Looking for an LED Grow Light? Having the right grow lights in your set up can be one of the most crucial things you make sure of. Plants can grow just fine when you have all of the right nutrients going to them, have all of the most up to date hydroponic technology delivering them, and an airflow system that makes sure they are always cool and filled with oxygen, but without light none of that matters too much, or at all in fact. That is why LED grow lights are so important.
However, finding the best LED grow lights is not that simple, that’s why we’ve put together this resource — an all-inclusive guide to help you find the grow light that will fit your needs.
The Top 6 LED Grow Lights For The Money
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
What Is An LED Grow Light?
LED grow lights are the most recent mass produced lamp on the market, although many people have not begun using them yet. Since the tiny LEDs might not be the first thing that you think of when you picture an indoor grow op, that is understandable. In reality, however, they truly are some of the most powerful, effective, and space saving grow lights that you are going to come across throughout your growing career.
LED lights have a long history of use in a variety of applications. Since they began being used as nothing more than indicator lights on electronics, LEDs have found a larger and larger role in the modern world.
For indoor growers, these are very appealing. Before LED lamps were as advanced as they are today, the primary application for growers was in the form of supplementary lighting. A grower might use an HID grow light setup throughout the different stages of growth. For plants that need extra light, or for more power during flowering, they would add in LED panels in specific places since they are so easily attached without taking up space. Now, however, there are powerful, and much larger, LED panels that can supply an entire grow room with bright light that keeps your plants healthy and profitable.
Other lighting systems require large ballasts and cooling systems, but LED lights are entirely self contained. A panel, that may be in the shape of a circle, square, or plenty more, is simply hung above your plants. The size of your grow will determine how large it will be, but they will all be lined with rows and rows of tiny LEDs.
What Are The Benefits Of Using LED Grow Lights?
There is an almost endless list of benefits to using LEDs. We’ll look at these benefits in comparison to other types of lights that have been used in the past, but for now an overview will help you recognize what you stand to gain.
Space Saving Design
Where other types of grow lights require a lot of space and will often require a lot of equipment to run, LED grow lights free up your space. The relatively small grow lamps will make it possible to move more freely throughout the grow room, since you will not have to worry about extra equipment and cooling systems that usually take up so much of the available room. The more freely you can access your plants, the better care you will be able to provide.
Low Running Temperature
The temperature of your grow room is incredibly important. Without the right attention paid to how hot your grow room is getting, you will run the risk of losing entire crops. Even with the right attention, it can often require extensive cooling systems to keep your room cool. LED grow lights have an advantage in that they run at a temperature that is simply warm to the touch, rather than approaching 400 or even 500 degrees.
Traditional forms of lighting your indoor grow can be very powerful, but unfortunately they aren’t very power efficient. That is why LED grow lights are preferred. They have the power to produce a great deal of light without having to draw much power. Doing this saves you money in the long run.
When you use the best LED grow lights, you will have the chance to grow for years without having to replace your lighting system. Most LED lights are rated at somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 hours of use. For comparison, many other grow lights tend to last for around 20,000 hours before needing to be replaced.
How Do LED Grow Lights Work?
LED grow lights function by sending an electric current through a semiconductor material. This in turn excites the electrons that create a powerful light from a very small bulb. By using different materials for the semiconductor, it is possible to create LED diodes with different wavelengths of light. This makes them capable of giving your indoor plants exactly what they need for each stage of growth. How those are used will be covered further down.
What You Should Know About Watts
It is important to note that the Watts that are listed on your product might not be exactly what you are expecting. Even though there might be one watt measurement listed on the lamp, you need to know the amount of watts that the grow light will actually use inside of your operation.
For example, if you have a 1000 watt grow light unit according to the manufacturer, that is the maximum possible amount of power that it will be capable of using. If you do push that amount of power to the lamp, you will likely cause heat problems and actually shorten the life of the LEDs. With that being said, the same 1000 watt grow light could be marketed as anywhere from 300 watts to 1000 watts.
Look at the actual power consumption, rather than the rating that the manufacturer gives you.
What You Should Know About Light Wavelengths
The LED grow lights that you use inside of your grow will have to feed your plants the light that they need. You see, in the natural world they would be receiving sunlight that that features light from the entire range of light wavelengths. This ranges from Ultraviolet light, that humans can’t see, to infrared, which is also invisible to humans. In between, there is violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. Depending on the kind of growing and the cycle you are in, different portions of the spectrum will be important to you.
What Are Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights?
Plants growing in the great outdoors have a number of benefits over plants that are grown inside. Primarily, they have the benefit of sunlight that offers the entire spectrum of visible light. In order to be able to provide your plants with everything they need, including light for both vegetative and flowering growth, you will need a full spectrum LED grow light.
HPS and fluorescent grow lamps have been used for many years when it comes to indoor growing. Many people still swear by them. There is a great advantage to having the very powerful light that they produce, which includes rays from all over the spectrum, although that comes at a cost. In exchange, people have turned to LED lighting, but many neglect to still make use of the full spectrum that is necessary for growing plants through a natural life cycle.
Many people make the mistake of only using one kind of LED grow light. That simply can’t provide your plants with what they need for both stages of growth. A full spectrum LED grow light, in comparison, will provide a wide range of blue, red, white, and ultraviolet light.
There is a lot that goes into full spectrum LED grow lights, including different ratios of the different colors that your plants need, but we will look at that next. Understanding what each kind of LED has to offer will allow you to truly take charge of your grow and ensure you have better results than ever.
The Colors of The Spectrum
Natural sunlight features the entire spectrum of light. When constructing LED panels, the manufacturers use only certain kinds of LEDs that will provide a specific color in order to feed your plants what they need. Here we will look at the different colors, including what the best combination is for your grow operation.
- Blue. Blue LED lights, in the mid-400nm range, are ideal for vegetative growth that creates tall, leafy plants. During the flowering and budding phase, though, blue light is not very helpful and it can cause bushy plants without many buds.
- Red. In contrast to blue light, Red LEDs in the 600-640 nm range will help encourage budding and flowering. Much like the way that blue light doesn’t help with flowering, too much red light will not help with vegetative growth, creating unhealthy plants.
