Right now the world is experiencing a cannabis growing revolution, and that means there are more options for growers out there than ever. However, it also means that it’s not always clear what the best alternatives are, especially when new tech comes out so fast.
This post is a review of the top ten best LED grow lights. We reviewed as many LED grow lights as we could from those available on the market as of January 2020. From those, we selected our favorites for a variety of reasons, and created this detailed guide.
We evaluated each grow lamp based on numerous factors, including durability, cost, yield, wattage, spectrum and more. The details of your grow determine which are the best LED lamp options for your grow, so we wanted to go deep and present the range of the best choices out there.
Obviously, budget, growing experience, strains, environment, and goals will all define growing needs. That’s why each grower’s needs are unique.
Still, these top ten LED grow lights are generally recognized as high performers, and we’ve tried to give you the good and the bad for each. We tried to include a few options for every kind of grower, so whether you’re a serious pro or just getting started, there should be something here for you.
Bonus: Use these full spectrum LED grow lights on only the best seeds. To make sure you’re buying high-quality cannabis seeds, check out our best seed banks review.
The Five Best Grow Lights for Cannabis
While we’re covering 17 total lights in this post, for those in a hurry or those overwhelmed by too many choices, here are our five most favorite LED grow lights:
- Kind LED K5 XL1000 Grow Light
- Gavita Pro 1700e LED Grow Light
- Growers Choice ROI-E720 LED Grow Light
- Prism Lighting Science Stealth 320W LED Grow Light
- California Light Works Solar System 550 LED Grow Light
last updated: December 9, 2020
On This Page:
The Best LED Grow Lights on the Market in 2020
Gavita Pro 1700e LED Grow Light 120-277V
- 645 Watts
- Dimmable to 50% without losing efficiency
- 8 passively cooled light bars provide full-spectrum UV light
This strong light output is provided by eight separate LED bars, each passively cooled to provide versatile and efficient use. These LED bars put out full-spectrum UV light to give optimal indoor growing support to help encourage the vegetative and flowering stages of plant life. The 1700e is at the top of its class when it comes to the number of diodes it possesses, boasting 3,300 of these light-producing elements, far above most of the competition. Complementing this are less power-hungry drivers that help to produce an average lifespan of up to 30,000 hours.
The lighting fixture’s passively cooled design allows the Gavita Pro 1700e to be used in various growing situations from small spaces with low ceilings to tents to standard table/bench setups. A key feature of this grow light is the ability to dim light output by up to 50% without losing any efficiency, although you will need a separate adapter to make this happen. This is a well designed and constructed unit that utilizes quality components such as Samsung LEDs and Philips Drivers – meaning it’s built to last and deliver consistent output. The 1700e is also FCC compliant and wet-rated to handle moisture considerations in indoor operations.
- Full-spectrum light output
- Passively cooled light bars allow for versatile application
- Easy vertical and horizontal installation
- Quality components throughout design
- 5-year warranty
- Dimmable feature requires use of additional adapter (not included)
- Expensive option for home grows
Kind LED k5 XL1000
- Coverage area: 5’ by 5’
- 1000 watts
- Full spectrum with UV and customizable
Kind LED: the Cadillac of LED grow lights. An award-winning LED light system, the Kind LED K XL1000 is worth every penny and the best light for growing cannabis. The problem is the price; it’s not friendly to many budgets.
The Kind LED K XL1000 truly stands out from the competition due to its fully customizable spectrum. The 12-band spectrum is not just programmable, but also tweakable in terms of the lighting. For a dedicated grower of indoor plants this is huge, because you don’t need to stop and tinker with it each time you want to change the settings.
Various strains might demand very different light spectrums, so if you want to introduce some variety into your rotation, lighting can be a real issue. But the Kind LED K XL1000 enables you to adjust the dimmable intensity of the red and blue spectrums for the veg and flowering stages, for example. This allows you to enhance bud quality and yield.
Despite the generous 5′ by 5′ footprint, the whole system runs coolly. You won’t be dealing with excess heat in your grow area with the Kind LED K XL1000.
- Top of the line LEDs
- Fully programmable
- Remote controlled
- Price (but it’s worth it)
Growers Choice LED ROI-E720 LED Grow Light Fixture
- Compatible with Growers Choice Master Controller for large scale grows
- IP65 Waterproof rating
- 720 watts
This model combines the industry know-how and ability of two top brands in the game – Growers Choice and TSL Horti Tech. These two companies worked together on the ROI-E720, and the result is a high-quality option that can take your growing endeavors to the next level. This light combines excellent light output in an efficient design that helps encourage growth without ridiculous power consumption needs. When combined with the Growers Choice Master Controller, you can operate up to 200 of these bad boys at a time.
