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LED Lighting Vs Fluorescent Lighting For Plants

 LED Lighting Vs Fluorescent Lighting For Plants

A grow light simulates natural sunlight, allowing you to grow plants indoors all year round一even during the short days of Calgary’s harsh winters. One of the first questions new growers or gardeners ask is the type of lighting they should use: light-emitting diode (LED) or fluorescent.

While both types of lighting have their merits, LED is generally the superior choice. That does not mean that fluorescent lighting does a worse job at growing plants; it just means that the benefits that come with LED lighting are usually too good to pass up.

The electricians at Fluorescent Man Lighting Ltd. have extensive experience designing, installing, and repairing both LED and fluorescent lighting in Calgary. Whether you are a hobbyist or tasked with growing plants for a commercial property, you are sure to find a lighting system suited to your needs with us.

Comparing LED Lighting With Fluorescent Lighting 

One thing is clear: both LEDs and fluorescent lighting are effective at turning seeds into full-grown plants. As such, the argument between the 2 lighting types is not about effectiveness but about energy efficiency, cost, and ease of use. LEDs tend to outclass fluorescent lighting in these metrics. 

Here is a more detailed rundown of the comparison between LED lighting and fluorescent lighting:

  • Energy efficiency: Energy efficiency is calculated by the amount of light produced for each watt of energy used. LEDs have fluorescent lights beat in this aspect. For example, a 300-watt LED lamp produces just as much energy as a 600-watt fluorescent grow tube. 
  • LEDs, which often come with a heat sink, also output lower heat than fluorescent lights. This means that LEDs can be placed closer to the plant, allowing it to get the most out of photosynthesis. Conversely, fluorescent lights need to be placed farther away from the plant due to higher running temperatures. The more distant the light source, the less energy is available for photosynthesis. 
  • Energy efficiency is important because of its environmental and financial implications. Not only do LEDs leave a smaller environmental footprint, they are also kinder on your electricity bills. 
  • Life expectancy: With an average lifespan of 50,000 to 100,000 operating hours, LEDs are 4-5 times more durable than their fluorescent counterparts. In fact, an LED light can last up to 10 years with proper usage! 
  • Ease of use: For optimal growth, plants need a mix of “warm” and “cool” lights. Growing with only warm lights results in short, bushy plants with no blooms. On the other hand, constant exposure to cool lights leads to brittle, spindly plants. To get around this problem, indoor gardeners have been using 2-tube fluorescent lighting systems with one warm bulb and one cool bulb. While this 2-tube fixture has been the gold standard for many years, it is getting outshone by LEDs, which can emit the full lighting spectrum with a single bulb. 
  • Cost: LEDs are generally more expensive than fluorescent fixtures. However, maintaining a LED system may end up cheaper in the long run. Better energy efficiency means lower electricity bills. Superior durability means lower repair and replacement costs. 

LED Lighting Or Fluorescent Lighting: Which One Is Best For Me? 

LED lighting, as a newer technology, outperforms fluorescent lighting on most criteria. Its high efficiency, in tandem with its durability, versatility, and cost-saving over time, gives it the edge. As such, you cannot go wrong with a trusty set of LED fixtures. 

However, fluorescent lights do have their place. If you are a hobbyist who is just getting started with indoor gardening, fluorescent lights may be the better choice for you. Since you are probably only starting out with a few plants, energy efficiency is less of a concern. Furthermore, you do not want to be on the bill for an expensive LED system if you find out that indoor gardening is not for you after all. 

Regardless of your choice between LED lighting or fluorescent lighting, you can count on Fluorescent Man Lighting Ltd. to advise, design, and install your next lighting system. Having serviced Calgary’s residential and commercial lighting needs for over 25 years, our Calgary electricians commit to the highest standard of customer service.

Call us at 403-863-8529 or fill out the online contact form for a complimentary consultation.  


Q: How long should my plants be exposed to lighting for them to grow indoors?

A: Your grow light system should be running for at least 12 hours on a daily basis. 

Q: Do I need to change my electrical outlets If I want to retrofit my grow lights with LED? 

A: No. Most LED grow lights are compatible with regular electrical outlets. 

Q: Can LED lighting systems come with integrated control systems?

A:  Yes. LED lighting can be controlled through various devices with mobile apps and can even provide features such as motion detection, timers, and dimmers.

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