I don't mind a timer. I bought a time from Walmart.
How much have you payed for the ones sold at Home Depot?
I didn't buy mine from Home Depot because on their website the 10.5" lamps were almost $15. While at Tractor supply they were only $8.99. Here's a link to the ones at Tractor Supply: http://www.tractorsupply.com/webapp...ory_rn=&top_category=&urlLangId=&cm_vc=-10005
... I see now Home Depot online has a 10.5" for $9.97 but says online only so not sure what they actually have in the store.
I just like the 10.5" ones since it seems I get more even light not only under the center of the bulb but out a bit from the center. That really small 5.5" one will focus a lot of light in a narrow area and drop off more quickly the further out from center you get. The 8" ones are somewhere in between. I could be wrong .. I'm really not an expert.
Right now I'm using 2-10.5" fixtures with 13 watt Home Depot brand 6500k bulbs hanging about 3" above the top of my 20 long. But I don't really have many plants in it anymore as most were moved to my 75 gal tank.
Oh .. for timers I've been using the dual grounded outlet ones from Harbor Freight that I got for $5. Been using same ones for more than 2 yrs with no problems. I like having 2 grounded outlets in one timer.