Which grow lights are best depends on quite a few factors as we’ve seen in Part 1 (light quality) and Part 2 (light quantity). It also depends on what you are wanting to achieve with the setup and whether primary or supplemental lighting is necessary. Most of the material covered in this series focuses on grow lights as primary light sources and this requires a broad spectral output.

For quick reference, we’ve compiled a list of several types of lights below that provide relatively wide spectrums along with PPFD measurements, lumen ratings, and other details when available. The list is by no means exhaustive but does represent several affordable and readily available options. Along with the rest of the information covered in this series, we hope it will give you a good starting point to make more informed decisions about which grow lights will work best for your setup.

Note: All Spectral Distribution Curves provided have been adapted to fit a 300-800nm graph range for a more standardized comparison. However, remember to check the Y axis before making any close comparisons as these values can differ from one graph to the next.

T5-HO Bulbs and Fixtures

T5-HO lights are more expensive than T8s but they produce slightly more light for the amount of energy consumed. This may be a good option if you live in an area where electricity is more expensive. T5-HO lights usually run a little hotter than T8s.

iPower T5-HO

Spectral Distribution Curve

iPower 6400k T5 HO SDC

PPFD

Unavailable

Notes: This bulb would work well as a supplemental light, but as a primary light source it would need to be paired with one that produces more light in the red end of the spectrum. If your fixture already has multiple sockets, this is easy to do as bulbs with different spectrums can be used at the same time.

Lumens: 5,000

Kelvin: 6400K

CRI: Unavailable

Watts: 54

iPower T5-HO

Spectral Distribution Curve

iPower 2700k T5 HO SDC

PPFD

Unavailable

Notes: The SDC for this bulb was unavailable but judging by the Kelvin temperature, we can assume it will produce a decent amount of red light. It would most likely need help on blue end of the spectrum though by combining it with a bulb that has a cooler Kelvin rating like the one above.

Lumens: 5,000

Kelvin: 2700K

CRI: Unavailable

Watts: 54

DuroLux T5-HO

Spectral Distribution Curve

Unavailable for bulbs included

PPFD

Unavailable

Notes: If purchasing other bulbs double check that they will fit this fixture.

Lumens: 20,000

Kelvin: 6500K included

CRI: Unavailable

Watts: 230

Agrobrite T5-HO

Spectral Distribution Curve

Unavailable for bulbs included

PPFD

Unavailable

Notes: If purchasing other bulbs double check that they will fit this fixture.

Lumens: 4,000-60,000

Kelvin: 6400K included

CRI: Unavailable

Watts: 48-648

Compact LEDs

Compact LEDs are good for a small grow space such as a terrarium or single pot. They are energy efficient and produce less heat that most other single-bulb options.

SANSI Compact LED

Spectral Distribution Curve

SANSI Full Spectrum SDC

PPFD

Varies based on distance and size selected (see product details)

Notes: A compact lighting solution with a great spectrum!

Lumens: Unavailable

Kelvin: Unavailable

CRI: Unavailable

Watts: 10-24

Linear LEDs

Linear LEDs are an energy efficient option that can cover a grow space similar in size to that of a T8 or T5-HO setup while typically generating less heat. While these can be great benefits, it should be noted that the light output of Linear LEDs is usually less than that of fluorescent bulbs so more LEDs will be needed to achieve comparable strength.

Barrina Full Spectrum LED Grow Light

Spectral Distribution Curve

Barrina Full Spectrum LED Grow Light SDC

PPFD

Barrina Full Spectrum LED Grow Light PPFD

Notes: A great full spectrum light, we also like that it provides the beam angle for the reflectors.

Lumens: Unavailable

Kelvin: Unavailable

CRI: Unavailable

Watts: 24-42

LED Panels

While they can have a slightly higher cost upfront, LED lights are the best option if you are going for maximum energy efficiency. Manufacturers are more likely to list PPFD measurements for LED grow lights as well so it can be easier to estimate whether they will work for your plants. Heat output varies depending on the size of the light, but LEDs tend to run cooler than fluorescent fixtures.

Spectral Distribution Curve

Unavailable

PPFD

Unavailable

Notes: While this fixture doesn’t provide PPFD or spectral distribution information, it still seems to provide decent results and is a popular option with carnivorous plant growers due to its low cost.

Lumens: 3375

Kelvin: 7700K

CRI: Unavailable

Watts: 22

Spectral Distribution Curve

BLOOMSPECT SL600 LED Grow Light SDC

PPFD

BLOOMSPECT SL600 LED Grow Light PPFD

Lumens: Unavailable

Kelvin: 3000K, 5000K, red light 660nm and IR 730nm

CRI: Unavailable

Watts: 85
(actual consumption)

VIVOSUN Latest VS1000 LED Grow Light