Choosing the proper grow lights for your operation isn’t always easy. There are many 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. Today I want to compare the T5 grow lights and other products on the market for the year 2022 and beyond.
However, they can make the difference between success and failure in many cases, which is why in this guide I will do my best to help you choose the best T5 to 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.
Growing With T5 Lights: Benefits and Savings
|iPower GLT5XX2 24W 2 Feet T5 Fluorescent Grow Light System with Stand||6.4||45$||See On Amazon|
|Oppolite T5 2FT 4-Lamp Grow Light Kit Fluorescent Ho Bulbs Indoor Horticulture Gardening T5 Grow Lights Fixtures 24W||10.73||$74||See On Amazon|
|Barrina T5 Grow Lights, Full Spectrum, 2ft 80W (8 x 10W, 500W Equivalent), LED Grow Light Bulbs, Plant Lights for Indoor Plants, Greenhouse, Plug and Play, 8-Pack||3.34||$59.99||See on Amazon|
|VIVOSUN T5 Grow Lights 2 ft, T5 Light Fixture Bulbs, 6500K HO Fluorescent Tubes, High-Output T5 Bulbs for Indoor Plants, UL Listed, 4 Bulbs||9.63||$116.55||See on Amazon|
|HYDRO PLANET T5 Grow Lights 2 Feet 8 Bulbs Fixture with Fluorescent HO Bulbs 6500K | Indoor Plant Lights | Plant Grow Light||18.26||$140||See on Amazon|
Having a productive garden entails a variety of things. The more efficient it is, the higher your yield will be, but you will also benefit since you will be saving a good amount of money on energy bills. There are many grow lights that can flood your plants with light, but they waste most of it and use a lot of electricity in the process.
It is not only more expensive, but it is also harmful to the environment. T5 lights have mostly addressed this problem and are now among the most energy-efficient ones available.
This is by far the most efficient of the fluorescent tubes that have been marketed in T8 and T12 variants. The T5 grow lamp can produce 100 lumens per watt, which is nearly unheard of in this type of arrangement. This practically implies that it consumes less energy to generate more excellent light.
After all, that is the purpose of lighting in the first place. They have the power to reduce your grow’s energy consumption by up to 60% in some circumstances!
This essentially implies that you can get more done with less. For example, you might have needed a lot of lights to get the correct amount of light on your plants before, but with a T5, you can use significantly less and save not just money but also space.
T5 lights have a rated life of roughly 20,000 hours in most situations. That should be plenty to get you through many grows without needing to replace them.
When compared to prior models of the same system, the extended life is also more efficient since it prevents the system from degrading over time. These grow lights will give your plants a high-performance glow for the duration of the bulbs’ life.
However, don’t be deceived by LED lights that promise to last 100,000 hours; we’ll get to that later.
Low Heat Output
Heat is one of the most significant issues gardeners confront when growing indoors.
Too much heat in your room will not only cost you money in terms of lower yield, but it will also need you to spend an increasing amount of money on a cooling system to remove the hot air and replace it with new, cold air. The cost of these fans, duct, and vent systems may quickly add up.
T5 fluorescent grows lights, on the other hand, are among the coolest in the business. In addition, whereas other lighting systems must be maintained far away from your plants to avoid burning them, T5 lights may be kept extremely close to still-growing crops.
This ensures that they receive the lightest possible while also improving exposure to lower plant sections that are sometimes overlooked by high-lighting systems.
This has the added benefit of saving money on cooling equipment, which takes up a lot of space and makes it difficult to relocate and find a place for more plants within your grow room.
When it comes to how close you may keep them to your plants, many people maintain them between 2 and 6 inches above the canopy or other form of the plant.
This is especially useful when your plants are first sprouting because you can give them everything they need to build solid roots and begin vegetative growth right immediately.
T5 Fluorescent Grow Lights
T5 fluorescent grows light bulbs are by and large the most common. They have replaced the outdated, high-powered lighting systems that many growers have been using for years. As a result, fluorescent lighting is used in almost every building, and with good reason.
As previously said, fluorescent T5 grow lights have an efficiency of up to 100 lm/w, which is difficult to exceed even when compared to HPS lighting systems.
In terms of early beginning expenditures, they are also the less expensive alternative. However, when striving to set up the most significant growth, it is easy to go in over your head, so many people wind up spending too little on cheap grow lights.
T5 fluorescent tubes are more expensive than some, but they are quickly repaid with efficient plants that generate more yield with less electricity. They may not have the same illumination power as HID systems, but that doesn’t mean they don’t compensate in other ways.
T5 LED Grow Lights
Some people decide that they would like to use their existing fixtures 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 with 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.
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 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 the point 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 essential that you use the newer models rather than the old, outdated ones.
For example, the entire cost of running a T12 system for 160 watts might be as high as $16,000. So, in addition to being extremely inefficient, this might take a significant chunk out of the sort of profit you see at the end of the year.
Switching to T5 models saves over $13,000 while requiring less total light to get the same results. In addition, T8 lighting systems can be replaced with T5 lighting systems for a similar effect.
Over the course of their lives, T8 and T12 lights deteriorate by 46 percent and 20 percent, respectively. However, when looking at a T5 grow lamp as a long-term investment, you’ll only observe a 5% reduction in efficiency during the bulb’s lifetime, making it enormously more efficient.
