LED grow lights have been around for a few years now.
While perhaps a decade ago they didn’t quite live up to their full potential, now they are by far the best way to grow plants indoors.
If you need help choosing one, here are our picks for the best LED grow lights.
Quick Glance: The Best LED Grow Light
Let’s first talk briefly about LED grow lights, their advantages and why you would choose to buy one. Following that, we can have a look at some pointers that will help you choose the most appropriate model for you.
What Are LED Grow Lights and Why Would You Want One?
LED grow lights are relative newcomers to the world of indoor horticulture, but they offer certain big advantages over the older styles of grow lights people have used traditionally.
The first big advantage is that LED lights run much cooler than more old-fashioned grow lights. While plants need a certain level of warmth to survive and thrive, old-style lights simply give off too much heat – much more than plants can absorb. This equates to wasted energy.
With LEDs, you are just creating the light that plants need without the extra heat, making them much more efficient.
As a result, LEDs are also much cheaper to run. If you run old-style grow lights that are constantly wasted energy as heat, you are using electricity for nothing. For this reason, LED lights can be an investment since they can end up saving you money on your electricity bill.
They have one other distinct advantage, too.
Light is emitted in a whole range of wavelengths, but not all light is useful to plants. The parts of the spectrum that are particularly important to plants are the red and blue wavelengths.
With many modern LED grow lights, they have been specially engineered to give out maximum amounts of light at exactly these wavelengths, essentially tuning them to the plants’ needs.
With regular grow lights, this isn’t possible, and the plants just have to take what they can from the full spectrum without being fed a special “diet” of red and blue.
Are There Any Disadvantages?
There is also one very clear disadvantage associated with LED grow lights – the cost. LED grow lights can be significantly more expensive than old-style regular grow lights.
However, since they cost a lot less to run, you will end up making the money back in the long run – especially if you are buying them for fairly intensive use.
Are LED Grow Lights Worth It?
In a word, yes. While the initial outlay is more, you will quickly recoup the money with cheaper electricity bills. In fact, by using LEDs, you can potentially save up to 10 times what you would pay when using traditional grow lights.
On top of this, since they are tuned to the specific needs of plants, they will also help your plants grow better and give you better yields.
Also, if you want to go deep, try hydroponic planting system indoor, here is the guide about Hydroponic Lighting Guide from farmhydroponics.
What to Look For?
So if you’re convinced LED grow lights are the right solution for you and you’ve decided you want to give them a try, you’ll be wondering what to look for and how to choose. Here are a few of the main points to consider.
The first and most obvious aspect is how much power you need – and this is measured in watts. As a general rule, the more power a grow light has, the larger the area it can be used to cover.
However, raw power alone isn’t the whole story, and there are other points that need to be considered.
Just as important as raw power is the PAR rating. PAR stands for Photosynthetically Active Radiation, and it refers to the wavelengths of light that are beneficial for the plant, the wavelengths that are used in photosynthesis.
Without going too much into the science here, plants need blue and red light for photosynthesis, and a high PAR rating indicates that the light emitted delivers high amounts of these specific wavelengths. A higher PAR number equals a more effective grow light.
PPFD stands for Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density and is related to PAR. Again, without going too deep into the science, a light with a good PPFD rating will be able to deliver more of the necessary wavelengths of light to your plants’ foliage.
Height and area
Grow lights are normally given a rating for the area of plants they can cover when hung at a specific height. For example, a light might be said to cover an area of 3ft x 3ft at a height of 24”. You need to make sure the unit you choose matches your requirements.
The spectrum refers to the range of wavelengths a grow light is capable of producing. Most grow lights are sold as “full spectrum” models, meaning they can produce all of the wavelengths visible to the human eye.
However, not all “full spectrum” models include infrared and ultraviolet light. These can also be useful to plants – especially UV light as it can help fight bacterial infection – so this is another aspect you might wish to take into account.
Different modes for different developmental phases
As plants grow, they go through different well-defined phases, including germination, seedling, vegetative and blooming or fruiting. Each phase may have different light requirements, and there are two ways grow lights deal with this.
