If you are a horticulturalist, florist or indoor gardener, you will have to furnish your crops with enough light throughout their growing seasons. To do this, you will require the incorporation of a digital ballast extensively. Our goal is to guide you through this process.
What is a Digital Ballast?
A digital ballast is basically a piece of lighting equipment. It regulates the voltage which the high-intensity discharge light or the compact fluorescent lighting receives. This way, it prevents those electronics from overheating and possibly exploding.
11 Best Digital Ballast Reviews
#1: Apollo Horticulture APL1000 Hydroponic 1000 – Watt HPS MH Digital Dimmable Electronic Ballast
Are you a horticulturalist? You might find this digital ballast quite vital to your needs. As you are about to note, the ballast contains some features and technical specifications which are great for enhancing the growth of flowers and fresh produce.
Built-in Cooling Fan
The ballast comprises some built-in cooling fan. Courtesy of this fan, it has the ability to stabilize the heat output and keep it stable. In the course of so doing, it minimizes wide fluctuations which might hamper the proper growth of the plants.
Short Circuit Protection
With this ballast, you are secured against the dangers of short-circuiting. A short circuit protection feature exists to make this a reality. It basically operates via a power shut-off which automatically disables the power when a particular threshold is exceeded.
Stable Light Output
Throughout the entire duration of use, you will enjoy some stable light output. The constant light voltage feature makes this a reality. It basically sees to it that the lumens are more or less the same at all times. This way, your plants get to grow uniformly.
- Generates over 30% extra lumens compared to the magnetic ballasts
- Compatible with both the both MH and HPS bulbs
- High-frequency output results in reduced power loss
- Faster lamp ignition (lights the bulb within 1-2 minutes maximum)
- Lamps are generally flicker-free
- High power consumption
- More operational costs
- Suitable only for the flowers and horticultural crops
#2: VIVOSUN Hydroponic 600 Watt HPS MH Grow Light Air Cooled Reflector Kit
Do you want to try a hand in hydroponics? If you answered this question in the affirmative, this is the digital ballast to consider leveraging. It is indeed wholly suited for such kinds of applications pretty well, as you are about to see.
6-inch Air Cooled Reflector
Adorning the interior of the ballast is an air-cooled reflector that measures around 6 inches. The reflector has a pretty high reflectivity which is approximately 90%. With such a high reflectivity, you may be sure of a faster flourishing of your plants.
Dual Outlets and Bright LCD Display
This ballast has not one but two dual outlets. They play the roles of emitting the light rays. Being two means they get to achieve the desired ends in half the time others might take. Its bright LCD display, on the other hand, keeps you posted of your progress.
7-Day Digital Timer
Further setting this ballast apart from the others is the 7-day digital timer feature. The feature operates basically like an alarm. You get to key in the preferred duration in advance and it goes ahead to execute the instructions later.
- Superior quality and optimized spectrum which promote growth
- Easy to set up and deploy for use
- High stability and great compatibility
- Comes with 8-foot 120V power cord for ease of installations
- Grants you a couple of lumens to opt for
- Higher voltage requirements
- Some users may find it slightly complicated
- Imposes some extra clutter on your room
#3: Apollo Horticulture Purple Reign 1000W Watt Digital Dimmable HPS MH Grow Light Ballast
While growing, plants need all kinds of support to be able to attain optimal growth. Only a specially designed digital ballast may guarantee this support. If you want the best for your plants, this is the ballast you ought not to shy away from.
Embedded Circuit Technology
In the course of operating the ballast, you will experience fewer power interruptions. The embedded circuit technology is what makes this to happen. It basically stabilizes the voltage and the current to ensure uniform operations.
Also forming a vital part of this ballast is the short-circuit protection feature. This is exclusively put in place to take care of your safety. It operates by automatically shutting off the system whenever a given voltage limit is attained or exceeded.
Step-less Adjustable Knob
To keep you posted of the progress of the task at hand, the ballast comprises and makes use of a step-less adjustable knob. The knob basically plays the role of projecting the operating wattage on a digital screen.
- Silent yet powerful operational features
- Built-in dynamic detection which prevents overload
- Lights typically within 5 seconds only
- Generates some flicker-free stabilization with the constant lamp voltage
- Backed by our exceptional customer service team
- Only compatible with the 1,000 W MH and HPS bulbs
- Applicable only for plant growth
- Limited geographical compatibility
#4: iPower 600 Watt Digital Dimmable Electronic Ballast for HPS MH Grow Light
Making use of a good digital ballast need not necessarily be costly. Indeed, it is possible to accrue the great desirable outcomes but at a cheaper cost. Making use of this special kind of ballast will definitely grant you this particular gain.
Perhaps setting this equipment from the others is the microprocessor. This distinguishes the MH and the HPs lamps to determine the right amounts of power to discharge. It subsequently eliminates the need for an extra ballast switch.
