Relying only on sunlight when trying to grow anything can be a risky proposition. You leave yourself and your investment at the mercy of Mother Nature and its fickle whims. It is possible that the best prepared, best-fed plants will simply fail because it suddenly got cloudy for a couple of weeks. If you live in areas that don’t get much sun, you’re probably familiar with this ordeal. That’s where artificial lighting comes in handy – there are many types of it, but in our experience, LED lights are the best choice out there. Why? Well, that’s why we wrote this article – to show off their benefits for use in your garden and pick the best LED grow lights out there for you.
Why Buying an LED Grow Light?
While you might need an artificial light, you might be wondering which one to get. There are various types on the market, from fluorescent ones to HID and HPS variants and so on. There’s a staggering amount of choice, so why pick an LED grow light out of all things? Well, here’s what LEDs offer over all the other different type of lights and why we think they are the best ones to get.
For starters, they use up far less power than most other types of lights, making them extremely energy efficient. However, this also impacts their longevity, making them last for thousands upon thousands of hours more than HID or HPS lights for example. They rarely ever stop working outright but usually decrease in brightness over time. If you need to use lights 24/7, LEDs are the right choice.
In addition to that, they can employ specific light spectrums that match the best absorption ranges for various plants, meaning they are even more efficient than HPS lights of equal brightness would be. They are also more versatile when it comes to placement, since they can be used as ceiling lights, floor lights, wall lights, whatever you may need, and they can even come in non-square-shaped units for placement in awkward spots.
Another reason they are far better than other types of lighting is the fact that they emit far less heat, meaning that you do not need to use them only in ventilated areas and you needn’t put in any extra effort into cooling your plants.
The initial cost of LED grow lights is higher though, but over time, it pays off immensely. They are still a new technology, so that will drop over time and they will become even better than HPS lights.
Not all LED lights are up to snuff, however, and some perform markedly better than others in some, or all areas. There are also plenty of trashy, poorly made products out there that won’t last for a long time. So, how to tell the bad from the good? Fear not, we are here to help. In this article, we will present you with some of the best LED grow lights available for purchase, compare and contrast them, then offer our opinions as well as the views of different users. That should be more than enough to help you decide. So, let’s get down to it and see what those five top products are like.
Meet the Best LED Grow Lights
The Good: Affordable and incredibly adjustable light that is extremely bright.
The Bad: Might be too bright for some plants, thus hurting them.
The Bottom Line: This is a great LED light overall, though it can be a bit too much for some plants.
The Good: It’s a great, strong and long lasting light for a low price.
The Bad: The coverage area is smaller than is indicated.
The Bottom Line: While it is still a great product, it’s not as great as it first seems due to the low coverage area.
The Good: This is an amazingly cheap light that is still rather effective.
The Bad: It doesn’t stand up to the ravages of time and breaks down fast.
The Bottom Line: It’s a great cheap alternative to other lights, but it won’t last.
The Good: Incredibly strong light at an affordable price.
The Bad: The light intensity drops off fast over the first few months.
The Bottom Line: It is a long-lasting light that is intense, but it fades quickly.
The Good: Compact light that can be used anywhere but is still strong.
The Bad: It can’t work for periods of time longer than eight hours.
The Bottom Line: This decent unit has the benefit of being usable almost anywhere but can’t be used for too long.
This quick overview is not comprehensive – for a more detailed look at these products, keep reading.
All of the Factors Considered
While LED lights might seem simple on the surface, there’s more to them than meets the eye and plenty to consider before buying them. There are plenty of different specs that will be listed on the box, but not all of them are equally important – it might be hard to distinguish between the essentials and the fluff. So, here’s a helpful list of the most important aspects of an LED light that you should take into consideration when buying one.
What you need to consider here, first and foremost, are the wattage and voltage of the unit you’re getting. This affects how much power the light uses which can influence how bright it can shine. If you pick a light with extremely low voltage, it can turn out to be almost useless.