- White. White LEDs are a source of contention for many people, but if nothing else they are beneficial for you in order to see inside of your grow room. With only red and blue LEDs inside of your operation, it will be almost impossible to see problems accurately and correct them. There is a great deal of speculation, as well, centered on the balancing of the spectrum that they provide.
- Ultraviolet. Ultraviolet light is not used in all LED grows, but it can be something worth experimenting with. The theory on using these originally comes from people who noticed that equatorial strains of marijuana had a much higher potency, despite having the most “damaging” rays of light going to them. Research has found that it could beneficial to use ultraviolet light in short bursts when you are looking to increase THC production.
The Right Combination
Ensuring proper growth and plant health means making sure they have the right blend of light. Natural outdoor grows have the benefit of living in a world where all of the right wavelengths are provided to them, although it is relatively simple to replicate that indoors.
For the optimum ratio of different colors, you should have the following in the panel that you are using. As long as it is close, you will be fine.
- *55% Red LEDs rated at 660nm
- *20% Red LEDs rated at 630nm
- *15% Blue LEDs rated at 470nm
- *10% Blue LEDs rated at 425nm
Why Just Red And Blue Color LED Grow Lights Typically Don’t Work Well
There are many growers that attempt to simply use one set of red LED grow lights and one set of blue LED lights. The problem with this is that it lacks the ability to provide your plants with the full range that they are used to having in nature. During an outdoor growth cycle, the kind of light that it receives fluctuates and moves as the days and months progress. Replicating that inside of your grow room is an important part of successful harvests. Leave no stone unturned and no helpful wavelength left out.
What Do You need To Know About Light Cycles
The type of cycle that your plants are currently in will determine what kind of light you use and how many hours a day they are turned on. It is important to understand these if you are going to have the best chances of success.
In a natural outdoor grow, plants will receive a great deal of light at the beginning of the growing season. As the months carry on, entering the fall, the days grow shorter, with longer periods of darkness. When growing your plants indoors it is necessary to recreate this artificially.
Spending more time in the vegetative stage results in larger overall plants, which can be a problem when you are growing indoors. Theoretically, plants can be left in the vegetative stage forever. This will allow you to what are known as “mother” plants. These can be cloned over and over again, saving a great deal of time by starting out with miniature plants, rather than seeds. That also means you can create exact copies of the favorite plant in your crop.
The Bud Stage is more temperamental. Spending too much time in this stage will result in poor flowering, making it a more “hands on” time for the grow.
Cannabis Light Cycle
For growing cannabis, it is important to have the right amount of light and dark each day in order to stimulate the right amount of growth in both vegetative and flowering stages, in addition to ensuring proper THC production.
The vegetative growth cycle is where you’ll end up saving money on electricity bills since your plants don’t need incredibly intense light. What is most important to them is having steady, color coordinated LED light for long periods of time.
During the vegetative stage of growth, your cannabis plants need to have 16 and 18 hours of light each day. Depending on your growing method, this could last longer due to the excess growth needed for things like Screen Of Green techniques. With this much light, they will build strong roots and a solid main stem that will support your buds, in addition to lots and lots of foliage, including the famous five-fingered sun leaves.
This is an important stage in terms of light wavelength because you must ensure that the leaves and stem are healthy, this is where the carbon dioxide and light will be converted into food through photosynthesis.
The blue light we discussed above is what is used here. In the 400 – 500nm range, the plants will activate photosynthesis as well as phototropism. Phototropism is only activated by blue light, and is responsible for your plant knowing where the light is coming from, but red light can also help activate photosynthesis as well, making a full spectrum LED grow light ideal.
Typically, four to six weeks of this stage is necessary under the right kind of lighting. LEDs fit in that category. Once your plants start showing what are known as “pre-flowers,” they are ready to start budding whenever you are happy with the size that they have reached.
Here you will see the results that you have been looking forward to. Before, LEDs shined blue wavelength light on your plants for 18 hours a day, but now we are going to change that up as they get ready to start sprouting the buds that deliver everything you could have hoped for.
The flowering stage involves 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of darkness. This is when your plants will start showing their sex and begin budding. During the first two weeks, you will be able to tell whether or not they are male or female, an important factor in determining which plants you should get rid of if you aren’t interested in breeding. The flowering stage carries on with the same light cycle until the time is right to harvest.
Of course, simply changing the light cycle is going to convince your plants that they should begin producing buds, but the addition of red light helps the process along greatly. Again, you want to think about using blue as well, since it is better overall for photosynthesis.
Keep in mind, LED grow lights cause your plants to use up fewer nutrients. It is easy to over feed them since you may be used to using stronger lights that place added strain on the plants.
Also check out this video to know more about cannabis light cycles.
It may seem that any kind of light can help a plant grow, as long as it is on for the right length of time. That may be true, but LED lights cause a special reaction inside of your plants. The LED lamps will be formulated in a way that targets the part of the plants responsible for activating photosynthesis. This kind of laser targeting almost works like a cheat code for your indoor grow. You can skip all of the problematic parts like excess heat and wasteful light, while jumping right into perfect growth cycles that deliver massive harvests time and time again.
While LEDs turn on instantly and do not require time to power on, it is still important that it be an automated process, rather than turning them on and off yourself when it is time. There are a multitude of timers out there that can handle this for you. Pick one up and set it to the right amount of light and dark and you will be good to go. Try your best to not enter the grow room during a dark period, however. You should strive for total darkness during the “off” hours, which is easier when you are not going in and out, but you should also make sure that the room is sealed off as well for best results.
Why Is It So Important To Have The Best LED Grow Lights?
Having an LED grow light set up is important for a number of reasons. There are plenty of ways to get light to your plants, but how do you know that it is the most efficient way? How can you know that you aren’t actually overheating your plants in an attempt to pump more light into them and increase your output?
The fact remains that LED lights are the most efficient grow lights that are available on the market. To begin, LED grow lights conserve 75% more energy than traditional grow lights. By using less power, you will be spending less money keeping up with power bills and therefore have much more money leftover for enjoying the fruits of your labors, rather than spending the majority of it running the grow operation itself.
Important as well is that the best LED grow lights use specific wavelengths of light that are needed the most by your plants. Traditional grow lights blast your plants with light and as a result much of the light is wasted. LED lights, on the other hand, use only blue and red wavelengths to provide your plants with everything that they need without having to waste power and light on things that aren’t effective. There are LEDs that feature either both, or only one, which makes it possible to specialize and tailor your lighting to your plant’s needs.
