Comparison: what is the best CMH bulb? Ceramic Metal Halides or Light Emitting Ceramics are the latest up and coming light in the indoor horticulture community. These lights are well regarded for their full spectrum capabilities and low heat when being compared to the traditional HPS/MH. With so much buzz, many companies are hopping on board with bulb production. Today we're going to look at the top bulbs on the market, comparing their packaging, Par output, and price. The bulbs we will examine are Vivosun, Yield lab, Protopia, Ipower, Ushio, and Phillips. The first thing we examined was The quality of packaging. We rated the bulbs into 3 tiers. 3rd Bronze, 2nd Silver, and 1st Gold. The Bronze ranked bulbs were delivered in a cardboard Brace. This is the least favorable packaging as it is easily crushable and does not offer any protection from dust and liquids. The bulbs that placed in this category are Vivosun and Phillips.
315W CMH bulb and its box
The plastic Packaging was chosen for the Silver position. This packaging offers a little more safety as it holds the bulb in place while preventing any obstructions from making contact with the bulb. Here we found Yield Lab and Ushio Hilux.
Yield Lab 315W CMH grow light bulb
The Gold position utilized a nice cardboard box with Styrofoam in it. We found this to be the best packaging as it absorbs and shaking or impacts your bulb may take in shipping. Gold went to Protopia and Ipower.
Yield Lab grow light bulb
Now that we know how safe we can expect these bulbs to arrive at our doorsteps lets take a look at their par output. Again wed like to establish that we are measuring PAR over lumens as it traces the amount of usable light by plants. After allowing each bulb to heat up for 30 minutes, we got our data. These are the results
I Power grow light bulb specifications
To Our surprise, YieldLab had the highest par average of 185.1. We had expected Phillips to be a top player as they were the founders of the commercial CMH bulb back in 1994. Surprisingly they placed second to last. Now that we know the quality of packaging and the quality of light emitted from these bulbs, let's take a look at their cost and see how it all adds up.
Various grow light brands
It was odd to find that some of the more expensive bulbs offered lower PARs and weren't packaged as securely. With that being said we found the YieldLab bulb to be the best option with the highest PAR, decent packaging, and an average price. Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more comparisons and reviews in the future. Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness


Kevin Shipman

Just purchased two of these bulbs and i am excited i have used CMH in the past and i loved them they did not go out and finally needed to be replaced a few years later. Longer lasting than any other bulbs out there great product.


CMH bulbs are so reliable i would recommend times 100. "

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