Choosing the proper grow lights for your operation isn’t always easy. There are a lot of things that you will have to consider and a lot of things you’ll have to purchase, so you want to make sure that the right lights are used. They can make the difference between success and failure in many cases, which is why this guide is going to help you choose the best T5 grow lights possible. Even if you don’t know anything about them right now, you can easily see why they are the most efficient and effective grow lights on the market right now.
What Are T5 Grow Lights?
Specifically, T5 refers to a very specific style of fluorescent light bulbs. These lights measure 5/8” in diameter and are known as the most efficient fluorescent tubes available. We’ll look at them more in detail below, so read on.
|Hydro Crunch T5 Fluorescent Grow Light System||48 x 25 x 3 inches||25 pounds|
|DuroLux DL844s||48 x 5 x 13 inches||12 pounds|
|EnviroGro FLT24||23 x 13.5 x 3 inches||11.6 pounds|
|Hydrofarm JSV4||53.8 x 4.2 x 4 inches||4.2 pounds|
|DuroLux DL848S||48 x 5 x 13 inches||13 pounds|
- 1 What Are T5 Grow Lights?
- 2 Growing With T5 Lights: Benefits and Savings
- 3 T5 Fluorescent Grow Lights
- 4 T5 LED Grow Lights
- 5 T5 VS T8 VS T12
- 6 T5 Lights VS HPS
- 7 T5 Lights VS HID
- 8 T5 Lights VS LED
- 9 T5 Vs T8
- 10 Grow Lights Characteristics Comparison Table
- 11 T5 Grow Light Design 101
- 12 What Should You Consider Before Buying T5 Grow Lights?
- 13 Are They The Best?
- 14 T5 Grow Light Overview Video Demo
- 15 T5 Grow Light FAQ
Growing With T5 Lights: Benefits and Savings
Having an efficient grow means a number of things. The more efficient it is, the more you will grow in terms of yield, but the more you will profit since you will also be saving money on energy costs. There are plenty of grow lights that have the ability to blast your plants with light, but they will also waste a lot of it and suck a lot of power in the process. This not only costs more, but actually harms the environment. T5 lights have solved that problem to a large degree and have become some of the most efficient you’ll find.
Of the fluorescent tubes that have been available in T8 and T12 models, this is by far the most efficient. The T5 grow light can produce 100 lumens per watt, which is almost unheard of in systems like this. This effectively means that it uses less energy to produce more light. That is the goal of lighting in the first place, after all. They have the ability to cut the energy requirements of your grow by as much as 60% in some cases!
Essentially, this means that you can accomplish more with less. You may have used a large number of lights to achieve the right amount of light on your plants, but with a T5 you can use far fewer and save not only money, but space.
T5 lights are rated at a life of around 20,000 hours in most cases. That is enough to get you through plenty of grows without having to ever worry about replacing them. Compared to older models of this same system, that long life is also more efficient in that they will not degrade over time. With these grow lights, you will have a high performance glow on your plants throughout the entire life of the bulbs. Don’t be fooled by LED lights claiming to last for 100,000 hours either, though, but we’ll get into that later.
Low Heat Output
One of the single largest problems that growers face with their indoor grow is heat. Having too much heat in your space will not only cost you money in terms of a reduced yield, it will also mean that you have to spend a growing amount of money on a cooling system that will suck the hot air out and bring in fresh, cool air. These systems of fans, ducts, and vents can become incredibly expensive.
Fortunately, T5 fluorescent grow lights are some of the coolest in the industry. Where other lighting systems have to be held far away from your plants so that they do not run the risk of burning them, T5 lights can be kept incredibly close to still growing crops. This helps make sure that they have the maximum amount of light possible, while increasing the exposure to lower parts of the plant that are often missed by high lighting systems. That also comes with the obvious benefit of saving on cooling systems that will also take up a lot of space, making it hard to move and find room for more plants inside of your grow room.
As for just how close to your plants you can keep them, many people keep them from 2 inches to 6 inches above the canopy or other type of plant. This is even more helpful when you are first sprouting your plants, since you can give them everything they need to grow strong roots and start vegetative growth right away.
T5 Fluorescent Grow Lights
T5 fluorescent grow light bulbs are by and large the most common. They have replaced the outdated, although high powered, lighting systems that many growers have been using for years. Fluorescent lighting is used in almost every building, and with good reason.
The fluorescent T5 grow lights, as stated above, can reach an efficiency of up to 100 lm/w, which is hard to beat even when put up against HPS lighting systems. They also happen to be the cheaper option in terms of initial startup costs. It is easy to get in over your head when you are attempting to set up the best grow, which is why many people end up spending too little on cheap grow lights. The T5 fluorescent tubes can be more than some, but the money is easily made back in efficient grows that produce more yield with less power. They still might not have the lighting power of some HID systems, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make up for it in other ways.