The ROI-E720 utilizes a whopping 720-watt output to provide GC-3K full phase light made possible by high-end Osram diodes. This can be increased by another 10% using Boost mode for a little extra kick to help at any stage of plant growth. This light also features a fanless design that encourages heat dissipation without any extra components and an onboard dimming capability so you can adjust everything as needed. The ROI-E720 also comes with an IP65 waterproof rating to handle the environment of any indoor grow alongside UL1598 and UL880 certs. The unit comes with rope ratchet hangers, a long connecting cable, and a power adapter to assist with the installation process.
- GC-3K full phase spectrum light
- Working life of up to 54,000 hours
- 3-year warranty
- Can be used with Growers Choice Master Controller for large scale grows
- IP65 Waterproof Rating
- You’ll need to dish out extra cash for the Master Controller
Prism Lighting Science Stealth LED Grow Light – 320W
The Prism Lighting Science Stealth LED Grow Light - 320w is an affordable and effective option for the home grower who wants a quality light without breaking the bank.
- Cheap and easy light to use
- Durable and effective design
And even though this light is affordable, that doesn’t mean it lacks the quality and light output you need for a successful grow. The LEDs built into this unit put out 320-watts of full-spectrum light that will help encourage vigorous vegetative growth alongside optimal conditions when it’s time to flower. Prism Lighting Science has put Bridgelux and Epistar LEDs into the Stealth for consistent performance while keeping this a more budget-friendly option.
This unit is actually made up of double 5-watt LEDs that provide a wide color spectrum to include both IR and UV wavelengths. This is true for any LED light, but the Stealth delivers a focused beam that can be used to your benefit. This unit is small, so you aren’t going to get a ton of coverage out of one light but the beam angle of the lights is 90/120-degrees for mixed-use which gives you a decent little setup for a smaller home grow. This light also comes with a 2-year full warranty and its durable design makes it easy to install and keep around the house.
- Effective design in a small package
- 2-year warranty
- Not waterproof rated
- 240V power cord is sold separately
California Light Works SolarXtreme 400W LED COB Grow Light
The California Light Works SoarXtreme 500 LED Grow Light is an awesome little unit that will deliver a high-end lighting solution to meed the needs of any home grower.
- Powerful option for home growers
- COB tech is innovative and effective
- Full spectrum light output
- 400 watts
This light is well-designed and ruggedly built to give you plenty of options when you want to mount it and peace of mind knowing it’s not going to get easily damaged when not in use. It’s a great option for a tent light as it can easily cover a 4’x4’ area effectively with solid light output across that area of focus. This also means that this light is a recommended option for any sort of small, at-home indoor growing situation where efficiency is ideal and space is at a minimum.
A key feature of the SolarExtreme is the COB technology that phases out the need for LED drivers. This stands for ‘chip on board’ and combined with the AC drive tech also built into the design, allows for the light output of high-end LEDs with a much lower cost. This translates into cheaper energy bills without sacrificing any lighting power and it’s an innovative and unique design well worth exploring. The trade-off is a little bit of extra heat, in the shape of 1280 BTU, but that’s still not that much to worry about. This 400-watt unit is robust and weighs in at 11 pounds, making solid mounting necessary, but with the SolarExtreme installed, you’ll have a highly effective growing solution on your hands.
- Powerful output in a compact unit
- Great option for tent grows and other small setups
- COB tech increases efficiency
- Durable and rugged design
- A little heavy for a small unit
- Somewhat expensive
California Light Works SolarSystem 550 LED Grow Light
The California Light Works SolarSystem 550 LED Grow Light is a high-end grow light intended for larger grows.
- High-end option for a quality and reliable grow light solution
- 400-watt draw power
- Can connect with multiple lights for large scale grows
- High-efficiency LEDs
When combined with the California Light Works SolarSystem controller, you can run hundreds, or even thousands, of these lights for massive grows on an industrial scale. This unit has some innovative technology and design features that make it a popular option for professional growers and it delivers reliable and effective performance, no matter how many of these lights you string together. Key to the power and success of the SolarSystem 550 are high-efficiency LEDs that work to match the light spectrum of the sun for unmatched indoor growing conditions.
