There’s no doubt in my mind that LED grow lights are the best lights for indoor growing. But with so many different styles and wattages of indoor garden lights how do you choose the best LED grow lights for plants in your home? Just because a grow light system is popular on Amazon, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. That’s why I’ve compiled my research to help you choose the best indoor plant grow lights for your unique growing situation.
Introduction to Plant Grow Lights & Indoor Growing Systems
Before we go any further, you should understand exactly what plant grow lights are and what an indoor growing system can do for you.
In the simplest of terms, indoor plant lights are artificial sources of light that stimulate plant growth. The best indoor growing lights simulate the sun and give the plant everything it needs for photosynthesis (how plants turn light into energy.)
Indoor plant grow lights provide a similar light spectrum to the sun by varying the colour, intensity (called lumens) and temperature of the light output. Countless studies show different types of plants respond better to different colours and intensities of light, so using indoor grow equipment allows the grower total control over the type of light the plants receive.
What you are trying to grow indoors will determine the best LED grow lights for you. The best vegetable grow lights are not necessarily the best lights to grow plants of other kinds. Of course, with more states legalising the growing of marijuana, the best lights to grow cannabis are a hot topic of conversation. (As such I’ve devoted an entire section below to the best weed growing lights.)
Why Choose LED Plant Lights?
There are many different kinds of grow light fixtures including High-Intensity Discharge or HID grow lights, Metal Halide, ceramic metal halide (CMH), High-Pressure Sodium (HPS), and good old everyday fluorescent lights. All of these types of lights to grow plants have their supporters and applications. However, as the best all-around indoor plant grow lights, my preference is for LED (Light Emitting Diodes) plant lights.
There are a number of reasons I prefer growing with LED lights:
- LEDs are energy efficient grow lights and last for up to 50,000 hours. If you’re using them on a 12-hour timer, this is equal to 11 years. Some people argue LEDs are expensive and, to be fair, they have a higher upfront cost than their HPS counterparts. Over time, however, they are cheap grow lights to run long-term thanks to their reduced power consumption.
- They can be plugged into a regular socket and usually don’t require a separate ballast so they are easier to use in small spaces.
- LED plant grow lights produce less heat than HPS grow lights and can be placed closer to your plants without risking damage. Producing less heat also means you expend less energy maintaining the correct temperature in your grow room.
- LEDs can be customized to emit specific wavelengths of light (for example you can have red LED grow lights but studies show adding green and blue LED grow lights will help plants perform better. With LEDs you can adjust the colour balance to suit the specific plant type.)
- LED full spectrum grow lights are the best grow lights for cannabis. (I’ll discuss why LEDs are the best lights for growing cannabis in full detail in their own section below.)
- LEDs don’t contain harmful mercury so they don’t need to be disposed of in a particular way. This, in addition to their energy efficiency, makes LED grow lights the best choice for the environment.
Considerations for Choosing LED Growing Lights
Before you go out and buy grow lights there are some things you need to consider. The best grow lights for your neighbour may not work well for you.
Budget – The first thing to ask yourself is ‘What is my budget?’ While you can buy reasonably cheap led lights these days, it’s always recommended to buy the best you can afford. Don’t be tempted to buy the cheapest lights you can find. As with most things, you get what you pay for when it comes to cheap LED grow lights. That said, if you are on a tight budget, there are affordable grow lights that perform well. You can find our top 5 picks in their own section below.
Space – Plant LED lights come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Obviously, it’s important to measure the surface area you want to cover with your lighting system. Don’t forget to measure the height you have available as well.
Plant Varieties – What are you going to grow? The LEDs you chose for general vegetable grow lights will not necessarily be the same as the best pot growing lights.
Growing Style – How are you going to grow your crops? Are you looking for the best hydroponic grow lights? Do you want the best grow lights for seedlings or flowering plants? Are you looking for the best LED for cannabis grown in the sea of green (SOG) style? The answers to your questions will result in different grow light options.
What to look for when choosing LED lights for plants
Durability – Obviously you want your LED grow light panel to be well-built and of heavy duty construction. You want to be sure they are made of the best materials possible and the wiring is going to stand up over time. Faulty wiring can create excess heat which is not only bad for your plants but could become a fire hazard. This is another important reason to buy the best quality grow lights you can afford.
