What's the Best Light for Mushroom Growing? (2024)


Mushroom cultivation has gained significant popularity over the years as a fascinating hobby, a source of income for small-scale farmers, and a sustainable food source. A critical component of successful mushroom cultivation is proper lighting. This buyer's guide aims to provide you with comprehensive information on mushroom grow lights, helping you make an informed decision when purchasing the best one for your needs.

Types of Mushroom Grow Lights

There are three main types of grow lights used for mushroom cultivation: fluorescent, LED, and HID. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, making them suitable for different situations and mushroom varieties.

A. Fluorescent

Fluorescent lights are a popular choice for growing mushrooms because of their energy efficiency, low heat output, and affordability.

  1. T5: T5 fluorescent lights have a thin, tube-like design and are known for their high light output and efficiency. They are suitable for small-scale mushroom cultivation and work well for the vegetative growth stage of most mushrooms.
  1. Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL): CFLs are another energy-efficient option for mushroom growers. These lights come in various sizes and wattages, making them versatile for different grow spaces. They are ideal for small-scale mushroom cultivation and can be used throughout the entire growth cycle.

B. Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

LED grow lights have gained popularity in recent years due to their energy efficiency, low heat output, and long lifespan.

  1. Full spectrum LED: Full spectrum LED lights mimic natural sunlight, providing the necessary wavelengths for healthy mushroom growth. They are suitable for all growth stages and types of mushrooms, making them a versatile option.
  1. Customized spectrum LED: Some LED grow lights can be customized to provide specific light spectrums, allowing growers to tailor the light to their specific mushroom variety or growth stage.

C. High-Intensity Discharge (HID)

HID lights produce high light output and are often used for large-scale mushroom cultivation.

  1. Metal Halide (MH): MH lights produce a blueish-white light, making them suitable for the vegetative growth stage of mushrooms. They are less energy-efficient than LED or fluorescent lights, but they provide intense light penetration for larger grow spaces.
  1. High Pressure Sodium (HPS): HPS lights produce a warm, red-orange light that is ideal for the fruiting stage of mushroom growth. They have a high light output but are less energy-efficient than other options.

Important Factors to Consider

When selecting the right mushroom grow light, consider the following factors:

A. Light Spectrum

The light spectrum is critical for healthy mushroom growth. Different wavelengths of light affect various aspects of mushroom development.

What color light is best for mushroom growing?

Mushrooms generally require blue and red light for optimal growth. Blue light promotes vegetative growth, while red light is essential for fruiting. A full spectrum light, which provides both blue and red light, is ideal for growing most mushrooms.

Is blue light good for mushroom growing?

Blue light is essential for the vegetative growth stage of mushrooms, promoting healthy mycelium development. However, blue light alone is not sufficient for the entire growth cycle. Red light is also required for fruiting.

B. Intensity

Light intensity is crucial for proper mushroom development. Too little light can result in slow or stunted growth, while too much light can cause stress and negatively impact yields. The ideal light intensity depends on the type of mushroom and the growth stage.

C. Duration

Mushrooms typically require a specific photoperiod, or light duration, for optimal growth. Most mushrooms benefit from 12-16 hours of light per day, with a consistent dark period for rest. It's essential to research the specific light requirements for the mushroom variety you are cultivating and adjust the photoperiod accordingly.

D. Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is a critical factor to consider, especially if you are running grow lights for extended periods. LED and fluorescent lights are generally more energy-efficient than HID lights, which can save you money on electricity costs in the long run.

E. Size and Flexibility

Consider the size of your grow space and the adaptability of the grow light when making your choice. Smaller grow lights, like CFLs or T5 fluorescents, are suitable for limited spaces or small-scale cultivation. Larger, more powerful lights, like HID or full spectrum LED, may be necessary for larger grow areas or commercial mushroom cultivation.

Best Grow Lights for Each Mushroom Species

Different species have very different reactions to light. You should take that into account when choosing a grow light.


Oyster mushrooms are relatively easy to grow and can thrive under a variety of lighting conditions. Full spectrum LED or T5 fluorescent lights are suitable options for oyster mushroom cultivation, providing the necessary blue and red light wavelengths for optimal growth.


Shiitake mushrooms require a more specific light spectrum and intensity. Full spectrum LED lights, which provide the necessary blue and red light wavelengths, are ideal for shiitake mushroom cultivation.

Lion's Mane

Lion's mane mushrooms also benefit from full spectrum lighting. LED or T5 fluorescent lights are suitable options, as they provide the necessary light intensity and spectrum for healthy lion's mane growth.

Best Grow Lights for Each Growth Stage

Mycelial growth

During the mycelial growth stage, mushrooms require blue light to promote healthy mycelium development. LED or fluorescent lights that emit blue light, such as full spectrum LED or MH lights, are suitable options for this stage.


During the fruiting stage, mushrooms require red light to stimulate fruiting body formation. Full spectrum LED lights or HPS lights, which emit red light, are ideal for the fruiting stage.

Top Mushroom Grow Light Recommendations

Here are our top recommendations for mushroom grow lights, considering various factors such as overall performance, budget, energy efficiency, and suitability for large-scale cultivation.

Best Overall Grow Light

The full spectrum LED grow light is our top pick for overall performance. These lights provide the necessary blue and red light wavelengths for optimal mushroom growth and are energy-efficient, making them suitable for all mushroom types and growth stages.

Viparspectra Pro Series P2000: This full spectrum LED grow light stands out for its advanced features and reliable performance. With dimmable lights and an impressive PAR output, it's great for mushrooms and ensures efficient energy use.

Best Budget Grow Light

CFLs are an affordable and energy-efficient option for small-scale mushroom cultivation. They are versatile and can be used throughout the entire growth cycle, making them an excellent budget-friendly choice.

Hydrofarm Agrobrite CFL: Compact yet powerful, this light is perfect for hobbyists or those just starting out in mushroom cultivation. It offers consistent light without the hefty price tag, making it a great choice for those on a budget.

Best Energy Efficient Grow Light

LED grow lights are the most energy-efficient option, providing the necessary light spectrum while consuming less electricity than other types of grow lights. Full spectrum LED lights, in particular, are a great choice for energy-conscious mushroom growers.

Spider Farmer SF-1000: Using the latest in LED technology, the Spider Farmer provides excellent light distribution while keeping energy consumption low. Its full spectrum design ensures that mushrooms get all the wavelengths they need for optimal growth.

Best Grow Light for Large-scale Cultivation

For large-scale mushroom cultivation, HID lights, such as HPS or MH, provide the necessary light intensity and penetration for optimal growth. These lights consume more energy than other options, but their high light output makes them suitable for commercial mushroom cultivation.

EyeHortilux 1000W Super HPS Grow Light: This High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) light is designed for maximum light output, making it perfect for larger growing operations. While it's more energy-intensive than some other options, its power and efficiency are hard to beat for commercial setups.

What's the Best Light for Mushroom Growing? (2024)
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