Getting to know grow lights
Proper lighting is crucial when growing plants indoors. Lighting determines your scalability, quality, consistency, and cost.
A low-watt old-school HID light (high intensity discharge) will be cheap but won't be reliable and may not produce the best results.
There are a few kinds of grow lights: HID, fluorescent, and LED. Fluorescent lights will generally be the least expensive, generate the least amount of heat, and produce the least amount of lumens (and, unfortunately, are the least efficient as well).
HID lights are pretty common (they're also used in headlights), and provide a good balance of cost and performance. They're less expensive than LED, but not as efficient, and generate a lot of heat (ventilation will be key!).
LED grow lights, on the other hand, are incredibly efficient, generate less heat, last a long time, and even support a larger spectrum of light (leading to bigger yields and better quality).
So, we recommend LED lights for growing plants. They cost more but offer the best quality, performance, efficiency, and last the longest.
But not any LED light will work.
After all, our TV's have LEDs in them! The difference is grow lights are much brighter and cover a different part of the light spectrum.
Mars grow lights, for example, are designed specifically for growing plants, and include built-in fans and can be hung from the ceiling.
Here are some common questions about grow lights (and their answers):
How many hours a day should I use my grow light(s)?
During the vegetative state, you'll want to have your lights on for 16-20 hours. During the bloom state, you'll want to reduce that to around 12 hours a day. These numbers are just general estimates, as we've seen people run their lights 24 hours a day.
We recommend using a timer to automate and time the lights; you'll want to turn the lights off for the same time every day.
Can any LED be used as a grow light?
Technically, yes...but you're not going to be covering the right spectrum or producing nearly enough light. So, no?
Are LED grow lights dangerous?
No - but they are bright and hot. Don't touch them without extreme care and don't look directly at them while they're on.
How many grow lights do I need?
That's a great question! Our Mars grow lights usually list the maximum yield (in grams) and the maximum coverage (in feet) for that grow light.
If you have a grow tent in mind, just size the number and model of grow lights to your tent.
How long do LED grow lights last?
Our Mars grow lights will last for around 50,000 hours (5.71 years if run continuously, more when cycled properly).
Are grow lights effective?
Yes. Whether you choose fluorescent, HID, or LED, your grow light will be effective.
Different brands, models, types, and sizes will lead to more effectiveness or less. But since grow lights are designed to cover a specific part of the light spectrum, a flashlight, headlight, or LED bulb won't work as well.
Who makes the best grow lights?
Without a doubt, Mars-Hydro (the only LED grow lights we carry). They've set the standard for premium, long-lasting, high-performing grow lights.