How to Choose a Grow Light
As soon as you start doing your research, you’ll see that there’s a lot involved in the process of buying Canada grow lights. The first step is to decide on the type of bulb.
There are 3 main light categories to choose from: LED, fluorescent, and high-intensity discharge like ceramic metal halide (CMH) and high-pressure sodium (HPS).
Each grow light type has its own set of pros and cons. But the main thing to remember is that you can’t just use an ordinary lightbulb that you would use in the lamp on your bedside table. Hopefully, you already know this by now, but hey, ya never know.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Grow Light in Canada
Deciding on bulb type isn’t the only major consideration. There’s a lot more to think about when choosing the right light system for your plants, including grow room size, color spectrum, ease of use, build quality, power consumption, heat output, and cost.
Grow Room Size/Number of Plants
Choosing grow lights based on the available grow space is a major consideration in the buying process. If you haven’t measured the size of your ACMPR grow room yet, immediately stop what you’re doing and go get your measuring tape.
The general rule of thumb (or should we say green thumb?) is that for every square foot of the grow room, you need about 30 watts of power. So before you go any further, take your measurements so that you can compare them to grow light wattages.
Light Color Spectrum
Cannabis plants thrive under a wide range of light wavelengths, which is why so many growers choose lights that emit the full color spectrum (AKA, full spectrum grow lights).
Ease of Use/Flexibility
Throughout the growing process, you’ll have to adjust the position and intensity of your lights. The best cannabis grow lights allow a grower to easily fine-tune their placement so that the plants stay happy to the end.
Cheap, Chinese-made grow lights won’t get you very far. And if they do, you can’t expect to use them for as long as a durable, well-made system.
There’s no way of getting around the increased electricity bills – your lights will be running for at least 12 hours each and every day. But you can at least make an informed decision by paying attention to each grow light’s power consumption and electricity output.
One of the most common causes of stress in cannabis plants is overheating, and choosing a grow light system that gives off too much heat is the main culprit.
Cost & Warranty
Trust us when we tell you that it’s worth it to splurge a bit on the best lights for indoor growing. You’re not doing your plants any favours by skimping on this aspect of your grow room. That said, there are a few cheap grow lights on our list that are perfect for beginners.
Full-Spectrum LED Grow Lights for Your Canadian Garden
Full-spectrum LED grow lights are quickly growing in popularity, and a lot of growers are ditching their old HPS lights and opting for LEDs instead. LEDs come with a lot of perks, like less heat output, easy setup, and better efficiency.
Some growers even claim that LEDs produce more resin on buds, especially when combined with HPS lights. If you’re ready to try your luck with high-quality LEDs, check out these top picks for LED grow lights.
Spider Farmer SF-1000 LED Grow Light
Our #1 Choice
Spider Farm SF 1000 LED Grow Light
The Spider Farmer SF-1000 LED has a powerful output but only consumes about 100 watts of electricity. This is the highest light output LED available right now, and a lot of growers are saying that this light helped them to get a greater yield by up to 40%.
The design of the Spider Farmer hydroponic light is simple, easy to use, and easy to adjust when needed. It delivers the full light spectrum from UV blue to infrared, giving off everything that plants look for in natural sunlight. If you’re looking for a powerful LED, this is the one.
MARS HYDRO TS 1000W Led Grow Light
Mars Hydro TS 1000W LED Grow Light
The Mars Hydro isn’t as strong as the Spider Farmer grow light, but it’s still one of our favourites. We’re loving the reflective aluminum hood that helps to increase light intensity up to 20%. The max yield from this LED is 2.5 grams per watt, which is more than the average LED grow room.
Similar to the Spider Farmer, this LED is all about delivering maximum intensity while cutting pack on power consumption. There’s not as much heat dissipation with the aluminum hood, and the adjustable dimmer feature gives you more control over light intensity during different stages.
Cheap Grow Lights for Beginners or Budget Growers
Growing with an ACMPR license doesn’t need to be an over-the-top extravagant endeavor. If you want to do it cheaply, you can… especially with one of these cheap grow light options that are perfect for both beginners and budget growers.
Sun System Grow Lights
Sun System Grow Lights
The Sun System is an HPS 150W light, and even though it’s not the most powerful, it definitely gets the job done. It’s super lightweight, making it easy to set up and easy to adjust, but the main thing we’re loving about the Sun System is its affordable price tag.
If you’re a professional grower with thousands of plants, this isn’t the light for you. But if you’re a beginner on a budget looking for small grow lights, there’s really nothing bad to say about this simple HPS. It comes with a reflective aluminum insert, vented housing, and a 7-ft power cord.
Wills Full Spectrum 600W
Best for Beginners
Wills Full Spectrum 600W LED Grow Lights
The Wills 600W is another one of the most budget-friendly Canada grow lights on the market, but that’s not the main thing we appreciate about this LED. This LED light gives off the full spectrum of colors and has the highest possible lumen output per watt.
The most-loved feature of the Wills is its adjustable light spectrum. Plants thrive on different light spectrums in different phases, and this model takes that into account. You can change the light color output by flipping either the “Veg” or “Bloom” switch on the control panel.
CMH Grow Lights for Rock Solid Buds
Many growers prefer ceramic metal halide for their improved color output and better lumen per watt ratio than HPS bulbs. If you’re one of these growers, here are 3 CMH lights to consider for your grow room.