It is possible for you to mount this ballast just about anywhere; while hanging, in the horizontal or the vertical position, respectively. Thanks to this arrangement, you will get to enjoy the benefit of maximum convenience as you go about the business of using this machine.
Powder-coated Aluminum Casing
Encircling the entire appliance is the powder-coated Aluminum casing. This casing is also finned in such a way as to maximize the dissipation of heat. You will thus experience more balanced outcomes and greatly minimized wastage of heat.
- Stays on at maximum power for longer without overheating
- Detects individual input voltage and discharges the proper amps accordingly
- Generator ready just in case of a power failure
- Shielded from moisture and foreign contaminants infestations
- Changes the desired power levels automatically
- Limited range due to 8 feet power cable
- Does not have some vital features
- May not yield some reliable outcomes in the long run
#5: VIVOSUN 1000 watt Dimmable Digital Ballast for HPS MH Grow Light
You need to get hold of this particular digital ballast to help you conserve some energy as you go about the business of growing plants. The ballast comprises some unique features which play the role of reducing the possible waste of energy.
Open/Short Circuit Protection
In all, the ballast is so designed as to reduce the likelihood of both the short and the open circuiting problem. An open/short circuit protection feature is fixed under the input terminal. It also provides some cover for the critical components.
It is not uncommon for the ignition system to sustain some faults, failures, and inconsistencies in the course of use. Such issues are adverse in that they might normally lead to greater losses on your part. The ignition failure protection shields you from them.
Finally, end-of-bulb-life protection also adorns ballast. The protection shields the bulb from those dangers, errors, and inconsistencies which may often arise while it is on its death bed. Your safety is thus well taken care of as a result of this.
- Enables you to set the watt option of your liking
- Fully compatible for both the metal halide and the high-pressure sodium bulbs
- Keeps you posted on the levels of the power before proceeding
- Reduces wastage and improves the usable efficiency of the power supply
- Does not overheat or sustain burns unnecessarily
- Performs fewer uses and applications
- Lower returns on investments
- Poor warranty
#6: Hydroplanet&Trade; Hydroponic 600 Watt HPS Mh Digital Dimmable 600w Electronic Ballast (600w)
Is yours a small hydroponic farm? Waste, not your money and financial resources. Do grab this ballast to make use of in the small farm you have in mind. Its wattage is similarly small enough for effective impact and reduced likelihood of wastage.
High Luminous Efficiency
As stated above, this ballast is pretty effective for those areas that are small enough such as a small hydroponic farm. By using this machine, you will incur low expenses to care for and operate it well. This gives rise to higher profit margins.
Adjustable Wattage Output
Also going a long way to enhance your use and gains from this ballast is the adjustable wattage output capability. This basically means that you have the leeway to determine how much power output to expect from the ballast at any given time.
Unlike most other ballasts, this one can shuffle easily between the MH and the HPS light bulbs. For this reason, you are freed from the likelihoods of disparaging one bulb. The end result is a prolonged lifespan which gives rise to greater savings.
- Takes the shortest time to light up
- Generates stable light outputs by reason of constant lamp voltage
- Automatically converts between the HPS and MH Lamps
- Helps lamps burn brighter and longer
- Gives rise to limited power loss
- Cannot handle larger spaces effectively
- Brings about lower profit margins
- Unreliable in the long run
#7: Quantum 1000W Digital Ballast, 120/240V Dimmable Ballast
Do you have a large space in mind? You have this particular ballast for your taking. This stems from its high power output and the ability to impact larger spaces at any given time. You will find this ballast particularly great if you are a large scale farmer.
Higher Lumen Output
With this digital ballast, expect a higher lumen output compared to the magnetic ballasts. For this reason, the outcomes you stand to obtain are better. Other than this, you also will surely be able to handle to impact greater spaces.
Resin-sealed Circuit Board
By far the most suitable place to make use of this ballast is that area which is prone to high humidity levels. The resin-sealed circuit board will see to it that you trap and leverage the high humidity levels well.
In all, the ballast can strike both the metal halide and the high-pressure sodium bulbs equally well. You are subsequently not restricted at all in your scope of use. Moreover, you also have an option to select which one suits your needs.
- Runs flawlessly on generators without necessarily flickering
- Produces by far the most stable output frequency of all ballasts
- Generates 15% less heat than most other digital ballasts
- Pairs and communicates well with other lighting controllers
- Easily configurable with an ordinary electrician assistance
- Costs more to purchase
- Requires some expert assistance to deploy for use
- Demands frequent repairs and maintenance
#8: Phantom II, PHB2010 1000W Digital Ballast for MH or HPS Grow Lights, 120/240V Dimmable
Digital ballasts are designed for different kinds of applications. This one is specifically meant for invigorating the growths and development of plants. It is hence suited for those circumstances when the plants are at their optimal growth levels.
