LED stands for light emitting diode. They are different from traditional light bulbs in that they are powered by an electrical current – this current passes through a microchip which illuminates the LED light.
Why Should You Use LED Lights?
There are a huge number of reasons to use LED lights.
Bear with me and I will take you through some of them:
They are environmentally friendly – substances such as mercury, that is harmful to the environment is not used in the production of LED lights
Efficient – They save up to 90% in energy compared to conventional lights
Long Life – they generally last between 35,000 and 50,000 hours
Light tailored to your plants needs – LEDs emit a full spectrum of light. The light wavelength is usually tailored to remove those wavelengths (such as green and yellow) which plants don’t use.
Quicker Growth – because of this your plants will grow quicker and be healthier
They are like Fonzie – and we all know what Fonzie was – he was cool. They do not give off much heat and this means you don’t need to install cooling systems in your grow area
The size of the area you are growing in will dictate how many watts you need.
The fact of the matter is though:
That this can vary depending upon other factors, such as what you are growing and the efficiency of the LED light you are using. Take the chart below as a rough guide.
Grow Space Wattage
2 sq ft (2×1) ~60
4 sq ft (2×2) ~120
6 sq ft (2×3) ~200
9 sq ft (3×3) ~300
12 sq ft (3×4) ~400
16 sq ft (4×4) ~500
20 sq ft (4×5) ~640
25 sq ft (5×5) ~800
30 sq ft (5×6) ~960
36 sq ft (6×6) ~1150
40 sq ft (6×7) ~1280
It is that simple.
Light spectrum essentially refers to the different colors in the light that is being given out. LED lights will have a broad spectrum of colors and different colors have different benefits
What is the magic formula?
Blue light stimulates the formation of chlorophyll. Plenty of blue light will help a plant grow with strong healthy stems and leaves.
Red light is more important in a plant’s early life. It contributes to the germination of the seed, root growth and the development of the bulb.
Plants need blue light during the vegetative phase and red light during the blooming phase.
Infrared light and UV have both also been shown to benefit growth.
Using Light Cycles
It stands to reason that if you can replicate the natural conditions plants flourish in when you are using an LED light then you will good results, right?
Boom! You are there:
That is all you need to do. Copy the light cycles Earth provides them with so:
Seedling Phase: 16 hours under light, 8 hours off
Vegetative Phase: 18 hours under light, 6 hours off
Flowering Phase: 12 hours under light, 12 hours off
Sticking to this should ensure the plant moves from phase to phase efficiently.
How Much Light Do You Need?
The bottom line is this:
You want around 25 watts for low light plants – ie lettuce and spinach and 50 watts for high light plants – ie peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes.
PAR is one of the biggest factors on the yield you might get from your grow light. It stands for Photosynthetic Active Radiation.
In simple terms:
It is the amount of light produced that is usable to plants, ie light wavelengths that can be used for photosynthesis (ie within the range of 400-700nm). Try and look for a light with high PAR readings.
You are likely going to have your grow light on for a long period of time so you might want to consider how much energy it uses.
LED lights use less energy than traditional lights but it is always worth checking the energy consumption of the light you intend to buy.
Soon you will have your plants growing like never before!
What to find out more about LED Grow Lights? Check the video below:
I hope you love the products that I recommend here! Just so you know, I work with Amazon and other affiliate partners and may be compensated from the links below (at no cost to you).
BEST FOR… Those wanting the best grow light on the market.
Size (W x L x H in inches) – 9 x 19 x 3
Weight – 13 lbs
12-Band LED Spectrum
LED Quantity – 100 x 3W
Bloom Power – 180W / Veg Power – 93W
Coverage at 18″ Height – Max: 4.5″ x 3.8″. Core: 3″ x 2″
Five Year Warranty
PRICE GUIDE: $$$
The Advanced Platinum Series P300 is the most expensive light on my list, but when you delve a little deeper you realise why – everything about this is absolutely top quality.
It uses three x 100W lights to give you 300W and has a 12 band LED spectrum.It has dual bloom and veg settings drawing 180W in bloom mode and 93W in veg mode.
It measures 9 inches by 19 inches by 3 inches and weighs 13lbs. It comes with a five year warranty.
Without further ado let’s dive in:
With a grow light like this it is difficult to know where to start as there is so much to like about it, but I guess we should go with the quality of the light itself – which is startlingly good.
Twelve different bands of light spectrum are combined – ranging from the depths of UV to the higher level IR. The spectrum is designed to match the rate of absorption by various types of chlorophyll as closely as possible.
The result? Your plants will absolutely love this light and should explode with growth.
It doesn’t stop there:
Top quality craftsmanship. Well built, solid, and fantastic Bridgelux and CREE LEDs that run clear, clean and reliably.
Dual light spectrums. Use the veg setting, bloom setting or both together depending upon what you are growing. Light conditions are finely tuned for both.
Highest PAR per watt of pretty much any LED light
Draws only 180W – incredibly energy efficient considering the strength of the light
The true test of how confident the company are of their product – a five year warranty!
The fans blow into the unit against a very close heat sink, the air bounces back into the fan so is quite noisy.
