BetterGrow Hydro Blog
9Dec/111

Best Gardening Products by Consumer Choice – 2011

Best Gardening Products by Consumer Choice - 2011

Survey Says...

We asked, you answered, and now BetterGrow Hydro presents customers' picks for the Best Gardening Products by Consumer Choice for 2011.

Over the past month, we sorted through thousands of responses that flooded in from our largest survey ever to reveal which products our clientele consider the best for their grow rooms and gardens.

Soon, we'll be picking the lucky winners of the raffle that accompanied the survey. But first, without further ado, the Best Gardening Products by Consumer Choice - 2011.

Battle of the Bulbs

In deciding the best-performing Metal Halide and High-Pressure Sodium bulbs, BGH customers overwhelmingly chose Hortilux. For years a favorite of among indoor growers of high-value crops, Hortilux BLUE metal halide bulbs are engineered to produce red, blue and green spectrums at levels that boost growth rates and yields while Hortilux HPS bulbs emit a whopping 25 percent more of the violet, blue and green spectrum than standard, run-of-the-mill HPS bulbs to make your flowers flourish.

In the HPS category, customers also singled out Lumatek and Digilux bulbs as top performers. Lumatek High PAR bulbs are horticultural specific and put out a large amount of Photosynthetically Active Radiation, or PAR, to promote vigorous plant growth. They also offer exceptional performance in both digital and magnetic ballasts. Engineered for use in digital ballasts, Digilux HPS bulbs put out 25 percent more red and orange spectrum to help ensure a heavy harvest.

2011 Best MH Grow lamp - Hortilux BLUE

 

2011 Best HPS Grow Lamp - Hortilux Super HPS


Best MH Grow Lamp
Hortilux Blue ........................ 52.1%
Digilux ............................... 24.7%
Maxlume ............................. 17.5%
AgroSun ..............................5.7%

Best HPS Grow Lamp
Hortilux HPS ....................... 49.1%
Lumatek High PAR ............... 18.3%
Digilux ................................ 17.0%
Maxlume ............................ 12.0%
UltraSun ............................. 4.0%

 

A Little Self Reflection

If we know one thing about our clientele, it’s that they like to do things big. So when we asked them which reflector is best in terms of quality and performance, it was no surprise they chose the XXXTreme by C.A.P. One of the largest reflectors in the industry, the XXXTreme 6” and 8”models maximize air cooling with aerodynamic junction boxes, and the wide and uniform swath of light they produce makes either model perfect for the sea of green method. The XXXTreme’s AlumaBrite  imported aluminum reflective insert and low height helps minimize lumen loss that can occur with larger reflectors.

Best Reflector 2011 - XXXTreme Reflector by C.A.P.

 

Best Reflector
XXXTreme .................. 21.1%
LumenAire .................. 14.3%
Cool Sun ..................... 13.4%
Magnum XXXL ............. 12.7%
Yield Master ................ 11.3%
Adjust-A-Wing ............. 10.1%

 

Digitally Superior

BGH customers say Lumatek Digital Ballasts are the best and most reliable on the market – hands down. Nearly 70 percent of those polled picked Lumatek over any other ballast, whether electronic or magnetic. Versatility is another feature that sets Lumatek ballasts apart, as their dimmable, dual-voltage features give indoor gardeners more power to serve the needs of their plants while the Super Lumens setting provides a 10 percent boost in light output for even bigger blooms. Add to that a 5-year warranty (3 years full, 2 years pro-rated) and it is clear to see why BGH customers stand by Lumatek Digital Ballasts.

As for magnetic ballasts, our customers are pretty fond of the Harvest Sun and ValuLine ballasts, both of which allow the grower to change from Metal Halide to HPS bulbs with the flip of a switch. Plus, Harvest Sun and ValuLine ballasts have multi-lamp receptacles that eliminate the need for using adapters with Sunlight Supply or Hydrofarm lamp cords.

 

Best Ballast 2011 - Lumatek Digital Ballast

Best Ballast
Lumatek Digital Ballast ................ 67.9%
Harvest Sun ................................ 7.8%
ValuLine ..................................... 6.6%
Sun System 10 ............................ 5.3% (replaced by Crop Master line)
Crop Master ................................ 4.4%
BudgetGro II ................................ 3.9%
Sun System 1 .............................. 2.3%
Sun System 7 .............................. 1.8% (discontinued)

 

Shine On

Mylar is the clear winner when it comes time for BGH customers to choose a reflective wall covering. Cost effective, easy to install and 98 percent reflective, mylar helps growers keep light from going to waste in the garden. Second in the running is Black & White Poly sheeting – also a good choice that, like mylar, is inexpensive and has been around for many years.

