Quantcast
EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
brown and green food on brown round plate
Photo by Inspector CBD on Unsplash

CBD oil is an increasingly popular hemp extract that many people use for its potential wellness benefits. But some people prefer CBD flower for its desirable effects like relaxation and pain relief. Here you can learn all about hemp flower and where to buy the best CBD strains.

What is CBD Flower?

CBD flower is taken directly from industrial hemp plants without the need for extensive extraction processes. These flower buds contain the same beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes found within CBD oil, but tend to elicit a stronger entourage effect.

Hemp flower is different than many other CBD products since it is trimmed from the stalks of hemp without any additional manufacturing or purification needed, which keeps all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids in tact.

What is the Best Hemp Bud to Buy Online?

Compared to CBD oil, there are many more challenges facing the selling and distribution of hemp flower across the United States. For this reason, there's a more narrow market for people that prefer to smoke hemp flower. This also means there are less suppliers to meet demand.

With that being said, we've found the best company that sells hemp flower.

Botany Farms CBD Flower

Botany Farms is our choice for the best hemp flower company because they pride themselves on offering organic, hand-crafted CBD and CBG flower products. They work with select farmers in the U.S. who raise certified-organic hemp that is free from heavy metals, pesticides, and fungicides. Each of their cannabis flower strains is made in small batches that are hang dried and hand trimmed. Botany Farms also uses independent third-party lab testing to ensure each batch's quality and contents.

Our Favorite Botany Farms CBD Flower Products

The products featured here have been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the link included, we may earn commission.

Here is our list of the company's best CBD flower products and more information on each one.

Bubba Kush

botanyfarms.com

This indica strain contains dark chocolate and coffee notes with an earthy taste. It provides calm for both the body and mind and is best for relaxing at the end of the day or in the evening.

Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 15.1%

Hawaiian Haze

botanyfarms.com

Hawaiian Haze is a sativa that provides stress relief while leaving you clear and focused. It offers a strong floral scent with notes of pineapple and berries, and is great for daytime use.

Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 13.3%

Sour Space Candy

botanyfarms.com

A CBD-heavy hybrid strain, Sour Space Candy contains a fruity and sour flavor profile, with dense orange, purple, and green hues. It can produce a relaxing calm, great for stress-relief or unwinding after work.

Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 16.4%

Sour Lifter

botanyfarms.com

With notes of grapes and lemons, this sativa offers a large dose of CBD and provides energy and focus. It pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee in the morning to start the day.

Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 17.3%

Cherry Blossom

An indica with notes of dark cherries, florals, citrus, and pine, Cherry Blossom has a rich taste that can help you calm your mind and relax before bed in the evenings.

Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 11%

Hemp Flower for Sale Online: What to Look For

The CBD market can be a confusing and vastly unregulated place. When shopping online, look for lab tested CBD flower. Accredited lab tests help ensure a high quality cannabis flower by verifying the CBD vs THC content, terpene profile, and testing for the presence of any pesticides, heavy metals, and other environmental contaminants.

Will it get you high?

Industrial hemp strains have naturally low THC levels. This means that their flowers also contain minimal amounts of THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis plants). These plants produce CBD rich buds that will not create any mind altering effects like those commonly associated with a THC high.

Is CBD flower legal?

Hemp derived CBD flower is legal in the U.S. as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent of THC by dry weight. The 2018 Farm Bill recently legalized hemp federally as an agricultural crop, therefor making hemp flowers legal as well. Other cannabis plants may produce buds with high CBD and low THC concentrations, but these are not considered federally legal since they originate from marijuana cannabis strains.

How do you smoke CBD flower?

Smoking hemp is the preferred method of use for CBD flowers, especially for the converted user looking to gain relaxation without the high. Many people opt for pre-rolled joints or CBD cigarettes made from hemp flower, but others prefer to buy the buds and smoke them on their own terms.

While this isn't necessarily the healthiest habit, it may be a better option for individuals who are looking for an alternative to nicotine cigarettes or psychoactive marijuana. Additionally, CBD flower has not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. It's not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

CBD Hemp Flower Benefits

Much like CBD oil, hemp flower is believed to have many beneficial effects that can be used to alleviate issues like chronic pain, anxiety, sleep troubles, and more. While most of this is based off of anecdotal evidence, some scientific studies have shown the benefits of CBD, including:

These wellness advantages appeal to many people, but it's important to note that smoking CBD flower is not the healthiest way to benefit from CBD. Inhaling anything other than oxygen into your lungs can be harmful. So for people that choose to smoke hemp, there is typically a trade off between the relieving effects they may experience versus the internal effects they do not see.

Understanding Measurements

Although hemp and marijuana vary in their cannabinoid composition, their flowers are weighed in the same manner. Using the metric system, CBD hemp flowers are weighed from grams to ounces, and are often broken up even further into eighths, quarters, and half ounces.

There are 28 grams in one ounce, and 1 gram will likely be able to make two or three joints filled with hemp bud.

CBD flowers taken from industrial hemp plants are legal to sell in most states, and these products must comply with the laws set forth by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on marketing and advertising. A supplier must deliver their products as described, including the weight of an item, when you are buying from them. If this isn't done, the FTC will likely take action against the company supplying the product. So you should receive the amount of hemp flower you purchase, but it never hurts to check.

Smoking Hemp Flower vs. Taking CBD Oil

When you inhale smoke from hemp flowers, the CBD will take effect almost immediately as your lungs absorb the cannabinoids and transfer them into the bloodstream. This effect likely won't last as long as ingesting CBD oil, which prolongs the on-set and steady absorption of CBD.

Smoking hemp flower looks and may even smell similar to marijuana, so be wary of this fact if you live in a state where recreational marijuana use is illegal. Hemp flower is legal, but it may cause confusion and unwanted attention, which should be taken into consideration.

Additionally, smoking is not good for your health — even if CBD flower may alleviate other issues like anxiety or pain. For this reason, we recommend exercising caution if you do decide to smoke hemp flower. Weigh the pros and cons, and consider other application methods when it comes to CBD.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Melena Gurganus is passionate about health and wellness and her writing aims to help others find products they can trust. Her work has been featured in publications such as Health, Shape, Huffington Post, Cannabis Business Times, and Bustle.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst stand at the Orion spacecraft during a visit at the training unit of the Columbus space laboratory at the European Astronaut training centre of the European Space Agency ESA in Cologne, Germany on May 18, 2016. Ina Fassbender / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Monir Ghaedi

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep most of Europe on pause, the EU aims for a breakthrough in its space program. The continent is seeking more than just a self-sufficient space industry competitive with China and the U.S.; the industry must also fit into the European Green Deal.

Read More Show Less
Best Period Underwear of 2022: 6 Sustainable Options

Switching to period panties doesn't have to be messy.

Reviews
Yulia Lisitsa / Getty Images

When your time of the month comes unexpectedly and you have to rush to the store, tampons, pads and panty liners are the majority of what you traditionally find when looking in the menstrual hygiene aisle. Recently, period underwear has risen in popularity to prevent the unnecessary waste that comes from using these products.