If you’re interested, switching to a T5 system instead of a T12 system may qualify you for tax breaks and utility rebates because you’ll be lowering the amount of waste your energy generates.
There’s no need to stick with antiquated fluorescent lighting systems with all of this in mind. T5 grow to light has a more considerable initial investment, but it provides better quality, efficiency, and cost savings.
T5 Lights VS HPS
HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) lighting systems have been utilized in many indoor grow rooms for a long time. There is no doubting that they are extremely strong and efficient, but they also come with a number of difficulties that are difficult to overcome.
HPS grow lights are around 40 lumens per watt, more efficient than T5 fluorescent grow lights, but that efficiency comes at a cost. HPS systems may produce a lot of heat, which can be a big concern.
When you utilize HPS grow lights, you’ll need extra space not just because the sunlight can’t be placed too near your plants, but you’ll also need to build sophisticated cooling systems that can draw all of the generated heat out of the area while bringing in cooler air.
This takes up valuable space in your grow area and makes it difficult to maneuver if you have limited space, but it also costs a lot of money to maintain. HPS bulbs are similarly less expensive to buy and use at first, but they will cost you more in the long run in terms of additional expenditures.
T5 fluorescent grows lights, in comparison, do not suffer any of those setbacks. T5 systems are designed to be powerful without producing any excess heat. 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-saving 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 unique type of grow light in that it produces an enormous amount of light that provides your plants with the energy they need to thrive.
This category includes HPS lighting systems. First, however, it’s worth looking at them all together to see what T5 offers above them.
You’ll need to buy bulbs, a socket, a reflector, and a ballast for HID grow lights to work correctly. These very sophisticated arrangements may be pretty productive, and many growers have found success with them over the years, but they can’t compete with fluorescent lighting choices.
Both HPS and MH grow lights give a combination of light frequencies that can be beneficial to your plants at virtually any stage of development. Still, they often require some natural light to be completely effective without breaking the bank.
There is always the issue of heat to consider when using HID lighting in any category. MH grow lights, like HPS lighting, will generate a significant quantity of heat that you will have to accept.
To protect your plants from burning up and withering, you’ll have to spend a lot more money and give up a lot more room to deal with the heat.
T5 lamps will outperform MH grow lights in the same way HPS bulbs outperform HPS bulbs. They can sustain plants at any stage of development without needing additional light, they don’t take up nearly as much space due to the lack of significant ballasts, and they don’t require as much cooling.
MH and HPS grow lights have been profitable for decades, but new technology has rendered them obsolete as T5 fluorescent tubes improve.
T5 Growing 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 worldwide. 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, they have been found to lose power significantly 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 lamp is exponentially cheaper.
The same feature can be said for the famous low heat feature of LED lighting. While they are very relaxed compared to traditional lighting systems, the advancements in T5 lighting have ensured that they can outperform even LED lights to keep 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. So 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 essential 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 a 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 significant as switching from T12 to T5. With this switch, you will save over $10,000 a year, 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 at this point, 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 slight difference can mean significant 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 will always 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 essential to understand precisely what we are talking about. They are obviously fluorescent tubes that produce light, but what exactly makes them unique?
T5 fluorescent grows lights come in a very specific size. These tube lights measure 5/8″ in diameter, which is where they get their name. There are a good number of different options available in terms of length, though, which let you make sure that there is room in your grow for them and help you cover your plants adequately 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. As a result, there will be plenty of variations to fit overgrown tables for the vast majority of grow rooms.
T5 fluorescent lamps use high-quality materials that are sure to produce plenty of light that lasts throughout the bulbs’ life and keeps your plants growing strong. With a combination of mercury vapor and neon, xenon, argon, or krypton is placed inside a glass tube with a fluorescent coating on the inner surface.
Then, through high-quality tungsten electrodes, electricity collides with the gasses and produces a compelling 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 grows 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 available for T5 fluorescent lights is designed to make it possible to fill a room with light regardless of how ample the space is. Of course, 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 number of installed lights. However, different brands undoubtedly 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 purchasing new grow lights. No matter what kind you are looking at, the considerations are generally the same so that 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 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 you have will determine the style of fixture that you purchase and how many of them you will need. For example, 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 essential. 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 growth.
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.
However, they are still cheaper than LED lights and offer a lot to you once they are installed and running. Think about what you can afford now, but also consider the amount you will be saving over the course of your growth.
Existing Lighting System
If you have been growing for any 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 more manageable 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 growth 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.
This is a perfect choice for something in between the older, outdated fluorescent systems and the high-end LED grow lights. There are a lot of different manufacturers and sizes available. Still, armed with the correct 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. However, for every ten degrees that the ballast heats, you will face an added problem with a shortened lifespan of the ballast.
With the right choice of fixtures, you won’t have to worry about it. The lights themselves are incredibly cool compared to many people’s HID lighting systems.
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. But, unfortunately, it isn’t even possible to find T12 lamps produced in the US anymore due to their ineffectiveness.
Q: How about the lumens output 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 you need depends on the amount of space you are growing. Understanding the number of lights 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.
For example, if you have a 4′ X 4′ grow space, you will need a lighting fixture that features those exact 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 paying in the form of added expenses and reduced yields. (See the table below)
If you like the article and decide to buy one of the lights above, I appreciate it if you click on the links to the Amazon sales page. The links are sponsored, which means I’ll make a tiny commission upon your purchase while it has no cost to you.