The most basic option is simply to have lights that have full spectrum all the time. This means all wavelengths are present at all times, meaning they are suitable for all types of plants during all phases of the life cycle.
However, other lights allow you to switch between modes, so you can choose blue and white light for the vegetative phase and then switch to red and white light for the blooming phase. This is a more efficient way to help plants develop faster.
The most important safety feature on a grow light is the cooling system. Although LED units run cooler than old-style grow lights, they still need to be cooled to prevent overheating.
The cooling system usually consists of one or more fans along with a heat sink and other features intended to aid ventilation. It is important to choose an LED grow light that won’t overheat when in use, especially when used intensively.
They can also include other safety features. For example, some lights operate the LEDs separately so that if something goes wrong with one, it won’t burn out the whole unit, making it useless.
This is a handy feature since with extended use, it is still possible something will eventually break down. Then you will only lose one LED rather than your whole grow light unit.
The Best LED Grow Lights on the Market 2021
1. Best 300w LED Grow Light – MarsHydro LED Grow Light
If you are looking for an LED grow light in the 300w range, then MarsHydro unit is our top pick. It has dimensions of 12” x 8” x 3” and is designed to give your indoor garden the best lighting conditions to grow and thrive.
Just one of these would be sufficient to provide light for a 2ft x 2ft area – or four used together would be enough for 4ft x 4ft of plants.
This grow light provides the full spectrum of lighting required by plants and has a high PAR rating. Not all light is useful to plants for photosynthesis – and some light can even be harmful – but this unit delivers exactly the right kind of light that will be most beneficial to your plants.
One of the best design features is the special patented spectra reflector system. Many LED grow lights use plastic lenses and plate glass, which can block up to 30% of the light. With this unit, however, 100% of the light emitted is able to reach your plants.
This grow light also features several useful and important safety features. The lights are kept cool by a powerful fan – however, the fan is very quiet and doesn’t make excessive amounts of noise.
It also incorporates a large pin-cushion heat sink that also ensures it continues to run at cool temperatures.
Furthermore, it is designed with a separate integrated circuit board. This means that even if one component is damaged, the rest of the unit will continue to function normally, helping to increase its lifespan – it can supposedly give you at least 50,000 hours of use.
One final advantage here is the cost since this unit is extremely reasonably priced. This is a grow light that will allow you to set up an indoor garden without breaking the bank.
However, on the downside, understand that this is a budget-friendly option and the components are not of the highest quality – although they work fine. Also, this light is a little noisier than you might hope while still not being excessively so.
If you are looking for a reliable and effective LED grow light that is energy-efficient and that is certain to give your plants a big boost, this is definitely an option worth checking out. For us, this is the best 300w grow light and comes highly recommended.
- Full spectrum – provides the light required for all stages of plant growth
- High PAR rating – emits high levels of the light needed for photosynthesis
- Powerful cooling system – keeps lights cool without making too much noise
- Energy saving – consumes less energy than other lights of a comparable size
- Patented spectra reflector system – reflects 100% of light emitted
- Budget option – components are only mediocre quality
- A little loud – although nothing extreme
2. Best 450w LED Grow Light – VIPARSPECTRA UL Certified Reflector-Series 450W LED Grow Light
If you need a little bit more coverage than a 300w unit can give you, you might consider looking at a slightly more powerful 450w grow light. If that’s the case, this model from Viparspectra would be our number one pick.
This unit provides enough light and coverage for an area of 2.5ft x 2.5ft when suspended at 24” – or 2ft x 2ft at a height of 18”.
This grow light has been designed to give the greatest levels of efficiency. This means that rather than just providing raw power, it is made to provide optimum levels of the right kind of light for your plants to grow.
More than this, it is also designed to give a good spread of light over the whole canopy of your plants, ensuring they receive plenty of the right kind of light all across their foliage. The result is optimal conditions for strong growth.
Another great feature is the fact that you can change the settings for the different stages in a plant’s life cycle. Plants at the vegetative stage have different needs from plants at the blooming stage. Plants that are flowering have different requirements again.