However, light with high voltage or wattage can be energy inefficient and use up far more energy than it needs to, wasting your money and inflating your electricity bill. This is especially true if you happen to be using a lot of LED units at the same time, 24/7.
Somewhere around 32 watts of power per one square foot is a good rule of thumb when it comes to plants that require a lot of light. Somewhere between 10 and 18 watts per square foot is good for plants that don’t require that much light. You should probably look up how much light your plants need before buying your LED grow lights.
This one is simple – the area a light like this can cover effectively, usually expressed in square feet, or simply an area of X feet by Y feet. Some LED lights will also specify a couple of different effective coverage areas based on how high up from the plants they are.
Usually, this is not adjustable at all and depending on how large your planting area is, you will have to get multiple LED units to cover it all effectively. So, consider this before buying and measure the area you intend to light up with the LEDs you’re getting.
Brightness and Spectrum
The intensity of light like this is measured in lumens. A lumen is a unit that tells you how much visible light is emitted from the LED. However, while that is important, it doesn’t always reflect how useful particular light is at giving the plants what they need. You should also consider which light spectrums the LED covers and if it is adjustable since different plants react better to some types of light. In that sense, while one LED light might have more lumen than another, it might, in fact, give less useful light to the plants. Take this into careful consideration when buying.
Heat and Noise
This, more than anything, is a matter of finding the right balance for you. You don’t want your lights to overheat the space in which your plants reside because cooling it separately can cost a lot and be a real hassle. However, you also don’t want your lights to be incredibly loud and cumbersome due to their massive cooling fans. So, picking a light that produces negligible heat while still having a fan that is quiet enough for what you need is paramount.
You also need to consider the space in which your LED lights will be used – if it’s a well-ventilated area for example, you can afford them producing more heat. At the same time, if it’s a shed in the back yard, you can afford to have them be a little more noisy than usual.
Consider what you need and pick accordingly.
When you purchase LED lights for your plants, you want them to last for a long time – preferably for a couple of years or even half a decade. Most will last through nearly their entire indicated lifespan, which is usually somewhere in the tens of thousands of hours.
That is not always the case however, and cheaper products might break down faster than expected. Whether due to faulty construction or just cheap materials, they won’t last for their entire lifespan and they might give out entirely before it is up, or individual LEDs may fail sooner.
You should, preferably, always pick a light with a longer lifespan, but also check some user reviews. See if people have been using it for years on end, and what their experiences are. Then, make your pick.
Now that you know what to look for, here’s how the products we picked fare in those areas.
In-depth Reviews of 5 LED Grow Lights
Powerful and Energy Efficient
This light boasts a power of 300 watts and utilizes high-quality epileds chips, ensuring top efficiency. It’s comparable to 250-watt HPS lights while using up only 135 watts of energy, and boasting a voltage of 85-265.
Bright Light with Optimal Spectrum
This searing light can be adjusted to work in multiple light spectrums that are optimal for plant growth and boasts 7000 lumens at max. It is suitable for plants in any stage of development, from mere seedlings up to fully grown specimens.
This unit can fully cover areas of up to 5 feet by 5 feet, which is a massive amount for this price and even professionals will find good use out of this product.
Great Heat Solution
With two great cooling fans in addition to a sunflower radiator system, this unit has excellent heat dissipation, requiring no additional cooling. In addition to that, it doesn’t produce a lot of noise, clocking in at only 55 dB. The cooling system also helps increase the lifespan of the unit, even at an 18/6 regime of operation.
Durable and Long-lasting
The casing of this light is made of solid metal, ensuring that it won’t crack or break easily. The lifespan of the lights is somewhere around 50 thousand hours – that’s almost six years of 24/7 operation, and more than a decade at a 12/12 regime.
