No matter how long you have been growing indoors with soil or hydroponics, some grow light bulbs brand will always be more popular than others. Would you believe me when I say the more expensive indoor grow bulbs are surprisingly not the best ones to use?
The one I am talking about specifically are the Eye Hortilux brand grow light bulbs. The problem with Eye Hortilux is not the fact that they produce the best HPS indoor grow bulb on the market, which we proved. The reason we hold off on using Eye Hortilux bulbs is for affordability reasons. Here are 5 reasons why Eye Hortilux Grow Light Bulbs may not the best investment:
1. They’re the Most Expensive and Best Bulbs Around, but Not the Most Cost Efficient
Eye Hortilux bulbs cost a lot. At an MSRP of $129.95, a set of good bulbs is going to be pretty expensive. Now that may sound obvious to you, but it is easy to miss the finer details. Let us break it down for you:
For consistency, I will be comparing prices for 1000 watt bulbs as examples. The cheapest price that I found for a Hortilux 1000w HPS is on Amazon.com for $61 free shipping. In our last HPS grow bulb test, we showed that the second best HPS grow bulb on the market, which is the Yield Lab High Output HPS ($34.95+ Free Shipping on Amazon.com), was far cheaper than the MSRP price of the first best HPS grow bulb.
In our comparison, we’ve shown that while the Yield Lab bulb may not give you the same power as an Eye Hortilux bulb, it’s only a fraction of the PAR output at nearly 40% of the cost. Compare that to bulbs in those price ranges, and you’ll see that Yield Lab has the best bulbs you can get without paying an extra ~$27 for a little more power.
When it comes to growing, you do not need pricey bulbs with the fanciest packaging. All you need is enough power to light your plants the way they need to be lit. If you don’t have the money for expensive Eye Hortiluz grow bulbs, go with the $35 – $50 range “red” HPS bulbs and “blue” MH bulbs like the ones from Yield Lab Horticulture. They will work just fine, especially when you take in to consideration the grow light bulb’s life expectancy.
2. Life Expectancy: Best Practice vs. Advertisements
Professional indoor growers know that grow lights bulbs are the most intense within the first year of use. After that they’ll decrease in intensity, and eventually they’ll need to be replaced. Best practices ask growers to simply replace their bulbs after a year, but some growers claim you can run an additional harvest with an Eye Hortilux grow bulb (Eye Hortilux mentions this on their website regarding their bulbs as well).
This is only partially true because even though the bulb will physically fire after a year, its luminosity will eventually degrade. Running faded lights over your garden will not result in a bigger yield- quite the opposite.
Knowing you should be replacing your bulbs every year, this gives the Eye Hortilux grower a tough decision: do you go by “best practices” and replace expensive Eye Hortilux bulbs every year (an ever-increasing expense), or trust advertising and risk less than optimal harvests?
It’s also worth mentioning that the Eye Hortilux Super HPS can be used in both veg and flower. In our experience, CMH lights and LED’s carry the wavelengths needed for both vegging and flowering, so if you want an all-in-one light, go with a CMH or an LED. Otherwise, you will get much better results running a separate MH bulb for veg and then a standard HPS for flower because each phase needs specific wavelengths of light.
3. Compared to the second best grow light bulbs, you are not getting enough intensity for the price. I’ll explain…
Through our testing, we compared a 1000w Yield Lab HPS bulb to an Eye Hortilux Super HPS 1000w bulb and saw that the Hortilux bulb only got 10% extra light strength in PAR ratings.
Looking at the price comparison from the beginning of this article, you will be paying about twice as much for only a 10% gain. That’s not to say the Eye Hortilux is worse in quality- if anything they’re 10% better than Yield Lab’s. However, for roughly 50% more money you’d expect around 50% more power, but unfortunately that’s not the case.
Now, more lumen output is nothing to bat an eye at. We all know that more light intensity=more growth and more budding, but you don’t have to spend all that extra cost on 10% more light. In fact, you can achieve about 15% more lumen output from your bulbs if you’ve got the right ballast: a ballast with a Super Lumen feature.
4. Digital Ballasts with the Super Lumens Feature:
Stronger and more intense lighting can be created with the Super Lumens feature. A 1000w grow bulb under the Super Lumens option will create 15% more lights by maxing out the bulb’s capacity (See: Yield Lab Horticulture’s Digital Dimming Ballast with the new Super Lumens Feature)
If you’re looking for more power out of your bulbs, ballasts with Super Lumen settings will push your bulb a little harder than it normally operates. With that extra push, your grow lights- both HPS and MH- will shine brighter.
“But I heard this will lower your bulbs’ life expectancy?” Well, yes, unfortunately that’s true. Pushing your bulbs will end their life quicker when using the Super Lumens feature at all times.
However, this will not affect your garden if you are planning on replacing your bulbs regularly. Remember, your bulbs should be replaced yearly so why not max them out and provide the best lighting for your plants? During a year full of harvests, increasing your HPS output means bigger yields and heavier fruits- and if you can save a little money in the process, why not?
5. Eye Hortilux have the same warranty as any other grow light bulb.
Yep. They follow the same 1 year warranty that has been standardized in the industry. This is because bulbs decrease efficiency after 1 year of use and they either tend to blow out by this time or lose their potency for your garden. Even though they might be superior initially, they have the same expiration date as all grow light bulbs in the industry.
In our opinion, if you’re going to charge more for only slightly more power, the least you could do is increase the warranty of your bulbs. Unfortunately this sentiment isn’t shared among a lot of manufacturers…
Eye Hortilux is a great manufacturer of quality products. But with the trend in high quality grow light bulbs at more affordable prices, Hortilux unfortunately shows no sign of lowering prices significantly. This can be disheartening to some growers, especially since you’re getting only 10% more quality for almost double the cost of other bulbs. Not only that, but they are ways to increase bulb performance with Super Lumen features found on newer digital ballasts.
All that said, we believe you should think a little harder before heading out for a Hortilux bulb. Again, they’re great bulbs, but at the price you may be better off going with a less expensive bulb with quality only a fraction of the Hortilux bulb.
What are your thoughts? Let us know by leaving a comment below.