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7 Best CFL Grow Lights – Reviews & Analysis

Last Updated: 23.11.20

 

Top CFL Grow Lights – Guide & Comparison

 

Here you’ll find out what the best CFL Grow Lights are, especially if you have almost no free time on your hands to do the research on your own. After carefully looking through some of the most critically acclaimed products and examining their overall quality and value, our team has come to the conclusion that the SunBlaster 13 Watt CFL Grow Lamp is the one you should totally try to get as quickly as possible. This product is great for those of us who have indoor plants growing year-round and need as much light as possible, comes with 4 individual CFL bulbs that work wonders, and their fluorescent light is extremely energy-efficient and should save you a lot of money. In the unfortunate event that this is no longer available, you can also have a look at the Philips T2 Spiral CFL Light Bulb.

 

 

Comparison table

 

The Good
The Bad
Verdict
Price

 

 

7 Best CFL Grow Lights (Updated Reviews) in 2020

 

 

Those long winters can cause a lot of problems but lighting should never be one of them. As a result, we traveled far and wide to make sure we provide you with the best choices when it comes to available CFL grow lights, so you can make an educated decision about which one to purchase.

 

 

1. SunBlaster 13 Watt CFL Grow Lamp 4 Pack

 

Chances are you’ll have to put in the work if you’re looking for the best CFL grow light but this product from SunBlaster is definitely something you should look at. First of all, it’s bound to save you a few trips to the convenience store since it’s a 4-pack that should cover your power needs for quite some time.

Also, this grow light is going to grow on you if you’re the type of person who likes to keep indoor plants. Since those babies require a lot of light year-round, this product is quickly going to become your best friend because they work to replicate the sun’s natural light wherever they will be located inside your house.

Even if you happen to have a non-working bulb, customer service is quite fast and eager to help you get a replacement so faulty electricals should never be one of the reasons for not liking this product.

The plants also seem to respond very well to the mixed light colors that this brings, enjoying the solid beam emitted much more than a weak, bluish one. As a result, they should live more and look better, even if you happen to live somewhere with harsh winters.

 

Pros

The company offers good customer service, immediately at hand to help any customer that, for any reason, has received a faulty product.

Great for indoor use as it provided effective, natural-looking light without creating a strange atmosphere around the room.

The compact light is also quite energy-efficient and should save you more than a nickel in the long run.

The bulbs are very easy to install since you only need to screw them into any standard-size light socket to work.

The screw-based CFL bulbs do not require additional, separate ballasts to work so you don’t have to worry about that.

 

Cons

While they do work without any issues, the word on the street is that some of the bulbs seem to die out pretty fast when used at moderate to high intensity.

The light is not very bright so if you’re one of those customers looking for an extremely strong, in-your-face type of light, you’re probably better suited looking at a different CFL bulb.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($28.48)

 

 

 

2. Philips T2 Spiral CFL Light Bulb 100-Watt Daylight

 

Bulb for bulb, this is quite the cheap CFL grow light and you should not hesitate to take a look at it. The first thing you will notice about it is the fact that it is one of the more energy-efficient products on the market as the manufacturer insists it brings an estimated annual energy cost lower than $2, provided you use it around three hours each day.

Since it’s all the rage these days and we should definitely look after the environment if we want to keep living around here, these Philips bulbs are also eco-friendly, using recycled glass and packaging material to reduce the impact they have when being thrown away.

You’ll find it hard to start living without it once you get used to the way that this 100 watt-equivalent bulb slowly starts when you turn it on and then warms to its full brightness in mere seconds, making it the ideal item for kitchens, hallways, or living rooms.

The looks are also quite modern and sleek so if you’re into catchy homes nobody will be able to tell you you’ve lazied-out when it came to CFL grow lights.

 

Pros

This product does a great job of protecting the eyes of the customers due to its ability to gradually but quickly warm up to its brightest color, simulating the daylight one.

You will notice how inviting the atmosphere becomes around the house due to the cozy feeling these bulbs spread when used in more than one place.

They are also compatible with a medium screw base, even though you should know that they do not work with Philips HUE products if you’re a company aficionado.

