What are the Best Lights for Microgreens? Fluorescent vs LED [The Complete Lighting Guide]

Are you looking for the best lights for microgreens?

A T5 LED grow light with a nearly 6500K color temperature that consumes up to 30W to 50W of electricity is the best light for microgreens. There are various brands that sell indoor grow lights for microgreens, such as Active Grow, Barrina, Monios, Agrobrite, and more. You can buy from any of the brands referring to the above specifications.

Here are my recommendations:

Barrina T5 Grow Lights
Active Grow T5 Lights
best lights for microgreens Active Grow HO LED Lights
Monios-L T5 Lights
best lights for microgreens Monios L T5 Grow Light for Microgreens 1

You can grow your microgreens under natural sunlight, too. It’s available everywhere, and it is free. Microgreens need 5 to 8 hours of direct sunlight to grow. This facilitates optimal growth and prevents scorching, too.

However, some regions do not get optimal sunlight or favorable weather, which is why you need an indoor grow light to stimulate lighting conditions similar to sunlight. In that case, a full-spectrum LED grow light is the solution.

Growing microgreens indoors also gives you more control over the growing environment, lighting conditions, and keep your microgreens safe from irregular sunlight or unpredictable weather.

“But what about fluorescent grow lights?”

“But LEDs are expensive!”

“Is T5 or T8 better for microgreens?”

I know you have a lot of questions about what lighting options are the best for microgreens growth – and today, we will address them all in this comprehensive microgreens lighting guide.

So, let’s jump into the article.

Types of Microgreen Grow Lights

There are various types of microgreen grow lights available in the market. The most popular types are incandescent, metal vapor, fluorescent, and LEDs.

As a microgreens grower, you need to choose the best grow lights that are not just within your budget but also provide you with a healthy yield of microgreens. 

Understanding the characteristics and benefits of each type is essential for successful microgreen cultivation. Let’s explore these lighting options in detail.

types of indoor grow lights for microgreens


These are the old-school lights. As LEDs grow in popularity (and functionality), incandescent lights are going out of fashion. Although they are cheap, they are not good for growing microgreens.

First of all, they produce a lot of heat. Secondly, most electricity is used to produce heat rather than light. And lastly, their spectral wavelength (approximately 2400k) is not optimal for plant growth.

So, no incandescent lights for microgreens.

Metal Vapor

A metal vapor lamp is an electric light that works by creating a bright arc of electricity through a special mixture of mercury and certain metal compounds. 

This type of lamp is often used for growing microgreens because it emits a strong and focused light. It is called a high-intensity discharge lamp because it produces a powerful and efficient light source.

However, metal vapor lights are quite expensive and hard to find in nearby stores. They also emit a lot of heat and are quite difficult to operate.

So, metal vapor lights are also not the best lights for microgreens.


best lights for microgreens Hydrofarm FLT44 Fluorescent Light

Hydrofarm FLT44 System 4′ Fluorescent Grow Light

  • Available in five variants – 2/4/6/8/12 tubes
  • T5 tubes with 6400K color temperature
  • Up to 20,000 lumens

Compact Fluorescent Lights, commonly known as CFL or CFC grow lights, have been a popular choice among gardeners and microgreens growers.

They produce less heat than metal vapor or incandescent lights. Fluorescent lights are easily available in different variants (T5, T8, or T12) and are inexpensive when compared to the aforementioned grow lights for microgreens.

best fluorescent lights for microgreens

However, CFLs use more electricity to run than LEDs. Also, fluorescent lights can break easily, and the mercury inside might harm your crops. They need to be disposed of properly.

Many growers have also noted that fluorescent lights lose their brightness with time.

You can choose fluorescent grow lights for microgreens if you’re looking for an inexpensive and temporary option. However, LED lights are considered the best lights for microgreens by modern gardeners.


Barrina T5 LED
best lights for microgreens Barrina LED T5 Grow Lights

Barrina T5 LED Lights

  • Runs on 20W and produces 2,200 lumens each
  • T5 tubes with 6500K color temperature
  • Simple plug-n-play installation setup

LED grow lights are considered the best lights for microgreens for various reasons. Such as:

  • They are easily available and come in different variants and sizes
  • They produce little to no heat
  • LED lights are truly economical as they use less electricity and can last up to 50,000 hours
  • They are lightweight
best lights for microgreens Barrina T5 6500K 20W LED Lights

LEDs are more effective because they’re made with light-emitting diodes that are capable of producing a ton of light to cover more area. On the other hand, CFC lights are tubes filled with gas that illuminates.

In fact, according to a study, researchers discovered that a combination of various LED lights led to more fresh and dry weights, i.e., higher yield.

So, the ultimate battle for the best lights for microgreens is between Fluorescents and LEDs. Henceforth, we will talk about these two only.

5 Things to Know Before Buying Grow Lights for Microgreens

Most gardeners and sellers recommend using full-spectrum grow lights for indoor microgreens; however, that information is not enough. Grow lights can make or break your seedlings. 

The right grow light can give you a healthy yield, but the wrong one can do more harm than good. These factors will help you choose the best grow lights for microgreens.


