Updated May 2020
Since writing this article a few months ago things have changed, not as far as our recommendations are concerned but availability. As there is little point in us recommending a light if it is currently unavailable and may not be for some time we have updated our suggestions to include only those that are still on sale and we hope will continue to be available. Some have very few left in stock so if you need a light BUY NOW or you may have to accept second best or a very long wait.
But first, why are so many lights in short supply? The reason is that irrespective of the manufacturer of the light unit the LED’s are almost exclusively produced in China. As the first country to have been affected by the COVID-19 virus many of the factories producing LED’s have been closed or subject to restricted levels of output so there is currently a worldwide shortage. Some companies have established alternative suppliers or already had contracts in other countries that also produce LED’s but these have been unable to make up the shortfall.
So if you’re looking for the Best LED Grow Lights and full spectrum grow lights to fit your budget, let us help you choose one. We know it’s a big investment and researching all the different options can take forever, so we’ve done the research for you. We’ve painstakingly compared and hand-picked the best LED grow lights still currently available on the market to find the right ones for a whole range of different use cases. Whatever your growing needs or budget, you can find a light here to suit.
Best LED Grow Lights for Every Budget
Our Comparison Tables
Below this comparison table, you’ll find full reviews for award winners, bestsellers, budget options, quantum boards, supplemental lights, lights for small spaces or large grow rooms, as well as the lights most favored by our readers—in other words, the lights other growers like you are already using to get results. The row labeled “Covers/HPS Equiv/Draws” shows the manufacturer’s info about coverage area, HPS lamp watt-equivalent, and actual power draw. This information is approximate, since every growing situation is different.
We selected our list of best LED grow lights for every budget based on the results they showed and features they offer. We have also taken into account factors like customer reviews, industry awards and a close look at which lights have proven most popular with our readers. And we’ve tried to keep our choices within the budget of the average home grower.
We’ve covered a lot of lights below. The first three are our Editor’s Choices but that does not mean you should ignore the rest of the lights we have covered.
Now, here’s our top pick for 2019…
Best Overall LED Grow Light
- PlatinumLED lights have the highest PAR/lumen output per watt of any LED grow light! 2x-3x the intensity of any other lights!
- Complete 12-band full Spectrum including UV/IR + 2x 10W Cree xm-l2 LEDs per cluster - 38% higher output than older XML models!
- Selectable veg/flower/boost switches plus all new proprietary one piece integrated 90/120 Degree high distribution focusing lens system
- 600W HPS replacement with 3x3 bloom or 4x4 veg coverage at 18" Height - perfect for compact applications or using multiple units for coverage
- Complete 5 Year Warranty plus our exclusive 90 day satisfaction or return guarantee***
In previous years, our overall Editor’s Choice went to PlatinumLED’s Platinum Series P300, 300W. We still love it, it’s a great light. But for 2019 we’re going with the Advanced Platinum Series P4-XML2 instead. For two reasons:
- Once again, the makers have outdone themselves with their new lighting system. As with last year’s improvement you can’t go wrong with it but if you’re after the best on the market you really need to choose this.
- A majority of our readers do smaller grows (600W HID equivalent or below). This is why we went for this compact light. You can go for larger models from this series or just expand your grow with by adding more units.
OK then. What’s so great about the Advanced Platinum Series P4-XML2?
This unit can comfortably cover a maximum grow space of 4′ x 4′, with core coverage of 3′ x 3′—or 12 to 16 plants. This is more than enough for home growers in most U.S. states.
PAR is the highest for any other LED grow light.
- The sheer quality of the LEDs themselves: American-made 10W CREE XML single chip diodes combined with 3W Bridgelux blue and white diodes. The wavelengths produced are 100% usable by chlorophyll. This is a serious improvement on the product we reviewed as the best last year.
- US made, high intensity LED drivers to maximise output
- A fully programmable system for all stages of growth from seedling to flower.
- An advanced lens focusing system over the 4 arrays that includes a 120 degree convex lens over the CREE diodes to optimize light performance
- A 12 wavelength spectrum from low frequency UV to high IR, to give your cannabis every kind of light it needs for big yields and dense, potent, flavorful buds.
- Three light settings for vegetative, flowering and a boost mode that can be used while you work on the grow.
- Rated at 93 watts for vegetative stage and 180 watts for flowering, this is a very efficient grow lamp. It replaces a 600W HPS system
- Has a 3’X3′ coverage for core bloom stage and a 4’X4′ coverage for veg stage, penetrating up to 18 inches
- 5-Year Warranty, 90-day Money Back Guarantee, hassle-free returns
- US Sales and Support staff
- Well worth the money, but look elsewhere if you’re on a tight budget.
