Hydrofarm AgroBrite T5 Fluorescent Grow Light Review (All Sizes)
T5 fluorescent grow lights are seeding, cloning and vegging specialists and the AgroBrite line from Hydorfarm carries on that legacy.
There’s a reason these are the only T5 fixtures we’ve reviewed.
They are priced much lower than competitors of similar quality and deliver far more than any similarly priced lights. They are available in 7 different sizes, from a 2 foot, 2 bulb unit to a 4 foot, 12 bulb unit. No matter the size of your garden, there’s an AgroBrite fixture to cover it.
T5 fluorescent grow lights emit much less heat and use far less electricity than metal-halide bulbs and they cost less initially, too. They don’t beat LED lighting in terms of heat or power consumption, but they are obviously far cheaper.
Their main disadvantage is that they are not good at flowering. If you are looking for a flowering light, you are better of with LED grow lights or with metal-halide lights.
But if you need a light for vegging, cloning or for your seedlings, the Agrobrite fixtures are perfect.
Read the rest of the Agrobrite T5 review to find out why.
Hydrofarm AgroBrite T5 Grow Light Features
- Uses 48 to 648 watts — wattage depends on the number of bulbs and their length; see table below
- 4000 to 60,000 lumens — also depends on the number of bulbs and their length; see table below
- Includes 6400K T5 bulbs — ideal for vegging stage of growth
- Can hang 3 ways — overhead, vertical or horizontal
- Powder coated steel housing — sturdy and sleek
- High performance faceted specular aluminum — better light distribution
- Daisy chainable — run multiple fixtures from one outlet
- Multiple on/off switches on larger fixtures — control the lumen output by turning off bulbs when less light is needed and save money
Hydrofarm’s Agrobrite series of T5 fixtures come with 6400K spectrum T5 grow bulbs, making them perfect for seeding and cloning. They are also excellent at vegging.
The Agrobrite fixtures come in a number of different sizes: 2 tube, 4 tube and 8 tube fixtures for 2 foot bulbs and 4 tube, 6 tube, 8 tube and 12 tube fixtures for 4 foot bulbs.
The table below gives the power consumption in watts and the output in lumen for each fixture size. It also shows the size and weight of each fixture. You can select the bulb length and the number of bulbs on the Amazon product page. That will also show you the current best price for each fixture, since Amazon update their prices too often for us to accurately quote them.
|2 ft. 2 bulb||48||4000||26" x 9" x 5"||7 lbs|
|2 ft. 4 bulb||96||8000||23" x 13.5" x 3"||11.6 lbs|
|2 ft. 8 bulb||192||16,000||30" x 25" x 5"||22.6 lbs|
|4 ft. 4 bulb||216||20,000||48.5" x 15.5" x 4.2"||18.3 lbs|
|4 ft. 6 bulb||324||30,000||46" x 19.5" x 3"||22.2 lbs|
|4 ft. 8 bulb||432||40,000||48.2" x 28" x 4.2"||26.7 lbs|
|4 ft. 12 bulb||648||60,000||48.2" x 40.5" x 4"||40.6 lbs|
The biggest advantage of the Agrobrite series of fixtures is the low cost. Comparable metal-halide lights cost much more, especially when you consider that you need to purchase the reflector, the bulb and a ballast. All of those are included in an Agrobrite fixture. And we all know how expensive quality LED lights are.
Another advantage over metal-halide is a lower heat output and a lower power consumption. The former is especially important for seedlings and clones.
A scorching metal-halide bulb can very easily damage these delicate young plants. The T5 fluorescent bulbs can hang inches from the plants and not cause damage, since they radiate very little heat. This is what makes them the perfect light for young plants.
When it comes time to veg, metal-halide bulbs might work a little better, but that comes at a cost. They run much hotter (cooling systems are not cheap to set up or to run), they use more power and a complete MH fixture is much more expensive.
The high-performance faceted specular aluminum used on the inside of the fixtures is the ideal reflective surface for light. Regular reflective surfaces reflect light back directly, making for multiple hotspots. This uneven distribution causes certain parts of your plants to get more light than others. This can lead to uneven growth and could potentially even damage the delicate leaves, if the hotspots are hot enough.
Specular aluminum reflects light back in multiple directions. This makes for a much more even distribution. Naturally, some of the light will be reflected in a direction other than down at the plants, but the shape of the reflector ensures that all of the light will eventually be directed onto the canopy after a bounce or two. No light is wasted and every part of the canopy gets the same amount of light.
Another great feature of the Agrobrite T5 grow lights are the multiple on/off switches. This allows you to turn off only some of the tubes whenever you don’t need full power, saving you in electricity costs.
For example, seedlings do not need as much light as vegging plants, so you could turn off half the bulbs while your plants are very young, then turn them on when the plants are larger and need more light to grow fast and strong.
The Agrobrite fixtures can be daisy-chained together. This means you can run a bunch of lights from the same outlet. They are also very flexible in how you can hang them. They can hang overhead, horizontally on the side and vertically. No matter which part of your garden needs the light, these fixtures can get it there.
Hydrofarm gives you a 10 foot power cord with each light. This is generally long enough to reach the nearest outlet. Most brands have shorter power cords (usually 6 feet), which virtually guarantees you need to purchase an additional extension cord.
Finally, Hydrofarm fixtures come with a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty (there’s a link to it on the Amazon page, but only for some sizes: check the 2ft, 4 bulb page). This removes the purchasing risk, since you know you can get your light replaced should anything go wrong during the next 5 years. Very few manufacturers of T5 lights include any kind of warranty, much less one this long (if they have a warranty, it’s usually just one year).
Hydrofarm Agrobrite fixtures cost the same as, or less than, comparable T5 lights, but they are constructed to the Hydrofarm standard. These are high-quality fixtures with high-output T5 tubes at a much lower price than you would generally pay for comparable brands. And the 5-year warranty guarantees that.
The main disadvantage of any fluorescent grow light is the usefulness during flowering. They can certainly be used for flowering, but they just don’t have the power to give you the same results as an HPS bulb or a good LED light.
You can improve results by swapping the bulbs out for warmer ones with a temperature of 2700 to 3500K. But even then, T5 fluorescent lights are not ideal for flowering. That said, they cost less initially, use much less power and emit less heat than the alternatives. Some people are happy to sacrifice a bit of yield for those advantages.
The other disadvantage is that, for a large garden, electricity costs and heat output start to add up with fluorescent lighting. This is where LED grow lights start to make more sense, even if you’re only vegging, but especially if you need lighting for all grow cycles.
Summary of Hydrofarm AgroBrite T5 Grow Light Review
The Agrobrite line of T5 fluorescent lights from Hydrofarm are the only T5 fixtures we’ve reviewed on this site for a reason. They are easily the best value on the market AND they come with a 5 year warranty, which is unheard of in this price range.
Yes, there are better lights, but they cost a lot more. And obviously, there are cheaper lights, but they just don’t perform well enough to give you good, strong plant growth. And again, none will give you a 5 year warranty.
If you’re looking for a light for your seeding or cloning room or if you need a vegging specialist, the AgroBrite T5 fluorescent grow lights are by far the best you’ll find at these prices. And with 7 different fixture sizes to choose from, they’ll cover virtually any size garden.