Period panties are a newer form of menstrual care that can both replace the need for disposable hygiene products and be a solution for preventing messy leaks. They're an ecologically smart alternative to single-use period products and a great long-term investment for those who want a more comfortable and easier menstrual solution.

Every person and menstrual cycle is unique. In this article, we'll explain the benefits of period underwear and help you find what type of underwear is perfect for you.

Read More Show Less
sl-f / iStock / Getty Images

A solar system can provide electricity for over two decades, saving homeowners thousands of dollars in power bills over time. Getting familiarized with the main types of solar panels is a useful first step when deciding on a solar panel system. This way, you can pick the best option for your home or business.

No matter which type of solar panel you choose for your project, make sure it's a high-quality product with a solid manufacturer warranty. Getting a professional installation is also critical, since even the best solar panels can malfunction when wired incorrectly. Poor workmanship can also create a fire risk, and the warranty will be voided if solar panels are not used as indicated by the manufacturer.

If you're ready to get a quote for a home solar installation, you can use this tool or fill out the free form below to get connected to a certified professional in your area.

3 Main Types of Solar Panels

You will find that solar panels come in many sizes, ranging from large commercial modules that are nearly 7 feet tall to compact and portable panels that fit in your pocket. However, the vast majority can be classified into three main types: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film. Each uses materials that produce electric power when they receive sunlight, but the specific materials used in the panels are different.

Like in any design decision, each type of solar panel has pros and cons, which are summarized below:

Type of Solar Panel

Major Pros

Major Cons

Monocrystalline

+ Highest efficiency, which means more kilowatt-hours per square foot covered

+ Long lifespan (25 years or more)

- Most expensive type of solar panel

Polycrystalline

+ Balanced cost and efficiency: intermediate between monocrystalline and thin-film solar panels

+ Long lifespan (25 years or more)

- Lower efficiency than mono panels

- High temperatures can lower their productivity and durability

Thin-Film

+ High temperatures only have a small impact on their productivity

+ Lower weight than mono and poly solar panels

+ Lowest cost per panel

+ There are flexible and adhesive thin-film panels available

- Lowest efficiency, which means fewer kilowatt-hours per square foot covered

- Generally less durable than mono and poly solar panels

Polycrystalline and monocrystalline panels both use solar cells made of silicon crystals, but with a different physical structure. On the other hand, thin-film solar panels use non-crystalline silicon or other photovoltaic materials.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency ratings in the industry. These solar panels can normally convert over 20% of sunlight into electricity, and the most efficient panels now exceed 22% efficiency. Mono panels are an excellent choice when you have limited roof space, since they will generate more electricity per square foot.

Mono solar panels are also characterized by their black photovoltaic cells, and many homeowners prefer this appearance over the lighter blue tone of poly solar panels. The main downside of these panels is their high cost, but in return, they give you more electricity per panel you purchase.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels have a lower efficiency than monocrystalline silicon panels — typically below 17% — but they are also more affordable. High efficiency really only becomes critical when your roof has limited space for solar panels and you need to make the most of the available area. When space is not a limitation, you can simply install a few additional polycrystalline panels to compensate for their lower efficiency.

Contrary to popular belief, lower efficiency does not mean lower quality when comparing solar panels. In the case of polycrystalline panels, this is just a consequence of their material property: They have multiple silicon crystals per cell, as opposed to a single crystal that carries electrons more efficiently. You can find high-quality solar panels of both types, mono and poly, with solid warranties from their manufacturers.

Thin-Film Solar Panels

Thin-film solar panels are not divided into cells like polycrystalline and monocrystalline modules. Instead, their entire surface has layers of photovoltaic material. Since these panels use material layers instead of rigid cells, they can be manufactured to be flexible and lightweight. There are also adhesive thin-film panels, which can be used on windows and other vertical surfaces. These panels are also popular for RV solar energy systems.

However, thin-film panels generally have a lower efficiency than the other two types, which means you need to cover a larger area to produce as much power as mono and poly panels. For this reason, thin-film panels are more suitable for large commercial and industrial rooftops, or ground-mounted solar farms. They are not normally recommended for homes, since they need too much space to be productive.

Key Differences: Design, Cost & Efficiency

When comparing solar panels, the purchase decision is often based on appearance, cost and efficiency. While all types of solar panels perform the same function, there are important differences between them in these three areas:

How Different Types of Solar Panels Look

The appearance of solar panels can be described based on their color and number of cells.

  • Monocrystalline solar panels have black cells with cropped corners, and most panels have 60 or 72 silicon solar cells. The latest designs use 120 or 144 half-cells that boost efficiency, but panel dimensions are roughly the same.
  • Polycrystalline solar panels have blue cells with sharp corners. Like mono panels, they are normally available with 60 or 72 cells (or 120 or 144 half-cells in newer models).
  • Thin-film solar panels have a uniform surface with layers of photovoltaic material, instead of separate solar cells. Their color depends on the material composition, and you can find black, blue or even gray thin-film panels.

Cost of Each Solar Panel Type

The specific price of a home solar system will depend on the panel brand and model, as well as local labor costs. Also keep in mind that your total installed cost of solar will include components like the inverter, racking, wiring and circuit breakers. However, the cost of solar panels themselves can be ranked as follows:

  • Monocrystalline: Highest price
  • Polycrystalline: Intermediate price
  • Thin-film: Lowest price

This is the general pricing trend you can expect, but there may be exceptions.

Efficiency and Power Ratings

The efficiency and power output of solar panels is closely related, since a higher efficiency means more watts with the available sunshine. However, you also need to consider the dimensions of solar panels, since a larger product has more area to collect sunlight.

Assuming you compare solar panels of similar sizes, you can expect the following ranking when it comes to efficiency and wattage:

  • Monocrystalline: Top efficiency, typically over 19%
  • Polycrystalline: Medium efficiency, typically 15-17%
  • Thin-film: Lowest efficiency, typically below 15%

Solar manufacturers are constantly investing in research, and all three types of solar panels have been improving over time thanks to new technology. There are now thin-film panels that can match the efficiency of mono and poly panels in laboratory conditions. However, they are not widely available as commercial products yet.

What Are The Different Types of Solar Panels Made Of?

The appearance and efficiency rating of solar panels depends on their material composition. While having high efficiency is favorable, this metric is overestimated in some cases. There are high-quality solar panels of all three types, and you can get excellent results with polycrystalline and thin-film panels when space is abundant.

As mentioned above, polycrystalline and monocrystalline panels are both made of crystalline silicon wafers. However, the microscopic structure of those crystals is different in each type of panel:

  • Monocrystalline solar cells are made from PV cells that are cut from a single crystal of pure silicon (hence the prefix "mono"). This is an advanced manufacturing process, which is a key reason why mono solar panels have higher prices.
  • Polycrystalline solar cells are made from multiple crystalline silicon fragments that are melted together during the manufacturing process, and they are also called multicrystalline for this reason. Their manufacturing process is simpler, since there is no need to carefully grow a single crystal of silicon. This leads to a lower cost, but also a lower efficiency.
  • Thin-film solar panels don't use silicon crystal cells. Instead, they use thin layers of photovoltaic material. The most common chemical compositions are copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), cadmium telluride (CdTe) and amorphous silicon (a-Si).

