When growing plants indoors, one of the most important things to consider is the grow light you will use. Grow lights are necessary for indoor gardening just as much as they are for outdoor gardens.
With the help of a grow light, you can easily grow any plant including vegetables, fruits and even small-sized herbs. These small sized plants require more light to grow. This is why you cannot simply place them near a window. This is inefficient and time consuming as well.
Photosynthesis is an important part of a plant’s growth, especially when it comes to a new seedling. They require light in a specific amount to grow properly. Without grow lights, your plants will not grow properly and may die or offer poor yields.
In this article, we’ll talk about fluorescent grow lights and highlight some of the best fluorescent grow lights for you to choose from.
Let’s get started with our fluorescent grow lights review:
Types of Grow Lights
There are various types of grow lights found on the market including but fluorescent are considered the best due to their many advantages. Let’s know more:
1. HID Grow Lights
HID stands for High-Intensity Discharge. These lights are also known as ‘gas discharge’. HID grow lights make use of the gas-discharge tube and produce light in the same way.
These lights are extremely efficient but also produce high levels of heat. This can harm plants and even burn them. Moreover, HID grow lights also make use of technology that is out-dated.
2. LED Grow Lights
LED lights or Light Emitting Diodes are liked by many indoor gardeners. These lights have the capacity to emit light waves between the ranges of 250-1,000nm.
Not only are the light waves favorable for growing plants but these lights are also extremely durable.
The only issue with LED grow lights is their price. They are more costly than other available options on the market.
Another drawback of installing these lights is that they do not do well in large indoor gardens. They have a high scattering value and much of the light is not absorbed by plants.
3. Fluorescent Grow Lights
The most efficient and popular grow lights for indoor gardening are Fluorescent Grow Lights.
They pair high quality with cost effectiveness to deliver the best source of light to your plants. These grow lights are a good choice for beginners who want to start off on a budget-friendly product.
The highlight of fluorescent grow lights is their ability to reflect light effectively. This makes them a good choice for larger indoor gardens as well.
Moreover, they offer a high output without any extra heat emission.
Why Should I Use a Fluorescent Grow Light?
When growing plants indoors, it is necessary to manipulate sunlight. You cannot use a simple bulb to provide light to your plants.
To supply optimum levels of sunlight to your plants, you need to invest in a source of light that has the right spectrum.
A fluorescent grow light is most commonly called a T5. This light is just right for providing ‘natural sunlight-like’ light to your indoor plants.
It is not only a good alternative for sunlight, but it also gives off low heat. So you do not have to worry about your plants burning from too much heat.
In addition to this, they cost very little and do not require a lot of space either.
Some other benefits of fluorescent grow lights include:
- They are extremely efficient. Compared to other grow lights, fluorescent grow lights do not only produce a high output, but they also save energy. This ultimately leads to you saving money on your electricity bills.
- Fluorescent grow lights are also beneficial when it comes to durability. Most grow lights have a lifetime of almost 20,000 hours. Even after the suggested houses, the grow lights only experience slight dimming. You do not have to invest in multiple grow lights thanks to this advantage.
- When working indoors, it can be hard to set the environment for your plants. It becomes troublesome when grow lights produce more heat than required. Fluorescent grow lights are great because they do not emit a lot of heat. You can easily place them closer to your plants without worrying about supplying too much heat or light.
Fluorescent Grow Light: Comparison Chart
8,000 lumens per bulb
3″H x 13.5″W x 23″L
5,000 lumens per bulb
24.5’’H x 3.6’’W x 2’’L inches
5,000 lumens per bulb
46’’H x 4’’W x 12’’L inches
5,000 lumens per bulb
46.25″H x 24″W x 2.4″L
5,000 lumens per bulb
47’’H x 26’’W x 3’’L inches
4,000 lumens per bulb
25.79’’H x 17.4’’W x 3.5’’L inches
23.2’’Hx 0.62’’L x 0.62’’W inches
5,000 lumens per bulb
25’’H x 5’’L x 5’’W inches
50’’H x 12’’L x 25’’W inches
8,000 lumens per bulb
37.5’’L x 3.5’’W x 2’’H inches
The fluorescent grow light by Hydrofarm comes in 2 sizes (2’ and 4’) to best fit your indoor garden.
What makes this fluorescent grow light a user favorite is its lumen power. It emits about 8,000 lumens, which makes this a perfect substitute for light in your indoor garden.
In addition to this, you can also choose how many tubes you wish to install into your garden. The Hydrofarm Fluorescent grow light is available for purchase in 2-12 tubes.
