Indoor growers tend to have different kinds of needs. Each grower has their own favorite grow lights and we are not here to judge you! While LED lights are indeed the most popular and dominating kind of lights in the markets these days, there’s still a huge demand for older forms of lighting such as fluorescent lights. In this article, we shall be looking at neither T5 fluorescent lights or pure LED grow lights – we will be looking at a hybrid: T5 LED grow lights, which are essentially LED lights that come in a tubed structure.
Over the course of this article, our primary objective is to look at and understand which are the best T5 LED grow lights in the markets. However, in order to achieve that, you need to know what these lights are and how they function, as well as their advantages and disadvantages. By the time you reach the end of this article, you’ll know everything about T5 LED grow lights that there is to know! Meanwhile, we shall also talk about lighting in general and how is it useful for growing plants (and especially marijuana plants) indoors.
Why Do Plants Need Grow Lights?
Grow lights are required by plants when they are to grow indoors. This is because when you are growing them outdoors you have the best possible source of lighting which comes from the nature – the sun. Sunlight offers everything that the plants need and besides some enhancement lights to extend the sunlit hours, you won’t need much of a lighting there. However, if you are growing your plants indoors, you need to artificially recreate the natural light of the sun. This sounds difficult but isn’t! Grow lights do exactly that.
Grow lights are created keeping the natural light of the sun in mind. The sunlight is made up of lights of different wavelengths which combine to form the light that we see as the visible light. When you grow your plants indoors, you need grow lights to provide the required lighting for your plants. It is with the help of these lights that the plants grow, perform the process of photosynthesis, generate food for themselves, and ensure that better and bigger blooming flowers are produced by them. This is why plants need grow lights and why they play an important role in the overall process of their growth and development.
Difference Between T5 Fluorescent Tubes and T5 LED Grow Lights
Before delving into the details of these two and the differences between them, you must know what a T5 fixture is. There are three types of tubed fixtures available for growers – T5, T8, and T12. These numbers basically represent the diameter of the tube in reference to an eighth of an inch. T5 lights are of the diameter of ⅝”, T8 lights are 8/8 and hence 1” in diameter and T12 lights are 12/8, which is essentially 1½” in diameter. The most popular of these tubes are the T5 tubes. There are two ways in which you can provide light to your plants using T5 tubes – using T5 fluorescent grow lights and T5 LED grow lights. In this article, we shall be discussing in detail about the latter.
However, for the purpose of a broader understanding, we shall quickly run you through how both of them work: The former is the older of the two. Fluorescent lights have been around for a really long time. They light up after an electric arc is passed through the mercury vapor stored inside their tubes. When current is passed through mercury vapor, it illuminates and emits UV lights which, when passed through a phosphor coating on the bulb, get converted into visible light. These are the original fluorescent T5 lights. In this article we are looking at the T5 LED lights.
These new-generation lights have the same shape and form factor as that of the original T5 fluorescent tubes, but they have LED diodes inside them and not the chemicals like the good old fluorescent grow lights. These are basically LED lights with a lower intensity than the standard LED light but in a different form factor which is more suitable to growers. While the fluorescent lights come in warm white and cool white variants which are to be used during the flowering and the vegging phase respectively, these LED lights are usually full-spectrum lights which can be used across the season.
T5 LED grow lights do not require an extra ballast like regular old-school fluorescent T5 lights do. This is one major advantage that T5 LED lights have over the older generation of lights. The LED lights also generate way lesser heat when you compare them with fluorescent lights. Another thing that growers must consider is the energy efficiency – T5 LED grow lights tend to consume much lesser power while providing similar (or even better) output than the fluorescent T5 grow lights. Lastly, T5 LED grow lights usually tend to last longer when compared to fluorescent grow lights and have a lifespan of about 50,000 hours on an average – giving them a clear edge.
Best T5 LED Grow Lights in 2020 (Reviewed)
Here are some of the best T5 LED grow lights in the markets. We have curated a list of some of the best such options that you have in 2020 and have reviewed them for you. These are all available on Amazon which makes it easy for you to order them in just a few clicks! Do go through all of them and then read our buyer’s guide to decide which is the grow light that fits your needs the best. All of these are industry-leading products that you should give a serious thought to!
- Full-spectrum lighting
- Uses good quality diodes
- 4 dimmable modes as well as timetable lights
Roleadro is one of the better-known brands on this list. The company makes large-scale lighting in the form of regular LED lights as well as a number of other growing related equipment and hence growers trust the brand. This grow light right here is a set of four lights. One of the first things that growers must know about this light is that it offers a full-spectrum lighting setup capable of taking your plants all the way from the seedling phase to the flowering phase. The light operates at 3000K, 3500K, 6000K, and at 660nm – suitable for all the phases of your plant’s growth.
There are two more interesting features of this grow light: the lights are timable as well dimmable. It means you can time them to turn on and off automatically and you can also choose to dim their intensity based on the needs of your plants. The grow light uses high-quality LM301B diodes which emit light better than most of their competitors. One of the best things about this Roleadro grow light is that it can be set up with ease even by first-time growers as it is a simple plug and play operation. You only need to plug one grow light to the socket as others can be daisy-chained on to each other which makes it even more simpler! This T5 LED grow light comes with a 24-hour online support as well.