- If you want a fully programmable/customizable spectrum, this isn’t for you. (Keep reading for our recommendations.)
If the price makes you wince, this is because it is the top end of Advanced Platinum’s range. For just over half the price you can always purchase the Advanced Platinum Series P300 300w 12-band LED Grow Light that we rated as the best light last year.
The Advanced Platinum system replaces a 400W HPS system – smaller than the P4-XML2 but is widely held as one of the best on the market today for a smaller grow.
Most Efficient LED Grow Light
- Upgraded Inventronics Power Supply; 500w power draw (dimmable to 40w), 1000W SE HID replacement.
- Flower Footprint: 4.5' x 4.5', Veg Footprint: 6' x 6'
- Each HLG-550 V2 uses 4 of our custom designed full-spectrum high efficiency white light quantum boards with Samsung LM301H and Deep Red LED 660nm for enhanced flowering.
- PPF: 1293 umol/s; PAR efficacy: 2.65 umol/j ; Reliable passive-cooled design & ETL certified
- We believe in the quality of our products and include a 3-Year Warranty from date of purchase!
This is the replacement for the HLG 550 3000K. As with its predecessor, testament to the quality, affordability and popularity of HLG’s quantum boards is just how often they sell out. So if the light you want’s not in stock, sorry, you may just have to wait a bit—but by all accounts, it’ll be worth it!
Why? Because the HLG 550 V2 is the most efficient LED grow light to cover a 4.5’ x 4.5’ area! Or 6’ x 6’ for veg. With full-spectrum white light.
Thanks to clever design and the highest quality components, the efficiency is 2.5 umols of PAR per joule. So it’s replacing a 1000W HID light while drawing just 480W at the wall.
- Surprisingly affordable—even pre-assembled quantum board lights like this one compare very favorably for price with similar power lights from the top manufacturers.
- Ultra-efficient: 2.5 umols of PAR per joule.
- Excellent penetration and very even coverage, due to…
- 1152 top bin Samsung LM301B LEDs packed into an area 26” x 20”
- Passive cooling, so no noisy fans.
- High efficiency Mean Well dimmable driver (dimmable up to 50%).
- Lower than average recommended mounting heights—just 22 – 32”. Meaning plenty of those photons hitting your plants at every grow stage.
- See your plants in their natural colors, thanks to full-spectrum white light.
- 3-year manufacturer warranty.
- Designed and manufactured in the USA.
- Super-helpful customer service.
- Not programmable.
- No built-in timers.
The HLG 550 V2 is available in 3000K or 4000K models. The spectrum of the latter has more blue in it, plus a bit more green and yellow. While the 4000K has a little more red and orange than the 3000K option.
Best LED Grow Light Under $200
- 【Lens Technology】BESTVA Full Spectrum LED 1200w Grow Light combines optical lens technology. 90 degrees lighting angle is much better than the current market plant lights with 140 degree lighting angle, reduce light waste and maximum penetration to increase light by 30% with higher PAR values than any other brand. It crucial for canopy penetration to nourish lower leaves and flowers.
- 【VEG & BLOOM Switch】Two Seperately Switches: VEG for seeding growth. BLOOM for flower and fruit, adjust luminous intensity and spectrum by the switch of VEG or BLOOM. VEG/BLOOM features a more red/blue heavy output to deliver maximum performance from seeding through final flower.
- 【Newest Cooling System】We use 5mm thickness integral aluminum structure radiator instead of multiple dispersed radiators for better heat dissipation. The integral aluminum structure radiator is in the middle part of the led light, part of you can see it and the entire aluminum radiator that can't be seen is above the light board inside the luminaire. It cooling better and stronger.
- 【Core Coverage Area】Compare to 1000 watt HPS while consuming only 257.6 watts! Twice effective coverage area than any Reflector Series lights, perfect for a 3.8' x 4.3' growing area at 24" height. Avoid Daisy Chain, Dangerous First & Energy overlap causes waste.
- 【3 years warranty】Plus 90 days satisfaction or return guarantee. We are so confident in our products' quality control, if any question pls contact us directly, we will offer you professional guidance to help your plants grow better.
Like MarsHydro and Viparspectra, BESTVA aims to create “well designed, well made fixtures at reasonable prices and no unnecessary extras” (BESTVA stands for best value). Unlike some budget brands, they’ve also been in the business a similar length of time to Mars and Vipar—around 8 years now—so we’re happy to recommend one of their lights here. This one’s a big seller on Amazon too. Probably because you get a lot of power for not a lot of cash—PAR at the center of the footprint is 1221 umols/m²s (hung at 24″).