With the different modes, you can customize the type of light being emitted to match the particular stage of development your plants are going through – again, helping you to achieve the best possible results.
This light has also been built with safety in mind. It features high-speed fans and an upgraded aluminum cooling sink to make sure it doesn’t overheat. The reflectors are also flame retardant, minimizing the chances of the unit catching fire.
One other advantage with this grow light is that it can be used in “daisy chain” mode – this means several units can be linked up in a chain to give you as much coverage as you need.
On the other hand, a slight flaw with this light is that the hangars are not of great quality and may bend. Also, this light gives more blue light than red – this makes it more suitable for the veg stage but less for others.
To summarize, this is a well-designed unit that is energy-efficient and will give your plants exactly the conditions they need to grow well. If you are looking for a grow light in the 450w range, for us, this would be the one to go for.
- Designed for optimum PAR output – delivers the type of light your plants need
- Reflectors increase PAR levels – gives 50% higher PAR rating
- Different settings for growth stages – includes veg, bloom and flowering modes
- Energy efficient – consumes much less electricity than comparable units
- Good safety features – designed to stay cool and also fire resistant
- Hangers are not high quality – may bend under the weight
- More blue spectrum light than red – better for veg stage
3. Best 600w LED Grow Light – LED Grow Light 600W Full Spectrum Indoor Grow Lights
When you move up into the 600w category, you start looking at something that offers a significant step up in power output capability as well as the ability to cover a larger area. If that’s the kind of unit you’re looking for, this model from Recordcent is our top pick.
Again, like many of the best grow light options, this one doesn’t simply focus on raw power. Rather, it is designed to provide the right kind of light that your plants need to grow strong, allowing it to give a greater level of energy efficiency.
The first adaptation is the use of 5w double chips instead of regular 1w or 3w chips. This allows the unit to put out a brighter, more efficient light than models that use smaller chips.
This grow light is highly efficient and uses up to 30% less energy than some similar lights. Over the course of a month, this can add up to a significant reduction on your electricity bill.
Another excellent feature is the dual lens technology. This greatly increases canopy penetration, ensuring that the whole plant is receiving the maximum amounts of beneficial light possible. It also increases PAR output by around 200%, a very impressive increase.
For larger units especially, it is important that they have effective cooling systems, and this model features a double fan combined with an aluminum substrate. Together, they combine to maintain the overall temperature at below 60°F, keeping the unit safe.
Finally, the manufacturer is so confident that you will be satisfied that this light comes with a 90-day money back guarantee. This is enough time for you to test a growth cycle – and if you’re not happy, you can just send it back.
Just a couple of minor gripes to mention. First, the coverage this light offers seems to be a little lacking – other options can perhaps cover a larger area. Second, the stated brightness seems a little optimistic since in reality the light emitted seems a bit lower – although it’s still enough.
For us, this is the top pick in the 600w category. It is a light that your plants will love, and it will also help you spend less on electricity each month. For these reasons, this is another highly recommended product.
- 5w double chip LEDs – bright and more efficient than 1w or 3w versions
- Energy saving – uses up to 30% less energy, helping significantly reduce energy bills
- Dual lens technology – maximizes canopy penetration and increases PAR by 200%
- Inexpensive product – lower price tag than other comparable options
- Double cooling fan system – ensures the unit doesn’t overheat
- Questionable coverage – perhaps covers a smaller area than some other lights
- Slightly disappointing brightness – seems to be less than the stated power
4. Best 1000w LED Grow Light – Roleadro LED Grow Light
Our winner in the 1000w category is this model from Roleadro. It produces the full spectrum of light, making it suitable for all plants and all stages of growth. It also includes more red light compared to other lights, offering up to a 30-50% higher yield.
It also produces strong UV light, helping to kill bacteria and keep your plants healthy and disease-free.
It features bead and Zener design – rather than the traditional reflection construction. This type of construction is more resistant to higher temperatures, ensuring this light will last longer than most regular LED grow lights.
It also incorporates two powerful high-speed fans, a built-in aluminum heat sink and built-in temperature control, all of which make sure this unit will never overheat.
