Are you sure your ballast is the best ballast for your indoor grow?
Of all the operating parts of your grow light system the most important part of it all is the ballast.
Without a ballast, a grow light will not receive any power to turn your lights on, rendering your grow lights virtually useless. While you may not think much of your grow light’s ballast, you’d be surprised to find out that not all ballasts are created the same:
- Some ballasts put out high radio frequencies that can disrupt wifi signals, while others will not
- There are ballasts that have the ability to adjust the intensity of your grow light, and others that can even push your bulbs to produce 15% more heat than their maximum strength gets normally (this is known as a Super Lumen feature)
- Some ballasts are quite heavy and can only be mounted on the ground, and some so slim and light you can mount them anywhere in your grow room
Knowing the features, advantages, and disadvantages of any given ballast is vital to controlling the environment- and eventual harvest- of your grow. Because our growers loved the HPS Grow Bulb Comparison Test so much, we decided to make a video and infographic (below) comparing the performance of the 6 most popular 1000w digital ballasts on the market so you can make the best decision to keep your grow room up and running:
Why Should You Invest in a Quality Ballast Before Buying Quality Bulbs?
Lots of growers think that the better the bulb the higher quality grow you’ll get, and that’s true… for the most part. A good bulb would be nothing without a good ballast to help run it. In fact, if your bulb is a nice expensive one but your ballast isn’t great, you’ll be under-utilizing that bulb and that’s a waste. No grower wants waste time or money, so we researched the top 6 digital ballasts on the market and tested them with a 1000w Hortilux grow light bulb in an air cool hood reflector, all in a Yield Lab Reflective Grow Tent.
What makes a “high quality ballast”?
When looking for the best ballasts around, we asked growers what brands they trusted based on the following criteria:
- Par Output- How much power is coming from the ballast and how much is it capable of handling?
- Silence – Stealthy operations enjoy the low to no humming noises coming from their ballasts.
- Increased Grow Bulb Life – These ballasts are the most well-known brands to reduce risks of premature failure.
- Light and Compact – Ease of transportation anddesign for easy setup and storage.
- Strict Safety Features – You don’t like unwanted fire hazards, and we don’t, either. High quality digital ballasts make it difficult to start a fire or damage your home’s electrical circuits.
- Bonus for ballasts w/ special features like Super Lumens
With that in mind, we got to work and tested 6x individual ballasts out. Here are the results:
Of the 1000w Ballasts we tested (Solis-Tek, Yield Lab Slim Line, Galaxy, Phantom, Xtrasun, and Quantum) here’s what we found:
- Solis-Tek and Phantom ballasts had the highest PAR output along with the highest price tag
- Advantage: Highest PAR output; Disadvantage: Most expensive
- Yield Lab Slim Line was only 27 PAR points away from the highest rated ballasts and was literally 50% less expensive than the strongest ballasts around
- Advantage: High quality ballast at half the price of other quality ballasts; Disadvantage: These ballasts can interfere with wifi signals, but a simple compressor can fix that
- Xtrasun’s ballast gave the least performance of all the ballasts, but they’re definitely the least expensive
- Advantage: Good for a budget ballast; Disadvantage: It has the lowest PAR reading of all the ballasts we’ve tested
- Galaxy ballasts put out less PAR than Yield Lab and cost more than both Solis Tek and Phantom ballasts. Quantum unfortunately didn’t perform much better, especially for its price range
In the end, Yield Lab seemed to be the best bang for your buck. However, if you’ve got the money and want the absolute highest performing ballast, the Solis-Tek ballast is the one for you, with the Phantom is a very close second
Hope you liked this review! If you have any other suggestions on comparison tests we should run or a specific item we should review– let us know in the comments below. What do you think?