LED grow lights are also much cooler in part due to the reduction of power consumption. The problem with many grow lights is the heat that they produce, which causes you to spend money on other parts of your grow operation as well. The hotter your grow room stays, the more air you will have to move through the room, and the more attention you will have to pay to the temperature at all times.
That also means that LED grow lights are much easier on the environment. With the attention being brought to environmental concerns, global warming, and the future of the world, it is easy to see why people would be likely to prefer a more environmentally conscious option. That is where LED grow lights succeed. The massive reduction in CO2 emissions, in addition to power consumption, means that the environment will be thankful. LED grow lights also don’t have to be disposed of in a particular manner like HPS lighting systems do. Grow lights containing mercury will have to be professionally disposed of in a way that requires special attention after a couple of years due to the shorter shelf life. LED grow lights have the ability to last a long time and then be thrown away after almost ten years of use without having to worry about harming the environment in the process.
The final thing that stands out about LED grow lights is the fact that they do not have to be replaced very often. Many grow lights that people use are replaced within a short amount of time because they wear out fairly quickly. In comparison, most of the best LED grow lights can last for over 50,000 hours, meaning they will have to be replaced after 7-8 years at the earliest. The cost can turn some people away from using them, but once the length of their life is taken into account it is easy to see how much money can actually be saved over time.
LED vs HPS Grow Lights
HPS lights are another of the more popular grow lighting systems that are currently used for indoor grows. HPS stands for High Pressure Sodium and these are lights that produce mostly yellow wavelength light and are much cheaper than many other grow lights such as LED Lights or T5 Grow Lights. There are plenty of problems with HPS lighting set ups, though.
HPS lighting systems are more efficient than lighting systems in the past, but they are still not the best. Using a combination of gases, a current is sent through and charges an arc tube made of aluminum oxide. That arc will create the light that is incredibly bright and incredibly powerful, but they do have setbacks that can cause problems for most growers.
HPS grow lights unfortunately produce a large amount of heat and they require a lot of power to run effectively. They can be great when under control, and don’t require a lot of up front money, but they can quickly cause problems as time goes on. The yellow light that they produce also isn’t very effective in either vegetative or flowering stages.
HPS grow lights also have the problem of being responsible for a large amount of CO2 emissions. With more and more people being conscious of their impact on the environment, this is an important factor that plays a large role in deciding which products to purchase. These lights will also have to be disposed of in a secure way, since they have mercury inside of them and can potentially be problematic for the environment, even after they are no longer running as part of a grow operation.
In comparison, LED lighting has the ability to not only eliminate the wasteful yellow light, but make use of more effective wavelengths that actually provide benefits to your plants. They also don’t have the energy problem that HPS lighting systems have, making them cheaper. They certainly cost much more than HPS grow lights at the start, but the savings over time can make a huge difference in your bottom line as you go from harvest to harvest.
LED vs HID Grow Lights
From the standpoint of looking at the initial costs of setting up a grow operation, HID lights, or High Intensity Discharge lights, are a very affordable option for people who grow plants indoors. Over time, though, that initial saving can be overcome by additional costs as you spend more on other costs.
HID lighting works by sending electrical currents through metal vapors, that charge the electrons and cause them to bump into each other, creating light. It takes a few seconds, but within half a minute they are at full output and then will have to cool completely if they are turned off before they can be turned back on. This can cause them to use a good deal of power, but many people still swear by their use in large part.
The reason many people turn to LED grow lights is because they are efficient in every way imaginable. LED lights are designed to emit only the right red and blue spectrum light that helps to encourage the flowering and vegetative growth that you rely on for productive harvests that don’t end up costing you a lot of money in expenses.
HID lights, on the other hand, fall short in those categories. The HID lights are very bright and very powerful, but they unfortunately produce a large amount of heat that has to be diffused by airflow systems and maintained at all times. That also means you will be forced to deal with the extra costs of running the lights themselves, which can grow incredibly expensive when they are being run on a daily basis. They will effectively grow plants at any stage of life, but it will come at a cost and they require a great deal of attention.
LED vs Fluorescent Grow Lights
Fluorescent lighting is very popular due to the relatively low heat compared to HID systems. In comparison to LED lights, however, they cannot keep up. In fact, many people who use fluorescent lights end up having to add LED grow lights in order to make sure their plants have everything they need.
Fluorescent grow lights use mercury vapor and neon, xenon, argon, or krypton that has been pressurized inside of the tube. This causes a problem in that they are not environmentally friendly and have to be disposed of safely if you are concerned about the planet.
They are cheap to buy, cheap to run, and easy to replace, although they will not have the same level of savings in initial cost and power costs. LED grow lights have fluorescent tubes beat hands down in this regard. For something that is simply cooler than traditional lighting systems, this can be an option, albeit not the best one.
LED vs Plasma Grow Lights
Plasma grow lights are often seen as one of the most technologically advanced grow lamps on the market, but they are also the most expensive that you will come across. These lights do not use electrodes or filaments, like traditional lighting systems do. In reality, they offer a great number of benefits over most types of grow lights.
While they are expensive, they are incredibly powerful and efficient. Plasma Grow Lights offer the same full spectrum light that fluorescent and HPS systems provide, incredible levels of efficiency, and save space compared to lights that require ballasts and extensive wiring harnesses.
In comparison to LED grow lights, though, they are much larger, although they are still smaller than massive HID systems. Their efficiency is also above LED grow lights, but it can cost over $3,000 for a single grow light. Only the most advanced growers have made the switch to plasma, rather than sticking with trusted LED lights that provide many of the same results.
T5 Grow Lights With LED Bulbs
T5 LED grow lights are some of the greatest innovations in fluorescent technology. They have a lot of benefits over older T8 and T12 types of fluorescent lights, but many people still want to make the switch to LED lights without having to completely replace their lighting systems. T5 grow lights with LED bulbs are the perfect way to do this.
Essentially, T5 grow lights are 5/8” in diameter and filled with gasses that produce light when electricity passes through them. Here, that same size tube will be replaced with a narrow panel of LEDs. The tubes that typically use around 50 watts of power will now use around 20 watts and accomplish the same thing. You also inherit the other benefits of LED lights, although they will be a little more expensive than the T5 tubes.
