We look at a selection of options for the best closet grow light in 2017 including a 100W Spectrum King MLH, a 150W HPS with digital ballast, a 250W Dual Spectrum CFL from Electrox and a MIGRO 100. Each closet grow light is tested in a 2ft x 2ft or 60cm x 60cm grow area with reflective walls and high grade reflectors. This gives each light a fair chance to perform at their best.
The following table shows the results from the test.
250 Watt Dual Spectrum CFL
It is 10 years since CFL technology was last competitive as an efficient lighting solution. For some reason CFLs are still thought of as a ‘low energy’ solution. The reality is that they are bulky, fragile and inefficient.
The CFL also puts out a lot of heat. You can see in the thermal image that it peaks at 91 Deg Celcius.
Probably the only reason they are still bought today is that they are quite cheap to buy and consume a lot of watts (they appear to be a powerful light). Cheap to buy but expensive to run. You would have to run 400 Watts of CFL to get a high flowering performance in a 2ft x 2ft or 60cm x 60cm grow area. That’s four times as much with a MIGRO LED or similar. All those extra watts are going to heat you have to remove and treat, creating noise and odour problems.
150 Watt HPS (High Pressure Sodium)
The setup for this test is a Lumatek digital ballast, a Sunmaster Grow+ dual spectrum bulb and a ‘Barn’ reflector. This is the most efficient setup for a small HPS and not cheap, it costs about €250 in total.
We have given it the best chance by surrounding the test grow area with diamond mylar to maximise the light reaching the canopy. The result is a lot of light to the canopy but average efficiency.
The HPS bulb also runs very hot and recorded a running bulb temperature of 330 Deg Celcius, Very hot for a small closet or grow tent.
The spectrum of the HPS is very narrow. It’s necessary to run a Metal Halide bulb in the early vegging stage and switch to a HPS bulb for the flowering cycle.
Spectrum King MLH (mothers little helper)
This easily outperforms the HPS and CFL for efficiency. The light spectrum is a ‘Full Spectrum’ and therefore suitable for growing from seed to flower. The emphasis on the Blue in the spectrum means that it is more suitable for vegging which is it’s target market.
The light runs cool in the grow space and the surface temperatures are cool to touch which is ideal for a confined grow space.
MIGRO 100 LED
The MIGRO 100 is easily the most efficient of the grow lights tested. It is full spectrum and can be used from seed to harvest. The heat output is very low and the maximum surface temperature is only 42 Deg Celcius. This is comfortable to touch and much kinder on the plants in a confined space.
It’s comparable in price to the Spectrum King MLH and about 50% more efficient in terms of light reaching your canopy.
Although the MIGRO 100 is about 30% more expensive than the HPS option in initial cost but you benefit from much reduced electricity and heat as well as no bulb replacement for up to 10 years! The payback against HPS is about two years in this case, after that you are saving every grow.
The MIGRO is much more expensive than the CFL but that is not surprising. The CFL is a very low efficiency solution, bulky and produces huge amount of heat. The cost of running the MIGRO LED will payback against 400W of CFL in less than 12 months!
The MIGRO 100 is passive cooled and so makes no noise, runs very efficient and cool and is full spectrum so suits from seed to harvest. The ideal grow light for small grows in grow cabinets, grow closets or grow boxes.