Choosing the Right Panel for Your Solar Installation

Monocrystalline solar panels are often considered the "best" due to their superior efficiency, but any of the three types of solar panels can achieve great performance when used in the right applications. Efficiency is only one of several performance metrics, and there are cases where polycrystalline panels offer a better return per dollar invested. Thin-film panels may not have the best efficiency, but their low weight and reduced thickness make them viable in applications where the other types are impractical.

If you're a homeowner who wants to maximize electricity production with limited roof space, monocrystalline panels are the recommended option. The same applies if you have plenty of space but want your solar panel system to be as compact as possible. Finally, mono panels are recommended if you prefer the black color of their solar cells.

When space is not a limitation for your home solar system, you can also consider polycrystalline solar panels. They are also recommended when you want to keep the budget as low as possible: Assuming equally sized systems with the same number of panels, the total cost will be less with polycrystalline options.

Thin-film solar panels are not generally recommended for residential roofs. Since their efficiency is low, you need to cover a much larger area with more panels to achieve a significant output. However, thin-film panels are excellent for recreational vehicles and camping, as they are lighter and more portable. You can also find thin-film solar panels with flexible or adhesive designs, which can be used in surfaces that are not suitable for the other two types.

So, which type of solar panel is best for your home? To find out for sure, you'll need to talk to a solar installer near you. Most of the best solar companies offer free consultations that can tell homeowners what type of panels they should buy and how much they will cost.

To get started, you can use this tool or fill out the form below and get connected to a pre-screened solar installer in your area.

Leonardo David is an electromechanical engineer, MBA, energy consultant and technical writer. His energy-efficiency and solar consulting experience covers sectors including banking, textile manufacturing, plastics processing, pharmaceutics, education, food processing, fast food, real estate and retail. He has also been writing articles about energy and engineering topics since 2015.
Trending
2022 SunPower Solar Panels Review: Are They Worth It?

Are SunPower's popular solar panels the best on the market?

Reviews
SunPower

SunPower and its solar panels consistently rank among the most popular in the nation for their exceptional efficiency, performance and warranty. In this SunPower solar panels review, we'll discuss how the industry leader's best solar panels line up against competitors' top products.

Looking to learn more about SunPower solar installations? Read our full review of SunPower. You can also get a free quote for home solar panels using this tool or the form below.

Panel Overview

With roots in solar technology and manufacturing, SunPower's solar modules actually predated the company's success in the installation market. To expand its installation services, SunPower announced in late 2021 that it would spin off its manufacturing arm into a new company, Maxeon Solar. SunPower's solar panels are still branded after their original namesake.

SunPower offers four monocrystalline solar panels, each with its own unique advantages. Which panel you choose will depend on your needs. Here's a rundown of each type of solar panel:

SunPower Solar Panel

Efficiency

Wattage

Best For

A Series

22.7%

400 W

Homeowners who want the best product available

X Series

22.7%

370 W

Space-constrained projects, like homes with small roofs

E Series

20%

320 W, 327 W or 435 W

Residential projects and smaller commercial operations

P Series

19%

380 to 400 W

Commercial installations or projects without space constraints

SunPower Solar Panel Efficiency

The first solar panel ever invented only had about a 6% efficiency rate — meaning only 6% of the energy striking the panel is converted into usable alternating current (AC) electricity. Even today, the most efficient solar panels in development only convert about 40% at the very most.

SunPower's ratings of 19-22% (varying with the different models available) are significantly higher than most conventional panels on the market today, providing a variety of benefits. These include:

  • Requiring a lower overall cost: Since high-efficiency solar panels have a better power output, the number of panels you need on your home is reduced, which can lead to lower total costs.
  • Providing more power for the usable space: Along the same lines, high-efficiency panels provide more energy potential with less space. This means homeowners with less available roof space can still be good candidates for SunPower solar panels.
  • Being more sustainable overall: Not only do high-efficiency panels provide more bang for your buck, but they also help to lower your impact. Fewer panels require fewer materials, therefore reducing the energy and waste that goes into your SunPower system.

Temperature Coefficient

Temperature coefficient is another way to describe solar panels' performance in varying conditions. Solar panels operate at an ideal temperature of around 75 degrees F, and their performance can degrade with temperatures significantly above or below that figure. The smaller the temperature coefficient, the less performance suffers when temperatures change.

SunPower solar panels currently hold a temperature coefficient between -.35 and -.29, some of the best on the market today. If you live in a climate that stays mild year-round, temperature coefficient will be less of a factor in your solar panel choice.

SunPower Solar Panel Warranty

Solar panels are known for their durability, but a warranty is still a hugely important consideration in your purchase. Luckily, product warranties come attached to the purchase of most systems. These are good for at least 10 years, and the best cover performance up to 25 years.

Most solar panel product warranties cover the following:

  • Defective products
  • Failed parts

Most solar panel product warranties do not cover the following:

  • Underperforming systems resulting from poor installation or products
  • Workmanship errors like roof leaks
  • Accidents like tree branches falling on your panels or squirrels chewing through wires

SunPower's 25-year complete confidence warranty offers the following to address a number of the common pitfalls of solar warranties:

  • All-in-one product warranty: Systems built with products from different manufacturers can result in a customer getting passed back and forth between companies as they shift blame for a failed part or system. SunPower's warranty, however, covers the complete system to ensure your problem is resolved in one place.
  • Removal and shipping costs of defective parts: Conventional warranties usually don't cover the costs of removing and shipping defective or damaged parts. SunPower's warranty ensures no extra costs in replacing panels or other parts.
  • Power production guarantee: Power production guarantees are performance warranties that ensure your solar system will operate at at least 90% of its original power production for 25 years. Conventional solar warranties may not cover replacement parts if your solar system's degradation rate is higher than expected.

Overall, companies like SunPower and Sunpro are making all-in-one system warranties more commonplace. The results are paying dividends.

Cost of SunPower Solar Panels

The cost of solar is difficult to predict by provider, since project prices vary so much with your location, electricity bills and energy needs. When you get a quote from SunPower, the price tag may seem a little higher than average, since its business focuses on efficiency. But remember, purchasing more efficient panels will save you more in the long run.

The best way to get a firm understanding of how much SunPower solar would cost you is to reach out and get a free quote. Even better would be to get quotes from SunPower and a few other local companies to compare prices. Keep in mind the quality of panels you're considering, as the cheapest solar panels don't always provide the best value.