Who Should Buy This Product
This is a light suitable for almost anybody because you can change up the light spectrum. Because of that you can use this light on almost any type of plant and get optimal efficiency out of it, especially considering how bright it is and how little power it uses.
What to Watch Out For
The problem is that the light might be TOO bright at times, and that’s something that cannot be adjusted properly. Because of that, it might hurt some plants instead of helping them, or hurt the user. It’s difficult to judge just how harmful it can be, but if you have sensitive plants, you might want to reconsider.
The sheer brightness of this light paired with its adjustability make it a good fit for almost anybody. When you also consider how efficient and affordable it is, it makes it an easy recommendation. However, what you need to consider before getting it is that it might be too bright for some plants. It’s still a great product, but not in some situations.
Strong 600W Light
With a power of 600 watts behind it and a balanced output and coverage, this light is a real powerhouse while not expending a lot of energy. It consumes only 276 watts which is nothing compared to traditional lighting. The voltage range is 100 to 240 volts.
Optimal Full Spectrum
This light uses the optimal spectrums of light for plant growth, allowing you to get the most out of it. It gives the plants everything they might need at all stages of development while outputting light of up to 20 thousand lumen
Great Heat Dissipation
With huge, 4.7-inch fans and an upgraded aluminum heat sink, this light produces almost no heat at all, meaning you won’t have to air out your room regularly. The fans are almost soundless as well.
Lasts for Ages
This light can last for an estimated 100 thousand hours, which is practically 11 years of constant operation. You will never have to get another light ever again.
The max coverage of this light at the height of 24 inches is an astounding four by 4 feet, meaning you can cover a huge area with only a few of these. It’s a bargain.
Who Should Buy This Product
For people who want a high-performance LED grow light, this is your product. It has incredible specs for a decent price and is just superbly efficient and long-lasting, meaning that you will get a ton of great use out of it. It’s great bang for your buck, honestly.
What to Watch Out For
The main problem with this light is the fact that the coverage area, indicated as 4 by 4 feet, is smaller than that. It might even be as low as 2 by 2 feet if you want to go for the most effectiveness. You should keep that in mind when buying it as it is good, but you might need more than one.
It’s a great powerful light for a decent price, but the only large problem with it is the fact that it cannot cover the area it claims it can cover. When you have that in mind, it might not be the value proposition that it seems at first. However, it’s still an extremely good product and easy to recommend, just be sure to disregard the coverage on the box.
Great Power Efficiency
This 300 W light is incredibly power efficient, and it consumes only 132 watts of energy while being a great replacement for HPS grow light of up to 150W.
This light offers a full range of the plants favorite purple light allowing it to be fully absorbed by them for maximum efficiency. It fits all plants in all stages of development, good for both vegetables and flowers.
With one of these lights a growing area of 2 by 2 feet can be easily covered fully, while four of these are ideal for a 4×4 area. Keep it up to 12 to 30 inches from the plants, according to the growing stage.
Uses a silent-forced air intake and exhaust fans and huge pin-cushion heat sinks to run much cooler and quieter than HID lights, making sure the heat never harms any of your plants. It also improves the lifespan of the unit.
Who Should Buy This Product
For people who want a cheap option for their LED grow lights – this is what you’re looking for. This light is far more affordable than most of the others on offer, and it can still output a great amount of light and has some neat features to boot, especially the cooling system.
What to Watch Out For
There’s a reason this one is so cheap and the lifetime of the unit isn’t listed on any product page – it’s shoddily made. It will fail at some point, and sooner rather than later. Most people have reported either most of the LED lights failing, one or both fans breaking down and so on.
This is a great, practical option if you want a rather cheap LED grow light for yourself. It outputs a high amount of light and has decent coverage for the price. However, it’s cheap because it breaks down easily and it won’t last long – probably not even a full year, think a few months. Despite that, it can be effective while it works, so you might still want to get it.
