Best Digital Ballast
Do you need help in choosing a digital ballast for your indoor garden lights? I'm sure it might be a little overwhelming to buy the right one, especially since it involves a technical device. Don’t worry! Here's a breakdown of what you need to know before you make that purchase.
Read our Best Digital Ballast Review to find out.
- iPower GLBLST1000D Horticulture 1000 Watt Digital Dimmable Electronic Ballast for Hydroponics HPS MH Grow Light (Editors choice - High Quality)
- VIVOSUN 1000 watt Dimmable Digital Ballast for HPS MH Grow Light (Runner up)
- TOPHORT 1000W Digital Dimmable Electronic Ballast for 1000 Watts HPS MH Grow Light Bulb Lamp (Amazing Price)
- Quantum 1000W Digital Ballast, 120/240V (Affordable Product)
- EnergyStation Cali Ballast 1,000W (Great Product)
iPower GLBLST1000D Horticulture 1000 Watt Digital Dimmable Electronic Ballast for Hydroponics HPS MH Grow Light
If you want to get serious about your hobby, you’ll want a digital ballast that’s multi-purpose with lots of usable features for your changing needs. True, it’s costly, but buying this is a good deal because you don’t need to rely on assorted instruments to maintain your indoor plot.
One consumer feedback was a bit troubling, though: it’s not safe to use. According to one customer, it is risky and very dangerous to use because apparently, it doesn’t meet lighting regulations of the NEC (National Electric Code) and that it’s not fit to be used in residential or horticultural establishments.
- It comes with a user manual. How many times has it happened that we bought some gadget only to find out it doesn’t have a booklet for setting it up? That’s so frustrating, right? The iPower Digital Ballast has a surprisingly comprehensive guide. It contains the Do’s and Don’ts, specs of the product, guidelines on how to assemble it, including illustrations and many more.
- It has an “S” plug. The S plug is a hydroponic wiring that is included in the package. Perfect if you want to grow your plants using water.
- It doesn’t have a restart function. This button refreshes a device so if it doesn’t have this feature and you already bought it, it might be advisable to check your options for returning it. Don’t tinker with the digital ballast! It is still advisable to get in touch with technical or customer support to avoid breaking the warranty.
VIVOSUN 1000 watt Dimmable Digital Ballast for HPS MH Grow Light
Of course you wish to see your plants grow from seed to fruit bearing greens. This dimmable light gives you the right dim settings to see your plants go through their entire growth cycle. If you want to be inventive, mount it any which way you want to and it will still work.
The efficient built-in microprocessor gives you the option to use different bulbs without any additional controls or extra ballasts. Although it is marketed for hydroponics, one commenter said it can still be used for plants in soil. And for replacements? Customers report satisfaction because of fast shipping.
- Automatically shuts down if there’s electrical malfunction. Short circuits might happen but no worries! This ballast takes care of itself and closes down on its own.
- Soft Starting & Slow Light Start-Ups machinery. HID lights really take time to warm up and quick surges of power might cause them to pop. You can rely on this technology to ease the current according to your lights’ needs. You‘ll probably keep your bulbs for a long time with this feature.
- Package includes 4 rubber feet. The legs can be attached if you want to set it so it doesn’t absorb extra heat from surfaces. Otherwise, you can leave it as is.
- Automatically reignites after an outage. This is a pretty independent instrument with a sound microprocessor.
- It needs time to properly cool down before reuse. No matter what you do, don’t attempt to switch it on when the lights are superheated.
TOPHORT 1000W Digital Dimmable Electronic Ballast for 1000 Watts HPS MH Grow Light Bulb Lamp
The TOPHORT comes in two shades, blue and purple, and either color might add a more calming feel to your green background. It has pretty amazing specs that you might be interested in.
Although there were a few negative comments, it generally received very positive reactions from customers in the US and even other countries. One shopper even mentioned that it was doing a nice job on the plants he’s growing. Another consumer mentioned how reliable and sturdy the item was. If you are a bit skeptical about it, check out the information below to help you decide for yourself.
- It’s easy to set it up. Customers commented about the product being user friendly. The labels of the knob and other product information are clear and readable.
- It is UL certified. UL stands for Underwriter Laboratories, an organization that provides international certifications on safety. This means there’s little to no chance it will malfunction.
- It’s waterproof. With a category IP65, this means it will still be shielded wherever water hits the covering.
- It restarts quickly. Power outages can’t be avoided so if such a thing happens to you, don’t panic! Your plants will be okay because according to consumer experience, the device restarts immediately.
- It has a spare fuse. If a situation calls for an extra, you don’t have to go buy at the store anymore.
- It has knob issues. A few negative things have been mentioned about its imperfect knob, which can be handled by using the warranty.
Quantum 1000W Digital Ballast, 120/240V
This might look like an unassuming gadget, but it actually has some pretty nifty features that might be suitable for you. Made by Hydrofarm, it cools at 15 percent more than competitors and provides stable electricity flow to keep those bulbs running.
With almost 100 percent steady power factor, it probably tops most ballasts. There is a few unfavorable reviews about light bulb compatibility and customer service but it also earned five star ratings from customers. They also reported about fast delivery which might be a good thing to consider, especially if you’re excited to set up your lighting gear.
- Its circuit board is resin protected. The resin will make the internal circuitry more stable, minimizing the effects of shock.
- It offers a warranty that is good for up to three years. Who knows what might happen during that time? If the product does not meet the standards they set, you have a dependable agreement to rely on.