How to Pay For SunPower Solar Panels

SunPower offers three general solar financing plans, all of which come with SunPower's 25-year warranty:

  1. Cash purchase: Purchasing a solar power system upfront from SunPower will provide the best solar payback period and the highest return on your investment. If you're able to get the money together, this method is the most cost-effective.
  2. Purchase with a solar loan: SunPower can help you take out a loan with one of its partners. With this loan, you can purchase the system and pay back the loan. Most loans are repaid within five to 12 years. If you choose to purchase a system with a solar loan, you'll still be eligible for the solar tax credit, and your solar panels will increase the value of your property. However, because of the interest you'll be paying on your loan, this option ends up costing a little more than a cash purchase.
  3. Solar lease: SunPower provides solar leases, through which you rent solar panels from SunPower. SunPower retains ownership of the panels so you lose the benefits of net metering, the solar tax credit and adding to your property value. Solar leases offer a low-upfront cost option with less return on the backend. Though less advantageous than purchasing a system, leases extend the benefits of solar to homeowners who may have low credit or don't want to deal with the hassle of purchasing and maintaining panels.

Here's a recap of each financing option available for SunPower solar panels:


Cash Purchase

Solar Loan Purchase

Solar Lease

Solar panel ownership

You own the system

You own the system

SunPower owns the system

Eligible for tax credit?

Yes

Yes

No

Adds to your property value?

Yes

Yes

No

Money required upfront?

Yes

Varies

No

Overall SunPower Solar Panels Review

SunPower sets the industry standard for solar panel efficiency, performance and warranty. Customers with SunPower solar panels review them well, leaving great reviews such as the following:

"Five stars for the [most] efficient modules with the best warranty." — David S. via the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

"We chose SunPower because … their panels produce more than any other company. Our roof is not consumed with panels. We literally have half the amount of our neighbors." — Theresa D. via BBB

The company's all-in-one system approach simplifies the solar process without sacrificing quality. It's hard to go wrong with SunPower's solar panels, but we especially recommend them to homeowners with limited roof space.

If you're interested in seeing how much a solar panel system would cost for your home, you can get a free, no-obligation quote using this tool or by filling out the form below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What solar panels does SunPower use?

SunPower uses its own solar panels that are manufactured through Maxeon, the company's manufacturing arm. SunPower currently offers four types of panels: A Series, X Series, E Series and P Series. These panels are designed to cater to different energy needs.

Is SunPower Solar legit?

SunPower is a legitimate solar company performing both residential and commercial installations throughout the nation. SunPower consistently ranks among the best solar companies in the U.S. and offers high-quality, high-efficiency solar panels.

Does NASA use SunPower panels?

NASA initially chose SunPower solar panels to fuel its unmanned aerial vehicles (or UAVs) while they were in flight. Since 1997, NASA has continued to work with SunPower on rover projects and more. SunPower actually got its start as an engineering firm and solar panel manufacturer after its founders were inspired by the use of solar on space crafts.

Karsten Neumeister is a writer and renewable energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.
Deforestation in Brazilian Amazon Accelerates to Highest Level in 15 Years

Brazil's Amazon has lost an area about 17 times the size of New York City this year.

Climate
Aerial view show a deforested area of Amazonia rainforest in Labrea, Amazonas state, Brazil, on Sept. 15, 2021. MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP via Getty Images

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is at its highest level in 15 years, the latest data from Brazil's space agency INPE has found.

Read More Show Less
Westend61 / Getty Images

So, you've read up on the best solar panels available and have decided to prioritize efficiency. Smart move. Buying the most efficient solar panels provides you with the most bang for your buck when working with limited roof space and is often (but not always) the best choice for homeowners.

In its simplest terms, solar panel efficiency refers to the amount of sunlight that falls on the panels that is converted into energy, or solar power. In this article, we'll break down what makes solar efficiency important and help you pinpoint the most efficient solar panels for your home.

If you're ready to seek out a certified solar installer in your area, you can use this tool or fill out the form below to get connected and receive a free quote.

Understanding the Efficiency of Solar Panels

Efficiency measures the amount of electricity a solar panel produces relative to the amount of sunlight (or irradiation) that strikes its surface. The most efficient solar panels on the market today only reach about 22.8% (shoutout to SunPower) — meaning that the panel converts about 22.8% of the sun's irradiance into usable AC electricity.

This may sound like a small amount, but the rapid progress of solar technology has surpassed most expectations. Only about 10 years ago, solar panels averaged around 15% efficiency. The first solar panels from the mid-1950s only reached an efficiency of 2%. There are currently panels in development reaching efficiency levels nearing 50% that we may see hit the market sometime in the future.

Tracking Solar Panel EfficiencyData Credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

What Are the Most Efficient Solar Panels Available Today?

With so many recent advancements in solar technology, let's take a look at the most efficient solar panels available in 2022. Based on our research, these are the best solar panels for efficiency at the time of publication:

Most Efficient Solar Panels

Efficiency Rating

Power

SunPower Maxeon M-Series

22.8%

420-435 W

LG NeON R

22.3%

405 W

Jinko Solar Tiger Neo

22.3%

620 W

REC Solar Alpha

21.9%

405 W

Panasonic EverVolt

21.7%

380 W

Trina Solar Vertex S

21.6%

670 W

Silfab 380-BLK

21.4%

380 W

FuturaSun FU M Zebra

21.3%

360 W

LONGi Solar Hi-MO 5

20.6%-21.4%

485-505 W

Q Cells Q.Peak DUO G9+

20.6%

360 W

Power refers to the wattage output capacity of the panel. The more powerful the panel, the more electricity it is able to produce. Note that power works in conjunction with efficiency, rather than determining it.

What Determines Solar Panel Efficiency?

Two main factors determine solar panel efficiency: the makeup of the photovoltaic (PV) cell, and the structure of the panel. You might wonder what differentiates the two.

Solar Cell Efficiency

A solar cell is the smallest unit within a solar panel, usually composed of silicon atoms. The photovoltaic effect — which is the process by which sunlight is turned into electricity — happens in the solar cells themselves, and solar panels join together multiple cells to produce higher amounts of power and allow that power to flow through a home.

Solar cells on a solar panelvisdia / Getty Images

The most efficient types of solar panels are usually monocrystalline (rather than polycrystalline or thin-film). In this type of panel, the solar cell is cut from one solid silicon crystal. This leads to fewer imperfections in the cell, making them more capable of absorbing sunlight and, thus, more efficient.

It's possible you've heard about N-type or P-type solar cells in your research as well. This won't matter very much to the average customer, but if you're curious, these solar cell types differ in their chemistry due to the number of electrons they carry. N-type cells are negatively charged (via phosphorus), while P-type cells are positively charged (via boron). Multi-junction solar cells exist, too, made with both P- and N-type materials.

Solar Panel Efficiency

Overall solar panel efficiency has more to do with the structure of the panel itself. Even if you have the most efficient solar cells available, the next step is to gather those electrons and direct a current in a specific direction. A solar panel has to be as smoothly interconnected as possible, so as not to lose any energy in this part of the process. Temperature, cell type and design will have a large effect on overall efficiency in this context.

Why Is Solar Panel Efficiency Important?

It would be unfair to equate the most efficient solar panels with the best solar panels, as a number of other factors — namely durability, cost, warranty and power — can have a large impact on overall quality.

