How to Pick the Best T5 Fixture : Enhancing Indoor Plants

You've tried growing indoor plants but have experienced limited success. No matter where you live, it is nearly impossible to achieve perfect growing conditions throughout the year. For indoor gardeners, a T5 fixture might be the ideal solution to remedy previous failures.

plants in the table
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Indoor crops need sufficient lighting to thrive. Traditional light bulbs don't promote plant growth. Fluorescent lighting may be the solution to turn misfortune into success for indoor planting. T5 bulbs seem to fill a void in the grow light industry where traditional T8 and T12 fluorescent bulbs have failed.

About Harvesting/Cultivating

bunch cultivation
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Many people want to grow herbs, plants, and crops year-round. In some regions, natural lighting isn't adequate. Also, excessive rain or poor growing conditions limit the success of outdoor gardening in some areas.

The solution to this issue is to use indoor grow lights to enhance indoor plants. Grow lights mimic natural, outdoor sunlight. This allows an indoor gardener to cultivate a garden successfully, no matter where they live.

Why Grow Lights are Needed

Grow lights using T5 bulbs create almost perfect growing conditions for individual plants. While some crops and plants require direct sunlight, others require lighting from an angle. Some plants or crops grow best if they are under high-light settings for only a portion of the day. With outdoor crops and plants, there is no control over light/dark conditions. Grow lights allow a gardener the ability to control lighting conditions.

Grow lights allow a gardener to:

  • Mimic natural sunlight indoors
  • Create almost perfect growing conditions for plants and crops
  • Choose how much or little light plants are exposed to
  • Hand Holding Seedling
    Select the lumens, and light-rating that grow lights emit

What are T5 Fixtures?

A T5 fixture is a fluorescent light fixture that is fast becoming a favorite for gardening in an indoor setting. T5 fixtures come in various lengths, to support from one to four bulbs. Grow lights work using a specific light spectrum to promote vegetative growth, and the T5 bulbs fit this use very well.

Why Choose Fluorescent Lighting?

fluorescent lighting
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Fluorescent lighting is possible because of a chemical process. Gases and mercury vapor interact to produce powerful UV-lighting. The process results in a “white light” inside of the bulbs, rather than the subdued lighting traditional light bulbs emit.

The ballast controls the fluorescent bulbs. Bulbs contain inert gases, the ballast generates a low amount of heat, which causes the gases to react. The reaction produces light. The ballast also stabilizes the bulb and controls output. Fluorescent lights won't damage crops and plants and they are more energy efficient than traditional lighting options.

Choosing the Best T5 Fixtures

Before selecting a fluorescent fixture, it is important to compare several models. Indoor growers should understand the lumen and power output, and how to set up their lights. There are a few factors you should consider when choosing a T5 fixture for indoor gardening. Most T5 fixtures can be mounted horizontally or vertically, increasing their versatility.


Space Coverage

Most fixtures are available in 2-foot up to 8-foot-long frames. If you are in a small apartment, a single-bulb, 2-foot-long fixture might be perfect. However, if you have plenty of room, you might choose a more prominent fixture. The size of the coverage area determines the size of fixture needed.


Crops You're Growing

The vegetables and plants you're growing also impact lighting decisions. Overly powerful fixtures emit higher reflection levels which might kill plants. Likewise, a fixture without enough power will limit a garden's potential. Understanding how the lighting will affect your specific plants will aid in decision making.


Development Stage

T5 lights are best for getting seedlings to begin to grow. The T5 bulb is a blue spectrum light so that it can support plants through the initial vegetative process. Older plants might require more advanced spectrum lighting for maximum indoor growth.

Pros/Cons of Using T5 Fixture

There are positives and negatives associated with using T5 bulbs for indoor growing. It is essential to understand how they operate for maximum results.

T5 bulbs are excellent in some growing conditions but not in others. Some of the pros of using these fixtures include:

There are some cons gardeners should be aware of if before using T5 fixtures. Some of these drawbacks include:

Pros

  • Most emit low levels of radiant heat
  • You can control bulb output
  • They support early plant growth and development
  • Some fixtures work on a timer
  • Check Circle
    You can mount them vertically or horizontally

Cons

  • Aluminum housings for many of these fixtures aren't as durable as other materials
  • Quick burnout rate with T5 bulbs is a common complaint
  • They are best for the vegetative state, meaning you'll only use them for a short period of growth time
  • Some units heat up quickly and might require a fan or other ventilation to prevent overheating

Our T5 Fixture Lighting Review Process

Our T5 fixture review considered several factors. The price of the fixture, lamp quality, temperature rating, and space requirements were some relevant factors. Our analysis also employs user ratings by owners who use T5 lights.

Top 10 T5 Fixtures

Before choosing T5 grow lights, gardeners should compare several products. We've done the homework for you and compiled a list of some of them. Following are the fixtures that provide the best lighting for any indoor garden ventures.

Sale
Hydrofarm FLT44 System Fluorescent Grow Light, 4-Feet
  • 3"H x 13.5"W x 46"L
  • Includes 10' grounded power cord
  • Includes 4 6400K T5 Tubes

Available in 2-foot or 4-foot length you can find the perfect fixture for the growth area you're working. It includes a 10-foot grounded power cord, allowing you to set up your light fixture quickly.


