There are so many choices to make when it comes to indoor gardening: What plants will you grow? What plant lights do you need? What grow light reflectors do you need for those plant lights?
There are always a lot of options to choose from, which can feel like both a curse and a blessing. Luckily, though, all it takes to make the right decision is knowing what you’re looking for and deciding what your grow tent or grow room needs.
In this article, we’ll help you figure out which HID grow light reflector is the best fit for your grow room. We’ll even help you narrow down your options by listing a few of the best grow light and reflector kits out there.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Grow Light Reflector?
- Single-Ended and Double-Ended Reflectors
What Are the Different Types of Grow Light Reflectors?
- Wing Reflectors: Best for Beginners and Simple Budget Growing
- Hood Reflectors: Best for Growers That Need Intense Coverage
- Cool Tube Reflectors: Best for Wide Coverage
- What Type of Grow Light Reflector Is Really the Best?
Alright, let’s talk grow light reflectors!
If you’re new to indoor gardening, the first question that comes to mind may be: What is a grow light reflector, and why should I care about them?
As it turns out, reflectors are an essential part of any grow light. They’re basically shields made of a reflective material — typically smooth or textured aluminum.
Grow light reflectors play a vital role in getting your plants all the light they need to thrive by doing a couple different tasks, which we’ll discuss now.
- Reflectors Power Your Grow Lights: To start, without a reflector, your grow bulb wouldn’t light at all. Reflectors help transfer the power they receive from the light’s ballast into the bulb — the bulb then uses that energy to create an electric arc that heats the filament and produces light.
- Reflectors Distribute Light: Reflectors intensify, concentrate, and direct the light produced by your grow bulb onto the plants below it. Without a reflector to distribute light, the bulb would simply shine into the open air and the light would bounce onto the ceiling and walls around it. This would reduce the light’s effectiveness and lead to much wasted energy and light that isn’t getting to the plants that need it. A reflector ensures proper, intense coverage.
There are two varieties that HPS grow lights come in:
- Single-ended reflectors have sockets that Edison-style single-ended bulbs are screwed into.
- Double-ended reflectors are designed so that double-ended grow lights, which have two ends, can snap into place.
The type of HPS grow light you’re using will determine the type of reflector you need. Remember: A double-ended grow light will not be compatible with a single-ended reflector and vice versa.
Aside from single-ended and double-ended reflectors, there’s a wide variety of styles to choose from.
Certain grow light reflectors will work better than others based on exactly what you’re looking for and what sort of plants you’re working with. The only way to really determine which type of reflector is best for your HID grow lights is to assess the needs of your grow room.
Below, we’ll go through each type of grow light reflector and let you know what sort of grow rooms they’d be the best fit for. We’ll also provide suggestions for some of the best grow light kits to consider for each type of grow light reflector.
Winged reflectors, also known as bat-wing reflectors, are the perfect option if you’re just testing the waters of indoor gardening. Beyond that, though, they offer some great perks for growers.
- Budget Pricing: Even if you’re just trying save some money when it comes to your grow room, this type of reflector makes a good, affordable option.
- Good Reflectivity: A grow light with a winged reflector has multiple points of reflection. This makes it perfect for spreading light out onto your plants at several points over your canopy with a bit of focus — but not too intense of a focus so as to overwhelm your plants.
- Simple and Effective: A wing-styled reflector is perfect for beginners because they’re simple to use but effective enough to ensure your plants get all the light they need. The reflection provided is gentle yet fool-proof enough to avoid any potential plant frying you may be worried about if you’re just getting started growing.
Wing reflectors are great for growers who want to spread out light intensity and avoid burning their plants. They ensure your plants get the light they need without overdoing it.
- Yield Lab 600W HPS+MH Wing Reflector Digital Grow Light Kit (Price: $169.95): For growers interested in using a wing reflector, we suggest trying out this 600w HID grow light kit. It’s equipped with an extra large 20x20in wing reflector to get all 90,000 of those lumens from the HPS bulb directly down onto 2 to 3 plants.
- Yield Lab 1000W HPS+MH Wing Reflector Digital Grow Light Kit (Price: $189.95): If you want grow light that packs even more of a punch when it comes to lumen output, check out this HID kit. The HPS grow bulb provides a whopping 110,000 lumens and comes complete with an extra large wing reflector to make sure that light energy is put to good use for up to 5 plants.
- Yield Lab 400W HPS+MH Wing Reflector Grow Light Kit (Price: $149.95): Maybe you’re growing 1 to 2 plants in a smaller grow room. Or perhaps you’re a beginner just starting to grow. If that’s the case, this 400w HID grow light is a great place to start. The 55,000 lumens from the HPS bulb, along with the wing reflector, will ensure your small grow gets the exact spread of light it needs to stay healthy.
As the name suggests, hood reflectors are HPS grow light reflectors that have a hooded shape with domed ceilings. Their design makes them great for plenty of reasons.