VIVOSUN 5-Mode-Adjust 315W CMH/CDM
Vivosun 5 Mode Adjust 315W CMH/CDM
Every true grower knows the name Vivosun, a company that manufactures everything a grower could ever need – including a high-quality 315-watt CMH light fixture. This light is capable of covering a 9-square-foot space in veg and 6-square-foot space in bloom.
Of all the lights for indoor growing, this one is great for growers looking for high light intensity for medium-sized grow rooms. The CMH bulb is included with the ballast fixture, so no need to purchase a bulb separately.
BloomGrow 630W CMH CDM
Bloomgrow 630W CMH/CDM
The Bloom Grow 630W light fixture comes with an advanced adjustable ballast that was designed for higher efficiency and no electromagnetic interference. The aluminum hood is rated at high reflectivity, so you can count on your plants getting plenty of light for photosynthesis.
One BloomGrow light can cover a grow space of 16 square feet during veg and slightly less during the flowering phase. This is an amazing choice if you’re willing to spend some cash on your grow lights (CMH bulbs don’t come cheap).
HPS Grow Lights for Indoor Growing
We’ve tooted the CMH horn, but now it’s time to say some good things about HPS grow lights. HPS bulbs are efficient, intense, and they output more red-spectrum light than CMH.
The debate on HPS vs CMH will continue until the end of time, but if you’ve decided to side with HPS, here are 2 great high-intensity options.
VIVOSUN Hydroponic 1000 Watt HPS
Vivosun Hydroponic 1000W HPS MH
The Vivosun Hydroponic HPS has a 90%-reflective winged aluminum and has the option for 600W, 750W, or 1000W operation. It comes with HPS and MH grow light bulbs that have a high Photosynthetically Active Radiation rating (this basically means they increase the plants’ rate of photosynthesis.
Double Ended HPS Grow Light for Serious Growers
SunStream 1000 Watt Double Ended
Sunstream 1000 Watt Double Ended
Tons of commercial growers use the SunStream DE 1000W as their go-to light for major grow ops. The ballast comes with adjustable dimming features, the power is compatible with both 120V and 240V, and the whole system is easy to use.
The thing we love most about the SunStream is its protection features, especially the automatic cooling. If the case temperature rises over a certain point, the ballast will gradually reduce the power to cool things down. Most serious growers agree that the SunStream is a solid piece of equipment.
T5 Grow Light for Seeds, Clones and Mothers
Vivosun 6500K T5 Fluorescent Grow Light
Vivosun 6500k T5 Fluorescent Grow Light
Although fluorescent lights aren’t suitable for later phases of the grow, they’re the perfect choice for young plants, seedlings, and mothers kept in the veg state. Fluorescent lights like the Vivosun 6500K T5 are affordable, easy to use, and low on energy consumption.
The Vivosun T5 is better than most; it has a 95% reflective aluminum base, a 2-year warranty, and an 8-ft power cord that is compatible with the standard 120V outlet. We’re not saying that this should be the only grow light you buy, just that it should be one of them.
What types of grow lights are there?
There are 4 main types of grow lights used by ACMPR growers: high-pressure sodium (HPS), ceramic metal halide (CMH), LED, and fluorescent. In our list of indoor grow lights, we’ve focused on HPS, CMH, and LED.
Fluorescent lights (like CFL, T8, and T5 grow lights) are cheap and ideal as grow lights for seedlings, but they are only really suitable for the early phases of an indoor grow operation.
Fluorescent light isn’t nearly as intense, and your plants crave greater light intensity as they grow. This is where LED, HPS, and CMH lights come into play.
Comparing LED vs HPS vs CMH Indoor Grow Lights
HPS and CMH are both types of high-intensity discharge lights, and this name says it all. Both HPS and CMH discharge high-intensity light, which plants tend to like, but this means you have to be extra careful about overheating.
The flaws that come along with fluorescent, HPS, and CMH lights are why we have included so many LED models on this list of lights for indoor growing. LED lights can emit full-spectrum wavelengths, they have a long life and high efficiency, and they’re relatively cheap.
What color light is best for cannabis plants?
Marijuana plants crave a range of light wavelengths, which is why choosing a full-spectrum light is your best bet. Blue light is ideal for the vegetative state, but the yellow to the red end of the light spectrum is better for flowering.
There are a few grow lights we mentioned that offer adjustable light settings. This is a cool feature if you plan on using the same light throughout the entire grow. A light with adjustable spectrum settings allows you to emit only blue light, only red light, or a combination of both.
How to Place Grow Lights for the Best Light Coverage
The answer depends on the type of light you’ve purchased since each bulb type has a different intensity. The stronger the light, the further you need to hang it. Since fluorescent and LED lights don’t give off as much heat or intensity, they can be placed closer to the plant canopy than HIDs.
The main thing to remember is that too much light can be just as harmful as too little. Overdoing the light intensity can cause stunted development, bleached plant tissue, and even physical burning. Here’s a quick guide on how to hang your indoor grow lights:
- 400W HID Grow Light: 12-19”
- 600W HID Grow Light: 14-25”
- 1000W HID Grow Light: 16-31”
- 250-400W LED Grow Light: 16-30”
- 450-550W LED Grow Light: 20-30”
- 600-850W LED Grow Light: 24-26”
- 900W+ LED Grow Light: 26-42”
- T5 Grow Lights: No more than 12”
We’ve covered a lot of high-quality products in this buyer’s guide to grow lights. We can’t say which is best since it all depends on your specific needs as a grower, and the needs of your plants.
Before choosing one, just be sure to consider everything from plant counts and energy efficiency to light intensity and emitted color spectrum.