key Benefits of Using Grow Lights for Cannabis Cultivation

LED marijuana grow lights

Cannabis grow lights play a vital role in indoor farming as they mimic the natural sunlight required for photosynthesis. They provide consistent light intensity, allowing growers to control and optimize plant growing conditions.

Here're 3 major benefits you can enjoy by installing marijuana grow lights in your grow spaces:

  • Light Spectrum Control: Different stages of cannabis growth require specific light spectrums, including blue for vegetative growth and red for flowering. Most grow lights can be adjusted to provide the ideal spectrum for each growth stage.
  • Year-Round Cultivation: With grow lights, cannabis cultivation can be carried out regardless of the outdoor climate or seasonal changes. This ensures a continuous and reliable supply of cannabis plants.
  • Increased Yields: Proper lighting helps maximize yields by promoting healthy plant growth, bud development, and resin production. High-quality marijuana grow lights contribute to higher potency and overall quality of the harvested cannabis.

4 Factors to Consider Before Purchases

LED cannabis grow lights

1. Growth Stages of Your Plants & Light Intensity They Need

First things first, you should consider what type/stage of cannabis plants you're growing under that light. Are we talking about cannabis grow lights for veg-stage plants? Or plants during the flowering stage? Maybe both? Cannabis loves basking in the glory of a full spectrum of lighting. But in fact, there are some nifty differences in the lighting spectrum required by different growth stages. You'll give your plants a growth boost if you master them!

During the veg stage, your plants need low to mid intensity light with more blue in the spectrum. Why? Plants have this evolutionary thing where they want to reach for the sky, and this is what we call positive phototropism.

When it's time for flowering, things get a bit different. Your cannabis plants crave intense light and a spectrum that leans towards the red side. The red light helps them form those beautiful flowers while telling them, "Hey, stop growing stems and leaves, it's time to get busy with those blooms!"

If you need a cannabis grow light for both stages, you better go for a full spectrum light that lets you adjust the intensity. Light intensity is a big deal when it comes to picking the right grow light for your cannabis.

2. Size of Your Grow Area

Now, let's shed some light on another critical factor: the size of your grow area. If you're working with a confined or smaller space, you need a marijuna grow light that can deliver the right intensity and spectrum without turning your grow area into a sweltering sauna.

LED fixtures is the go-to choice for many of these scenarios. That's because they feature high-intensity output while keeping heat generation to a minimum. This is especially important for micro-growers who often struggle to control temperature in spaces lacking A/C, air exchange, and comprehensive environmental controls.

LED lights have a direct beam of light with minimal spread. This might not be a concern for growers with small spaces, but it's something worth noticing when building larger weed tents. In fact, even many commercial grow facilities and greenhouses have made the switch to LED lights thanks to their low energy consumption, high-intensity output, and ease of environmental control.

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3. Energy Efficiency

Speaking of energy consumption, it's also a factor you should take into account. LED lights take the crown in terms of efficiency. They boast an incredible ability to convert electricity into light with minimal waste. Unlike double-ended (DE) or traditional high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting, you don't need to worry about LED lights wasting energy or expelling energy as heat.

Most HPS and DE fixtures operate at 1000 watts, while LED lights with similar or even higher PPFD output typically run at 500-600 watts. That allows growers to position LED lights much closer to the canopy, which brings better light utilization and more balanced canopy development. However, placing DE-HPS lights less than 2 feet away from the canopy would leave your plants scorched and damaged.

LED lights for growing cannabis prove to be the most cost-effective option. Their efficient performance minimizes the need for HVAC systems and extensive environmental interventions. By requiring less equipment and resources, LED lights also contribute to lower energy bills.

4. Budget

A cannabis grow light is a long-term investment. While it can be tempting to opt for the cheapest option, investing in a higher-quality one within your budget often provides a more reliable and durable lighting solution for your cannabis plants.

CFL lights are the most budget-friendly option, which typically range from $10 to $50 per bulb or fixture. HID lights are relatively affordable. They might cost you anywhere between $50 and $300. As we said before, LED lights always come with a higher initial cost. Entry-level LED designed for small-scale setups might cost $50 to $200. If you need higher-end LED lights, the range can go from $200 to over $1000.

Set up the Right Lighting to Ensure the Best Cannabis Growth

cannabis grow light PPFD

Image via growlightmeter

To ensure healthy cannabis growth, first of all you should know about the concept of PPFD (photosynthetic photon flux density). PPFD measures the intensity of light received by plants, and determines their photosynthetic activity. The optimal PPFD level should also consider the concentration of CO2 in the grow space as one of the key factors.

PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) is another metric you should use, which refers to the spectral range of light that plants can utilize for photosynthesis. PAR and PPFD are closely related concepts. You can see PPFD as a measure of the quantity of PAR that reaches a specific surface area per unit of time.

Each growth stage of cannabis requires specific PPFD and PAR levels. For example, seedlings and clones need lower PPFD values (around 200-400 µmol/m²/s), while vegetative and flowering stages require higher values (around 600-1000 µmol/m²/s). By calculating the lighting needs based on the size of the growing space and desired PPFD values, growers can determine how many cannabis grow lights they need for optimal coverage and intensity, and how far they should be from the plants.

It's as important to note that controlling the concentration of CO2 in the grow space is necessary for the best results. Studies have shown that variations in CO2 concentration can significantly affect the photosynthetic response, growth, and water use efficiency of cannabis sativa. Maintaining an appropriate CO2 level, usually between 1000-1500 ppm (parts per million), can enhance plant productivity and yield.

Grow Light Distance Chart

Here's a general grow light distance chart to help you determine the appropriate distance based on the type of light you're using and light intensity:

HID Grow Light Distance

Strength150W250W400W600W
Distance8-12 inches10-14 inches12-19 inches14-25 inches

LED Grow Light Distance

Strength200W400W600W800W
Distance10-16 inches15-20 inches18-32 inches20-35 inches

Please note that these distances serve as general guidelines and can vary based on reflector efficiency and the plants' growth stage. Closely monitor the plants' response and adjust the light distance accordingly to avoid light burn or insufficient light exposure.

Best Grow Lights for Cannabis

If you're hunting for the best grow lights for cannabis, and meanwhile hoping to save time from the set-up process, Hey abby's hydroponics weed growing system which comes pre-installed with Samsung LED grow lights absolutely hits the spot. This innovative system provides an all-in-one solution for cannabis cultivation.

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The Hey abby Automated Grow Box combines advanced lighting system with a user-friendly smartly-controlled approach. It utilizes Samsung LED grow lights that offer the ideal light spectrum for each growth stage of cannabis. The grow box incorporates an app algorithm that automatically adjusts the PPFD range according to the plant's specific needs, so you don't need to manually. This feature makes it particularly suitable for novice growers, or seasoned ones wanting a simpler, seamless growing experience.

Moreover, Hey abby's automated indoor growing system guarantees consistent results by providing an optimized environment with controlled lighting, temperature, humidity, and nutrient delivery. With its efficient use of energy and high-quality components, it offers a reliable and effective solution for cannabis growers of all levels of experience.

Conclusion

Choosing the right grow lights for cannabis will give you a higher chance of successful indoor cultivation. Consider factors such as light intensity, spectrum control, energy efficiency, and the specific needs of your plants at each growth stage. The Hey abby Automated Grow Box with Samsung LED grow lights is an excellent option that ensures optimal growth and high yields, and doesn't require any extra set-ups. By investing in quality cannabis grow lights and implementing proper lighting planning, you can create an ideal environment for your cannabis plants and achieve the best results in your cultivation endeavors.

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