Jeff Flowers on December 15, 2015 3 Comments Indoor grow lights are an essential tool for anyone with an interest in gardening or horticulture. These unique lighting systems allow for the indoor cultivation of many types of herbs, plants, fruits, and vegetables, regardless of what is going on with the weather outside. They provide a light spectrum similar to the sun, prompting a high-quality growth in your plants. Indoor grow lights allow gardeners to grow almost any plant in almost any climate. There are many different types of indoor grow lights that you may want to consider adding to your setup. And while they may differ slightly in how they operate, they all serve the same purpose. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of LED grow lights, so you have a better understanding of how each can help your garden flourish Most Common Types of Grow Lights There are a multitude of grow lights available for home and commercial use. Each one has its benefits, but some are far more preferable than others. Gardeners should consider their own personal needs when choosing a grow light. Issues such as cost, energy-efficiency, and effectiveness are some of the most pressing for indoor growers. 1. High-Pressure Sodium Lights (HPS) High-pressure sodium lights mimic the lighting produced inside of a greenhouse. This type of lighting is highly desired in geographic locations that do not receive a large amount of sunlight. HPS lights emit a large amount of heat, so advanced cooling systems are often required in environments that utilize this light source. Plant health should be closely monitored, since infrared rays from these lights can attract certain types of pests. 2. Metal Halide (MH) Metal halide lights produce a wavelength that mimics sunlight produced during the late spring and early summer months. It is a fairly new source of lighting that utilizes only a moderate amount of wattage. Metal halide lighting is sometimes combined with HPS lighting to produce a wider light spectrum, which in turn produces far superior plant growth. This also means that a single bulb can be used throughout a plant’s entire lifespan. This unique combination creates what is known as a “dual arc” bulb. 3. Incandescent Incandescent lights are sometimes used to offer plants additional lighting after they have been placed outside or underneath other indoor-growing lights. These are not true growing lights, but some have been marketed with an added wavelength. Incandescent lights have an extremely short lifespan and usually produce more heat that high-quality illumination. These lights are slowly being phased out of production in most countries due to newer, more energy-efficient bulbs entering the market. 4. Fluorescent Fluorescent lights have always been the most cost-effective and readily-available option for indoor horticulturists. They are ideal for growing herbs and vegetables, but have a relatively short life-span in comparison to other indoor-growing systems. Light from a fluorescent system is very low in intensity, and many people may find that they are limited in the type of plants they can grow. Light of the highest intensity is almost always located near the center of the system, and fluorescent lights have been criticized for causing uneven growth. These lights should be replaced roughly every 18 months. 5. High-Intensity Discharge (HID) High-intensity discharge lights work by passing electricity through a tube or bulb that is filled with a mixture of gases. These lights are infamous for stimulating high-quality growth in plants, herbs, and vegetables. Although costlier, they emit twice as much light as traditional fluorescent lights, and have a longer life-span. HID lights are oftentimes powerful enough to serve as the primary source of light for many plants. This can eliminate the need for natural sunlight altogether. 6. LED (Light Emitting Diodes) Quickly becoming the most popular choice for indoor-growing enthusiasts, LED lights are praised for their longevity and environmentally-friendly traits. Some studies have shown that different plants grow best under different wavelengths, and LED lights allow growers to customize wavelengths in order to achieve optimal growth for the specific type of plant they are growing. They are lower in wattage, so this usually translates to a reduction in operating costs for many owners. And the best part of using LED lights for your indoor garden, is that you will hardly ever have to replace them. This is because they can easily provide up to a decade or more of lighting. 3 Benefits of LED Lighting for Indoor Grow Lights As our society becomes increasingly sustainable and environmentally-conscious, LED lighting is fast becoming the most popular choice for both individual and commercial indoor-growers, as well as homeowners alike. Their low energy consumption is not only good for the earth, but for many growers’ bank accounts as well. An outrageously long life-span also provides owners with lower maintenance and replacement costs. As the popularity of LED lights grow, their cost steadily decreases, making them more financially accessible to the general population. 1. Reduced Energy Costs In short, LED lights are extremely energy efficient, even more so than CFL’s, the previous king of efficiency. This isn’t to take away from fluorescent lighting, as it is still an energy efficient choice. The problem therein lies in their short lifespan. LED’s can last for decades, whereas CFL’s can last for only a few years. While you still may be saving on your monthly energy bills, the shorter lifespan of CFL bulbs means you have to spend more on replacement costs than you ever will with LED bulbs. It is common for growers who switch from other lighting sources to LED to experience energy savings in the range of 40% or more in just a very short period of time. Using LED grow lights for your indoor gardening is a great way to save money and live more sustainably at the same time. 2. Unrivaled Longevity Simply put, LED lights have the longest life-span of any indoor lighting source currently available on the market today. These lights can provide up to 11 years of continuous lighting, so growers hardly ever have to worry about changing bulbs. Unlike fluorescent lights that immediately stop working, LED grow lights slowly become lower in intensity over time, signaling to owners that it is time for a change. When you use LED grow lights for indoor gardening purposes your plants or vegetables will never be compromised by a sudden outage. 3. Choose Your Desired Wavelength Plants grow differently when exposed to different wavelengths of light. Some grow better under longer wavelengths, while others prefer shorter wavelengths. LED lights are the only indoor grow lights that allow owners to choose a specific wavelength. Other lighting systems can cause slow or sub-par growth since they lack this function. But choosing LED lighting for indoor gardening can allow gardeners to select the ideal lighting conditions for their plants. The red and blue light emitted by LEDs deeply stimulates root growth in plants. Other Appliances That May Help Indoor Gardens Besides from the type of lighting you use, there are a few other appliances that you can use to help ensure that you get the most from your indoor garden. Because you have little control over the temperature of your outdoor garden, you are at the mercy of Mother Nature. This is not the case for indoor gardens. Click Here to View All Air Quality Appliances for Your Home The following two appliances are two that will help give you that control, ensuring that your plants thrive in an environment that is perfect for them. 1. Portable Air Conditioners Portable air conditioning units are perfect for keeping your indoor gardening area at your desired temperature. No matter what you are growing in your garden, or the stage of growth you are currently at, you can set the temperature to the exact degree you want which helps create the perfect environment for growing lush fruits and vegetables. 2. Dehumidifier / Humidifier Aside from the temperature of your indoor garden, you also need to have tight control over its humidity levels. This is where a dehumidifier and/or a humidifier can help. Whether you have too much moisture in the air or not enough, these appliances are designed specifically to get the relative humidity at your desired levels. Every plant grows its best in different environments, and the humidity of said environment may just be the key to having a thriving garden. Final Thoughts There are many different types of indoor grow lights, each catering to a different type of gardener or horticulturist. Despite this wide range of choices, LED lights seem to be the most energy-efficient and cost-effective, making them perfect for growers looking to live a more sustainable existence. LED lights show the world that it is possible to grow plants indoors while saving energy and money.