T5 fluorescent light are well known to us as the main light source in most warehouses and other huge industrial building because they are efficient, produce great light spread and consume less power that High Intensity Discharge bulbs. But T5 lights can also be used for plant growth for the same reasons as to why they are so widespread among large warehouses. On top of that there are even more advantages that does not stand out so obviously.
First of all T5 lights have been used for more than three decades but mostly in the last two decades people have started to chose these light fixtures over their older T8 models. Their mass production reduced individual bulb prices and that is why T5 bulbs became so popular and people started thinking other ways how to use these efficient fluorescent tubes.
And then we stumbled upon indoor gardening where most often Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium bulbs were used because they produces great light output but they also needed fancy ballasts as well as huge ventilation systems to get rid of the excess heat that they produce. So companies started experimenting with producing specific light fixtures made for growing that had T5 bulbs in them and as it turns out growers really love these lights and have found that they have some amazing benefits.
Efficiency – T5 fluorescent tubes can have the efficiency from 70 to 100 lumens per watt of electricity and that means they are at least half as efficient as your regular CFL bulbs and more than 5 or 10 times more efficient that those old incandescent light bulbs. This all means you will be able to create usable light for your plants that costs less in electricity than almost any other light source. Even LED powered light fixtures are still not able to match this 100 lumen per watt efficiency rating and in fact they are much more expensive than these T5 fixtures
Light Spread – Fluorescent tubes generate light from the whole length of the fixture not in one spot like it is in HID or Incandescent lights and that means you will get much better light spread on your plants. This is good because every plant that will be underneath these fixtures will get the same amount of light so they will grow in equal speeds not producing taller and smaller plants like it is in many other grow lights.
Ease of Use – T5 light fixtures are very easy to use as you just need to hang the fixture where you need it and plug it in the electricity outlet. There are no fancy wiring or no ballasts to choose from you just plug it in and start growing your plants. Even when those bulbs break you can easily exchange them as they all have one standard so you will not need to think about what bulb to have or if one manufacturers fluorescent tube will go together with your fixture.
Lifespan – T5 lights are also very long lasting as some bulbs can have up to 20000 hour expected lifespan. This is a very long lasting bulb and that means you will be able to use them non strop for more than 2 years. That is a really long lifespan but if you turn them on only 12 hours each day then these bulbs can work for up to 4 years. Imagine how much plants can you grow in that amount of time!
Low heat emmision – T5 grow lights also emit low heat output and that means you’r grow room will not fill up with that excess heat and you will not need to buy powerful ventilation systems to get rid of that excess heat. T5 fixtures usually stay relatively cool so you will be able to put them very close to your plants. In fact as you get those bulbs closer there will be less light losses and you will have much better growth from those plants.
Huge selection of bulbs – T5 light come in a wide range of configurations and not just in sizes but also in spectral outputs. You can have bulbs that are 2500K and that at 6500K and also everything in between like 2700K and 5000K light output. This means that you will be able to combine these bulbs to create a much better overall PAR rating and you will have a much better growth rate.