When deciding to cultivate cannabis, understanding the importance that light sources play in determining how successful your harvest will be is essential. The best and cheapest light source available when growing weed is natural sunlight, however, the luxury of cultivating marijuana plants outside is not possible for everyone. However, for many growers, the environmental control of indoor growing is the most appealing. So what are the best lights for growing cannabis indoors? In this article, we will give you all the information you need, to decide which type of cannabis grow light is best for your setup.
Cannabis plants love light. During photosynthesis, a plant converts light energy into chemical energy, allowing it to grow strong and healthy, and with cannabis, in particular, light also fuels bud production. More light = Bigger yields! This means that when considering the best lights for growing cannabis indoors, you need to ensure you have sufficient wattage and enough light to cover your entire growing space.
So let’s take a look at the types of grow lights available, and compare them.
Different Types of Cannabis Grow Lights:
HID (High intensity discharge)
Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS)
HID or High-intensity discharge grow lights are split into two main types: MH (metal halide), and HPS (high-pressure sodium) lights. The main difference between these two is that the light from Metal Halide is a little bluish, therefore they are well suited to grow cannabis plants in the vegetative stage.
HPS on the other hand emits a more yellow light, which is perfect for growing cannabis during the flowering stage, as this light spectrum stimulates bud production.
Therefore, a lot of growers using HID lights will choose to switch between the two types during the duration of a grow. However, if you choose to run just one type of HID for the entirety of your growth, we would recommend using HPS, as they will deliver better all-around results.
Pros and Cons of HID Grow Lights
- Easy to setup up and operate
- Produce excellent yields
- Very efficient and reliable
- Options for vegetative and flowering stages
- HID bulbs generate a lot of heat. Which can cause damage to your plants
- Additional equipment is needed to combat the heat. This can include fans and ducts
- More equipment, such as ballasts and reflectors are needed with HID lights. However, it is easy to buy them as a complete light package.
- HID lights use a lot of power, meaning your electricity bills will be higher
- Bulbs need replacing at least once a year
HID lights are a great option for growing cannabis and are very easy to use once they’re set up. And if your main aim is to get the highest yields possible, then HIDs are the way to go! However, they do require extra equipment compared to the other grow lights because you will need a fan to vent out heat from your grow space.
Best HID Grow Lights
Here are some different HID grow lights at different price points.
LED (LIGHT-EMITTING DIODES)
LED grow lights are hugely popular amongst cannabis growers. Once seen as inferior to HID lights, the technological advancements made to LED systems make them a great choice for cultivating cannabis. LED lights come in all shapes and sizes and generate little heat, therefore they can be brought closer to plants without burning them. They are also incredibly efficient at producing PAR (photosynthetically active radiation). LEDs are generally concentrated in the red and blue bands of the spectrum, which is exactly what plants want and need to thrive in both the vegetative and flowering stages.
Pros and Cons of LED Grow Lights
- Most energy efficient grow light. Meaning you’ll save on electricity bills
- LED lights produce very little heat compared to HIDs. Meaning you won’t have to worry about additional equipment to deal with heat issues, or burning your plants
- No additional equipment needed such as ballasts and reflectors
- The light spectrums support both the vegging and flowering stages
- High quality LED lights can be rather expensive
- Potentially lower yields than HIDs
- Cheaper models tend to produce inferior results
When looking for the best lights for growing cannabis indoors, LED grow lights are a great choice. If you’re looking for lights that are energy efficient, easy to set up, and produce very little heat, then LEDs might be the best option. But as mentioned, you may need to spend a little extra money to make sure you are getting the best quality.
Best LED Grow Lights
Here are some different LED grow lights at different price points.
Fluorescent (CFL) Grow Lights
Compact Fluorescent Lamps, as the name suggests, are fairly small lights, so they will be best suited for small grows. CFL grow lights are a very cheap option that can be plugged into standard household sockets, meaning they do not require any additional equipment. They produce a great spectrum for growing cannabis and due to their size, can be used in tiny spaces where other grow lights would not fit. CFLs also emit more concentrated points of light, as opposed to longer tubes, meaning light can be better directed to cover a specific area.
Pros and Cons of CFL Grow Lights
- Cheap to buy
- Widely available in shops
- Easy to set up and use
- Great for small grow spaces
- Available in a range of wattages and color temperatures
- CFLs use little energy, meaning lower running costs
- Small output. Therefore only good for small grows (1-2 plants)
- Produce smaller yields then other grow light types
- Not ideal for use in the flowering stage
- Shorter lifespan than other bulbs
CFLs are a great choice for growers who are cultivating just a few plants in a small area and are on a tight budget. They can also be used well by growers wanting to save on energy costs when their plants are young. However, when deciding on using CFLs, you will have to consider that your yields will not be as big, compared to using LEDs or HIDS.
Best CFL Grow Lights
Here are some different CFL grow lights at different price points.
Which type of Lights Are Best for Growing Cannabis?
So, which type of lights are best for growing cannabis? Overall this will depend on various factors, including the size of your growing space, the type of weed you’re growing, and one of the most important aspects, how much money you are willing to spend.
If you are looking for a light for seedlings and clones, or you’re growing in a very small space (like a cupboard), you are likely best off with a simple CFL light.
For slightly bigger grows, it’s best to consider a decent LED light, anywhere from 400–600W. As there won’t be much heat from the light, you may be okay with a simple exhaust system and a fan.
For medium to large growing operations, you should look into high-end LED systems, or go with tried and tested HID lighting solutions, guaranteed to help you with big yields.
Let There be Light
So now you should be much more well-informed about what type of cannabis grow light you’ll want. With a range to choose from, it will mainly come down to your own needs. If you’re looking for the biggest yields possible and you have the cash to spend, then the best lights for growing cannabis indoors would be a 600w or stronger HID or LED system. However, whatever type of light you decide to purchase, make sure you give your plants as much light as possible and stick to the light cycles they’ll need to thrive. Growing cannabis is such an amazing experience, whether it’s a small setup with 1-2 plants or a much more high-scaled project. Just always remember the importance of your lighting.