When choosing grow lights for indoor plants, you should consider many things. Because you have to choose the most appropriate, efficient and effective grow lights for your indoor plants. Do not choose grow lights that can cause failure in growing plants indoors. Therefore, I decided to make this “Best T5 Grow Lights for Indoor Plants” guide and some reviews that may help you in choosing the best T5 grow lights on the market today.
But, before going into the core of this guide, I want to explain a few things first about T5 grow lights that you need to know.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is T5 Grow Light?
- 2 Benefits of T5 Grow Lights
- 3 Drawbacks of T5 Grow Lights
- 4 Best Uses for T5 Grow Lights
- 5 HID vs LED vs T5 Grow Lights
- 6 How to Choose T5 Grow Lights
- 7 The Best T5 Grow Lights for Indoor Plants – Top 3 in 2017
- 8 T5 Bulbs and Accessories
What is T5 Grow Light?
T5 grow light is one of the type of Fluorescent grow lights that has a long tube shape. Besides T5 grow light itself, there are still some similar types or variants out there, such as T8 and T12 light. But today, many indoor growers decide to use only T5 grow lights for growing plants indoors. Why? This is because T5 grow lights are more efficient and put out more lumens per watt than T8 and T12 lights. For your information, a T5 grow light can produces up to 100 lumens per watt and has high output up to 7.000 lumens.
I won’t discuss T8 or T12 lights any further in this article. Because I think it is clear that T5 grow lights are superior and more efficient than both of lights. After all, those two lamps are rarely used by indoor growers and hard to find in the market today.
Benefits of T5 Grow Lights
T5 grow lights are quite popular because they are so efficient that they don’t consume too much electricity. And also they are relatively cheaper and suitable for growing indoors in tiny space, such as grow box or small grow tent, where the plants grow small, short and flat. Therefore, many growers use T5 grow lights for growing vegetables and herbs indoors.
Besides that, T5 lights have an average life span up to 20.000 hours in most cases. I think that is enough to be used through the entire vegetative stage of the plants. And also T5 grow lights have a low heat output when compared to HID grow lights. In other words, they don’t make a lot of heat so you can safely put them just a few inches away from your indoor plants without having to worry about burning their leaves.
How close are the distance of T5 grow lights to your plants exactly? Well, some indoor growers usually kept them for 2-5 inches from the tops of the plants all the time. However, you will find the right setting (hotspot) for your indoor plants with time and experience.
Drawbacks of T5 Grow Lights
In my opinion, T5 grow lights are good for supplemental lighting or for young plants (seedlings) while the plants are in the vegetative stage. But, if the plants in flowering stage, they are not good enough and less efficient, especially if you expect maximum results from your indoor plants. For example, bigger yields with enormous buds if you grow marijuana indoors.
This is because the light from T5 grow lights itself don’t penetrate deep into the plants. That’s why many growers kept them so close to their plants and they assume that T5 lights are not good enough to support tall plants while the plants are in the flowering stage.
Therefore, I recommend using HID or LED grow lights for the flowering stage in order to get bigger yields per watt of electricity. And based on some experience from marijuana growers, they can only yield marijuana buds up to 0.25 grams per watt of T5 grow lights.
Besides that, in order to run T5 grow lights properly, you will need a ballast although some T5 light products are already installed with ballast in their fixture (built-in).
Best Uses for T5 Grow Lights
As I mentioned in the above section, T5 grow lights work well for indoor plants in the vegetative stage. If you have a lot of young plants or seedlings, by using T5 lights will save your money on energy costs. Besides that, T5 grow lights are also helpful for growing vegetables and herbs indoors, which the plants need low light levels and they grow small, short and flat.
Sometimes some indoor growers use T5 grow lights for their plants in the fruiting or flowering stage. They run T5 lights with 2700K or 3000K T5 bulbs during the flowering stage. For potential results are still questionable if you have a larger growing operation.
HID vs LED vs T5 Grow Lights
HID lights, such as MH or HPS grow lights, are very powerful for indoor growing that can keep the plants from seedling to flowering stage. However, they are quite expensive and emit a lot of heat when compared to T5 grow light. You will need to vent out the heat with fans and ducting in order to keep your growing space stay cool.
LED grow lights, I prefer to use them, although the initial investment is quite big than T5 lights. Just like HID grow light, you can run LED lights throughout the plant’s growing cycle. Besides that, by using LED grow lights, you won’t need a ballast anymore and you can get a full spectrum of lights with just one single panel.
How to Choose T5 Grow Lights
Here are a few tips before you buy a T5 grow light for your indoor plants.
A high output fluorescent
Choose a T5 bulb with an additional ‘High Output’ (HO) to make sure that you get the most lumens output from your bulbs. In other words, there is an adjustment in the ballast to make the bulbs even brighter so it is more efficient for growing purposes.
You don’t need to bother looking for it in an offline store that will spend a lot of your time. Because the T5 grow lights that I discussed in this article, they all have high output (HO) T5 bulbs.
Spectrum of light
Choose T5 bulbs that are labeled 6400K or 6500K for the plants in the vegetative stage (also labeled as ‘Cool’ or ‘Cool White’). That means they produce light in blue spectrum. For T5 bulbs that are labeled 2700K or 3000K (also labeled as ‘Soft White’ or ‘Warm White’), you can use them for the plants in the flowering stage. That means they produce light in red spectrum.