Cooling System – LED lights are cooler than their HID and HPS counterparts. However, they should still contain a high-quality cooling system. The heat sink within your system should dissipate the heat created by the lights and move it away from the lighting system and your plants.
Color Spectrum – Plants primarily use red and blue spectrum light to progress through their growing stages. While HID and HPS systems use a full spectrum of light to target plant growth, a good LED system will include both red and blue lights for a perfect blend to help your plant grow. There are some growers who say white LED grow light is the closest to natural sunlight and is therefore better. However, white LEDs include yellow and green light that isn’t usable by plants and is therefore wasted making your grow lights less efficient.
PAR – PAR stands for photosynthetically active radiation. In simple terms, this is the light emitted that is actually usable by plants. Although many manufacturers provide details on lumen output (light visible to humans), for grow lights, it’s more important to understand the PAR output. If your plant isn’t using it, it is wasted energy. Manufacturers PAR data can be misleading as the value often changes from the centre to the edge of the light. The plants under the middle of the light will receive the full PAR value while those at the edges may be getting less light. A high PAR is not necessarily better. In fact, the best led grow lights will have lower PAR values because the power isn’t concentrated in the centre but rather distributed evenly.
Wattage – When you see a wattage associated with a LED grow light, it is typically the equivalent wattage you would need in a HID or HPS light to get the same result. So a LED grow light listed as 400W can replace a 400 watt HID or HPS light but the actual wattage of the LED will be far less. This is way LED grow lights are much more energy-efficient. First-time buyers often assume the more wattage a grow light provides, the better. But bigger is not always better. The rule of thumb is you need 32 watts per square foot of growing space for flowering and light-loving plants like cannabis. Low-light plants like lettuces and herbs need only around 11-18 watts per square foot.
Programmable – If you are serious about growing, you’ll want to automate as much of the process as possible, not simply to lessen your workload, but more importantly, to lessen the possibility of human error. The best grow lights on the market offer a full range of programmability including setting light schedules, altering intensity, and customizing spectrums to best suit the individual plant.
Top 10 Best LED Grow Lights Comparison Guide
I’ve combed through dozens of options to bring you the top 10 LED grow lights Amazon sells. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart so you can see, at a glance, the sizes, wattages, and price ranges of the top rated led grow lights. Where possible and when my time allows, I’ll provide links to a more in-depth LED grow lights review for each product.
|Name||Photo||Wattage||Power Usage (aprox)||Dimensions (Inches)||Core Coverage Area|
|Kind LED Grow Lights X2 Commercial LED Grow Light||N/A||750W||39.4 x 39.4 x 4.3||4' X 4'|
|Kind LED K5 XL1000 Series||1000W||630W||29.4 x 23.6 x 6||5' x 5'|
|BESTVA Dimmable Pro4000 LED Grow Light||4000W||400W||24.5 x 23.8 x 5.4||6' X 6'|
|Phlizon Pro 2000W LED Grow Light||2000W||240W||30 x 24 x 12||4' x 4'|
|2022 VIPARSPECTRA Latest KS5000||5000W||500W||40x40x1.6||4' X 4'|
|2022 Newest SPIDER FARMER SF4000||4000W||450W||25.3 x 21.1 x 1.95||5' x 5'|
|MARS HYDRO FC3000||5000W||200W||3.2 x 20.5 x 22.8||3' X 3'|
|2022 Upgraded MARS HYDRO FC6500||6500W||300W||44.1 x 44.5 x 4.2||5' X 5'|
|HYPHOTONFLUX HPF4000||4000W||480W||34.25 x 30 x 4.06||4' x 4'|
|G8LED 600 Watt LED Bloom Only||600W||350W||20 x 14 x 3||5' x 4|
If you’re looking for a commercial-grade grow light, the Kind X2 Commercial LED grow light is hard to beat. It’s engineered for exceptional durability and offers an amazing lifespan of 75,000+ hours. Plus, the aluminum heatsink helps keep things cool, avoiding scorching and reducing your electric bill for cooling. You get a three-channel, fully customizable spectrum, ensuring you can adapt the light to any growth stage. And no Kind LED grow light review is complete without mentioning the company’s exceptional customer service, ensuring you can get support whenever the need arises.
