Editor’s Note: We’ve updated this article to include information shared by folks on the GardensAll Facebook Page as to what they’re using. You’ll find that at the end of this article on page 3. 

Gardeners Get Addicted to Gardening…

…to having fresh food readily available. Once you’re used to fresh from the garden, to buy packaged, canned or frozen food is never the same and even the fresh produce is not as fresh as from your garden. It’s just never as good.

For people who love the idea of growing their own food year round, grow lights may be just the solution. Grow lights are localized lights that deliver very specific light and heat to the plants in order to make them grow. This technology has been used by NASA, the government, and farmers all over the world.

While they can be a little pricy and require getting used to this style of gardening, it can be helpful and productive for people who want to keep on growing more of their own food.

See Sam’s low cost hack below.

There are plenty on the market, and that number keeps growing, but these are the best rated grow lights, (and at page bottom, we’ve included info from a GardensAll community member for his cost effective DIY solution).

1. Hydrofarm FLT24 4-Tube T5 Commercial System

Hydrofarm is a very trusted name in the manufacturing of hydroponic or aquaponics gardening equipment. The reason their grow light is one of the best is because the 6400K T5 bulbs put out double the amount of light of a normal fluorescent system. These lights are also versatile in that they can be hung in three different ways: horizontally, vertically, or overhead, which allows you to position them in a way that best suits your space and your plants.
You can find this on Amazon.

2. Apollo Horticulture: Purple Sun COB 192 Watt

This Apollo Horticulture model makes the list because it has the single best color ratio spectrum for a grow light and it too is flexible and functional for almost all plants. There are also some options in light spectrums as well: 440nm, 465nm, 510nm, 635nm and 660nm.

With some lights, you’d have to worry about heat but this one runs at a low of 45 degrees, which means that you don’t have to.
You can find this on Amazon.

3. Sun System HPS 150 Grow Light Fixture

With an incredibly 16,000 lumens and a color spectrum that is designed for growing indoor plants, Sun System HPS 150 Grow Light Fixture is an efficient light that won’t have a huge impact on your electricity bill. The lights are silent as well, so you won’t have to worry about the humming that you could hear with others.

Installation is another benefit for this one: it comes with a hanger on each end and a battery already in place. Even though there is ventilation and the aluminum structure dissipates heat, make sure that you hang it safely.
You can find this on Amazon.

4. TaoTronics TT-E27 24 Watt

If going green is one of your main reasons for growing food or plants, this one might be an option for you as well. Without using a lot of electricity, you are able to get a full spectrum, 3 band ratio that gives off plenty of light. Part of that is because the light has a built in fan that removes the heat. Better yet, you are able to use this particular light throughout all stages of growth.
You can find this on Amazon.

5. iPower Digital Dimmable Grow Light System for Plants

There is some personalization within the iPower, which is why it lands on this list. You can use one HPS (high pressure sodium) bulb or two that have either 400, 600, or 1,000 watts of power. But that isn’t the end of the personalization, as you can also dim them by 50%, 75%, or 100% for when you don’t need heat.

According to a description from the company, the “balanced spectrum set of lights will not only be well-absorbed by plant-feets chlorophylls, but also promotes healthy chlorophyll production, and regulates plant life cycle”.
You can find this on Amazon.

6. Advanced Platinum Series DS200 300 Watt

If getting the latest piece is something that you are looking for, the Advanced Platinum Series DS200 300 Watt grow light is the baby of the list. Many like this product because it doesn’t produce a lot of heat, which means that it is very efficient and provides only usable light so that photosynthesis is strong and works well. There is personalization here as well, you can set the lights for vegetables and flowers, which means that you can have optimal growth for all of it. It is a little more technological, but the instruction manual is very easy to understand.
You can find this on Amazon.

7. 135 Watt Lighthouse Hydro BlackStar

The Lighthouse LED Grow Lights have faster cooling than almost any other light on the list, which means that you don’t have to worry about the light overheating. This is due, in part, to the 3W chipset UFOs with an improved twin module power supply. There are 45 high intensity LED lights that cover 2’x2’ square feet, a perfect size for people just starting to grow indoors. There are 6 different bands for color wavelengths and 2W LED diodes.
You can find this on Amazon.

There are tons of other grow lights on the market today, making it easy to find the solution that fits your specific needs, but these are some of the best sellers on the market today. To decide which one is right for you, just look seriously at what you want to grow, how you want to grow, and what your budget will be.

The good news is that you will likely save money in groceries bills to more than pay for the grow lights over time, to the point that if you’re like many who utilize grow lights, you would add more if only you had the space for more grow racks!

 

Which Lights Save on Electricity?

We have quite a conversation going on in the GardensAll Facebook page regarding which grow lights are best and which use the most and least electricity. Here’s a chart that we found on ConnectXcelEnergy.com that’s really helpful and eye-opening!

From ConnectXcelEnergy.com

We’ll need to begin with the amount of light bulbs in a home. According to a recent survey1)http://ezinearticles.com/?How-Many-Light-Bulbs-Are-In-The-Average-American-Household?&id=6486896, the average American household uses 47 light bulbs.

Electricity Usage in the Average American Household

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.38.09 AM

Cost of Electricity Usage in the Average American Household

Monthly Cost of Using Incandescent Light Bulbs
2.820 X $0.1188 X 150 hours = $50.25

Monthly Cost of Using CFL Bulbs
0.658 X $0.1188 X 150 hours = $11.73

Monthly Cost of Using LED Bulbs
0.447 X $0.1188 X 150 hours = $7.97

If, in this scenario, I switched 47 incandescent light bulbs to LEDs, I could save around $42.28 each month. That really adds up over the course of a year, and the savings continue to grow over many years. ((http://connect.xcelenergy.com/minnesota/how-much-money-can-you-save-by-switching-to-energy-efficient-light-

What Folks in the GardensAll Facebook Community are Using for Grow Lights

Editor’s Note: We got a great economical tip from a GardensAll Facebook community member, Sam Lopez III of 7 Heavenly Hens Garden, a builder, running their own home-grown urban homestead since 2013. They’ve accomplished so much in a short time!

Sam L. : We use typical garage shop lights with cool white bulbs and have great success – for just $17 each.

More from GardensAll Facebook Community Grow Light Preferences

Will H. “I get by pretty well with shop lights with one blue (kitchen) and one red (bath) T5 lights…. ~2-4 inches [from the plants] I think. I’ll be experimenting with enclosing my grow space in mylar and see of that improves growth.

Emily H. “I also use the t5 grow lights. A plant one and a regular one.”

Don G. “I exclusively use LED lighting – HTG agromax 280 professional series. Yes the initial costs are higher than t5 lighting however, you save a bundle on your electric bill. You get better light spectrums less heat and your plants will love you for it.”
Ashley M. “I used 4 foot shop lights with t12 bulbs in them last year. It was affordable and I had great results!”
Missy G. “I’ve got ten thousand watts of High Intensity Discharge lighting in my main room. I use 8 bulb banks of T-5 lights in the veg room. Those are on pulleys and move up and down. My electric bills are INSANE. I’d like to switch to LED but I worry about wispiness.”
Alex D. “I use T5s, I love them.”
Jay R.I use t12 as supplemental light to my windows.”
Michael G.T-5′s are much better and cheaper.”
Let us know what you’re using! To join the conversation, visit us on Facebook.

NoelDiem_Headshot_GardensAll


Author Bio:
Noel Diem is a lover of all things nature and gardening. She grew up helping out in her neighborhood garden and working with her uncle’s cut flower design business. She also loves traveling, shopping, going on hikes, and reading.

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