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Best Grow Light Ballasts Reviewed + Buyer Guide

One of the most important things a plant needs for survival is sunlight. It is their main source of energy. While you do not have to worry about sunlight reaching your precious stems growing in the garden outside your house, it is certainly a major factor you need to keep in mind while growing them indoors.

Thanks to technology, we have been introduced to Grow Tents, which make it easier for gardeners to grow plants even if they do not have outdoor space. However, only buying a grow tent is not going to solve all your problems.

Indoor plants need artificial or supplementary sunlight to grow.

This is where grow lights come in. But, for grow lights to function properly, you need a grow light ballast, that effectively provides your bulbs with sufficient energy without overloading them.

Below you will see reviews of the top grow light ballasts we have found and thoroughly researched to help you pick one without a doubt in your mind. So go on and read!

Our Top 7 Grow Light Ballasts Picks

1. SPL Digital Dimmable Electronic Horticulture Grow Light

SPL Horticulture STB 1000 Hydroponic 600w Watt HPS Mh Digital Dimmable Electronic Ballast

What We Liked Most About This Product:

Short-circuiting is not something anyone is fond of. So, what drew us to this unit was its short circuit protection. First of all, it has a built-in cooling fan which cools off 15% more than most digital ballasts you will find in the market. Secondly, it has an external breaker system that protects against power circuiting.

Thirdly, the brand goes the extra mile and has installed an ‘automatic shut off’ feature for extra protection. And finally, it has a graduated fin prototype which minimizes the temperature of the unit to avoid over-heating and short-circuiting.

Product Overview:

SPL Horticulture STB 100 Hydroponic is a 600W digital ballast that can be dimmed at 50 percent, 75 percent or 100 percent according to your needs for optimal growth of plants.

This ballast has more than 30 percent more lumens as compared to a magnetic one for better and improved development of your seedlings.

Moreover, it is compatible with both HPS and MH bulbs. The bulbs only take 60 to 120 seconds to light up and provide your plants with a flicker-free and effective artificial sunlight. It can work with power supplies of 120 voltages and 240 voltages. It has a higher frequency output which means the unit causes less power loss. Thus, you do not have to worry about the ballast causing an increase in your electricity bill.

Pros:

  • A higher frequency outcome ensures less power loss.
  • Compatible with MH and HPS bulbs.
  • Fast lamp ignition.
  • Flicker-free lamps.
  • Lightweight.

Cons:

  • The timer is inconsistent.
  • Noisy.
  • Some reviewers had issues with the locking mechanism.

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2. Phantom II, 1000W Digital Ballast for HPS or MH Grow Lights.

Phantom II, PHB2010 1000W Digital Ballast for MH or HPS Grow Lights

What We Liked Most About This Product:

We liked the ballast’s high precision microprocessor control the most. The integrated microprocessor is 32 Hz and aids to keep your ballast running efficiently and smoothly, providing no hindrance in the way.

Product Overview:

Phantom II, PHB2010 Digital ballast works with both HPS and MH bulbs. The unit is made from lightweight material that works quietly in the background. It won’t disturb you while you work on an assignment or are submerged in an intense episode of a Netflix season. They guarantee that you will not even notice it working.

Furthermore, it is durable, reliable and dimmable. The lights in the device can be dimmed according to your preference. They can work on 120 V and 240V efficiently. If your ballast turns off abruptly, you should not worry! It has a hot-restrike feature, that will protect your bulb from damaging and grow light ballast from short-circuiting.

Furthermore, it has 4 brightness levels; super-boost which gives you intense light and brightness at 60%, 75%, and 100%.

Pros:

  • Energy-efficient.
  • Works silently.
  • Smart Alert technology.
  • Has dual receptacle.

Cons:

  • Operates single-ended lamps only.
  • It can be defective after a few months.
  • People might find the interface complicated.

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3. Apollo Hydroponic APL400 – 400 Watt Grow Lights.

Apollo Horticulture APL400 Hydroponic Ballast for Grow Lights

What We Liked Most About This Product:

What attracted us to this unit was how efficient it worked. It has adjustable light features to let you control the light intensity for your plants.

It offers high performance using very little power. You can depend on it without worrying that it will negatively affect your plant’s growth.

Product Overview:

Apollo Horticulture APL400 is a 400W ballast that has dimmable properties adjusted at 50%, 75%, and 100% to provide you with the ideal efficiency. It has 30% greater lumens than the magnetic type for better growth of your plants.