- Footprint of 4′ x 5.2′ when hung at 24″.
- Replaces an 800W HPS/MH light but draws only 280W.
- 60 dual-chip 10W Bridgelux and Epiled diodes.
- Separate Bloom and Veg switches—saves money during the veg stage.
- Passive cooling, so no extra moving parts that could fail.
- Lifespan of 100,000 hours.
- 3-year warranty and good reputation for customer service.
- We prefer dimmers to Bloom/Veg switches that just turn diodes on/off rather than dim their intensity. Genuine dimmers can help with a smooth, gradual transition into flowering (higher intensity light) that minimizes shock to your plants.
- Even if you shouldn’t expect average PAR across the footprint to be as good as the specs at the center, this is still an excellent light for the money. The customer reviews on Amazon and BESTVA’s own site are generally pretty glowing too.
Best Programmable LED Grow Light (Only ONE Currently in Stock!!!)
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You can program in multiple variables using this grow light and it has had an array of outstanding customer reviews.
This is a true 2000 Watt HID replacement, consuming just 380 watts for great energy savings. It comfortably and evenly covers a footprint of 4.5′ x 8′ , to give you outstanding bud quality and yield per watt, plus significant electricity savings.
- Programmable and fully customizable 12-band spectrum (including UVB & IR) and built-in timer.
- You can exactly mimic the seasons and the sun’s passage through the sky during the day. It will slowly “rise” and intensify and slowly “set”.
- Set different light recipes and schedules to optimize for different strains of cannabis.
- Lights can be set up and controlled with a small remote control.
- Control up to 100 lights at once with one remote!
- The XL1000’s LEDs are truly dimmable—i.e. not just turning off diodes like many “dimmable” lights.
- Runs very cool—without noisy internal fans or the need for extra cooling in your grow room.
- UL Listed, meaning that it meets some very high safety standards.
- Lifetime customer support and a 90-day money back guarantee
As you’d imagine, these aren’t cheap… But you get what you pay for. With great customer reviews on Amazon this is a really well received grow light. You can also choose up to 3000W equivalent lamp or as low as a 1000W equivalent lamp.
Best LED Grow Light for Veg Stage
- Expert Guide Top LED. Wiki Top Ten #1 LED Grow Light. "Best LED Grow Light" by HIGH TIMES Magazine.
- Upgraded for 2020! Highest Yields and Highest PPFD PAR Values - 1104μMol/m2/s at 18", 648μMol/m2/s, at 24".
- G8LED lights produce higher quality plants with superb taste and aroma. G8LED light are designed with the highest PAR values with increased LED density to produce the highest yields in the industry. G8LED Quality and Performance is unparalleled.
- G8LED lights come with our stellar Customer Service and Warranty serviced directly by us. We make customers service our #1 priority.
- The 600W Veg and Flower light is for your entire grow from seedling to harvest. Veg 4feet x 5feet (122cm x 152cm) | Flowering 4feet x 5feet (122cm x 152cm). Add two 90W Red Flower Boosters during flowering for max yield. Penetration up to 60 inches past the plant canopy. 110V-240V. For non-FBA orders from our listing, the power cord is available for US, Americas, UK, EU, AU depending on your shipping address. FBA orders will come with USA power cords. Hanging wires included.
Best LED Grow Light for a Small Grow Room (2.5′ x 2.5′)(Only 1 Left In Stock!!!)
- VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control Series VT300 LED Grow Light is scientifically engineered to keep the balance of the PAR output and coverage.
- Built-in timer design allows you to turn the light on and off automatically. Dimmable feature can be used to program VEG and BLOOM brightness individually.
- Compares to traditional 250W HPS/MH while consuming only 135W! Perfect for a 2.5 x2.5’ vegetative coverage at 24” while 2x2’ flowering coverage at 18”.
- With revolutionary aluminum heat sinks (0.8” height) and quiet high speed cooling fans, runs 70% cooler than HID lights.
- 3 years local warranty plus 30 days satisfaction or return guarantee.
The VIPARSPECTRA VT300 has been pleasing a lot of customers because it hits the right balance of features for the money—it’s currently Amazon’s top selling Viparspectra light (Jan 2019). Indeed, what Viparspectra lights do so well is simply being affordable without too much compromise.
You can always expect good build quality, reliability and excellent performance. And unlike many other affordable brands, Viparspectra has a long track record. So you know the price isn’t too good to be true.
- Cover a grow space of 2.5′ x 2.5′ hung at 24″ and 2′ x 2′ at 18″ without hotspots
- Full-spectrum, 12 wavelengths (including IR).
