Having the right equipment for your cannabis grow project is a necessity but can be very confusing for the beginner grower. Before you go out and buy a grow light I would highly recommend reading this article, as well as our main, LED grow light article to understand the requirements for a successful grow. You can start your plants with T5 grow lights and work your way up to LED or HIP lights.
The first question is what are you planning on growing? Yes, Cannabis but what stages of plant growth are you planning on using the grow lights for. A T5 fluorescent is great for seedlings into the vegetative stage but doesn’t have the power needed to really grow a plant to maturity.
A T5 is a fluorescent grow light, the “T” stands for “tubular” and the “5” is for the 5/8-inch diameter. T5’s come in lengths between 12-inches and 48-inches. You can buy single bulb T5’s or purchase them as part of a larger fixture that could contain multiple T5 bulbs. These fixtures can be heavy due to the fact that the ballast is part of the actual fixture.
|Hydro Crunch T5 FLUORESCENT 4FT 8 LAMP GROW LIGHT|
|Apollo Horticulture T5 2 Feet, 6 Tube Commercial Grow Light|
|Agrobrite T5, FLT48, 4 Foot, 8-Tube ( Editors Choice )|
What Are T5 Lamps Good For?
Indoor growers love T5 grow lights because they are cheap, also energy efficient and run cool so they can be suspended just inches above your seedlings. This means you can setup your seedlings in a separate area from your main grow. This will help you cycle your crops so that you have seedlings starting as your main plants start to flower.
The strange thing about T5 fluorescent bulbs is that they produce blue-spectrum light which is not ideal for growing. These lights just seem to work for small plants as they require less energy to thrive.
What Are T5 Lamps Not Good For?
They aren’t powerful enough to mature or flower cannabis plants. T5’s don’t have the power of light spectrums needed to flourish your plants. If you are planning on starting your plants with a T5 it’s a great idea but you are going to need to invest in a LED grow light if you really want to vegetate and flower your cannabis plants.
If you choose to use T5, you’ll be smart to purchase additional red spectrum lights to help during the flowering stage. T5 grow lights alone won’t do much for your harvest. Plus, while T5 bulbs don’t degrade more than about 5% in efficiency over time, they only last about 20,000 hours, less than half the minimum of LED lamps. You’ll also need a ballast to run T5 grow lights, but most of the time that comes built into the fixture.
Best uses for T5 grow lights
If you are looking to sprout and grow seedlings especially in volume T5’s are the perfect solution. They are cheap and require low amounts of electricity.
Now that we’ve covered what they are and what they can do, let’s take a look at the best T5 grow lights for growing cannabis seedlings.
Best T5 Grow Lights for Growing Cannabis
For The Price Minded: Hydro Crunch T5 FLUORESCENT 4FT 8 LAMP GROW LIGHT SYSTEM
The 4 by 4-foot Hydro Crunch powered by 7, 54 Watt per bulbs is ideal for any small space such as a closet or a grow tent. If you are a larger scale grower these units can be daisy changed so that up to 3 grow light units can be linked together.
The grow light unit is built on a metal chassis and contains a 95% reflective coating which intensifies the output of the lamp overall. This T5 grow light is easy to suspend above your crops. A 15-foot-long power cord is a thoughtful include. The bulbs can be replaced with any standard sized T5 48-inch fluorescent tube.
T8 Integrated Growth Tube Lamp 4ft 420W
Live the Hydro Crunch system the Durolux also contains 48-inch bulbs but in an arrangement of only 4 bulbs. The ballast is built right into the light unit and it’s safe to daisy chain 5 of these fixtures to a single wall outlet without causing any issues. This light also features an extra-long 15-foot power cord and two chains to hang the grow light unit up with.
This light is perfect for growers that are just starting out because you can select the number of bulbs to be on or off at any time. This means you can support small and larger crops with the same light unit.
DuroLux uses a special German Hammertone reflector to help greatly increase the brightness of this grow light unit. Though we didn’t have a way to measure the exact amount of light being output this unit was noticeably brighter than some of the other similar T5 lights we tested.
This light is also rated to perform in damp/wet environments, so it could be the perfect starter grow light for a grow tent.