These products not only help save energy but they also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and are able to last 13 times longer than your standard, day-to-day incandescent bulb.

 

Cons

The label says these light bulbs contain mercury so make sure to read up on info before making that first purchase.

Potential customers should know that this product, right now, is unable to be shipped to California.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($17.99)

 

 

 

3. Hydrofarm Agrobrite FLCDG125D Compact Fluorescent System

 

According to CFL grow lights reviews, the ones that also come with a dew guard can sometimes do an even better job and, if that’s the case, you will be lucky to buy this product from Hydrofarm because it is everything you are going to need.

You will grow to enjoy the incandescent grow bulb that is able to emit a full daylight spectrum of light that will make you feel as if the sun is just coming up on the sky. Furthermore, the bulb does not weigh more than 3 pounds despite the dew guard, so you should have no problem installing it.

Despite being a little more pricey than your average light bulb, the quality of this product more than makes up for the price difference and you are definitely going to feel it when experiencing the effects in the long run.

Even better, the product is also CSA-certified so you can rest assured when it comes to marks of quality as you really get what you pay for when purchasing it. Try to look directly into the reflector when the lamp is on and you will notice how solid and full the light is.

 

Pros

Your plants will definitely love this light setup as it has been shown to be quite beneficial to their development, especially when it comes to penetrating through the canopy and helping the lower branches develop as well.

The quality CFL light bulbs also come together with a compact reflector, a full-blown cord set with an 8’ power cord, and also hanging hardware and a junction box.

In addition to being smaller and more efficient than the previous model, this bulb also brings a brand-new reflector where the previous one was simply painted white. The manufacturer was even careful enough to make the reflector curved so that the plants underneath it also get some much-needed light.

 

Cons

As good as it is, this CFL light bulb seems to die off pretty early, especially when you compare it to the warranty it comes with.

The reflector is originally covered with a piece of plastic so don’t forget to take that off or you’ll wake up to the smell of burned plastic.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($59.09)

 

 

 

4. Hydrofarm Agrobrite FLC26D 26-Watt Spiral Compact Grow Light

 

Many people look for cheap CFL grow lights but few also find them if they don’t know exactly where and what to look for. Equivalent to a 130-watt incandescent bulb, this product from Hydrofarm will not only be there to fix your energy needs but will surely help you reduce some of the costs in the long run due to how efficient it is.

Producing 1600 lumens, this grow light bulb is bound to last somewhere around the 10,000-hour range, so if you do the math you’ll see that’s a fairly long amount of time. Furthermore, it is UL-listed so you don’t have to worry about its safety since it bears a mark of quality.

The compact fluorescent spiral light bulbs have been designed in such a way as to reduce energy costs so you will not only enjoy a gentle, warm light, but you’ll also save money while doing it.

The model is perfect for any standard light fixture that comes with a medium base, especially since it manages to provide a 6400K color temperature which is one of the best choices when it comes to things like growing indoor plants.

 

Pros

Great for offering that extra-light that indoor plants need so much in order to be healthy, especially in the winter.

It is also very good for localized illuminating of small seedlings that require deeper penetration of the light in order to start growing.

Energy-wise, it is the equivalent of a 130W incandescent bulb so you can expect it to be quite powerful, especially since it’s bound to have an expected lamp life of 10,000 hours.

The bluish tint in the light it provides is also specifically designed in order to help with growing leaves and stems of plants.

If you are quite the creative owner, you may also use this for something like a fish pond that needs more than the natural, outside light.

 

Cons

Some of the products arriving from the manufacturer seem to be defective or with the specs slightly altered since they don’t work in what seems to be perfectly compatible environments.

While it is advertised as producing 1600 Lumens, some picky plant growers may feel that it actually produces a little less.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($12)

 

 

 

5. SunBlaster CFL Self Ballasted Propagation Lamp

 

Say hello to this affordable CFL grow light from SunBlaster, specifically designed to help you with your plant-growing passion without breaking the bank in order to do so. In layman’s terms, this is the equivalent of a 100W incandescent light bulb so, as you can see, it’s quite the powerful item.