This grow light comes faceted with aluminum which makes it a good distributor of light. The highlight of this product is multi-hanging options.
You can place it horizontally, vertically and even overhead depending on how tall or short your plants are.
- You get a 5-year warranty on every purchase
- Comes with an 8’ long power cord
- The tubes are fitted into a housing made of steel
- Promotes leaf growth with the help of blue light
- Ballasts have a short life
The Hydrofarm Fluorescent grow light is perfect for those who want to buy a grow light that has multi-installment purposes. This makes it one of the best fluorescent grow lights.
This fluorescent grow light by Sun Blaze is super easy to install as it comes with all the hardware required to easily mount it wherever you want.
It comes in 1, 4 or even 8 lights depending on how much light intensity you want. A good thing about this grow light is the power switch that you can use to turn off lights that you do not need.
The power of the grow light ranges from 42-192. This depends on how many lights you have installed. The ballasts are also high-powered which means they last longer than most grow lights.
The external holding of this grow light can support any other replacements that are 2’ in size. This is a great feature in case you ever feel the need to replace or exchange the lights that come with your original purchase.
- Long-lasting, high-power ballasts
- Jumper cable for installation of multiple lights
- Lightweight for easy hanging
- Comes with a warranty
- Irreplaceable power cord
The Sun Blaze fluorescent grow light is the perfect choice for people who want a light-weight and easy to install grow light for their indoor garden. No best fluorescent grow lights review can be complete without mentioning how great the company is when it comes to customer support.
The fluorescent grow light by Durolux is a professional lighting system for indoor gardens. It has a power capacity of almost 20,000 lumens making it one of the most powerful fluorescent grow lights.
The highlight of this fluorescent light is its highly reflective internal covering. This surface is 95% reflective and bounces light back. This gives your plants optimum levels of light to absorb and thrive in.
Another great thing about this grow light is that it comes with all the material necessary for installation. This includes hanging chains, hooks as well as a high power cord.
The lights are 4 in number and 4 ft. tall. The intensity of these lights is adjustable, which is very important because their strong light can damage plants if you are not very careful. You can dim them easily with the help of the switch provided on the cord.
- You get a 5 year warranty on every purchase
- Can work safely in damp environments
- Allows 5 fixtures on one wall outlet
- Extra light-output
- Produces high amounts of heat hence not suitable for everyone
The Durolux T5 Fluorescent grow light is good for anyone looking for a highly reflective lighting system to aid in the growth of their indoor plants. These best fluorescent grow lights, however, may not be suitable for all growing stages or all plants since they can be very strong.
The fluorescent grow light by Hydro Crunch comes in two sizes: 2ft and 4ft. It also gives users the choice between 4 lights or 8 depending on how big your indoor garden is.
It’s one of the few options that come with a reflector made of aluminum. This provides 95% reflection to provide maximum light for your plants. No light goes to waste with this reflector and you will be able to get great yield because your plants will thrive.
Besides the reflector, the bulbs are also highly efficient. They are of 54 watts each with a good power output. Best fluorescent grow lights reviews agree that these bulbs are of very high quality and durable, hence you will not have to worry about replacing them anytime soon.
The bulbs are arranged in a special kind of daisy chain. The biggest advantage of this arrangement is that it allows almost 3 fixtures in each outlet. This saves you from the trouble of installing additional outlets.
It allows both horizontal and vertical mounting. This is good for indoor gardeners who want to set up their grow lights in various positions depending on the stage of growth their plants are in.
The highlight of this light is its unique spacing. The bulbs are arranged neatly to provide maximum light distribution.
- Comes with a 1 year warranty
- 6400K spectrum for maximum light output
- Comes with window blind-like slots to promote cooling
- Dual-switch for light adjustment
- Does not support GFCI outlets
The Hydro Crunch T5 Fluorescent grow light is the perfect option for those who want a highly reflective light that does not produce too much heat either. We think this is among the best fluorescent grow lights due to its low price tag and durability.
The Hydroplanet T5 Fluorescent Grow Light comes with a special bulb that goes up to 6500K. This makes it the perfect substitute for outdoor sunlight. However, what truly sets this beauty apart is its unique color.
It gives off a balance of orange to blue lights. These lights are known to quicken the metabolism of plants, hence accelerating their growth as well. Some users believe that it has helped improve yields and can be a good option to grow a variety of plants including vegetables.
You can choose from a variety of sizes. The company hits the bull’s eye when it comes to sizes as the variety is huge – 2 to 8 feet.
Thanks to its unique construction, you will not have to worry about the emission of too much heat harming your plants.
Those who want to include more units can simply arrange them in either a daisy chain or link them together in any arrangement they find feasible.
