The main problem with HPS lights (and other high-intensity discharge / HID lights) is that they end up wasting up to 60% of the energy they consume solely on heat output. In other words, if you’re using a 1000W HPS light to grow indoors, only 400W of that energy is being used for plant growth – the other 600W is being wasted, draining money from your pocket.
The simple answer is: it’s not really about wattage.
Where the myth that you need 1000W to grow hemp comes from
A lot of people believe that you need a 1000 watt artificial light to grow hemp indoors. The reality is, you can successfully grow medicinal herbs with far less wattage, saving you money on your electricity bill while growing healthier plants. So, how much wattage do you really need to grow indoors?
The idea that we need 1000 watts to grow hemp comes from the days when it was common to use High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights to grow anything indoors. At the time, HPS lights were the only decent artificial light source on the market, and a 1000 watt light was necessary for a sufficient photosynthetic light spectrum.
How much wattage do you need to grow indoors?
Wattage is a measurement of electricity consumption, and while it’s helpful to know how much wattage your grow light uses (so you can make a more economical, energy-saving choice) it actually has nothing to do with the amount of energy your plants need to grow.
How Far to Keep from Plants: 24-38″ is the standard starting distance for the vegetative stage. You can move it to 18-20″ away in the flowering stage, or possibly even a few inches closer for light-loving strains.
Recommended ViparSpectra Models:
I grew these cannabis plants under an HLG 300 V2 R-Spec LED grow light (view the grow journal). The 300L is the same light but longer (where the “L” comes from) to improve light coverage and they also added a spiffy red border.
Horticulture Lighting Group (HLG) LED Grow Lights
LED grow lights are a great choice for growers who are dealing with hot HPS lights and want to change to something that’s going to run cooler. Although LED grow lights do produce heat, the smaller models might not bring up the temperature of your grow space.
LEDs get better yields for the same amount of electricity than CFLs. This is because LEDs are more electrically efficient (produce more light for the same amount of electricity)
Here are some plants I grew under the HLG 100 (3000k version)
1.) Spread Style
What’s the difference between buds grown under LED grow lights compared to buds grown under an HPS grow light? Do the buds look/taste/smell different?
Six plants in a 4’x4′ grow tent, grown under two ES300 lamps
Like I mentioned in the introduction, the only thing I don’t like about this product is how loud the cooling fans are. You won’t be able to hold a normal conversation if you have it turned on. It also offers no water resistance, but that is a given for most budget grow lights.
The third place in my list of affordable growling lights goes to HPS grow light from Sun System. The reason why I have put it in third place on this list is that it’s not only inexpensive but also easy to set up. Let’s take a closer look at it.
My best advice is to go for an LED grow light because it will save you a lot of cash in the long run. However, if you don’t have the money for one, you can go for either of the two other types. In the next part of the article, I’ve covered all types so you don’t have to worry about exclusion.
5 Best Cheap Growing Lights For Growers On A Budget
LEDs are extremely energy-efficient, which means you won’t have to worry about your electricity bill.
HID grow lights suffer from two drawbacks. The first is that they wear out quickly, meaning you will have to change them yearly. And the second is that they get quite hot, so you have to install cooling fans if you’re planning on having any success with them.
#2 TaoTronics Full Spectrum Grow Light
Now that I’ve told you just about everything you should know when choosing an affordable grow light under which your precious ganja plants will thrive, it’s time to show you my selection of the best products that fit this criteria.
I’m not saying that all cheap grow lights have a short life span, quite the contrary. Reputable brands such as Roleadro and Meizhi produce affordable grow lights that will last you for years before they burn out.