Grow Room Help, Lighting

Magnetic Ballast vs Digital Ballast: Which One Should You Use?

Digital vs Magnetic Ballast

As you might already know, there are two types of ballast – Digital and Magnetic. Both have their pros and cons but which one is the best for you? Below we’ve broken down the benefits of each one so you can easily decide which one’s best for your grow room’s lighting system. However, first let’s explain what a ballast actually does.

What Is The Purpose Of A Ballast?

A ballast’s main purpose is to control, regulate and, ultimately, deliver an electrical current to an appliance. Without a ballast, your grow light won’t work and could even blow up.

Magnetic Ballast Pros & Cons

Magnetic Ballasts have been around for years and are used by gardeners from around the world as they are inexpensive to buy. A Magnetic Ballast contains a core made out of steel plates wrapped in a copper wire coil. This helps create a magnetic field which regulates the initial electrical current delivered to voltage sensitive light bulbs. Because of this regulation, a lower intensity output is delivered, meaning that light bulbs have a longer lifespan. In addition, another benefit of using a Magnetic Ballast is that they don’t produce any radio interference. This is especially good if you are using a wireless nutrient monitoring system.

However, the Magnetic Ballast does have its negatives. Firstly, in today’s modern age, it is seen as being heavy and bulky compared to its digital counterpart. Furthermore, due to its age, it is less efficient at monitoring the electrical current and is also noisy, temperamental and can only support certain bulbs of a specific wattage.

Digital Ballast Pros & Cons

On the other hand, Digital Ballasts are fairly new on the market, meaning they include new and more effective technology. Digital Ballasts do away with steel plates and copper wires, instead, using electronic circuitry and microprocessors. This solid-state electronic circuitry and host of microprocessors mean that digital ballasts can include a dimming function, which helps gardeners create optimal wattage levels for different types of lamps. This allows greater control over the amount of light grow light bulbs produce. In addition, another benefit of doing away with steel plates and copper wires is that digital ballasts are smaller and lighter than their older counterparts.

However, because of the introduction of newer technology, Digital Ballasts are more expensive to buy. Furthermore, they are also known to produce radio frequency interference, meaning that they can interfere with wireless technology.


So there we have it, an overview of what Digital and Magnetic Ballasts are used for, what they do and what the pros and cons of each are. Hopefully, you’ve found our post informative and helpful, and if it has made your mind up on which ballast you should buy, head on over to our lighting section and check out our range of low priced Digital and Magnetic Ballasts.

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