The SolarSystem 550 is fairly lightweight for a high output LED light and requires minimal maintenance. It’s also built to last with a rugged and durable design that will work for years upon years without the need for changing bulbs or replacing the unit. To unlock the true power of this light, you will definitely want to purchase the light controller. This allows you to fully program the SolarSystem 550 to mimic any natural lighting situations you want and gives you the ability to adjust the spectrum of light as well. This can boost your output and encourage plant growth in a very precise manner. It also allows you to dial in specific lighting conditions for different plants in the same grow room – a pretty awesome for feature for anyone with many plants at different stages of growth.
Whether you use a single SolarSystem 550 or string many of them together, it’s one of the best options currently available for its easy programmability that gives you precise control over the lighting conditions of your grow. Its small footprint makes it easy to manage and install while also eliminating shadow and the water-resistant unit also comes with a 5-year warranty.
- High-end option
- Adjustable and programmable lighting when combined with controller
- Small footprint
- Durable design
- Controller unit sold separately
- Expensive, especially when large number of units needed
Growers Choice + TSL LED ROI-E680 LED Grow Light
- 3K CMH Full Phase Spectrum light output
- Build collaboration between Grower’s Choice and TSL Horti Tech
These two well-known brands in the game have come up with an effective lighting solution that provides high-quality light output with energy-saving considerations. This light puts out 3K CMH Full Phase Spectrum lighting that helps encourage excellent plant growth at all stages of development. The ROI-E680 is built for high-performance growing situations as evident by 1700 µmol/s of total output. But this high-performance also has energy considerations worked into the design and can save you up to 40% on energy and HVAC requirements as well.
The full phase lighting that the LEDs of the ROI-E680 put out is consistent and powerful to work during all cycles of a grow op. This lighting can also be customized with an onboard dimming function that gives you control of the lighting intensity, though you’ll need to purchase a separate controller for any more precise control over that. It also has a passive thermal management system and a 120-degree angle of light distribution for effective growth support. The ROI-E680 has a life time of over 54,000 working hours and comes with a 3-year standard warranty.
- High powered light output
- Energy-saving design
- IP65 certification
- Full-spectrum light for optimal growth
- Need a controller (not included) for precise customization
- Fairly expensive
NextLight Mega LED Grow Light – 650W
- Effectively replaces DE 1000w HPS lights
- Efficient and long-lasting design
- High-intensity full spectrum light
This unit claims to effectively replace DE 1000w HPS lights that have been used in the industry for years, but use quite a bit of power and generate plenty of heat. By using less wattage while delivering wide light coverage, the Mega LED does indeed make for a recommended replacement for any antiquated lighting you might be using.
The Mega provides a 5×5 footprint for flowering cycles and a 7×7 footprint for vegetative growth, providing plenty of light when you need it, without consuming a huge amount of energy. The unit itself is roughly 3×3 so puts out more light than its size and has a life rating of 100,000 hours, which is pretty impressive. It is UL certified and comes with a full 5-year warranty as well. The light comes with everything you need to get started with your setup including the lighting fixture, v-hooks, and 120v and 240v power cords. This is a somewhat larger unit that comes with a higher price tag but makes for an effective solution to handle ongoing needs for a variety of growers.
- High powered full spectrum light output
- Wide light footprint
- 5-year warranty
- Heavier fixture
Platinum LED Advanced Platinum Series P900
- Coverage area: 4’ by 6’
- 900 watts
- Full spectrum with UV
Advanced Platinum is among the premium LED grow light companies on the market today. Their LEDs do cost more than some, but they also offer unparalleled performance.
One advantage to Advanced Platinum is that they provide professional quality LED grow lights for less money on average. In other words, although their products aren’t cheap, compared to comparable units, their price is really very reasonable.
These lights have a wider light spectrum than most LEDs, which is better for most grows. LED models that only have red and blue diodes tend to result in more of the deficiencies and leaf problems you’d rather not see. So when it comes to both yield and quality, light matters—and these are excellent.
The PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series P900 stands apart on this list because its full-spectrum lighting technology includes not just the red and blue, but also the ultraviolet and infrared light spectrums. For this reason, these LED lights are three times brighter with more intensity than many other LED grow lights. Compared to similar LED grow lights on the market, the PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series has the highest PAR/LUMEN output per watt.
Light wavelengths blanket your plants evenly, too, thanks to the 12 bands of lights. Furthermore, the paneling design of this LED grow light system cuts down on excess heat while ensuring your plants still thrive. The lenses encourage more growth by shifting their angles sending the light where it’s needed to nurture your plant and all of it’s cannabinoids and terpenes.
Speaking of heat, the system features four high-speed fans which run constantly to avoid overheating and reduce the temperature. Aluminum heat sinks also reduce this light’s temperature. This grow light features auto-adjusting power drivers and auto voltage sensing, so the LED grow light will adjust automatically to run on the available power level where you are.
The PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series P900 lights also adjust to every growth phase so you don’t have to rotate your lights during a grow. The system features a switch set for the bloom and vegetative phases specifically.
There are smaller systems available as part of the PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series, so if you need the quality but can’t handle the size, they have you covered. But the ample the 4′ by 6′ coverage area is one of the reasons we name this powerhouse number one. This light system can replace an 800W HPS grow light, and even in bloom mode it will only consume about 368 watts.
To cap it all off, the PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series P900 comes with a with the 90-day money back satisfaction guarantee. The company will gladly refund your money if you don’t like the system—but you will. And it is covered by a 5-year warranty and great customer service.
Overall, based on all of the factors, these are the best LED grow lights available.
Advanced g8led G8-600 Mega LED
- Coverage Area: 4’ by 5’
- 600 watts
DormGrow is a trusted brand, and the quality is worth the price. With 8 bands these lights offer a reasonable amount of coverage and run very efficiently. These lights are intended to take you through both the vegetative and blooming stages with a substantial amount of penetration.The Advanced G8LED G8-600 is one of the few light systems to penetrate through your growth as plants reach larger heights. Additionally, they’re attempting to continue experimenting with LED technology.These lights come with a bit of advice from DormGrow, the manufacturer suggests adding 90-watt red bulbs when your plant’s flower. The claim here is that adding the red light is economical, and effective. Although there isn’t a ton of science to back up this statement, the growing community is adopting the practice nonetheless.
The Advanced G8LED G8-600 by DormGrow is another quality alternative from a trusted brand. Among the few choices that offers decent coverage and substantial penetration through both the vegetative and blooming stages, these efficient 8 band lights are a great option, even for strains that grow taller.
DormGrow continues to innovate in the LED grow light industry. The company advises users to pair this particular system with 90-watt red bulbs during the time your plants are flowering. The idea is to boost the effectiveness of the lights in a cheap way, and many in the growing community swear by it. Either way, the system is effective on its own.
- Lights are always cool enough to touch
- 2-year warranty
- Coverage area is true to manufacturer’s claims
- For the price, you could get a lot more power behind your lights, (but would miss some amazing features).
Viparspectra Reflector Series V450
- Coverage area: 2.5’ by 2.5′
- 400 watts
- Full spectrum with UV
If you’re looking to raise one or two high-quality plants in a small growth environment, the Viparspectra V450 light system is designed to meet your unique needs perfectly. It only works in a 2.5′ by 2.5′ growing space, and for the price there may be better options for many growers. But if these restrictions sound like what you’re working with, there are few better choices on the market, which is why we placed it so high on the list.
The Viparspectra V450 light system deliver 12 bands of light, including two each of IR and UV. The system maximizes PAR per watt through its optical lens.
The system gives you more for your money in an energy-efficient way. It draws only 269 watts from the outlet, but still produces high PAR values reaching 415 and 655—equivalent to a 600W HPS/MH or a 400-watt HID. This means you’ll be running cooler and saving money, earning back your investment money quickly.
Like the other models listed here from the Viparspectra reflector series, the V450 light system has both vegetative and bloom switches to give you more control over your grow. It also utilizes conventional warmth sinks, self-cooling fans, and low-power fluid diodes to run cooler.
- Offered “in-between” size
- Energy efficient
- Full spectrum lighting
- Price for its size
- Small coverage area
MarsHydro 300 Watt
- Coverage area: 2’ by 2’
- 300 watts
- Full spectrum with UV
Mars Hydro is well-known for their cost-effective LED grow lights, yet they have also developed a name for high-quality products and customer service, setting them apart on the market.
The safe, easy to use plug and play design of this system make it a great choice for any grower. In fact, the design team for the MarsHydro 300 Watt clearly focused on both safety and user experience, separating the heat sink and integrated circuit boards. The separate design ensures that, should any one of the components fail, it won’t take the entire unit out of commission.
The MarsHydro 300-Watt light system was created for new and smaller scale growers, which is why it doesn’t skimp on quality although it suits a more modest budget. Even for this entry-level product, MarsHydro uses high-quality 5W Epistar LEDs.
This produces a level of brightness from full spectrum and white light that can’t be beaten in this price range. This is especially nice for new growers, because more light at stronger wavelengths can reach more of the plant , for better PAR.
However, because the brightness doesn’t spread far, the MarsHydro 300-Watt works for no more than two plants.
The very quiet, high-speed cooling fans are efficient even when the lights are on for long periods of time. Coupled with the heat sinks, these fans keep the system’s temperature low.
