Grow light reflector is essential to any indoor garden or grow setup. They help to direct and focus light onto the plants below, allowing them to receive maximum exposure and produce optimal yields. With so many brands and mislabeled products, it can be difficult to know which grow light reflector or hood is the best for your needs. In this article, we will take a closer look at the different types of grow light reflectors available on the market today and some of the factors you should consider when choosing a grow light reflector for your indoor garden.
Overview of the best grow light reflector
iPower 8 Inch Cool Tube Reflector
- Material Type: Aluminum
- Cool Tube Reflector
- Light Source: HPS
- Power Source: Corded Electric
Apollo Horticulture Gull Wing Grow Light Reflector
- Material Type: Aluminum, Ceramic
- Power Source: Corded Electric
- Light Source: LED
What is a grow light reflector?
A grow light reflector is specialized equipment designed to focus and direct the light produced by grow lights onto your plants. Reflectors typically consist of a reflective material, such as aluminum or mylar, that collects and reflects light into a specific pattern or direction.
Types of grow light reflector
There are two main types of grow light reflectors available on the market today:
Open type grow light reflector: These are typically made of a single piece of reflective material, such as aluminum or mylar. These reflectors are ideal for smaller indoor gardens or grow setups, as they can be positioned and adjusted easily to focus the light where you need it most. These grow light reflectors are also ideal for DIY setups, as they can be easily customized to suit your needs.
Air-cooled grow light reflector: As the name suggests, air-cooled grow light reflectors are designed with built-in vents or air ducts that allow cool air to flow directly over the bulbs and help keep plants cool and minimize heat buildup. These reflectors are typically more expensive than open ones, but they offer several benefits in larger grow setups with multiple grow lights.
The best grow light reflector review
Here are the best grow light reflectors available in the market:
1. iPower 8 inch cool tube reflector (premium)
- Cool Tube Reflector
- Material Type: Aluminium
- Light Source: HPS
- Power Source: Corded Electric
- This product dimensions are 36x32x10 inches, with an air duct of 8”. It provides light coverage for up to 6′ x 6′ and comes with a 15 feet heavy-duty lamp cord with an E39 ceramic mogul socket. Standard hydroponic s-plug is also included (but must be used in conjunction with iPower ballast).
- With twice the power and efficiency of other reflectors, you can easily enlarge your grow area to get a larger harvest.
- These painted white panels use 0.4mm German aluminum that is 95% reflective to intensify light and enlarge your lighting area.
- This item is compatible with multiple wattage and models: 250W, 400W, 600W, 1000SU W HPS/ MH grow light system.
- The 8-inch air duct on this reflector perfectly cools the air around your plants while protecting them from too much heat.
2. Apollo horticulture gull wing hydroponic grow light reflector (best overall)
- Material type: aluminum, ceramic
- Power source: corded electric
- Light source: LED
- 1 – 19″ gull wing reflector
- Dimension: 16″ x 15″ x 4.5″
- German aluminum
- Socket: ceramic E39 mogul base
- Power cord: 15 Feet
- Package Includes: 1 – 19″ gull-wing deflector, 1 – pair of V-hooks and instructional pamphlet.
3. Hydro crunch parabolic grow light reflector hood (parabolic)
- MateriaL type: aluminum
- Power source: corded electric
- Light source: MH/HPS
- Lamp compatibility: MH/HPS 250W/400W/600W/1000W
- Pre-installed ceramic E39 mogul socket
- Industry standard s-plug
- 15-Ft. Heavy duty wire cord
- Dimension: 42″ diameter (assembled)
Open vs. air cooled reflectors
Depending on your individual grow setup and needs, there are pros and cons to both open and air-cooled reflectors.
Price: Open reflectors are cheaper than air-cooled ones, making them a popular choice for DIY growers looking to save money on their setup.
Heat management: Air-cooled grow light reflectors help keep plants cool by drawing in cool air from outside the grow space and directing it directly onto the bulbs. This helps minimize the risk of heat buildup and damage to plants from heat stress.
