CFL grow light systems are popular for beginner growers due to their affordability, wide availability, and ease of use. Whether growing a few plants on your windowsill or having an entire indoor grow operation, CFLs can help you achieve healthy and thriving plants.
Overview of the best CFL grow light
Full Spectrum (Premium)
Hydrofarm Full Spectrum CFL Grow Light
- 120 Volt
- 60-hertz frequency
- Mogul base type
What are CFL grow lights, and what do they do?
CFL bulbs, or compact fluorescent lamps, produce light in a spectrum optimal for plant growth and development.
They consist of a glass or plastic tube filled with argon or krypton gas, coated inside with phosphors, and then sealed at both ends to form a compact unit. Electrons collide with the gas atoms when electricity passes through the bulb, causing the phosphor coating to glow and produce light.
CFL bulbs are often designed in a spiral or helix shape to maximize their surface area and allow for more efficient light spreading.
CFLs provide plants with the light they need to thrive and produce healthy flowers and fruits. They are typically cheaper and easier to find than other grow lights, making them ideal for beginner growers just starting.
CFLs are available in various wattages and bulb types, allowing you to customize your lighting setup depending on your growing needs.
However, some of the limitations of using CFLs include their lower light output and shorter lifespan than other grow lights.
The best CFL grow light review
Here are our top picks on the best CFL grow light available in the market:
1. AgroBrite 125 watt CFL grow light (best overall)
- The Cool (6500K) color spectrum provides the perfect light source for propagation, side lighting, and vegetative maintenance of mother plants.
- The lamp is self-ballasted and can be screwed into your CFL reflector. This makes it a highly compact and efficient solution for your needs.
2. Hydrofarm full spectrum CFL grow light (premium)
- The Fluorowing daylight system uses a compact fluorescent bulb with a dew guard, providing full-spectrum light compared to incandescent bulbs.
- Comes with a one-year warranty. This product has a 120-volt, 60-hertz frequency, and mogul base type.
- The full daylight spectrum 125-watt compact fluorescent grow bulb comes with a compact reflector and cord set with an 8′ power cord.
3. SunBlaster CFL grow light (budget friendly)
- SunBlaster CFL grow light is 26 watt cfl grow light bulb that is perfect for beginner growers looking to grow a wide variety of plants indoors.
- With its 6400 Kelvin color temperature, this bulb provides the light needed for your plants to thrive and grow quickly.
- It is equivalent to 100 watt incandescent grow light.
The benefits of using CFL grow lights
There are several key benefits to using CFL grow lights for indoor gardening. Some of these include:
Affordability: CFL bulbs are typically cheaper and easier to find than other grow lights, making them a great option for beginner growers on a budget.
Wide availability: CFL bulbs can be found at many hardware stores and gardening centers, making them easy to source and convenient for home use.
Ease of use: CFL bulbs are simple to set up and use, requiring minimal effort and expertise.
Versatility: Many types of CFL bulbs are available, allowing you to customize your lighting setup depending on your specific growing needs and preferences.
Light output: CFL bulbs produce light in a spectrum optimal for plant growth, helping to promote healthy flowers and fruits.
Lifespan: While CFL bulbs have a shorter lifespan than other grow lights, they are still a great option for growers looking to save money over time.
Low heat output: CFL bulbs produce light at a lower temperature than other grow lights, so they can be placed closer to your plants without the risk of burning or damaging them.
Easy maintenance and cleaning: CFL bulbs are simple to maintain and clean, requiring no special tools or expertise.
Easy storage: Since CFL bulbs are small and compact, they can be stored easily in a convenient location until needed.
Energy efficiency: CFL bulbs are more energy-efficient than other grow lights, making them a great choice for environmentally-conscious gardeners.
Portability: CFL bulbs are portable and easy to move around as needed, making them ideal for indoor gardeners who lack the space or flexibility to place their grow lights in a permanent location.
Multi-purpose: In addition to growing plants, CFL bulbs can be used for other tasks, such as lighting up a dark room or workspace.
Download our complete guide to choose the best grow lights for indoor plants
Limitations of using CFL grow light
While CFL bulbs are a great choice for beginners, they do have some limitations that should be considered. These include:
Light output: CFL bulbs may not produce enough light for larger plants or those needing intense lighting.
Shorter lifespan: Compared to other grow lights, CFLs tend to have a shorter lifespan and are not as durable.
Heat output: While CFL bulbs produce light at a lower temperature than other grow lights, they also generally give off more heat. This can make them less suitable for certain plants or situations.
Setup and Placement: Compared to other grow lights, CFL bulbs are typically harder to set up and place accurately.
Reflector: To maximize the effectiveness of CFL grow lights, you may want to invest in a reflector or other lighting accessories.
The color temperature of CFL grow light
Three CFL grow lights are available: warm white, cool white, and daylight. Each kind of CFL bulb produces light in a different color temperature range. The color temperature of CFLs is typically measured in Kelvin (K), with a higher Kelvin rating indicating a cooler, more blue light and a lower Kelvin rating indicating warmer redder light.
Soft white (2700-3000k): These CFLs are best for growing plants that prefer warmer, redder light. It is also a great choice for flowering plants and other plants that require less intense light.
Cool white (3500-4100k): These CFLs are best for plants that prefer cooler, more blue light, such as leafy greens and herbs. They may also provide supplemental light in greenhouses or during the winter when natural daylight is limited.