However, in residential solar, efficiency is typically one of the more important considerations. Here's why.

Quicker Payback Period

The more efficient your solar power system, the higher your power output will be, and the more quickly you'll recoup your initial investment. The cost of solar panels can be intimidating, but efficient panels will help slash a larger portion of your electricity bills, accelerating your solar payback period.

Something else to keep in mind is that the more efficient your solar panels are, the lower number of solar panels and inverters you'll need to achieve your home energy goals.

Better for Limited Space

Many residential solar energy projects are confined in terms of space available for solar panels. Some might see their roofs and think there's plenty of space, but zoning laws and regulations often require spaces between panels and gaps between the arrays and the sides of the roof. For homes with less roof space, high-efficiency panels allow you to do more with less.

In commercial solar installations where you have more space to work with, efficiency won't be as big a factor.

Doing More With Less

In addition to working with limited space, requiring fewer solar panels lowers the impact of your solar project itself. As Dr. Yifeng Chen, head of efficiency research and development at Trina Solar, says, "improving module efficiency is a key to helping customers save land, labor, cables, etc."

The highest-efficiency solar panels require fewer materials, shipping costs and waste. It may not seem like much to shave off one or two panels from your solar array, but seeing as the U.S. averages some 3 million solar installations per quarter, the impact can add up.

Other Factors Impacting Efficiency

At the risk of getting too technical, here are a number of other aspects of solar panels that factor into efficiency.

Wavelength

The spectrum of light that a solar cell is able to absorb can vary. Most modern solar cell technology is only capable of capturing visible light, excluding other wavelengths like infrared and UV rays. In general, the wider the spectrum of light that can be captured, the more efficient the cell will be. Some researchers are currently focusing on solar cells capable of capturing infrared rays, which would dramatically increase efficiency.

Temperature

High temperatures and extreme weather conditions can put a lot of stress on a solar panel. In fact, solar panels are actually more effective in colder conditions when they can work without overheating. Panels that are durable, and that can withstand high temperatures, will have greater overall efficiency and lifespan.

Reflection

Solar panels need a protective coating on them to ensure their longevity. What's challenging, however, is that this protective coating shouldn't reflect any of the potential energy the solar cells are trying to capture. Higher-efficiency panels will have high-quality protective coatings that reflect the least light possible, increasing overall energy production.

Environmental Factors Affecting Efficiency

While solar panel efficiency is determined in large part by solar cell technology and the construction of the panels themselves, there are also a number of other real-world contributors to the overall amount of power your system will be able to generate.

Climate and Latitude

Climate and latitude have a large impact on the overall efficiency of your solar energy system. The closer you live to the equator, the more direct sunlight you'll receive on an annual basis. Climate factors in as well. If you live somewhere rainy or often covered by clouds, you won't get as much production out of your system.

Solar Panel Orientation

Similar to the role of latitude, your panel orientation will affect efficiency. If you live in the northern hemisphere, the best direction for your solar panels to face is south (and north if you're in the southern hemisphere), as this is how they will get the most direct sunlight. If your roof isn't at a great angle for solar, your system will be less efficient.

Dirt, Dust or Grime Buildup

This factor is particularly unappreciated — you might be surprised how much production you lose when you don't clean your panels. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to give your panels the routine maintenance they deserve to keep your home powered on clean energy.

How to Find the Most Efficient Solar Panels

Solar panel manufacturers continue to make large strides in solar panel efficiency as the industry continues to recognize its value. Highly efficient, monocrystalline panels are ideal for residential solar systems, as those projects typically have the least amount of space to work with. For this reason, most top solar companies should be certified to sell and install the most efficient solar panels listed above.

If you're looking to invest in high-efficiency panels, we recommend getting in touch with solar installers near you to inquire about their product portfolios. Now that you know so much about solar efficiency and why it matters, you'll be well prepared to find the proposal with the best value for your money.

To start getting in touch with certified local installers, you can use this tool or fill out the form below.

FAQ: Most Efficient Solar Panels

What is the most efficient solar panel?

As of publication, SunPower's M-Series panels hold the throne for the most efficient solar panels on the market, at 22.8% efficiency. Though there are more efficient solar panels in development, it will be some time before they're available commercially.

Can solar panels be 100% efficient?

"In science, nothing is ever 100%." — Michio Kaku

For a common solar panel to be 100% efficient, it would have to convert all potential energy that strikes its surface area into AC electricity. This means a solar panel would need to absorb no heat, cover every spectrum of light, not reflect any light, and not lose a single electron over decades of complex chemical processes.

However, there is research being done on what's called "multiple exciton generation" (MEG). Researchers claim solar cells have surpassed 100% efficiency using MEG, a process by which "a single high energy photon can produce more than one electron-hole pair per absorbed photon. The extra efficiency comes from quantum dots 'harvesting' energy that would otherwise be lost as heat." So, 100% efficiency may be attainable if we think outside the box.

Which solar panels produce the most electricity?

Another way to phrase this might be, "which solar panels are the most powerful?" This is measured by wattage. This past year was a landmark year for the power of solar panels, as some commercial and industrial panels from brands like Jinko and Trina are nearing 700 W.

Karsten Neumeister is a writer and renewable energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.

The best solar string lights add a classy, welcoming flair to any outdoor space. From bespoke rooftop parties to boho backyard hangouts, solar string lights allow you to achieve an ideal ambiance powered by 100% renewable solar energy.

But with so many options on the market, how do you know which outdoor solar string lights to buy? In this article, we'll recommend a few top products as well as explain factors to consider when purchasing solar-powered lighting.

Read More Show Less
Trending
This is among the first high-resolution, color image to be sent back by the Hazard Cameras on the underside of NASA's Perseverance Mars rover after its landing on Jezero crater on Mars on February 18, 2021. NASA / Getty Images

U..S space agency NASA has released a video and the first ever audio clip from Mars, a faint wind sound captured by the Perseverance rover.

Read More Show Less
First Whale Sanctuary in North America to Open in 2023

The plans for a sanctuary came after Canada passed the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, which prevents whales and dolphins from being held in captivity, particularly for entertainment.

Animals
Beluga whales are highly intelligent, social creatures who do not do well in the small, confined spaces they are assigned to at aquariums and marine parks. Whale Sanctuary Project / YouTube
A new sanctuary for whales is coming to North America. In Nova Scotia, The Whale Sanctuary Project recently celebrated opening day for the Operations Centre for the nonprofit's upcoming whale sanctuary, which will be the first of its kind in North America.
Read More Show Less
Trending
Juan Silva / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Whether you're installing a DIY solar panel system or having a top solar company handle the details, you'll want to choose the best solar panels for your home. But with so many options, it can be hard to know which panels you need.

In this article, we'll narrow down the 10 best residential solar panels based on materials, price, efficiency and more. All homes are different, so there's no one best solar panel for every system. It's important for homeowners to assess their specific needs and to select the right solar panels to accommodate their household energy requirements.