Being really picky here there is a slightly drop off at the edges of the light, but that is probably only noticeable as the light is of such a high quality.
Let’s rewind and…
This is a masterpiece of a LED grow light – right from unpacking it you can tell the build quality is top notch. Then you turn the light on and the quality of the light will just blow you away.
The design, light quality and size of the Bloomspect BS300 make this the perfect light for smaller veg or flowering areas.
This has sixty 5W EpiLED/BridgeLux LEDs to give the 300W. It draws around 132W of power and covers around a 3 foot by 3 foot area for the veg setting or 2 foot by 2 foot when flowering.
It measures 11.8 inches by 8.3 inches by 2.4 inches, weighs 5lbs and comes with a one year warranty.
So let’s get down to it:
It is small and compact – great for smaller areas – but best of all the light quality is a knockout. The light is cool and distributed uniformly.
To the naked eye the light looks white, but if you take a photo of it in use the camera picks up a pink hue that the naked eyes doesn’t.
The great thing about this is when you are looking at it you can actually see the color of your plants – unlike some LED grow lights where color cast on the lights makes them look permanently purple or brown.
Great PAR values which, thanks to the secondary optics, produce the equivalent output of 600W LED Panels and will result in more vigorous growth.
Exceptional build quality – materials look quality and it is solidly constructed without any corners being cut.
The built-in aluminium heatsink and cooling fans work really well at dissipating heat and maintaining a cool temperature.
It really out performs other 300W lights – for instance it has twice the PAR of the Mars Hydro 300W
You get all of this for around 60 bucks – it really is a steal for the quality and performance
It doesn’t have UV or IR spectrums – although of course you could put this right with a supplementary cheap light.
It also lacks the red spectrum which promotes flowering – but all in all you should still notice amazing growth with this light.
This is the best grow light you will get in this price range/power bracket. The design and build is top notch and the light quality is fantastic
To put it simply if you are looking for a light for a smaller area or a grow light to get started then for functionality, cost and performance this cannot be beaten.
Veg Coverage at 32″: 4.5ft x 4.5ft / Flowering Coverage at 24″: 3.5ft x 3.5ft
Three Year Warranty
PRICE GUIDE: $$$
VIPARSPECTRA are one of the main names when it comes to LED grow lights and the VIPARSPECTRA V1200 is perfect for large plants
It uses 1200W bulbs and draws 524W. It is full spectrum and measures 19.4 inches by 19.4 inches by 4.3 inches. It weighs 20 lbs and has veg and bloom modes.
In terms of coverage – at 32 inches it will cover 4.5 feet x 4.5 feet of vegetation and at 24 inches 3.5 feet by 3.5 feet of flowers. It has a six foot power cord and comes with a three year warranty.
Let’s get started:
These are wonderfully designed and work really well in making sure the light is not concentrated in the center of the growing area – it has fantastic coverage reaching up to 4.5 feet.
The even balance and spread of the light of course means that plant growth is equal and not stunted and this benefits bigger flowers tremendously
And there is more:
The full spectrum light is great – it is more white/yellow and not blue/red as some LED grow lights are. It gives out many more photons – which are the key elements in photosynthesis and really encourage plant growth.
This has four high speed fans that keep the unit very cool. Whilst the air around it gets hot, the unit can be touched at any time.
Very economical – it consumes only 524W and will be kind on your electricity bill.
It comes with rope hangers, making it easy to set up
With the nice full spectrum light, high par and lots of light coverage this will definitely increase growth and your plants will flourish.
It could do with some additional features to really compete with the top line LEDS – such as veg/bloom cycles and adjustable hangers.
Also it is pretty hefty. As I say it does come with rope hangers, but you might want to get your own to fully support it.
It runs cool and quiet, it has a sleek design, it gives great coverage and the bottom line is your plants will love it!
The fans are great for dissipating the heat, but they are quite loud. Not terribly so but you will notice them.
Ok let’s recap:
This light is great for growing plants, in fact better than great, it is amazing when it comes to flowering/blooming thanks to its use of red light. It is also really easy to setup and incredibly energy efficient.
If you are thinking about growing vegetables indoors with LED lights it might not be for you otherwise it is top quality.
Veg Coverage at 32″: 3ft x 3ft / Flowering Coverage at 22″: 2.5ft x 2.5ft
Three Year Warranty
PRICE GUIDE: $$
Like its compatriot the V1200, the VIPARSPECTRA V600 is a top notch LED grow light that has particularly good light penetration if you have leafy plants.
It uses 120 5W Bridgelux/Epiled LED Chips and draws 269W of power. It measures 15.3 inches by 12.8 inches by 3 inches, weighs 12.5lbs and comes with a three year warranty.
So let’s get this show on the road:
The design of the unit – which is well balanced and encourages a spread of light – and the use of Bridgelux/Epiled LED Chips means the penetration of the light is really good.
If you have medium sized plants with a lot of leaves it really hits the spot in terms of the light getting to the lower leaves as well as it gets to the leaves at the top of the plant.
This helps promote even and healthy plants and gives you wonderful growth.
What else makes this so special?
