Facebook Pixel Code
 

Best LED Grow Lights

Updated September 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 27 Models Considered
  • 68 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 141 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best LED grow lights

    Last Updated September 2018

    If you don't have an outdoor space, or you live in a cool climate with a short growing season, indoor gardening is the way to go. Plants need the right kind of lighting to thrive, however, so you'll probably need to invest in some LED grow lights.

    The question is, which ones? You can find hundreds of LED grow lights for sale, and not all are created equal.

    Read our full guide to LED lights, and discover how to find the perfect lights to fit your requirements. Or buy with confidence by selecting from our top recommendations.

    One benefit of using LED grow lights is that they reach full brightness as soon as you switch them up. Some other types of bulbs take time to fully illuminate.

    Why do you need LED grow lights?

    LED stands for "light emitting diode" — LED lights aren't light bulbs in the traditional sense, but are rather semiconductors that convert electricity into light.

    LED grow lights are specially designed LED lights that emit the right colors of light at a powerful enough intensity to help plants grow indoors. If you don’t have a grow light, most plants won’t get sufficient light to grow indoors, unless placed on a windowsill.

    Some LED grow lights produce full spectrum light, which is best at replicating real sunlight, whereas others produce a more limited spectrum.

    EXPERT TIP

    LED lights tick all the eco-friendly boxes — they use about 90% less energy than incandescent lights, and they’re fully recyclable once they reach the end of their life.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Considerations for selecting LED grow lights

    Ease of use

    Indoor gardening can be challenging enough, without having to contend with complicated equipment.

    For your own sake, choose an LED grow light that's easy to position and use. It should be very straightforward to switch between different wavelengths and levels of light intensity.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    The lifetime of an LED light is roughly 40 times that of an incandescent bulb. LED lights have a life expectancy between 35,000 and 50,000 hours.

    Wattage

    Wattage is one of the primary concerns when selecting an LED grow light. Plants need plenty of light to grow, but too much light can cause issues with nutrient deficiency, and result in browning or yellowing leaves.

    The amount of watts you need from a grow light depends on the type of plant you're growing, and the area you need the light to cover.

    High-light flowering plants (like tomatoes) may need up to 32 watts of light per square foot of growing area, whereas low-light plants (like salad leaves or herbs) need more like 10 to 20 watts per square foot of growing area.

    If you're not sure about the size of your growing area, get out that measuring tape!

    Consider the PAR efficiency of your LED grow lights. Anything over 1.5 umol/j is reasonably efficient (thus saving you money and providing your plants with more light). Anything over 2.0 umol/j is very efficient.

    Type of plant

    Think about the types of plant you'll grow, and their light requirements. Some require full sun, whereas others may need lower light conditions.

    If you're likely to raise a range of plants at different times, with different light requirements, dimmable LED grow lights are a good option, so you can turn down the juice when you're growing plants that need less light.

    Blue spectrum light is important for strong plant growth, especially in non-flowering plants (or plants that aren't yet in their flowering phase). Red spectrum light can help to encourage flowering.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Some LED grow lights have separate "veg" and "bloom" settings to support plants in both the vegetative part and the flowering part of their growth cycle.

    Full spectrum lights

    Until relatively recently, LED grow lights had limited spectrums, usually offering red, blue, and white light.

    Nowadays, you can find full spectrum LED lights, which provide all the colors in the light spectrum.

    Since full spectrum lights are the most similar to natural sunlight, they can support plants throughout the full growth cycle, from seed right through to fruiting, flowering, or producing vegetables.

    EXPERT TIP

    If you choose a high-powered LED grow light complete with a fan, consider the amount of noise it will produce. Some can be quite loud, and may prove distracting.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Semiconductor chip

    The semiconductor chip is the core of your LED grow light, and is what converts electricity into light.

    Lights with a good quality semiconductor chip are likely to be long lasting.

    The chip itself has a wattage — we recommend purchasing LED grow lights with a semiconductor chip of at least three watts in order to provide an adequate amount of light.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    LED lights don't produce much heat, but high-power units still need some kind of cooling system, such as fans or a heat sink.

    How much should you spend on LED grow lights?

    LED grow lights aren't the cheapest out there, but they do last a long time, and if you're growing your own vegetables, it will save you money on grocery bills.

    Here's what you can expect to pay.

    • Budget LED grow lights start around $10 to $30. These tend to have low wattage, usually under 50 watts, and may not provide full spectrum light.

    • Mid-range LED grow lights cost roughly $50 to $75. You can find plenty of higher wattage models in this price range (up to 300 watts) with full spectrum light.

    • High-end LED grow lights start around $80 and go up to $500 and higher, though you can find some very good models around the $100 mark, which should suffice for the average home gardener.

    LED grow light are cheap to run compared to other kinds of lighting. So, even if there's a greater purchasing price for them, you'll still save money over time.

    Tips

    • Plants don't need light 24 hours a day; they need darkness, too. Different plants have different light requirements, but if in doubt, 16 hours on and 8 hours off produces a reasonable day/night cycle.

    • If you're switching from older HID or incandescent grow lights, you'll find your plants require significantly less water, since LED light run cool and don't dry out the soil so much. Be careful not to overwater your plants.

    • If your LED lights only point in one direction, you may benefit from a reflector to help disperse the light more evenly, particularly in larger growing areas.

    • Some budget LED grow lights might look like a bargain, but if they aren't very durable, they'll break quicker, and cost you more money in the long run.

    • You can purchase LED grow lights that come with built-in timers, which is handy if you might not be home at the right time everyday to switch your lights on or off.

    • Some high-end LED grow lights subtly change the spectrum of light produced throughout the day to replicate the way real daylight changes from sunrise to sunset.

    • Look for LED grow lights that come with fixtures or hanging hooks for easy positioning.

    You can find some very compact LED grow lights, which are perfect for smaller growing spaces.

    FAQ

    Q. How long will my LED grow lights last?

    A. Assuming a normal amount of usage, quality LED grow lights should last for at least ten years. Many manufacturers provide warranty coverage around this length of time, and some even offer a guarantee on parts, too.

    Q. Will LED grow lights increase my electricity bill?

    A. This depends — if you're used to running other kinds of grow lights, the LED version will actually reduce your electricity bill. If you're new to the world of grow lights then, yes, you will find a slight increase in power consumption. LED lights are, however, extremely energy efficient, so you'll probably find your electricity bill increases less than you might expect.

    Q. What are double chip LED grow lights?

    A. Double chip grow lights have two semiconductor chips per LED instead of one. This means they're twice as bright as a standard LED. If you only have a small growing space, double chip LED grow lights are probably overkill, but they're excellent for large growing spaces, as you get a more powerful unit without it being huge and unwieldy.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alvina
      Alvina
      Photographer
    • Amos
      Amos
      Director of Photography
    • Branson
      Branson
      Videographer
    • Ciera
      Ciera
      Production Assistant
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jeff
      Jeff
      Editor
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Lauren
      Lauren
      Writer
    • Steph
      Steph
      Web Producer

    BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
    and give us feedback about your visit today.

    Take Survey