It’s great for managing to grow bigger and healthier plants in a shorter amount of time since the company specifically focuses on self-ballasted lamps that come in handy for a variety of inside-the-house growing applications.

They are also very affordable and, as such, a great alternative to replicating the sun’s natural light when it is no longer in the sky. Even if you are not a tech aficionado, fear not as the only thing that this product requires is to simply be screwed into any standard-size light socket and boom, you’re good to go!

Last but not least, we don’t want to forget mentioning that this light bulb provides a 6400K color temperature, generally understood to be ideal for continuous propagation of growth of most of the indoor plants out there due to the way it manages to penetrate through the leaves and also get to the little guys down below.

 

Pros

As good as this product is, the fact that it comfortably fits into a standard light socket is great for most people who are not tech-savvy and, as such, do not want to over-complicate themselves when installing something like this.

Herbs like oregano, basil, cilantro, etc. seem to especially thrive under this light because they always have to be moved inside once the winter approaches and require an additional source just to remain healthy and keep growing.

If you’re just getting started in the indoor-gardening business and the fact that this product is able to emit 1700 initial lumens does not tell you that much, know that you can even use it to keep your tropical plants healthy. Considering where these plants come from and how much sun they are used to receiving, this should be a good-enough telltale sign.

 

Cons

This light bulb gets extremely hot to the touch after some hours of use and you may have to improvise if you want to unscrew it and move it around.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($17.29)

 

 

 

6. EPhoto Hydroponic Full Spectrum CFL Grow Light Bulb 60 Watt

 

There are many good things about CFL grow light bulbs but the greatest thing about this Hydroponic Full Spectrum one is the fact that it offers a bright light, filled with that daylight spectrum that is in so much demand when it comes to nurturing home-grown plants.

No matter if you’re bringing outside ones indoors because winter is coming or if you’re keeping them inside year-round, this product is guaranteed to provide enough light to help even the most stubborn of greenies grow tall, even in the middle of winter. Since the bulb is rather long and narrow, the light won’t penetrate the bottom with the same intensity so the plants will grow.

Like most CFLs out there (the good ones, anyway), this grow light swears that it should be good to go for about 10,000 hours of soothing illumination over its lifetime. Roughly translated, this amounts to about a year or more of continuous use. Even if, for some reason, you get a defective unit, you can still return it in the first month after the purchase so this should not deter you.

While the actual wattage is 60W, this product burns as bright as its 250W incandescent cousin, saving you a lot of energy and money in the process.

 

Pros

This light bulb is usable in any regular lamp and, according to CFL grow light reviews, should not prove to be a problem on the installation front either.

If daylight spectrum is what you’re looking to get out of your light bulb, you will be pleasantly surprised to see just how much radiance this one is able to provide and how well plants can adapt and develop under its light.

The amount of time it is supposed to last, about a year of continuous use, should prove to be more than enough to feel that you are getting your money’s worth on it.

 

Cons

Even though fluorescent light bulbs are supposed to burn cooler and not emit that much heat in the process, this one seems oddly warm for some reason.

While people that are looking to get height out of their plants will be happy with this light bulb, the fact that it doesn’t penetrate down to the smallest bulbs won’t make the greenie grow as wide as some customers might want to.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($10.99)

 

 

 

7. Kaezi Photography 105 Watt Studio Grow Fluorescent Light Bulb

 

This product can definitely be placed high on the list and it has a length of 13 inches that is sure to reach even the smallest places of your plants. Designed for 110V, you can rest assured that you will get a lot of power and your green friends will have everything they need to safely get over winter.

This fluorescent light bulb manages to emit a cooler light that will not burn your plants while still presenting a daylight color temperature of about 5500K. As a result, while this system is going to use a bit more energy, it’s still going to be much more efficient than your incandescent alternatives.

Due to the long CFL bulb, the bright light will be powerful and effective enough to power your plant’s life cycle from vegetative all the way to flowering. Since your typical indoor plant craves daylight spectrum in order to flourish, this product should be able to successfully cover your indoor garden too.

The installation process should also be quite simple since the light bulb fits a standard USA E26 base screw-in socket, which is hardly a headache to manage for just about anybody.