Our Top Solar Panels for 2022

For those who wish to take advantage of solar power, the first step is assembling a solar system for home use. This system will generally include a battery, an inverter and of course an array of solar panels. Based on factors such as efficiency, durability, warranty, price point and temperature coefficient, these are the 10 best solar panels for home use:

  1. LG: Best Overall
  2. SunPower: Most Efficient
  3. Panasonic: Best Temperature Coefficient
  4. Silfab: Best Warranty
  5. Canadian Solar: Most Affordable
  6. Trina Solar: Best Value
  7. Q Cells: Consumer Favorite
  8. Mission Solar: Best Small Manufacturer
  9. REC Solar: Most Reliable
  10. Windy Nation: Best for Backup Power

As you can see, each of these solar panels excels in a certain area, and each one comes with its own pros and cons. Again, as you seek the best residential solar panels, it's crucial to consider the specific needs of your home and your solar power system. To get connected with a solar panel installer in your area, use this tool or fill out the free, no-obligation form below.

How We Ranked the Best Solar Panels

In choosing our rankings, we carefully researched many types of solar panels from the industry's top manufacturers, evaluating them according to several criteria. Some of the factors we used to arrive at our rankings include:

Efficiency

The efficiency rating of a solar panel refers to the amount of captured sunlight that it can actually convert into useful energy. Keep in mind that solar panel efficiency tops out just over 20%, and generally speaking, the most efficient solar panels will yield the greatest energy savings for your home. As a rule of thumb, the less space you have for solar panels, the more efficiency you'll require to get the most from your system.

Durability

Solar panels represent a significant investment, and naturally, homeowners want to select products that are going to hold up over time. This means you'll want to buy solar panels that are made to be durable and to withstand even intense weather.

Warranty

A good, lengthy performance warranty can give you peace of mind after you purchase residential solar panels. In the solar industry, a decent warranty may last anywhere from 10 to 25 years.

Price Point

Naturally, you will want to consider your budget before investing in solar panels. The cost of solar panels can fluctuate based on many factors. As you think about a panel's price tag, however, also keep in mind things like durability, efficiency and warranty, which provide you a fuller sense of overall value.

Temperature Coefficient

Another important ranking factor is temperature coefficient. With solar panels, temperature coefficient refers to how much (or how little) the panel's productivity is diminished when the external temperature rises. How solar panels work in extreme heat plays a key role in year-round power output.

10 Best Solar Panels for Home

Based on the criteria outlined above, these are our picks for the top 10 best solar panels available in 2022.

Best Overall: LG

For our top selection, and our vote for all-around best residential solar panel, we're going with LG. LG is a top-tier electronics company, and its solar panels are known for their quality and durability. Truly, these are premium products that work well with almost any home solar configuration.

A quick look at LG's technical stats confirms this. In terms of efficiency, LG solar panels are almost unbeatable. (They are rated as 21.7% efficient; the only brand we've found that can surpass that is SunPower.) A competitive price point and robust 25-year warranty just sweeten the deal and make LG the most recommendable of home solar panels.

Most Efficient: SunPower

If you're buying residential solar panels based solely on their efficiency, SunPower is the name to beat. (Remember, efficiency refers to the amount of sunlight that the panels can absorb and turn into useful energy for your home.) SunPower's panels have the highest efficiency we've seen: 22.7%. And on top of that, we'll note that SunPower is reasonably priced and comes with a decent product warranty.

The bottom line: If you're mainly looking for a powerhouse, SunPower is definitely a solar panel manufacturer for you to consider. Read our full SunPower review for more information.

Best Temperature Coefficient: Panasonic

Panasonic solar panels have the best temperature coefficient. Basically, that means they will continue to perform at a peak output even when the external temperature rises. For those who live in extremely warm climates, this is an important consideration — when it gets hot outside and the sun is beating down, your panels will still perform at a high output level.

As for technical specs, note that the temperature coefficient rating for the Panasonic solar panel is -0.26. Beyond that, this is another example of a well-made product by a top-tier electronics company, and we think homeowners will love it for its durability and its overall quality.

Best Warranty: Silfab

When it comes to solar panels, the typical warranty may be anywhere from 10 years to 25 years. There are actually a number of products that hit that 25-year mark, including some that we've mentioned already, but we'll give the honor to Silfab. Not only do these solar panels come supported by a robust warranty, but they routinely win accolades for longevity and for overall customer satisfaction.

Silfab is a less prominent name in the solar energy space, but it really deserves your attention. It has great products that offer tremendous value and is one of our top picks for best solar panels for home use.

Most Affordable: Canadian Solar

If you're looking to secure some decent solar panels at a lower price point, Canadian solar may be your best option. This company makes high-quality panels that are not too far off from the industry leaders with regard to efficiency, temperature coefficient and other technical considerations. However, Canadian Solar makes its panels available at a much cheaper price.

One caveat: The warranty for Canadian Solar panels is 12 years, which is reasonable, but it is certainly a far cry from the industry-leading 25 years. With that one quibble, though, we believe Canadian Solar represents one of the best overall values for home solar panels.

Best Value: Trina Solar

Speaking of value, we also want to mention the residential solar panels from Trina Solar.

Trina Solar is a Chinese company, and like Canadian Solar, it does an admirable job of producing premium-quality cell technology at competitive price points. The company's panels are almost as cheap as the ones from Canadian Solar and come with a comparable 12-year warranty. They may actually be just a tad more durable, which is why we rank them as a slightly better value overall. Keep this brand in mind as you seek the best use of your solar dollar.

Consumer Favorite: Q Cells

As we considered the best solar panels on the market today, we took into account consumer reviews. Basically, we wanted to get a sense of how actual homeowners rank the leading products. The results were somewhat surprising: Based on reviews from a number of different websites, we found that a smaller company called Q Cells consistently rose to the top.

In terms of sheer customer satisfaction, this may be the company to beat… and of course, Q Cells also offers excellent efficiency, value, durability and more.

Best Small Manufacturer: Mission Solar

The residential solar space is dominated by big tech and electronics companies like LG, Panasonic and even Tesla. For some homeowners, though, there's something appealing about going with a smaller, more niche brand. And if that's the boat you're in, then we're happy to recommend Mission Solar.

These panels are made in the San Antonio, Texas, area, which makes them some of the best U.S.-made products in the solar field. The technical specs are all on point, and the company pulls some robust customer satisfaction numbers, too. Keep Mission Solar on your radar as you seek the best solar panels for home use.

Most Reliable: REC Solar

Buying solar panels is going to require a significant investment, even if you opt for some of the cheaper options. Naturally, you'll want to select robust technology that will withstand the test of time and also hold up well in extreme elements.

REC Solar panels are well-regarded for their trustworthiness and durability. REC tests its panels with standards three times as stringent as the industry average to ensure they will perform strongly in even the most extreme conditions.

As you seek solar panels that have a long lifespan and will work well no matter the weather, REC Solar is a company to keep in mind.

Best for Backup Power: Windy Nation

Windy Nation makes panels that are a bit smaller and less robust, so you may not wish to use them as your primary energy source. However, they work extremely well for backup power options and are also great for powering your cabin or RV with solar energy.