Daylight (5000K-6500k): These CFLs are best for plants that require high light intensity and a wide range of light wavelengths. They can also add extra light in greenhouses or during the winter months.
What are the different types of CFLs?
There are many different types of CFLs available on the market, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. These include:
Standard CFLs: This is the most common type of CFL bulb, typically consisting of two spiral tubes filled with argon or krypton gas. These bulbs are usually non-adjustable in height and have a fixed light output, making them ideal for smaller grow setups or those looking for a low-cost option.
Reflector CFLs: These bulbs are designed with small reflectors built into them to better direct the light towards your plants, making them a popular choice for larger grow setups or those looking for more powerful lights. However, these bulbs may also be non-adjustable in height and have a fixed light output.
Dimming CFLs: These bulbs are specially designed with dimmer switches built into them, allowing you to adjust the intensity of the light that reaches your plants as needed. This is a useful feature for growers looking for more flexibility in their lighting setup or those wanting to save on energy costs.
Self-ballasted CFLs: These bulbs are designed to be used with magnetic or electronic ballasts rather than built-in ones, giving you more flexibility and control over your lighting setup. However, they may also require specialized lamps to work properly.
How to use CFL grow lights effectively?
There are several factors to consider when using CFL grow lights, including:
Light placement and intensity: For best results, you should place your CFL bulbs as close as possible to the top of your plants without burning them. You should also ensure enough distance between the bulbs and your plants to avoid uneven lighting or shading.
Timing and frequency: To get the most out of your CFL bulbs, you should keep them on for at least 16 hours daily. This may vary depending on your plant’s growth stage, so be sure to monitor its progress closely.
Nutrient levels and pH balance: For your plants to thrive, you should optimize their nutrient levels and pH balance. This may require the addition of fertilizers or supplements, as well as regular monitoring of these parameters.
Ventilation: Good airflow is essential for healthy plant growth, so you should always provide proper ventilation in your grow setup using fans or other methods. This will help to reduce the risk of mold or other issues and keep your plants happy and healthy.
Overall, CFLs are a versatile and cost-effective lighting option for growers at any level, from beginners to experts. Proper care and attention can help you achieve great results in your indoor garden, regardless of the type of plants you are growing.
How many bulbs or watts do I need?
This will depend on several factors, including the size and height of your plants, the intensity of light you need, and the space available for your grow setup. We recommend starting with about 50-75 watts per square foot of growing space and adjusting as needed based on the results you see. You can also consult the manufacturer’s recommendations or seek advice from other growers for more specific guidance.
Where should I place my CFLs?
There are several factors to consider when placing your CFL bulbs, including:
Light direction and intensity: For best results, you should position your bulbs so that light is evenly distributed over all parts of your plants. This may require rotating or adjusting the height of your bulbs to ensure that no areas are being shaded or receiving too much light.
Airflow and temperature: Good airflow is essential for healthy plant growth, so you should be sure to position your CFLs so they will not be obstructed by other objects. You should also avoid placing them in areas with excessive heat or humidity, which may cause problems for your plants.
Humidity and water levels: In addition to keeping track of temperature and airflow, you should regularly monitor the humidity and water levels in your grow space. This will help ensure that your plants get optimal growth and development conditions.
As a beginner, CFL grow lights can be an excellent tool to help you get started with indoor gardening. With the right setup, care, and attention, you can achieve great results in your garden using these versatile and affordable lighting options. So whether you’re growing herbs, vegetables, or flowering plants, CFLs can help you achieve your gardening goals.
Tips for choosing the best CFL bulbs for your plants?
When choosing CFL bulbs for your plants, there are several factors to consider, including:
Light intensity: To get the most out of your CFL bulbs, you should look for models with high brightness and intensity levels. This will help ensure that your plants are receiving all the light they need for optimal growth and development.
Wattage and bulb type: CFL bulbs come in various sizes and types, so you should carefully consider the needs of your plants when selecting the right bulbs for your setup. For example, larger plants or crops may benefit from higher-wattage bulbs, while smaller plants may prefer smaller or lower-wattage models.
Ease of use: As a beginner, you may also want to look for easy-to-set and use CFL bulbs. This can include features like automatic timers or other energy-saving options, which can help you save time and reduce costs in your garden.
Other considerations may include bulb lifespans, additional features like dimming capabilities, and the availability of replacement bulbs. With these factors in mind, you can find the best CFL bulbs for your plants and garden needs.
300w CFL grow light bulb 6500k
300w 6500k model is designed to provide optimal lighting and energy savings for indoor plants. These bulbs feature bright, intense light that can help promote healthy growth and development and longer lifespans than other types of lighting. Plus, they include convenient features like automatic timers and energy-saving modes, making them a great choice for beginner growers.
Are CFL bulbs good for growing weed?
CFL bulbs are a popular choice for growing weed due to their relatively low cost and ease of use. With the right setup and care, they can provide high-quality light ideal for all plant growth and development stages. Additionally, many growers find that CFL bulbs offer good yields with minimal risk of issues such as mold or pest infestations.
LED vs. CFL light bulbs for growing
There is no definitive answer to this question, as LED and CFL bulbs offer unique benefits for growing weed. LEDs are generally more energy-efficient and longer lasting, while CFLs tend to be less expensive and easier to find. Ultimately, the choice between these two types of grow lights will depend on the needs of your plants, garden setup, and other factors.
Learn everything about hydroponics, from the basics to advanced techniques.