I have found hortilux bulbs to be reliable, long lasting, and they give me better performance over other brands.
I’ve run several different brands of bulbs in my garden. Hortilux, Ushio, Plantmax, Apollo, to name a few. I have narrowed it down to two bulbs. Apollo, for the poor man; Hortilux for the best results.
Not including the SIZE of your plant, the number one key factor for high yield, is light. Of course, without proper environment and nutrients, you won’t be able to grow a beautiful plant. But light is the one item you should NOT skimp on, when it comes to setting up your garden.
So let’s take a step back and talk about lighting systems in general. When choosing your lighting system, you should first determine your end goal. If you want to “look cool”, then there are dozens of LED light fixtures you can get, and you can turn your grow room into a disco dance to amaze the stoners on the forums. But if your main goal is a bushel of big, dank buds, then stick with what works; high pressure sodium light. And you will be surprised at how cheap a HPS set up is.
I’ve been using galaxy digital ballasts for years. I bought every one of them USED on ebay for under $100, including shipping. A couple I only paid $50! Some of the newer galaxy ballasts have fans in them. I suggest you stay away from fans. Fans make noise, and when the fan goes out, the ballast can overheat. I simply have not had a problem with my older, galaxy ballasts. They also have a built in circuit breaker as well. So if you spray water on it, it’s own breaker will pop, instead of the breaker in the electrical box (and turning off everything). And yes, I know this from experience.
I only use Hortilux bulbs. I’ve tried several brands, and I have seen a few different bulbs “burn out” or stop firing after just a few months. I’ve never had that problem with Hortilux, or Apollo. A hortilux 600W HPS bulb, usually costs about $80. If you’re considering a $60-ish price bulb, you may as well spend another $20 and get the best. However if you’re on a tight budget, my recommendation is to go with the Apollo bulb. I have run these for several months straight and have not had one stop firing. If you compare Apollo side by side to the horti, it looks like a COPY, and they perform ALMOST as well. Best of all, you can nail one of these for just $25.
Believe it or not, this Serious Seeds BubbleGum was grown with a 600W Apollo bulb:
Reflectors / Hoods:
I’ve changed hoods a few times; I’ve tried everything from cool tubes, open air reflectors, and Magnum hoods. Your first need to choose between an “open air” reflector, or a “Air ducted” hood. Below I explain both, and tell you what I’m using. Note: I don’t mind spending a lot of money for the perfect hood / reflector, but I’ve found it isn’t necessary.
Ducted: To the left you will see a picture of a ducted hood, and this one happens to be a “cool tube” reflector hybrid. Believe it or not, these are the hoods I am switching to! This reflector is BIG! It is 29″ x 38″. I have two of these now and they are amazing for the LOW price of only $65. Yes, I like these even better than my $200 Raptor hoods. The price is right, they are super light, low profile, but most of all, it’s super easy to change the bulb, and they are AIR TIGHT! You can duct off the heat from the bulb, and not worry about carrying stink out the vent. Since I am limited to a 7′ ceiling, I modify the cord to come out the side instead of the top, and then I screw this baby right to the ceiling.
Open air: There is no glass, thereby nothing in between the bulb and the plant, to hinder light. If you’re going with an open air reflector, this is the one I suggest, and can be had for under $100. If you do not have an air conditioner, DO NOT buy an open air reflector. It is impossible to duct the heat off the bulb, and in turn, your room will get too hot.
Now we take a tour of the Captain’s Quarters, at night!