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It might be surprising to hear, but many of the best cannabis growers first cut their teeth on growing cannabis in cramp and tiny spaces.
It teaches you how to hone essential gardening skills and work with what you’re given, and may ultimately give you the edge over growers who’ve only grown in large spaces.
While called a ‘closet grow,' the term applies to really any growing that's done in a small space.
With a little innovation, people have successfully grown weed in cupboards and even computer towers.
Trying to grow cannabis in a space as small as a computer tower is pushing it though, and you’d be better off building a rig like a space bucket.
The ability to grow weed in something as small as a closet, but still have a constant supply of bud on hand is beyond tempting.
However, the small space does create some unique issues for cannabis growers with the biggest dealing with their light source.
When you’re confined to a small space, choosing the right light is never more important.
The last thing you want is to spend $500-$1000 on a light that won’t work in your space.
Today, we’ll show you what goes into picking the best light for your closet or micro grow.
As well, we'll give you our five favorite grow lights for growing weed in your closet or another small space.
Quick Top 5 Lights for Closet Growing
Horticulture HLG 65 V2 4000K
Roleadro Galaxyhydro LED
Durolux DL824 Fluorescent T5
Sun System HPS 150W
Keep reading or jump straight to the reviews!
Table of Contents
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Why Grow Weed In Your Closet?
Growing cannabis in your closet or a cupboard is a great way to get started quickly without getting overwhelmed with too much info and equipment that requires a big budget.
By choosing the right light, it’s completely possible for a first-time grower to grow more than enough cannabis to supply their needs even if they’re a daily user.
Growing in your closet is more discrete, gives you better control over your growing environment, and you don’t have to sacrifice a room in your house to growing cannabis.
Types of Small Grow Lights
When choosing a light for growing cannabis, you’ll come across three major types of grow lights.
Fluorescent Grow Lights
There are two main types of fluorescents used for growing: CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights) and T-Series (T5, T8, & T12) Grow Lights.
Pros to growing with fluorescent lights:
- Work great in super tiny spaces
- Plugs into standard light sockets
- Good light spectrum
- Great for seedlings, clones, and young plants
- Don’t produce a lot of heat
Cons to growing with fluorescent lights:
- Smallest yield per watt ratio
- You likely won't have fluorescents strong enough lying around the house
- Buds aren’t as dense as they are under other lights
To see get a complete break down of fluorescent lights check out our guide here.
HID (High-Intensity Discharge) Grow Lights
There are three main types of HID lighting: HPS (High-Pressure Sodium), MH (Metal Halide), and CMH (Ceramic Metal Halide).
Pros to growing with HIDs:
- Fantastic light spectrum MH (Veg), HPS (Flowering), & CMH (All stages)
- High yield to watt ratio
- Have dominated professional indoor gardens for years.
- Often dimmable, allowing some to fit medium-sized closets.
Cons to growing with HIDs:
- Require a reflector and ballast that take up space
- Often produces too much heat for small spaces
- Cannot get close to plants like other lights
To see get a complete break down of HPS lights check out our guide here.
LED (Light-Emitting Diode) Grow Lights
LED grow lights come in many styles from bulbs to strips to full-blown units with built-in exhaust fans and optional light spectrums.
Pros to growing with LEDs:
- Cutting edge grow light technology
- Super energy-efficient
- Low heat
- Doesn’t need to be replaced as often as HIDs and fluorescents
- There are LEDs suited for every growing space no matter how big or small
Cons to growing with LEDs:
- High initial cost
- All the different style units can make picking one confusing
To see get a complete break down of LED grow lights, check out our MASSIVE guide here.
How To Choose A Grow Light When You Have No Space
If you want to grow the amazing weed we know you can, these next five factors are essential to picking the best grow light.
If one thing limits your lighting choice more than anything else, it’s how much heat some produce.
While many growers consider them the best lights, HIDs are usually not recommended for spaces smaller than a 3’x3’x5’ (LxWxH).
You want an energy-efficient light like an LED that can produce more light per watt.
CFLs are also a popular choice for keeping heat from building up, though they aren’t the most energy-efficient. If you go with CFLs, be sure to check out this buying guide on THCoverdose.com.
Resist the temptation to buy the most powerful light or the LED with the most light.
High-intensity lights build up heat quickly even in large spaces and require ventilation equipment a small space can’t handle.
