The Best CFL for Growing: CFL Grow Bulbs Worth Your Money
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Many green thumbs in America have gotten greener now that marijuana plants are legal to grow in almost half of the country.
One of the cheapest ways to grow your weed is by using CFL lights as your heating element.
And they are for sure one of the best lights to use when you are cloning cannabis.
Keep reading to learn about the expected yields when using CFLs, what to look for when buying them, and, of course, the best CFL for growing cannabis.
Quick Top 5 CFLs for Growing:
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What Are CFL Lights?
CFL stands for Compact Fluorescent Lights.
Like any living thing, marijuana plants need exposure to light to grow.
CFL lights are an economical way to provide your cannabis with nourishment while keeping the growing under wraps within the privacy of your own home.
They are great for a DIY project such as a hydroponic grow because you can get CFLs at any hardware store. If you are scared to DIY your own hydroponic systems, we have this EPIC hydroponic system review guide.
With higher efficiency, they are cheaper than using regular incandescent light bulbs because they use less electricity and don't burn out as quick.
You can expect to pay around $50 per month in electric fees using CFL lights for marijuana.
How Much Cannabis Does a CFL Light Yield?
Each strain of weed you cultivate is unique and may need more or less exposure to CFL lights.
The period between seed to harvest typically runs anywhere from 12 to 14 weeks under this light source.
When you're using CFL lights, you should keep in mind their light range.
Typically, CFL lights have a shorter reach, maxing out around 8 to 12 inches.
So, you can expect your plants to max out at around 4 feet.
As the plants reach for the light, you may have to adjust the CFL light to promote even growth.
In general, the average yield you can expect to end up with using CFL lights to grow pot is 1 to 3 ounces per plant.
A Warning About CFL Lights
CFL lights are a cheap way for beginners to get their hands dirty while learning how to grow at home.
Simplicity in mind, that’s why CFLs are best suited for just a few plants, seedlings or clones just starting.
The more plants you add to the equation, the less cost-effective CFL lights become.
That’s because some plants will not receive adequate lighting and die.
You would need to add more CFLs to the equation, which would waste more electricity.
If you are looking to grow five or more plants, you might want to upgrade to an LED Grow Light.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at 6 of the best CFLs for growing marijuana.
The Best CFL for Growing
Straight off the bat, the best thing about the Hydrofarm Agrobrite FLCDG125D is that it comes with S-hooks in plain sight, ready to hang this light up.
Due to its cylindrical, yet boxy shape, you can also set this CFL on its side on top of a desk to give a different angle of light exposure to your flowering plants.
Speaking of that curvy structure, its shape also gives this CFL an advantage when hanging above.
Seeing as light curves, the structure of the Hydrofarm Agrobrite FLCDG125D gives the light a distinct shape that causes the rays to dome over and around the plant, rather than reflect off onto the ground.
The reflector that comes with the Agrobrite is also curved, allowing for even more light.
Just one word of advice, use gloves when handling the reflector.
Oils in your fingers will leave a residue on the reflector that can ruin the quality or even cause the reflector to shatter under the heat.
This fixture is equipped with a 125 W bulb, giving the Agrobrite a wider range of light than most other CFLs.
Due to its wattage and far lumen reach, you can get away with using this as the primary light source for three plants set-up in a 3x3 grow room.
However, the best results will come using two plants with a 2x2 set-up or using it to grow in your closet.
This is a much more simplistic approach to using CFL for growing.
The Hydroponic Full Spectrum fits in any light socket.
However, don’t let this mislead you about the size of the Hydroponic Full Spectrum.
For something that fits in an everyday socket, this CFL light is bulky and heavy.
It's very hard to hide and will stick out like a sore thumb from most wall sockets, overhead fixtures or lamps.
These bulbs give out 5500K (blue) daylight energy.
This is ideal for the germination period of marijuana growth.
However, you would be best suited for around 2700K (red) for the flowering period.
Ideally, your cannabis plant will have exposure to both color temperatures.
While effective for house plants and may get you results with cannabis, this might not be the best year-round light bulb for plants.
This is a much more socket-friendly light bulb.
The Agrobrite FLC26D 26-Watt Spiral produces 16,000 lumens.
