cheap grow lights?

jessicavanderhoff(7 Md)April 15, 2009

I've looked in home depot and walmart, but they seem really expensive! At least $30 for a fixture that holds two bulbs. The ones I already have are single bulb 2 foot fixtures, which I paid $10 each for. Is there a cheaper way?I don't have much wiring experience.

Thanks!

Jess

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karenrei

Do the math and you'll find that the real cost is in the power, not the lights. Buy what's best for your situation that uses as little power as possible.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 1:23AM
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jaynine

we found the cheapest way is to buy the cheapest 4' hanging shop lights and replace the bulbs with aquarium/plant bulbs. works great.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 8:37AM
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jessicavanderhoff(7 Md)

Karenrei-- I will be using some kind of fluorescent tube fixtures, so the cost of the power should be determined only by the wattage of the bulb.

Jaynine,I would like to use a shop light. Have you found an inexpensive one anywhere? I haven't had any luck. I have found that regular white bulbs work much better than the purplish plant bulbs. Have you ever tried regular white, and was your experience different?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 9:14AM
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karenrei

"I will be using some kind of fluorescent tube fixtures, so the cost of the power should be determined only by the wattage of the bulb."

Well, yes to some degree, although even within the category of "fluorescent", for example, T5s and T8s are generally more efficient than T12s and CFLs. But my main point was, IMHO, get what's best for you, not necessarily what's cheapest, because it's a fraction of your total costs. If you only do 16/8 light at only 200W and only for a quarter of the year, that's $30-$35 every year in electricity. 24/0 light at 450W all year is more like $400-450. But either way, a good fixture will last pretty much forever.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 3:24PM
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egghead2004(5/Central MA)

Home Depot does have a 4 foot shop light for under $10. There are 2 bulbs and plug directly into an outlet.

I bought 3 and mounted them together with t-12 and t-8 bulbs.

T 12 bulbs are cheaper than T-8 and from what I've heard are fine to use.

Here is a thread that I posted my lighting set up on.

Here is a link that might be useful: my thread showing the lights

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 3:54PM
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jessicavanderhoff(7 Md)

Thank you; I didn't know that about the different kinds of florescent bulbs. I don't see much increase in my energy bills. My lights are only on about 14 hours per day, because I live in a studio apartment, the plants have to sleep when I do. And they only run a few months a year, so closer to the $35 per year, I think. It's still really good information though, because I hope someday to have a greenhouse.

egghead, do you know what the brand is, or can you link to the home depot site? I will look and try to find it when I'm there.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 4:04PM
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jaynine

We got our lights at home depot also. When I first started out, I used the bulbs that came with it and they worked fine for starting seeds and keeping the transplants healthy until it was time to plant out (keep the lights 1-2 inches from the plants). I switched to plant/aquarium bulbs when the amount of larger flowering plants I wanted to overwinter overflowed from the house into the basement (how'd that happen?). We've since acquired a greenhouse & no longer use them, but they did a wonderful job!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 8:02PM
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luke3026

I got my 4 ft T8 fixture at Walmart for $9.76. I like it better than the $10 one Home Depot has because the Walmart one has a larger/wider reflector. I'm also using the cheapest residential bulbs they had ($4 for the pair) and my seedlings seem to be happy with it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Luke's SF Victory Garden

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 8:14PM
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jessicavanderhoff(7 Md)

found the under $10 one in home depot! If anyone else is as oblivious as me, there isn't one on display, but it's in the lighting section on the shelves under the other grow lights. Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 8:58PM
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jessicavanderhoff(7 Md)

I must have missed your post, luke3026, before I went to the store. Actually, though, my lights and plants are along skinny ledge against a wall, so the skinnier reflector is a good thing for me.

Thanks, thanks :-)

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 10:04AM
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lazyhat

$30 is not really expensive. Relatively dollars are almost toilet paper they way they print them, thats why things cost so much its just wages are not increasing with this.

But The shops lights will be good while their seedlings, but they might a get a big "Leggy" so you got to keep them close, after a certain point it won't be enough to pentrate several layers of branches/leaves.

Myself I used a Floru tube called a "Grow N Show" I bought several years ago at Wal-mart for $20. It worked somewhat well this year for my seedlings, then growth just dimsished. (not enough light)

I bought a 125 Watt CFL which is misnomer becuase there not really compact there quite huge. The 125W CFL are sold for around $60 and give off about 8,000 Lumens. From my understand LUMENs are the most important part of a growing light. If you can afford get something rated around 10,000 lumens like a High Pressue Sodium or Metal Halide Lamp, or try the the 125 or 200 Watt CFL grow lights and your plants will grow very good like they are outside.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 2:38AM
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pavorojo_yahoo_com

I've had good success using simple shop lights. As lazyhat suggests, you need to be careful about "leggy" seedlings. I have a couple of pictures of the setup that I used. Basically its a pole with some chains which you can use to lower the light and mitigate the legginess of the seedlings.

Here is a link that might be useful: cheap grow light setup

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 7:16PM
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