How to Choose Grow Lights for Your Hydroponic System


How to Choose Grow Lights for Your Hydroponic System

When growing in a hydroponic system indoors, lighting is critical to provide plants with a substitute for the natural light they are missing from the sun. Indoor crops cannot be grown without some type of light, or the process of photosynthesis will not occur, and plants will die. With this guide, you will learn how to choose the right grow lights to set up your hydroponic system indoors.

What Should You Consider When Purchasing Grow Lights?

There are multiple types of bulbs and ballast systems, and it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming deciding. There are a few things you should consider when it comes to purchasing hydroponic grow lights.

  • How big is your system? Knowing the size of your system is vital for choosing a light. You will likely need 20-40 watts for every square foot of the grow room.
  • What types of plants are you growing? Different types of plants require varying strengths of light.
  • Will the light need to be mounted or mobile? You will need to know if the hydroponic system will be moved from time to time or remain stationary so lights can be attached.
  • What is your electricity budget? Some lights can cause quite a strain on your electric bill, especially if you are growing, which can require up to twenty-four hours of light in some stages of growth. Generally speaking, LED lights are more energy-efficient than some other types.
  • Will you be growing in different seasons? If you are growing year-round, it is crucial to choose a lighting system that is efficient and durable.

Tips for Purchasing Grow Lights

Choosing the right lights does not have to be overly stressful. Knowing what to look for will help you to be prepared for the purchase process.

Choose a Bulb That Offers the Full Spectrum of Light

When plants are grown in natural sunlight, they receive the full spectrum of light, which consists of multiple colors. Plants need a full spectrum of light to be able to carry out photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process in which plants absorb light and use it to make energy and food. You can purchase LED lights, and these offer the full spectrum of light your plants need.

Choose Energy-Efficient Lights

It is essential to consider the hours of light that will be needed in the grow room. If you can imagine needing to run the lights for up to twenty-four hours a day, it is easy to see how this could cause an electric bill to soar.

There are many types of grow lights, and they include HID, LED, florescent, CMH, MH, and DE. Out of these choices, LED lights are going to offer the most energy-efficiency and will be especially useful if you plan on growing plants that could require as many as 24 hours of light in some stages of growth.

Choose No Maintenance Grow Lights

With so many light choices, it is essential to carefully research and learn as much as possible about the options. If possible, choose a light that merely has to be plugged in and turned out. If a light system requires a lot of maintenance, you will find it more of a hassle than help.

Some types of lights, such as Metal Halide, will require replacement bulbs because they burn out after 6,000 hours of use. LED lights can last up to 50,000 hours, and the chips do not begin to dull like with some lights.

The only thing you should be concerned about regarding a light is making sure it is correctly mounted at the right height to meet the needs of your growing plants. Many LED light fixtures can be easily adjusted and even placed on a timer to make sure your plants receive the light they need.

Ask the Right Questions

As stated above, research is crucial when you begin purchasing any grow lights for a hydroponic setup. Retailers should be more than willing to answer any questions and provide information. Ask the following questions to ensure you can make the right choice in lights.

  • How much knowledge does the retailer have when it comes to grow lights and hydroponic systems? You need to make sure you are purchasing from a knowledgeable and reputable dealer who can provide the correct information.
  • What is the best way to configure a light system for hydroponics? Knowing how to set your lights will help to ensure the plants you are growing receive the level of light they require for healthy growth. The retailer you buy from should be able to offer advice to help you know how to get started on the configuration. It is also wise to conduct research.
  • Is there a warranty on the lights? As with any major purchase, it is always critical you ask about the available warranty. Lights are expensive, and this is not something you want to purchase and then have no protection. If the retailer does not offer a sound warranty, purchase lights elsewhere.
  • Is there a money-back guarantee? Not all retailers are going to offer such a guarantee, but if you can find one that does, it will be helpful. Retailers who stand behind the products they offer should provide a guarantee for their performance. If you are not happy with the performance of the lights, will you be able to return them?


A hydroponic system with the right lights will allow you to grow all types of crops indoors. You can grow a variety of plants, even in winter. Choosing the right lights is critical to your growing success.

Although you certainly have many choices, LED lights are one of the most-used types of grow lights for hydroponic systems because of their long lifespan, low heat release, and energy efficiency.

Talk to them to help you discover which light system will work most effectively for the types of plants you are growing. With the right light system, your plants will receive the same light spectrum of the sun.


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