Ceramic Metal Halid or CMH is the new buzzword in the indoor garden lighting industry in 2018.
CMH grow lights are amazing for veg and some people are even starting to flower with them. We went to the Indo Expo Garden Trade Show in Denver on Janury 27, 2018 to learn more about CMH grow lights and find who’s producing the best complete CMH fixutre.
Our sun provides us with perfect solar radiation that plants abosrb and use for photosynthesis. Unfortunately other environmental issues don’t always allow us to grow outside year round. Perfect example is Denver Colorado where growing outside can be very hard anytime of the year due to their highly fluctuating temperatures. Luckily a few years back some people way smarter than myself manufactured a light bulb to mimic the solar radiation of the sun, allowing gardeners to grow indoors all year round. Technology has come a far way and the options we have now are better than ever before.
As you know Photosynthetic Active Radiation or PAR is the range of light that plants absorb and use during photosynthesis. Thats any light that falls between 400 and 700 nanometers. The meter we are using for our test measures just that, the strength of par output between 400 and 700 nanometers. We tested at 18 inches because that is the distance most companies test their lights at for their spec sheets.
The Growers Choice complete fixture maxed out at an impressive 575 umol/s. That’s almost two umol/s per watt off power consumed! That’s incredibly efficient for any fixture consuming 315 watts of power and it’s enough light strength to cover a 5’x5’ veg and 3’x3’ flower space.
Now, equally important as light strength is the spectrum quality of the light. The Growers Choice 3K bulb produces a full spectrum, with UV and IR light. Its showing a lot of intensity in 600 to 650 range. A little more intensity in the far red would help with flower but this full phase bulb definitely allow you take a grow from start to finish. A complete fixture including bulb has an MSRP of $300.
Click here to learn more about the Growers Choice Complete Fixtures.
Ion CMH Systems
The Ion CMH System is running a Philips 3K bulb which tested in at 422 umol/s. This 315 watt fixture produces enough light to cover a 4.5’x4.5’ veg and 2.5’x2.5’ flower space. Thats a little disappointing because the Philips Greenpower CMH lamp that comes with the Ion complete fixture is considered one of the best bulbs in the industry and has produced much higher par output when installed in a different system.
The Philips bulb shows full spectrum light output with even par distribution. This bulb is perfect for veg and bloom. When it comes to following the macree curve of plant growth it really doesn’t get much closer than this. Between the time the test was done and the time we wrote this article, ION Complete Systems was discontinued. It was completely unrelated to our findings but not surprising. A complete fixture including bulb had an MSRP of $446. But as I mentioned the Phiplips CMH Green Power bulb is one of the best out there. Click here to learn more about thePhilips Green Power Bulb.
The Solis-Tek fixture is running Its own 4K bulb tested in at… what! 751 umol/s! That’s over 2 umol/s per watt of power consumed! That seriously tops out PAR efficiency for any light in the industry! This fixture produces enough light to cover a 6’x6’ veg and 3.5’x3.5’ flower space.
Something to note is that the Solis-Tek ballast on the fixture consumes 350 watts of power. Thats 3.5.0 even though it runs a 315 watt bulb. We would need to do more testing but we suspect that more than 315 watts of power are being sent to lamp. This would make the light have a higher PAR output initially but since the bulb is only rated for 315 watts it may cause the bulb to have a shorter life span. Just something to note.
Now lets check out the spectrum quality of the Solis-Tek 4k bulb. As you can see it show really nice PAR distribution with good intensity going into the deep 650 range, which is great for flowering! This is a true full spectrum bulb that can be used from start to finish. A complete fixture including bulb has an MSRP of $550. Click here to learn more about the Solis-Tek Complete Fixtures.
DimLux Complete Fixture
The DimLux CMH fixture comes complete with a Philips 3k Green Power bulb, same as the ION CMH complete system, but this time it tested in at 557 umol/s. Thats much closer to the PAR output id expect to see from the Philips CMH lamp. Its enough light strength to cover a 5’x5’ veg and 3’x3’ flower space.
The Philips 3k bulb is truly an industry standard when it comes to CMH lighting. A complete DimLux fixture including bulb has an MSRP of $575. Click here to learn more about the DimLux Complete Fixtures.
CMH 315W Complete Fixture Test Review
So if you’ve made it this far I just want to say thank you for following along. I put together a quick recap slide of all the lights we tested. I also added a few other notes. Most of these brands also sell a 630 watt complete fixture. They hold 2 x 315 watt bulbs essentially doubling your output. Also some of these fixtures have different bulb options allowing you to fine tune your spectrum, not just the ones we tested. This allows you to checkerboard your lights with different spectrums maximizing the overall spectral quality in your garden.
Make sure check the links at the end of each review for any sales we might be running on these fixtures. If you’ve grown with these lights before leave a comment below and give us some feedback. If you want to brighten my day you can hit that thumbs up on our review video below and haven’t yet I suggest subscribing to our channel. We have tons of more reviews to come this year. Until next time remember to grow your own with green envy. Click here to learn more about all of our Complete CMH Fixtures
To watch the complete test check out the viedo below. For more information about Green Envy Supply, go to our Green Envy homepage