- PAR when hung at 18″ is 565 at the center of the footprint.
- Can replace a 250W HID light while drawing only 134W.
- LEDs are good quality, high-intensity 5W Bridgelux and Epileds chips.
- Dimmable Veg and Bloom channels.
- Remote control to operate light and program timer.
- Built-in timer.
- Lifespan of 100,000 hours.
- 3-year warranty and a 30-day satisfaction or return guarantee.
- No UV in the spectrum.
This is a highly affordable light (under or around $100), with quality and performance not compromised by the inclusion of unnecessary features.
Best Commercial LED Grow Light
- BEST LED GROW LIGHTS MADE IN USA BY INDUSTRY LEADERS: Black Dog LED produces the most powerful LED grow lights with the largest research-proven footprints (without hot spots).
- COMPACT AND POWERFUL: High light intensity and energetic spectrum, crucial for canopy penetration to nourish lower leaves and flowers.
- INCREDIBLE GROW RESULTS: PhytoMAX-2 400 LED grow lights better penetrate dense canopies to produce a superior yield with higher quality flowers and more trichomes.
- LARGE FOOTPRINT: Up to 4.25' X 4.25' (18 square feet!) of flowering footprint coverage! Proven by independent spectroradiometer testing.
- OFTEN IMITATED, BUT NEVER DUPLICATED : Unique Phyto-Genesis Spectrum - The most efficient spectrum for growing plants, based on over 6 years of research and testing, outperforming HPS, MH, CMH (LEC), induction, fluorescent, and "white", so-called "full-spectrum" LEDs in equal wattage tests.
If you want to join the pros, Black Dog LED is one of the biggest names around. As well as a spectrum developed specifically for cannabis over more than 6 years, Black Dog lights are efficient and super-powerful. We’ve chosen the PhytoMAX-2 400 model because it’s a good size for most home grows. It gives even coverage over an impressive 4.25′ x 4.25′ footprint for flowering and up to 5.25′ x 5.25′ for veg.
- Proprietary Phyto-Genesis spectrum maximizes yield, terpenes and potency—includes UV and IR.
- Top bin diodes from CREE, OSRAM, etc.
- 641 μMol/s total photon flux.
- Replaces a 600W MH/HPS light—but drawing only 420W.
- Large heatsink and quiet, reliable internal fans for outstanding heat management and maximum LED efficiency and lifespan.
- White-looking light allows you to see your plants’ natural colors.
- 6-12 month average return on investment—excellent value per watt.
- Lifespan up to 70,000 hours (including the fans).
- ETL, CE, FCC, RoHS safety certified.
- Industry leading 5-year warranty.
- Big up-front investment, but should pay for itself in bigger yields and low running costs.
If you want to take your home growing to the next level, Black Dog lights are reliable and widely trusted. They’re proven to grow big yields of top quality bud. You won’t find many growers with anything but praise for these beasts.
Get bigger, better buds faster!
For germination, the light should be about 30 inches above the plants. For vegetation phase, lower the light to about 24 inches above the plant top. For flowering phase, lower the light even further to about 18 inches. As you lower the light, the light’s footprint grows smaller. This means that plants on the outside of the footprint might not be getting optimal light energy and you may need to add an additional light.
Yes and in fact with current models of LED Grow lights, you can expect a better result than with older High Intensity Discharge (HID) or fluorescent lights. This assumes that the LED Grow Light you buy gives sufficient energy for your plants.
Generally, 30-50 watts per square foot is sufficient. Some growers recommend a higher level of 65 watts per square foot. Higher than 65 watts risks burning your plants. Remember that with LED Grow Lights, the wattage specification should be the manufacturer’s estimate of the actual watt output of the LED lights, not the power draw at the wall and not the wattage the manufacturer states for an equivalent HID light.
Yes, you can get eye damage from LED Grow Lights and any bright light, particularly in a closed space like a grow tent with reflective interior. Just like looking at the sun. You should always wear good-quality protective sunglasses with good coverage of your field of vision.
Probably the easiest way to build your own LED Grow Light is to buy a kit from HLG. The kit will contain the parts necessary to build a Quantum Board LED light. Kits come in various power output sizes. While the kit has clear instructions and the customer service of HLG is very good, bear in mind that building your own light may cost nearly as much as buying a light already assembled.
Size of grow light refers both to the physical size and the energy output of the light. Once you have calculated the energy output of the light for your number of plants, you need to choose a light with the right physical size and configuration. If you grow plants in a row, then you will want a long thin light. If you grow your plants in a square, you will want a light with a square shape. To calculate the energy output you need, use this calculator:
Last update on 2020-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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