T5 LED Grow Lights
Some people decide that they would like to use their existing fixture and still make use of the benefits of LED lighting. T5 fluorescent grow lights have been found to be some of the most efficient on the market, but that doesn’t mean they are your only option. If you are set on LED lights, you can easily purchase an LED lighting tube that has the same diameter and fits into your T5 fixture.
These are commonly used as long term lighting solutions in offices and libraries, but they can work well in a grow room as well. With the T5 tube being so efficient already, it is hard to imagine that you could save more money with any other kind of light, but many people find that their T5 LED light costs even less to run. It also saves money on simply replacing the bulb, without buying an entirely new fixture when you decide to move away from T5 fluorescent lighting.
There is also the environment to think about. Switching to T5 lighting from older T6 or T12 models will help you be kinder to the planet, but nothing beats making the switch to LED lights that do not have any harmful chemicals and are entirely recyclable. If that is something you are concerned about, it is hard to do much better than this.
T5 VS T8 VS T12
In the past, options such as T8 and T12 lighting systems were used. In 2012, however, the Department of Energy placed a ban on manufacturing T12 ballasts and bulbs in both Canada and the United States. Despite that fact, there are still plenty of people who have them in their existing grows. When you look at the performance of T5 in comparison to T8 and T12 systems, though, it is easy to see why it is so important that you use the newer models, rather than the old outdated ones.
The total cost of running a T12 system, for example, can be as much as $16,000 for 160 watts. That could take a serious bite out of the kind of profit you see at the end of the year, in addition to being incredibly wasteful. Switching to T5 models easily saves over $13,000 while using less overall light to accomplish the same job. Switching from T8 lighting systems offer almost as much of a change.
T8 and T12 lamps also degrade by 46% and 20% respectively over the course of their life. With a T5 grow light, you’ll only see a 5% drop through the entire life of the bulb, making it exponentially more efficient if looked at as a long term investment.
If you are interested, using a T5 system instead of a T12 system also offers you the chance to have tax incentives and utility rebates, since you will be drastically reducing the amount of waste that your energy produces.
With all of this in mind, there is no reason you should ever opt for older fluorescent systems. The initial investment of T5 grow lightning might be higher, but they come with an increase in quality, efficiency, and savings.
T5 Lights VS HPS
HPS, or High Pressure Sodium, lighting systems have been used for a long time in a lot of indoor grow rooms. There is no denying the fact that they are incredibly powerful and efficient, although there are also problems that are associated with them that are hard to get around.
HPS grow lights are more efficient than T5 fluorescent grow lights by about 40 lumens per watt, although that efficiency comes at a price. The heat output of HPS systems can become incredibly problematic. When you use HPS grow lights, you will not only have to have more room in the space since the lights can’t be very close to your plants, but you will also have to install extensive cooling systems that are capable of pulling all of the created heat out of the room while pushing in cooler air. Not only does that take up space in your grow room and make it hard to get around if you are in limited space, it also costs a lot of money to run. HPS bulbs are also cheaper to purchase and begin using, but over the course of their life they will cost you more in terms of other costs.
T5 fluorescent grow lights, in comparison, do not suffer any of those setbacks. T5 systems are designed to be powerful without producing any excess heat, for starters. That means you can grow in a much smaller space compared to what is necessary for HPS grow lights. That also means that the lights can be much closer to your plants, giving them all the light they need at every stage of growth, while also reaching every part of the plant due to the close proximity. There is also a great deal of space saved due to the lessened need for excess equipment to keep the space cool. More space means more growth, which means more profit for you when it comes time to harvest.
They are also cheaper in the long run. While you will spend more on T5 grow light bulbs to start your operation, you will save much more money from harvest to harvest as the efficiency and cool temperature savings add up over time. With a life of 20,000 hours, they will also not have to be replaced as often as HPS grow lights.
T5 Lights VS HID
HID grow lights are known as High Intensity Discharge lighting. This is a very special kind of grow light in that they produce an incredible amount of light that blasts your plants with energy to grow. HPS lighting systems are included in this category, but it is worth looking at them as a whole so that you understand just what T5 offers over them.
For HID grow lights to function properly, you will have to purchase the bulbs, a socket, a reflector, and a ballast. These relatively complicated setups can be very effective, and have been the source of success for many growers over the years, but when it comes to fluorescent lighting options they can’t compete. Both HPS and MH grow lights provide your plants with a blend of light frequencies that can be great for almost any stage of plant growth, but they typically require some natural light if they are going to truly be successful without spending too much money.
In either category of HID lighting, there is also the ever present problem of heat to think about. Much like with HPS lighting, MH grow lights will also produce a great amount of heat you will have to come to terms with. When it comes to dealing with that heat, you’ll spend much more money and sacrifice a great deal of space just to keep your plants from burning up and wilting.