- Customizable spectrum
- 75,000+ hour lifespan
- Commercial quality
- Aluminum heat sink
- Energy-efficient diodes
- Slim profile
- High cost, but can be worth the investment
If you’re genuinely looking for one of the best LED grow lights around, and the cost isn’t a factor, the Kind X2 delivers without question.
For a more affordable option from industry-leader Kind, look no further than the Kind LED K5 XL1000. With 12-band full spectrum light with UV and IR, you get everything you need to help your plants flourish. Even High Times believes in Kind LED grow lights, as they’ve won the STASH Gear of the Year regularly since 2014. One feature I particularly appreciate with the Kind LED XL1000 is the WiFi connectivity, letting you control the light even when you’re on the go. It’s also highly energy efficient, all while delivering 200 percent greater canopy penetration. Plus, you get a 50,000-hour lifespan and very little heat, making this option a wise investment. I just wish that Kind would provide official PAR data, making it easier to compare to other lights.
- 12-band full spectrum light
- WiFi connectivity
- Newly enhanced UV diodes for increased flower density and harvest
- Multi-light control dashboard
- Full menu of presets for various growth stages
- Short power cord
- Thicker than some alternatives
- No PAR data
If you’re looking for a quality light that’s easy to operate and with WiFi connectivity, the Kind LED XL1000 is an energy-efficient, highly capable option at a mid-range price point.
With Samsung diodes offering excellent energy efficiency and up to 36 square feet of coverage, the BESTVA Pro4000 LED grow light is a contender for one of the best LED plant grow lights around. You get full spectrum light that mimics sunlight. Plus, the diodes provide better penetration, making it easier to support plants with heavy canopies. With the Mean Well driver, you also get a high PAR output using far less energy with this BESTVA LED grow light. There’s also zero fan noise, making it ideal for indoor plants. Plus, no BESTVA LED review for this light is complete without mentioning that it’s dimmable, giving you easy ways to adjust your lighting conditions whenever the need arises.
- Full spectrum light
- High par
- Energy efficient
- No fan noise
- Slim design
- Up to 36 sq. ft. of coverage
- Shorter cord, so you might need an extension cord
- Dimming isn’t digital; it uses a knob instead
When it comes to moderately priced grow lights, I personally feel the BESTVA exceeds expectations, particularly since it runs quiet, making it ideal for indoor use.
From another giant in the grow light space, the Phlizon Pro 2000W is a high-performance light at an affordable price. The all-aluminum alloy design keeps this light cool and reduces the weight, making it easier to hang. Thanks to the dimmable full spectrum light, it can also support any growth stage. Plus, this is one of the top led grow lights for anyone who wants a quiet, water-resistant design that can withstand humidity.
- Full Spectrum
- Daisy Chain Ready
- Coverage tops out at 16 sq. ft.
While the coverage area is smaller, the affordability, quiet operation, and water-resistance features of the Phlizon Pro2000W mean it remains one of the best LED lights for growing plants indoors.
With the VIPARSPECTRA KS5000, you get a six-bar design that’s lightweight and discrete, all while getting full spectrum light. It’s also a fanless design, making it a quiet option for indoor plants, and it can also be daisy chained. Something else that I feel is essential for this VIPARSPECTRA LED review is mentioning that it’s dimmable, giving you more control. With the Samsung LM301H diodes it’s highly energy efficient, too. You also get even PAR distribution, ensuring every plant beneath can thrive, and a detachable power supply to let you remove heat from your grow area.
- Runs quiet
- Even PAR distribution
- Detachable power supply
- A bit expensive
- Coverage tops out at 16 sq. ft.
If you have room in your budget for a higher-priced light and are comfortable with the coverage amount, the VIPARSPECTRA KS5000 offers quiet operation, dimming options, and stellar energy efficiency.
If you’re looking for a commercial-grade fixture without a four-figure price tag, the Spider Farmer LED SF4000 might be the perfect addition to your shopping cart. With the Samsung LM301B diodes and MeanWell driver, you get great energy efficiency. With the diode gathering at the edges, the PPFD is also more uniform. Plus, the dimmable full spectrum light supports every growth stage. Another important point for my Spider Farmer SF 4000 review is that there’s no fan noise, which is ideal for indoor plants. My only gripe is that the cable design for hanging the light is a bit lengthy, so it isn’t great for low ceilings without some adjustments.
