Indoor gardeners have always debated about the best equipment to use when growing plants. Expensive metal halide (MH) and high pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures are popular in some gardening circles, while others will swear that the T5 and T8 fluorescent lights perform just as well for a fraction of the cost. According to Aqua Botanic, T8 fluorescent lights have much lower wattage (32) than MH (150) and HPS (100) fixtures. While the lumen output is much lower for a T8, multiple T8 bulbs can be used to compensate for this, and a gardener will still have lower wattage than the more expensive fixtures.
The Philips Aquarelle is a mercury vapory fluorescent light that is very efficient for indoor gardening. The 30-watt Philips Aquarelle model produces 10,000K (Kelvins--a thermodynamic temperature scale) of natural light which allows plants to achieve photosynthesis as they normally would outdoors. In addition, the bulb actually stimulates oxygen output in the plants with this light spectrum. It is one of the best T8 bulbs because of its energy efficiency, color rendering (promotes photosynthesis and oxygen) and affordable price.
The Interpet Aquatic is a 36-watt T8 bulb designed for growing plants in an aquarium. Its 6,000K of natural light output promotes healthy plant growth. In addition, the Interpet Aquatic has lower amounts of mercury per tube and as a result is less hazardous than other light tubes. This can be considered one of the best T8 grow lights due to low mercury content and high natural light output per wattage.
Sylvania Aquastar Fluorescent Tube
The Sylvania Aquastar Fluorescent Tube is able to produce 10,000K of natural light. The tube sizes available are 15, 18, 30 and 36 watts. Moreover, this light tube is ideal for promoting the growth of coral and other aquatic plants because of its blend of red and blue portions of the light spectrum.
Zoo Med Flora Sun Max Plant Growth Fluorescent Lamp
The Zoo Med Flora Sun Max Plant Growth Fluorescent Lamp produces 8,500K of high-intensity natural light. Furthermore, unlike other lamps, the Zoo Med Flora Sun Max Plant Growth Fluorescent Lamp remains effective for up to 10,000 hours. It is one of the best T8 bulbs because it will last longer than the others, saving gardeners money over time.