Choosing a lighting system is challenging.
If you are looking for complete tent and light packages go to here
HPS - High pressure sodium lighting systems are the standard we have used for more than 30 years. They have a mostly orange tone to a full spectrum lighting system and are available in many forms
- Magnetic Ballast - only 50 Flashes per second - Basic cost. HPS should be a high output full spectrum lamp - anyone selling you 2 lamps are selling you an inferior HPS and an inferior MH lamp (actually $3 chinese streetlamps) instead of bespoke high performance lamps that will yield you at least $100 more that those cheap imitations. Ballasts made for Hydroponics consume 680W to make our lamps work that well. A 600W chinese street lamp ballast will not get much out of a good lamp either.
- Digital Ballast - beware any with fans! Cheap components overheat and fail - thats why there is a fan. Units that don't overheat and don't need fans will be better. Flash rate 28,000x or more per second - Plants get more light per second - yield is around 25% or more above a Magnetic ballast. Can be dimmed when plants are young to 250W, 400W during grow and 600W with boost (660W) for flower. If yield is important - always go to maximum for at least the first 2 weeks. I won't tell you why. I will get accused of making things very complicated....
- High Voltage Ballast and Lamp - 400V lights are the newer technology - the output is much higher and the blues and reds are significantly higher. see below
MH - Metal Halide - significantly lower output than an HPS - will give abnormally shorter growth so it is a tool for heigh restricted growers during vegetative growth. Don't use during flowering. Retrofit lamps are common - they screw into HPS fittings.
LED - Big range of quality from amazing to ok to absolute garbage. We have tested a few - not all - and customers are encouraged to give us feedback. See LED section for more information. LED's are useful for either saving power, saving heat or high performance. Most models will do 1 or 2 out of these 3 things. Please ask and we can help you work our which LED's will work for you. LED's are the most common area people say they wasted their money.....
CMH or LEC - Ceramic Metal Halides have an amazing colour spectrum - grow and flower - highest qualities per watt - where as a 400V light will give great quality and yeild, the CMH is nearly as good watt to watt compared to 400V (nearly as good), but plant quality is slightly better watt for watt. CMH is available in 315W 355W 630W and other configurations that are coming...
Plasma lighting - expensive - not bad spectrum - would use a CMH instead.
Gavita lighting - See 400V but in state of the art reflectors. Must be 50cm above plants. See Gavita section
Xenon - too hot per watt.
Sunlight - good but hot, full of rain and storms and bugs and pests and you can't control the length of day. Definitely older technology.... (ok - that was just for laughs - Sunlight is fine but lighting is more controlled)