Welcome to our yearly roundup of the best LED grow lights for your plants. In our 12 years helping growers, LED's have come a long way. But one question still remains the same: "What's the best LED grow light for my plants?"
And the answer: it takes a few considerations. You have to consider the intensity your plants need, the wavelengths they need to thrive, and your budget. That's why we wrote this guide.
Over the past year, we tested countless LED's and rated on their build quality, stength, coverage area, and their ability to grow plants. We then chose the best across all price ranges, and bring you the top LED grow lights of 2022:
1. Editors Choice
$699.95 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (23 Reviews)
680W Sun Series LED Grow Light
If you need a versatile LED grow light with incredible output and coverage, this grow light is exactly what you’re looking for.
Giving off over 1700 PPFD, this light covers a minimum 16sqft coverage area. Its full spectrum of light contains all the vital wavelengths plants need to grow plants from seed to harvest. And at 680w's, this light out-performs most double ended 1000w grow lights and uses 320w's less power.
And its adjustable frame and on-board dimming switch give you truly tailored coverage. So if you're looking for a high-output light capable of commercial-strength coverage, this is the LED you need.
✓ Covers 4-5 Plants
✓ Outshines 600w and 1000w HPS and MH grow lights
✓ Perfect for At-Home and Commercial Use
✓ Coverage Area: 16-25 sqft
✓ Total Output: 1750μmol/s
2. Best Seller
$749 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (0 Reviews)
Grower's Choice ROI-E680S LED Grow Light
This LED sells out time and again because of its intense output, and huge, even coverage.
Its diode distribution promises a smooth, equal spread of light over the entire canopy, compared to COB LED's that often leave hotspots around your grow. And equipped with a dimmable switch, this light can be controlled from 40% to 100% strength for a light you can use from start to finish.
With a total output of 1770 PPFD and coverage area of up to 36sqft, this light gives you warehouse intensity at home. And with an improved structure from the E680 model, this light is stronger and more energy efficient than its predesesor.
✓ Covers Up to 5 Plants
✓ Even Spead of Light Across Canopy- No Hotspots
✓ Improved Diodes and Ballast from Previous E680 Models
✓ Coverage Area: 25-36 sqft
✓ Total Output: 1770μmol/s
3. Most Energy Efficient
$1299 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (25 Reviews)
650W Scorpion Diablo LED Grow Light
If you need a light that's as powerful as it is energy-efficient, this is the LED your grow room needs.
This LED grow Light has a max PAR output of 1900- more than 600w and 400w lights combined! But unlike other LED's that give you 1770 PPFD at 680w's, this light gives you 130 more PPFD and costs 30w's less.
Its Samsung LM301H diodes give plants a full spectrum light, with additional deep red diodes to promote great flowering strength. That's not mentioning the fact that this light is lightweight, has dimmable coverage, and can cover 25-36sqft canopies.
So if you're looking for an intense light with more bang for less energy, this is the grow light you need.
✓ Covers 6+ Plants
✓ 100+ PPFD Stronger Than 680w LED's
✓ Outshines 400w, 600w, and 1000w HPS/MH Grow Lights with Larger Coverage
✓ Total Output: 1900μmol/s
✓ Coverage Area: Up to 36sqft
4. Strongest Output
$999.95 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (15 Reviews)
900W Sun Series LED Grow Light
If you're growing tons of flowering plants or thick, light consuming trees, this is the grow light you need for the job.
This LED offers an intensity of 2450 PPFD with a coverage area of at least 36-40 sqft. That's the equivilent of 2x 1000w HID's but at 50% less power- and significantly less heat than them, too. Its 4000k light provides your plants with every wavelength they need to thrive to their full potential, from clone to harvest.
Compatible with the Advace Spectrum Smart Controller, this light can even be programmed to come on and turn off without an auxillery timer. So if you need a light that'll give you coverage for 6-8 plants, this is the light you need.