We'll also note that, for their size, Windy Nation panels are quite efficient. And, they come backed by a 25-year warranty, which should instill some confidence as you buy.

How to Choose the Best Home Solar Panels for You

When looking for the best residential solar panels, here are a few tips to ensure you're picking the right products.

Consider Efficiency

The efficiency of your solar panels is going to be one of the key drivers of how much you save on monthly utility bills and how quickly you recoup your investment. Each solar panel is rated for a particular efficiency level; the industry standard is between 17 to 20%, so anything in that range is going to be pretty decent. We'll note that SunPower's panels, with 22.7% efficiency, represent the highest rating we've come across.

Check Warranty Information

We also recommend comparing a panel's warranty against the industry standard. Hopefully, any solar panels you buy will come with a warranty of 10 years at a minimum. If you find something with a warranty of 25 years, that's ideal.

Compare Price and Efficiency

Something else to keep in mind is that the most efficient solar panels are not always the most affordable. In some cases, opting for a slightly less efficient product will actually provide superior value. You'll also want to think about the cost of solar panel installation and additional parts such as inverters and battery banks when setting your solar budget.

Think About Your Home Energy Needs

In assessing your solar needs, think about things like your roof's exposure to the sun, the surface area available on your roof and the amount of energy your household consumes on a monthly basis. These factors are all important in determining the number of solar panels you need, as well as the type of solar panels.

What Are the Different Types of Solar Panels?

When shopping for residential solar panels, it's also helpful to know the panel types that are available. The three basic categories are monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film. Each type of solar panel comes with its own list of pros and cons:

Monocrystalline: Monocrystalline panels are made from a single, pure crystal of silicon. This allows them to have higher efficiency levels, but they also tend to be more expensive due to a more costly manufacturing process. Note: If you have less space on your roof and can only fit a small number of panels, monocrystalline solar panels may be the only viable option.

Polycrystalline: Polycrystalline solar panels are also made of silicon, but in this case, they are assembled from smaller fragments. This means they are often a little less efficient than monocrystalline panels, but they are also a more affordable option.

Thin-Film: Finally, thin-film solar panels can be made from a variety of ultra-thin materials. Thin-film panels are recommended when you need something that's lightweight, flexible and portable; they may work better for RVs and camping than for homes. Thin-film panels can be relatively low in efficiency when compared to the other two options.

Do Solar Panels Require Maintenance?

When weighing solar energy pros and cons before making an investment, one of the most common questions that homeowners have is whether their solar panels will require maintenance.

For the most part, all the hard work comes on the front end. Installing a home solar system requires in-depth knowledge of electronics as well as solar power, and in most cases, a solar installation will take a few days. We recommend outsourcing this to trained solar professionals.

Once your system is in place, however, the level of upkeep required is fairly minimal. Besides routine cleaning, you shouldn't have any issues that require maintenance with your solar panels for 20 to 30 years. And if you do run into an issue, your warranty will hopefully cover it.

What Impacts Solar Panel Performance?

Solar panels can vary quite a bit in their overall performance and productivity. There are a number of specific factors that can impact how your residential solar system performs, including:

  • Orientation: When your solar system is designed, your installer will be careful to position each panel in a way that maximizes its exposure to sunlight. If the orientation is even a little bit off, it can compromise the efficiency of your entire system.
  • Weather and sun exposure: If you live in a part of the country that doesn't get consistent sunlight, or if your solar panels are often under cloud coverage, you're not going to produce as much clean energy for your home. (There is a reason why solar panels are especially popular in the Sun Belt.)
  • Cleanliness: While solar panels are fairly low maintenance, you may occasionally need to wipe them down, especially in the aftermath of an intense storm or during a season like spring or fall when there is pollen or falling leaves that can block your panels. If panels become covered with grime or debris, they may not be able to absorb as much sunlight.
  • Shade: Keep in mind that any shade cast over your roof is going to impact the efficiency of your solar panels. If your house is surrounded by tall trees, for example, that could impede solar production.

Bottom Line: Are Solar Panels Worth it for Your Home?

As more and more homeowners seek clean energy solutions, solar power is increasingly attractive. By harnessing the sun's natural energy, homeowners can reduce their dependence on traditional utility companies. Not only does this yield significant savings on monthly electric bills (potentially even eliminating those bills altogether), but it also reduces direct contributions to atmospheric pollution.

Ultimately, the decision about getting solar panels is a highly individual one. For some homeowners, going solar makes plenty of sense. For others, it may prove unfruitful.

As you consider what's best for you, make sure you take into account your home: The surface area available on your roof, the kind of weather you get and the level of sunlight you're exposed to.

Also think about the panels themselves: Which performance factors should you consider? Which type of panels is best? And which brand is best aligned with your needs and your budget?

By weighing all of these factors, you can make a well-informed decision about the best solar panels for your household. Fill out the form below or use this tool to get connected with a solar installer in your area.

FAQ: Best Solar Panels of 2022

What are the best solar panels for home use?

The best solar panels for your home will depend on your needs. If you have limited space on your roof, you should probably opt for the most efficient solar panels. If you live in a hot climate, temperature coefficient may be of more importance. Think about what you'd value most in your panels in order to decide which are best.

How many solar panels are needed to run a house?

As with so many answers in solar, the number of panels needed to run a house depends on the situation — primarily the amount of energy that your home and habits require. Contact a local installer to get a free, no-obligation estimate for your home's system.

Which solar panel has the highest efficiency?

As of 2022, SunPower's M and A-Series panels take the top spot for most efficient solar panels on the residential market. Both panels have efficiency ratings of at least 22.7%, the highest we've found.

What are the two main disadvantages of solar energy?

The two biggest disadvantages of solar energy are the upfront expense and the fact that solar is so location dependent. Both public and private sectors are continuing to address these challenges, however, as more companies are adopting flexible payment methods and governments are pushing for more solar-friendly policies.

Karsten Neumeister is a writer and renewable energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.

We Are / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Humanity's digital presence is growing – and with it, our carbon footprint.

In May of 2020, one-third of employed people were conducting their jobs remotely as a result of the coronavirus, up from a mere 6%. While taking our work (and many other aspects of our lives) online seems more sustainable – as our need to travel diminishes and hard copies become all but obsolete – it intensifies our digital carbon footprint, and carries a huge environmental cost.

Read More Show Less
NASA

By Zulfikar Abbany

The next few weeks in February will bring nail-biting moments of truth for three countries — indeed, the world — as three separate Mars missions approach the Red Planet. The United Arab Emirates, China and the United States each launched separate missions to Mars in July 2020, and they are all about to arrive. The first two, within days of each other.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
brown and green food on brown round plate
Photo by Inspector CBD on Unsplash

CBD oil is an increasingly popular hemp extract that many people use for its potential wellness benefits. But some people prefer CBD flower for its desirable effects like relaxation and pain relief. Here you can learn all about hemp flower and where to buy the best CBD strains.

What is CBD Flower?

