Our annual roundup of the best double ended grow lights this year is here, growers! With 12 years of experience in the grow light game, we're always being asked, "Which is the best double ended grow light for my plants?" That's we sit down and hash out a plan to find the best light for their needs.
And in this guide, we'll do just that.
We've tested out a number of double ended grow lights to find the best one for your grow room. And based on customer reviews, features, light intensity, coverage, and budget, we assemble the top 5 double ended grow lights of 2021. So take a look at your options below to find the one that suits your grow room and your budget:
1. Editors Choice
$315.95 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (6 Review)
1000W Air Cool Hood DE Grow Light
If you're looking for the perfect blend of intensity, coverage, and efficiency this grow light has you covered.
With a max PAR output of 1776 PPFD, this grow light has the intensity to grow up to 6 flowering plants. On top of that, these lights also offer plants increased UV and IR wavelengths for stronger, more flavorful yields.
Its reflector has 6-inch duct ports on both sides for lowering heat output, offering a more stable growing environment. And with its domed shape and multiple focal points, this light gives your plants some of the most intense coverage possible.
✔ Vent ports connect to exhaust fans to lower heat output
✔ Collapsible glass lens makes maintenance simple
✔ Peak PAR: 1776 (HPS), 1222 (MH)
✔ Peak Lumen Output: 159,200 (HPS), 85,200 (MH)
✔ Covers up to 6 Plants
2. Best for High Ceilings
$289.96 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3 Review)
1000W Double Ended Complete Grow Light Kit
If you're growing in a warehouse or grow room with high ceilings, this is the double ended grow light you need.
This light gives you a PAR of 1181 PPFD at 24" over plants. Moreover, its Super Lumen feature can give you up to 15% more PAR when you need more strength. So even at over 2-3ft above the canopy, you'll get plenty of light to cover 5-6 plants from seed to harvest.
With its onboard ballast, this grow light's also one of the most compact double ended lights around. So if you need intense coverage but your ceilings make that out of reach, this light's got you covered.
✔ High intensity at 2-3ft above plants
✔ Compact design saves spaces and makes installation a breeze
✔ Peak PAR: 1776 (HPS)
✔ Peak Lumen Output: 159,200 (HPS)
✔ Covers 5-6 Plants
3. Best for Medium Grow Tents
$249.95 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (0 Review)
600W Wing Double-Ended Grow Light Kit
This is the double ended grow light you need when you want maximum light intensity in a small growing area.
With a max output of 1060 PPFD, 3-4 flowering plants can thrive under this grow light. Its bat-wing reflector has multiple focal points to help focus all that light into an intense 4x4ft footprint. That perfect for any small to medium-size grow.
And when necessary, its 600w digital ballast can reduce intensity as low as 50% or raise it to 110%. So if you're looking to fill your closet or covert grow tent with as much light as safely possible, this grow light has what you need.
✔ Perfect for closet and covert grow tents
✔ Lowest cost grow light in its class
✔ Peak PAR: 1060 (HPS), 771 (MH)
✔ Peak Lumen Output: 96,600 (HPS), 85,000 (HPS)
✔ Covers 3-4 Plants
4. Strongest DE Grow Light
$529.95 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (1 Review)
Gorilla 1000W Commercial DE Grow Light
Now if a tough build is what you're after, this is the grow light you need.
This all-in-one system has a commanding PAR output of 2100 PPFD. The reflector is designed to offer an even light footprint without hotspots. It's also encased in a commercial-grade shell next to its ballast, complete with heat sinks and thermals to keep the system as cool as possible.
Its low frequency operation helps bulbs last 50% longer than others. And with a failure rate of below 0.1%, this double ended light will outlast most on the market.
✔ Perfect for closet and covert grow tents
✔ Lowest cost grow light in its class
✔ Peak PAR: 2100 (HPS)
✔ Peak Lumen Output: +160,000 (HPS)
✔ Covers 6-8 Plants
5. Widest Coverage
$259.95 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 Review)
600W XXL Hood Double Ended Grow Light Kit
When wide coverage is what you need, this is the double ended grow light you want.