This light is an energy efficient choice for every stage of the growth process. It draws only 132 watts of power when running, and it lasts about 50,000 hours over its lifetime. More than 1,100 Amazon customers have rated the MarsHydro LED 300 watt grow light for a total score of 4.4 stars out 5.
This awesome LED grow light also comes with a 30-day money back guarantee and a 3-year warranty.
- Quality LEDs
- A favorable ratio of red and blue light for flowering
- Whole growth cycle lights
- Small coverage area
- Manufactured in China
Viparspectra Reflector Series V600
- Coverage area: 3’ by 3’
- 600 watts
- Full spectrum with UV
Viparspectra pops up a lot on our list—and for good reason. Their design team makes every decision with growers in mind, and it shows in the quality of the lights.
So, why is the Viparspectra V600 right near the top?
It packs in lots of features for a low cost, for one thing. For example, the Viparspectra V600 has a programmable timer. This is a convenient option for anyone who can’t check in on their grow room every 12 hours.
We’ve also listed the Viparspectra V300 here. The primary difference between the Viparspectra V300 and V600 options is their coverage area.
If you only want to grow one or two plants, the V300 is a good option. However, if you’re aiming for five or six plants, the V600 is your light. Additionally, it costs less to buy one V600 than two V300s, so for the in-between grower, we love this size.
- Remote programming
- Great coverage area for the size
- This system is the “in-between” light that doesn’t suit many growers.
Viparspectra Reflector Series v300
- Coverage area: 2’ by 2’
- 250 watts
- Full spectrum with UV
Many people, especially first-time growers, are choosing the Viparspectra Reflector Series v300. For the price, this system offers many benefits in a decent space. Indoors for one or two plants, this system performs very well.
The Viparspectra Reflector Series v300 has 12 wavelengths, representing much of the spectrum, along with UV and IR light. This light is substantially blue, meaning it promotes shorter, bushier plant growth ideal for indoors. This also means it is excellent light for the vegetative growth stage or veg cycle.
This is not to say there is no red light present—there is, which is what causes the pinkish glow. And if for some reason you want to change the proportion of blue to red light, you can daisy chain more than one unit together. This would also increase the PAR output and coverage area.
Each light on the Viparspectra Reflector Series v300 is set at a 90-degree angle to create the 2′ by 2′ coverage area. Overall, in vegetative mode this LED grow light provides 2′ by 2′ of overall coverage decreasing to 1.5′ by 1.5′ in bloom mode. The lights hang at 24 inches in both modes.
The Viparspectra Reflector Series v300 can sustainably replace a classic 250-watt HPS/MH horticultural lighting system. In fact, this LED grow light is so energy efficient, when you make the change you will reduce energy consumption to just 136 watts.
The Reflector 300w LED grow light also features a superior heat dissipation system including aluminum cooling heat sinks and quiet, high-speed fans. This cooling and air flow system helps the Reflector 300w LED grow light run 70 percent cooler than HID lights.
These LEDs have a lifespan of 100,000 hours, which is eight to ten years of continuous use, although there are reports of them dying sooner. This Viparspectra 300 W LED grow light also comes with a 30-day money return guarantee and a 3-year extended warranty.
More importantly, Viparspectra customer service is responsive and quick. Support staff is easy to reach if you have questions about your lights, and if you don’t like them during the trial period, they process refunds rapidly.
- Great price for the quality system
- 12 wavelengths with UV and IR
- Small coverage (this is preferred for some buyers)
- LEDs die before the 100,000 hours but a few going out doesn’t severely reduce the amount of light.
Roleadro GalaxyHydro Series 300W
- Coverage area: 2’ by 3’
- 300 watts
- Full spectrum
The biggest differentiation point for the Roleadro GalaxyHydro Series 300-watt LED grow light is its 7-to-1 red-to-blue ratio. This red-to-blue ratio is ideal for bud development during the flowering stage and can also affect potency.
The Roleadro Galaxy Hydro Series 300-watt LED grow light is CE- and ROHS-certified. Given the quality build, plus the lifetime consultation you get for the product and its two-year warranty, a tight budget may make this LED grow light the clear winner for your grow.
Coverage size is really the other issue. If you have more than two or three plants planned, you’ll need more than one Roleadro GalaxyHydro Series 300-watt to daisy-chain together. This is easy to do, and actually still a budget-friendly choice.
The Roleadro GalaxyHydro Series 300-watt is backed by strong customer service, and a two-year warranty.