 

Pros

This is a very big light bulb that will definitely take care of your light coverage needs, even if you have a mini-garden inside your house.

The bright, white light with a cool tint due to the fact that it is a fluorescent product is exactly what you are looking for if you want to safely grow your plants inside the house.

This product should last you for quite some time, even if you are the type of person that continuously makes use of CFL grow lights.

This is a perfect choice of a light bulb for people who are oriented toward something more heavy-duty from the CFL grow light arena.

 

Cons

As good as this is, defects also seem to be quite common so you should arm yourself with patience when buying it as you may need to make a few return calls to the manufacturer.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($13.49)

 

 

 

Our Comprehensive Buying Guide

 

Are you looking to buy the best CFL grow lights? Well, you are definitely not alone in this endeavor as CFLs are some of the most popular light types used in the last two decades. Just pick pretty much any household from your street and you’re guaranteed to find at least one set of CFL grow lights.

However, there are other hidden advantages to using them that not everyone knows about. These fluorescent lamps emit cooler light that regular, incandescent light bulbs so they offer the great advantage of being incredibly used and quite favored by many gardeners who are particular about their indoor plants flourishing.

CFLs come with many benefits that no other grow light on the market can claim to provide right now like ease of use, little heat due to the “fluorescent” thingy, low-maintenance, and high availability since you can find them pretty much anywhere. Therefore, let’s take a look at how best to use them around the house for the best results possible.

Picking one

Look at any CFL grow light review and you’ll find out why they are so desired among the home-gardener community. Having a light quantity or quality when it comes to light bulbs can really make or break your garden’s entire productivity so this is why most people prefer to shell out a few more bucks but be sure of the results. Besides, it’s not as much as you’d think.

The problem here is that most CFLs found on the market today only display things like wattage, lumens, or Kelvins as a description for their light bulbs. However, they are not a very good measuring unit when we want to find out how effective the said unit is when it comes to helping plant growth. One of the tried and tested measures would be to look at the PPFD and PAR.

PPFD or, in layman’s terms, photosynthetic photon flux density, is the unit of PAR that tells you exactly how many photons of light within the visible light found between 400nm and 700nm are able to hit a square meter per second.

PAR, on the other hand, or photosynthetic active radiation, is the actual range of the light, so it is quite important since you need it to understand how deep the light is going to penetrate and help even the smallest bulbs grow.

However, we feel it is important to point out that a PPFD only tells us the actual number of photons that can approach plants and, as many home growers will tell you, light quality is as important as light quantity when it comes to growth, especially indoor one.

With that being said, this is the reason why we still need relative measuring units like lumens, wattages, and Kelvins, so we can make an educated guess. Furthermore, people also like choosing the best CFL grow lights due to other benefits like low cost, less heat used, the convenience they provide for a small setup, and so on.

 

Different types of CFLs

When it comes to pure gardening, a beginner should also know that there are two types of CFL grow lights that matter: soft white and daylight. The main difference between these two lays in their color temperature, something that is an extremely important characteristic of lighting when it comes to growing plants.

As any biologist will tell you, plants require different temperatures of light during the different periods of their natural growth so this is why you will have to provide it for them if you want to have healthy green friends. A full spectrum CFL grow light is therefore not going to be enough most of the time since you have to properly make use of both options.

Without using the mix, you’ll more than likely end up starving your plants of one or both types of light they have been shown to need in order to successfully get through their growing cycle

Daylight (5000K-6500K)

The daylight model is king among CFL grow lights bulbs when it comes to the vegetative phase of the plant’s growing life. This is the stage where your babies are putting out a lot of leaves and grow quickly anticipating their flowering phase. As a result, they need constant exposure to daylight in order to metaphorically finish their meals, as in complete the photosynthesis process.

As a result, the daylight model is ideal for their needs while still saving quite a bit of power and money from your pocket due to its use of a high-pressure sodium or metal halide system during this beginning period.

 

Soft white (2700K-3000K)

As you may expect, light bulbs in this range are basically the ideal ones for the plant’s following phase which is the flowering one. The reason for this is that the warm light is able to provide a replica of the state of the sun when most plants are flowering, allowing them to spread their seed so that another generation starts bustling out their roots.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

Q: What are CFL lights?