The fixture comes standard with a set of four 6400K T5 bulbs. The steel casing frame is powder-coated for durability. These fixtures emit up to 20,000 lumens for robust, efficient growth production.


Some owners complain the bulbs burn out quickly, meaning frequent replacement and extra cost. There were also complaints that the fixture does not distribute light equally. This causes different growth zones to receive varying amounts of light resulting in uneven growth.


The overall rating for this T5 fixture is 4.2 out of 5-stars on Amazon.

Sale
Oppolite T5 2FT 4-Lamp Grow Light Kit Fluorescent Ho Bulbs 6500K...
  • Wattage:24W per lamp
  • Size:23.25" L x 14" W x 2-3/8" H, Hangs 3 ways - overhead, vertical, or horizontal,18/3C SJTW 105℃ 300V Power Cord,...
  • Dual On/Off switches allows you to control the fixture via 4 banks of lighting, Louvers make the ballast and light tubes...

The 2-foot-long, T5 fixture features a 15-foot power cord that allows greater versatility in an indoor setting. It also comes with bulbs which emit 6500K light over the growth base.


The light tubes remain cool to the touch. The set contains four banks of lighting, for even distribution throughout the growth area. You can use this fixture vertically or horizontally.


Some owners complain that the set is not as sturdy as heavier T5 fixture models. Uneven weight distribution causes shifting or movement, which may hinder growth and production.


Owners rate the fixture 4.4 out of 5-stars on Amazon.

iPower T5 4-Feet 4 Lamp 6400K Fluorescent Ho Tube Grow Light Fixture
  • 10 feet grounded power cord. 6400k bulbs included (54-Watt each). Rated wattage: 216
  • 20,000 lumens. Reflector returns 95% of your grow light bulbs' light back to your plants and herbs
  • Dual On/Off switches allow you to control the fixture via 2 banks of lighting

This 4-foot long fixture is easy to set up. The included bulbs distribute 6400K light. At 54-watts each bulb, even light distribution is achieved throughout the entire growth period.


The light set emits 20,000 lumens, and the reflector returns up to 95% of the light onto your plants and herbs. A daisy-chain plug is easy to turn on/off making this model an energy saver.


Some purchasers complain the fixture isn't sturdy and that lights bulbs can easily shatter. Additionally, some complain that when the first light goes out, the third bulb also burns out with it.


This T5 fixture has a rating of 3.8 out of 5-stars on Amazon.

Sun Blaze T5 Fluorescent - 2 ft. Fixture | 1 Lamp | 120V - Indoor Grow...
  • The Sun Blaze Strip Light is an excellent light source for growing plants
  • Offers an energy efficient high output ballast for long life
  • Light weight and easy to install with mounting hardware included

This 2-feet fixture is perfect for a small growth bed setting. The T5 fixture has dual switches allowing the use of two light tubes.


The strip-light design is slim and doesn't take up much space. In small areas, this is the perfect size bulb set to purchase. It is lightweight and easy to install.


Some owners claim they previously owned the older model of this fixture which was more efficient. Some also complain it has a short life-span and only registers 300-400 on light meters. In comparison to other bulbs emitting up to 2500 lumens, this is a very weak emission power rating.


Amazon purchasers rate this fixture 3.8 out of 5-stars.

Hydro Crunch 2 ft. 4-Bulb 96-Watt T5 High Output Fluorescent Grow...
  • 95% highly reflective aluminum reflector for maximum light output
  • 4 x 6400K lamps included
  • 8 ft. 120-Volt power cord that plugs into a standard outlet

This product works on 120 – 277V power plugs, allowing you to use it in the US or UK. Warehouse-grade lighting achieves maximum light quality with a 95% reflection rating.


The metallic body is durable and isn't prone to easily getting damaged like other fixtures. It is built to withstand dust and corrosion with the powder-coated finish.

Bulbs do not come with the fixture so you will incur an additional cost purchasing this T5 fixture. You also have to note the difference between the UK and US-version for the right bulb size fit.


Owners of this T5 fixture rate it 4 out of 5-stars on Amazon.

Sale
Four Bros Lighting HB-4/T5 4 Bay Lighting 4-Lamp Fluorescent Fixture...
  • 4 Lamp T5 Linear Fluorescent High Bay F54 T5 High Output Warehouse Lighting.
  • Achieve maximum light quality with 95% reflection using Vega-95 Technology.
  • Replace costly 400-Watt metal halide high bays (HID's) with this economical 4 Lamp T5 High bay

This product works on 120 – 277V power plugs, allowing you to use it in the US or UK. Warehouse-grade lighting achieves maximum light quality with a 95% reflection rating.


The metallic body is durable and isn't prone to easily getting damaged like other fixtures. It is built to withstand dust and corrosion with the powder-coated finish.

Bulbs do not come with the fixture so you will incur an additional cost purchasing this T5 fixture. You also have to note the difference between the UK and US-version for the right bulb size fit.