It is compatible with High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) bulbs and also with Metal Halide (MH) bulbs. It can work with both 120 voltages and 240 voltages. It tries to limit as much idle power loss as possible.

Moreover, it protects against short-circuiting by powering off the unit as soon as there is an indication of power overload. It has a fin design that helps in minimizing the device’s temperature. It also has a built-in fan that further aids the cooling effect.

Pros:

  • Energy-efficient.
  • CE certified,
  • Lightweight.

Cons:

  • It can get warm in grow tents if used for a long duration.
  • Average quality overall.
  • Has a noisy fan.

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4. Quantum Digital Ballast 1000W, 240/120V Dimmable Ballast.

Quantum 1000W Digital Ballast, 120-240V Dimmable Ballast

What We Liked Most About This Product:

The circuit board is resin sealed which can help you install high humidity devices and also can be used with flip boxes and lighting controls.

It has a built-in fan for cooling the unit. Furthermore, the coating protects the ballast from foreign germs, contaminants and also moisture.

Product Overview:

Quantum digital ballast is available in 3 powers; 400W, 600W and 1000W which can work at various diming options providing 50%, 75% or 100% lighting.

It works effectively with both MH and HPS bulbs and has a power factor of 99.9% which is a very stable frequency outcome. It also promises to keep your grow light ballast 15% cooler than other ballasts offered in the marker.

It comes with 2 cords –one for 120V and the second for 240V so you do not have to spend extra bucks on the wiring. Furthermore, it has a much greater lumen result as compared to magnetic ballasts.

It can run actively and energetic on generators without any hitch and the brand promises that the lights will not flicker even when working on the generator.

Pros:

  • No wiring needed.
  • Resin sealed circuit board.
  • Intense illumination for your plants.
  • Runs smoothly on generators.

Cons:

  • Defective working system.
  • The application of the cooling fan is loud.
  • You might need the assistance of an electrician for 208V.

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5. VIVOSUN UL-listed 1000 Watt Dimmable Electronic Grow Light Bulb Lamp.

VIVOSUN 1000 Watt UL listed Dimmable Electronic Digital Ballast

What We Liked Most About This Product:

VIVISON has a finely powdered coating of aluminum all over its exterior which helps in maximizing heat dissipation. The unit has a graduated fin design which further aids in the same cause.

You can be worry-free about the fact that your unit might heat-up and stop working! This casing works wonders and ensures that your device keeps working efficiently for a long time.

Product Overview:

VIVOSUN Electronic digital ballast is available at 1000 Watts, 600 Watts, and 400 Watts. So, you can choose the one that would work effectively with your grow tents or indoor plants. The device can operate with an input of 120V or 240V and 50-60 hertz of power supply. It comes with an additional 120V power cable that’s 8 feet long.

VIVISON ballast will work flawlessly with your bulbs, whether they are High-Pressure Sodium bulbs or Metal Halide ones. On the same note, it has several protection systems to ensure durability and precision.

It has built-in protection against overheating, end-of-bulb life, short-circuiting and ignition failure.

Furthermore, it has four dimming options you can choose from according to the growth cycle you are following. These include 600W, 750W, 1000W and super lumens which gives you extra bright light (110%).

If the bulbs in your ballast go off due to some energy fluctuation, the unit will not relight them immediately. Instead, it will wait a couple of minutes before illuminating them.

Pros:

  • Premium quality built-in exhaust fan.
  • Extensive protection against power overload.
  • Maximum heat dissipation ensured.

Cons:

  • You have to buy an adapter separately.
  • The unit needs 60 minutes to cool down.
  • Some units reportedly blew fuses.

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6. SolisTek Matrix DE – LCD 1000W Dimmable

Solis Tek Exclusive 1000W LCD Digital Ballast with Built in Timer

What We Liked Most About This Product:

We were intrigued by the digital timer this unit had. The timer helps you customize the ballast‘s application. You can set your schedule and you will not have to worry about repeatedly turning it on and off every few hours.

Furthermore, it also will inform the exact hours of duration it has been on. Hence, you have got one less thing to worry about and who does not love that?

Product Overview:

SolisTek Matrix Digital ballast has wattage settings of 600W, 660W, 750W, 825W, 100W and 1100W. It has multi-wattage and multi-voltage capabilities and while we’re on the subject, the unit is also dimmable.