- Easy to connect multiple units
- Great customer service
- 7-to-1 red to blue ratio
- Small coverage area
Ledgle Grow Light 300W
- Coverage area: 1.5’ by 2’
- 300 watts
- Full spectrum
The Ledgle Grow Light 300W walks the line, just about as cheap as an LED grow light can be and still be worth using. For this reason, it is a new grower favorite and a great value.
The LED features an 11-band spectrum that generates blue, red, white, UV, and IR light. The Ledgle Grow Light 300W operates at 300W in two modes, one for each growing phase. The unit also has built-in cooling fans to help to keep your growing room cooler.
The Ledgle Grow Light 300W produces bright light, and it helps your plants grow—but only in its small 1.5′ by 2′ region. To grow more than one plant at a time, you will likely need more than one of these. It easily be daisy-chained with other LEDs, however, and one failure in the chain will not affect the rest.
Even so, the Ledgle Grow Light 300W offers some features that you usually only see in more expensive models, such as switches for the flowering and vegetative stages. This lets you improve as a grower, modifying your lighting strategy as your plant grows, even with a small space.
In general, especially for those who aren’t sure whether they want to grow cannabis and just want to try it, or those who simply don’t have much money to invest in a grow, the Ledgle Grow Light 300W is a great option.
- Large LEDs
- Vegetative and Blooming switches
- LEDs heat up
- Not as energy efficient as other options
Advanced LED Diamond Series XML350
- Coverage area: 4.5’ by 5’
- 600-800 watts
- Full spectrum with UV
We love the AdvancedLED Diamond Series XML350 for how versatile they are. They give you more than 14 wavelengths of light and multiple settings to play with, so if you’re concerned about matching up your lights with your strain at every growth stage, this is your most versatile option.
Although the coverage area here is already decent for the price, the units can be daisy-chained together for large-scale grows. In fact, the same connector cord for this light system can handle up to four units at once.
Another benefit is that these LED lights are USA-made, and have a long lifespan. They run very cool and exceptionally quiet. This commitment to high quality keeps this brand and this light on the list.
- Veg, bloom, and clone settings
- Super quiet and very cool
- Reasonable coverage
- Coverage is different from manufacturer’s claims
- The cost doesn’t match the quality of LED lights in the system.
What Should I Know Before Buying LED Grow Lights?
How to choose the best LED grow light: there are so many important factors. Here are the ones that are most critical.
The Needs of the Plant
Light cycles can seriously impact your plants’ growth and potency. Some need full light from a high-intensity source, and others get dried out or burned with too much, so make sure you know what you need from the outset.
A full spectrum LED grow light will help ensure maximum growth. Ideally this kind of light will have red and blue spectrums, as well as IR and UV light. (If you don’t grow from seed or germinate your seeds outside you might be okay with just red and blue light, but full spectrum is always preferred.) Better still, you’ll be able to control which spectrums it emits, when.
Full spectrum LEDs are also more energy-efficient, typically. They are durable, usually run cool without additional fans, and cost less in electricity. Your grow lights will need to be operating for 18 hours every day at times.
The higher their output (wattage), the more power you’ll be using, but not proportionately. In other words, if you need 1000 watts instead of 500, you still won’t see twice as much power consumption.
Control and Customization
Remember that you’ll be changing the lighting cycles depending on the growth stage to ensure that your plants thrive:
- Seedling stage: 16 hours on/8 hours off
- Veg stage: 18 hours on/6 hours off
- Flowering stage: 12 hours on/12 hours off
Size and Spacing of Your Grow Room
Don’t fight with manufacturer specifications, especially when it comes to coverage area. Your LED grow light system simply has to cover the right space for your plants.
Remember, if you’re growing with a hydroponic system, you need to have access to the right power and water sources for that system and your lights. This can demand some planning in a smaller space.
As well, if you’re selecting a light not on this list, read feedback and reviews on the actual coverage of the system. Occasionally there can be a discrepancy in this area, as we’ve discussed above.
Balancing Your Budget With Buying Good Equipment
This is tricky, but obviously important. Higher-end lights often produce better results, but a budget only works if each piece fits. Newer growers may want to select less costly grow lights to gain experience. Growers who already know what they prefer and need for their crops may go with a higher-priced option.
An LED grow light is not the only component you’ll need for your indoor grow operation. Your budget also has to cover fertilizers, filters, grow tents, soil, nutrients, and various other supplies. This means that blowing the whole budget on the best possible light isn’t an option—but directing as much of the budget toward a quality LED grow light as you can should be your goal.
Since quality is the goal, brand matters. In this vertical, the best brands develop loyal customer bases and generate solid reviews. They also frequently address feedback that’s less stellar. Look for this kind of brand strength online if you’re not sure about a light system or deciding between great options.
