Indoor cannabis growing operations are becoming increasingly popular. One reason for this is widespread legalization. Another is the comparative ease of growing and tending to the cannabis plant with modern, state-of-the-art equipment.
Cannabis is useful even for aspiring gardeners looking for a single plant to raise. The species is versatile, resilient, and relatively resistant to damage and infestation. For the aspiring marijuana user, growing weed at home can potentially save you a fortune. You can cut out the middleman and cultivate the herb from seed to flower, and ultimately to joint.
However, if you’re looking to start growing marijuana plants indoors, you need to choose the right grow lights. Without adequate light, you won’t get a decent harvest. The best lighting usually equals the highest quality THC, so it’s essential to get the best ones you can afford. There are so many different types of grow lights available that finding the ideal ones for your needs is challenging.
In this article, we provide a handy list of some of the best lights for indoor weed currently available on the market. Some of them are cheap; others are a little pricier. Regardless, if you use them correctly, they’ll get the job done.
The Best Grow Lights for Indoor Marijuana: What Types Are There?
There are a variety of different light types, with various pros and cons depending on what you’re looking for. We offer a rundown of the most common options below. Stuck for time? Check out the pros and cons of each at a glance.
|LED||● Creates less heat compared to other lights. |
● Incredibly energy efficient, which means a lower energy bill.
● You can purchase them from a variety of locations.
● Long lifespan.
● No learning curve for beginners.
|● High initial cost. |
● They can require large boards of LEDs due to their relatively low power.
● Some manufacturers make dubious claims as to the strength of their lighting.
|HID||● They’re typically the choice of professionals. |
● They are the most intense light option available, ensuring your plants get all the light they need.
● Lower initial cost than LED.
|● You need multiple types of HID grow lights for different stages of growth. |
● HID lights require additional investment in protective hoods and reflectors.
● You need to replace the bulbs regularly.
● They run extremely hot and consume a lot of power.
|Fluorescent||● Low electricity usage. |
● Low heat output means you can place them close to plants.
● Widely available.
● You can use them in a small grow space.
|● Only useful for small grows. |
● Reduced efficiency and low yields.
● Every bulb needs a socket.
LED Grow Lights – The Modern, Efficient Solution
Short for light-emitting diode, an LED is a simple form of light with an efficient energy signature. Due to how the light is generated within an LED, they use a meager amount of electricity for the same amount of light compared to other sources.
However, LEDs have a pricing problem. The inexpensive ones are the type you don’t want. The lights you need for cultivating cannabis are costly.
If you try and use the cheap, Christmas-style lights, your weed harvest is going to be smaller than the LED’s carbon footprint. If you want to invest in your bud correctly, prepare to spend a substantial amount of money.
One great benefit of LED grow lights is that they create comparatively little heat when compared to other types of light.
This ensures you don’t overheat your grow room. Marijuana plants like a warm environment. However, excessive heat damages them, and may also cause a fire in your grow room.
LED grow lights can also distribute a fuller spectrum of light due to how the light is created through electroluminescence. This can result in a better, higher quality yield from your bud.
This benefit is somewhat counteracted by the fact that the average LED light board is quite low powered. As a result, you either require multiple boards or a huge, single one. Also, you only get the best results with LEDs that offer a full spectrum of light.
HID Grow Lights – The Traditional, Energy Hungry Choice
HID grow lights, short for High-Intensity Discharge, are large light bulbs that emit a tremendous amount of heat and light. They usually require a full exhaust fan to remove the excess heat, and electricity consumption is enormous. Also, they generally need a decent amount of time and space to set up a properly working system.
HID Lights are typically divided into a few different varieties or sub-categories:
Metal Halide Grow Lights
Metal Halide or MH grow lights are primarily used during the vegetative stage. This is the part of the cannabis plant’s life where growth takes off, and leaves begin to flourish. MH lights produce a strongly blue-tinged light, which the plants prefer at this stage of growth.
It might sound strange that a plant prefers a type of light. However, different colored lights are mostly just different wavelengths and intensities. Due to this difference in wavelength, the plant prefers stronger or weaker lights at various stages of its development.
For the early vegetative stage, the blue glow from the metal halide lights is best.
High-Pressure Sodium Grow Lights
High-Pressure Sodium, or HPS, grow lights are far more efficient than other forms of HID. They emit a gentler, yellow light that cannabis prefers when it is in the flowering stage. This yellow light helps encourage intense bud production. It allows you to configure the eventual size of your harvest more precisely.
You can buy HPS lighting in a variety of strengths, but don’t use 1000w. It is far too powerful, and is only suitable if you have created a vast underground field of weed! A pair of 400w or 600w HPS lights should suffice.
Light Emitting Ceramic Grow Lights
Also known as ceramic metal halide lights, this type of lighting features a collection of ceramic heating elements inside the lamp. Manufacturers use ceramic because it has a higher arc tube temperature. Arc tubes help create the lighting within MH lights. The result is enhanced efficiency and color rendering.
The choice of whether to use LEC over the standard MH grow light is a personal preference. However, it’s also tied to cost. LEC grow lights represent a higher initial investment. Yet they also are more efficient over the long haul, lowering your overall electricity bill.
HID grow lights are old school, and can produce a vast harvest but use a considerable amount of electricity. However, they’re still widely considered the standard for indoor marijuana cultivation due to their output of efficiency and power. They are also cheaper to buy before electricity costs enter the equation.
Fluorescent Grow Lights – Best Used for Small Grows
The two types of fluorescent lights are T5 and CFLs. The former is long and narrow, while the latter are twisted into the shape. They have cool, warm, or full-spectrum colors. Growers sometimes use them because they are cheap to buy, and have a low energy consumption which saves money on energy bills. They also provide a pleasant color for an indoor growing site.
Fluorescent lights also don’t require a ridiculous variety of different lights like HID lights.
Furthermore, fluorescent lights don’t need the investment of an additional setup like with HID. You also don’t need to include a particular ventilation system to keep the room’s temperature down.
However, fluorescent lighting provides lower yields than its rivals. You must also position them close to your plants to derive any benefit. This means you can use them in a small room, but they are ineffective if you plan to grow several plants.
Final Thoughts on the Best Grow Lights for Indoor Marijuana
When growing marijuana indoors, you have to decide what takes top priority. Do you care about your energy bills, the environment, secrecy, or efficiency?
If you’re looking for discretion, LED grow lights and fluorescent grow lights are the likeliest options. If it is efficiency you’re after, HID is probably the best grow light for marijuana available. That is, as long as you don’t mind the increase in your electricity bill.
Then again, if you have a grow space of less than five square feet, fluorescent light is enough when your plants are small. You can upgrade to a 250w HPS as the plants get larger. If you have space, an MH light for plants in the vegetative stage, and HPS for the blooming phase works well. Using MH lighting throughout is fine, but will have fewer flowers, more foliage, and a lower yield.
Different options work best for different solutions, so pick the one that’s right for you and work to its advantages. Once you have selected the right light for your needs, you can start growing cannabis. After you have chosen the soil type, your fertilizer preferences, and a few other things, of course!