Buying Guide

Best Grow Lights for Seedlings

Types of Lights for Seed Starting:
  • Traditional T-12 bulbs are the widest fluorescent bulbs and fit most fixtures. Although T-12 bulbs are not as efficient as newer types, two bulbs provide ample light for growing seedlings. Keep bulbs within 2” of the tops of the plants.


  • Efficient T8 fluorescent bulbs put out more light than T-12s, and some fixtures have Energy Star ratings. Specialized light fixtures for growing plants sometimes specify T8 bulbs, which can be kept 2”-3” from the tops of the plants.


  • High-efficiency T5 fluorescent bulbs are so bright that one T5 bulb does the work of two traditional bulbs. A 2’ T5 fixture is perfect for a small tabletop space. Keep T5 bulbs 5”-6” from the tops of the plants.


  • Newer LED tube lights are brighter and 43 percent more energy efficient than traditional fluorescent bulbs. LED bulbs cost a little more than fluorescents, but they can last for decades, save energy and give off very little heat. And plants love them when placed about 4” away.

TIP: Keep your light on for 12-14 hours a day. Plugging your light into an automatic timer will give you one less thing to think about.