Top 11 Best Digital Ballasts In 2020

Even with so many innovations in the area of agriculture, none of them comes closer to hydroponics. It’s through this invention that passionate florists and horticulturists have an all-year-round way of practicing their gardening skills when harsh outdoor conditions seem not to allow.

Now, regardless of the kinds of plants you want to grow in your enclosed space, proper lighting is a prerequisite for them to thrive. And yes, without a good digital ballast, a hydroponic lighting system is never complete.

For the sake of the uninitiated, a digital ballast is a special device that sustains current at a given level. It prevents power fluctuations from directly affecting how the bulbs operate. It prevents overheating and ensures proper utilization of the bulbs so that your plants get adequate lighting.

Having that said, what digital ballast you buy? Well, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of finding the right unit for your gardening project. To do this, with us is a guide on the best digital ballasts.

Top 11 Digital Ballast Reviews

#1 Apollo Horticulture Purple Reign 1000W Grow Light Ballast

Apollo Horticulture Purple Reign 1000W Grow Light Ballast

Our very first option is not only of good quality but also undeniably attractive. As the name goes, this digital ballast comes in an appealing purple color that almost everyone will want to bring to their grow tents. The unit comes from Apollo Horticulture, a well-known name.

This 1000-watt device runs silently to give you undisturbed time to interact with your plants. The unit has a built-in technology that stabilizes power supply. Hence, with this ballast, you will hardly encounter any flickering situations.

The built-in detector also reliably detects lamp heating and overload for the purpose of regulating the condition before it gets out of hand. It works with 1000-watt HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) and MH (Metal Halide) bulbs. The bulbs offer up to 12 dimmable settings that make it one of the most flexible machines in the market.

The easy-to-use adjustable knob makes it easy to customize the settings. Also, the unit has a 1.5-inch digital screen that shows the running setting. The overall dimensions of the unit are 14.75” x 6.25” x 3.5” (L x W x H) with a weight of only 9 lbs.

Pros
  • The power cord is extra-long.

  • The color is good.

  • It offers up to 12 choices of wattage settings.

  • It does not get hot.

Cons
  • It does not have an internal timer.

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#2 VIVOSUN 1000 Watt Dimmable Electronic Digital Ballast

VIVOSUN 1000 Watt

Also coming from a reputable manufacturer, this digital ballast guarantees to improve your yield without claiming much from your pocket. It is a 1000-watt digital unit that operates on a 120/240V power supply. It is designed for use with MH and HPS bulbs.

On the long-list of its fantastic features is that it has several protections built-in. I mean, with this digital ballast from Vivosun, you will never have to worry about ignition failure, short-circuiting or even overheating.

The unit is also dimmable. However, it does not afford as many settings as the previous model. Nevertheless, with the 660W, 750W, and 1000W options, it adjusts to meet a variety of your needs. But before you use it for your bulbs, ensure that it is set to the same wattage as the bulbs.

The 4 rubber legs permit placement on a flat surface. But in case this does not work ideally for your case, its design also allows for wall mounting. The power cord is solidly built for durability and is 8 feet long that maximizes your placement options.

Pros
  • It has a high-quality fan.

  • It has multiple placement options.

  • The soft starting feature is great.

  • Shipping is super fast.

Cons
  • It offers only 3 dimmable options.

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#3 VIVOSUN Hydroponic 600 Watt HPS MH Grow Light Air Cooled Reflector Kit

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Also coming from Vivosun, this unit is another reliable digital ballast you can count on not to disappoint easily. It shares most of its specifications with the just reviewed sibling.

For instance, it is a dual-voltage digital power source for increased flexibility. In other words, whether you choose to use it with a 120V or a 240V power source, you will like how impressive it works. The solid construction guarantees long-lasting performance even with use in a rugged environment.

The product also meets the standards set by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a global safety certification organization. Thus, you can buy it with zero concerns over your safety and that of your entire hydroponic system.

However, unlike the earlier sibling, this is a 600-watt unit. It offers three dimmable settings; 250W, 400W, and 600W. Also, it arrives as a kit and not just the unit itself as with the previous model.

The package includes: a 600-watt digital ballast, 8-foot 120V power cord, HPS bulb, MH grow light, a pair of 1/2-inch hanger rope, advanced metal internal gears, a timer, and other components that complete a hydroponic system. The timer automates the operation of the ballast for increased user convenience.

Pros
  • It arrives as a kit.

  • The timer increases user convenience.

  • The fan keeps it 25% cooler.

  • It adopts heavy-duty construction.

Cons
  • The packaging isn’t the best of you are to offer it as a gift.

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#4 TOPHORT 1000 Watt Digital Dimmable Electronic Ballast

TOPHORT 1000 Watt

This ballast uses materials of the highest quality for maximum service life. For instance, it comes with a very sturdy case that can stand up to regular use in a rugged environment.

The piece delivers up to 30% more lumens than the magnetic versions. This feature ensures the proper utilization of your bulbs and improves your yield. And since it works with 120/240V power supplies, you can use it just about anywhere.