Compact fluorescent lamps, or CFL bulbs, are a product that’s become the rage for quite some time due to the twist they bring on traditional fluorescent technology, quite literally speaking, actually. They were designed to provide a more energy-efficient option for regular incandescent light bulbs.

CFLs screw into a (usually) medium base socket and they utilize their patented spiral design, quite opposed to the traditional long tube, to become “compact”. Unlike fluorescent tubes, CFLs also bring an integrated ballast to the table.

Even though regular fluorescents were first invented at the beginning of the 20th century, the CFL side of the deal did not appear until around 1960 so that’s quite the technological advancement right there. The reason it took so long was not the actual fluorescent tube since that’s quite easy to make but rather the issue was creating a more compact ballast.

Q: Can you grow plants with CFL lights?

You’re kidding, right? Not only can you grow plants with these babies but you can even purchase a CFL grow light kit that should make everything easier for you. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are a very good source of supplemental light when one needs to grow his or her plants in conditions that do not benefit from a lot of traditional, sun-given natural resource.

As a result, CFL lights are quite adept at providing that extra light to increase their perception of day length and encourage blooming. What they do is they provide the light wavelengths that are crucial to a plant’s evolution while managing to produce much less heat and consume much less energy than traditional fluorescent or incandescent bulbs.

However, keep in mind that these products are not a direct replica of actual sunlight since they produce far less light intensity. Therefore, if you’re thinking of developing an actual indoor home garden, you may need to consider the possibility of getting multiple bulbs so you can provide enough light for your green friends to be able to develop.

 

Q: How many CFL lights do I need for one plant?

This is a question that everybody seems to ask since CFL lights have emerged as the go-to trend for growing indoor plants. However, it’s pretty hard to answer it without having more info on the little guy. How large are the plants? What is the wattage of the bulbs that you have purchased?

Still, we are able to provide you with some guidelines even without knowing those two variables. We just need to do some simple math and we’re good to go. Since we need to find a standard measurement to find out each plant’s lighting needs, let’s go with the square foot. When it comes to the first plant grow stage, the vegging stage, aim for about 60 watts per square foot.

While you can even go up to 100 watts per square foot, there’s not much point in going a lot higher than that. The next stage, the flowering one, should see you going 100 to 150 watts per square foot without any issues since the plant’s going to demand more light due to its accelerated development.

 

Q: What is the difference between LED and CFL bulbs?

Well, let’s take a look at some key differences between the two: First of all, LED comes from Light Emitting Diode while CFL stands for Compact Fluorescent Light. As a rule of thumb, LED bulbs are thought to be more energy-efficient than their CFL counterparts, even though both have merit in this regard.

While both are also durable in the time compartment, most people will tell you that the lifespan of a LED bulb should exceed the lifespan of a CFL one. You’ll also notice that the LED bulb is typically more expensive than its fluorescent counterpart. This is because the cost of their manufacturing has not yet scaled to the “everyday” level of CFLs and incandescent bulbs.

Therefore, while LEDs are more expensive upfront, some basic math will show that this type of bulb, with its usual 40,000 to 50,000-hour lifespan is still ranking ahead of the CFL and should save you enough money every year to more than make up for the difference.

 

Q: How do you set up your CFL grow light?

Beginning your new indoor gardening passion is definitely an exciting activity and you’re probably looking forward to nurturing your green friends as if they were little kids. Installing a CFL grow light bulb has the main advantage of allowing the user to plug straight into conventional plug sockets, eliminating the need for something extra.

You should aim to place your CFLs in such a way as to emit light on the bulb from all around it. Place some “cool white” bulbs, around 6500 Kelvins, in easy-to-adjust light fixtures, ideally with a reflector. Another advantage of these products is that they won’t get hot enough to burn the plants so you can adjust them between two to six inches from each one.

During the vegetative phase, your buddies require about 18 hours of light per day while the next phase, the flowering, lowers that amount to somewhere around 12 hours. Aim to switch the lights on and off at the same time every day for maximum consistency.

 

 

 

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