Before you buy a light, you need to measure how much space you’re limited to.
This is a good time to measure out everything, including your grow medium's height, final plant height, and how far your light hangs from the ceiling.
While energy-efficient and low heat producing, many LED units — and all HID lights — need to hang 18-24” above the plant’s canopy as they can burn plants with too much light.
If your space can’t handle the height requirement of a traditional LED unit, CFLs and DIY LED strips can often get as close as an inch or two from the plant’s canopy.
Cannabis plants love a lot of light, but too much can severely hinder their growth and even kill them.
That’s why it’s important to calculate your square footage, so you don’t buy a light that’s too powerful or weak.
For finding how much light you need for your grow space, you usually only need to calculate its width and length. We'll show you how below!
Just like if you were growing cannabis in a warehouse, you need to pay attention to the light spectrum when growing in a closet or another small space.
For HIDs, CFLs, and white LEDs you want a light between 4000K-6500K for veg and one between 2000K-4000K for bloom.
Some LEDs grow lights go by nanometers instead of kelvins and for those you want 400nm-550nm for veg and 550nm-750nm for bloom.
If you can only afford one light spectrum, go for one that’s better for flowering than veg because this is the stage when all your future bud does its growing.
As well, you can find LED units with switchable veg and flowering cycles.
Most growers are setting up a closet grow because they don’t have a lot of space or have a limited budget.
It’s a hard decision deciding if you want to buy a cheap light you might only use for a handful of grows or an expensive one that will save you money in the long run.
Our recommendation is to consider spending a little more money on an energy-efficient light, not only because it means lower electric bills, but they also help keep the heat down.
How Much Light Do Indoor Plants Need?
There’s a lot of confusing terminology in the cannabis growing world and accurately measuring and comparing different types of lights is a bit of a nightmare.
We won’t go too in-depth here, but you should know that lumens and watts are not important for LEDs like they are for HIDs and fluorescents.
Because HIDs have long dominated the professional growing world, watts and lumens are still heavily used when comparing LEDs to other lights.
Since companies that make LED grow lights still use watts and lumens when selling their lights, so will we.
In general, you want a light that’s equivalent to a 50W HID per square foot.
If your 100W LED says it can replace a 200W HID, then it should cover a 2x2’ area.
However, you need to calculate PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation), PPF (Photosynthetic Photon Flux), and PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density) if you want to truly know how much usable light an LED can give a plant.
The Best Lights for Growing Weed in Closet
- Grow Space Coverage: 2’x2-3’x3’
- Power Usage: Pulls 65 Watts
- How Far to Keep from Plants: 12-18”
There are several factors that we considered when selecting the best grow lights for a closet or micro grow.
There's price, light spectrum, yield to watt, and practicality, to name a few.
The immediate thing that takes you by surprise about the HLG Quantum Board is its ability to blend affordability, energy efficiency, and watt to yield ratio.
It produces 10,000 lumens with only 65 watts and lasts for 50,000 hours, making it comparable to a 150W metal halide and a 200W CFL which are only expected to last 6,000 to 15,000 hours.
Remember with LED lights that watts and lumens are not as important as they are with HID lights.
Add on top of that white full spectrum LEDs are the latest craze in LEDs, and you’ve got a recipe for a great grow light.
While it only has one light spectrum, white LEDs are doing fairly well, supplying enough blue light for vegging plants, and this light covers a 3x3' footprint in veg & 2x2' in flowering.
This version, in particular, has more than enough blue light to keep plants short in veg, but you may want to ultimately go with the 3000K 100W version for bigger buds.
It’s not dimmable, so you’ll need it to hang around 12-18 inches over your plant's canopy, and potentially two feet for seedling — HLG does make dimmable units.
Besides that, the HLG Quantum Board is a beast to contend with, and you will not be disappointed when your pulling more yield per watts than your friend growing with an HID.
- Blends affordability with energy-efficiency
- Latest and greatest in LED technology
- Full spectrum that works well for both veg and flowering.
- Newer style LED that’s only been tested for a few years
- Lacks UV and IR light
- Grow Space Coverage: 3’x3-4’x4’
- Power Usage: 276W
- How Far to Keep from Plants: 16-20”
VIPARSPECTRA appears on our editor’s choice list quite often and that because the Reflector series offers four fantastic grow lights that will fit anyone’s space: the 300W, 450W, 600W, and the 1200W version.