✓ Cover 6-8 Plants
✓ More Powerful Than 2x 1000w's Combined w/ 50% Less Heat
✓ Dimmable Output and Custom Frame Offer Tailored Coverage
✓ Total Output: 2450μmol/s
✓ Coverage Area: +36sqft.
5. Best Traditional LED
$1,699 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (2 Reviews)
Black Dog PhytoMAX-2 800 LED Grow Light
When you're looking for an LED grow light with a rich, targeted mixture of optimal wavelengths of light, this is the light you need.
This light offers KIND LED’s patented Phyto-Genesis Spectrum, which is able to provide your plants with a full, targeted spectrum of light. They’ll receive every traditional wavelength plants need: white, red, blue, orange, and even IR and UV for increased resin production. Unlike full spectrum lights that can leave plants wanting, this targeted spectrum has every single wavelengths plants need to thrive.
With a peak PAR of 971 PPFD and a max coverage area of at up to 56sqft, this LED is the perfect light for growers who want stronger, more flavorful plants.
✓ Grows 3-4 Plants
✓ Phyto-Genesis Spectrum w/ IR and UV Wavelengths for Increased Resin Production & Strengthing Stems
✓ Most Compact 800w LED Around
✓ Total Output: 971μmol/s
✓ Coverage Area: 20-56sqft.
What is an LED Grow Light?
LED grow lights are grow lights that give off light via "light emitting diodes" instead of traditional light bulbs. Compared to HID grow lights that run off bulbs that use chemical reactions to illuminate light, LED's give off light by sending an electric charge to diodes around the light's surface to shine light.
Now, let's see exactly what it takes for an LED to grow plants:
An LED diode is created when an LED chip is paired with a lens.
- Chips are made most of Monocrystalline and designed to convert electrical energy into light.
- Chips are made of two different semiconductor materials called electrons, which have a negative charge, and holes, which have a positive charge.
- Energy is created once voltage is applied to these light emitting diodes and an electric current causes these holes and electrons to collide - and that energy is released in the form of light!
Overall, the stronger the chips on a diode and the more diodes on a grow light, the brighter and more intense the light that is directed onto your plants will be.
- Note: The lenses on diodes direct this light to your plants, and they are also often tinted with color to filter which color light is able to pass through. This is what will determine an LED grow light’s wavelength and spectrum which determines how they affect the growth of your plants. For example, blue and red light diodes contribute to root and flower formation, while a full-spectrum LED light is made up of a full range of colors to simulate natural sunlight.
A number of diodes are then mounted to a board, and assembled into a final grow light.
- The amount of number of diodes on the surface of the light that shine together to give you the light your plants need to grow.
- Note: The number of diodes on an LED light depends on the type of chips being used and the total output you want to acheive. We'll go over that in a second, but for now it's improtant to remember that the number, strength, and color of diodes on an LED will determine its viability in your grow room.
Why Use LED Grow Lights?
LED lights are some of the best options out there when it comes to indoor gardening, compared to traditional light systems like HID and HPS lights. Here are a few of the advantages:
✓ Wide spectrums of light - Compared to HPS and HID lights, which are limited in their spectrums, LEDs offer more flexibility and a wide range of spectrum combinations. They’re also able to enhance specific wavelengths, like UV and IR, to target specific needs in your garden.
✓ Lower heat output - LED grow lights run much cooler than other types of grow lights, thanks to the fact that they don’t need to burn anything to create light. This not only leads to lower electricity costs, but also protects your grow room from excess heat.
✓ Increased efficiency - LED grow lights are much more efficient than HPS grow lights; they consume 60% less energy for the same amount of light. For example, the 680w lights we list offer more intense light than a 1000w traditional lighting system.
✓ Longer lifespan - For lights that will last you a long time, go with LEDs. They can last over 50,000 hours thanks to their non-checmical construction and lower operating temperatures.
The Best Types of LED Grow Lights
LED lights are versatile in many ways, one being the variety of styles in which they come. Of all the LED's you'll come across, they'll be categorized into one of three main types: traditional, spread style, and COB (chip on board).
