In a world dominated by LED grow lights, fluorescent grow lights are often undermined by growers who forget how effective they can be when you use the right kind of light! One of the best examples of a ‘perfect’ fluorescent grow light is the Hydrofarm AgroBrite T5 fluorescent grow light, which is one of the favorites of marijuana growers all over the world. This is a great performing grow light which can give any LED light a run for its money even in 2020!
Longtime readers would know that we usually focus on LED lighting and how it is the perfect choice for modern growers. However, here’s one old classic which continues to impress even the strongest of LED fans. In this article, we provide you with a complete and detailed Hydrofarm AgroBrite T5 fluorescent grow light review which will help you understand this light from multiple perspectives. We have covered several individual aspects of the grow light which will help you know all its features and benefits. We also take a closer look at Hydrofarm and the kind of lights that they manufacture so that you understand the brand better as well.
We also understand that not every grower will be able to differentiate between the different kinds of lighting options that there are so we will begin by first addressing the need for a grow light for marijuana plants, followed by what fluorescent lights are and why they are important for growers. Towards the end, we look at the pros and cons of this grow light and answer a number of frequently asked questions before we conclude.
Why Do Marijuana Plants Need Light?
Like all plants, marijuana plants need light for the process of photosynthesis and for the generation of chlorophyll, which are two of the most important things that a plant needs to survive! The natural light that comes from the sun helps the plants with the process of photosynthesis where the sunlight is converted into energy by the plants. Chlorophyll is also very important to the plants growth and development. Besides that, when sunlight of different wavelengths hit the plants, each of these wavelengths have a specific task: the blue light will help your plants get leafier and grow, the red light is great for the flowering stages of your plant and ensures the buds grow bigger. Violet lights help the plants develop better taste, flavour and aroma, and so on and so forth. Hence lights are critical.
When you cannot grow your marijuana plants outdoors for some reason (mostly because its a social taboo or you don’t want to get caught growing it), chances are that you would grow them indoors in a grow room or in a grow tent. Most growers grow their weed in grow tents. In this setup, you need an artificial source of lighting that can replicate the natural light of the sun – this can be achieved by using grow lights. There are a number of different types of grow lights out there but HID grow lights (that include HPS and MH lights), Fluorescent grow lights, and LED grow lights are the top three. Among these, LED lights are considered the latest and the most popular but fluorescent lights too have a strong user base. In this article we are going to review one such fluorescent grow light!
What are Fluorescent Grow Lights?
Before we head into the Hydrofarm AgroBrite T5 grow light review, let us first understand what fluorescent grow lights are and what are the benefits of using such a grow light.
Fluorescent grow lights are usually something which small-scale growers find beneficial, especially when they are looking for a low-energy consuming and very bright grow light. They are quite cheap and can be particularly beneficial when the plant is at a younger stage of growth. The simple logic in which these lights work is that there’s mercury vapour inside the tube, which when heated emits ultraviolet light. There’s a coating of phosphorus present inside this grow light which helps convert the UV light into a spectrum of visible light. These fluorescent lamps convert electrical energy into light with the help of ballasts. These lights have been in use since the 1850s and continue to be used by millions of growers all over the world.
Fluorescent grow lights usually come in tubes that are marked T5, T8 or T12. The number that follows the ‘T’ stands for eighth of an inch T5 basically means the diameter of the tube is ⅝ inches. T8 means the tube is one inch in diameter while T12 means the tube is 1½ inches in diameter. One of the most important parts of these grow lights is the ballast which regulates the flow of current in the light. If there is no ballast, a fluorescent grow light will just continue to get more and more current till it eventually bursts due to too much power flowing into it. Hence ballasts – and the right kind of ballasts are critical!
Understanding Brand HydroFarm
As a brand Hydrofarm is among the oldest and the most trusted names when it comes to manufacturing grow lights and other plant growing equipment. It is a very popular gardening brand trusted by millions of growers not just in the US but all over the world! With 40 years of experience behind them, their research and development is on point and they make the best of products. While this one here is a grow light, Hydrofarm makes a number of other products, particularly those featuring on hydroponic growth. They also make pots, containers, tents, ventilation devices, cooling devices, plant nutrients, equipment of pest control, garden accessories among many other products. All in all, there’s absolutely no doubt when it comes to the brand’s reputation and credibility in the markets and it is a highly trustworthy name.
