How to Choose the Best Grow Lights for Indoor Cannabis Farming

How to Choose the Best Grow Lights for Indoor Cannabis Farming


Growing cannabis in an indoor grow tent requires that you provide all the elements that support cannabis growth. One of the essential elements is light. Light is vital in boosting biomass and prompting change from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage. Thus, you need to install suitable grow lights in your indoor grow tent. Different strains have different light needs, and cannabis plants at certain growth stages have varied light needs. And so, you need to prepare very well to be able to leverage grow lights for the best outcome.



Why Is Light Important for Growing Cannabis?

The types of lights you use for cannabis growing have a major impact on yield. But, it’s not just about hanging some high-performance lighting system above the plants. The real test as far as providing the best lighting is regulating the strength of the wavelengths of light while plants evolve through the growth stages. Light is an essential factor as it supports these processes:

Plant biomass: cannabis plants create chlorophyll, and utilize light to synthesize nutrients, thus sparring plant growth. Light plays a vital role in producing food energy, and by extension, in promoting plant biomass.

Plant yield: cannabis is a light-hungry plant. Optimum exposure to light is a vital element in boosting plant yield. When a cannabis plant fails to receive adequate light energy, it’s likely to experience a low plant yield.

Whether you’re a novice or veteran cannabis grower, you are aware of the fact that light is an indispensable ingredient in cannabis cultivation. When cultivating cannabis plants within an indoor grow tent, you need to fulfill the lighting needs of your cannabis plants, which means you need to invest in suitable grow lights.


Factors to Consider Before Buying Indoor Grow Lights

If you’re a beginner cannabis grower, you might buy grow lights without thinking through your decision. But, there are certain factors to consider before buying indoor grow lights:

1. Plant Growth Stage

Cannabis plants require different light spectrums at different stages of their growth cycle. At the vegetative stage, they require the grow lights to emit a blue range, and at the flowering stage, they require the grow lights to emit a red range. Thus, you should choose the type of grow lights with diverse light spectrums.

2. Grow Room Size

Cannabis plants are usually hungry for light, and you need to make sure that your grow lights are sufficient. If you have a large grow room, your budget for grow lights should be high, and if you have a small grow room, you can afford to lower your budget. Fluorescent grow lights are typically cheaper while HID and LED grow lights are expensive.

3. Heat Emission

Some grow lights like HID grow lights typically emit high levels of heat, and the heat can have a damaging impact on the plant structure and chemical profile of cannabis. If you have a quality ventilation system, you can choose even grow lights with high heat output. However, if you have an inferior ventilation system, you should stick to grow lights with low heat production.

4. Price

It’s one thing to wish to have the best grow lights, but it’s another thing to have the financial ability. Ideally, you should choose the grow lights that fit your budget, so that you can be able to buy all the essential equipment without bankrupting yourself.

5. Installation

Some grow lights require complex installation systems while some grow lights only need to be hung above the plants. And so, depending on the type of installation that you prefer, you can choose the perfect grow lights for your indoor cannabis grow tent.


Types of Cannabis Grow Lights

There are many types of grow lights, and each light system is typically ideal in different conditions. Cannabis strain, grow room size, and the plant’s stage in the growth cycle, are some of the things that growers consider when buying grow lights. The following are some of the common types of cannabis grow lights.


1. Fluorescent (CFL) Grow Lights

These are the humblest light systems for a grow room. Fluorescents are the typical lamps that you find in people’s homes, and they are ideal for small grow spaces. CFL grow lights don’t require any special equipment; they just need a standard socket that you can plug into and go to town. Some people prefer using CFL grow lights in their grow room for a variety of reasons:

Low cost: not everybody has a massive budget for their indoor grow center. Some growers have a tiny budget, and it makes sense to go for the cheapest light system. Some growers might start with basic lighting systems and then upgrade down the road, especially once the plants reach the vegetative stage.

Small grow room: indoor grow tents come in different shapes and sizes. For a rower with a super-small grow room, CFL grow lights may be ideal. The lamp can be installed at the roof of the grow tent so that it shines on the cannabis plants. Installing huge and sophisticated grow lights in a small grow tent would exert tension on the frame and potentially damage it.

Low electricity costs: it’s one thing for equipment to be cheap to acquire and it’s another thing for the equipment to have small expenses. The electricity expenditure of CFL lights is typically low, which makes them easy to maintain.

Easily available: if you live in a small town that doesn’t have big shopping centres, it might be a challenge finding some advanced grow light systems, but it certainly would be easy to find CFL grow lights. CFL grow lights are ubiquitous as they are used even in households.

Easy to set up: CFL grow lights have a simple build and only need to be plugged into a power source to become functional. They are not like some advanced grow lights that require complementary hardware during installation. Additionally, CFL grow lights can be placed relatively close to plants as they have a low output of heat energy.

Available in different wattages, shapes, and sizes: CFL grow lights are hugely flexible. They are available in a range of sizes and shapes, thus making them ideal for different types of growers. CFL grow lights also possess a range of colour temperatures.

No heat damage: when using some advanced types of grow lights, one of the downsides is heat production. High heat levels can damage leaf structure and cannabinoid profile. But, CFL grow lights don’t produce high heat, thus they don’t exert any damage on cannabis.

CFL grow lights have several benefits, but just like anything else, they have some shortcomings too. For instance, their light output is not powerful, and they typically have a shorter lifespan as compared to other grow lights.


2. HID Grow Lights

High Intensity Discharge (HID) grow lights produce a greater quality of light as compared to fluorescent grow lights. There are two major categories of HID lights: MH (metal halide) and HPS (high-pressure sodium) grow lights. HID grow lights are typically integrated with a reflector or hood for purposes of intensifying the light. They typically produce high heat levels, and to counteract that problem, they need to be placed near the ventilation opening. The following are some of the pros of HID grow lights:

High efficiency: HID grow lights are considered the most efficient type of grow lights. They have been found to have the highest yields per watt.

Easy to set up: they have simple hardware that can be installed even by an inexperienced grower. HID grow lights typically have a long lifespan.

Reliable and consistent: HID grow lights have a robust build. They consistently produce a quality light for maximal plant yield.

Growth and flowering options: cannabis plants have different light needs depending on their stage in the growth cycle. HID grow lights are designed to provide suitable light during both the growth and flowering stages.

On the downside, HID grow lights typically produce a lot of heat energy and have relatively high electricity expenditure.


3. LED Grow Lights

LED grow lights are efficient and have a lower heat output as compared to HID grow lights. They feature an internal cooling system and their light spectrum may be adjusted to suit the plant’s growth phase. They typically have greater light intensity and penetration features. The following are some of the pros of LED grow lights:

Built-in cooling: LED grow lights have built-in cooling properties that minimise heat output, thus lifting the burden of heat management off growers’ shoulders.

Easy set up: small-sized LED grow lights can be hung above the plants to shine down, unlike HID grow lights that need third-party installation hardware.

Ideal for both vegetative and flowering phases: LED grow lights can put out light spectrums that are ideal for both vegetative and flowering phases.

Some of the shortcomings of LED grow lights include the high price tag and potentially lower yields as compared to HID grow lights.


The Takeaway: Choosing Grow Lights for Indoor Growing

Light is one of the vital elements in cannabis growing. Thus, when setting up your indoor cannabis grow center, one of the important things to focus on is the grow lights. Fluorescent grow lights are cheap, and have low efficiency, while HID and LED grow lights are relatively expensive and have high efficiency. When buying grow lights for your indoor cannabis grow room, some of the things to consider include price, heat emission, and grow room size.