Let’s look at their differences and benefits:
These types are known as "Traditional" lights because of their diode configuration.
These lights are traditional because this is how LED lights were originally made before full spectrums like 3000k and 4000k became the norm. Compared to all-white full spectrum diodes, these lights have diodes of various colors, and the combination creates what’s known as “blurple” light.
This is a mix of violet, blue, and purple. In some lights, they include UV and IR diodes for extra resin production and strength.
✓ Targeted wavelengths tend to be unwasted by plants, unlike full spectrum light where some wavelengths are reflected off plants.
X They tend to max out around 1000 PPFD, so they're not the strongest type of light.
On spread style LED lights, lots of small LED diodes are spread over a large board. These diodes come together to intense coverage.
There are several varieties of spread style LED lights, including:
- Quantum board, which are laid out on a large board/panel.
- Spider style, with diodes spread on armed panels.
This type of light gives your plants a smooth, even footprint across their canopy, promoting healthy growth in every area.
✓ They offer a full spectrum of light with every wavelength they need, just like T5's and CMH's.
X Diodes tend to be .3w-1w each, so if you need lots of coverage it'll take a large board. That means a much bigger grow light.
COB (Chip on Board) LED's
Rather than using a lot of tiny chips across a panel, Chip on board (also known as COB) LED grow lights are made of super-powered diodes.
The chips on COB diodes can be as strong as 100w's each. Each COB diode is super intense, which is why most COB LED lights have very few diodes, but crank out tons of power.
Each COB diode can have its own individual spectrum. So whether you want more of a traditional spectrum of spread style coverage, a COB will get the job done without large panels.
✓ Space saver with tons of intense and optimal wavelengths.
X Without regular attention, these can cause hot spots in lighting around your canopy.
LED Grow Light Spectrums
LED grow lights offer many different spectrums, but the most popular types of LED grow light spectrums are full spectrum and traditional spectrums.
Full spectrum grow lights offer a “full” spectrum of light, which is 3000k or 4000k. A full spectrum light will give your plants every wavelength of light they need, but it will typically just look like a white or off white spectrum.
✓ A full spectrum is beneficial because it most closely simulates the natural sunlight your plants would be getting if they were growing outdoors.
✓ Full spectrum LED grow lights contain all of the warm and cool wavelengths across the light spectrum, just as CMH and fluorescents.
- Note: These lights will also have accent diodes (usually a deep blue or deep red diode) outlining the light in order to promote stronger vegging or flowering power.
X Full spectrum lights have an abundence of wavelengths, so lots of what's given to your plants may be wasted.
Traditional (Targeted) Spectrum
Traditional LED grow lights more often are made of diodes with targeted blue, red, white, orange, pink, UV and even IR diodes throughout the light.
✓ These lights are a good option because they allow you to customize a target wavelength that’s ideal for your plants and won’t waste any light - whether they need light blue, orange, infrared, UV, or more.
✓ With targeted wavelengths, you can enhance the strength of a specific wavelength or wavelengths. For example, if you're looking for tons of resin production, you can intensify those diodes to enhance that property.
X Traditional LED's may leave your plants wanting more wavelengths outside of what they're given.
Choosing the Right LED Grow Lights
As you can see, there's plenty to consider when shopping for a new LED grow light. But the most important aspects to keep in mind when shopping are the PAR your plants need, the wavelengths they need to thrive, and the footprint of the lights you're looking at.
When you know the light intensity your plants need, what wavelengths they thrive on, and how much area you have to cover, you can pin-point the exact grow light you need. From the size to the type, the more you know about your plants, the easier you'll find the right light. So when you have the right light growing your plants, you'll get the yields you've been working toward.
And you'll do it using less energy while getting more intensity over HID's.
Why Choose GrowAce LED Grow Lights?
1. We have the best customer support and service in the industry. At GrowAce, we make sure your grow room's thriving season after season. While most stores leave you hanging after the sale, we're here to give you growing tips and advice all year- even when your warranty expires.
