If you have been growing cannabis for a while you have likely had a debate with fellow growers about the best type of light for cannabis to flourish in. With so many different types of light manufacturers available, each claiming to be able to produce the most cannabis buds, this debate can often go around in circles.
So what is the best grow light for cannabis? Well, by far the two most popular choices are between led vs hps but they are other alternatives available as well such as T5 grow lights and full-spectrum LED lights. Determining which light is best depends not on the type of light but rather its intended purpose in a given scenario.
When it comes to the growth of cannabis plants, different intensities of light are required at different stages to get the best yield. Using lights with varying power outputs and wavelengths in different stages of cannabis growth results in a better bud yield and improved plant health than the use of just one type of light.
The Ultimate Lighting Setup?
Each grow room is different so in reality there is no one “ultimate” lighting setup regardless of what you read in other blogs. All types of light whether it be Metal Halide, HPS, LED, or CFL bulbs can do a great job of providing adequate lighting depending on the grow room’s size and the type of plants you intend on growing.
If you are growing cannabis in let’s say your closet or a grow tent you might think the power-saving CFL bulbs are your best bet. After all, they take very little power and emit little heat which would make them perfect for a small space. However, when it comes to cannabis growth even an 8×8 grow tent is too big a space for a CFL bulb to provide any form of adequate lighting.
A better solution would be to use metal halide or a high-pressure sodium solution for lighting. The higher the wattage the larger can be the light’s footprint depending on your plant’s needs.
They are many other factors, apart from the size of the grow room, that can determine which lighting method would be most suitable for cannabis growing. These factors include:
The Type Of Plants or Strains
They are many types of marijuana or cannabis strains but they can be narrowed down to two broad categories; Sativa and Indica. Sativa strains tend to give more of a mental high whereas indica cannabis strains result in more of a “body high”. In most cases, for indica strains that are relatively young an LED flat lighting system might result in the best growth and yield.
On the other hand, if you are looking to grow a thick and bushy cannabis indica strain than you would be better off opting for high-intensity discharge (HID) light, such as metal halide.
The Grow Room Temperature
The size of the grow room can impact lighting but so can its internal temperature. Depending on the type of temperature and climatic conditions different types of lights can offer better results than others.
For example, if you are growing in a hot and arid environment using a powerful 1000-watt HPS bulb makes no sense. What you would need is a low-heat emitting light such as CFLs and LEDs to maintain the most ideal growing temperature for the plant. CFLs and LED bulbs have little effect on the overall temperature of the grow room and are your best bet when growing in hot and humid conditions.
The Different Types of Grow Lights
So far, we have taken a look at some of the factors that need considering when determining which light is best suited for a given scenario. Now let us take an in-depth look at all the different types of grow lights available that can be used when it comes to growing cannabis indoors.
Metal Halide (MH)
This type of grow light comes in a range from 250 to 1000 Watts and emits a strong blue light wavelength that has proven to be effective in the overall growth of indoor plants. This powerful HID style light requires ballasts that are either magnetic or digital to generate the power needed to provide the necessary lumens for plant growth.
High-Pressure Sodium (HPS)
HPS is another HID style light that also ranges from 250 to 1000 Watts. However, unlike MH they produce red and orange light wavelengths that are perfect for triggering a flowering response from the plant.
This is because HPS mimics the sun’s position when it is on the horizon this, in turn, tells the plant that shorter days are ahead and that it should start budding now. This light is great if you are looking to increase the size of the buds and speed up the transition process from the vegetative phase to the flowering stage.
LEDs (Light Emitting Diode)
LEDs have grown increasingly popular as they allow for a full spectrum of light that produces low heat emissions and can have custom wavelength configurations tailored to your plant’s specific needs.
Not long ago LEDs were seen as an economical light solution for residential and commercial homes. Today, however, you can get LED bulbs that pack a serious power punch with outputs as high as 1000 Watts.
CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights)
A more economical and cost-effective alternative to LEDs and HIDs. CFLs are found in almost all hardware stores and are great if you are looking for a lighting solution that emits little heat.