What surprised us about the survey results is that more growers aren’t using the newly developed high-tech reflective sheeting – like ORCA Grow Film or Lightite Diamond Diffusion Foil – that reflects more light without creating hot-spots, doesn’t allow light to pass through it, and creates a thermal blocking barrier when installed 1 inch from a wall. ORCA and Lightite Diamond Diffusion Foil are also among the sturdiest of wall coverings and can last for multiple harvests, unlike Mylar or Black & White poly.

Best Reflective Wall Covering 2011 - Mylar

 

Best Reflective Wall Covering
Mylar ...................................... 45.3%
Black & White Poly ................... 29.8%
Diamond Diffusion Eco Foil ........ 7.2%
ORCA Grow Film ...................... 6.7%
Lightite Diamond Diffusion ......... 6.4%
Lightite Silver White Film .......... 2.3%
Silver White ECO Film .............. 2.3%

 

Clearing the air

Growers have a lot of choices to make when buying a centrifugal fan for intake, exhaust or odor control. Much of it has to do with balancing cost and performance. Choose the right fan and heat, humidity, odor and noise can be kept to a minimum. Choose the wrong fan and it may seem like there’s a 747 trying to cut through the excessive heat and moisture in your indoor garden. But according to the results of our survey, BGH customers are making informed choices about the fans they use in their grow rooms. A large number of those polled chose Can-Fan as the best value of all centrifugal fans. With a Can-Fan, strength and quality definitely run neck and neck. This line of fans – available in 4”, 6”, 8”, 10” and 12” models, some of which are equipped with thermostatic controls – have tested CFM (cubic feet per minute) ratings and generate high amounts of static pressure with less noise.  Additionally, Can-Fans paired with Can-Filters provide true CFM ratings that have been certified by the  Air Movement and Control Association, so growers can know precisely how much air is moving through their exhaust or odor filtration system.

Not far behind in the final tally was the Can MAX-Fan, which features a mixed-blade design that makes them stronger, quieter, more efficient and more resilient operating under load than most centrifugal fans. The Can MAX-Fan is available in sizes 6” through 20”.  While the Can MAX-Fan is slightly more expensive than centrifugal fans, it’s strength and low energy consumption set it apart from anything else on the market.

Best Fan 2001 - Can Fan

Best Fan 2001 - Can Fan

Best Fan
Can-Fan ............... 35.4%
Can MAX Fan ........ 24.4%
ValuLine ............... 15.2%
Vortex .................. 12.6%
Dayton .................. 7.5%
Fantech ................ 5.0%

 

 The Natural Choice

Our customers also know there’s nothing good about having insects and other pests in their grow rooms – unless, of course, they’re predatory insects that will eat their way through spider mites, thrips, root aphids and other harmful bugs that cause damage to gardens. BGH customers chose beneficial insects as their favorite pest control product. Whether it’s beneficial nematodes that prey on fungus gnat larvae, lacewing larvae that eat aphids, parasitic wasp larvae that destroy whiteflies or spider mite predators that eat up to three dozen spider mites and their eggs a day, predatory insects play a major role in keeping pests and related problems from starting or worsening once they've begun.

Second in the running was the SNS line of natural pest and fungicide sprays and root drenches. SNS 203 Concentrated Natural Pesticide Soil Drench is effective on root aphids, fungus gnats and thrips. SNS 217 Spider Mite Control creates a barrier around the plant surface that is fatal to spider mites. SNS 244 Fungicide contains food-grade ingredients that create a bio-chemical reaction to kill off fungal spores.

It was no surprise that Gnatrol WDG, perhaps the most effective biological control for fungus gnats, popped up on the list. Since BGH started carrying Gnatrol, it has been our customers’ most popular fungus gnat-specific pesticide.

Best Pest Control 2011 - Predator Insects

Best Pest Control 2011 - Predator Insects

Best Pest Control Product
Predator Insects ......................... 30.6%
SNS Products ............................. 26.7%
Pyrethrum Foggers ..................... 16.9%
Gnatrol WDG .............................. 15.5%
FoxFarm Don't Bug Me Spray ....... 10.2%

 

Big Blooms

There’s no shortage of flowering enhancers out there, and our survey results show that BGH customers are using a great many of them. But in this poll, Botanicare’s Hydroplex managed to pull ahead of a crowded field. With a 0-10-6 NPK ratio, Hydroplex not only encourages more flower sets and bigger, fuller flowers, but it also contains a wide range of amino acids, trace minerals and vitamins that speed growth and maximize quality.