To guarantee that your ballast shall operate smoothly, a fully-integrated microprocessor is incorporated in its circuitry. The microprocessor has a frequency of around 32 MHz and plays the role of stabilizing the setup.
Hot Restrike Programming
Just in case you accidentally turn off the ballast unexpectedly, you need not to worry at all about the likelihood of an accident arising. The hot restrike programming feature exists to safeguard you. It protects the lamp as well.
In the course of operating the ballast, you have the freedom to select from around four dimming options. These are 60%, 75%, 100%, and super-setting respectively. Yet again the benefit of maximum convenience is yours to leverage.
- Completely silent and great for areas that are sensitive to noise
- Energy efficient which lowers the utility bills payable by you
- Very reliable in the long run and for continued use
- Light in weight making it easier to carry around as need be
- The LED indication keeps you posted on the progress
- Performs limited operational cycles
- Quite hectic to engage and operate successfully
- Only for large-scale commercial applications
#9: 1000W Electronic Ballast, Dimmable Digital HPS MH Ballast
Are you an agriculturalist who has a knack for indoor plants and other associated applications? If you answered this question in the affirmative, this is the digital ballast to look up to. It is unparalleled for applications of these kinds.
Generally speaking, the ballast features some convenient wiring. These wires are also infused with some standard hydroponic “S” PLUG. Courtesy of this wiring, you are set to enjoy a fair degree of efficiency as you go about the business of using the ballast.
Ignition Failure Protection
From time to time, the ignition system of the ballasts is bound to fail. These might normally cause some sparks which end up endangering your life. Luckily, this ballast shields you from such failures and the associated dangers.
Adjustable Wattage Output
Further enhancing your convenience is the adjustable wattage output feature. With this feature, you basically get to determine the power output you desire at any given time. in light of this, you obtain the outcomes which are desirable to you.
- Can convert seamlessly between the various kinds of light bulbs
- Internal resin coating brings about longer life
- Zero-acoustic resonance ensures silent operations
- High luminous efficiency saves you utility bills
- High power factor results in higher returns on investments
- Operable only indoors
- Sustains damages easily
- Expensive to operate
#10: SPL Horticulture STB 1000 Hydroponic 600w Watt HPS Mh Digital Dimmable Electronic Ballast
To let your plants generate the right foliage and utmost produces, you definitely have to utilize this ballast. It is on the whole perfect for plant cultivation and will hence more likely yield you the robust outcomes you so yearn for.
Automatic Power Shut-off
An automatic power shut-off exists to shield you from the dangers which do arise when certain voltage thresholds are exceeded. While making use of this machine, it is unlikely that you will sustain any burns or unnecessary dangers.
The machine takes a shorter duration of time to light up. Expect to spend around 1-2 minutes on the higher side while doing so. Those inconveniences which arise when engaging other kinds of ballasts is therefore hugely suppressed.
Did we say that your safety is largely upheld throughout the use of this ballast? Yes, it is! By its design, it is able to suppress the likelihood of short-circuiting. In the process, of use, you will therefore not have to suffer those undesirable consequences.
- Burns the lamps brighter for longer
- Loses comparatively less power
- Capable of hitting extremely high frequency
- Works perfectly with all kinds of lamps
- Contains some new and improved features
- High power consumption leads to higher utility bills
- Simple users might find it somewhat complicated
- Does not perform a couple of relevant features
#11: (2) QUANTUM 1000W Watt HPS & MH Dimmable Digital Grow Light Ballasts | QT1000
If you are yet again an indoor gardening enthusiast, you have this digital ballast for your consideration. Its compact size, ability to operate well in moments of low luminosity and comparative ease of applications all combine to make it suited for this role.
This Quantum Series Lighting is the only brand of ballast which complies fully with Part 18 of Federal Communications Commission rules and regulations. Because of this, you should expect to gain and enjoy the highest levels of safety and performance.
Variable Wattage Output
The digital ballast gives you the freedom to select from various kinds of power wattage output options. These are 50%, 755, and 100% respectively. This arrangement allows you to obtain the outcomes you desire at any given time.
Lastly, you will find the ballast quite convenient to engage and pair with other like-minded pieces of equipment. This stems from its ability to strike both the high-pressure sodium bulbs and metal halide bulbs.
- Withstands high heat and humidity levels
- Comparatively cooler than most other ballasts on the market
- Emits limited noise levels
- Accommodates both the 50 Hertz and the 60 Hertz without requiring any extra wiring
- Saves quite some power while operational
- Quite cumbersome to carry around and engage
- Only for those with the relevant skills
- Takes longer to ignite than most ballasts
Benefits Of Using Digital Ballasts
These digital ballasts save lots of energy. As a matter of fact, most models save up to 25% more energy which leads to a reduction in the utility bills in a typical year. This is not to mention that it yields greater returns on average.