The added benefit of this is that you will be able to use much larger panels inside of your grow. For larger operations, it can be difficult to hang many smaller LED panels that are only one to two feet long. With T5 LED tubes, there are options that measure four feet in length and can cover many more square feet than typical LED lights and greatly simplify the amount of equipment that is hanging from the ceiling of your grow room.
T5 LED grow lamps aren’t the most ideal option for many growers, but they are a very high quality option for keeping things simple when you would like to use the highest quality technology available.
Grow Lights Characteristics Comparison Table
|Type||Lifespan||Avg. Temperature||Distance From Plants||Efficiency||Cost|
|HID Grow Lights||10,000 hours||600 degrees F||6” – 10”||125 lumens per watt||~$15 per bulb|
|HPS Grow Lights||18,000 hours||500 degrees F||4” – 6”||140 lumens per watt||~$150 per bulb and ballast|
|LED Grow Lights||50,000 hours||70 degrees F||10” – 16”||25 lumens per watt||~$200 per square foot panel|
|T8 Fluorescents||25,000 hours||100 degrees F||2” – 4”||90 lumens per watt||$3 – $5 per bulb|
|T5 Fluorescent||20,000 – 35,000 hours||95 degrees F||2” – 4”||110 lumens per watt||$5 – $10 per bulb|
LED Grow Light Bulbs
- Know How To Replace Them. Many of the LED panels you’ll be using will have up to 100 or more individual LEDs. Some of those may fail over time, so you need to know how to replace them. Some are soldered into place, primarily those made in China, but most recent LED panels can be replaced just like any other bulb.
- Choose The Right Colors. You have already learned above about what kind of colors you should be using, but if you become an advanced grower you can begin to choose the ratios more selectively. The more you understand about the growing process, the more you can tailor your color choices to fit your own needs and plants.
- Don’t Overpower Them. LEDs can last for up to 100,000 hours in total, but that can be drastically reduced if you try to send too much power to the unit. In most cases this won’t be a problem, although you should be aware of it.
LED Grow Light Manufacturers
There are a large number of LED grow light manufacturers on the market right now, but a few stand out against the rest as leaders:
Advanced LED Grow Lights
Advanced LED is proven to be one of the best LED grow lights manufacturers on the market. Their products perform far above most of the other grow lights you may stumble upon while searching in the internet. They spent many years working in grow lights industry and have been perfecting their products every year.
Professional level grow lights are typically incredibly expensive. In the case of California LEDs, though, you can find affordable options that are industrial strength and just as powerful. After 13 years of building experience, it seems that they have finally perfected the art of making the best LED grow lights. Their SolarStorm and SolarFlare lines of products are manufactured in the US and everything is handled in-house. That hands on practice ensures that every grow light is of the highest quality. With a focus on automation, efficiency, and power, California LEDs have put in the hard work so that you don’t have to.
Kind LED Grow Lights
Kind LED grow lights are high quality for one very specific reason: they spent years working on perfecting the products before they ever opened their virtual doors! Initially being skeptical of LED grow lights, these long time growers finally decided that they were ready to create the very best that anyone could offer. Kind LED even worked to create a one of a kind heatsink that dramatically reduced the temperature, making them even cooler than standard LED panels. For well researched products that have top notch efficiency and a 12 band spectrum, it is hard to do better than this.
Spectrum King Grow Lights
Spectrum King LED grow lights are unique among the other options in a market that is getting crowded. These grow lights have the power to easily increase harvests by 25%, save 50% in electricity bills, and take up even less space than many other LEDs, all through the years of engineering that have gone into them. These may not be the cheapest LED grow lights on the market today, but they are some of the most effective if you are looking for larger, more profitable grows.
Dorm Grow (G8LED)
Dorm Grow is the exclusive distributor of G8LED lighting company. The G8LED lamps are known as some of the best in the business, due in part to the combination of customer satisfaction, service, and the strict standards that have created high quality products. By focusing on the customer, Dorm Grow has learned what people want and what they are unhappy with. They are so sure that you will have better grows that they offer a 90 day no questions asked return as well as a service warranty lasting two years.
Hydro Grow take pride in being able to convert even the most technologically averse growers to LED innovations, something that is never easy. They might not be the cheapest grow lights on the market, although there is a very good reason: the work, they work well, and they are some of the most advanced that you will ever come across.
Mars Hydro has been in grow light business since 2009. They have their own testing laboratories and they continue to tune and improve their products every day. With so many years of experience and dedication they are definitely worth being listed among the top LED grow light manufacturers.
TotalGrow™ lights are inspired by how plants really absorb and use light. Using Solid State Volumetric Lighting Technology, TotalGrow™ lights produce a Broad Grow Spectrum in the wavelengths plants need most for healthy and quick growth and deliver industry-leading uniformity for enhanced coverage and penetration.
TaoTronics has produced a number of lighting products since they started in 2008, but their LED grow lights for indoor operations are where they truly shine. In the past six years, they have delivered products to millions of growers all over the world, many of who come back time and time again. Their study of what consumers want has lead them to making some of the top grow lights that are sure to fit any need you have as a grower. The simplified systems they have created let you stress less and grow more.
Growing Tips For Indoor LED Grow
- Use A Reflector. With LED lights, depending on the option you choose, it can be helpful to have reflectors that direct the light to exactly where you need them. Many are non directional and need help.
- Keep An Eye On The Temperature. LED grow lights run incredibly cool compared to other options. That can, however, cause problems in some cases, since your plants might actually get too cold. Add heat if necessary and always keep an eye on the temp.
- Add LEDs When Needed. To get the best results, you may want to add an additional panel of blue LEDs on the sides of your plants. This will help deliver the necessary light to all of the leaves if you are growing traditionally, meaning without a SCROG or SOG technique.
- Keep Them At The Right Distance. Maintaining the proper distance with LED lights will dramatically improve your grows. LED lights can be kept closer than other types of grow lights, but you have to be careful to have them at a distance that allows them to completely cover the canopy.
- Protect Your Investment. LED grow lights can be an expensive investment, so make sure you take care of them. Use a power stabilizer to regulate the voltage going to them. This keeps the power at an even level and prevents the damage that spikes and surges can cause.