This 2.5x2ft XXL hood reflector is twice as large as other hoods and gives you a 6x6ft light footprint. Its domed construction and multiple focal points help beam light down onto plants with tons of intensity. In fact, this light offers a soft, even intensity of 1060 PPFD, enough to grow 4-5 large flowering plants.
So if you've got lots of plants to cover but don't want to overwhelm them with 1000w lights, this is the grow light your plants need.
✔ XXL Hood reflector is 2x larger than most reflectors
✔ 1-2ft larger light footprint compared to most reflectors
✔ Peak PAR: 1060 (HPS), 771 (MH)
✔ Peak Lumen Output: 96,600 (HPS), 85,000 (HPS)
✔ Covers 4-5 Plants
What are Double Ended Grow Lights?
Double ended grow lights are grow lights that use bulbs that have two connection (or "strike") points instead of one. Functionally, double ended grow lights work like all grow bulbs:
- A ballast sends energy to the connection points on a reflector.
- That energy is sent to an arc tube from a use an arc tube filled with gases, salts, and metal filament.
- As the filament heats up, the bulb gives off light.
The arc tube in a double ended grow light, however, is held by two wire bases at either end of the bulb. Single ended grow lights, by comparison, are held by a long metal frame inside of the bulb. And by simply eliminating that metal frame and using dual connection points, double ended grow bulbs operate at higher capacity. Here's how:
With 2x ignition points, these bulbs receive more energy so its filament gets hotter than other bulbs. This means it will generate brighter light output than their single ended counterparts.
- Note: Dual ignition points also helps grow lights run more efficiently, helping them lasting longer, too.
- With no frame blocking light inside the bulb, there's nothing blocking light coming from the arc tube. That unhindered light means more intensity for your plants.
So while they may operate in similar ways, the structure of double ended grow lights makes all the difference in performance.
Why Grow With Double Ended Grow Lights?
Double ended grow lights have become the go-to light for growers who want maximum intensity out of a grow light. From at-home growers to commercial gardens, double ended grow lights out perform most other HID's in 3 ways:
✓ More light intensity: With two connection points instead of one, the filament in the arc tube gets much hotter. This results in around 10% (or 6,600 lumens) brighter light output than single ended output.
✓ Stronger UV and IR wavelengths: Double-ended grow bulbs give off more Ultraviolet (UV) light than single-ended bulbs — this helps with photosynthesis, aroma, and root production, among other things. DE lights also give off a good amount of Infrared (IR) light, which is great for overall plant growth and strength.
✓ Longer Lasting Bulbs: Due to their structural design, double ended bulbs operate more efficiently than single ended bulbs. This helps them last longer than their single ended counterparts. That means you’ll be able to use your double-ended HPS and MH grow light bulbs for a longer time before you need to swap them out.
Note: Like in any bulb, when the filament inside gets too cold it won't give off as much light. However, because the glass on double ended bulbs are thin, they're susceptible to fluctuations in light intensity.
Which is the Best Double Ended Grow Lights?
Like any grow light, double ended systems come in a variety of styles. Each offer your plants their own unique advantages, so let's break them down and see which style is best for your grow room:
Air Cooled Systems
✓ Intense Footprints- The construction of cool hoods maximizes intensity to give your plants the highest PPFD footprints of any grow light, especially double ended.
✓ Lower Heat Output- These systems have ports on either side of the reflector to let air pass through. This airflow helps lower the heat coming from the bulb so that your plants get maximum light without a ton of overwhelming heat.
X Too much airflow can cool bulbs and hinder light output.
X Without airflow, heat can get trapped in hood and cause overheating.
✓ Best Value- If you're looking for double ended grow lights that won't break the bank, standard grow lights are your best option. Starting at only $249.95, these lights can give you the same intensity as high wattage single end grow lights and use less energy.