HydroFarm AgroBrite T5 Fluorescent Grow Light Review 2020
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Now that you know what a fluorescent grow light is and what to expect of HydroFarm, let us take a closer and detailed look at the AgroBrite T5 grow light from the company. In our review that follows, we have covered this grow light from different perspectives – from everything ranging from the design and durability of the light to the kind of light that comes from it, the power it consumes, the coverage it offers, the heat dissipation measures, as well as the cost and warranty of this grow light.
A Note on Variants: Before we begin, we need to specify that this review is for their 4-feet 4-tube model. The company makes a number of other models as well, which are 2 feet 2 tube, 2 feet 4 tube, 2 feet 8 tube, 4 feet 4 tube, 4 feet 6 tube, 4 feet 8 tube and the largest which stands in at 4 feet 12 tube. These seven size variants ensure that regardless of how big your growth setup is, there’s a light from them that will ensure it is covered properly!
1. Design and Durability
In terms of design and durability, this grow light from Hydrofarm stands good. The light measures 3″H x 13.5″W x 46″L and weighs in at 19 pounds which is pretty light in weight. The overall build of this grow light is made out of premium grade aluminum which makes it light in weight but strong and durable. The light is designed in such a way that you could hang it in three different ways: overhead, vertical, or horizontal to ensure that you are getting the best lighting for your plant!
The lights have proper spacing between them so that their lights don’t really cut each other out, while the overall structure is pretty solid and holds together really well. There are four tubes inside the aluminum covering and the power cord is 10’ in length which is pretty good. In addition to that it also supports daisy chaining (more on it in the power section). It is quite easy to operate as well because there’s only one on/off switch. You simply need to plug in the light and turn it on and you’re good to go!
The Hydrofarm Agrobrite T5 fluorescent grow light is a very bright and high-output grow light when you compare it with similar alternatives in the markets. The grow light features 4 6400K T5 Tubes which provide a combined output of about 20,000 lumens which is really bright and helps your plants grow rapidly. It runs on a Full daylight 6400K spectrum which ensures that your plants are getting the best kind of lighting possible. This grow light is great for your plants across all stages of their growth but is of particular benefit for those growers who have their plants growing in at seedling to vegetative stages as they benefit the most from it.
3. Power Consumption
Each of these tubes draws about 24W of power-consuming about 100W while the combined output that you get here can easily replace a 600W HPS grow light. Some users have found it even suitable enough to replace a 1000W HPS light but that’s a little too ambitious. One of the best things about this grow light is that it supports daisy-chaining, which allows the growers to hook one grow light on to another instead of plugging all of them to the main power supply. This helps you use multiple grow lights with ease.
The light is sufficient for covering a 4×4 grow tent when hung from about 18 to 21 inches. This makes it suitable for most growers who want to grow weed on a personal scale. Growers can buy multiple grow lights of different sizes (there are seven size variants available to you) and combine them to fit the needs of their plants. Make sure you’re measuring the area covered by your plants before you go out to buy grow lights!
4. Heat Dissipation
One of the biggest reasons as to why people like to use fluorescent grow lights is that they generate very little heat. The Hydrofarm Agrobrite T5 fluorescent grow light is also a perfect example of that as it emits very little heat. The amount of heat that comes from this grow light is so less that you don’t even need a fan or cooling equipment as the heat vents are enough to keep it cool. This is of a particular benefit when you are growing younger plants as they need extreme care and heat can damage them the most!
5. Cost and Warranty
The lights don’t really cost a lot. At about $135, they are a great option for growers. Hydrofarm also offers a 5 years’ manufacturer warranty on the product, which is great considering that the brand is itself quite credible and usually fixes all the problems that the growers face.