Customization: Because open reflectors do not have any built-in air ducts or ventilation, they can be customized more easily to fit your growing setup. For example, you could mount several different grow lights on an open reflector and adjust the reflective material as needed.
Different sizes and shapes of reflectors
Other factors to consider when choosing a grow light reflector include the size and shape of the hood, as well as the type of reflective material used. For best results, choosing a reflector that is the right size and shapes for your grow setup and offers an optimal reflection of light is important. Here are the most common types of grow light reflectors available today:
Parabolic reflectors are generally the most powerful and efficient type of reflector, as they offer a broad, directional spread of light ideal for larger grow setups. However, they tend to be more expensive than other reflectors and require frequent bulb replacements. These reflectors must also be positioned and adjusted carefully to achieve the best results.
Hammerhead reflectors: These reflectors are similar to parabolic reflectors in light distribution and efficiency, but they tend to be much smaller and lighter. This makes them a good choice for smaller grow setups or grow tents.
Focused or wing reflectors: These are designed for high-intensity discharge (HID) grow lights, such as metal halide and high-pressure sodium bulbs. They offer a focused beam of light that can be easily adjusted to provide the best lighting for each plant or growing area.
Square or open hood reflectors: These are typically a more affordable option for smaller indoor gardens, providing a directional light that can easily be focused where needed most. However, these reflectors do not offer the same efficiency or power level as other reflectors.
Rectangular or strip hood reflectors: These are ideal for larger grow setups, as they have a wider light spread than square or open hood reflectors. They typically require less frequent bulb replacements and are more durable than other reflectors.
Compact: These are smaller, more affordable reflectors that offer a broad light spread and are ideal for small indoor gardens or grow setups.
Large: These reflectors are the best choice for large, commercial grow setups. They offer a powerful, directional light that covers a wide area and can be adjusted easily to focus light on specific areas or individual plants, making them ideal for use with larger grow lights such as high-pressure sodium.
The benefit of using grow light reflectors
The Use of grow light reflectors in your indoor garden or grow setup has many benefits. These includes:
Portability: Reflectors are typically lightweight and compact, making them easy to move around and position as needed. This makes them ideal for indoor gardens with multiple grow lights or plants, allowing you to focus the light on specific areas or plants.
Energy efficiency: Reflectors can help maximize the light output from your grow lights, efficiently directing the light toward your plants and preventing energy waste.
Uniform light distribution: Reflectors help ensure that your plants receive a uniform, consistent exposure to the light from your grow lights, minimizing hot spots or dark areas and promoting even plant growth.
Durability: Reflectors are made from high-quality materials and often come with a warranty, making them a long-lasting and reliable choice for your indoor garden.
Affordability: Reflectors are typically less expensive than other grow light systems, making them a cost-effective choice for your indoor garden.
Versatility: Reflectors can be used with various grow light types, making them a versatile choice for your indoor garden. Whether using HID bulbs, LEDs, or high-intensity discharge (HIDS), reflectors can help optimize the light output from your grow lights and improve yields and plant growth.
Customizability: Reflectors are available in various sizes and styles, allowing you to find the right reflector for your specific grow setup. Whether you need a compact and portable reflector for a small indoor garden or a large, high-powered reflector for a commercial grow operation, there is sure to be a suitable option.
Increased yields and plant growth: The biggest benefit of using grow light reflectors is the improved results you will see in your plants. Using reflectors can help maximize yields, improve plant health and reduce hot spots or dark areas in your indoor garden, leading to larger harvests and better-quality crops.
Download our complete guide to choose the best grow lights for indoor plants
How does the reflector work?
The reflective material inside the hood directs the light from the bulb outward toward the plants. This increases the amount of light that reaches the plants, promoting healthy growth and larger yields. Additionally, using a reflector helps to create a more uniform distribution of light, preventing hot spots or dark areas in your indoor garden. This ensures that your plants receive equal light, increasing their overall health and productivity. Also, many reflectors are designed with air-cooling features, which help to dissipate heat and reduce energy use.