While Hydroplex and Canna Boost are designed to be used throughout the flowering cycle, other flowering enhancers our customers added to the list are intended to be used at certain points in the flowering cycle to trigger flowers to add weight, such as House & Garden Shooting Powder, or to bring out the aroma and essential oils weeks before harvest, such as Fox Farms Cha Ching. Both are worthy additions to any nutrient regimen.

Best Flowering Enhancer 2011 - Hydroplex

Best Flowering Enhancer 2011 - Hydroplex

Best Flowering Enhancer
Hydroplex ...................... 6.5%
Shooting Powder ............ 6.0%
Canna Boost .................. 3.1%
Cha-Ching ..................... 2.6%
KoolBloom ..................... 1.8%
Big Bud .......................... 1.8%

 

Good to grow

More of our customers chose Botanicare’s Liquid Karma as the best all-around enhancer. That’s probably because Liquid Karma contains almost everything a plant needs for surging growth in the vegetative and flowering cycles. Amino acids, carbohydrates, fermented compost solution, seaweed extract, humic acid and multiple other plant-beneficial compounds are all found in Liquid Karma.

Best General Enhancer 2011 - Liquid Karma

Best General Enhancer 2011 - Liquid Karma

Best General Enhancer
Liquid Karma ...................... 4.7%
Floralicious Plus .................. 3.5%
Compost Tea ...................... 2.6%
Superthrive ........................ 1.9%
Cal-Mag Plus ...................... 1.5%

 

A rock-solid choice

Hydroton Expanded Clay Pellets are the growing medium of choice for our customers, according to survey results. Providing an excellent air-to-moisture ratio for hydroponics, hydroton pellets can be used in a variety of hydroponic systems – nutrient film technique, aeroponics and deep water culture – and can also improve drainage when blended with soil or coco or used to line the bottom of containers. Plus, hydroton can be reused when rinsed with a mild bleach solution, allowing a bag of hydroton to go further than most mediums, which are difficult or impossible to reuse.

While hydroton works great in certain systems, it may not be the best choice for our Web customers looking to pay less in shipping costs. That’s where coco or rockwool -- two high-performing fully hydroponic mediums -- can be a saving grace. Both coco and rockwool are easy to use with a little preparation and cost far less to ship.

(Click here to learn more about coco or click here to read more about rockwool and other mediums.)

 

Best Growing Medium 2011 - Hydroton

Best Growing Medium 2011 - Hydroton Rocks

 

Best Growing Medium
Hydroton Expanded Clay Pellets .............. 36.1%
FoxFarm Ocean Forest Soil .................... 21.9%
Grodan Rockwool .................................. 15.3%
Canna Coco ........................................... 7.8%
Roots Organics Potting Soil ..................... 6.9%
Botanicare CocoGro ................................ 5.7%
Botanicare ReadyGro .............................. 2.2%
Organicare Pure Earth Organic Soil ........... 2.0%

 

One Part in the Heart

More of our customers chose Botanicare’s CNS 17 as their favorite synthetic line of nutrients. With formulas engineered specifically for soil and coco or hydroponics, CNS 17 Grow, Bloom and Ripe are an easy way to push your garden to its full potential. CNS 17 is a one-part nutrient that is matched to the varying stages of a plant’s growth cycle. Start with Grow in the vegetative stage, switch to Bloom for flowering, and then change over to Ripe for the last weeks of the flowering to bring out the biggest and best quality of fruits and flowers.

Best Synthetic Nutrient 2011 - CNS 17

Best Synthetic Nutrient Line 2011 - CNS 17

 

Best Synthetic Nutrient Line
Botanicare CNS 17 ............. 21.7%
Canna .............................. 17.0%
General Hydroponics .......... 6.2%
House and Garden ............. 3.4%
Fox Farm ......................... 5.7%
Advanced Nutrients ........... 4.1%

 

Don't Panic - It's Organic

Botanicare also came out on top in the tally of preferred organic nutrients. Whether it is the naturally and organically sourced Pure Blend or Pure Blend Pro lines, or the completely organic and the OMRI-listed Organicare line, organic growers and their plants are getting what they need with Botanicare’s nutrients. Not far behind was General Organics, offering a full array of biological plant foods and supplements.

Best Organic Nutrient Line 2011 - Botanicare

Best Organic Nutrient Line 2011 - Botanicare

Best Organic Line
Botanicare ................... 9.5%
General Organics .......... 7.2%
Humboldt Nutrients ....... 6.1%
Bio Canna .................... 3.6%
Earth Juice  ................. 2.5%
Bat Guano ................... 2.1%
Advanced Nutrients ...... 1.8%

 

If you participated in the survey and raffle, check back next week to see if you’ve won one of our fabulous raffle prizes.

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