The Best T5 Grow Lights for Indoor Plants – Top 3 in 2017
Now that you’ve discovered about T5 grow lights that you should know and you still want to use them for several reasons, I will guide you to choose the best T5 grow lights that available on the market for your indoor plants.
Editor’s Choice: Agrobrite FLT48 T5 Grow Light
I finally found the best choice of T5 grow lights for most indoor growers, Agrobrite FLT48 T5 Grow Light. This T5 light fixture from Hydrofarm comes in different sizes, 2ft and 4ft lengths, and each size offers a different number of T5 bulbs. You can click the link above to see the number of T5 bulbs they offer from each size. And you can also see the reviews of indoor growers who are happy with this light fixture.
This light fixture comes with 6400K and ‘HO’ T5 bulbs, which is combined with a highly polished German aluminum reflector for high lumen output. For example, the 4ft length with eight T5 bulbs can produces up to 40.000 lumens. While, the 4ft length with 12 T5 bulbs can produces up to 60.000 lumens.
This T5 grow light has a built in electronic ballast with a 5-year warranty on the ballast and 1-year warranty on the bulb and reflector. It also has adjustable switches so that you can control the number of T5 bulbs you want to turn on at the same time. Besides, you don’t have to worry about rust and scratches, because this light fixture already has powder coated steel housing.
If you are growing plants indoors in tiny spaces and still want to use this powerful grow light from Hydrofarm, I recommend you to use Agrobrite FLT44 T5 Grow Light. It comes in 2ft length and has four T5 bulbs that can produces up to 8.000 lumens.
The Agrobrite T5 grow light is a low profile fixture so you can hang it horizontally, vertically or overhead without worrying about taking up a lot of space in your grow room or tent. In order to hang it properly, I suggest you use a rope hanger that you can buy along with this light fixture. Look at a rope hanger product down below.
Budget Choice #1: Durolux DL844s T5 Grow Light
This is an excellent budget choice of T5 grow lights for indoor growers who want cheap T5 grow light with great quality at the lowest prices. This light fixture from Durolux comes in 4ft length with 4 6500K and ‘HO’ T5 bulbs. And it has a high light output that can produces up to 20.000 lumens.
Same as the above Agrobrite product, this T5 light fixture is already installed with ballast. And this T5 light fixture also has two power switches that allow you to turn on just 2 lights or turn on 4 lights at the same time. This will make it easier for you to adjust the lighting you need.
The interesting thing about this product is that you can power up to five of these grow lights together with daisy chaining from a single wall outlet. This will make it very easy to use if you have a large growing space. And this light fixture also works well with timers.
Budget Choice #2:
This T5 grow light is not much different from the Durolux light fixture above. It comes in 4ft length and has daisy chainable feature so that you can link multiple fixtures together. This T5 light fixture also has a built in ballast and dual power switch, which each switch controls four bulbs.
The difference from the Durolux light fixture is this light fixture has eight 6400K T5 bulbs instead of four bulbs and can produces up to 40.000 lumens. And it also has a rectangular reflector instead of the gull-wing reflector. You can also hang this fixture horizontally or vertically in your grow room or tent.
All in One Setup: Jump Start T5 Grow Light System
This grow light system from Hydrofarm comes in 4ft length with a 6400K and high output T5 bulb. Besides that, it also comes with a reflective fixture and a stand or frame that is very easy to assemble. It has a simple toggle clamp that allows you to adjust light fixture height more easily.
Just like they said, this grow light system is perfect for growing vegetables or herbs indoors even for seedlings and clones. If you want high light outputs for your indoor plants, you can hang the T5 grow lights above, such as Agrobrite FLT48, in this system.
T5 Bulbs and Accessories
As I mentioned in the above section, you will need additional T5 bulbs for the plants in the flowering stage. And also you will need additional accessories for T5 grow lights to make your growing indoors a lot easier.
VIVOSUN 4FT T5 Fluorescent Grow Light Bulbs
These T5 bulbs from VIVOSUN comes in 4ft length with 3000K rating. That means it can produces light in red spectrum that is suitable for the flowering stage. In one package, you can get 5 3000K and HO T5 bulbs. And each bulb has a high output up to 5.000 lumens with an average lifespan of up to 20.000 hours.
Apollo Horticulture 4FT T5 Fluorescent Grow Light Bulbs
These T5 bulbs from Apollo Horticulture comes in 4ft length with 2700K rating. For other specifications and the number of bulbs in each package is the same as the above product. If you have a 4ft length fixture, you can use this product or above product in your light fixture.
If you have a 2ft length fixture, you have to use T5 bulbs below for the flowering stage.
VIVOSUN 2FT T5 Fluorescent Grow Light Bulbs
These T5 bulbs from VIVOSUN comes in 2ft length with 3000K rating. And each bulb has a high output up to 2.000 lumens.
Apollo Horticulture 2FT T5 Fluorescent Grow Light Bulbs
These T5 bulbs from Apollo Horticulture comes in 2ft length with 2700K rating. And each bulb has a high output up to 2.200 lumens.
Apollo Horticulture Rope Hanger
You must have one of these, if your T5 light fixture is not equipped with hangers or chains in the package, like Agrobrite T5 grow light. By using this rope hanger, you can adjust the height of grow lights more easily and quickly.
Century 7 Day Heavy Duty Digital Timer
This digital timer from Century comes with two grounded outlets and LCD digital display. You will see many other features of this digital timer that help you in growing plants indoors. The main thing is you can easily adjust the lighting schedule and turn on/off the T5 grow lights automatically.