Type of reflective material
Several materials can be used to grow light reflectors, including aluminum, Mylar foil, and white ceramic.
Aluminum: This is one of the most commonly used reflective materials for grow lights due to its durability and affordable price. Aluminum reflectors are typically lightweight and easy to install, making them popular for indoor gardens. Also, aluminum is highly reflective and disperses heat well, helping to maximize light output and improve plant growth. PVD-coated aluminum reflectors are also available, offering an even higher level of light reflection and improved durability. PVD stands for physical vapor deposition, and these reflectors are treated with a thin but durable coating that helps protect the aluminum from corrosion or fading. This allows the reflector to retain its reflective properties for longer, providing even more value for your indoor garden.
Mylar foil: Made from polyester film, Mylar is also a popular choice for grow light reflectors due to its durability and affordability. Like aluminum, Mylar effectively directs the light from the grow lights outward toward the plants and helps maximize light output and improve plant growth. Additionally, Mylar is highly reflective and disperses heat well, making it a great choice for use with grow lights in an indoor garden.
White ceramic: White ceramic reflectors offer high light reflection levels, though they are more expensive than aluminum or Mylar reflectors. White ceramic materials may be a good choice for your indoor garden if you want the ultimate in grow light performance. However, if cost is a concern, aluminum or Mylar reflectors can also provide great results at a more affordable price point.
Ultimately, the type of reflective material you choose will depend on your needs, budget, and preferences. Consider factors such as durability, heat dispersion, and reflectivity when making your choice.
Grow light reflector hood
A hood is a grow light reflector shaped like an upside-down cone. These adjustable hoods are often paired with air-cooled reflectors to improve performance. Hoods direct light toward your plants and help reduce glare, hot spots, or dark areas in your indoor garden. They are ideal for use with high-powered grow lights, helping to maximize yields and improve plant growth.
Different types of hoods
There are three main types of hoods: basic hood, air-cooled hood, and European-style hood.
Basic Hood: A basic hood is the most common type and is designed to be used with standard incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. It is a simple, cone-shaped piece that directs light toward the plants and helps reduce glare, hot spots, or dark areas in your indoor garden.
Air-cooled Hood: An air-cooled hood is a more advanced type used with air-cooled reflectors. It features built-in cooling fins that help dissipate heat from the bulb, preventing it from reaching the plants. This helps to improve plant health and maximize yields.
European-Style Hood: A European-style hood is designed for use with high-powered grow lights. It has a deeper cone shape than other hoods and offers superior light reflection and diffusion. A European-style hood may be a good choice if you use high-powered grow lights in your indoor garden.
Factors to consider when choosing a grow light reflector hood
Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a grow light reflector hood for your indoor garden:
Reflective material: Many hoods are made from aluminum, mylar, or white ceramic materials. Aluminum is strong, affordable, and highly reflective, making it an excellent choice for most growers. However, white ceramic may be a better option if you want the ultimate in light reflection and diffusion.
Ease of use: Hoods can come in various shapes and sizes, so you should choose one that is easy to adjust to different lighting conditions or bulb types. For example, an air-cooled hood allows you to quickly change the placement of cooling fins, while a basic hood is simple to use and requires no adjustments.
Size and design: Depending on the size of your grow space, you may want to choose a large or small hood with a deep or shallow cone shape. A larger hood provides more coverage for your plants, while a smaller one can be used in tight spaces.
Cost: Hoods can vary in price depending on the material, size, and design. Aluminum or Mylar hoods are more affordable than white ceramic choices, though they may lack some of the advanced features offered by more expensive models. When considering cost, it is important to balance performance with affordability.
Durability: Hoods are typically made from durable materials that stand up well to wear and tear. However, you should always check the manufacturer’s warranty before making a purchase to ensure that any damage or defects will be covered.
Heat dispersion: Does the hood disperse heat from the grow lights, preventing them from overheating or damaging your plants? Choosing a hood designed for heat dissipation is especially important if you use high-powered grow lights.
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