Again, where MH grow lights fail, just like HPS bulbs, T5 lamps are going to excel. They can support plants at any stage of growth without needing to add natural light, they do not take up near the same amount of room thanks to the lack of extensive ballasts, and the lessened need for a cooling system. MH and HPS grow lights have been successful for decades, but new technology has essentially made them obsolete as T5 fluorescent tubes improve more and more.
T5 Lights VS LED
LED lighting systems have become more and more popular as the technology has improved, finding its way into an increasing number of grow rooms across the world. There is a very good reason for that, since LED lights have been found to be very efficient, very cool, and very long lasting, but the T5 grow light offers something that tops even that kind of performance.
While LED lights have been rated at lasting 100,000 hours for example, they have been found to significantly lose power after the first 30,000 hours. That might seem like it can still compete with the 20,000 hour lifespan of a T5 grow light, but the T5 light is exponentially cheaper. The same can be said for the famous low heat feature of LED lighting. While they are very cool compared to traditional lighting systems, the advancements in T5 lighting have made sure that it can outperform even LED lights in terms of keeping your grow room cooler than ever. At the end of the day, these two things alone will mean you have more fruitful harvests that are more profitable than ever before. What is the point of growing if you are going to lose money doing it?
T5 Vs T8
There is a lot of debate among growers when it comes to T5 and T8 grow lights. While it is unanimously agreed that they are both better than T12 grow lights, some people still cling to T8 models. There are certainly benefits to using them, but it is important to look at what T5 has to offer that makes them a better choice.
We have already looked at many of the features of T5 grow lights. T8 lamps, on the other hand, might still seem like a mystery. These fluorescent bulbs measure one inch in diameter, about the size of nickel. They are very powerful and efficient light bulbs compared to many that are on the market.
What makes the decision hard for many people is that the difference in power isn’t as great as switching from T12 to T5, for example. You will save over $10,000 a year with this switch, while moving for a T5 over a T8 doesn’t offer as much. With only a 9% increase in efficiency, it can be hard to justify spending more for each bulb.
What you have to consider, though, is that the T5 bulb is rated at 20,000 hours, while the T8 models are only rated at up to 15,000. That small difference can mean big savings depending on how many you are using and how often you end up replacing them.
It can be a tough decision in terms of startup costs, but in most cases the T5 is going to outperform the T8, although it will cost a little bit more to get going. If you can afford them, the T5 bulbs are always going to be the more efficient and more powerful option to improve your grow room and have higher yields than ever.
Grow Lights Characteristics Comparison Table
|Type||Lifespan||Avg. Temperature||Distance From Plants||Efficiency||Cost|
|HID Grow Lights||10,000 hours||600 degrees F||6” – 10”||125 lumens per watt||~$15 per bulb|
|HPS Grow Lights||18,000 hours||500 degrees F||4” – 6”||140 lumens per watt||~$150 per bulb and ballast|
|LED Grow Lights||50,000 hours||70 degrees F||10” – 16”||25 lumens per watt||~$200 per square foot panel|
|T8 Fluorescents||25,000 hours||100 degrees F||2” – 4”||90 lumens per watt||$3 – $5 per bulb|
|T5 Fluorescent||20,000 – 35,000 hours||95 degrees F||2” – 4”||110 lumens per watt||$5 – $10 per bulb|
T5 Grow Light Design 101
In order to truly see the benefit of T5 fluorescent grow lights, it is important to understand exactly what we are talking about. They are obviously fluorescent tubes that produce light, but what exactly makes them special?
T5 fluorescent grow lights come in a very specific size. These tube lights measure 5/8” in diameter, which is where they get their name. There are different options available in terms of length, though, which let you make sure that there is room in your grow for them and helps you cover your plants properly without having to waste a single ray of light. The vast majority of T5 lamps that you will come across are in two sizes: two foot models and four foot models. For the vast majority of grow rooms, these will be plenty to fit over grow tables.
T5 fluorescent lamps use high quality materials that are sure to produce plenty of light that lasts throughout the life of the bulbs and keep your plants growing strong. With a combination of mercury vapor and neon, xenon, argon, or krypton placed inside of a glass tube that has a fluorescent coating on the inner surface.Through high quality tungsten electrodes, electricity collides with the gasses and produces a very powerful light that is capable of supporting any stage of plant growth.
The design of these kinds of grow lights makes it possible to have a much lower temperature while they are running. According to the official data from GE on their line, which represents the industry standard for most of these kinds of lamps, the T5 model grow light bulbs are rated at just 95 degrees. This is much lower than almost any other grow light, other than LED, and makes it possible to keep your lights close to your plants, exactly where they need to be.