The 600W version actually pulls 276W making it suitable for flowering in a 3x3’ where it can grow plants yielding a gram or more per Watt.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the VIPARSPECTRA is it's expected to last over 100,000 hours, and that could be over 50 harvests, which is incredible!
This light is perfect for all growing stages as it gives you two switches for the veg and flowering stages.
During veg, you can give your plants all the blue wavelength it craves.
Then for flowering, you can turn your red lights on in addition for a light spectrum that’s wonderful growing dense nugs.
- Light spectrum for both vegetation and blooming stages
- Range of wattage options
- Lack enough red light for achieving optimal flowering conditions
- Grow Space Coverage: 2’x2-3’x3’
- Actual Power Draw: 135W
- How Far to Keep from Plants: 12-24”
The Roleadro LED unit is pulling around 135W at the plug and pumps out 7,000 lumens making it equivalent to a 250W HPS.
It has an excellent PAR value at 453umol when hanging 18 inches above the plant’s canopy making it able to cover 3’x3’ in veg and 2’x2’ in bloom.
Now, you may be put off by the heavy amount of red and blue diodes to other colors, but the Roleadro touts UV and IR light that may help your plant produce more THC.
It strangely doesn’t have an on/off button, which is only a minor annoyance since you’ll mainly use a light timer to turn your lights on and off.
On the plus side, it has two very quiet built-in fans perfect for getting rid of heat and keeping your cannabis garden hidden.
- Excellent for closets and small gardens
- Built-in fans are very quiet
- Daily chain function
- No on and off button
- Single light spectrum
- Grow Space Coverage: 1’x1’-2’x2’
- Power Usage: 96W
- How Far to Keep from Plants: 6”-12”
We reviewed this awesome light in our best fluorescent grow lights in 2019, and it’s made it on another one of our editor's lists.
The Durolux solves a big issue for first-time growers, and that’s having a light that can move from their starter small space to a larger space when the time comes for it.
This T5 fluorescent has four bulbs that at max out an impressive 10,000 lumens while only using 96W, and you can individually turn off each bulb.
Even better, you can daisy chain the system for adding additional lights in the future and this way you’ll have a light you yourself can grow with.
The 6500K light spectrum is a bit blue for optimal flowering conditions, but many growers have had immense success using the Durolux for veg and bloom.
- The best of the T5 bulbs which continues to be the most popular choice of the T-series
- Very affordable
- Daisy chain function
- Single light spectrum that produces too much blue light for optimal flowering conditions.
- Takes up more room than a CFL will
- Grow Space Coverage: 2x2-3’x3’
- Power Usage: 96W
- How Far to Keep from Plants: 18”-24”
There aren’t a lot of HID options for small gardens, and while the Sun System is bulkier than other lights on our list, you will not find a smaller HID grow light.
An HID deserves to make our list because they grow incredible weed, and there are some green thumbs that will not use any other light than HIDs.
The Sun System packs 150 watts and can cover a 3’x3’ in veg and 2’x2’ in flowering.
It’s a complete kit, plug & play, and gives you with everything you need to run an HID grow light: reflector, ballast, and bulb.
There are two potential negatives, and the first is it doesn’t ship discreetly and says “increase yields” right on the box.
The other potential negative is the hood is not air cooled, but if it was, then the hood would need to be bigger.
- Time-tested HID known to grow amazing weed
- True plug and play HID
- Smallest HID unit available
- Bulkier than other lights on our list
- Produces more heat than our LED options
- Requires a decent amount of height
By choosing the right light for your closet or micro grow space, you'll ultimately save time, money, and keep a major headache at bay.
The right light may require more initial research and a bigger budget, but the alternative can mean out-of-control temperatures, sick or dead plants, and poor or no yields.
Growing weed is honestly one of the most fun things you can do, and it’s beyond rewarding.
The last thing you want is the wrong light choice completely taking that experience away from you.
On the bright side, you have many different and fantastic options to pick from that will cater to your unique grow space and budget.
Just remember our tips from above, and you will be golden and overspilling with green:
- Measure out your grow space height, its square footage, and everything that will be in it
- Make sure your lights covers cannabis’ light spectrum needs
- Grab a hygrometer to monitor temperatures and heat buildup
If you loved this guide, be sure to check out our guide on cloning lights by checking out this guide here.
Last update on 2021-03-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API