Forget about choosing grow lights according to initial investment alone. To do so ignores the overall economic factors. Better lights last longer, provider better yields and cost less to run than other, cheaper brands. This results in significant savings.
Find out below just what you can save by switching.
Here are the factors you need to consider when determining which grow light truly is most economical to use.
• Initial investment
• Operating cost
• Light intensity (true value of extra yield)
• Lifetime of lamp
• Light quality (frequency and spectrum)
• Reflector quality
• Ballast (more info on ballasts later)
• Should you get a lighting kit with tent?
Magnetic ballasts get the job done for those on tight budgets. Nevertheless, you can save a lot of money over time with digital ballasts.
Digital ballast information
• Per light, digital ballasts use as much as 4% less energy
• Last up to 10 years so they need to be replaced less frequently. Magnetic ballasts last about 3 years
• Longer lamp life
• Higher frequency leads to more accurate color rendering and better output
• Greater flexibility offers safer, easier use and they are dimmable
Digital ballasts also save space because they are dimmable so you will not need separate lights when lower intensity is required. This alone saves on the cost.
If you are able to acquire a 400V digital ballast lamp, such as comes with Dimlux & GAVITA lighting systems), you have done well. These provide 8% more light, which in turn gives you better growth and that leads to increased yields by up to 10% when compared to 230V lights.
Yield and light intensity are directly related.
Think of it as 1% yield being roughly the same as 1% light.
That may not sound like much, but remember that GAVITA grow lights emit 8% greater light. This increases yield by 10%.
What you should ask yourself is, what that increased yield is worth to you.
When measuring light output….
Measure micromoles instead of lumens.
For growing purposes, plants use light wavelengths from 400nm to 700nm on the PAR range.
With lumens you only know the amount of overall light emitted, and some of this is not even used for plant growth.
Micromoles tell you just how much plant usable light is being emitted on the PAR range.
About 50% of the light emitted by a grow light is reflected onto the plants, and that is a good amount of light.
Translate that into 0.5% in lost yield for every 1% of lost reflectivity and you can see a difference.
This is the reason a good reflector is a necessity.
The finest grow lights are constructed of 96/97% reflective Vega / MIRO® aluminium.