16 Oct

Buying a New Ballast

Buying a ballast? Watch out for cheap but not-so-cheerful products

Buying a decent ballast isn’t always an easy choice to make. The horticultural market is full of options, and practically every ballast, no matter how cheap or expensive, claims to provide “maximum output” for your grow plants.


The plain truth is that many ballasts that claim to power your lamp at full capacity simply don’t live up to their own hype. Of course, we don’t like to point fingers without any proof to back up our assumptions.


Luckily for us, Maxigrow were as sceptical as we were about some of the new ballasts to arrive on the scene and their research team quickly put some of these “all singing and all dancing” ballasts to the test.

Who are Maxigrow?

If you don’t already know, Maxigrow are well-established as a leading supplier of horticultural lighting products, producing a range of top-notch grow light goods under their Maxibright brand. Maxigrow have a shining reputation to uphold, which means their research team didn’t tread lightly when creating a compelling case against the cheap and not-so-cheerful ballasts that exist on the market today.


So, in true Maxigrow style, they decided to create a carefully controlled experiment, spending several months putting all the new 600W ballasts to the test. This endeavour was sponsored by Venture Lighting Group, and, to ensure no foul play, Maxigrow even provided the details of their experimental procedure so anybody with an interest could test and replicate their results.

What were the results?

Well, as Maxigrow themselves put it:


We were shocked to discover that most of these new ballasts are not actually “600W” ballasts at all.

What they actually found was that most of the ballasts they tested considerably under powered the grow lamp, with some ballasts coming in well below par.

Why is this big news?

Simply put, bad ballasts will give you poor plant performance. For example, if your ballast is causing your grow lamp to perform at 20% below its maximum capacity, then your potential yield is 20% lower than it should be. Do the maths, that’s a big difference!

How do you buy a ballast that performs?

So, on to the real question: how do you buy a decent ballast that delivers the maximum output and coverage for your grow light?


The simple answer is to go for a trusted brand and don’t be enticed by the cheapest ballast that claims it can do it all. Chances are it doesn’t do what it says on the tin, which will leave you with a sub-standard system and underperforming plants.


Of course, we always keep our ears to the ground and a sharp eye on any new product that hits the market to ensure we only ever sell you products that perform. Our range of analogue and digital ballast are guaranteed to make your grow lamps work hard and to the best of their ability.


Ultimately, don’t be fooled. If something seems too good to be true; it probably is – and sub-standard ballasts will cost you in more ways than one.

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