What Should I Look For in the Best Grow Lights?
Is it marketing or is it quality? What are the real benefits of LED grow lights, or the features to look for? The primary factors you should look for in LED grow lights are these.
Full Spectrum Grow Lights
The best LED grow lights deliver full spectrum wavelengths from 380 to 840 nm. This includes blue, red, IR, and UV light for all of the growth stages.
To be sure, this recommendation is relatively new in indoor horticulture; in the past we didn’t have these kinds of lighting systems to use. However, using full spectrum lighting for indoor grows can yield plants with more flowers and healthier buds.
Energy-Efficient and Cost-Effective
LED grow lights use far less electricity, too—and the buy-in cost is still lower, because LED grow lights last significantly longer. A high-quality LED light system will last for years while running 10 to 12 hours daily. Even higher wattage LED lights with their powerful output are more cost-effective because they ultimately reduce electrical use overall.
LED lights also run much cooler despite producing a greater amount of light, which means you don’t need to add fans to reduce the temperature low. They are more durable and well-made, so they last longer and fail less.
Closer Control Over Your Indoor Garden
The ability to closely control light levels improves the health and yield of your plants. The ability to do so remotely yet precisely improves your quality of life, and that’s where LED grow light systems come in. Tailoring your lighting cycle also saves you more money, so consider more tweaking features both a yield and cost benefit.
To achieve optimal light for your plants, aim for a balanced spectrum with a high PAR/lumen output. Typically the best way to achieve this is with a mix of 3-watt and 5-watt diodes.
It is important to be precise in your measurements when considering the area that the lights project. Plants that receive less light will produce less and can dwarf. Occasionally, product descriptions aren’t totally accurate, so it’s critical to check reviews like this one to confirm coverage.
Recommended per plant wattage:
|1 sq ft||30 – 50 watts|
|2 sq ft||60 – 80 watts|
|4 sq ft||120 – 140 watts|
|6 sq ft||180 – 200 watts|
There truly is a great LED grow light for every budget, as you can see in this review. It’s easy to start small, gain experience, develop preferences as a grower, and then invest in better LED lights.
Experienced growers have room to move around. Always invest in the best LED grow light system you can, but with the precise benefits you need.
Main Types of LED Grow Lights
There are a few basic styles of LED grow lights that are most frequently used to grow cannabis. There is no one best type; which is best depends on the grow and your needs.
The traditional LED panels typically have smaller lamps and low- to medium-wattage diodes. They are arrayed in a standard panel, obviously, and many LED lighting options for growers on the market today are this type.
COB LED and AutoCOB style
COB style LED grow lights use huge LED “bulbs” created with Chip on Board (COB)s. Because each COB focuses many LED chips in a small space, it is incredibly bright. This means each COB both draws a significant amount of energy (the down side) and produces more intense light than other types of LEDs (the up side).
For the most part, COB style grow lights usually have just a few large COBs rather than many small diodes. This allows the stronger lenses to direct light downward, deeply penetrating into the canopy.
LED grow lights with a single COB light bulb per lamp are sometimes called AutoCOBs. By using one lamp at a time throughout a specific space, AutoCOBs can make it easier to spread out light evenly through a grow area.
AutoCOBs are useful because you can combine them to create a custom spectrum—each COB has its own spectrum. They are also perfect for different-sized plants or unusual grow spaces because they are so configurable.
Some LED grow light systems spread smaller LEDs across a large area. Spider style LED grow lights and quantum boards are examples of this style.
Both the spider style LEDs and quantum board style grow lights tend to have fairly low wattage diodes spread across a large area. In the case of spider style LEDs, the area is a panel with spider-like “arms” rather than a larger board—the quantum board.
FAQs about LED Grow Lights
Here are some quick answers to some frequently asked questions about LED grow lights. Information changes fast in this vertical, so please feel free to comment with new details from your grow.
Are LED lights good grow lights for cannabis?
Especially for indoor growers, LED grow lights are excellent for cannabis at its different growth stages. They are designed based on photosynthetic wavelengths and have the diodes to produce the right kinds of light.
LED grow lights are also typically user-friendly. They can use a wall socket and don’t need a separate ballast. They are also simple to install and compact, easy to configure to any space.
Are LED grow lights worth the money?
The best LED grow lights on the market are definitely worth the money. LED grow lights are certainly the most cost-effective and efficient over time compared to other choices.
Why use LED grow lights?