It has dual veg and bloom switches. The veg switch gives out more of a blue spectrum, the bloom setting has a red color and when you have them both switched on your get a purple light.
It really is a nicely built light – solid, sturdy, tidy and well designed. It really gives you a feeling of confident in the product.
The light is full spectrum and nice and warm without being overpowering, with a good PAR/Lumen Output and coverage.
You can daisy chain this – handy if you plan on growing more that just a few plants.
It is well ventilated and stays cool – consuming only 269W making it energy efficient and better for your energy bill!
But a couple of warnings:
This has two fans but they don’t both run together unless you have both the Veg and Bloom switches on. This means that if you only have one switch on one side gets hotter than the other.
Also this comes with hangers, which is good, but the quality of the hangers it comes with is not great. VIPARSPECTRA actually produces some better rope hangers, but they aren’t included in the box.
All in all:
This ticks all the boxes – it is well built, it stays cool, it is energy efficient, it encourages fantastic growth and it works really well when it comes to light penetration. Another big thumbs up for VIPARSPECTRA.
BEST FOR… Those looking for a more powerful grow light on a budget.
Size (W x L x H in inches) – 12.2 x 8.2 x 2.4
Weight – 4.9 lbs
LED Quantity – 60 x 5W
Coverage Area: 2.5ft x 2.8ft
Two Year Warranty
PRICE GUIDE: $$
If you want a lot of light on a budget then you can’t go wrong with the Record Cent LED Grow Light which provides 600W of power for a fraction of the cost of some similar grow lights.
As mentioned the sixty 5 watt dual chips give you 600W of power that covers 2.5 feet by 2.8 feet
The light measures 12.2 inches by 8.2 inches by 2.4 inches and weighs 4.9 pounds. It comes with a two year warranty.
So here we go:
So as I said before where this really stands out is in the value for money stakes. You won’t get many 600W grow lights that perform as well as this one at the price you pay for it. In fact I’d be surprised if there are any.
It offers excellent value for money in more ways than one.
Sounds good? There is also:
Consumes only around 90W so it will definitely save you money on your electricity bill
The color rendition of the lights is really nice. It is natural and not too harsh. Sometimes an issue with full spectrum lights is they can be overly white or yellow – but it isn’t something you notice with this Record Cent LED Light.
The fit and finish of the light is pretty simple, but it is good and doesn’t feel cheap (which in reality, going by the price mark, it is)
I like the way the LED lights are welded onto aluminium rather than standard circuit boards – combined with the built-in fans, this should ensure the unit does not overheat.
A word of caution:
It does have some dead areas around the edge of the light where the drop off in light quality is noticeable – and this might affect your plants.
Whilst the LED is really well balanced and not overpowering this might not be suitable for particularly thick plants with a lot of foliage. The light does not penetrate quite as well as some other models.
Don’t feel like you have to spend hundreds of bucks to get a good 600W grow light – you don’t. This is well made, has good LED lights, is easy to set up, will help your plants grow and comes at a great price tag!
MY RATING: 88%
Great price for a stronger light
Nice color rendition
Simple but good fit and finish
Very energy efficient
Nice red spectrum
Leaves some dead areas at edge of the field of light
Light doesn’t penetrate really thick foliage as well
For such a low cost light the quality of the light is surprisingly good and covers a huge area considering the size of the unit and it spreads evenly.
Excellent aluminium heat sink for heat dissipation so no need to worry about damaging your flowers.
It is completely waterproof.
Incredibly simple to set up and install and comes with zip ties and a wall mounting set.
But please note:
The cord could do with being longer and as the power point is right near the bottom left hand corner of the light it does make it more difficult to make the light stand level.
This really is for small plants or as a supplementary light – anything more than that and it won’t be powerful enough.
So what does all this mean?
It means you get a well made, good quality light that will benefit house plants in a big way but at a low cost. The design, make and LED quality of this is comparable to much more expensive grow lights.
It has to be the King Plus. Fantastic LED lights, that penetrate well and give a nice uniform spread of light. It has a really good blue spectrum that is fantastic for vegetative growth.
Best LED Grow Lights For Indoor Plants
The Record Cent 600W Grow Light is powerful and has a really nice color rendition. The balance of light is really good and it has a great red spectrum for indoor plants.
Best LED Grow Lights For Flowering
I think it is the Roleadro Galaxyhydro. It has a red to blue spectrum of 7:1 and it is red light that promotes plant growth and flowering – put your plants under it and they will bloom like nothing else!
Best LED Grow Lights For The Money
The Bloomspect 300W is great value for money. At around 60 bucks you get a well designed grow light which is really well built and has great PAR values. It is hard to beat.
I hope you have found this rundown of some of the best LED grow lights of use.
If you do have any questions or are uncertain about anything please feel free to drop me an email and I will do my best to help you.
Steve is a one time gardening hater turned into gardening obsessive. This was all thanks to going to University where a two year stint spent transforming the previously horrific garden of the student house he lived in left him addicted to all things horticultural! Now with a new house in tow and due to some fortunate circumstances he is free to test out a whole host of gardening equipment. Find out more about Steve or drop him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.