With the typical digital ballast, it is possible for you to carry out numerous closely-related chores. These include the encouragements of the growths of plants and the lighting of the indoor growing areas, among others.
Generally speaking, these equipment are compact in size. As such, they are easier to transport out and about the desired area with minimal hassles. You will, therefore, find them quite handy when you are constantly on the go!
Increased Wattage Options
Quite a number of them also allow you to select the power output that is relevant to your cause. Such power negates the need to waste unnecessary levels of electrical energy which also cuts down the utility bills. At the same time, you get to obtain the outcomes that relate to your specific need.
Lastly, most digital ballasts are easier to install. They require almost no specialized tool for the job and also call for limited expertise. Regardless of your skill and experience, you will find this equipment great and awesome for your circumstance.
Types Of Ballasts
There are three basic types of ballasts. These are explained below:
a) Magnetic Ballast
These kinds of ballasts generally play the role of mopping out excessively high current levels after igniting a lamp. In so doing, they prevent the lamp from blowing out. They are more manual in nature and are hence not so reliable.
b) Electronic Ballast
The electronic ballast is installed in line with a load to limit the current in the circuit. It operates much like a transistor, only that its current level is higher which makes it better suited for larger kinds of circuits.
c) Digital Ballast
As stated above, the digital ballast performs the role of regulating the voltage which a typical high-intensity discharge or fluorescent compact light receives. This way, it prevents them from exploding and also stabilizes the current output.
How To Use Digital Ballasts
Install The Equipment
Needless to say, you have to start off by installing the equipment. Being a sensitive undertaking, you definitely have to invoke the assistance of a trained expert to help you out. Follow the manufacturer’s manual to the letter if you are confident of doing a good job.
Make The Necessary Wired Connections
After installing the system, proceed now to make the necessary wired connections. Connect the digital ballast to the lamps and other electrical components it is supposed to regulate. You will yet again need some expert assistance.
Set The Voltage Threshold
Now set the voltage and if possible, the current threshold. These are simply the upper limits of the voltage and the current you intend not to exceed. You will have to consult the manufacturer’s manual for guidance on how to go about this.
Test The System
Test the system. Switch on the light bulb and see how it responds. In case your digital ballast allows, vary the wattage progressively to note the response of the lamps. If you are dissatisfied with the outcomes, you might want to repeat the stages above.
You are now good to go! Just activate the system and enjoy its benefits.
Features To Look For In Your Digital Ballast
Size and Weight
These two are perhaps the most significant considerations. A good digital ballast has to be compact in size and lighter in weight. You do not want to confront too many hustles as you go about the business of making use of one, do you?
Energy Saving Features
It goes without saying that the ballast of choice has to possess great energy-saving features. You also do not want to spend too much to care for and maintain these devices in their optimal working conditions. The same applies to heat utilization and possible losses.
This refers to the upper limit of the heat that the ballasts can manage to flow through the bulbs. A good ballast has to be able to attain the heat output levels which are relevant for your crop and desired applications.
Some kinds of applications require no noise at all as they may happen in areas which are sensitive to the dangers of noise pollution. To be guaranteed zero noise levels, you have to settle for those ballasts which emit less noise on the whole.
Lastly, you also want to consider the consistency of the light output. A good ballast has to be able to exude uniform light output to guarantee seamless reliability. At the same time, you also want one which is highly predictable and hence easier to control.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. How long do digital ballasts last?
Generally speaking, you should expect to use a typical digital ballast for around 2-3 years
Q2. Do digital ballasts use less or more electricity?
Most modern digital ballasts have features which minimize the loss of power. These are the adjustable wattage output and ability to switch in between various kinds of bulbs. As such, they use less electricity on the whole.
Q3. What are the main differences between magnetic and digital ballasts?
These two kinds of ballasts are similar in many regards. They, however, differ in their use and applicability. The magnetic ballasts are manual and cumbersome to engage when compared to their digital counterparts.
Q4. Do LED lights need a ballast?
NO, they are not! They are however engineered to pair and work for hand in hand with such devices.
Q5. Why do some lights need a ballast?
They play the role of regulating the levels of current and voltage to the start lamps. This way, they prevent those issues which would ordinarily arise out of the use of these devices.
MY FAVORITE IS Phantom II, PHB2010 1000W Digital Ballast. I am a large-scale commercial farmer. I have a vast swath of land which I devote to matters of agriculture and horticulture. The ballast is particularly suited for my use.
I’m working as a product reviewer and Chief Editor in The Dear Lab. also Passionate blogger, Traveler, and Reader.