- 8 pack set of cool white lights
- Operates only at 80W of power
- 2 years of the warranty period
When you look at some of the best T5 LED grow lights, the name ‘Barrina’ will be one you are bound to see frequently. This is a pack of 8 grow lights from Barrina which provide you with bright white lighting which is best suited for growing marijuana plants that are in their vegetative phase of growth. Each of these grow lights consumes about 10W of power – and the total set consumes 80W. This is the white lighting for vegging plants, however, you can also buy their yellow light (for flowering plants) from the same link. These are 2-ft grow lights.
The lights come with double-sided tapes which make it easy to install them and stick them up practically anywhere. Another great thing about this grow light is that it supports daisy-chaining, which means you can hook up to 16 of these lights to each other with only one light being connected to the main power source. Moreover, each of these lights comes with their individual controls and can be turned on and off as and when needed. The lights come with two years of warranty period and can be easily installed by practically everyone.
- Full-spectrum lighting
- 4 dimmable modes as well as auto timer feature
- High-quality power adapter makes it safe to use
We are back to yet another Roleadro grow light! This one offers you with a set of 6 LED grow lights, all of which operate at a full-spectrum. These grow lights are the best for those growers who do not want to switch their lights from cool to warm every time the plant enters a different phase of growth. These lights, much like the previous roleadro grow lights, come with a four-level dimmable capacity and can be adjusted between 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of their brightness based on the requirement of your plants. Each of these lights is 4ft in length.
There’s a timer that also comes with this grow light, which allows you to set 3, 6, or 12 hours of time where the lights would be turned off. This can be quite useful based on what stage of growth your plants are in. The wavelengths that the grow light operates at a range between 380nm to 800nm which make it one of the best options for growers who want to provide the best possible lighting which resembles the natural light of the sun! Lastly, the lights come with a high-power adapter which follows all the US standards and is very safe to operate. The company claims that by using the right adapter the lifespan of the light can increase by 5000 hours! All in all one of the best T5 LED grow lights out there for marijuana growers.
- 4ft – 2 light setup
- Full spectrum lighting
- Operates at 2900K color temperature
Another set of grow lights that many growers have loved over the years, these ones come from Monios-L and feature 2 lights of 4 feet each. Together, the output that they provide you is a full-spectrum lighting suitable for your plants from day 1 to their last day of growth! These are not only great for soil-based growers, but also suit the needs of people who grow their plants hydroponically. The light is overall warm-white but is suitable for vegging plants as well as flowering plants as it operates between the 380nm to 800nm wavelengths. The color temperature here is 2900K which makes sure your flowering plants get the ideal light.
It can easily be hung using the equipment it comes with and setting it up is very easy. Furthermore, what also makes it user friendly all the way down to the first-time growers is the fact that they do not need any wiring or elaborate efforts, its a simple plug and play operation! The light comes with a reflector, which the manufacturer claims to improve its efficiency by as much as 20%. There’s a 12-month warranty period on this grow light and the company also promises a money-back guarantee if you do not like the product.
- 4 foot grow light
- Full-spectrum lighting
- Very energy efficient – consumes only 22W
The final name on our list of the best T5 LED grow lights, this product comes from the house of Active Grow. measuring in at 4 feet, this is a set of two grow lights that provide a full-spectrum lighting for your plants. You can put your plants under these lights and then you no longer need to worry about changing the lighting setup when they mature into the bloom phase. The lights are linkable and support daisy-chaining, which makes them great for growers who don’t want too many wires or a complex setup.
These grow lights operate at wavelengths ranging from 280-800nm, which is very similar to the natural light of the sun. The colors that you get from this grow light are pretty vivid thanks to the phosphor chip technology that it uses. Up to 8 such grow lights can be linked on to one another. Another thing that is the highlight of this grow light is that it consumes only 22W of power and can last you for a really long time – 40,000 hours! There’s also a 3-year warranty that you get on these lights, making them a great product to buy!
Buyer’s Guide: What to Consider Before You Buy a T5 LED Light
There are a number of things that a grower must keep in mind before they purchase the T5 LED light of their choice. These are some factors
- Coverage: You must always check the area that these grow lights cover. You need to know how much area your plants occupy and then compare it with the area covered by the lights you are planning on buying. Also, keep in mind that lights are moved higher up during the flowering phase so the coverage area reduces at that time so you need a light that offers a little more than what your plants occupy during the vegging phase.
- Power Consumption: Always check how much power your grow light consumes. One major advantage here is that these lights tend to consume way less power when compared to older fluorescent T5 lights. Nonetheless, it is important to check exactly how much power will be drawn from your wall sockets because that helps you budget better.
- Spectrum Details: You need to know the spectrum and lighting details of the grow light that you are planning on buying – you will get it in three variants: cool spectrum, warm spectrum and full-spectrum. The last of these lights are generally the best when it comes to growing marijuana plants while the cool spectrum is specifically for the vegging phase and the warm spectrum is for flowering plants. If you get a full spectrum light you will not need to change the light during different phases of growth, which is why growers prefer them.