- Comes with a 2 year warranty
- Low radiant heat
- Switch control to control the light output
- Supports the growth of plants in a vegetative state
- Housing not protected well
The Hydroplanet t5 Fluorescent Grow Light can be perfect for people struggling to get their plants to bloom. These best fluorescent grow lights work well in all conditions and are said to be perfect for hot regions.
The fluorescent grow light set by Hongruilite is extremely affordable and comes with some great features including a unique arrangement of lamps. It provides enough spacing to distribute light all over your indoor gardening space.
Its powerful bulbs paired with the high reflecting material provides your plants with just the right amount of light. The blue-orange light can promote the blooming of flowers in your plants.
Grow light reviews suggest that it can be a good option to grow weed indoors. You may, however, have to take care of some elements if you are interested in growing marijuana indoors.
The ballasts put into the lamps are of 120 volts. This means that you will not require any extra lamps. They have a high power factor and also guarantee durability,
You may need to purchase a few hooks and hangers for installation along with the grow light. Fortunately, this light is able to balance the heat and you will not complain of too much heat, which means your plans will continue to grow without any trouble.
- Extremely affordable fluorescent grow light
- Unique spacing for lamps works well
- 3-way hanging options for versatility
- Can be a little tricky to install
The Hongruilitie T5 Fluorescent Grow Light can be the perfect option for beginners who wish to invest in a cheaper option that is also highly efficient. However, remember that this best fluorescent grow light requires maintenance and care.
These Lightingwise Grow Lights are famous for their high output. Each bulb produces up to 5,000 lumens. This is more than what most fluorescents can produce making these the best fluorescent grow lights for many.
These bulbs produce the ‘bloom’ spectrum. This spectrum is famous for promoting blooming and is known to improve yield. It can be a good option for people who are trying to grow seeds.
In this fluorescent grow lights review, we must mention that this is among the most durable fluorescent grow lights. Each bulb has a lifetime guarantee of almost 20,000 hours.
This fluorescent grow light comes in two color temperatures; 3000K and 6500K. The lower temperature can boost plant growth and produce lusher plants.
These bulbs are also cost-effective. They consume less electricity and are a great option for saving money on electricity bills. So, it gives a high output, while also saving electricity.
- Very high light output
- Has a unique ‘blooming spectrum’
- Comes with a guarantee of 20,000 hours
- Does not support replacements very well
The Lightingwise 3000K T5 HO Fluorescent Grow Light is among the best lights to grow plants indoors. It has a lot going in its favor including a low price tag but we wish it was a little more durable.
A unique feature of the AgroMax grow light is its UV light bulbs. These bulbs emit UV rays, which are extremely beneficial for plants. These UV rays promote the production of ‘Phenolic compounds’ in plants. This compound is responsible for good taste and good smell. However, you must be very careful when it comes to UV exposure as very high levels can be bad for your plant.
Another great thing about these Fluorescent grow lights is their compatibility. Unlike most other grow lights, these bulbs can easily fix into T5-HO fixtures making them more versatile.
Each bulb offers 24 watts of power and gives the optimum output required for all types of plants. You simply need to hang or install it at a level you think is suitable for your plants.
During our review, we found that these bulbs can be an energy saver. They’re not very high and will not turn out to be expensive in the long-run.
We must also mention in this review that, according to some users, using these lights for about 5 hours a day can promote resin and compound production in plants. However, remember that the light can be a little difficult to deal with as it may burn the eyes but it’s not bad for your plants.
- Comes in a standard size to fit any T5-HO fixture
- You get a 1-year guarantee with each product
- Emits optimum levels of UV light (300-400nm wavelength)
- Direct contact will scorch plants
iPower is a brand that needs no introduction. The company has some of the best fluorescent grow lights under its belt. However, if we had to pick one then we’d go with the iPower 54W T5 Fluorescent Grow Light. This beauty is highly decorated and can be a perfect place to ensure your seeds germinate. Plus, it’s good for cloning as well.
Unlike most options on this list, this 54W grow light comes in a stand. This stand is a unique feature and has a ‘feather-touch’ mechanism. You will have no problem adjusting it according to the height of your plants.
But, what we liked the most about this option is its highly reflective covering. It ensures a proper outspread of light for your plants to absorb.
Some reviews also talk about how this grow light gives off a spectrum of almost 6500K. This temperature is optimum for plants including weed. It is known to improve yield.
The highlight of this grow light is its complete daylight spectrum. This feature is not present in many grow lights giving this option an edge over other products on the market. With the daylight spectrum, plants can easily fulfill their nutritional requirements. This reduces the risk of plants dying.
