Reflectors in hydroponics enhance the effectiveness of the light cast by a grow light, light fixture or array, including spreading out the light source so that it covers a large area enabling the light to reach further than it otherwise would, benefiting more plants.

Reflectors work as part of the total lighting system and are available in different lengths and breadths for various applications. Reflective film may line the floor, walls and ceiling of growing rooms to maximise the reflection of light back toward your plants. Any other reflective surfaces will also help illuminate parts of your growing setup which are lower down, thereby providing the lower or younger buds with light and heat energy.

Using reflective materials will reduce the energy requirements of the lighting unit(s) together with any ballast unit(s), so they won’t need to work as hard as they otherwise would, so you’ll get more energy for your money.

A reflector houses your grow lights and may be located strategically around the growing room or tent, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of each bulb in your lighting unit or fixture. Using reflectors reduces the number of grow lights you need in your growing space because they make the light dispersal more efficient so that you won’t need as many bulbs.

Grow light reflectors are available for every type of growing method available to hydroponic growers.

Open-Ended Reflectors

These are generally the most popular type in use by hydroponic growers. Open-ended reflectors allow a large amount of heat produced by your grow lamps to escape. Meaning that you can safely place them closer to plants than you can place closed-end reflectors. This type will also be your choice if your grow tent or growing space has restricted headroom.

You can generally get a considerably more precise light footprint when you use a closed-end reflector.

Closed-Ended Reflectors

Closed-end reflectors usually have a more uniform and precise spread of light. Position them higher than their open-ended counterparts to avoid any associated heat problems. Some growers like to use a light rail with their reflectors during summer to get around this.
Silver Parabolic reflectors are a bit different. These have vertical lamps and air vents, which permit a lot of the heat to escape.

Air-Cooled Reflectors

The air-cooled reflectors are the best at removing heat. They surround the bulb, creating an airtight tunnel effect. Air is blown through this and over the bulb to remove the heat. It is an efficient solution in the summer.
The base of the reflector consists of glass which helps light reach the plants. This glass panel should remain clean to minimise the amount of light that escapes through it.

Water-Cooled Reflectors

There are quite a few types of water-cooled reflectors. But they are not as popular because they have two main problems:
Light escapes through the water
Water and electricity don’t mix well safely.

In conclusion, reflectors in hydroponics are an inexpensive way of getting the full use out of your lights or lighting system. You’ve made that investment originally, so there’s logic in spending a little bit more to get the most out of your lamps.

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