One of the most important points is the PAR rating – this light performs well, delivering high levels of the light that is most beneficial to plants. It is also configured to offer the maximum level of foliage penetration, ensuring the light reaches the leaves as evenly as possible.
Another adaptation that increases efficiency is the unique 90° optical lens. This serves to reduce light loss, ensuring that around 98% of the light produced actually reaches your plants’ leaves.
While at 1000w, this is already a fairly beefy unit, if you need extended coverage, it can be hooked up with more units in a daisy chain – allowing you to provide light to extensive indoor plantations.
Finally, one other thing we really appreciate here is the price – for a 1000w unit, you will be hard pushed to find another grow light of this standard that costs as little as this.
And now to mention a couple of slight negatives. We mentioned that this light has high levels of red light. While this is good during some stages of growth, it may be less suitable for the vegging stage, meaning this light is not as effective during this part of the life cycle.
Also, and just a minor irritation than anything else, this light doesn’t have an “off” switch, meaning the only way to cut the power is to unplug it.
Overall, this is a high-quality 1000w grow light for those who need a good level of power from their unit to help cover larger areas of plants.
If you only have one or two plants, this might be a little too much, but if you’re looking for something in the 1000w range, this could be the ideal option.
- High PAR and deep penetration – ensures your plants get the light they need
- Full spectrum – suitable for all types of plants and all stages of growth
- Advanced heat control system – two powerful fans and a large heat sink
- Bead and Zener design – more efficient than traditional reflection systems
- Affordable price tag – inexpensive product for what it is
- Heavy on red light – less effective for the vegging stage
- No “off” switch – the only way to cut the power is to unplug it
5. Best 1200w LED Grow Light – Phlizon Newest 1200W LED Plant Grow Light
This is a large and powerful grow light rated at 1200w of power. It is large enough and generates enough light to cover 3ft x 3ft at 24”.
This unit offers the full spectrum of light, including blue light, red light, infrared light and ultraviolet light. This makes it suitable for all stages of your plants’ development as well as offering protection against disease.
This unit is highly efficient, and the light it produces has a high PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density) level, ensuring the light reaching your plants’ leaves is light that will promote the most growth.
It also has separate modes to customize the light depending on how old your plants are. During the earlier stages of your plants’ development, you can use the blue and white mode to stimulate and accelerate growth.
Once they reach the flowering phase, there is a separate red and white light mode that is specifically designed to aid flowering and fruiting.
Larger, more powerful grow lights need to be well designed so as to reduce the risk of overheating or potentially catching fire.
This unit incorporates two powerful fans that help maintain the temperature at safe levels – and they do this without producing excessive amounts of noise.
Another design feature this model has is that it doesn’t make use of reflectors. This is because reflectors are not heat resistant and so may melt if the temperatures become too high. Not using them reduces the risk of problems and increases safety.
There are a couple of negatives to mention, too. Firstly, the fans are a little on the loud side – other quieter options exist. Also, it is very clear from the packaging what is inside the box, and some customers might prefer something a little more discrete.
Overall, this is a powerful grow light that will offer a real boost to your plants. It provides all the light your plants will need throughout their life cycles and is also a highly efficient unit. It is relatively inexpensive, and above all, it will make a noticeable difference to growth and yields.
For these reasons, this is our top pick in the 1200w category and gets a big thumbs-up from us.
- No reflectors – reflectors can melt, so this model doesn’t use them
- Full spectrum – includes blue, red, infrared and ultraviolet light
- Veg and bloom modes – can be set according to your plants’ stage of development
- Quiet dual fans – two fans work together to keep the unit cool
- Covers a large area – one unit can cover 3ft x 3ft at 24”
- Fans a little loud – other options exist that are slightly quieter
- Less than discrete packaging – some might not appreciate the large, clear writing
6. Best 1500w LED Grow Light – King Plus 1500W Double Chips LED Grow Light
Moving up to the larger end of the scale, if you are looking for a substantial grow light in the 1500w category that is capable of putting out a lot of power, this is our top pick.
It gives out the whole spectrum of light, including red, blue, yellow, white, infrared and ultraviolet – essentially mimicking the sun. This means it provides all the light growing and healthy plants require at all stages of their development.