- Comes with a 12 month warranty
- Lightweight and easy to install and assemble
- Ideal for cloning because it improves growth and fulfills the nutritional needs of plants.
- Only allows horizontal installation/hanging
The iPower 54W T5 Fluorescent Grow Light can be a good option for indoor gardeners who are cloning and cutting in their indoor gardens. The brand is known to produce some of the best fluorescent grow lights and almost always makes it to most best fluorescent grow lights reviews.
This grow light combo by Sunblaster is a 2-in-1 combo of a fixture as well as a reflector. This means you will not require extra equipment or tools when you get this product. Unpack the box, set it up, and you’re good to go.
A great feature of this grow light is the ability of the fixture to be linked in a chain arrangement. This arrangement allows for up to 8 power cords. This creates a higher output of light coverage paired with the reflective nanotechnology. Hence, it can cover a wide area.
With this reflector you will see a 200% increase in lumes. This promotes the production of chlorophyll in plants thus resulting in a lusher yield of your indoor plants. This is why it is believed to be a good option for the flowering stage.
What we liked the most about this beauty is the cooling chamber that constitutes a small amount of mercury. It works to keep the surrounding temperatures cool while also providing a high output of light. This prevents the plants from dying due to heat.
- Slim design allows easy installation in any space
- Efficient ballasts to ensure durability
- Includes mounting clips in the packaging
- Double the efficiency means double the price
The Sunblaster Reflector-Fixture Fluorescent Grow Light Combo is an expensive option but it’s worth the price. Consider this one if you have a big garden as it covers a large area and is good at spreading light making it one of the best fluorescent grow lights.
Fluorescent Grow Lights: Buyer’s Guide
Now that you know all about the best options out there, it’s time to figure out which one to pick. While they’re all great, not all may be right for you. Hence, it’s important to know about what to consider when buying a fluorescent grow light.
This is the most important factor because plants will not grow well if the temperature is not appropriate. Most fluorescent grow lights have bulbs that go up to 500K. This temperature is good for the budding stage, however, some plants may require more or less heat.
This is why we suggest that you go for an option that allows you to increase and decrease temperature by adding or removing bulbs or reducing power.
The Lightingwise 3000K T5 HO Fluorescent Grow Light , for example, comes with two temperature options.
Another important factor to take into consideration is the size of the lights you purchase. When we talk about light, we’re referring to the area they cover.
Small bulbs can be made to cover a large space depending on how powerful they are or how they’re installed.
Avoid buying larger bulbs for smaller indoor gardens. This causes a surplus of heat that can be harmful to your plants. We suggest that you opt for an option that can be installed in multiple ways so that you can cover your desired area without any trouble. The Hydrofarm Agrobrite T5 Fluorescent Grow Light fits the bill here.
Note: A good tip to follow would be to purchase additional grow light and keep them stored in case you need to cover a larger area.
3. Reflector Style
Most fluorescent grow lights come with a reflector. These can also be bought separately if your light supports one. The type of reflector used is of great importance.
There are two styles of reflectors:
- Rectangular: This is the most common option. It consists of a casing built around the bulb. This is good for bulbs that are positioned closer to the plants.
- Gull-Wing: This style can be a good choice if you have tall plants. This one prevents light from moving outside your garden.
We love the reflector the Durolux T5 HO Fluorescent Grow Light comes with. It’s effective and durable.
4. Bulb Color
The color of your light matters because some lights are specifically meant to promote ‘blooming’ in seedlings. In contrast, some are made specifically for the vegetative stage in plants.
Research and find out which light will best fit your indoor garden and pick a grow light that offers the spectrum that you need.
The Hongruilite T5 Fluorescent Grow Light, for example, can be good due to its orange-blue light.
In addition to this, pick an option that’s durable and easy to manage so that you do not have trouble in handling the job.
Fluorescent Grow Light Review: FAQ
- Which hanging position is best for my fluorescent grow lights?
This depends on the kind of plants your indoor garden has. However, most professionals suggest hanging your lights overhead for proper distribution.
- How can I achieve more coverage with the grow light that I have?
You can achieve wider coverage with a reflector (in case your fixture does not already have one). For bigger indoor gardens, consider getting bulbs of higher wattage.
- Should I buy a cooling system if I am installing fluorescent grow lights?
You may need one if your grow light does not have a cooling system or fan. Also, consider reducing the number of bulbs or power to keep the space cooler.
Fluorescent Grow Light Review: Conclusion
These were some of the best options to pick from. Make sure to pick what suits you the most and enjoy growing your own plants.