The high-quality piece also features a high-performance built-in fan which pairs with the purposeful graduating fin design for optimal heat dissipation. The unit maintains a constant lamp voltage to provide optimal conditions for the plants to flourish as if they were in an outdoor environment.

The protections against short-circuiting, power surge, ignition failure, and overheat is an implication that TOPHORT 1000 Watt Digital Dimmable Electronic Ballast is designed with reliable long-lasting performance as utmost priority. Like any of the before models, this unit supports both HPS and MH bulbs.

Pros
  • It employs graduating fin design.

  • It produces 30% more lumens than magnetic options.

  • It produces just 68.5 dB noise.

  • It has 3 illumination settings.

Cons
  • The product gets damaged during shipping if not handles cautiously.

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#5 Quantum 1000W Digital Ballast

Quantum 1000W

This ballast will also allow you to control the level of illumination. It will operate at 100%, 75%, and 50% levels whether using high-pressure sodium bulbs or metal halide options. The unit delivers flicker-free operation even when working with a generator.

The ballast features a circuit board that has a high-quality fan. With this feature, this unit runs up to 15% cooler than conventional models so it won’t disturb you when working on your plants.

You will also like the fact that the circuit board is sealed with resin for weather protection. Hence, if you want a unit that will work fine without raising any issues even in an area with high humidity, this suggestion could just be the right option for you.

The premium-grade power regulator supports use with 120V/240V outlets. Nevertheless, if you want to use it with 208V outlets, it is also configurable, however, with the help of an electrician. The compact and lightweight designs allow for hassle-free movement within the garden.

Pros
  • It works well with a generator.

  • It has a weatherproof construction.

  • It remains 15% cooler than the competition.

  • It is 208-V configurable.

Cons
  • You will have to hire an electrician for a 208-V configuration.

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#6 Phantom II, PHB2010 1000W Digital Ballast for MH or HPS Grow Lights

Phantom II

Phantom II PHB2010 is an upgraded version of the original Phantom ballast. It combines its predecessor’s excellent engineering and reliability with the advanced Smart Alert Technology for an amazing functionality that is hard to beat.

Phantom II PHB2010 1000-watt Digital Ballast features a 32 MHz integrated microprocessor for smooth operation. I mean, the improved version is ultra-silent, so it will give you ample time in your gardening without disturbing your peace of mind.

The unit allows four brightness settings, that is, 60%, 75%, 100%, and super boost. These options maximize energy efficiency when still providing the plants with the ideal conditions to thrive.

The lightweight design of the piece means that moving it around the garden is easy. The built-in hot re-strike programming prevents the unit and the bulb from restarting immediately after it goes off unexpectedly. By doing this, it ensures a longer service life of the unit and the bulbs.

Pros
  • The casing is extremely sturdy.

  • It cools itself without a fan.

  • The power cord is of good quality.

  • The mounting system is good.

Cons
  • It is a little pricey.

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#7 iPower GLBLST1000DX4 4-Pack Horticulture 1000 Watt Digital Dimmable Electronic Ballast

iPower GLBLST1000DX4

If you need to employ more than one digital ballasts in your gardening applications, this is one of the options you may consider giving a shot. The package includes 4 digital ballasts and comes at a better price per unit than other members of the competition of the same class.

All the four regulators support dual voltage since they can go with either 120/240V power sources depending on what is available. The set has multiple protections against overheating, power surge, ignition failure, and short circuit.

Also, either of these options is dimmable with three brightness settings. I mean, the user can adjust the number of lumens to get 50%, 75% or 100% depending on the user preference. The graduating fin design keeps it cool when in utilization. The built-in fan is also another feature implying that the piece is engineered for cool operation.

The digital ballast ignites the bulb in less than 2 minutes, faster than most of the competing models out there. Its outstanding ability to provide stable power output guarantees flicker-free light for your plants.

Pros
  • The set is adjustable.

  • It ignites bulbs very fast.

  • It is safe to use.

  • The cost per unit is low.

Cons
  • It only comes in a set of 4.

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#8 iPower Horticulture 1000 Watt HPS MH Digital Dimmable Ballast

iPower Horticulture 1000 Watt

If you are looking for a grow light kit, then you can consider this option that comes as a set. The kit contains a 1000-watt high-quality digital power supply, 1000-watts HBS and MH bulbs, an extra-long ratchet clip hanger rope, a 19-inch wing reflector, among other many components you may need in your projects.

The premium ballast is a dual-voltage version since it accepts use with 120V/240V power inputs. The extra-long power cord measures 8 feet long. It is also ruggedly constructed for long-lasting performance.

Like most of the predecessors, this ballast will shine on your plants at a brightness level of 50%, 75% or 100% depending on how you want them. By accommodating this variety of settings, this ballast promotes efficiency without compromising on produce.

But the most interesting part about the piece is that it has a timer that supports up to 7-day scheduling. This feature allows the user to set the on/off times of the ballast depending on how they want the digital power supply to operate.

Pros
  • It has a timer.

  • It comes as an entire grow light kit.

  • It is a dual-voltage unit.

  • The power cord is heavy-duty.

Cons
  • The quality of the timer needs a slight step up.

