There’s a lot to consider when choosing the best LED grow light for your grow room. Even with in-depth knowledge, expert testing, and customer feedback, it's hard to figure out what makes the best LED's for you.
That's why we got to work and broke down everything you need to know about LED grow lights. From diodes to wavelengths and more, we've outline everything you should look for in an LED. But before we go further, let's talk about the top LED lights that exemplify everything you should look for to grow your plants:
1. Editor's Choice
$779.95 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (37 Reviews)
600 Watt Advance Spectrum MAX LED Grow Light Bar
If high intensity and great coverage are a must for your grow room, this spread style LED grow light bar should be at the top of your list.
With a peak PPFD of 1,125, this is LED ideal for plants at all stages of growth for 4 to 5 plants. And thanks to its spread style design, you'll get maximum coverage at optimal levels across your canopy at all times, unlike other lights that have hot spots in the middle and weak coverage on the edges.
With an optimal blend of 60% 3500k, 30% 6500k, and 10% 660nm wavelengths for a dimmable, full spectrum of light for maximum light coverage. So if you're looking to for an LED grow light that'll outshine and outgrow its 1000w HID counterparts (at nearly 50% of the electrical cost), this is the grow light you need.
✔ HID Equivalent: 1000w
✔ PAR: 1095 µmol/s
✔ Vegging Footprint: 5x5ft
✔ Flowering Footprint: 4x4ft
✔ Covers Up to 4-5 Plants
2. Perfect for Compact Grows
$399.95 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (11 Reviews)
S270 Advance Spectrum MAX LED Grow Light Kit
If you're growing in a closet or small corner and need maximum intensity, this is the light you need. The dual lens diodes and 3w chips in each one make the perfect light for 2-3 flowering plants.
Not only is it user-friendly — it’s also high-quality, providing you with plenty of PAR and even an added bit of ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) to promote robust growth of resins and oils.
With a coverage area of 10.5sqft, this light is perfect if you’re restricted in terms of space, or you just want to start small with huge intensity. This LED grow light will get you the intensity and coverage you need for your compact grow.
✔ HID Equivalent: 250w
✔ PAR: 275 µmol/s
✔ Vegging Footprint: 3.5x2.5ft
✔ Flowering Footprint: 2x2ft
✔ Covers Up to 3 Plants
3. Perfect for 4x4ft Grows
$649.00 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (39 Reviews)
gROWER'S cHOICE roi-e420 led gROW lIGHT
Working with a 4x4 grow area? Realistically, any of the LED grow lights on this list could work for you, but this specific grow light is the perfect fit and best design for that size of grow tent thanks to its wide spread.
The diodes in this LED provide plants with even, strong blue, red, and UV light from each bar with a PPFD of 1,090. That’s the perfect amount of light for 3 to 4 plants in a 4x4 area.
Even better, it’s also highly efficient and dimmable! Though it only draws 420w of power, its output is equivalent to an 800w HPS grow light. You’ll be able to adjust as necessary based on your plants’ needs, all while keeping temperatures from reaching extreme highs but still providing great light intensity.
✔ HID Equivalent: 800w
✔ PAR: 1,090 µmol/s
✔ Vegging Footprint: 4x4ft
✔ Flowering Footprint: 3x3ft
✔ Covers Up to 4 Plant
4. Perfect for Beginning
$149.00 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (27 Reviews)
Horticulture Lighting Group 100 V2 QB192 Quantum Board LED Kit
This LED grow light is perfect for beginners or anyone just looking for an easy experience. This is thanks to the fact that it’s super lightweight and simple in design. Not to mention it has a passive heat regulating system, so you won't have to stress over things getting too hot in your grow room.
Of course, ease of use doesn’t mean lower quality. This grow light is still strong with 3000K, has a full spectrum of light, and can grow just as effectively as any grow light that’s twice as expensive. Not to mention, it has a dimming feature, so if and when you're ready to go hands-on with it, you can control the light intensity in your grow room.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use LED grow light that’s as effective as it is user-friendly, you really can’t go wrong with this option in your grow room or grow tent. It's as effective as 1000w HID grow light and just as easy to set up and use!
✔ HID Equivalent: 200w
✔ PAR: 225 µmol/s
✔ Vegging Footprint: 3x3ft
✔ Flowering Footprint: 2x2ft
✔ Dimmable Feature
How LED Grow Lights Work
To choose the best LED grow light for your indoor garden, you should know exactly how those lights work, what they’re made of, and the role each component plays in providing light that will help your plants grow.
- What does LED mean? That’s simple enough: LED stands for light emitting diode.
- So what’s a diode, then? Diodes are the tiny parts that make up LED lights. They’re made of two semiconductor materials: electrons, which have a negative charge, and holes, which have a positive charge.
- How do these diodes work? When voltage is added to the equation (through a power source) and an electric current starts flowing, the electrons and holes collide — that’s what produces the light that your LED gives off!
Diodes can also be broken down into two parts known as chips and lenses. Let’s talk about the role these parts play.
- What is an LED chip? The chip is the part that provides the light your LED gives off.
- What is an LED lens? The lens is what projects and focuses that light. Lenses can also be tinted to filter out certain wavelengths in order to provide a specific spectrum — this is partly why LED grow lights are so flexible when it comes to wavelengths.
Together, all of these components (chips, lenses, and diodes) work together to produce the PAR output that your plants receive and use to give you the best yields.
What to Consider when Buying LED Grow Light
Okay, now you know all of the factors that go into LED grow lights, what they all mean, and how they can affect your grow room. So how do you utilize all that information to choose the best LED light for your plants? Let’s review:
- Be Mindful of Light Wavelengths and Spectrums Your Plants Need— The first thing you’ll want to look at are the wavelengths and spectrum of light any LED offers. This will help you determine whether or not it’s a suitable light for the type of plants you’re growing in your indoor grow tent or grow room.