- It comes with two types of electrical plug cords. You can alternate between the 120volt or 240volt socket.
- It only powers single ended High Intensity Lights. It is not flexible enough to fit all types of High Intensity grow bulbs. If you’re planning to switch different bulbs, this might not work for you.
- It is a bit heavy. At almost eight pounds, you’ll still feel its weight every time you lift it around.
- Incompatible with ceramic metal halide bulbs. This item can only work with HPS lamps and Metal Halide bulbs.
EnergyStation Cali Ballast 1,000W
You might like to get this digital ballast if you truly want to maximize your indoor garden, especially if it is already compact to begin with. At 11x5x2 inches and only three and a half pounds, I know I can carry it or place it anywhere without having to ask for help.
Also, if you suddenly change the setup of your indoor farm, it will be very convenient to move things around. Based on customer feedback, it really is cool to the touch while it operates. You won’t have to worry about it contributing unnecessary heat to your grow plot.
- It has a very cool design. With its blue tone and hip red label, it is a great departure from the usual mechanical designs. It’s a pop of color that will complement your growing veggies, especially once they flower and bear fruit.
- It efficiently cools. Two fans with vents maintain just the right temperature to keep this machine running smoothly.
- It can be used outdoors. According to one buyer, it might be possible under certain conditions. Just make sure the area is free from moisture and high heat.
- It’s a money saver. Due to its efficiency, your electricity bill might be noticeably lower than if you decided to use a different kind of ballast.
- Easy to replace. To fulfill the warranty, just submit a request.
- Loose power supply cords. One critique about this item is that the cord used to power the device comes loose even at the slightest movement.
What is a Ballast?
A ballast is an instrument that powers not just regular grow lights, but lights called High Intensity Discharge (HID) bulbs. They emit different colors that increase the chances of your seeds to sprout, flower and especially bear fruit indoors.
HID lights have chemical gases inside that require the power of electricity to heat up, achieve the right temperature and react with each other to produce light. The ballast acts as a special charger of sorts. If you want your shoots to be more green and leafy, your flowers to be more luscious, and mini trees with plenty of fruits to harvest, you better make sure those HID lights work with the best digital ballast out there.
Types of Ballast
A magnetic ballast is the bulkiest, not to mention the heaviest among the three. It’s been around for many years, so it’s technology that’s reliable and still used by most gardeners using artificial indoor lighting for their plants.
It houses metal panels with coils of copper wrapped around them. This creates the magnetic field that powers bulbs.
Apart from its inconvenient size, it’s also very loud and causes electronic signal interruptions.
The upside is its reliability in powering lights.
This type of ballast is more modern since it’s made up of interconnected electrical wiring and circuits to run it.
Although it’s obviously much smaller and lighter compared to the magnetic ballast, currently, most are still wide and rectangular in shape.
This instrument works by controlling the electricity flowing through the wires to make sure the bulbs are heating up at the right temperature to properly light up. It’s definitely an improvement in terms of function and efficiency.
This type of ballast is the latest in terms of technology. It's still rectangular in shape, and some can weigh up to almost eight pounds.
What differentiates it from the electronic ballast is it contains a microprocessor that runs it just like your computer. It gives out instructions in the form of signals to provide you more options to adjust your grow lights, depending on the needs of your plants.
There are so many advantages to investing in a high quality brand despite the high cost. Read on to know more.
Benefits of Using a Digital Ballast
Digital Ballasts Have a Dimming Knob
It gives you more control over how you grow your fruits and vegetables. Lower it for violet or blue to create a verdant plot and increase it to achieve yellow, orange or red bulb color for flowering or fruit stages.
It is Very Adaptable
It’s compatible with both HPS bulbs and MH (Metal Halide) lamps. You can use two different lights with the same wattage specified in the device in one go. You also have the alternative to use single end or double end lights on most digital ballasts.
It is Quieter
Unlike a magnetic ballast, digital ones do not produce that much noise, if at all. You won’t have to worry about disturbing your neighbors or listening to annoying hums everyday while growing your veggies.
It Has a More Efficient Cooling System
Digital ballasts have fans to cool the component so you don’t have to stress about overheating your garden and the dangers of fire.
It is Lighter
You can actually hold it with one hand without the strain plus, it won’t take too much of your indoor garden space.
No Radio Frequency Interference (RFI)
If you’ve ever watched a favorite show only for it to be interrupted by poor signal, I get you. That’s what happens when you use magnetic ballasts. It causes signal problems with anything that has electronic signals. Most digital ballasts have RFI shields or cords to minimize or prevent such things from happening.
They Save You Money in the Long Run
This gadget is very energy-efficient. Your bulbs will last longer and it can be used on multiple harvests.
It’s Safer to Use
It regulates the flow of power so that the lights have time to properly adjust. You’re not going to experience light bulbs exploding if you go digital.
Drawbacks to Using a Digital Ballast
It’s very expensive.
Spending on a digital ballast is no joke. Some quality brands cost up to a hundred or more. Before buying, you also have to factor in other costs for maintenance such as electricity and water, fertilizer, etc.
If you have a limited budget, you might want to try a different kind to run your indoor lighting system.
The TOPHORT is the best digital ballast you could possibly choose among the competition. It is such a flexible device that is worth your money. In the long run, this will produce substantial harvest because of its four knob values, with an option for optimal lumens.
You can enjoy watching your plants grow in every stage. It is cool to the touch when it runs, is quiet, it has an extra fuse for short circuit issues, is water proof and even for the tech averse, this is so easy to use. Plus, with a safety certification, what can top that?