Our roundup of 2023's best LED grow lights is here, growers! And this year LED's made huge strides in the grow world. But the more popular they become, the more we hear the question, "What's the best LED grow light for my plants?"
To answer that question, you have to consider the what your plants need to thrive, as well as your budget. And that's where this guide comes into play.
Over the past year, we tested countless LED's from across the grow world. Then we ranked them by their build quality, stength, coverage area, and their effectiveness on plantsto being you the top LED grow lights of 2023:
1. Editors Choice
$697.71 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (26 Reviews)
680W Sun Series LED Grow Light
For two years in a row, this light stands as our #1 because of its incredible output, coverage, and versatility.
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 thrive from growth through harvest. And at 680w's, this light out-performs most double ended 1000w grow lights and uses 320w's less power.
And with the ability to connect to other lights, you can link as many as you'd like without all the messy cords. So whether you're looking for a warehouse light or a light for your home grow, this is the LED you can count on.
✓ 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 Beginner LED
$139 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (10 Reviews)
Viparspectra 600W VA1200 LED Grow Light
If you're looking for a grow light that'll give you the best foundation for plants, this is the LED for you.
With a peak output of 534 PAR, this light is perfect for growing 1-2 flowering plants. And its adjustable spectrum allows you to isolate red, blue, and infrared wavelengths for vegging and flowering.
Over 100 dual lense diodes help focus that light down onto plants for the same growth as a 400w HPS grow light- only with 150 less watts. So when you're looking for a light to sharpen your green thumb, this is the grow light you need.
✓ Covers 1-2 Plants
✓ Equivilent to 400w HPS
✓ Adjustable spectrum (veg & bloom) and dimmable
✓ Coverage Area: 9-12 sqft
✓ Total Output: 534μmol/s
3. Best Commercial LED
$1299 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (25 Reviews)
Kind LED X2 LED Grow Light System
When your goal is big coverage and huge strength, this is the LED you want.
KIND's 3-channel targeted light spectrum is adjustable and gives your plants get richer, more effective light than all-white spectrums. And with a PPF 1650 μmol/s and 16sqft lightfootprint, you'll be able to cover up to 6 plants with no problem.
Its concentric square design gives your grow the most even coverage of any LED, while its dimmers can adjust intensity and spectrums for home growing, too. So if you need warehouse strength and at-home customization, this is the LED your grow room needs.
✓ Covers up to 6 plants
✓ Patented KIND targeted full spectrum more effective than full-coverage white spectrums
✓ 3 channel tunable spectrum
✓ Total Output: 1650μmol/s
✓ Coverage Area: Up to 36sqft
4. Strongest Output
$849 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3 Reviews)
Grower's Choice ROI-E720 LED Grow Light
If you're growing thick foliage and need a light with deep penetration, this is the LED your plants need.
This light gives your plants up to 2080 PPFD with a coverage area of at least 16-25 sqft. That's almost same power as 2x 1000w double ended HID's but at 200-300w's less - and significantly less heat output, too. Its 3000k spectrum is accented with 660nm deep red diodes to give your plants a complete set of wavelength to thrive off, from seed to harvest.
Compatible with the Grower's Choice Master Lighting 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 thick plants, this is the light you need.
✓ Cover 6-8 Plants
✓ Power of almost 2x 1000w's w/ Less Heat
✓ Dimmable light output
✓ Total Output: 2080μmol/s
✓ Coverage Area: 16-25sqft.
5. Best Lightweight LED
$139.95 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (0 Reviews)
Mars Hydro 150W TS-1000 LED Grow Light
If you're growing in a small area but your plants need big power, this is the LED they need.
With 354 BridgeLux diodes giving you 626 PPFD, you'll be able to help 2-3 plants to thrive. And with its dimmable spectrum, you'll be able to adjust light intensity as needed. Combined with huge spectrum allowance, this light gives your plants every bit of light they need for big harvests in compact spaces.
And the best part? They're under $150! So if you're looking for lots of light for not a lot of cash, this is the light for your plants.
✓ Grows 2-4 Plants
✓ Dimmable intensity and full spectrum lighting
✓ Super lightweight design
✓ Total Output: ~626μmol/s
✓ Coverage Area: 4-6sqft.
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 HPS 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's 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 grow lights come in in a variety of styles and builds, all with their own advantages. But of all the LED's you'll come across, they'll be categorized into one of two main types: spread style and COB (chip on board).
Let’s look at their differences and benefits:
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'm now on my 3rd harvest and the results are unbelievable. Believe the hype of the 7 specific wavelenghts, the broad spectrum covers it all. My plants are fuller, aren't stretching for light and the fruits are insane." Advance Spectrum 680W Sun Series Model E 6-Bar Full Spectrum LED Grow Light
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Love it” - Paul G.
I've had amazing results with this light. I have several different seedlings and all are better than I expected." Viparspectra 600W Dimmable Series VA1200 LED Grow Light
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “What a game changer” - Kevin W.
"I wish I had found this light when I first started to grow... you go from novice to pro over night.easy setup an use." Grower's Choice ROI-E720 Horticulture LED Grow Light
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Awesome grow light” - Robert A.
"I've been growing with three lights for 3 years they are the Bomb- simply outperform in every aspect... You will not be disappointed with how these lights perform on veg thru flower." Advance Spectrum 680W Sun Series Model E 6-Bar Full Spectrum LED Grow Light
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:
up to 300μmol
# of Plants
1-3 trays of clones
1-2 flowering plants
2-3 flowering plants
3-4+ 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 January 2023.