Lowes and Home Depot have good prices on Sylvania and Phillips clear metal halide bulbs. Are these as good as the specialty bulbs sold by hydroponics stores at much higher prices??
No they are not as good as the specialty bulbs, but I guess the real question is what's the best value. I bought the http://www.eyehortilux.com/superhps.html Eye Hortilux super HPS. This is what they say.... "
Provides 25% more energy in Violet, Blue and Green spectrum than standard High Pressure Sodium
EN designation means environmentally friendly in that the lamp pass EPA, TCLP test criteria as non-hazardous waste. "
I bought a 600 W because it's "supposed to be" the most energy efficient, Next I want to run as few bulbs as possible to minimize expenses short term and long term. this bulb has a 2 year life and should help with the fact that Jim not running MH. Since I'm growing peppers, MH isn't a priority for me anyway. Is the initial cost going to save me money in electricity and how often I have to replace the bulb in the long run? That's what my priorities were, Also I can toss this bulb in the garbage as it's not hazardous waste, which is also an added convenience. To be honest I don't know the right answer to your question, but I think the things I described would answer them for you. Now if I can find some research on efficiency, spectrums, length of life and factor them all together, whatever is most practical without sacrificing quality I would do.
Why not calculate the cost of lumens per hour adding in the cost of the fixture, cost of electricity, life span of bulb?
true, obviously math is not my strong suit lol.
The Home Depot lowest price fixtures work excellent with the Phillips T8s (32W48T8CW). I needed more shop light fixtures, so I picked up 2 fixtures for $8.98 each at Lowes and they SUCKED really bad with the Phillips bulbs. They flickered and I couldn't get the bulbs in the perfect position to not flicker. The Lowes shop light fixture is WAY too fickle and sensitive. I returned both the Lowes fixtures (after a difficult time with the lady at returns scrutinizing them, as if I were trying to cheat Lowes out of $19) and drove the extra 18 miles to Home Depot to buy their fixtures instead. I am glad I did. The Phillips T8s are a match made in heaven with the Home Depot shop light fixtures ($9.74 each). The Home Depot fixtures are what I bought a year ago with no problems. I should have stuck with what I knew, but Lowes is one block from my house and I was being lazy. Lesson learned there! Pay the extra and go the extra miles for quality!
I should have read your title.. oops. Well hope my experience helps someone who cannot decide between Home Depot or Lowes shop light fixtures for fluorescents.