2. We have one of the biggest varieties of LED grow lights around. From traditional lights to spread, full spectrum to targeted wavelengths, we've got every LED you can think of. And with the top name brands in the LED world, we've got the light your plants need.
3. We offer an industry-leading 3 year warranty. That's right. Each Advance Spectrum LED grow light has a 3 year warranty against defects. Not only that, but each Advance Spectrum LED comes with our 120 Day Satisfaction Guarantee to prove the intensity and results of each light.
What do growers have to save about GrowAce Grow Tents?
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “This thing ROCKS” - Joe H.
I was a bit apprehensive about trying this light. I've previously used the Kind LED and the California light works solar flare. Really glad I gave it a shot! I'm now on my 3rd harvest and the results are unbelievable.My plants are fuller, aren't stretching for light and the fruits are insane. I grew 2 plants under this light and got 1 pound per plant.... insane! Love my Advance Spectrum, I'm switching all might lights in the next harvest.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “No more HID for me” - Tom N.
Was using an MH and HPS bulb before this. This panel blew my previous results out of the water. I would highly recommend this to anyone.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “These lights are incredible!” - @Polypliod
They produce very little heat and the ballast is only lukewarm to the touch. I have 4 of them on full power covering an area of 2.5m2 instead of the recommended 3m2 (1.5m2/per unit). Co2 @ 1500ppm with plants 18 inches away from units without any issues. I have 4 strains all loving life, and handling about 20% more light than is recommended. Plants bulk up quicker and are much frostier. Get involved, these are the future!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Some of the biggest flowers I’ve grown” - Scott T.
This light is amazing, I have a 4’x6’ room that is only 6’ tall so the scorpion is a natural fit for the limited height and the coverage is amazing. Solid flowers all the way through the plants. I was using 2 600w HPS for the same room and they can't hold a candle to this. Don’t pass on this light, it is absolutely incredible!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Incredible results!” - Ryan B.
This may cost a little more out front but this light will put you out in front! Excellent light my plants witch are auto flower growing love the 3 900s . What can you say with the results I'm seeing with them? My energy costs from the 1000 watt HPS and MH are half. Don't get me wrong there 1000w lights rock also but if you want a lower energy bill this is the way to go. And half the heat . I have a 8x8x8 indoor grow room and I can keep the doors shut with the 3 900s going. The others were warmer than them and I had to keep doors open and that's not what you want to do it. But short end of the story is great light little pricey . WORTH IT!!! Hope this helps anyone sceptical of purchasing any the led lights. And this order thank you goes to shipping for a great job packing up my lights. Thank-you
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What's the best LED for my grow room?
A: The best LED grow lights for your plants is the one that has the right strength, coverage area, and wavelengths to help your plants thrive.
As you've read, there are tons to consider before throwing money down on an LED. That's why it's important to start with narrowing down the type of LED you want to grow with:
- Spread style LED's come in a variety of sizes for any grow room, from warehouses to small grow tents. They're the least expensive, have the widest range of sizes, and have full spectrum coverage that offers plants every wavelength they can handle. These are perfect for warehouse growers and at-home growers alike.
- Traditional LED's are great at giving you targeted wavelengths of light, including extra UV and IR wavelengths. These are great for beginners and pro's alike, and best utilized at home for up to 5 plants.
- COB LED's are perfect at giving off lots of light without a large panel or bars. They can work well in commercial and warehouse settings, but can work in grow tents, too. These are best for advanced growers who know how to utilize lots of power.
Once you've determined what style of LED you want to work with, it's all about finding the right wattage (or "size") is best for your canopy.
Q: What size LED grow light do I need for my plants?
A: The correct size LED grow light you need for your plants is the one that gives you at least 600-900 PPFD of light- at least for flowering plants. Vegetables can use 300-600 PPFD of light, and clones and seedlings thrive around 150-300 PPFD.
So how do you know which lights to go with?
First, remember that LED's illuminate tons of diodes at once, and the more there are- or the stronger those diodes are- the stronger the output will be. So by adding stronger diodes and more of them to a panel, you can get more intensity with the same energy as you would firing a single bulb- whether it's double ended or standard.