This depends on your budget; spend as much as your budget allows. But you don’t want to use only one grow light to grow all of your microgreens.

A single grow light has limited coverage and will hinder your microgreens from growing properly. That’s why you have to combine multiple lights per shelf.

Most gardeners see great results with 4 6500k full-spectrum 4ft long LED grow lights per shelf. Some microgreen sellers even use less than 4 and still see great results. 

A pack of 4 grow lights can cost you anywhere between $80 to $100. If the LEDs are not in your budget, you can invest in an inexpensive CFC light such as Hydrofarm FLT44.


Another factor that you must consider when choosing microgreens grow lights is safety.

Fluorescent lights are made of glass, so if you drop them, they will shatter. Also, the tubes are filled with mercury, which might be harmful not just to your plants but to you as well. Thus, fluorescent lights need to be disposed of properly.

Most LED lights are made of hard, durable plastic, making them nearly indestructible. They do not have any harmful gas inside, so there is no harm, even if you do break one.

Type of Light

There are two types of lights that are most popular for growing indoor plants – shop lights and grow lights.

Some growers still use shop lights for their indoor plants and see great results. If you can’t find a grow light easily then go ahead with a shop light. However, if you can find a grow light, then do invest in it, as grow lights are specifically made for growing plants.

Color Temperature

The color temperature of a light is measured in Kelvin (K). The higher the K-value, the closer it is to sunlight or natural light. You can find lights at different ranges – 2400, 2600, 3000, 3600, 4000, and so on. The higher the number, the closer it is to sunlight.

You should choose a grow light with a color temperature between 6000K and 6500K. However, if you can’t find one in your budget, you can choose a lower range of 4000K too.

You should also consider how many Watts (W) the light is using. Watts is the measurement of how much energy your light source consumes to produce light.

agrobrite's 6400K 24W T5 fluorescent grow light

24W 6500k grow lights are considered the best lighting options for microgreens growth.


Lumen is the unit to measure the brightness of your light. The amount of lumens your plants get is directly proportional to how far your light source is from your microgreens.

For microgreens, you need either T5 or T8 lights with a lumens range from 1700 to 2200, 

microgreens under grow lights

Ideally, your grow lights should be 10 to 11 inches above the bottom of the growing tray, not the microgreens’ height.

Best CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) Grow Lights for Microgreens

Fluorescent lights are inexpensive and are easily available in various variants. So, if you currently have the budget for an LED, go for a CFL light.

If you are experimenting with your microgreens’ grow lights, then you can try one of the following CFL lights.

Vivosun 6500K Fluorescent T5 Grow Lamp

Vivosun 6500K T5

Vivosun T5 6500K Fluorescent Light

  • 6 HO tubes with 2 separate on/off switches
  • Lasts up to 20,000 hours
  • Comes with a 1-year replacement warranty

One of the best fluorescent grow lights for microgreens, Vivosun’s T5 6500K light is great for providing you with a healthy yield. The light showers 5000 lumens on your growing trays, so you can keep it at least 2ft-3ft away from your trays and cover a larger area.

This lighting fixture comes with 6 HO (high output) tubes and 2 on/off switches allowing more flexible control over your system. Vivosun 6500K T5 comes with a thick metal sheet for effective protection.

The premium-grade aluminum reflectors offer more illumination to the plants. The 8ft power cord and two hanging make it easy for you to set it up anywhere you want.

Vivosun 6500K Fluorescent T5 Grow Lamp is one of the best lights for microgreens if you’re looking for a fluorescent lighting option for your microgreens.   

Agrobrite T5 4′ 4-Tube Fixture

Hydrofarm FLT44

Agrobrite’s Hydrofarm FLT44

  • Available in five variants – 2/4/6/8/12 tubes
  • T5 tubes with 6400K color temperature
  • Lasts up to 20,000 hours

Agrobrite’s Hydrofarm FLT44 comes in multiple variants – 2/4/6/8/12 tubes. You can buy any variant in a 2- or 4ft size. However, these microgreen lights have high wattage, i.e., 216, which means they will use more electricity.

The T5 tubes provide up to 5000 lumens each. The 10ft power cord and the daisy chain make it easy to set up anywhere you want. Agrobrite’s full spectrum fluorescent grow lights for microgreens come with a color temperature of 6400K.

However, the light fixture does not have separate on/off buttons, which means less control over the lighting conditions. So, you either have to keep the entire setup on or off.

I’d recommend you to go with Agrobrite’s T5 4′ 4-Tube Fixture only if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the other expensive LED lights.

Agrobrite FLC26D

Agrobrite FLC26D

Agrobrite FLC26D

  • Most affordable CFC lighting option
  • Fits any bulb fixture
  • Comes in 2 variants – 26 and 32 watts

Another Agrobrite product on the list, FLC26D, is a little different from the aforementioned CFC grow lights. It is a 26-watt spiral CFC bulb that you can fit into an existing bulb fixture and grow your microgreens indoors.

The bulb comes in 2 variants – 26 watts and 32 watts – with a 6400K color temperature. It can last up to 10,000 hours, according to the manufacturer.

