Electronic VS Magnetic Ballasts

Electronic VS magnetic ballasts. You would probably think that the main difference between these two types of ballasts is in the price, but honestly there is a large difference in quality and characteristics between the two. Today we’re going to explain those differences as well as the different models that you can find on the market.

When you’re about to set up and indoor grow, you probably have a thousand questions like the potency of the bulbs, what kind of extraction you need etc. but not many people put too much thought in the kind of ballast that they’ll need. This tends to be down to misinformation on the fact that there are various kinds, or due to the high price of electronic ballasts. Sometimes price can be deceiving; they’re not more expensive because they’re prettier, but rather they’re most likely more effective than other models for your grow, as well as having better technology and being made out of higher quality materials.

We’re going to compare some with others and you’ll see that while some are more expensive, it might be in your best interests to go for a slightly more pricey one if you want to get the best out of your crops.

Electronic VS Magnetic Ballasts

Electronic ballast’s advantagesElectronic VS Magnetic Ballasts

  • Electronic ballasts transform light at 600w continuously, which can’t be seen by the naked eye but with a camera you can see that the lights aren’t blinking at all, and your plants are getting up to 30% more light.
  • Electronic ballasts heat up a lot less, and due to the law that energy can’t be destroyed, just transformed, just means that more energy is used to produce light and less is used to produce heat, making it much more affordable and cost-friendly.
  • Electronic ballasts tend to come with a dimmer with which you can adjust the potency of the bulb, making it easy to adjust it during your plants first few days of lifer so they don’t get more light than they need.
  • Electronic ballasts automatically detect the bulbs poles, so you don’t need to worry about the polarity of the bulbs when setting your system up, just turn it on and you’re ready to go.

Magnetic ballast’s advantages

Electronic VS Magnetic Ballasts

  • Magnetic ballasts also transform light at 600w, but the lights will blink constantly, which can’t be seen by the naked eye although you can check it with a camera; your plants won’t receive as much light as with electronic ballasts.
  • Magnetic ballasts heat up much more than electronic ones, so you’ll be paying for the energy required to light their bulbs as well as heating up the ballast and grow tent.
  • In magnetic ballasts the outlet potency is always the same, so the only way you can avoid your plants getting too much light when they’re young is to place the bulbs further away from them so that they don’t get burnt.
  • With magnetic ballasts you’ll need to make sure you have the poles of your bulb under control and in the correct position when you connect them to the ballast, as it doesn’t automatically detect the poles and if they’re not connected properly, the bulbs won’t work.


You could say that the extra money you spend on an electronic ballast is then made up for in energy bulls, or that the money you save in buying a magnetic one is then spent on the extra energy bulls. Electronic ballasts are definitely more cost-effective; they produce more flowers on your plants, they consume less unnecessary energy and they make the most out of the energy they do consume. Now we’re going to give you a list of a couple of models of each type, so that you know which one will suit your grow better.

Electronic Ballasts:

Electronic VS Magnetic Ballasts

Lumatek Ballast: This is the most used electronic ballast amongst growers. It’s a pioneer when it comes to regulating potency, allowing you to lower it to 400w with a 600w growth bulb and then raise it as your grow advances, giving 400 super lumens in the last growth days, 600w when you switch to flowering, and 600 super lumens to end the flowering period at maximum power. 600w is the standard model, but there are also 400w models that go as low as 250w and 100w models that go down to 750w. This device really is a wide array of choices and possibilities for your grow.

Argolite BallastElectronic VS Magnetic Ballasts: This is the cheapest electronic ballast you’re going to find. That doesn’t make it bad thought. I’ve had an argolite ballast for six years and it isn’t given me a single issue, although in many occasions ballasts are more expensive due to their brand name. You can regulate this ballast to 250w, 400w, 600w and 600 super lumens. This means that you can use it through different stages with just once bulb; place it at 250w when rooting your clones, 400w while they grow, 600w while they flower and 600 super lumens for the last phase, which is when your plants will need all the light they can get.

Magnetic Ballasts:

Eti Ballast Class 1: This is the most common ballast used for growing cannabis and has been sold for many years now. It works perfectly, and you can easily have two or three in the same room although if you want any more than that, the heat will be unbearable and you’ll have to install them outside your grow. If you’re just using one it should work perfectly. It’s the most affordable option, but there are many better ones. Available in 250w, 400w, 600w and 1000w.Electronic VS Magnetic Ballasts

Eti Ballast Class 2: This ballast has some good characteristics for its price, like a flame-retardant box. You can install this in your grow although you can also install it outside the area, which is recommendable if you’re planning on placing many and you don’t want the crop temperature to rise. It comes with all connection cables, so it’s extremely easy to connect.

So, more or less you now have a list of references for your crop and which ballast you should get. Hopefully this will help you make a decision in as far as which ballast is ideal for your grow. If you have any questions don’t forget to leave a comment.

Author: Javier Chinesta
Translation: Ciara Murphy

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