T5 Grow Light Fixtures
The kind of fixtures that are available for T5 fluorescent lights are designed to make it possible to fill a room with light regardless of how big the space is. There are a few things that you have to take into consideration with your fixture, but overall there are constants that make T5 Grow Light fixtures ideal for a lot of indoor grows.
They come in the form of panels that can hold different numbers of lights. For most people, this means anywhere from two to eight tubes. This is important because the coverage of T5 lamps doesn’t extend far beyond their edges. Most fixtures are rated at the same wattage, lumen, and color temperature in connection with the amount of lights that are installed, although there are certainly different brands that produce higher quality fixtures, such as Hydrofarm, LuxStar, or EnviroGro.
What Should You Consider Before Buying T5 Grow Lights?
There is a lot to think about before choosing to purchase new grow lights. No matter what kind you are looking at, the considerations are generally the same, so we will look at your:
Before you can purchase and set up your T5 grow lights, you will have to think about the amount of space that you have. Even though T5 lights are incredibly efficient, you can’t hope to place one in the middle of your grow room and assume it will be enough. The amount of space that you have will not only determine the style of fixture that you purchase, but how many of them you will need. Smaller indoor grows might only need 4 of the 4’ models, while some will need far more.
It should go without saying, but your budget is always important. Startup costs can add up quickly if you aren’t prepared for them, which is why so many people decide to go with less than ideal options for their initial grows.
While T5 grow lights will save you a great deal of money in the long run, they can be more expensive to set up if you have a large grow. Purchasing a few lights won’t make much of a difference in your wallet, but buying many more will start to hurt given that they are sometimes four to five times more expensive than T8 lights. They are still cheaper than LED lights, though, and offer a lot to you once they are installed and running. Think about what you can afford now, but also consider the amount that you are going to be saving over the course of your grows.
Existing Lighting System
If you have been growing for any length of time, you probably already have a grow light system in place. Unfortunately, it might be less than ideal and not help you grow as much as a T5 model would. When it comes right down to it, though, you have to think about what you have already and what you can do to make the transition easier if you want to make the switch.
You will have to understand whether or not you are going to have to replace the entire grow light system you already have or if you will simply be able to replace the bulbs that are currently in use. That will mean purchasing ballasts, wiring systems, and more if you don’t have them already on hand.
Are They The Best?
At the end of the day, T5 fluorescent grow lights are the best option for a great many people. They have a lot to offer indoor growers in terms of both savings and performance, so they are worth at least a second look if you have passed over on them before. They are not the cheapest option available at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you don’t stand to gain anything. For something in between the older, outdated fluorescent systems and the high end LED grow lights, this is the perfect choice. There are a lot of different manufacturers and sizes available, but armed with the right information you will be capable of making a decision that serves you well for years to come.
T5 Grow Light Overview Video Demo
T5 Grow Light FAQ
Q: What about heat?
A: Heat is a problem for almost every grower. T5 Ho ballasts can have a problem with heat in that many are made with aluminum that can heat up with extended use. For each ten degrees that the ballast heats up, you will face an added problem with a shortened lifespan of the ballast. With the right choice of fixtures, though, you won’t have to worry about it. The lights themselves are incredibly cool compared to HID lighting systems that many people use.
Q: What is the average lifespan of T5 lights?
A: The average lifespan of a T5 fluorescent bulb is rated at 20,000 hours. What stands out is that T5 bulbs only lose around 5% of their efficiency over that lifespan, compared to 40% drops in other kinds of bulbs. Many claim LED bulbs are superior with their 100,000 hour lifespan, but research has shown that T5 lights remain usable for far longer than most LED alternatives.
Q: Which lamp type should I use? T5 or T8 or T12?
A: Without a doubt, you should be using a T5 lamp. As you can tell from the report above, they stand out among all the others as the most efficient and powerful. It isn’t even possible to find T12 lamps produced in the US anymore due to their ineffectiveness.
Q: How about the lumens out put of T5 fluorescent tube lights?
A: T5 fluorescent tube lights have an output of up to 7,000 lumens total, with an efficiency rating of up to 100 lumens per watt.
Q: How many T5 lights do I need?
A: The amount of T5 lights that you need depends on the amount of space you are growing in. Understanding the number of lights that you will need is very simple with T5 grow lights, since there is a direct connection between the light size and the amount of space you have. If you have a 4’ X 4’ grow space, you will need a lighting fixture that features those same measurements.
Q: Are T5 lights energy efficient?
A: T5 lights are some of the most efficient in the industry. With an output of 100 lumens per watt, these lights will save you an incredible amount of money and put out more light without having to pay in the form of added expenses and reduced yields.
- Source: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2013/01/preparing-for-the-doe-t12-lighting-phase-out