How To Choose The Best Grow Lights For Your Plants

It is no longer news that grow lights have come to stay. Many people are embracing the idea of using grow light to grow plants that wouldn’t have been possible without such. And because grow lights are very popular, you might get confused on which one to get because there are many options out there. If this is you, then this article will equip you with the information you need to choose the very best grow light for your needs. You can also check the top 15 pick by combined ratings of users and critics.

To get started, here are the important things to note about grow lights.

Plants, especially the green ones need light from the sun known as photosynthesis to be able to grow. When the plants are exposed to the sun, the energy transferred from the sun to the plants is converted to energy and finally into sugars. It is during this process that the plants emit oxygen that our bodies are badly in need of. This is why many people find it very relaxing when they have plants in their room.

Different types of plants require different types of lighting to grow. For plants like dracaenas, all you need is to place it on the north side of your window and it will thrive. But for other plants like tomatoes, you will need a light brighter than what is obtainable from your south-facing window. And this is more so in winter.

To help you choose the best light for your plants, here are some terminologies you need to have in mind.

Measuring light

Lumens refer to the brightness of a light. The way humans perceive light is not the same way plants do. So, check out the needs of your plants as stated below when selecting a grow light:


This has to do with how many hours of light your plant needs in a space of 24 hours. The outdoor light varies depending on the season and the locality. When you are far from the equator, you will have shorter winter days and this means that there will be less daylight. But indoors, you can easily control how long the light stays. With grow lights, you can time the light for 16 hours with an 8-hour rest in-between.

For many plants, they require that “rest” period so as to use the energy they have received to aid in their growth. No, the plants do not need light all day and all night long. Some of them can only grow flower buds and other growth in the dark.


This refers to the force, amount or strength of the light that gets to the surface or the plant. The distance is taken into consideration too because a dim bulb of 2” from one surface can give you the same intensity as a 12” bulb that is super bright from a different surface and distance. With that said, it means that you can control the intensity of your light by how close the bulb or light is and how bright it is to the leaves of the plant.


This has to do with the appearance of the light in question. You may hear the term – “color temperature,” but note that is does not refer to how cold or hot bulb can get.  You will find that many grow lights have red light (for warmness) and blue light (for cooling). Your plants don’t much need of those in between lights of yellow and green that comes with a full spectrum light.

Kelvins is what is used in defining light color. Therefore, a grow light that has 5000-kelvin rating tends to be bluish in color, while for 2500-kelvin rating, the light color will be reddish. For clarification purposes, note that lights that are bluish favor vegetative growth, while the reddish ones are perfect for plants that produce fruits and flowers.

For seedlings, you will have to provide brighter lights because when the light is not bright enough, they tend to get leggy and weaken. Even if you place them by your window, the light that comes through will not be enough for it. But you can achieve the right light with the help of a grow light specially made for seedlings. And you can adjust the grow light fixtures some inches above the foliage on a weekly basis so as to make room for the growing plants.

LED, Incandescent or Fluorescent, which is preferable?

Among the three, LED light is the best because it gives off little heat and does not use up as much electricity like fluorescent bulbs. They are 5 times more lasting, won’t break like glass and are mercury free. Use of incandescent bulb on a regular basis gives off too much heat and could burn your tender foliage.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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