Which Grow Light Ballast?

In the hydroponic growing world, a ballast isn’t something heavy that provides stability to vehicles or structures, it is a control gear that regulates power fed to your lighting within the grow room.

Ballasts are a necessity when it comes to hydroponics, you can’t hook your lamp up to the power and hope for the best. Shown below are things that new hydroponic growers should know when it comes to purchasing and using ballasts.

Before you buy a new ballast

Before you head to your hydro store, make sure you know what you are looking for. Decide how powerful you want your lighting to be and decide on which type of ballast you would like, a digital ballast or a regular ballast. The decision on purchasing a ballast also boils down to how much you are willing to spend because the cost depends on which type of ballast you use and how powerful it is.

Digital ballasts – do they live up to the hype?

The digital ballast is a favourite among hydroponic growers because of its bountiful benefits. Don’t be fooled by the digital ballast’s size. Just because it isn’t large and heavy doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful. The digital ballast is smaller and lighter while also being more efficient than the default cap-and-coil ballast.

A final beneficial point to make with the digital ballast is that it also runs dual voltage, allowing 120v or 240v without any hassle. The great quality and efficiency of the digital ballast is sadly met with a higher cost, almost double the amount of the traditional cap-and-coil ballast. If your budget allows you to spend a good amount of pounds on a ballast, going with the digital is a wise choice.

Magnetic ballasts = trusted, tried & tested

Don’t worry if your budget doesn’t want you to purchase a high end, digital ballast. The regular coil ballast may be louder and less smooth but it still works effectively. The cap and coil ballast is not some piece of ancient technology and most of them have kept up with the digital ballast by also offering dual voltage along with metal halide and high pressure bulb switching.

If you have forgotten or don’t fully understand the difference between 120v and 240v, it is that 240v uses half of the amps that 120v would. 240v allows you to run more lights at the same time if your grow room is fit with the correct wiring to allow it. It is important to remember that 240v does not save energy use. A ballast using 600 watts regardless of the voltage still uses 600 watts.

No matter which ballast you end up purchasing and using in the end, both the digital and regular cap-and-coil do their jobs effectively and allow growers to have a great growing experience and harvest. However, if you have wider budget that allows you to purchase the more expensive digital ballast, your money will surely be met with quality with little noise and heat but with bright lights.


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