The Ballast works ideally with 600W or 100W HPS and MH bulbs. It comes with an easy to learn, user-friendly LCD system that will help you personalize the settings according to your needs.

It has a pre-ignition feature, that runs before application and informs you if the power connections are safe or not. It is small, lightweight and easy to carry. You can move it from one place to another without any hassle.

It is durable, reliable and will surely last you a couple of years if you take proper care of it.

Pros:

  • Built-in timer.
  • The display has a dark mode.
  • Durable.
  • Lightweight and easy to carry.

Cons:

  • It does not work with single-ended bulbs.
  • It takes time to start up.
  • Power fluctuations reset the timer.

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7. iPower Digital Dimmable 600 Watt Electronic Grow Light.

iPower 600 Watt Digital Dimmable Electronic Ballast

What We Liked Most About This Product:

We like the fact that the iPower Ballast has a pin-drop silent application. It works to its full potential to provide your precious seedlings with the supplementary light they need to grow healthily.

At the same time, it makes sure you are not disturbed by its loud application. You can leave it on and will not even notice when it working.

Product Overview:

iPower digital electronic ballast comes in 3 settings; 400W, 600W and 1000W. It has a working range of 100 to 265 voltages. It includes three dimmable phases; 50%, 75%, and 100%. The unit is compatible with both High-Pressure Sodium bulbs and Metal Halide bulbs. For assistance, they provide you with a free power cable.

The safety of their buyers is iPower’s top-most priority and that’s exactly why they have gone through great lengths to ensure that their ballast will not put your life in danger.

They have tried their best to provide maximum protection against all the problems various buyers face. They have safety against overheating, short-circuiting, end-of-bulb life, power overload, and ignition failure.

Furthermore, it has a built-in cooling fan of 40mm DC and the body is in the shape of a graduated fin which aids in minimizing as much temperature of the unit as it can. On the same note, it has a ventilation opening which further helps in evaporating heat from the system.

It offers its users 2 years of warranty.

Pros:

  • Includes microchip programming,
  • Involves advanced safety.
  • Optimal energy-efficient use.
  • Flicker-free light.

Cons:

  • Shorter lifespan.
  • The interior reflector cannot be removed.
  • Some people might find its assembly complicated.

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Grow Light Ballasts’ Buyer Guide:

Everyone wants the kind of device that will ensure that their plants would get the optimal environment to grow better, strong and healthier. For that, I am sure you have scavenged many forums and articles.

Even if you have selected particular grow light ballast, there are numerous factors you need to keep in your mind since buying Grow light ballast is tricky.

You do not want any kind of mishap to happen to your plants, your tent or your house but it should provide you with sufficient light to help your seedlings to prosper.

So is there any guideline to help you pave your way? Yes, there is. In this buying guide, we have enlisted everything that you need to keep in mind before buying the ideal ballast for your indoor plants.

A ballast is a device that is required for the safe operation of a lamp without it blowing up. It will ensure that the current only powers your bulb and does not overload it. Without one, your grow light will get unlimited current supply since most of these lights have low resistance and they would overheat quickly and break.

Types of Ballasts:

There are three major types of ballasts; Magnetic Ballasts, Electronic Ballasts, and Digital Ballasts.

  1. Magnetic Ballast: It is an electromagnet that channels electricity into only 1 coil. It is heavy, bulky and difficult to transport from one location to another. It works with various capacitors to control the flow of currents and ensures that your device does not short-circuit. Magnetic ballasts have the least PF interference and are the least complicated out of the three but are out-dated. They offer less efficiency and can pile up your electricity bills.
  2. Electronic Ballast: It uses a rectifier, low-pass filter, HF oscillator and a bugger capacitor which converts he single into an AC or DC signal with the help of the rectifier. It has numerous coils arranged in series. Their function runs smoothly and silently and they help in heat dissipation. Moreover, they are much more efficient than magnetic ballasts.
  3. Digital Ballast: It is the most advanced technology in ballast in today’s world. What makes most indoor plant gardeners prefer this over the other two is the microprocessor chip. It increases the ballast’s efficiency and stops idle power loss. It is energy efficient. Furthermore, it has adjustable wattages which you can choose from. They are lightweight and easy to carry.

Factors to Consider Before Buying Ballast:

The following are some of the factors you need to keep in mind before buying ballast for your daily use.

1. Heat Dissipation:

One of the most crucial features you need to look out for before buying is the amount of heat it dissipates. A grow room has an increased quantity of humidity. Grow lights are reflected repeatedly from the inner reflecting surfaces which further increases the warmth.