The PAR output also has a high rating. This means that the specific parts of the spectrum required for photosynthesis are especially strong – this light is sure to help your plants grow strong and increase yields.
One feature worthy of note here is the bigger and brighter chips this model incorporates. They are designed to give off optimum light levels to really ensure your plants have the best growing conditions possible.
As we move to the top end of the size and power scale, it is ever-more important that cooling systems are capable of keeping the unit cool. This grow light features an efficient cooling system with three strong fans that make sure nothing overheats.
The LED lights are also set up to function independently, another feature that is designed to prolong the life of the grow light while at the same time increasing safety.
Finally, this is another highly efficient unit. If you ran the same amount of power through a traditional grow light, it would consume large amounts of electricity.
However, having said that, it also puts out quite a bit of heat, so you will have to make sure the area is well ventilated.
Also, it doesn’t allow you to change the type of light emitted to adapt it specifically to each stage of growth – although it has a full spectrum for all stages of the plants’ lifecycle.
By choosing one of these large LED models instead, you stand to save yourself considerable amounts on your electricity bill.
This is a big grow light that would be suitable for someone looking to grow large numbers of plants indoors. If you need power and reliability all at a reasonable price, this would be an excellent choice.
- Large, powerful chips – brighter and more efficient than regular chips
- Excellent PAR output – ensures the right kind of light is reaching your plants
- Full spectrum of light – includes red, blue, yellow, white, UV and IR light
- Highly efficient cooling system – incorporates three powerful fans
- Efficient system – uses far less energy than a comparable regular lighting rig
- Cannot change the light – can’t be adapted to each stage of the lifecycle
- Tends to put out quite a bit of heat – hotter than some other LED grow lights
7. Best 2000w LED Grow Light – BESTVA DC Series 2000W LED Grow Light
If you need the highest levels of power, you need to be looking at something in the 2000w range – and at the top end of the size and power scale, this Bestva grow light is our top pick.
This monster is enough to cover 7.8ft x 7.5ft at a height of 24”, more than enough for most home installations. If you need more than that, you can simply use a few of these together and you can really scale up your operation.
The dual-chip 10w LEDs are probably as powerful as you are going to find on an LED grow light and put out an impressive level of light. Each LED gives you professional-grade levels of PAR and lumens.
Each unit has 10 different kinds of LED, providing the whole spectrum of light. This effectively mimics the natural light of sun, making this unit ideal for all kinds of plants and flowers at all stages of their development.
A large grow light like this also needs a strong cooling system, and this one is kept cool by fans that are powerful yet quiet.
The aluminum panel and glass are also holed, increasing heat dissipation and allowing the unit to keep to a temperature of around 50-60°F at all times, ensuring there are no problems and helping prolong the life of the unit.
However, on the downside, this unit does emit quite a lot of heat, so you’ll need to be careful you don’t end up scorching your plants. Also, this is another unit that lacks the ability to change the spectrum, making it less versatile than grow lights that include this feature.
This is a high-quality piece of equipment. Of course, for many people, something this large will be excessive, but if you need a serious grow light for serious indoor growing, this one could be worth a look.
It will give your plants all the light they need to grow well and thrive, it will help them stave off disease and it will also ensure you obtain a high yield from your plants. If this sounds like the kind of thing you are looking for, this unit comes highly recommended.
- Big size – plenty of power for all your growing needs
- Full spectrum – puts out the full range of wavelengths, mimicking the sun
- Dual-chip 10w LEDs – highest PAR and lumen per LED available
- Powerful cooling system – keeps the light running at 50-60°F
- Suitable for all types of plant – beneficial for all stages of development
- Can put out a lot of heat – be careful not to burn your plants
- No spectrum switch – can’t adapt to growth stage, making it less versatile
An Ideal Solution for Indoor Gardening
There are many reasons why people choose to grow plants indoors, but whatever the reason, LED grow lights are now the best way to go. If you need to grow plants indoors, checking out the top picks on our list of best LED grow lights should help you choose the right one for you.