Agrobrite FLC26D can help you reduce your energy costs, and the 26-watt variant can produce up to 1600 lumens, thus making it one of the best lights for microgreens for small growers.

Best LED Grow Lights for Microgreens

Now, we will discuss some of the best full-spectrum LED grow lights for microgreens. As I have repeatedly said in this article, LED lights are the best lights for microgreens.

LEDs are energy-efficient, produce less heat, last more hours than any other lighting options, and are safe to deal with.

Let’s see the top recommendations.

Active Grow T5 LED Lights

Active Grow
Active Grow T5 High Output 2FT 4 Lamp LED Grow Light

Active Grow T5 LED

  • Extra-long 30,000-hour lifetime
  • Aluminum reflector for more illumination
  • 3-year warranty

Active Grow is one of the most popular lighting brands for indoor gardening. Their full-spectrum LED lights are made from top-quality material and help you get more yield from your indoor plants.

This lighting fixture comes in three variants – 2ft 4 lamps, 4ft 4 lamps, and 4ft 8 lamps. You can choose as per your requirement and budget. All the variants have HO (high output) LED grow lamps that shine at +4000K. 

Active Grow lights feature easy to use on/off switch. It is daisy-chainable up to 8 units on 120V for a clean installation. The easy plug-and-play feature lets you have more control over the lighting.

Active Grow also has red-bloom color lights and many other lights to choose from.

Barrina T5 LED Grow Lights

Barrina T5 LED Lights for Indoor Microgreens

Barrina T5 LED Lights

  • Individual on/off switches
  • Plug-n-play set up
  • 2-year warranty

Barrrina T5 grow lights for microgreens are very economical and come in different color variants – pink, pinkish-white, and yellow.

The Barrina T5s come with a wide range of hardware to connect. You can easily hang it anywhere you want with its daisy chain and clip it to your microgreens shelf using clips or double tape – which comes with the lights.

Each cord is plug-and-play and features individual on/off switches. This gives you immense control over your lighting options. The 80W lights have 400 LEDs in total and come with a 2-year warranty.

Monios-L T5

Monios LED Grow Lights

Monios LED Grow Light Strips

  • Individual on/off switches
  • 5000K color temperature
  • Versatile hanging options

Monios-L features a 6-pack of T5 lights that are perfect for indoor gardening. The lights are 3ft long and shine at 5000K. The same lights also come in T8 variants, but I will recommend you to stick with T5s, as they are more economical.

The fixture comes with individual on-off switches and easy plug-n-play installation. The package comes with all kinds of accessories, including connecting cords, connectors, double-side pads, and zip ties. This gives you versatile hanging options.

Each tube consumes only 15W, so in total, the whole set up would only consume 90 watts. So, you won’t see a huge bump in your electricity bill.

How to Make Your Grow Lights 75% More Efficient?

Now that we have discussed the best lights for microgreens let’s look at a handy trick that can boost your grow light’s efficiency by 75%.

One of the reasons why sometimes your grow lights do not give optimum results is light seepage. Light seepage is basically wasted light, the light that bounces from the walls or the shelf.

In other words, the light that is not directly falling on your microgreens.

To avoid this, you can keep your lights close to your plants, but then you will have to move them farther as your plants grow to avoid burning them.

The best way to increase your light’s efficiency is to use reflectors. You can make these reflectors at home. Take a big piece of cardboard and spray paint it with white color.

create a reflector with white spray paint to avoid light seepage

Place this spray-painted cardboard on the side of your growing trays. You can create a few more and place them around each side of the tray. Three cardboards can help you bump your light’s efficiency by at least 75%!

Learn more tricks from MIGardener, who shared this awesome trick in his YouTube video.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should you spend on a grow light?

If you are going for a CFC light, you can expect to spend between $50 to $80. However, if you are going for an LED grow light, you will be spending close to $100 or even more.

But LEDs’ extra-long hours and less energy consumption will definitely make up for the higher price.

What lumens are best for microgreens?

For microgreens, you need either T5 or T8 lights with a lumens range from 1700 to 2200.

How many watts are needed to grow microgreens?

Anywhere between 30W to 50W is more than enough for growing microgreens. The lower, the better. LEDs are the best lights for microgreens that provide higher lumen and optimal color temperature at lower watts.

Is T5 or T8 better for microgreens?

If you are growing microgreens or smaller plants, T5s are a much more economical choice for indoor gardening.

T8s are suitable if you have more space and are trying to grow bigger veggies and fruits.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we discussed everything about grow lights for microgreens. We discussed the factors you should keep in mind when choosing the best grow lights for microgreens and what are the best CFC and LED lights for microgreens.

I recommend you go with Active Grow T5 LED light as it is beginner-friendly, comes in different variants, and provides extra-long hours. In the long run, the high efficiency of LEDs will cover the high upfront cost.

However, if you do not want to spend much on an LED grow light and want to try a CFC light, go for Vivosun 6500K Fluorescent light.

What to read next?

Learn the 9 most profitable microgreens to start growing today.