Ballast needs to have a sufficient heat dissipation technology so that excess heat does not remain accumulated inside your tent. Not only is it bad or your plants, but it can also cause your ballast to crash.

Most ballasts have a built-in exhaust fan that tries to minimize as much heat as possible. Yet, it is always important to check if a ballast you are choosing will remove an ample amount of heat while remaining cool itself.

2. Dimmable Phases:

Most ballasts have two to four dimmable settings that allow you to adjust different light intensities for your plant according to your preference. This is useful because it will not make you buy different ballasts for a single grow tent, rather you can use one and customize it so that it provides you with ideal efficiency.

Furthermore, when plants are in their early, initial stages, intense light can harm them and they ultimately wither so you need low-intensity light to let them grow to their full potential. This can only be manageable if your ballast has several dimming options.

3. Radio Frequency Interference:

Some ballast emits signals distort your phone signals, WiFi signals, or any other electrical appliance which can be annoying. So make sure to check if your device has any protection against Radio Frequency signals or not.

4. Durability:

We all want a product that lasts for a long time and does not make us regret buying it in the first place. Though you should always keep a budget in mind, cheaper Ballasts have incomplete features or average to poor performance and unreliable.

And most buyers that brought cheaper ballasts to save a couple of bucks ended up regretting it. Most of these ballasts lasted a few months before completely coming apart. Moreover, no one wants power overload and an ultimate blackout. So, always check features and reviews instead of the price of the ballast before making the final call.

5. The Noise of the Exhaust Fan:

Some ballasts have a very noisy operation as compared to other prototypes. A ballast should have a pin-drop operation so it will not interrupt your daily life activities. A loud operating unit is annoying for anyone whether it is you or your friend that came to visit you.

6. Safety Features:

Some ballasts, a few of which we have mentioned above, have protective systems against some things that could go wrong in its operation.

You need a ballast that has protection against overheating, short-circuiting, end-of-the-blub life and ignition failure. All these will ensure the safety of your plants, your tent, and your house. Hence, it is something you need to look into.

7. Size of the Unit:

You should opt for a ballast that is light in weight and can be transported easily from one place to another with any hassle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Is it necessary for the ballast to have the same wattage as bulbs?

Yes, it is necessary. If the ballast is not compatible with the blubs or has a higher wattage potential than the bulbs, it would cause a power surge and would damage and break your bulbs.

Q: What is more important; High-Quality Ballast or a High-Quality Bulb?

Both are equally important. If you have a high-quality ballast and average bulbs, the ballast might overpower them and they might break.

If you have better bulbs and average ballast, you will not get a quality light intensity in your tent for the optimal growth of your plants.

Q: Do LED lights need a Ballast?

No, LED lights do not need a ballast. They operate very differently and usually require a driver that is already built-in.

Q: Which type of bulbs should I get for my grow tent?

There are various types of HID bulbs but the most commonly used are Metal Halides and High-Pressure Sodium bulbs. These two bulbs are compatible with most of the blasts. Moreover, both of them help in providing your plants with the best quality of artificial light they can for the fast and healthy growth of your roots and shoots.

Q: Should you buy a cheap ballast?

It is always better to set a certain range of budget before buying anything. But when it comes to ballasts, you should not fall for the cheap ones. Most of the cheap ballast will last for six months or so.

They will not provide you with all the features and they might even cause regular fuse blows. So, always invest in ballast for its features and do not buy it solely because it costs less.

Q: Can I put two lights in One Ballast?

Unless you are an electrician, we do not recommend you to do anything out of the blue. To answer the question; no. It is dangerous for you and your devices. You need full knowledge of its prototype before messing around with it or trying new things.

Q: What are the signs of a bad ballast?

The number one sign is its noisiness. It can be due to a missing screw or some internal problem. Other than that, the flickering of the lamps is a big alarming indication that your ballast can be faulty.

RF interference, delayed start, heated-up unit are warnings that your ballast might have a problem that needs fixing. It is better to no ignore these problems and contact an electrician as soon as possible.

Buy your Ideal Ballast:

All gardeners want to have healthy growing plants whether they are grown outdoors or indoors. As much as it is exciting to have a personal space for plant growth that is completely under your control, it is also stressful.

So, we hope we have provided you with a useful enough article that will help you better decide the kind of Grow Light ballast your grow tent needs.