Before You Buy
Now that you know why having the best LED grow lights is the most effective way of growing plants indoors, it is important to know what exactly you should be looking for in a model before purchasing it. Even though LED grow lights overall consume less power, provide more useful light, and give off less heat, there are still poor models that wouldn’t give you everything that you are looking for in a set up. By taking a look at a few things, though, you’ll be capable of having the best harvests ever and making sure you are saving money and able to truly enjoy the fruits of your labor. And make sure you read our LED grow light reviews below to see what products are at the top in 2014.
- Heavy Duty Construction. It should go without saying, but having heavy duty construction methods used in producing your LED grow lights is incredibly important. Without using the best metals and wiring possible, the lights will not perform as well and they may end up producing an added amount of heat that can cause problems not just for your plants, but for the lights themselves. When heat is not dissipated properly, it can be very dangerous. When you are dealing with the amount of heat and energy that is required to grow plants indoors, you can’t take any risks in handling it.
- Red and Blue LEDs. In large part, plants rely on red and blue spectrum lighting in order to grow through the two stages of growth. HPS and HID lighting use the full spectrum of light and rely on blasting your plants with light in order to help them grow. A good LED system will use a combination of red and blue LED lights to provide the perfect blend to help in both vegetative and flowering growth.
- High Quality Cooling System. Even though LED grow lights are generally much cooler than HID and HPS lighting systems, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to the cooling system that your grow lights are using. A heat sink is responsible for taking the heat out of the LED and moving it away from the lighting system. A Metal-core printed circuit board is used, which is capable of handling extremely high temperatures, and that will be attached to a panel that features “fins” that will dissipate heat into the air and the more fins there are the more heat will be moved away from your plants.
- Warranty. A warranty might not seem too important when LED grow lights have the long life that they possess, but that doesn’t mean you should take their word for it. When looking at a grow light, be sure to take a look at what kind of warranty they have in place. With the large initial investment that is required to setup an LED grow, you can’t take chances. A good warranty will cover part replacements and repairs for five years after purchase. This will protect you from having to pay out of pocket for any repairs that are necessary and you will save more money on these repairs compared to doing it yourself. The long term savings of LED grow lights are highly beneficial, but you have to be sure that you aren’t going to be dealing with extra costs after the purchase.
Pre-Purchase Check List
- Budget. Your budget is one of the most important things that you have to understand at the start of your grow. Top rated LED Grow Lights are more expensive than alternatives, such as HPS or HID systems. By understanding the kind of money you are able to spend, you will be capable of making the best decision for your particular grow.
- Size of Grow Space. Both the height and the foot print of your grow space is important in choosing LED grow lights, since you will need a certain size light in order to cover the space that you have available.
- Style of Grow. There are numerous styles of grow that are popular in the modern horticulture world. Depending on whether you are interested in growing bush, tree, screen of green, or sea of green crops, you will have to choose certain setups that have the most to offer.
- Cooling Systems. Compared to HPS grow lights, LED lights are very cool. This can have a couple of implications for your grow. If you have extensive cooling systems already in place, you might want to remove them in order to free up room. If you are just starting out, however, you will need to install some form of air circulation, although it won’t have to be an extensive cooling system that is normally used to remove the hot air from 400 degree grow lamps.
Foot Print Light Size
Many manufacturers provide a number known as the “core coverage,” which is the amount of grow space that the light is capable of covering. In general, you should follow these guidelines in order to ensure proper coverage:
- 2’X2’ Grow Space: One 180 watt to 240 watt lamp
- 2’X3’ Grow Space: One 300 watt to 400 watt lamp
- 2’X4’ Grow Space: Two 180 watt to 240 watt lamps
- 4’X4’ Grow Space: Four 180 watt to 240 watt lamps (or equivalent)
- 4’X6’ Grow Space: Three 300 watt to 400 watt lamps (or equivalent)
Use these numbers to scale up your grow if you have a space that is larger than this. Keep in mind that you will have to make sure that you place the grow lights in the proper place as well, in order to make sure there are no gaps in coverage that leave some plants underfed.
Questions To Ask The Company
- How long of a warranty do you provide with your products?
- How do replacements and returns work?
- How many people do you employ?
- Do you have scientists and horticulturists on staff?
- When can I expect my grow light to ship?
- Do you provide tracking numbers for shipments?
- What are all of the details for this LED grow light (including actual wattage, type of chips, recommended coverage, height of light compared to plants, etc)?
If you feel like you need more information about anything, don’t be afraid to ask. They want your business, so they want to make sure that you are comfortable spending money on their products. For more information you can read the Stevehman’s Buyer’s Guide.
Growing With LEDs Video Demo
Check out this video guide for successful indoor growing with LED lights.
8 Best LED Grow Light Reviews For 2014 and 2015
With the information you have gained in this report it is possible to choose the best grow lights for your own operation, but overall there are a few options that are the absolute best. Take a look at these eight best LED Grow Lights and you are sure to have something that takes your indoor grow to the next level.
AdvancedLEDLights Diamond Series XML 350
The DS XML 350 is a direct result of Advanced LED Light’s research lab from which emerge the most efficient grow light features on the market:
- 3W and 10W CREE single-chip LEDs
- Optimized collimated reflectors keep all the light in the grow bed
- Maximum PAR efficiency with 11+ wavelengths
- Veg, flowering and cloning spectral modes
- Double-size heat sinks, advanced drivers and quiet fans
- Hassle-free 3-year warranty and 90-day money back guarantee
Less Heat, Higher Efficiency than Conventional Grow Lamp
At just 330 watts input, the DS XML 350 outputs more lumens than a 600W HPS lamp without excessive heat. Its computer-designed 90-degree LED collimated lenses mean it completely saturates a 4 foot by 4 foot grow bed when hung at a 2 foot height.
- Dimensions – 19 x 19 x 3 inches
- Weight – 9 lbs.