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#9 TopoLite 600W/1000W HPS MH Simple Wing Grow Light Kit Hydroponic System

TopoLite 600W/1000W

Before you buy a digital ballast to compliment your hydroponic system, you have to consider a number of factors for you to get maximum value for money. Now, among the factors that you have to take in mind is certification.

And yes, being one of the top-rated models in the market, this unit is UL and ETL listed. For this reason, it is of impressive quality and safe to operate. The high-quality device is also versatile enough to accommodate both HPS and MH grow light options.

With the overall size of 12-1/2″L x 4-3/8″W x 2-3/4″H and rated power of 600 watts, it is small but powerful enough to handle your landscaping applications. It is also a multi-voltage device since it supports 110-265V dual voltage of power.

The unit is also designed to allow you to regulate the amount of output. I mean, you can choose it to operate at 250W, 400W or 600 watts. The package includes a 120-V power cord so you won’t have to buy it separately.

The wide operating temperature range of between -40-65 degrees Celsius is an implication that this unit is designed for optimal performance in different weather conditions.

Pros
  • It is a multi-voltage unit.

  • It meets safety standards.

  • It is compact yet very powerful.

  • It has a wide operating temperature range.

Cons
  • The rated power of 600 watts means that it isn’t the most powerful in the market.

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#10 VIVOSUN 1000 Watt UL Listed Dimmable Electronic Digital Ballast

VIVOSUN 1000 Watt

With the incredible features it packs, denying it a spot in my top-notch review would be unfair play. It comes from Vivosun so quality is guaranteed even before I dig deep to examine other features about it.

Among the fantastic features is that it has an aluminum casing that has a powder coating to withstand daily rigor in a rugged environment and tough weather conditions for several years to come. The body is also finned to maximize airflow for cooler operations.

The conveniently-located knob lets the user set the brightness level to either 600W/750W/1000W or at the super lumen level. At the super lumen setting, the bulb produces 110% lumens for optimal utilization.

The electronic digital ballast also has good compatibility. I mean, you can use it with the standard HPS and MH lamps. Being a dual voltage unit, it will work with 120V and 240 V power sources. An 8-foot power cable is included for instant use. However, since it is a 120-V cable, you may have to order a separate cord in case you want to use 240V electricity.

Pros
  • It has a powder-coated aluminum casing.

  • It produces 30% more lumens than magnetic power sources.

  • The knob is easy to use.

  • The adjustment dial is conveniently-positioned.

Cons
  • You have to order a 240-V cable if you want to use it with a 240-V power source.

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#11 SolisTek Matrix LCD DE (Double-Ended) 1000W Dimmable Digital Ballast

SolisTek Matrix LCD

In case the kind of plants you are growing need different levels of light during the day, or maybe you have different kinds of plants that thrive better at varying light levels, this dimmable digital ballast will be a good purchase for you.

The 1000-watt digital ballast offers up to 6-lumen settings. Hence, you will always have the ideal light level for every kind of plant you are growing. The wide range of wattage settings includes 1100W, 1000W, 825W, 750W, 660W, and 600 watts. The digital timer unleashes user convenience in a new standard.

The equipment makes use of SensesSmart Technology that prevents the unit from lighting up when there is an improper connection within the system. This is an essential safety feature since it minimizes the chances of catching fire.

The intelligent ignition power cycling property minimizes trouble in the case of power surge. The LCD display is large and is easy to read in a glance. And since it is lightweight and compact size, you can mount it anywhere you have ever thought of having it.

Pros
  • It offers 6 wattage settings.

  • The LCD display is large and readable.

  • SensesSmart Technology optimizes safety.

  • It is easy to mount.

Cons
  • You have to buy the remote separately.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Is digital ballast better than magnetic?

Digital ballasts outshine their magnetic counterparts in a number of areas. For instance, digital versions are more efficient, quieter, and generate less heat than magnetic models. Also, digital ballasts are smaller with a lighter weight and can be dimmed, unlike the magnetic options.

What is a dimmable ballast?

A dimmable ballast is a type of a grow light power source that allows the user to control the wattage output using an adjustment knob. This feature maximizes the efficiency of the machine.

Are all digital ballasts dimmable?

Almost all (if not all) digital ballasts are dimmable. However, the ranges of wattage settings will differ from one model to another. Some allow for more light adjustments than others.

Do I need to remove the ballast to use an LED bulb?

Unlike the HPS and MH bulbs, LED bulbs don’t need a ballast to regulate the amount of power. In fact, since they are efficient, using a ballast would increase energy costs since ballasts will draw more power than they actually need.

Can you run a 1000 watt bulb in a 600-watt ballast?

Some digital ballasts will not ignite unless you match the wattage setting to that of the bulb. However, a few do not need such adjustments to operate. Nevertheless, using a 1000-watt bulb in a 600-watt is not advisable since it will not utilize the capability of the bulb fully. Also, using a low-wattage ballast for a higher wattage bulb will not produce the intended light temperature.

Verdict

Although buying magnetic ballasts are still an option, opting for digital versions instead come with lots of benefits.

They are a bit costly than the magnetic versions but their efficiency level makes them generally cheaper in the long haul. Just pick one from the list and you should be impressed on how your produce skyrockets!

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