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What’s the difference between single and double ended grow lights?

The grow lights market can be a total minefield if you’re not sure what to look for. 

That’s why at Herbal House, we like to make sure you’re equipped with all the knowledge you need to make the right decision for your plants. 

In this post, we’re going to discuss the differences between single and double ended HPS lights. 

HPS bulbs are a type of HID (high intensity discharge) grow light. They are some of the best types of lighting to use as they offer a huge amount of raw light and potential for power. HPS lighting is great for the flowering phase of your plant’s life cycle, though can be used throughout the entire grow.

Even if you know you want to use HPS rather than CMH or LED, there’s still the decision to make whether you want to use single ended or double ended bulbs. Both have their advantages, and the choice is down to personal preference. But to help, we’re highlighting everything you need to know about each option. 

HPS Grow Lighting: The Difference

Single ended HPS grow lights have a screw socket on one end. The socket is known as a Mogul base, and it is a little wider than a standard light bulb. The bulb itself is long and wide and contains an inner tube where the electricity jumps from one side to the other. It’s this ‘jumping’ that creates the light. 

The single ended bulbs are held in place at either end with a metal frame wire.

In contrast, double ended HPS grow bulbs don’t have the frame wire. Instead, two small wires fasten the tube to the socket. This allows the bulb itself to be thinner than single ended options. 

Double ended bulbs are filled with nitrogen, meaning they can operate at higher temperatures than their counterparts. As such, this means the bulbs can be more efficient. Single options work at cooler temperatures. Choosing between the two is a balancing act between efficiency and temperature management. Single ended bulbs make it easier to manage temperature as they are designed to be used with cooling devices. 

Single Ended: The Pros

Both bulb options have their own list of pros and cons. 

The single ended, for example, has a lower heat output. They produce a lot less heat which can be beneficial for your grow tent. Overheating can be hard to manage within the grow space, and will typically require more equipment and extra expense. Single ended bulbs have a gentler intensity and heat. 

This gentler bulb means your plants can be placed much closer to the light – which is ideal if you’re growing in a small space. 

As these bulbs have a socket on one side, it means they are easy to attach to cooling or airflow devices. 

Double Ended: The Pros

Double Ended lights have a much higher heat threshold than their single counterparts. Meaning you can produce a lot more light when they’re heated to a higher temperature. How much light? Well, a double-ended HID light produces at least 20,000 lumens more than a single. That’s pretty powerful stuff. 

And with that powerful light, double-ended units offer a more even distribution of light across the grow space. Their spectrum combines UV and IR lighting, making them ideal for all phases of your plant’s life cycle. 

In terms of cost efficiency, double-ended bulbs are known to degrade at a slow rate, making them a more affordable option for the beginner grower. Even after 10,000 hours of use, these bulbs will continue to beam with 90% of their original intensity. If you’re looking for something super long lasting and durable, look no further than double-ended HID lighting. 

HPS Grow Light Reflectors

A grow light reflector will help you get the most out of both double-ended and single-ended grow lights. Reflectors are a metallic shield created using a textured, or smooth aluminum. The light reflects off this shiny material to increase the intensity of the light reaching your plants. As the sides of the shield are angled, reflectors often help to provide more even coverage of light onto your plants. 

Reflectors are available in a variety of styles to suit your personal preference. Air-cooled hoods, for example can be easily connected to other ventilation equipment, while reflectors with adjustable wings can help reduce the heat created by your lighting, but aren’t as effective as air cooled options. 

If your grow tent has a reflective lining – including on the ceiling – this should also work in a similar way. As a result, none of the light created by the grow lights will be wasted or lost. 

Single or Double-Ended: Which is best? 

Unfortunately, there’s no straight one answer to this, as it all depends on your own personal set up. As with most horticultural equipment, finding that sweet spot for your plants is all down to trial and error. 

There are however, a few tips we can offer to help you with your decision: 

  • Double-ended lights work best for plants that need a lot of light – like fruit bearing trees. 
  • Smaller grow tents, typically used by hobby horticulturalists can easily work well with a single-ended light. 
  • Larger, commercial spaces will need double 
  • If you know your plants need high intensity lighting, choose double for no trouble 
  • Those worried about how much heat a double ended light could give off, single-ended are better for maintaining cooler temperatures within the grow space. 

For more information and advice, contact one of our friendly teams!