- Input voltage – 110 – 240 VAC at 50/60 Hz
- Nominal power– 330 watts
- 4 whisper-quiet cooling fans
- Daisy-chain up to 4 lights
- Optimum bed size is 4.5 by 4.5 feet
- 11 bands PAR spectrum plus 3100K warm white
- Only grow light with adjustable 11-band spectrum
- Ten 10W and 144 3W CREE LEDs with lifespan over 50,000 hours
- Collimated lenses eliminate wasted light outside grow bed
- Double-size heat sinks for maximum cooling
- The 10W CREEs can burn plants at low heights
Advanced LED Lights’ DS XML 350 may be the most energy and spectral efficient grow light on the market today. It also offers maximum versatility for every growth stage, which leads to strong harvests.
AdvancedLEDLights DS 200
Advanced LED Lights’ Diamond Series 200 is a popular light for indoor growers. It sets up in minutes as a high-efficiency replacement for a 400W HPS, HID or MH system. Its features have made it a mainstay of the LED grow light market:
- 50,000 hour white and blue 3W LEDs made in the USA
- 11+ PAR wavelength output in bands plants need most
- Veg or flowering optimized spectrum at the flick of a switch
- Individually lensed LEDs for deep canopy penetration
- Runs cool to the touch
Easily Switch between Veg and Flower Modes
Unlike competitors’ grow lights, the DS 200 outputs 11 optimized PAR wavelengths in the most productive blue and red spectrum segments. When it is time for flowers, a single switch modifies the spectrum balance from veg mode to stimulate flower growth. 3100K white light enhances both the red and blue PAR bands.
- Size – 19 x 8 x 3 inches
- Weight – 10 lbs.
- Plug-in voltage – 110-240 VAC
- Power consumption – 185 watts
- PAR output – 14.71 PAR/w at 36 inches above grow bed
- Optimal bed size is 2.5 by 3 feet
- Spectrum – 11+ bands optimized for veg and flowering
- Unique, industry-leading 11+ wavelengths
- High-efficiency, long-life Bridgelux LEDs
- LED lenses keep the light in the grow bed
- Daisy-chain up to 4 lights
- The LED lenses are not collimated, so a small fraction of light falls outside the grow bed.
Buyers will not be disappointed in their harvest using this well-tested light. It works well for first-time gardeners as well as commercial growers. It has been market tested successfully for several years.
G8LED 240 Watt LED Grow Light
This versatile grow light outputs a total of 8 spectrum bands including IR and UV-B. It has several other attractive features as well:
- High-quality 3W LEDs in an 8 by 16 array
- Usable output exceeds that of a 400W HID lamp
- Spectrum bands are optimized for both veg and flower production
- All circuitry including PCBs, power supplies and fans are engineered for cool running
- Size – 16 x 8.5 x 2.5 inches
- Weight – 7 lbs.
- Plug-in voltage – 110 or 240 VAC specified at time of shipping
- Power consumption – under 200 watts
- 8 red/blue spectrum bands plus UV-B and IR
- Optimal bed size is 2 by 3 feet
- 50,000+ hours of LED life for 15 years of running
- High quality LED drivers with Zener diode protection
- Unique 8-band spectrum includes deep-red, IR, blue and UV
- 2-year warranty
- Cooling fans are somewhat noisy
- G8LED recommends an extra red UFO to increase flowering
G8LED has produced a powerful light for both vegetative and flowering stages. No other comparable grow lights include UV-B and IR bands in the standard model. These provide extra PAR stimulation for a bigger harvest. It makes an excellent starter or seedling light.
AdvancedLEDLights DS XTE 200
The Diamond Series XTE 200 utilizes the best LED grow light technology at a budget price. It comes with leading edge features:
- 5W CREE XT-E LEDs with double the output power of ordinary 5W LEDs
- 3W OSRAM 660nm LEDs for deep red wavelengths that stimulate flowering
- Continuously variable spectrum adjustment and intensity
- Advanced reflector technology to permeate the plant canopy
- Super-efficient LED cooling
- High quality LED drivers to ensure long LED life
Engineered for Long LED Life Expectancy
The keys to LED efficiency and lifespan are tight current control and effective cooling. That is why the DS XTE 200 uses LED drivers with tight current control and wide input voltage tolerance, a metal-core PCB and oversized heat sinks. These features ensure the US-made LEDs meet their expected 100,000 hours of operation.
- Dimensions – 14 x 12 x 3 inches
- Weight – 9 lbs.
- 72 high-intensity 5W LEDs
- Input voltage – 110 to 240 VAC
- Running power– 165 watts
- Optimal bed size – 2.5 by 3 feet
- 15.66 PAR/W at 2-foot height above grow bed
- Dials for full control of spectrum and intensity
- Typical case temperature of just 81F
- Super quiet cooling fans
- Highest efficiency, U.S. made LED and SSL lamps
- 90-degree collimated reflectors for full light infiltration into plant canopy
- Dials, not switches, control spectrum balance and intensity
- Enables daisy-chaining units from a single outlet
- Quiet and cool operation
- Most effective for small bed sizes. Larger sizes are available.
This is a truly advanced light for the price. Not only does it have the highest quality solid-state lamps but also fully adjustable color channels and intensity to mimic any season. The attention to current control and LED cooling means this light will perform for many years.
CaliforniaLightWorks SolarStorm 440W
The SolarStorm 440W is a two-spectrum grow light with a UV-B bonus. It delivers both veg and flowering spectrum bands and warm white among other key features:
- Long-life LEDs with life expectancy over 50,000 hours
- 90 percent efficient LED drivers
- LED lensing to direct light directly downward
- 4 deep blue to deep red spectrum bands
- Two separately switched T8 fluorescents for strong bloom UV-B
Six Bands of Switchable Spectrum
The SolarStorm 440W grow light has six bands of PAR spectrum available: 3100K warm-white light plus 2 bands of deep blue for stimulating vegetative growth and two deep red bands for flowering. Two T8 fluorescent bulbs add UV-B for increased flower potency during the last two weeks before harvest.
- Dimensions – 15 x 18 x 5 inches
- Weight – 18 lbs.
