48" Grow bulbs

TNKS(7b)March 2, 2014

What is the best bang for the buck bulbs to get from Lowes/HD?
Found a comment(but didnt write it down) something to the effect of one bulb 6500k and the other 3000k in a 2 bulb 48" hood(fixture)


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2 bulbs 6500K, "daylight" T8 is what I use. Total cost was around 30 bucks at HD.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 1:22PM
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Researching . . . . . . it appears the T5's are a superior option to the T8.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 1:32PM
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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

TNKS, good question. This is my first year doing the pepper thing hardore lol. I have 3 2bulb T12 setups over my plants with 6500k bulbs and is seems to work fine. But now wondering if I should have bought the T5s or 8s.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 10:46AM
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T5s are more expensive and offer modest updates in terms of lumens / watt.

in this example i will use 4x4x2 area. say we go for like 10k lumens.

30 = 2 x 2bulb fixture
18 = 2 x 2 bulb daylight
50 total
energy usage = 128 watts
lumens = 10.4k
efficiency(lumen/watt) = 81

159.99 4 bulb 4ft fixture (with bulbs)
160 total
energy usage = 216 watts
lumens = 20k
95 2bulb 4ft fixture (with bulbs)
95 total
energy usage = 108 watts
lumens = 10k
efficiency(lumen/watt) = 92

12 diy fixture ( power strip 4$ÃÂ + light socket to plug adapters 8$ + some alum foil as reflector..(free)
32 4 cfl bulb )
50 total (factor in misc expense for diy)
energy usage = 168 watts
lumens = 11.2k
efficiency(lumen/watt) = 66

i would just buy t8s because they have lower start up cost and decent efficiency for a hobby grower.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 12:49PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

The T5 info is for HO bulbs, you can buy VHO bulbs and fixtures now, about the same cost as HO T5's. Well maybe a little more, but if you shop around. To add comparision

162.90 bulb 4ft fixture (with bulbs)
energy usage = unknown (380?)
lumens = 29k

I think the 380 is output wattage, not input. Apparently output wattage is a more accurate way to rate strength of light. At least that is what an expert told me.
Price is the lowest i could find, most sell it for more!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:23PM
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T5 shop lights will likely be quite a bit more expensive than the T8/T12 fixtures. However, over the long haul, you get a significant bang for the buck with the T5's. Those with T12's many times can run T8's in the same fixture. Check the light fixture to see if it can run T8's. If it can, they are both lower wattage and higher output than the T12's. I have three T8/T12's now and run mixed bulbs. Hate to toss good T12's but when I have the opportunity, I will get T8's. I use 6500K bulbs. I tried the lower spectrum bulbs and even bulbs marketed as Grow Lights but they are just a costly marketing ploy if you ask me. And in fact, the spectrum of the grow bulbs is not in the preferred range.
For those starting out, I would recommend the T8 fixtures with T8 bulbs as you can get a fixture and bulbs for under $20 total.
I probably won't ever upgrade to T5's. If I do upgrade, it will probably be to the ultra low power LED's, but they have a ways to go yet to become cost effective.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:25PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I have 3 T8(48"- 2x32w bulbs). My cost per each(complete, fixture + bulbs) has been $23.00

What I like about it is that I have a modular system. I can use them in 3 combinations: Right now i have one of them over my new tomatoes 16hrs. The others are on 12 hrs.
They are slim and compact and easy to handle and store.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:25PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

As long as the lights get the job done. I agree this hobby is expensive. Even on the cheap, the nickel and dimes add up! I think I spend over $300.00 on various things, nothing that cost over 20 bucks! Well i grow lot's of things, so that was/is the problem. All the same I'm remaining sane, so it's a good thing :)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 5:27PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

You are right, Drew. Gardening is also a hobby and it can be expensive at the times. But I consider grow lights a long term expense. That meant, I am going to buy any next year or the year after. I have spend around $120 on lights, heating mat and fan. Maybe another $80 on various potting mixes, fertilizers. There goes 200 bucks. Today I bough a bale of peat moss. There goes another $12: But I enjoy it. Plus I also get something in material return (fruits)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 6:34PM
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I agree with all of your comments.

I was able to salvage a few 4 bulb T8 fixtures from the trash at work from a remodling job. I found that the bulbs were 5000K which isn't bad, but went ahead and purchased four 6500K bulbs for around $13 and now have half at 5K and half at 6.5K. They work great, maybe too good at 14 hours per day. My plants are thick in width for their age and temperature conditions, but have very little height. Starting to cut back on the lighting time a bit and moving them higher as well.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 5:01PM
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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

Thats funny you say that, I dont know what you are growing but all my peppers are under the same light and my sweets and milds are tall but my superhots are short and wide. I think its just that way they grow if you are doing superhots.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 5:34PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I am getting impatient. I have still another 4 weeks til I can take my peppers outside to harden off. Some of them getting quit big and probably root bound. Otherwise they are ok.
But my tomatoes are just on time. Most of them just have cotyledon leaves right now. I can handle those.
But talking about the light, I have no complaints. They are doing a great job.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 6:19PM
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Those 5000K bulbs should work fine. Especially in conjuction with the 6500K bulbs.

Having peppers too big before mother nature is coopering is a common problem. It takes a couple years to get a feel for when to plant and decide exactly what size intermediate containers you will need before it is time to get them outside. Another option if you are running out of room is to get a small green house if you don't have tooooo many plants. That will allow you get them out as much as 6-8 weeks early with some source of added heat at night. I plan on getting mine outside in early April but won't be able to give them up to the elements totally until late May. Having them in the green house also gets them that much closer to being hardened off...plus they are already outside and easily put outside during the warm day during the real hardening off phase rather than transporting them up and down the stairs from the basement.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 7:22PM
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