CBD flower is taken directly from industrial hemp plants without the need for extensive extraction processes. These flower buds contain the same beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes found within CBD oil, but tend to elicit a stronger entourage effect.

Hemp flower is different than many other CBD products since it is trimmed from the stalks of hemp without any additional manufacturing or purification needed, which keeps all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids in tact.

What is the Best Hemp Bud to Buy Online?

Compared to CBD oil, there are many more challenges facing the selling and distribution of hemp flower across the United States. For this reason, there's a more narrow market for people that prefer to smoke hemp flower. This also means there are less suppliers to meet demand.

With that being said, we've found the best company that sells hemp flower.

Botany Farms CBD Flower

Botany Farms is our choice for the best hemp flower company because they pride themselves on offering organic, hand-crafted CBD and CBG flower products. They work with select farmers in the U.S. who raise certified-organic hemp that is free from heavy metals, pesticides, and fungicides. Each of their cannabis flower strains is made in small batches that are hang dried and hand trimmed. Botany Farms also uses independent third-party lab testing to ensure each batch's quality and contents.

Our Favorite Botany Farms CBD Flower Products

The products featured here have been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the link included, we may earn commission.

Here is our list of the company's best CBD flower products and more information on each one.

Bubba Kush

botanyfarms.com

This indica strain contains dark chocolate and coffee notes with an earthy taste. It provides calm for both the body and mind and is best for relaxing at the end of the day or in the evening.

Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 15.1%

Hawaiian Haze

botanyfarms.com

Hawaiian Haze is a sativa that provides stress relief while leaving you clear and focused. It offers a strong floral scent with notes of pineapple and berries, and is great for daytime use.

Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 13.3%

Sour Space Candy

botanyfarms.com

A CBD-heavy hybrid strain, Sour Space Candy contains a fruity and sour flavor profile, with dense orange, purple, and green hues. It can produce a relaxing calm, great for stress-relief or unwinding after work.

Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 16.4%

Sour Lifter

botanyfarms.com

With notes of grapes and lemons, this sativa offers a large dose of CBD and provides energy and focus. It pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee in the morning to start the day.

Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 17.3%

Cherry Blossom

An indica with notes of dark cherries, florals, citrus, and pine, Cherry Blossom has a rich taste that can help you calm your mind and relax before bed in the evenings.

Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 11%

Hemp Flower for Sale Online: What to Look For

The CBD market can be a confusing and vastly unregulated place. When shopping online, look for lab tested CBD flower. Accredited lab tests help ensure a high quality cannabis flower by verifying the CBD vs THC content, terpene profile, and testing for the presence of any pesticides, heavy metals, and other environmental contaminants.

Will it get you high?

Industrial hemp strains have naturally low THC levels. This means that their flowers also contain minimal amounts of THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis plants). These plants produce CBD rich buds that will not create any mind altering effects like those commonly associated with a THC high.

Is CBD flower legal?

Hemp derived CBD flower is legal in the U.S. as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent of THC by dry weight. The 2018 Farm Bill recently legalized hemp federally as an agricultural crop, therefor making hemp flowers legal as well. Other cannabis plants may produce buds with high CBD and low THC concentrations, but these are not considered federally legal since they originate from marijuana cannabis strains.

How do you smoke CBD flower?

Smoking hemp is the preferred method of use for CBD flowers, especially for the converted user looking to gain relaxation without the high. Many people opt for pre-rolled joints or CBD cigarettes made from hemp flower, but others prefer to buy the buds and smoke them on their own terms.

While this isn't necessarily the healthiest habit, it may be a better option for individuals who are looking for an alternative to nicotine cigarettes or psychoactive marijuana. Additionally, CBD flower has not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. It's not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

CBD Hemp Flower Benefits

Much like CBD oil, hemp flower is believed to have many beneficial effects that can be used to alleviate issues like chronic pain, anxiety, sleep troubles, and more. While most of this is based off of anecdotal evidence, some scientific studies have shown the benefits of CBD, including:

These wellness advantages appeal to many people, but it's important to note that smoking CBD flower is not the healthiest way to benefit from CBD. Inhaling anything other than oxygen into your lungs can be harmful. So for people that choose to smoke hemp, there is typically a trade off between the relieving effects they may experience versus the internal effects they do not see.

Understanding Measurements

Although hemp and marijuana vary in their cannabinoid composition, their flowers are weighed in the same manner. Using the metric system, CBD hemp flowers are weighed from grams to ounces, and are often broken up even further into eighths, quarters, and half ounces.

There are 28 grams in one ounce, and 1 gram will likely be able to make two or three joints filled with hemp bud.

CBD flowers taken from industrial hemp plants are legal to sell in most states, and these products must comply with the laws set forth by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on marketing and advertising. A supplier must deliver their products as described, including the weight of an item, when you are buying from them. If this isn't done, the FTC will likely take action against the company supplying the product. So you should receive the amount of hemp flower you purchase, but it never hurts to check.

Smoking Hemp Flower vs. Taking CBD Oil

When you inhale smoke from hemp flowers, the CBD will take effect almost immediately as your lungs absorb the cannabinoids and transfer them into the bloodstream. This effect likely won't last as long as ingesting CBD oil, which prolongs the on-set and steady absorption of CBD.

Smoking hemp flower looks and may even smell similar to marijuana, so be wary of this fact if you live in a state where recreational marijuana use is illegal. Hemp flower is legal, but it may cause confusion and unwanted attention, which should be taken into consideration.

Additionally, smoking is not good for your health — even if CBD flower may alleviate other issues like anxiety or pain. For this reason, we recommend exercising caution if you do decide to smoke hemp flower. Weigh the pros and cons, and consider other application methods when it comes to CBD.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Melena Gurganus is passionate about health and wellness and her writing aims to help others find products they can trust. Her work has been featured in publications such as Health, Shape, Huffington Post, Cannabis Business Times, and Bustle.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst stand at the Orion spacecraft during a visit at the training unit of the Columbus space laboratory at the European Astronaut training centre of the European Space Agency ESA in Cologne, Germany on May 18, 2016. Ina Fassbender / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Monir Ghaedi

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep most of Europe on pause, the EU aims for a breakthrough in its space program. The continent is seeking more than just a self-sufficient space industry competitive with China and the U.S.; the industry must also fit into the European Green Deal.

Read More Show Less
Best Period Underwear of 2022: 6 Sustainable Options

Switching to period panties doesn't have to be messy.

Reviews
Yulia Lisitsa / Getty Images

When your time of the month comes unexpectedly and you have to rush to the store, tampons, pads and panty liners are the majority of what you traditionally find when looking in the menstrual hygiene aisle. Recently, period underwear has risen in popularity to prevent the unnecessary waste that comes from using these products.

Period panties are a newer form of menstrual care that can both replace the need for disposable hygiene products and be a solution for preventing messy leaks. They're an ecologically smart alternative to single-use period products and a great long-term investment for those who want a more comfortable and easier menstrual solution.

Every person and menstrual cycle is unique. In this article, we'll explain the benefits of period underwear and help you find what type of underwear is perfect for you.

Read More Show Less