- Mains voltage – 90 to 277 VAC
- Power varies between 235W to 350W according to spectrum selection
- Bed size – 4 by 4 feet at 24 inch height
- Spectrum – Five bands of PAR light from LEDs
- Separate 15W T8 fluorescents provide UV-B for intense flowering
- PAR at 18 inches above the grow bed is 1,389 µmoles m-2 s-1
- Long-life OSRAM LEDs
- Switchable spectrum emphasis
- UV-B spectrum from additional bulbs
- Large heat sinks, metal core PCB and 92mm fans for cooling
- 3-year limited warranty plus 90-day risk free trial
- Fans are unfiltered and noisy
- No daisy-chaining of units is possible
The CLW SolarStorm 440W is an energy-efficient replacement for a 600W MH, HID or HPS lamp with spectrum for both veg and flower stages. The additional UV-B for flowering receives mixed reviews among buyers. Its bed coverage should satisfy home and commercial growers.
CaliforniaLightWorks CLW SolarFlare 220W
The SolareFlare 220W grow light comes in three separate flavors:
- FullCycle balances red and blue PAR bands
- BloomBooster emphasizes the red bands
- VegMaster increases blue and decreases red bands
Otherwise, the lights are identical in build and electrical characteristics:
- 3W OSRAM SSLs
- LED lensing directs light down at an 80 degree angle
- Five PAR spectrum bands with varied balance between 3 models
- High-efficiency 100W LED drivers
- Single board construction with generous heat sinking
The four spectrum bands issued by the SolarFlare 220W are 450nm, 470nm, 620nm and 665nm plus wideband emission of 3100K warm white light.
- Dimensions – 9 x 9 x 4 inches
- Weight – 9 lbs.
- Mains voltage – 90 to 277 VAC
- Power consumption – 165W
- Bed size – 2 by 2 feet at 24 inch height
- Spectrum – 2 bands each of red and blue plus 3100K white
- Long-life OSRAM LEDs
- Large heat sinks, metal core PCB and 92mm fans for cooling
- 3-year limited warranty plus 90-day risk free trial
- No switchable spectrum, must buy separate lights
- Fewer spectrum bands than competitors
- Noisy fans
This light is suited for small seedling beds or closet gardens, except that in the latter case the fans may be too noisy. Also good as a supplemental light, especially if you want to boost either veg or flowering stages. Its extra-wide input voltage spec means it works with any country’s mains voltage.
G8-900 LED Veg/Flower Grow Light
This G8LED grow light boasts impressive features:
- 50,000 hour LEDs from BridgeLux, Epistar, Optotech
- Eight bands of optimal PAR wavelengths plus IR and UV
- Strong enough to penetrate a 60 inch plant canopy
- An all-cycle growth spectrum
You cannot see the IR and UV-B wavelengths this grow light outputs, but your plants can. G8LED has put together the ideal spectrum mix for any plant growth stage with a total of 10 wavelengths plus 6100K blue-white light. They estimate that compared to an HID grow light, it saves 800 watts per operating hour, which adds up over the 50,000 hours of LED life expectancy.
- Dimensions – 20 x 14 x 3 inches
- Weight – 24 lbs.
- Mains voltage – 110 to 240 VAC, must specify correct plug when ordering
- Power consumption – 540 watts
- Bed size – minimum of 24 square feet
- Spectrum – 8-bands of visible PAR light plus IR and UV-B wavelengths
- Top quality LEDs
- Hanging wires included
- 2-year limited warranty
- G8LED recommends 2 90W Red UFOs during flowering at $145 each
- 6100K white emissions of questionable value
The G8-900 Full Spectrum LED Veg/Flower grow light is G8LED’s flagship product intended for professional horticulturists. It produces the equivalent amount of PAR light as a 1400W MH or HPS lamp. Thus, for serious growers with the budget, this may be their ideal grow light.
G8-600 LED Veg/Flower Grow Light
This G8LED grow lamp is the smaller brother of their 900W light. Though it produces less light, it has the same key features of the G8-900:
- 50,000 hour LEDs from USA makers BridgeLux, Epistar and Optotech
- Eight bands of optimal PAR wavelengths plus IR and UV
- Strong enough to penetrate 60 inches into the plant canopy
This professional grow light is designed to cover an 18 square foot growing bed with as much light as produced by a 1000W HPS or MH lamp, but without the excess heat. It runs cool to the touch and is appropriate for every growth stage from seedlings to flowering plants.
- Dimensions – 20 x 14 x 3 inches
- Weight – 24 lbs.
- Mains voltage – 110 to 240 VAC, must specify correct plug when ordering
- Power consumption – 390 watts
- Bed size – minimum of 18 square feet
- Spectrum – 8-bands of PAR light plus IR and UV-B
- Top quality LEDs
- Hanging wires included
- 2-year limited warranty
- Additional cost of two 90W Red UFOs for flowering
- 6100K white light seems superfluous
G8LED 450 Watt LED Grow Light with Optimal 8-Band plus IR & UV
Dorm Grow proves with the G*LED 450 Watt LED grow light that they know exactly what they are doing when they create a grow lamp. This is one of their newest products and it builds on everything they have learned in the past.
This LED grow light can replace an 800 watt HID system with ease, while also keeping your plants cool. Especially when replacing an HID setup, it is important to make sure that your plants have plenty of light. That is why there are 8 bands from the color spectrum included here. For grow spaces that are around 12 square feet, this is absolutely perfect.
The G8LED LED light is rated with a lifespan of 50,000 hours, but the addition of a two year service warranty makes sure that you are not going to have any problems with them for a long time.
Apollo Horticulture GL60LED Full Spectrum Grow Light
You already know about Apollo Horticulture and the high quality grow lights they produce. This is a prime example of that quality. The GL60LED Full Spectrum Grow Light is perfect for adding light to your grow, or on its own in smaller grow ops.
This LED panel measures 10.5” in diameter, with 45 X 3 watt chips included. That size makes it capable of covering a 2’ X 2’ space in light that covers the entire spectrum. The efficiency is unparalleled as well, which only adds to the savings that you receive from using a grow light with a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours.
For small grows, this can be a great way of lighting your plants with exactly what they need to grow up to be strong and healthy. If you have a larger grow, this can also be an easy way of getting light into hard to reach places, or simply boost the light during the budding stage.
Apollo Horticulture Purple Sun COB Full Spectrum LED Light
Apollo Horticulture is included again in this list of the best LED grow lights. The Purple Son COB Full Spectrum LED Light carries the same kind of quality, although it is much more powerful.
This is actually a new kind of LED lighting in that it features four smaller LED panels that have unique reflectors that optimize the Photosynthetic Active Radiation and make sure that your plants never want for additional light again as they enjoy five different bands of the light spectrum.