X Less intense coverage because of its spread
X Assembly required on most reflectors
✓ Professional Lights at Home- These systems are made for intensity professional growers need. With PAR ratings of 2100 PPFD and higher, you can fill an entire grow tent with intense light, and dial them back with their adjustable ballasts.
✓ Most Compact System- With their ballasts attached directly to a reflector, these grow lights are the most compact grow lights around. This makes them the easiest system to assemble, too.
X Too intense for smaller grow rooms and grow tents
X Limited reflector shapes
The Importance of Spectrum and Intensity
Finding the right double ended grow light for your plants starts with understanding the strength and spectrum of light your plants thrive in. So let's take a look at each of these concepts and figure out how they help determine what's best for your plants:
There are three terms you need to know when it comes to your a double ended grow light's output: wavelengths, spectrum, and color temperature.
- Wavelengths- Each color in the light spectrum is referred to as a wavelength. Grow bulbs, for example, are various combinations of blue and red wavelengths.
- Spectrum- This is the combination of wavelengths that create useable light. The two primary spectrums of light we work with are Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS).
Color Temperature- This refers to the color the grow bulb gives off, and indicates what wavelengths are present in the bulb.
- 6000k lights give off an almost white glow, which means it contains mostly blue and white wavelengths of light. These are found in MH bulbs and helps plants break down light to metabolize it for proper growth.
- 2100K lights give off an orange glow, which means they contain mostly red wavelengths of light. These temperatures are found in HPS bulbs and encourage foliage and flower growth.
For more on grow light spectrums and wavelengths, click here and read our blog on the subject.
The intensity of a light will tell you how well it will perform when growing your plants. That intensity is measured in two ways:
PAR- This is the rating of a light's ability to penetrate leaves to perform photosynthesis. Without the right PAR, plants can receive too much light and fry; or too little light and grow weak, leggy plants.
- The ideal PAR range is between 500-800 PPFD.
- Keep in mind that when you raise lights 24-36" above plants, PAR lowers to give you optimal PAR in a larger light footprint.
Lumens- This is the rating of a light's brightness. The brighter a light is, the more lumens it will have, and thus a higher PAR output- and vice versa. Just like PAR, without the right lumens, your plants won't yield a quality harvest.
- The ideal lumen output for flowering plants is 5,000-10,000 lumens per square foot.
- Note: The minimum lumen output for 600w DE's is 96,600 lumens, so even lower wattage lights still crank out more that enough lumens for your plants.
Need more info on PAR and intensity? Click here and check out our blog on the right PAR for your grow plants
Growing with Double Ended Grow Lights
Any seasoned grower knows that the more light your plants receive, the bigger the harvest will be. That the reason commercial growers have been using double-ended (DE) grow lights for years. Now, though, this type of grow light can be used by home growers, too.
Maybe you’re ready to make the jump to DE grow lights after using standard single-ended bulbs for a while. Or maybe you’re a first-timer who know they want maximum strength ouf of a single grow light. Wherever you are on your journey, upgrading to double ended grow lights will increase your yield size, quantity, and quality.
And with the information you've gained in this article, you'll be able to find the best DE grow light for your plants. So choose one of our recommendations up top, or use this guide to find the light your plants need for peak harvests.
Why do Growers Choose Growace for their Double Ended Grow Lights?
- We have the best support and customer service in the industry. At GrowAce, we've got you back from day one. From helping you find the best grow light for your plants, to giving you the tips you need for huge harvests, we're here to help. And unlike other companies that dump you after your warranty's up, we offer lifetime assistance to help you grow harvest after harvest.
- We have everything your plants need to thrive. Not only do we have the best value-driven grow light selection, our nutrient and accessory selection is second to none. We've got every nutrient your plants need, and every piece of equipment you want to keep your grow room at optimal growing conditions.
- Our industry-leading 3 year warranty. You read that right. Each Yield Lab double ended grow light comes with 3-years of coverage on ballasts, and 1-year coverage on bulbs and a reflector. They also come with a 120 Day Satisfaction Guarantee to ensure you love the harvests you get from Yield Lab grow lights.
