Best Grow Lights for Hydroponics

Best Grow Lights for Hydroponics

Grow lights are an essential component of a good hydroponics setup. These lights mimic the sun, creating photosynthesis essential to plant growth.

Are you creating a new hydroponics setup? We’ve put together this guide to help you along the planning journey.

What is a grow light for hydroponics?

In hydroponics, grow lights are utilised as unique lighting systems with a lamp that gives off a high-intensity discharge. These artificial lights create a spectrum that is very close to the sun, simulating sunlight, an essential part of photosynthesis.

Different types of plants have different lighting requirements. That's why the best grow lights for hydroponics are each designed with unique spectrums and intensities to ensure that your plants are getting the light they require. In a typical garden, many people have an understanding of the

best time of year for growing plants depending on the natural sunlight that is available and a range of other factors. Thanks to grow lights and other climate control technologies we can control the environment to grow our gardens all year round, no matter the weather.

Why artificial lighting is growing in popularity for hydroponic gardens

Creating a hydroponic garden with artificial grow lights to imitate the sun's natural light is quickly becoming a more popular choice amongst keen gardeners as it allows them to garden all throughout the year. This is why the choices for the best grow lights for hydroponics are quickly growing every day — to make sure you are getting the best option available for your hydroponic gardening needs.

Using an artificial lighting system allows you to completely customise the season in which you grow your garden as it removes the dependency on good weather, making for a much easier growing process.

What type of light is best for hydroponics?

Choosing the best lighting system for your hydroponic garden is a vital step. The type of plants you are growing will dictate the type of light that you should have in your garden. Whether it's Fluorescent lights, LED, Metal Halide, High Pressure Sodium or Ceramic Metal Halide it's crucial to understand exactly what grow lights you should choose and why to efficiently mimic natural sunlight in your indoor garden.

HID Grow Lights for Hydroponic Systems

These High-Intensity Discharge Lights (HIDs) are grow lights that are accompanied by much larger bulbs than typically found in other grow lights. These large bulbs work by having a gas be lit within the bulb, accomplished by electrodes that sit very close together. When a current is passed through, the gas becomes ignited and provides light.

There are two different varieties of this light bulb which are as follows:

Metal halide bulbs - MH

An MH light bulb burns gas that then produces light that visually appears as a blue light. This blue light occurs because it's incredibly hot. This type of lighting is incredibly useful for when a plant has reached the vegetative stage in its growth cycle.

High-Pressure Sodium bulbs - HPS

A lighting system made up of high-pressure sodium bulbs (HPS bulbs) will produce light that visually appears as a red or orange light of the full spectrum of light. HPS bulbs are particularly helpful when a plant has arrived at the flowering stage of the growth cycle.

All HID bulbs will require other components in order to run and be properly effective and provide a consistently bright light for the plants.


A ballast is the component that will help the light bulb to start when it is switched on and will also assist in maintaining the flow of electricity. A digital ballast such as the Lumatek Ultimate Pro 600w 400v or Digi Lumen 600w are both a great option.


Reflectors are a product that forms a reflective hood that sits above the light bulb to ensure the light distribution is shining down onto the plants.

CMH Grow Lights for Hydroponic Gardening

Ceramic metal halide grow lights are created with an arc tube that is made up of a ceramic mixture, rather than using the typical quartz or PCA. By using this mixture, the tube is given the ability to reach a significantly higher temperature and therefore create the perfect environment for an ideal mixture of gases to occur. This process allows the full spectrum of light to be delivered to your plants that will, by default, encourage increased growth, health and plant yield.

LED Grow Lights for Hydroponic Gardens

These LED grow lights are relatively a newcomer to the hydroponic scene and many growers are still only just becoming aware of them today. These LED grow lights are somewhat expensive, yet for good reason. They are accompanied by a range of benefits that aren't found in other fluorescent lights or lighting systems. As choosing an LED grow light becomes steadily more popular, the prices will thankfully continue to decrease.

When purchasing LED grow lights, it's important to do your research and understand exactly which one you need to fit your garden's specifications perfectly to ensure maximum growth.

Pros and cons of grow lights

It's important to know the pros and cons of purchasing your new grow light to understand if it's exactly what you need. That's why we've detailed the pros and cons of HID bulbs and LED grow lights to give you a better understanding of each of them in regard to your specific hydroponics needs. Of course, we are always available to chat if you'd like to speak to one of our friendly team members instead.

HID Pros and Cons


  • Cheaper set up cost
  • Will heat up a room in the colder months
  • Will help remove humidity when light is on


  • Lights are hot, and it can be hard to maintain temperature in summer months. ● Over time, the bulbs will lose efficiency and effectiveness so this will mean that they need to be changed frequently
  • Over a long period of time, running costs outweigh LED.

LED Grow Light Pros and Cons


  • These LED lights are incredibly energy-efficient and are some of the most cost-effective light sources to operate
  • Typically, these lights will deliver more visible light and better canopy penetration per energy watt than fluorescent bulbs or HIDs
  • The LED grow lights are built to last
  • LED grow lights are incredibly easy to use, no matter how many years you've been involved in hydroponics
  • Some LED grow light is adjustable, meaning that it can be tailored specifically to what your plant requires


  • Currently, purchasing LED grow lights are the most expensive grow light compared to other grow light options
  • Plants grown under a good quality LED lights, will require more nutrients than under HID.

Best light for hydroponic growing

At the end of the day, there's a range of factors that you will need to consider before purchasing high quality grow light systems for your hydroponic plants. Depending on the stage they're at in the plant life cycle, what plants you're growing and a whole variety of others will impact the grow lights that are best suited for you.

If you're feeling overwhelmed with choices, or want to make sure that you are selecting the perfect grow lighting systems for your hydroponic garden, don't hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team. We all have a wealth of experience in hydroponics and can help you see your indoor garden grow from strength to strength, assisted with the perfect grow light for you.

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