- Intense Light Reflection: The hooded shape of these reflectors provides multiple reflection points to intensify the light they direct onto your plants. The sides of these reflectors are perfect for focusing as much of the light that an HID bulb emits as possible, ensuring it doesn’t lose much intensity while it’s traveling from the grow light to your plants.
Strong Light Footprint: Overall, hooded reflectors are a great option for anyone that needs a large amount of intense light directed in a strong, distinct, and confined footprint.
- Keep in mind that the exact amount of intensity these reflectors provide will be based on where they’re positioned over your canopy. The higher you position your reflector above your plants, the larger the light footprint will be, but the weaker the light will become.
Note: You may also want to consider using an air-cooled hood reflector. This type of reflector has the same hooded shape but includes openings that give it the ability to be connected to your grow room’s ventilation system. This helps keep the temperature in your grow room down to avoid any risk of overheating — temperatures can get pretty hot when you bring in intense grow lights and reflectors!
If you’re looking for stronger, more focused light intensity, an HID light with a hood reflector is the way to go. And if you go the air-cooled hood route, you’ll ensure things don’t get too hot in your grow room or grow tent despite the strong light.
- Yield Lab 600W HPS+MH Air Cool Hood Reflector Grow Light Kit (Price: $219.95): If you need focused light intensity for 2 to 3 plants, this air-cooled hood is perfect for the job. The design of the hood ensures that light is reflected straight down onto your plants for optimal growth.
- Yield Lab 1000W HPS+MH Cool Hood Reflector Grow Light Kit (Price: $239.95): This cool hood HID light will provide coverage for 3 to 4 plants and utilize its HPS bulb’s 130,000 lumens to their full potential to give you incredible yields. And if you’re worried about things getting hot in your grow room, these air-cooled hoods come equipped with ducting ports on each side to maximize airflow and cooling. In addition, they include a dimmable ballast so you can always tone the light down if it gets too intense.
- Yield Lab 400W HPS+MH Air Cool Hood Reflector Grow Light Kit (Price: $189.95): Even a 400w grow light like this can give you the intensity you need for 1 to 2 plants if it’s paired with a hood reflector. Not to mention, its wattage, dimmable ballast, and air-cooled hood mean you won’t need to worry about extreme temperatures in your grow room.
Looking for the best way to spread the light from your HPS bulb as far as possible while keeping the temperatures down in your grow room? Cool tube reflectors are a great way to go to achieve this thanks to their shape.
- Even Light Distribution: This style of reflector has small fins on either side, which helps to spread light evenly over your canopy without losing much of its intensity. These fins make sure light doesn’t travel upward too much and that it’s shining onto your plants as much as possible, ensuring they’re getting all of the lumens they need to grow healthily and plentiful.
- Wide Light Coverage: Cool tubes offer a wide spread of light and even coverage. As such, with the right lumen output, you’ll be able to cover a large grow space and still provide all the light your plants need.
- Cooling Capabilities: One of the main benefits of a cool tube reflector is its great cooling abilities. These reflectors have cooling features that allow air to run through them to avoid overheating and keep the temperatures comfortable in your grow room, all while providing the great, intense light you’re looking for.
Air cool tube reflectors included in these grow kits are 25in long and are complete with 6in air duct ports to ensure the best airflow and cooling abilities. Their aluminum build provides reflectability of up to 90 percent for great light intensity. promising that your plants will be getting as much light from those HPS grow lights as possible.
- Yield Lab 600W HPS+MH Air Cool Tube Reflector Digital Grow Light Kit (Price: $199.95): If you want to grow 2 to 3 plants and get great coverage without sacrificing light intensity, this 600w HID cool tube grow light is an ideal choice.
- Yield Lab 1000W HPS+MH Cool Tube Reflector Grow Light Kit (Price: $219.95): Anyone growing 3 to 4 plants and in need of some strong light intensity and a wide spread, look no further than this 1000w grow light kit. The HPS and MH grow bulbs will provide a good amount of heat energy, while the cool tube reflector will help keep temperatures from rising too high.
- Yield Lab 400W HPS+MH Cool Tube Reflector Grow Light Kit (Price: $169.95): Growing a single plant or maybe up to 2 plants and looking for great light intensity and spread? This 400w HPS and MH grow light will get the job done. And thanks to its tube reflector’s cooling capabilities and dimmable ballast, you won’t need to worry about breaking the bank and spending on loads of cooling equipment.
Like most choices you’ll have to make when it comes to your grow room equipment, the only way to know which HID grow light reflector is best is to consider what you need for your grow goals.
To recap what we’ve said earlier, here are the most important things to consider when choosing a reflector:
- A winged reflector iis great if you need simple but effective coverage.
- A hooded reflector is the ideal option for when you need intense coverage in a distinct, strict area.
- A cool tube reflector is the best way to go for a wide coverage area and the best airflow.
Remember that it’s usually best to go with a cooled reflector when possible, especially if you’re worried about grow room temperatures rising too much.
Overall, though, once you know what you need for your grow room, making the right choice is a lot easier! When in doubt, just check out our suggestions above, and know that there’s no wrong way to go with any of the options listed in this guide.