- Heat Emission: You must know if the light you are buying emits too much heat. The lesser the better. In case of T5 LEDs, the heat emitted is the least when compared to fluorescent lights as well as regular LED lights. Hence a lot of growers prefer them. Low heat emissions also allow you to place your lights closer to your plants.
- Ease of Operation: One of the best advantages of T5 LEDs is that you can use them with utmost ease no matter how experienced or inexperienced a grower you are. These are simple to operate because of their plug and play nature. Some of them also allow daisy chaining where you can plug one light on to another while having only one of them hooked on to the main power socket.
- Brand Credibility: Not the most important of things, but certainly something you must keep in mind while buying any grow light. The better the brand credibility the better the chances of the company honoring its promises and warranty and having a better customer support team than compared to lesser known or shady brands.
- Cost, Warranty and Delivery: These are self explanatory! The cost is always the ultimate make-or-break factor while buying any product and the same applies for a T5 LED grow light. Besides that, you must always aim for a product which offers the longest possible warranty period (and also one which actually honors it). Lastly, delivery should be quick as well as discreet as these are two very important things for all growers.
Pros and Cons of T5 LED Grow Lights
Here’s a closer look at some advantages and disadvantages of T5 LED grow lights. This is something that every grower must know before they buy a T5 LED light:
- Easy to operate: simple plug and play operation
- No chemicals and no ballasts involved
- Generate much less heat when compared to fluorescent lights
- Cheaper compared to regular LED lights
- Generate less heat compared to HID or Fluorescent grow lights
- Better color temperature and lighting spectrum compared to older lights
- Decent lifespan of about 50,000 hours
- These lights fall in a strange spot between LED grow lights and fluorescent grow lights – people usually prefer regular LED lights over them
- Cannot generate colors as good as regular LED lights
Difference between T5 LED Grow Lights and Regular LED Grow Lights
Now that you know which are the best T5 LED lights out there in the markets and what all you should consider before you buy them, you must also know the difference between T5 LED lights and regular LED lights. This is one question that we get asked too many times so we’re dedicating a whole section to it here.
T5 LED lights are basically a hybrid between fluorescent grow lights and LED lights. Regular LED lights are quite different. They do not come in tubes but are usually placed on a board where multiple lights combine to provide a high lumen output for your plants. LED lights can be regular (SMD) grow lights, or in quantum boards, or even COB grow lights. T5 LED lights are much more basic in comparison to any of these and do not produce colors as good as the regular LED lights. However, they are still a major improvement over fluorescent grow lights.
Regular LED lights can generally last between 50,000 to 100,000 hours and offer better PAR scores in comparison to T5 LED lights. They are also much more energy-efficient and consume way lesser power than any other grow light, thereby also offering much better lumen per watt numbers, helping you grow bigger and better flowers. These are the grow lights that a majority of the growers in 2020 prefer. The one drawback in comparison would be that T5 LED lights are cheaper than regular LED lights. However, when you look at the energy efficiency, these lights help you save more money in the long run compared to the amount you’d pay for any other type of grow light.
Frequently Asked Questions About T5 LED Grow Lights
Here are the answers to some of the most common and frequently asked questions about T5 LED grow lights.
1. Which are the best grow lights for marijuana plants? T5 LED grow lights vs T5 Fluorescent Lights vs LED Grow Lights?
When you compare the three, LED grow lights are generally considered the best option that growers have. However, if you are a small scale grower who does not want to invest too much but want a good enough lighting solution, T5 LED grow lights are perhaps your best bet! These offer the best of both worlds – the shape and form factor of fluorescent lights and the lighting efficiency of an LED grow light.
2. How much do T5 LED Grow Lights Cost?
When you look at the cost aspect of it, T5 LED lights don’t really cost too much. They cost between $20-$80 on an average though you might have to pay a little more if you are planning to get a larger and a more elaborate setup that covers a bigger area. In those cases, however, we suggest going for a regular LED light than a T5 LED.
3. What is the average lifespan of these grow lights?
On an average most T5 LED grow lights will last you between 40,000 to 50,000 hours. This is more than twice that of the older fluorescent T5 grow lights and are a major reason as to why growers prefer them over the older lights.
4. Where can I buy these grow lights?
You can buy these lights at practically any store which sells gardening supplies. They are very common and very popular among the growers. However, the best place to get them is Amazon because you will get a much larger collection here which you can go through and decide which is the light that suits your needs the best.
By this point in the article, we hope that you have gained a fair understanding of what these grow lights are. T5 LED grow lights hold a special niche in the world of growing marijuana. Growers from all over the world prefer these grow lights over the regular old fashioned fluorescent grow lights which are expensive as well as quite tiresome to work with, and have a short lifespan as well. There are just too many benefits of using T5 LEDs that people are rapidly replacing the older lights with them. Nonetheless if you take a broader look at the industry, it is indeed going to be the regular LED grow lights that will emerge the clear winner in the long-term war for grow light supremacy! If you still have any questions about these grow lights, feel free to contact us over email or drop a comment here and we shall get back to you as soon as we can! Till then….
…Happy Growing! 🙂