Choosing The Best Grow lights
When it comes to growing cannabis there are hundreds of opinions about what type of grow lights are the best. There is a vast spectrum of grow lights and different ones will perform better in different environments. Lets mark out some of the main types of grow lights and then we can get into their pro's and con's.
Metal Halide MH
Metal Halide is going to be your vegetative grow light when you are running a MH/HPS combo. Metal Halide bulbs gives off a white/blue spectrum making it perfect for vegging cannabis plants. Metal Halide grow lights are also an inexpensive choice making them great for growers on a small budget but looking for excellent results. MH is cost effective not only at initial purchase but as well as long term maintenance such as replacing bulbs. Running this combo will require good cooling and exhaust.
High Pressure Sodium
High Pressure Sodium is going to be your flowering light when you are running a MH/HPS combo. High Pressure Sodium bulbs give off a red/yellow spectrum making it perfect for flowering cannabis. Like MH High Pressure Sodium grow lights are inexpensive to set up and cheap to maintain. Most of your cost will come into trying to cool your HPS bulb and exhaust the heat it is creating. The efficiency of a High Pressure Sodium is extremely poor.
Ceramic Metal Halide CMH
If you want to be the best grower you can and maximize your yield every harvest then you have to be up to date on the latest lighting technology. Ceramic Metal Halide or CMH are the modernization of HID lighting and the newest technology in its class. CMH bulbs are made with a ceramic arc tube as compared to quartz in the HPS or MH. The ceramic material allows the for the arc tube to reach higher operating temperatures. This allows for a combination of gases that creates a fuller and wider broad spectrum resulting in healthier plants with increased growth and yield. CMH require a different ballast than HPS or MH so if you are wanting to upgrade your bulb you will also have to upgrade your ballast. Luckily Ceramic Metal Halide grow lights are incredibly affordable and provide amazing results compared to their counter part HPS or MH. A standard CMH grow light setup will run you on average $350 to $500 usd but the number one benefit you get over HPS or MH is the savings you get on your power bill. Some suppliers are even claiming a 315 watt CMH will out perform a 1000 HPS in a 4'x4' grow tent. Growers Choice is my recommendation for a fair priced and quality ceramic metal halide grow light.
Light Emitting Diode LED
LED grow lights are where the future of cannabis grow lights are headed. There are currently tons of great brands on the market, but you need to make sure your steering clear from the "re branding marketers". If someone can't tell you what bin diodes are used in their LED grow light then its probably because they are not top bin and there for weaker diodes. For example LED diodes come in many bins such as s1, s2, s3, s4, s5, s6, etc. Hundreds of thousands of diodes are tested and separated into these different bins based on their performance. While name brand LED grow lights that you can trust like Horticulture Lighting Group will always build their grow lights with top bin diodes and will clearly state that they are indeed top bin diodes. LED grow lights can have an expensive initial cost for a quality setup.However you can build your own DIY LED light and save a good amount of money. LED's will give the best performance vs power consumption as they are the most efficient lights on the market. LED grow lights give off very little heat and on top of all that an LED grow light will last longer than any other cannabis grow light.