Apollo Horticulture T5 2 Feet, 6 Tube Commercial Grow Light Fixture
At Budsgrowguide.com we’ve been a fan of all of the Apollo Horticulture products that we’ve tested and this T5 24-inch 6 tube unit is no acceptation. The unit measures 23-inches long, 19-inches wide and just 2-inches deep. This grow light unit can be hung overhead, vertically or horizontally for maximum coverage options. Also included is a shorter 7.5-inch power cord and two wires for hanging. Everything you need to get the job done.
Our Top Pick T5 Lamp: Agrobrite T5, FLT48, 4 Foot, 8-Tube
As part of my normal review process, I like to read what other people think about particular products, in this case, the reviews are all great, including my review. The Hydrofarm Arobrite T5 grow light is 432-watts while producing 40,000 lumens of growing light for your plants.
This solid built metal housed grow light comes with a 5-year warranty which means if you buy this bad boy you are guaranteed to get a lot of grows out of your investment.
The T5 unit comes with multiple on/off switches which allows the user to easily control how much or how little light you want to give your plants.
The Hydrofarm Arobrite T5 grow light uses a high-quality German polished aluminum reflector to maximize light output. The unit measures 28-inches wide by 480-inches long and 4.25-inches thick. The power cord included is just 10 feet long. The Arobrite T5 grow light doesn’t come with hanging chains and can be daisy-chained only twice.
Our Top Pick T5 Lamp Single Tube: Sunblaster 904297 NanoTech
The single tube Sunblaster NanoTech high output T5 light with reflector is a great option for small growers looking to care for their seedlings. This unit is made with a built-in electronic ballast and has the ability to be daisy-chained together with up to 8 of these T5 units. Each unit provides 6400K light which is perfect for those little cannabis seedlings but doesn’t provide enough power for a mature plant.
The included reflector increases the efficiency of the lights by reflecting 300% more light down to your plants. The 18-inch long fixture can be used anywhere within reach of a power outlet.
Bulbs and accessories for T5 grow lights
Apollo Horticulture 2 FT 2700K T5 Fluorescent Grow Light Bulbs – Pack of 5
If you have a 2-foot long fixture, check out these red replacement bulbs from Apollo Horticulture.
Apollo Horticulture 4 FT T5 Replacement Bulbs
And here are the four-foot-long 2700K bulbs from Apollo Horticulture.
VIVOSUN 5 Pack Horticulture 4FT 46IN 6500K T5 Fluorescent Grow Light Bulbs
Standard T5 replacements.
FAQs about T5 grow lights
Q: I see 6400K and 6500K a lot on bulbs. What does that mean?
What’s all this hoopla about 2700K this and 6500K that? Well the “K” stands for Kelvin which is the measurement of color temperature. This doesn’t necessarily have to do with heat but the actual color of the light being produced. Visually it’s actually not that easy to see the hue of the light being produced because our eyes aren’t completely sensitive to colors in this range. For example, you can put a red light tube in your fixture and the light won’t all of a sudden be red. 6500K is a standard blue sky day while the 2700K light has redder in its spectrum.
Q: Which is better—LED, T5, or HID?
Well, this is a complicated answer to s seemingly simple question. The truth is T5 grow lights are great for sprouting plants, but I wouldn’t want to be trying to grow a mature plant under them. Think of T5 a T5 light is a supporting light. You still need the main light to feed your plants. In the past, HID would have been the answer because of its high bud yields but LED has come a long way in a very short time.
I would now easily pick LED even though it’s more of an upfront investment; it will more than pay for itself over time. LED’s have operating lives of up to 50,000 hours, how many grows is that? They also use about 40% less power so you’ll make money back on your investment over a few grows. LED grow lights are now able to yield the same amount of bud as HID lights. Oh, did I mention they produce 70% less heat than a standard HID option?
Q: What’s the difference between compact fluorescent lights (CFL) and T5 lamps?
T5’s generally have a reflector that reflects a lot of light back and down toward your plants. CFL’s don’t have a reflector so you’ll need to fashion one of your own. You also have to place CFL’s very close to the plants in order to provide them with enough light energy, but these lights can get hot and burn your plants as well.
If you need more information about lighting options, please visit our main LED Grow light section. If you have questions growing marijuana literally about any topic you can read our Beginners Guide to Growing Cannabis.