This light consumes only 185 watts while providing a light output equal to that of an HPS light at 600 watts. This is due to the newest technology of dual-chip LEDs, each 10 watts and far more efficient than 3 or 5-watt
Full Spectrum Lights
The full spectrum lights cover the 380-780nm, being incredibly beneficial to vegetables and flowers alike, and plants at all stages of growth, giving them everything that natural sunlight does.
At its best, this light can fully cover a 5.1′ x 4.7′ growing area while placed at the height of 24 inches.
The lifetime of this unit measures up at a full 100.000 hours, meaning that it will last you for years. The sturdy design of the case ensures that as well.
Designed to Stay Cool
With a great design, featuring holes on the aluminum panels as well as the glass make this light a full 50 to 60 degrees lower than other lights. In addition to that, a strong and quiet fan system keeps this light from overheating.
Who Should Buy This Product
The best part about this light is simply how powerful it is, so if you need plenty of brightness and intensity, this is your pick. It also has a great coverage area to boot so that you will get plenty of use out of it, and it will be effective without you needing to buy multiple units.
What to Watch Out For
The worst thing about this light is that it starts dropping off fast. The light intensity it has is great, but you will get that for maybe a few months at best. It will last for a long time, in the sense that it will work, but it won’t work as well as when it was new, so you should take that into consideration.
The thing that makes this LED light stand out is how intense it is and how energy efficient it is so it’s great for people who need that. The problem is that the lumen it outputs drop off incredibly fast after a few months of use so it won’t be that strong for long. It will remain an effective grow light, but not as effective as it once was.
The double chips, much better than the traditional 3 and 5-watt LEDs are made to keep the lumen output high and allow this unit to have a power output of 1000 watts while only consuming around 185 watts of power.
The light these LEDs output covers a full spectrum of red, yellow, blue, white, IR and even UV lighting, similar to sunlight and perfect for almost all types of plants. It’s also able to nurture plants at any stages of development.
The coverage this unit can have is about 3.4 x 3.8 feet, meaning that it’s able to suit most of the gardening setups you’ll develop.
The cooling system of this unit is incredibly efficient, as it utilizes the holes on the board and the glass, forming convection in combination with the fans. Also, every LED can work separately, so even if the unit overheats they don’t all fail at once.
Lasts for Years
This unit is made to be sturdy, and the LEDs themselves can last for upwards of 50 thousand hours, meaning that you get a decade of use on 12/12 operation.
Who Should Buy This Product
Due to how compact this unit is, it is best suited for people who have problems with space and placing their grow lights. With this one, you mostly won’t have to worry about that – it can be placed anywhere. The best part is that it doesn’t sacrifice sheer light intensity or coverage to achieve that.
What to Watch Out For
The most contentious issue this light has is the fact that it can’t be used for more than eight hours without 30-minute pauses. This is an issue since some setups or plants require the lights to be on for 12 or 18 hours at a time, and this light is simply not able to do that. Another issue is that the fans are way louder than they should be.
Here we have a decent unit that outputs a lot of power and is decent for the price. The main problem it encounters is that it simply can’t provide the runtime necessary for some. Otherwise, it also encounters issues with noise levels. It’s still worth a look and maybe a buy, but you should carefully consider the downsides.
The Best Pick – Galaxyhydro LED Grow Light
There is a wide variety of LED grow lights out there, each of them with different specs that can fit different plants and different uses. The best LED light for an amateur grower will not be the same as the best one for a professional. However, out of the five we presented here, we are confident that Galaxyhydro LED Grow Light is the best. It just excels in most areas while having no major downsides to speak of. That’s not something the other products here can boast about, so it stands above them with ease.
So, that is our pick for the best LED grow light out of the ones we could find. That doesn’t mean it will be the best one for you though – look through all the info we presented as well as the other products, and you will be able to figure out what will fit you the best. We can only hope this article was of some help to you and if you think it might help others, please don’t hesitate to share it. We hope you have a good day, and that your plants grow well.