LEDs vs CFL Grow Lights for Growing Cannabis

Published Nov 23, 2018

by Nebula Haze

CFL grow lights are best suited to small or short spaces. Fluorescent lights like CFLs and T5 grow lights have the unique ability of being able to get up close to cannabis plants without burning them. In fact, for the best results, you should keep CFLs only a few inches away from the tops of your plants. Basically, if you are comfortable putting your hand where your plant is for 30 seconds, it means the CFL is far enough away. This makes CFLs ideal for grow spaces where room is extremely limited, for example when you only have a few feet of height.

If you do have the height and space to support them, LED grow lights beat CFLs in many objective ways. They typically produce 2-4 times as much bud for the same amount of electricity used, and unlike CFLs which need to be adjusted constantly to keep lights the right distance away, with LEDs you mostly set it and forget it. You typically only have to raise the light every once in a while because an inch here or there isn’t going to make a big difference.

LEDs vs CFLs

  • LEDs get better yields for the same amount of electricity than CFLs. This is because LEDs are more electrically efficient (produce more light for the same amount of electricity)

  • Unlike CFLs, LEDs don’t need to be adjusted almost daily

  • LEDs give off less heat than a CFL setup with the same amount of electricity, and LEDs also come with additional cooling options like heatsinks and sometimes even built-in fans, which pushes all the heat up and away from the plants, making it easier for growers to maintain comfortable temperatures.

  • LEDs need to be kept much further away from plants than CFLs, which means that CFLs are better suited to short grow spaces without a lot of available height. LED grow lights generally need to be kept 12-18+” away from the tops of plants, while CFLs can be kept just a few inches away.

Growing cannabis with CFL grow lights vs Growing cannabis with LED grow lights

Which LED Grow Lights are Best for Growing Cannabis?
(get a short list of a few trusted brands here)


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