So you have decided to grow indoor plants. That’s a great decision you have taken. Having an indoor garden not only looks pleasant but also creates a fresh environment.
When it comes to growing indoor plants, lighting is the most important thing to consider. Since your plants will not be getting very few or no sun rays, you will have to arrange for grow lights.
Speaking of grow lights, there are two different options available. One is LED grow lights and the second is fluorescent grow lights. Both types are used by growers to achieve greater yields. But the question is which one is better?
If you are confused between the two grow lights, we can help you clear your dilemma. We have compared both the type of grow lights in details. Go through the comparison below to find out the best one. Along with that, we have also suggested the best LED and Fluorescent grow lights you can buy.
What Are LED Grow Lights?
LED is short for light-emitting diode, which is a type of solid-state lighting. This type of grow lights is known to use a semiconductor chip that helps convert electrical current into photons. This process is called electroluminescence.
An LED grows light is made up of an LED mounted to a heat sink. It comes with a power supply and directional lenses. Modern LED grows lights emit light wavelengths to mimic the natural daylight spectrum. You can even adjust them to produce ideal wavelengths of lights to suit the needs of your plants. These grow lights are also equipped with cooling systems that make them more efficient.
Best LED Grow Lights
Here are some of the best LED grow lights you can find on the market.
1. Viparspectra XS 1000 LED Grow Light
This is a highly efficient LED grow light for your indoor plants. It is equipped with high-quality Samsung diodes and has 2.9 umol/J to produce more usable lighting per watt. This provides better light canopy penetration.
With XS 1000 LED grow light, you can get optimum full-spectrum and flexible dimmer. The IR and red light are useful during the blooming stage. The added dimmer switch allows you to manipulate the light intensity as per your needs.
It features a no fan design, which promotes silent operation. The solid construction of the lights makes it durable and long-lasting. It is also provided with a 24-month warranty.
2. Juhefa LED Grow Lights
This is a full spectrum plant light with 75 high-power LED chips. You can use this light for both indoor plants and hydroponics. It is mainly suitable for small plants and micro-greens.
Unlike other LED grow lights, this one is easy to setup. It comes with updated hanging kits which makes it easy for you to assemble it. It promotes excellent heat decapitation.
It features solid construction that makes the light durable and long-lasting. This is a highly efficient LED grow light with a 30-day money-back guarantee. With this light, you can also save more energy.
What Are Fluorescent Grow Lights?
Fluorescent lights are designed to turn the electric current into light. This is done by running the current through mercury vapour. It produces ultraviolet radiation that stimulates the phosphor coating inside the light to fluoresce. As a result, you get visible light. The chemical composition of the phosphor helps determine the colour of the light that is emitted by the lamp.
Speaking of fluorescent grow lights, there can be two different types. One is a fluorescent tube and the second is compact fluorescent lights (CFL). The latter is different from regular CFLs that you install in your homes.
These type of CFLs comes with high wattages and provides a much broader spectrum of light. The good thing is you will find fluorescent tubes in varying sizes to suit your needs. Fluorescent grow light fixtures usually comes with built-in ballast and reflectors.
Best Fluorescent Grow Lights
Here are two of the best fluorescent lights you can get for your indoor plants.
1. HYDRO PLANET T5 Grow Lights
With a 4 star rating on Amazon, this is one of the best fluorescents grow lights you will find in the market. It is trusted by thousands of growers. It comes in a package consisting of one T5 Lamp Fixture, four 6500K Fluorescent HO Bulbs, and one Hanger.
This fluorescent lamp is easy to use. All you have to do is plug and play ballasts. You can hang the fixture and operate it vertically or horizontally. With the daisy-chained together, you can configure the best fit for your grow room.
This is a highly effective grow light with 95% reflective aluminum reflectors. However, you should know that it is not compatible with GFCI Outlets or LED bulbs. It comes with a 15ft power cord for convenience. It is also provided with a 2-year warranty.
2. Hydrofarm Agrobrite FLT48 T5 Fluorescent
This is yet another great fluorescent grow light you can get for your indoor plants. It comes with a 10 inch grounded power cord and includes 8 6400K T5 tubes.
It has up to 40,000 Lumens for more efficiency and visible light. The light is powder coated and is mounted in a steel housing. This makes it durable and safe to use.
If you want a high-performance fluorescent grow light, this could be the right option for you. It is equipped with faceted specular aluminum for better light distribution. You can hang it in three different ways: overhead, vertical or horizontal. It is also provided with a daisy chain that runs up to 2 fixtures from a single outlet.
LED vs Fluorescent Grow Lights: Compared
Now that you know what LED and fluorescent grow lights are, it’s time that we take a look at the comparison. We have compared both types of grow lights based on various important factors.
First important aspect is efficiency. When you are shopping for grow lights, you will want to buy a light that is efficient and good for your plants.
In terms of efficiency, LED grow lights beat fluorescent grow lights. It delivers more light than fluorescent grow light. A 400-watt LED light is equal to a 700-watt fluorescent lamp. This comparison is drawn based on the number of photons per Joule of energy. This is why LED grow lights help you to save 50% more light energy than fluorescent lamps.
- Heat Output
Coming to heat output, LED grow lighting produces a very negligible amount of heat. On the other hand, fluorescent grow lights run cool, but they do give out some amount of heat that you need to consider.
- Light wavelength output/ Colour temperature/PAR
These terms may sound Greek to you if you are a new grower. Let’s break it down for you.
By light wavelength output, we refer to the colour spectrum that is present in the light produced by a lamp. It is measured in nanometers. You must have read it in your science book, sunlight contains the full spectrum of light energy. But only a part of it is visible to human eyes. Similarly, the photoreceptors and pigments in plants only respond to certain wavelengths.
Colour temperature helps you get an idea of the light spectrum. For example, warm colours are the ones that are reds and cool colours are the ones that are in the blue range.
The next important thing is PAR which is short for photosynthetically active radiation. It refers to the range of usable light energy that is used by plants for photosynthesis.
Fluorescent lights are available in a variety of warm, cool, and full-spectrum lighting. While LED lights offer an unlimited variety of outputs ranging from specific lighting to broad-spectrum white light.
When it comes to lifespan, LED grow lights once again beats fluorescent grow lamps. Modern LED grow lights usually comes with a lifespan of about 50000 hours and more. Whereas, a fluorescent lamp lasts for about 8000 hours to 10000.
In terms of price, LED grow lights are more expensive than fluorescent lamps. But LED grow lights use only half the energy that is consumed by fluorescent lights. This means you can save more on your electricity with a LED lamp than with a fluorescent one.
After considering this, the overall cost of LED grow lights come out lesser in the long run. Fluorescent grow light costs less, but it consumes more electric energy, which means it will increase your energy bills.
Which one to choose?
Now comes the ultimate question, which one to choose. Well, this depends on the amount of light you need, the types of plants you want to grow, the energy consumed by the lights, and your budget.
If you want to save more in the long-run, then LED grow lights would be a better option. But this is just a suggestion. The final decision is up to you.
Before you decide to grow indoor plants make sure that you acquire knowledge about grow lights. You need to choose the right type of lighting for your plants to grow healthy. Now that you know the difference between LED grow lights and fluorescent lights, it should be easier for you to make the right selection.