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Pros and Cons of HydroFarm AgroBrite T5 Fluorescent Grow Lights
Here’s a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of using this grow light:
- Consumes only about 100W of power
- Keeps itself quite cool, doesn’t heat up, doesn’t damage young plants
- Very, very bright light at almost 20,000 lumens
- Can be placed in three different ways
- The cost is just about right at $135 it’s not too expensive
- Supports daisy-chaining
- Comes with a really long power cord
- 5 year warranty period
- The coverage can be improved to cover a larger area
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Final Verdict: Should You Buy the HydroFarm AgroBrite T5 Grow Light?
For $135, there’s perhaps no better option for you if you are looking forward to buying a fluorescent grow light. The light keeps itself quite cool and is really, really bright. If you are a grower who has a large number of younger plants or are growing clones, we believe that this is the best option you have – even better than LED lights. Even for growers who want to use it for a regular growth, this is a very good product and especially since it comes from a name as credible as Hydrofarm, we strongly recommend you to go for it without a second thought!
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Grow Lights
Below are the answers to some of the most common questions that we get asked about when it comes to grow lights. Do go through them carefully as they might solve many of your doubts and queries as well!
1. Can I grow a plant without using grow lights?
The answer depends on where you are growing. If you are growing outdoors or at a place where sunlight can reach the plants then you can remove the grow lights (though most professional or large-scale growers prefer growing using a combination of grow lights and sunlight). However, if you are an indoor grower who doesn’t have any access to the natural light then you must use grow light because your plants cannot survive without access to light, which is important for their food and energy.
2. Do I need grow lights while growing outdoors too?
No, you don’t really ‘need’ grow lights when you grow your plants outdoors but many growers use them outdoors to extend the lighting hours. This can give an extra boost to your plants.
3. What’s the difference between T5, T8 and T12 grow lights?
The number followed by T basically represents the diameter of the light in reference to an eighth of an inch – T5 grow lights are ⅝”, T8 lights are 1inch and T12 lights are 1½ inches in diameter.
4. Are LED lights better than fluorescent grow lights?
There’s no objective yes or no that you could get to this question but most growers these days do prefer LED grow lights because they are simpler to operate, offer a larger spectrum, consume lesser electricity and generate less heat – and can last for way longer when compared to practically any other grow light.
5. Is it illegal to use grow lights for growing weed?
It is completely legal to use grow lights for growing plants but if the plant is illegal you might be in trouble. Always ensure you are following all your local laws and check if growing marijuana is legal in your area. Even when it is legal there might be a restriction to the number of plants that you are allowed to grow. So check for that as well before you start growing weed: indoor or outdoors!
6. What is the cost of this Hydrofarm grow light?
The four-feet-four-tube variant starts at about $135. There are many size and tube variants available and the pricing varies based on which kind of a light you are planning on buying.
We know that buying a grow light can sometimes be a very confusing and complex task. Growers tend to get intimidated by the sheer number of options that there are, especially if they are a first-time grower. We hope our Hydrofarm AgroBrite T5 fluorescent grow lights review has helped you understand this grow light in a comprehensive manner and you now know everything that there is to know about it. A fluorescent light can provide you with pretty great results if you use it right and this is certainly one of the best such grow lights in them markets right now! If you still have any more questions or queries about it, do let us know in the comments below or send us an email and we shall respond to you as soon as we can! Till then…
…Happy Growing! 🙂
Hi my name is Patrick and I have three brown t5 H.O. Lights. 2- 4ft 4 bulb and 1- 8 bulb Agrobrite lights. You stayed the draw 24 watts of power per bulb. I have to disagree with you. Each bulb stayed 54watts and 6400k. Also as far as heat is concerned, I also have to disagree about as far as heat. I have one in a bathroom now in October 2020 and the heat under it at 24 “is 84 degrees. It’s one of the reasons I bought them for growing my orchids through winter. Even in my spare bedroom where I have a 4 and 8 bulb light on during winter it keeps a 14×14 room at 78 degrees. I live in Central California and it gets to the 35 degree during winter. We keep our house temp at 65 degrees during winter. Sorry if I disagree but still enjoyed your article. Sincerely Patrick M.