Once you know that, you can understand how the watts-to-output model is trickier to understand than HID's. Still, there are some generalized ideas on how to size LED's:
- Below 200w- These give you up to 300 PPFD, which is enough for 1-3 trays of clones each.
- 200-350w- These offer an average PPFD of 648μmol, perfect for 1-2 flowering plants.
- 400-500w- These offer an average of 1080μmol, enough for 2-3 flowering plants.
- 600-900w- These start around1750μmol (strong enough to support 3-4 flowering plants), and go up to at least 2450μmol (enough for 5-6+ flowering plants).
Q: Are LED's really as good as HPS grow lights?
A: When it comes to PPFD and coverage, LED's can stand against some of the strongest HID's around. Moreover, they'll give you the same intensity and coverage- if not more- while using less energy and giving off much less heat.
And reason LED's are able to do so is simple: electricity.
HID bulbs rely on the heating and chemical reaction of metals and chemicals in order to give off light. Those bulbs have a limited PPFD output due to the amount and size of the chemicals inside. And those bulbs take a certain amount of energy to make that reaction happen. Moreover, it's the heating of those chemicals that gives us light, and a byproduct of that light is heat.
But in LED's energy is used to illuminate a certain number of diodes electronically, and those diodes take a very minimal amount of energy to run. As we've mentioned, it's all of those low wattage diodes shining together that give you the light you need to grow.
- Take a 400w HPS grow light that gives off a max PPFD of 534 from one bulb.
- Compare that to a 240w LED with over 700 diodes with a max PPFD of 648.
- The LED uses 160w's less than the HID yet gives off 166 PPFD less.
And the great this is that in a sense, there's no limit to how powerful an LED can be. With more diodes you can increase intensity, and only raise energy cost minimally. Compare that to HID's where you'll have to increase energy costs by 50-100% and still lose intensity.
Q: How high do I hang LED's over my plants?
A: Generally, you'll want to hang LED's anywhere from 12-36 inches above plants. The exact height will depend on the strength of your light and the stage of growth the plant is at:
- Clones and seedlings do best at 24-36" above the canopy to ensure they're not being overwhelmed.
- Vegging plants need lights lowered down to 15-30" above canopies.
- Flowering plants will need to be lowered down to 12-24" above canopies.
- The more intense the light, the further away it should be hung from the canopy.
- Lights with softer output should be hung closer to plants.
The best way to ensure your plants are getting enough light is to watch them grow.
- When plants stretch, it's a sign you need to lower your light. If lowering the light doesn't help growth, you'll need a stronger light.
- When plants bleach, curl up, or start to wither, it's time to raise your lights. If raising your lights doesn't help, it's a sign you need to dim or downgrade your light.
Q: Are LED grow lights safe?
A: Compared to HID's and even fluorescent T5 grow lights, LED's are the safest lights you can use to grow plants. Remember that HID's use extremely hot gas and metals to generate light, and the result is super high surface temperatures that then raise grow room temps.
- LED grow lights don't generate much- if any- heat while running, which means they stay significantly cooler to the touch.
- The minimal heat given off by LED's don't affect the tempertature of your grow room.
So not only are they safer against burns than HID's and T5's, but they're safer for your plants' environment, too.
We will note, though, that LED's aren't danger-proof. In fact, their PAR output can be so intense than you can bleach plants if they're hung too low. And even little bits of heat can have a negative affect on a grow if left uncheck. That's why it's important to regulate light height and enviromental conditions no matter what grow light you're working with. Check out our article on grow light height above plants here.
Q: What are the warranties on LED's?
A: LED grow lights from GrowAce come with a minimum 1 year warranty on all LED grow lights. Most Advance Spectrum LED grow lights, on the other hand, come with a minimum 3 year warranty. Moreover, Advance Spectrum LED's also offer a 120 Day Satisfaction Guarantee that'll prove how much your yields will improve.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2020. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness as of May 2022.