Owners of this T5 fixture rate it 4 out of 5-stars on Amazon.

High Bay Fluorescent Lighting Fixture - 4-Lamp Fluorescent Light...
  • EXCELLENT TO ACCESSORIZE LIGHT FIXTURE: The wiring compartment and ballast are convenient to access. The access plate is...
  • WORKS WITH ENERGY-EFFICIENT FLUORESCENT LIGHT BULBS: GoodBulb's High Bay Fluorescent Light Fixture can be equipped with...
  • VERSATILE LIGHTING: GoodBulb's high bay fluorescent light fixture is the perfect fixture for most of your lighting...

The 4-foot-long, four-bulb fixture is suitable for most interior growth areas. This unit does not ship with a power cord. An access plate makes attaching a power cord and installing the bulbs quick and easy. Assembly of this fixture shouldn't take more than a few minutes.


This unit also does not ship with bulbs. It works with efficient fluorescent bulbs which allow the unit to emit high levels of light. The fixture features a 95% reflection rating as well.


Some owners complain that efficient-rating bulbs tend to burn out faster.

On Amazon, this fixture has a 4.2 out of 5-star rating.

Hyperikon LED T5 Integrated Single Fixture, 4FT, 22W, 2400lm, 5000K...
  • SAVE 60% INSTANTLY - Save up to 60% on your electricity bill by replacing fixtures with similar T5 fluorescent tubes...
  • 45,000 HOUR LIFETIME - With an astonishing life rating of 45,000 hours, or 21 years with 6 hrs/day of use, replacing...
  • SUPER BRIGHT - Bring your application the best lighting available with an incredible minimum of 100lm/watt. Illuminate...

This fixture features a single-bulb setting. Bulbs are integrated into the fixture and are not replaceable. The bulb emits up to 5000K bulbs and 2200 lumen output ensure even light distribution when the fixture is on. The LED light is energy-efficient, so doesn't require much energy to operate.


LED lighting can reduce your energy bills, while still producing bright light over the growth area. You receive a 5-year hassle free warranty with the light fixture also.


It is a single-bulb set, making it perfect for smaller growing areas. Several people who bought this light set also indicate that it did not come with a power cord. Results of using white LED for grow lights are inconclusive, but growers using it seem to like it.


Owners of this fixture rate it 4.7 out of 5-stars.

Grow Co. T5 4 Ft 4 Bulb Fluorescent Fixture 6500K ETL Certified
  • ETL Certified - High Quality Components - Quality Guaranteed
  • 4 High Output 6500K Vegetative lamps included
  • Multiple Hanging Options - Vertical or horizontally

The 4-foot-long growth light fixture features a high-output 6500K bulb set, perfect for vegetative growth. There are multiple hanging options and a long power cord. The fixture works well installed vertically or horizontally.


This fixture carries a 1-year ballast warranty and 2-year fixture warranty. Bulbs ship with this fixture.


Some purchasers claim the fixture is extremely heavy and awkward to put together. The casing finish is prone to denting or damage if you aren't gentle when installing it.


This fixture has a 3.3 out of 5-star rating on Amazon.

T5 Grow Light (2ft 4lamps) DL824 Ho Fluorescent Hydroponic Bloom Veg...
  • HIGH LIGHT OUTPUT: 10,000 lumens - Professional Grow Lighting System - 95% Reflectivity German Hammer-tone Reflector -...
  • ALL ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: Qty4 2ft 6500K Lamps, Hanging hooks and chains, Power cord
  • Outlet on fixture - Power up to 12 fixtures off one wall outlet - less clutter, more convenience

This fixture is 4-feet long, with a powder-coated finish making it a sturdy light fixture for any indoor setting. It ships complete, including four 6500K fluorescent bulbs.


At 10,000 lumens, with a 95% reflection rating, nearly all the light is directly reflected on the plants or herbs. There are two switches on the body for flexible lighting options when growing plants and herbs.


In comparison to other fixtures, this one only emits 10,000 versus 20,000 lumens. Some purchasers complain of performance quality, and that the set burns out quickly after installing new bulbs.


This fixture has a 4.1 out of 5-star Amazon rating.

Where to buy Fixtures & Price Range

These T5 fixtures range between $40 on the lower end and $120 for the highest priced model. Numerous suppliers carry the products. In addition to ordering from the manufacturer directly, they are also available on Amazon.

Comparison Table

Our Verdict

We believe the Hyperikon T5 Fixture Single Light is an excellent option for smaller indoor gardens. It has only one bulb, allowing you to pinpoint your lighting in a specific area quickly. And, emitting up to 2200 lumen output guarantees even light distribution throughout. The fixture is lightweight, easy to install, and isn't prone to damage as quickly as others.

For those growing on a larger scale indoors, an Oppolite T5 fixture is a great option. It operates on 6500K bulbs and achieves temperatures of up to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. The 15-foot-long power cord also gives you flexibility in choosing the growing area. It is easy to set up, and bulbs tend to last longer than competitor models.



Featured Image: CC by SA 3.0, by Dennis Brown, via Wikimedia Commons

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