There are some great reasons to use LED grow lights:
You have more control over your plants
The right temperature is critical to ensuring your plants don’t get burned or wilt. Optimal growth means the right balance of warmth and cool. LED lights produce less heat and don’t get as hot to the touch, and are therefore far less likely to damage your plants.
LED grow lights also give you more control over wavelength and even wattage. This allows you to manage the light intensity and wavelength your plant will receive at each stage. Many come with dimmer switches and other precision controls. LEDs also allow you to better plan for unique grows and provide better coverage by configuring multiple lights.
They run cool and eliminate the need to ventilate
No one needs the added expense of a separate ventilation or cooling system. LED grow lights give you intense light without nearly as much heat. No cooling or ventilation system means an additional energy savings.
Easy to install and portable
Installation is typically just following a few steps, very simple. Made with modern materials, these lights are easily portable and relatively compact.
Many LED grow light models are small, and can be configured together. This allows you to combine them to cover larger areas and unusual spaces.
More energy-efficient and cost-effective
LED grow lights have long life spans—between 50,000 and 100,000 hours, or 7 to 8 years on average, typically. LEDs are also more energy-efficient than any other type of light based on output and power drawn.
Are LEDs really better than HPS lights?
Plants need light beyond the red and blue spectrum to perform all of their biological functions. An LED grow light can have the full spectrum represented, including infrared and ultraviolet, with up to twelve different colors of diodes. It can also adjust its balance of how it produces those kinds of light so that it’s always right for your plant’s stages of growth.
The HPS spectrum is less effective, because plants need very little yellow light, and most of the HPS light output is yellow. This means wasted light and money, and lots of excess heat.
HID style lighting such as metal halide presents many of the same limitations. Both of these alternatives to LED lights also generate far more heat.
Can I use regular LED lights to grow plants? Can any LED light be a grow light?
Not if you want an optimal grow. Can you place a plant under a regular lightbulb or on your windowsill and get it to grow? Maybe, but it’s not likely to be an optimal grow indoors without help. Similarly, without the right indoor light source, your plants won’t thrive.
Regular LED lights are not powerful enough to provide all of the essential light requirements for plants. Many normal LED lights many simulate the sun’s natural light, but most are not manufactured with PAR/lumen output, specific wavelengths, and spectral range.
How many LED grow lights do I need?
5000 watts on a 5′ by 5′ coverage space is about the same as sunlight. In other words, the Sun generates incredibly powerful light, and that’s tough to duplicate inside. LED technology is currently the best-suited indoor lighting technology for the challenge.
Cannabis plants love light and can take quite a lot of it, and that you’ll need to balance factors such as light and heat against cost and ability to live in the space, if you do.
Typically, one 1000-watt LED grow light is the minimum for a 4′ by 4′ grow area. One 600-watt LED grow light is about right for a 3′ by 3′ space.
However, you could technically put up to 4000 watts over a 4′ by 8′ growing area—if you could manage the heat load. The room can’t get so hot that your plants’ foliage suffers, so balance your cooling system with the number of lights and heat load they generate.
Are my plants getting enough light?
Start by creating a coverage map. (Some manufacturers provide one, which you should check against reviews. If theirs isn’t accurate, just generate your own.)
Draw up a coverage map by comparing the requirements of your strains, the actual light coverage of the array, and the PAR. The connection is how height and PAR values are related, and of course this will change based on growth stage, and may fluctuate depending on what you’re trying to grow.
What is Photosynthetically Active Radiation PAR?
Photosynthetically Active Radiation or PAR means the wavelength that plants use to create energy. Different plants thrive with different varieties of light, so it’s best to include as many wavelengths that emit PAR as possible.
What is PPFD?
Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density or PPFD refers to the amount of light that gets to your plants. In other words, various things can prevent light from reaching a plant’s surface, so a light’s rating of what it is generating at the source isn’t always telling the full story.
Do I Need a Grow Tent?
A grow tent can make growing outdoors substantially easier. If you’re working with an enclosed environment, you might think you don’t need further protection from outside forces.
However, numerous factors from within your already enclosed space that can affect your plants.
Many people growing in the house don’t account for cleaners they regularly use, the air conditioner vents bringing in cold air, the air in a small space going stale and your plants not getting any circulation.
But, you can grow outside with a grow tent and have far more control over your plants than growing indoors.
Always review grow tent options before buying because various brands fluctuate in quality severely. Look for quality poles, durable materials, and light control.
This top 10 best LED grow lights for weed and buyer’s guide should help you choose which LED grow lights are best for your plants. Your current grow may have multiple plants or strains, space restrictions, and almost definitely has a budget. With all of those considerations in mind, you can select the best LED grow light right here.