When it comes to grow light technology, there have been very few things that were truly seen as revolutionary. LED grow lights are seen by many people as one of the latest advances, but in reality plasma grow lights have recently risen as one of the leaders in the market today.
These lights offer an incredible advantage over other kinds of grow lights, especially if you are someone that has been using HID systems or LED grow lights. In order to completely understand the kind of results you can have with a plasma grow light, however, it is important to understand exactly what we are talking about and what you stand to gain by switching from other kinds of grow lights.
What Are Plasma Grow Lights?
Plasma lights are a special kind of grow light that offers the fullest spectrum of lighting of any kind of grow light. There are plenty of manufacturers who claim that their new plasma light will be the revolutionary way of growing in the future, but until now they hadn’t delivered on that promise. With $3,000+ price tags, many people just weren’t willing to take the risk.
Plasma lights use electromagnetic induction, and no electrode or filament, to create an effective and efficient way of lighting all of your plants and making sure that every inch is bathed in “sunlight.” This works through using LEP bulbs, or Light Emitting Plasma, that energizes a quartz bulb that creates what is known as a solid state light source. These “electrode-less” lamps can be used on their own, but many people choose to use them in addition to other, more efficient ways of lighting like LED lights.
Let’s get technical for a second, though: Energy is transferred into the unit by coupling induction from an AC electromagnetic field. That blast of electrons rapidly fills up the central chamber, which creates the plasma state. UV radiation is emitted from the light once it enters a grounded state, which is just what your own body needs from the sun. That radiation in the form of ultraviolet rays is what hits the bulb and creates the actual light that you can see with your eyes. That visible light, though, is only about 3% of the total light, the rest of which goes to feeding your plants what they need to grow.
Or at least part of it.
Check out this short video about Light Emitting Plasma (LEP)
How Do Plasma Grow Lights Work?
Plasma grow lights are very distinctive in the way that they function. There is a very good reason that they are considered the most technologically advanced grow lights when you look at how they actually function.
These grow lights don’t have any filament or electrode included at all. Instead they use electromagnetic induction to great beams of light that closely recreate the sun light that your plants would be getting in the natural world. This is accomplished by using LEP bulbs, or Light Emitting Plasma. These energize a quartz bulb that is also known as a solid state light source.
To put it technically: energy is sent into the unit by coupling induction from an electromagnetic field. This sudden burst of electrons fills up the chamber that creates the plasma state that the lights rely on. Emitted from this is UV radiation that creates the actual light you can see with your eyes, which is actually only about 3% of the total light that is being sent to your plants.
What stands out is that there are a lot of different other options available on the market and many people decide to use them in conjunction with other types of light such as LED or HPS lights. You of course don’t have to do this, but it can be helpful if you are having trouble reaching certain parts of your plants or if you are experiencing problems reaching the necessary power.
Check out this cool video that shows the technology behind the Light Emitting Plasma (LEP) technology.
How Can You Benefit From Switching To Plasma Grow Lights?
The first thing that many people think about when choosing their type of grow light is the spectrum of light that they are going to be using. Recently, many have been making the switch to LED grow lights, although they are also sacrificing some of the light spectrum.
With plasma grow lights, your lights will be receiving the full spectrum of light that they need to grow. This can’t be understated since it will mean that your plants can grow throughout all stages of growth without having to worry about switching lights halfway through the cycle.
The costs of growing indoors can be exorbitant if you aren’t careful. The cost of setting up lights, installing ventilation, and giving your plants nutrients can quickly add up when starting for the first time. Using plasma is a chance to save on energy in a great way.
Compared to other types of grow lights, plasma grow lights can save up to 50%, which adds up a great deal over the course of your grows. Think of it as spending half the money on running your grow.
These grow lights don’t suffer from the problem that many people have in their grow rooms. The temperature of your operation has a very large impact on the kind of success that you have, so it is important to keep it as low as possible if you want to save yourself the hassle of dealing with wilted plants.
Plasma grow lights emit very little heat compared to other options, which is great for placing the fixtures much closer to your plants than with HPS systems for example. This also has the benefit of saving the space that you would otherwise have to spend on ventilation systems that can be extremely expensive and incredibly large.
What About The Price?
The price of plasma lights has been a problem for many people. With many of them in the $1,000+ price range, they are unaffordable in some cases. With that being said, they are entirely worth the price once you consider the kind of power that they have. The lifespan of plasma lights is longer than many other systems as well, making them a worthwhile investment in any case.
Plasma vs LED Grow Lights
LED grow lights are one of the most popular choices on the market today due to the fact that they are often seen as the latest revolution in lighting technology. There are very good reasons that many people flock to these, although they might not be the best choice when compared to plasma grow lights.