The entire unit measures 12.25” X 12.25” X 3.62”, making it a very small device for the amount of power that it houses. 75 watts of power and 50,000 ours of possible life make it a sure shot for anyone who wants something that is not only top of the line, but affordable as well.
Promotion TaoTronics TT-GL14 80*3W 6 Bands LED Light
You might not have heard of TaoTronics before, but there is no denying the kind of quality they provide in the form of grow lights such as the TT-GL14 80*3W 6 band LED grow light.
Having the right kind of light shining on your plants is incredibly important. Fortunately, TaoTronics has made that an easy task with the six wavelengths of light included in this LED grow light. This is specifically designed to make vegetative growth easy and budding extremely fruitful.
There are also three fans built in to the casing, keeping it quiet and even cooler than LED lamps already are. At 15.8” long, 8.4” wide, and only 2.4” thick, this is a very small lamp that will take away the need for extra equipment and make sure you can actually move in your grow room for perhaps the first time.
For a well rounded grow, give this LED light a look. You won’t regret it.
G8LED 600Watt LED Grow Light with Optimal 8-Band plus IR & UV
This upgrade from the G8LED 450 watt from Dorm Grow is one of the more expensive on this list, but there is a very good reason for that. Only the highest quality materials and designs are used in this special grow light.
This 600 watt unit can grow your plants from seed to harvest without any trouble. Capable of covering 18 sure feet or more, this can easily handle many indoor grows with a single light thanks to the 200 powerful LEDs that cover the full spectrum.
The addition of IR and UV light to the existing six bands of light cannot be understated. This well rounded light will give your plants everything they need, without having to make a single sacrifice or fall victim to the typical downfalls of traditional grow lamps.
From a customer service standpoint, it is hard to do much better than topping that off with a two year service warranty. Check this out if it is in your price range.
G8LED 90 WATT All Red LED Grow Light
The G8LED 90 Watt All Red LED is the result of G8LED and DormGrow teaming up to produce an LED grow light that offers the best results for flowering, without making any sacrifices.
According to the company, this light is the perfect addition to any existing grow, but a system of them works great during the flowering stage in particular due to the exclusive use of Red spectrum lighting, which is exactly what your indoor plants crave during this crucial time period.
In doing this, they have created a light that requires 90% less power than most traditional lights and can use all of the power that it does require to help your plants grow larger than ever. That small amount of electricity powers the fans and power utilities that will prevent you from having to use any expensive ballasts or venting systems to keep the room cool. This means you will be able to save a lot of money in long term expenses. Being rated at 50,000 hours also means that these are grow lights that are going to last for a very long time.
In order help people get over the initial speculation around switching to an LED grow, the company is offering a 90-day money back guarantee that covers any reason that a person might be unhappy with their purchase. If for any reason you are unhappy during that time you can simply return it at no charge to you. If you decide to keep it, though, you will be covered for three years in case you need to have anything repaired or need to replace the LED grow light altogether.
The only downsides to this particular LED grow light are the red lights that are used. This isn’t good for young plants that are still in vegetative growth stages, but once they reach a flowering stage this will be a great choice and a very worthwhile investment.
Q:How many lights do I need for an 8’X8’ grow tent?
A: The number of lights you need will depend on the size of the light and the wattage of the light. An 8’x8’ space can easily be covered by two to four LED panels when chosen carefully.
Q: How many watts do I need?
A: Depending on the size of your room, there are two different numbers you should know in terms of wattage. The first is the maximum watt rating for your lights, but you should also know the actual power draw of the lamps.
The true draw of your lamps should equal 25 watts for each square foot of growing space. This is based on the 50% increase in efficiency compared to HPS or other HID systems.
Q: What sort of benefits do LED grow lights offer?
A: LED Grow Lights have the ability to: 1) Save money on electricity costs. 2) Last for up to 100,000 hours, compared to 20,000 hours with fluorescent. 3) Remain only slightly warm to the touch. 4) Give you plants the exact light that they need without waste.
Q: What is the best LED grow lights under $1,000?
A: For the absolute best LED Grow Light, you can’t do better than the G8LED 600 watt grow light with IR and UV bands. This all in one unit delivers unbeatable levels of light to your plants and makes sure that they grow healthier and more profitable than ever.
Q: What is the most powerful LED light?
A: For the most powerful LED light on the market, look no further than the HydroGrow Sol 9 900 Watt LED grow light. With specially designed reflectors and 900 watts of power, this can blast your plants with light without having to resort to traditional grow light products.
Q: What is the difference between an LED grow lights and the other varieties of grow lights?
A: LED grow lights are different from fluorescent, HID, and HPS systems in that they are a brand new kind of technology to the growing world. With small, powerful, energy efficient diodes you can accomplish more than you would with the large, bulky, hot, and inefficient bulbs and tubes that are used with other systems.
Q: What grow lighting distance is best for me?
A: The perfect lighting distance is often talked about. HPS grow lamps have to stay a good distance away from your plants to prevent them from burning, but LED lights can be much closer.
In reality, you could place the LED lights as close to your plants as you like. For the best results, though, you will need to keep the lights 16” – 22” above the canopy.
Q: What is a light cycle?
A: A light cycle is the exposure to light that your plants have on a daily basis. Growing indoors requires replicating the natural world, so your plants will have light for a certain amount of time each day before you turn off the LED lamps. This works out to 18 hours on and 6 hours off during vegetation, while 12 on and 12 off is used during budding.
Q: What is the maximum life span for LED grow lights?
A: The maximum lifespan for most LED grow lights is around 100,000 hours. Very few will last this long, although most of them perform well after 50,000 – 60,000 hours, without any loss in power or efficiency.
Making The Decision
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Deciding on an LED grow light is a very important choice that many people get wrong, but that doesn’t mean you will. The three that are listed here are all very great options for any indoor grow of almost any size. Knowing what to look for is the most important part and now you can make a decision for yourself. With the best LED grow light, you will be more than capable of producing larger harvests than ever and you will spend even less money doing it. LED grow lights consistently cost less to run, provide all the right kinds of light, and produce the least amount of heat. Making the switch to LED grow lights is something that very few growers will ever regret.