With a typical cannabis plant needing around 7,500 lumens per square foot of cannabis plant, this would make the Agrobrite ideal for one plant but can support two pretty comfortably.
The Agrobrite emits 6600K light, making it a decent happy medium for those who can’t accommodate their plant with both 5500K in the germination and 2700K in the flowering phases.
These bulbs do get hot when in use, however, they do not generate as much heat as many others on this list so they are great to supplement with HPS grow lights.
Therefore, if you are changing the direction of the bulb on the plant and need to make contact with the bulb itself, you won’t have to wait too long after turning off the power source before handling the CFL.
While these bulbs radiate a very strong, bright light, it is not harsh.
There’s a softness to it that doesn’t overwhelm the area.
That’s what’s so nice about the Agrobrite.
If you get out of the growing game, this CFL makes for a good household light bulb as well.
You can use this bulb to light up a full room without the need of using any other source.
Therefore, this makes the Agrobrite a money saver when it comes time for the electric bill.
Regarding color temperature, this is the next step up in being a year-round bulb as it emits 6400K light.
This range is a smidge closer than the Agrobrite FLC26D to the 2700K sweet spot that flowering bud loves.
With that being said, at 6400K this is as white as a ghost doused in bleach.
Plants react well to this light, but your eyes may not.
The SunBlaster can last upwards of 16 hours a day.
However, best practices for the plant would say to give it 12 hours under the lamp and 12 hours without it, so 16 hours is more than enough time.
One piece of advice, don’t let your plants get too close to the bulb.
The closer they get to the SunBlaster, that faster it will SunBlast the life out your buds.
This light looks like an apparatus that would be used by a security guard outside a concert to see if you had metal on you.
With a temp of 2100K, this is a great light for the flowering stage of your cannabis growth.
Being at such a low color temp, these lights mimic the sun stages during both the fall and winter seasons.
This is the time where fruit is plentiful, giving its last hurrah of nutrients before going away for hibernation.
Therefore, this is the period where you should be picking your fruit, or in this case, weed.
Due to its lower heat output, it is easier to handle these light bulbs than some of the others on the list.
With that being said, at 125 watts, you can still cover all the lighting exposure needs of a few plants at once.
So, from a cost-efficiency standpoint, this CFL has a low energy output and also covers the needs of multiple plants.
That might make this CFL grow light the best bang for your buck, especially if you are mostly concerned about the flowering phase of your grow cycle.
This is for the weed-growing enthusiast.
Miracle-Gro is acting like the Apple of CFLs, as this product is to be used within the universe of Miracle-Gro products.
So, you can only use these light bulbs if you are growing your plants in:
- Miracle-Gro AeroGarden
- AeroGarden 3
- AeroGarden 3SL
- AeroGarden 3 Elite
- AeroGarden 6
- AeroGarden 7
- Chief in a Box
- Chef in a Box Elite
- Florist in a Box
- Florist in a Box Elite B Bulb
In another Apple-like trick, these CFLs are also sold in two-packs.
However, most AeroGarden products require three CFLs.
Therefore, you are forced to buy four, with an odd one out.
Essentially, this could rope you into buying two more, so you have your next round ready to go.
While that is a laundry list of Miracle-Gro products, don’t assume that you can use these CFLs with just any AeroGarden.
For instance, these lights are not compatible with the popular AeroGarden Pro 100.
With that being said, Miracle-Gro is a trusted brand name, and these bulbs do hold up.
They can emit three different lights across the color spectrum.
This is much more customizable for the cannabis grower.
That makes this bulb a prime candidate for a year-round indoor lighting solution for cannabis plants.
Now, growing cannabis with any ol' light just won't do.
And, you should only be using CFLs to test the growing waters with a plant or two.
After you get the basics, you should quickly be upgrading to a larger light that can handle more plants and offer larger yields.
You will always want a CFL or two around, though.
They are perfect for clones and seedlings when they are just getting started.
You can use any household CFL, or you can pick up one of these for better results.
After all, these are the best CFLs for growing. Don't forget to check out our buying guide on the best fluorescent grow lights here.
Last update on 2020-01-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API