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How to Choose the Right Lights for Indoor Cannabis Growing

The type of lighting that you choose to grow cannabis indoors really is a big deal. Improper lighting can lead to small yields or complete growth failure. Ideally, the more natural the lighting source is, the better your product is going to be and the healthier it will grow.

This guide will assist you in selecting the proper indoor cannabis grow lights for your setup out of the 7 most commonly used lighting types for growing cannabis. If you are new to growing cannabis, the information here will help you determine which is also the most budget-friendly and which lighting sources are the most cost-effective to replace.

Fluorescent Options

Fluorescent lights do have a benefit to cannabis growers. They emit bluish light, which is on the cooler side of the heat spectrum. If you need to produce an abundance of seeds to further your grow operation, fluorescent lighting is the right path.

The light emitted from fluorescent lighting is bright and very white. These bulbs use a minimal amount of electricity and produce little heat, making them ideal for being in close proximity to your plants without harm being caused.


As you know, temperature regulation in your grow is necessary for growing a successful crop of cannabis. LED lights have built-in cooling systems and emit very little heat. They are also ridiculously energy efficient, making them one of the most popular grow light options for indoor grow spaces. You don’t need fancy hanging systems or special electrical wiring for LEDs. They penetrate the plants well, so frequent repositioning of lights isn’t required.

Hint: If you like a lot of resin in your buds, LEDs are known to produce more resinous buds.

High Pressure Sodium (HPS)

HPS grow lights emit a yellowish light. The yellow light helps cannabis plants during the flowering stage. Yellow light promotes bud production in the plants. When you use the HPS setup during the flowering stage, it can boost your yield.

Another benefit is that these lights are rather energy efficient, so you won’t have to worry about your utility costs rising as you’re pushing your cannabis plants to produce the highest, healthiest yields possible.


High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights are popular in the automotive industry, but are also becoming popularity in the cannabis industry. The bulbs of HID lights are large, so you will require a decent size grow space to accommodate their size. HID lights, due to the design of the bulbs, require a hood, or something to reflect off of. The reflection of light goes downward to the plants.

The downside of HID lights is the amount of heat they put off. You’ll need a strong ventilation system to keep the temperature regulated in your grow space.


If your grow space is small and utility costs are a concern, CFL bulbs are ideal. If your lights are too far from your plants, you won’t have a very big crop to harvest. CFL lights need to be close to the plant, such as no more than 6-inches from the plant, to be effective for indoor growth.


T5 grow lights are almost as common as traditional fluorescent lights, as they are in the same family of lighting. These grow lights are readily available in home improvement stores, garden supply stores and hydroponic garden supply stores. You will need space to hang a panel, as that is the common form of the setup. Several columns of tube-like bulbs are affixed to a multi-port panel and are hung from the ceiling.

With a low heat emittance, T5 lights also need to be close to your plants. Even with the light being lose to the plant, expect smaller yields. These are slightly less energy efficient as a CFL bulb, but covers more space.

Note: Grow lights in the fluorescent family are generally inefficient once your plant starts to grow. These lights are better used on plants that have already been “trained” to grow flatter. The light is not strong enough to penetrate through the plant far enough to generate larger, stronger growth.

Metal Halide (MH)

During the vegetative stage of the growing process is an ideal time to use MH grow lights. These are part of the blue light spectrum, which emits little heat. The last stages of cannabis growth do not require as much heat, so a member of the blue light family, like MH lights, are ideal.

These are cost-effective lights that are long lasting. You should be able to get through at least a dozen growing cycles before you notice any reduction in performance. The bulbs can be a bit expensive, so for those that are new to growing or on a strict budget, you can just as easily use a traditional fluorescent light.

Closing Thoughts

As with almost anything tangible, you get what you pay for. When it comes to growing the healthiest cannabis possible with the biggest yields, you’ll have to drop a few extra bucks on quality lighting. Cheaper is not the way to go as it’s going to end up costing you more in the end. Avoid incandescent lighting at all costs as it can actually burn your plants.

The key piece of information to take away from this article is that you will need different types of lighting during the different growing phases of cannabis. If you only have enough funding for one option, select LED as it emits the most natural light of all lighting types and mimics natural light.

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