Buying a grow light or grow light system is not always a straightforward decision. The best technology will depend on the type of plant that is being grown and its development stage. For example some lights are better able to promote flowering while others encourage fast growth and sprouting. In this article we provide insight into the three main types of grow light that are used by indoor gardeners to start you on a process of determining which is most suitable for your grow lighting needs.
For grow light gardeners looking for a cost effective, energy efficient and environmentally friendly grow light technology, LED grow lights tend to rise to the top of the list. They have a longer lifespan than other grow light technologies, use less energy and emit less heat. Cooling systems, heat extraction fans and high voltage ballasts are generally not needed. LED lights can be placed in close proximity to the growing plants or seedlings with little risk of scorching or dehydration.
The standard fluorescent bulbs used for many years by grow light gardeners are slowly being replaced by higher output fluorescent bulbs and hybrid fluorescent/HID systems. While these are more expensive than the standard bulbs they produce a light that is more direct and concentrated via the use of special reflectors. Reds, Whites and Blues are available.
High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and Metal Halide (MH) are the most common types of Higher Intensity Grow Light (or HID grow light) used for grow light gardening. Mercury vapor lights are also used but less often. While HID light do not last as long as LED grow lights for example and are more expensive to run, they produce a very intense light. HPS and MH lights are often used in combination to ensure all required wavelengths of light needed for maximum absorption are produced.