What do our Growers Have to Say?
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “I'm seeing big harvests already” - Sloan K.
I purchased 3 total and I'm working on a 4th! Everything is working and producing a great product. Shipping and packaging of the product was satisfactory and a good deal of care was put into packaging. Definitely purchasing more after I see how big my harvests turn out.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “5 Out of 5 Stars” - Jordy J.
Super easy set up and a great value for the price. I recently bought a higher watt HPS light from a local store because i wanted more power but the one that comes with this kit is more than substantial.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “The best DE light I've ever used” - Brandon B.
Not only does it match my tent which I love, it has the ballast built in. Holy crap is that the best part. Having a separate ballast is such a hassle & takes up so much more space especially when you're working with little to begin with. The rectangle design is so sturdy & sleek. You can move this unit around with easily with confidence. I LOVE THIS LIGHT. I am buying my second one right after this review.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How high do I hang double ended grow lights?
A: While grow lights usually hang within 12-24 inches above plants, double ended grow lights need to be hung around 24-36 inches above plants.
Remember that double ended grow lights are at least 10% more intense than single ended bulbs, and contain more UV and IR, too. All that extra intensity can cause light burn and/or bleaching on leaves if they're too close.
So to avoid damaging your plants, make sure to give double ended grow lights at least 2-3 ft of room above your plants.
Q: Are double ended grow lights better than single ended HPS grow lights?
A: Double ended grow lights are at least 25% more efficient and 10% brighter than single ended lights. In terms of efficiency and intensity, double ended grow lights win hands down.
They also have less radio frequency while operating compared to single ended lights, which helps them last longer, too. But does that make them better?
If you're looking for more intensity at the same efficiency- or better- than you're running now, double ended grow lights are the better option.
We will say, though, that increased intensity may not work with all gardens. Grow rooms and tents with low ceilings will face bleaching, and poor access to ventilation will lead to overheating. So if you want the benefits of double ended grow lights, make sure your garden's got the room and airflow for them.
For a detailed comparison of the two, take a look at our video breakdown below:
Q: How long do double ended grow lights last?
On average, MH grow bulbs last around 10,000 - 20,000 hours, and HPS grow bulbs last up to 24,000 hours before they die. However, with double ended grow bulbs, you have 10,000 - 24,000 hours before your grow bulbs lose 90% of their efficiency.
Remember: double ended grow lights run at more efficiency than single ended lights. That means they degrade slower, and therefore will last longer. Now, how much longer they last will depend on use:
- If you use double ended lights until they completely die, you're likely to get at least 24-48 more hours out of them over single ended bulbs. That's an extra 2-6 days worth of growing compared to their counterparts.
- If you use your lights on the super lumen setting when they start to degrade, you'll hit the promised shelf life with more intensity than single ended's.
Q: What type of ballast do I need for double ended grow lights?
A: Thankfully, Yield Lab ballasts can be used between single and double ended systems. All you have to do is switch the reflector, and the ballast will detect what sort of light is being used, and how much energy to give it.
Now, if you don't go with Yield Lab, don't fret. Most ballasts these days power both single and double ended bulbs. In fact, the only ballasts that are strictly for double ended lights are those designed for all-on-one units, like the Gorilla DE grow light listed above.
So if you have a stand-alone ballast, contact the manufacturer and ask if it's compatible with double ended lights. If so, all you have to do exchange your reflector and bulb, plug in, and you're ready to grow.
Q: What are the warranties on double ended grow lights?
A: Yield Lab double ended grow lights have the best warranty coverage in the industry. Each light comes with 1 year protection for bulbs and reflectors, and an industry-leading 3 year warranty on all grow light ballasts. Not only that, but each of Yield Lab double ended grow light comes with a 120 Day Satisfaction Guarantee to ensure your plants love these lights.
All other lights on our list come with a full year of protection against manufacturer defects. So no matter what brand you choose, you know you'll be protected for at least 2-3 harvests.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in October 2018. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness as of August 2021.