The energy efficiency of LED grow lights can’t be denied. Compared to HPS systems, LED grow lights can provide up to 20 more lumens per watt. That is an incredible thing, but there is also a sacrifice that has to be made in order to reach that kind of efficiency.
LED grow lights typically only cover certain parts of the light spectrum. In the natural world, your plants would have light that covers the full range of the spectrum. While LED lights will provide a great deal of savings, they will also be making a big sacrifice in this aspect.
With plasma, it is possible to receive almost the same amount of efficiency as LED lights, even though they come at a much higher price at the start. LED lights are much cheaper, this much is true, although the long term savings and benefits of Plasma grow lights more than make up for it.
The temperature is also something to consider. LED grow lights are touted as being some of the coolest grow lights available, although they have finally met their match with plasma lights.
Plasma vs HPS Grow Lights
For many people, HPS grow lights, or high pressure sodium, have been a staple of their grows for years, ever since they first started growing. That is why many people have still been skeptical of making the switch to things like plasma or LED grow lights. With each revolution in lighting, however, it becomes harder and harder to hold on to these traditional lighting systems, especially when you look at everything that plasma grow lights have to offer.
HPS grow lights offer powerful light that covers the full spectrum in ways that not many other options can touch. This much is true. The power of HPS lighting systems beats almost any other option on the market, in addition to being some of the cheapest in terms of startup costs.
That doesn’t mean that they are better options than plasma however. Even though HPS lighting systems provide powerful light they waste a lot of that light as well and require an incredible amount of power to run. That adds up in the long run in a huge way that can make or break the kind of success that you have.
The full spectrum light that HPS lights also provide can be matched by plasma, but without having the same kind of heat output that high pressure sodium fixtures do. With HPS systems reaching over 200 degrees at times, the low temperature nature of plasma systems simply can’t be beat if you are serious about your grow op.
Plasma vs Fluorescent Grow Lights
Fluorescent lights are one of the most popular choices for people who want cheap lighting that can cover large amounts of space. These tube lights have become incredibly popular in many circles, in particular for people who want to grow a lot of plants without having to worry about leaving dark spots in the room.
One of the other reasons that people choose fluorescent lighting is that it is much cooler than HPS systems, although not as cool as LED grow lights. Even better, plasma grow lights are cooler than both of them. They have the ability to be placed incredibly close to the canopy, without having to worry about burning your plants.
The amount of space that is covered by plasma lights is a difficult choice when it comes to fluorescent. Fluorescent tubes have the ability to cover a lot of space, but so do plasma lights. The average coverage for a plasma grow light is 4’ X 4’. This is incredibly helpful when you are working in a larger grow op.
The cost is still something you must consider, since fluorescent tubes are incredibly cheap. In comparison, plasma lights are incredibly expensive. That doesn’t have to be a clear cut decision, though, because the savings that you experience over time with a plasma light can’t be denied.
Why Use Plasma?
The costs can be high, no one can deny that fact. Plasma lights make up for that fact in plenty of ways, however. Compared to conventional lighting systems, these lights are miles ahead, but they are also better than most LED grow light technology.
The full spectrum light that plasma provides removes the hassle of dealing with a limited LED spectrum, but also maintains the level of efficiency. In fact, plasma lights are almost twice as efficient as the best LED grow lights available. They might not be as small as LED lights either, but they are much smaller than the bulky ballasts that are required for HID lighting systems.
Overall, plasma grow light setups combine the best of both worlds. People often want to make the switch to LED lighting for the efficiency, but they don’t want to sacrifice the full spectrum light. Sometimes they want the intense light of an HID system, but don’t want to spend that much room in their grow space holding the light, the ballast, and all of the cooling equipment that is required.
Using Plasma Grow Lights
Plasma lights are hot, fragile, and intense, so you have to make sure that you know what you are doing. The first thing that you need to keep in mind is keeping the lights off of branches and leaves, or else you will end up with nothing more than burned plants.
Next, you should be using them with medium height plants that are about a foot and a half apart, and are around a foot from the lights. The way that plasma lights work means that the light is intense directly under them and these are the plants that will do the best, as long as they aren’t overheating. For that reason, it is always a good idea to rotate the plants in your grow room to ensure proper light contact. That goes for any grow room that doesn’t have 100% coverage, though. The more healthy light your plants have, the healthier and larger they will be, the higher your yields, it is as simple as that.
Check out this 11-minute video that demonstrates the performance of Plasma Grow Lamp Pro 300 LEP:
Are Plasma Grow Lights Right For You?