- Full spectrum with more uniform PPFD
- Slim, lightweight design
- Coverage up to 25 sq. ft.
- Can be daisy-chained
- With the included cable design, it’s not ideal for low ceilings
If you want to find the best bang for your buck, the Spider Farmer SF 4000 offers you commercial quality at a mid-tier price, all with more coverage than you’ll find with lights that run several hundred dollars more.
The Mars Hydro FC3000 LED grow light is a solid choice for smaller indoor grow areas, offering a slim form factor. Along with being fanless for quiet operation, it’s a dimmable design that supports daisy chaining. You get Samsung LM301B and Osram 660nm diodes, so the energy efficiency is top-notch. Plus, it has enhanced red light, making it excellent for every stage, including veg and bloom. You also get a five-year warranty, which is two years longer than many competitors. However, I’d have to say the mere 9 square feet of coverage is a bit of a drawback, particularly considering the price point.
- Quiet, slim design
- Longer warranty than many competitors
- Only covers up to 9 sq. ft.
- A bit expensive for the coverage offered
For a high-quality light with an exceptional warranty, the FC3000 Mars Hydro LED grow light is a great option, even if it’s a bit expensive based on the amount of coverage.
If you need something more powerful or with more coverage than the FC3000, the Mars Hydro FC6500 LED grow light might be right up your alley. It’s a larger design featuring the same Samsung LM301B and Osram 660nm diodes with full spectrum, red-enhanced light. There are also dimming features and daisy chain capabilities. Plus, with the Mars Hydro FC6500, the price is in line with many competitors offering similar coverage. This is one of my recommended led grow lights for another reason, too; you get the five-year warranty, which is hard to beat. However, this light doesn’t run as bright as some alternatives, so keep that in mind.
- Energy-efficient full spectrum light
- Dimmable and Daisy Chain-ready
- Up to 25 sq. ft. of coverage
- Longer warranty than competitors
- Not as bright as some competitors
Mars certainly makes some of the best grow led lights around, offering efficiency and functionality in a slim design that offers solid coverage.
With Samsung LM301B and Osram deep red diodes, Hyphotonflux HPF4000 is ready for all of your growing needs. The dimmable design offers full spectrum light but brings along more red diodes to help plants flourish during flowering and veg states. Plus, the detachable power supply lets you move that heat creator out of your grow area, which is a bonus. Daisy chaining is also an option here, as well as dimming, which is important because this light can get bright. One important thing to point out in this Hyphotonflux HPF4000 review is that it is more expensive than some alternatives with similar coverage and has a potentially shorter lifespan. While this Hyphotonflux LED grow light could be a great deal if it’s on sale, I’d head in another direction if the price isn’t right.
- IP66 Waterproof
- Detachable power supply
- Daisy chain-ready
- A bit expensive for the coverage
- Only offers up to 16 sq. ft. of coverage
- Lifespan estimated at just 11 years
Generally speaking, I feel the Hyphotonflux HPF4000 is a great choice for indoor plants, offering quiet operation and solid energy efficiency. It’s just a hair more expensive than I’d like to see based on its output.
If you’re in the market for a bloom-only option, this G8 LED grow light review is for you. With the G8LED 600w Bloom-Only LED grow light, you get improved PPFD PAR values with exceptional energy efficiency. Plus, while it’s full spectrum, there are far more red and far-red lights, ensuring optimal blooming. This design won the High Times “Best New LED Grow Light” category, offering exceptional performance for plants in the flowering stage. Plus, it provides up to 20 sq. ft. of coverage, which is solid. Just know that this light isn’t cheap, and it may feel too spendy for a one-stage grow light.
- Optimizes blooming
- Up to 20 sq. ft. of coverage
- Is designed for bloom-only
- A bit expensive
If you specifically want to support blooming and the price tag doesn’t bother you, this G8 led grow light easily qualifies as one of the best led growing lights for the bloom phase, which could make it worth the investment.
If you looking for tips on setting up a grow tent, you can check out my post, Grow Tent Setup Guide for Beginners.
This rounds up my buying guide to the best LED grow lights. If I missed your favourite brand, don’t hesitate to email me and tell me about it.
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