Whether or not plasma grow lights are right for you is a difficult question to answer. Plasma lights are expensive, much more expensive than many other lighting sources, but that price comes with effective lighting and great yields when used properly. If you are used to conventional lighting and don’t want to make the complete switch to LED lighting, or maybe you just want to try something different, you can’t go wrong with this kind of intense full spectrum light.
Before You Buy
Before you make any major purchase like this, there are certain things that you have to think about above all others. Without taking these into account, you can end up making a mistake that can be incredibly costly in the long run.
- Think About Your Space .When you are setting up an indoor grow op, the amount of space that you have is incredibly important. Plasma grow lights are very helpful due to the wide coverage area they have in comparison with LED lights, but you still have to measure your space and make sure that there are no dark spots that will cause you to have lower yields than you would like.
- What Is Your Budget? Your budget should be one of the first things that you think about before buying a plasma light. These are some of the more expensive types of lights on the market, but they are well worth the price that you will pay. Consider the amount of money that you will be saving on cooling and ventilation when looking at the price of the lights, since this will keep the larger picture in perspective, instead of focusing on nothing but the price of the lamp itself.
- The Height of Your Room. The height of the room is important, but since plasma lights are so cool it usually isn’t a problem if they are very close to your plants. The problem comes in making sure that you have them high enough to reach maximum coverage. There is a lot of potential for covering a lot of canopy with just a few lights, so make sure that you have the amount of space necessary to put them as high as necessary.
The Top Three Plasma Grow Lights
There are dozens of plasma grow lights that could serve anyone well in their grow, but in particular there are three that you should be looking at if you want to have the absolute best results possible.
Rocket Plasma Grow Light System
Rocket might not be the most well known brand, but it is one of the top companies producing grow light systems in the current market. The Rocket Plasma System is by and large one of the greatest options on the market.
With a 3000k realPar Lamp and 120v of power, you will certainly have the power to grow larger crops than ever. That powerful lamp has the ability to cover a 4’ X 4’ area, which is great for indoor grows. What is even better for indoor grows, though, is the fact that this plasma light puts out very little heat, making it ideal for small spaces that are hard to ventilate properly.
Just to show how proud of themselves they are, included with this plasma light is a 2 year warranty on the fixture and a 6 month warranty on the lamp. If you have any problems they will replace them with no questions asked. It is hard to do much better than that when it comes to customer service.
Gavita Pro 300 LEP Plasma Grow Light System
Coming directly from Holland, this plasma light is sourced from the very place that revolutionized indoor grow operations. Gavita worked hard to create the most state of the art plasma light that they could, and they succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations.
Beyond a good climate, your plants need good quality light. many people have had success with HPS systems in the past, but they can’t match the full spectrum light that Gavita’s lights can. During a study that was performed using these lights, it was discovered that they caused a 30% increase in plant growth compared to other options that many growers have relied on in the past.
The housing of this grow light is entirely sealed off and there are no moving parts, making it perform well time and time again. It has the same 30,000 hour lifespnan that you would expect from a high quality grow light, although the wide spectrum filter makes sure that those hours are spent giving your plant only the light that it needs, while shielding it from harmful rays.
Perhaps the best feature of this grow light is the absence of radiated heat. Incredibly, this powerful light can be fixed just above the canopy and still keep from harming your plants, something that very few lights can attest to.
Alphalite Plasma Grow Light
This 280w grow light comes from one of the top names in the business. If you haven’t used plasma lights before you might not be familiar with Alphalite, but they have produced some of the best lights on the market today.
At around $900, you get an energy saving of up to 50% compared to the traditional HID lighting systems you may have used in the past. That amount of savings can really add up over the 30,000 hours of life that this grow light has been rated at.
The light that this grow light emits covers the full spectrum, which delivers your plants light that is as close to natural sunlight as they are going to get indoors. When you grow inside of a room, this is one of the most important aspects of all. Without the proper spectrum, your plants can never be expected to grow as large as you would like, leaving you with lackluster harvests.
To top things off, Alphalite made sure that this mode in particular is incredibly light weight and easy to maintain. Many people worry that purchasing an expensive grow light will make it expensive to maintain, but that is certainly not the case here.
When it comes to grow light revolutions, changes are few and far between. The conventional HID lighting systems that helped millions grow over the years are still great options, but LED grow lights were introduced on the scene fairly recently. The newest development, though, and one of the most unfamiliar are plasma grow light setups that can offer exactly what your plants need, exactly when they need it. I’ll cover all of the basics to make sure that you have an overall picture of what to expect from plasma light options that you might not have otherwise ever explored.
At the end of the day, plasma grow lights are some of the most highly advanced pieces of lighting technology ever created. The high power, full spectrum light they provide cannot be beat by anything else on the market. If you are interested in having the highest powered grow light available, look no further.