- Know the PAR and Coverage Needs of Your Plants — Next, take a look at the PAR and coverage area of the LEDs you’re considering. Is the PAR output high enough to help your plants thrive? Is the light footprint large enough to cover your canopy and intense enough to give your plants everything they need? It’s also a great idea to look out for IR and UV wavelengths, as these provide extra growth and protection.
- Consider Diodes and the Different Styles of LEDs — After you have all those bases covered, check out the diode types and the particular style of the LED grow light. Is it chip on board or a more traditional style? This is another vital factor when considering the PAR effectiveness and intensity of the light your plants will be receiving.
- Extra Features Are a Plus — While they’re not a necessity, extras are always a good thing to keep in mind. For example, many LED lights are dimmable, giving you complete control over light intensity. Some LEDs will also allow you to adjust their light wavelengths and spectrums as needed. These are all features that you can absolutely live without, but could greatly improve your grow room and growing experience.
LED Wavelengths and Light Spectrums
Light wavelengths and light spectrums (the combination of wavelengths) are vital components to consider when you’re choosing an LED grow light. Without the right wavelengths and light spectrums, your plants won't have the color, aroma, or flavors it should.
- Warmer wavelengths, like red and orange, are ideal for root, flower, and fruit growth.
- Cooler wavelengths, like blue and white, promote leaf and branch growth.
- Both are necessary to make sure your plants can thrive from seed to harvest.
Luckily, LED lights are highly flexible and customizable in this area. You can find a light that you’ll be able to adjust to fit practically any light spectrum or light recipe your plants could need. This includes...
- Blue light, red/orange light, violet light with pinpointed wavelengths
- White light like 2700K-6400K color temperatures to give you a full spectrum of light similar to HID and T5 lights.
- Some grow lights even offer UV light to boost oil production, and IR light for better growth and blooming.
No matter what your grow room needs wavelength-wise, it's important to ensure the light you choose offers the wavelengths you need.
How Much PAR (PPFD) Do Plants Need?
The next thing you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing LED grow lights for your grow room or grow tent is the light’s PAR output. PAR stands for photosynthetically active radiation — in simple terms, it’s the measurement of light that your plants are able to use in their photosynthesis process.
PAR is similar to lumens in that they both measure brightness. But while lumens measure brightness based on how the human eye perceives light, PAR measures all the light in the visible light spectrum that your plants can actually use. The higher the PAR of a grow light, the more intense and bright the light it provides your plants with will be.
All plants need varying levels of PAR — like anything else, the output you should look for will depend on the specific needs of your grow room and plants. While all plants need enough PAR to carry out photosynthesis and grow healthily, light that is too intense can be detrimental to their growth.
Here’s a general idea of how much your plants may need.
- Seedlings, clones, and mother plants: 200 to 400 PPFD.
- Vegging plants (Veg to Early Flower): 400 to 600 PPFD.
- Flowering, fruiting, or budding plants: 600 to 900 PPFD.
Grow Light Coverage
The next thing to look at is the coverage area your LED grow light will provide. It’s important to understand what this means, as well as how it relates to PAR.
- A light’s coverage area (also known as its light footprint) is the size of the area that a grow lamp will cover with light. The coverage area you’ll need all comes down to how large your grow room is and the size of your plants’ top canopy.
A light footprint can typically be adjusted based on how far above your plants you position your light.
- The higher up an LED grow light is, the larger its footprint will be.
- As a grow light gets farther from plants and the coverage area increases, the intensity of that light will decrease. That means you’ll be sacrificing PAR intensity for light coverage.
It’s important to choose an LED grow light that will give you both optimal intensity and coverage for your grow room.
- You also want a grow light that provides optimal PAR output at all areas of its light footprint — not just at the center, which can sometimes be the case.
The Best Types of LED Grow Lights
Now that you know how LED's work, the first thing to consider when looking for a grow light is the type of grow light you want to use. The best type of LED will give you all the light your plants need to thrive, so choosing the right type of light is a vital first step.
There are different styles of LEDs that offer different advantages to your grow. Let’s take a look at the 3 main types of LED grow lights for your to choose from:
Traditional LED Grow Lights
Traditional LED grow lights are made up of small to medium wattage diodes, each including 1 to 2 lenses. Like the name suggests, these diodes are laid out over a simple panel.
✓ This style usually offers the most intense coverage of all, including IR & UV.
✓ Perfect for growers who need strong, deep penetrative coverage.
Spread Style LED Grow Lights
Spread style LED grow lights work by spreading hundreds of tiny diodes across an entire grow light. They utilize low-wattage diodes that are spread out over a large board.
✓ This style usually offers the largest coverage area.
✓ Perfect for growers who need lots of coverage over a large canopy.
COB LED Grow Lights (Chip On Board)
COB LEDs use large, super-powered diodes made of many tiny chips that combine to give you a lot of light per diode. As such, they require less diodes to give you the same results as a larger light.
✓ This style is generally the most compact of the three.
✓ Perfect for growers dealing with limited space in your grow room.
Choosing LED Grow Lights for Your Grow Room
Overall, LED grow lights are some of the best grow lights you’ll find for your grow room. This is because they provide strong light intensity, as well as flexibility and customization, making them a solid, versatile choice for growers of all skill levels.
Ultimately, LED lights are a great option for anyone looking to grow strong, healthy plants with incredible yields.
Choosing the right LED grow light for your grow room or grow tent can take some time, but with the information provided in this article, making the best choice should be a lot easier. As long as you know what the plants in your grow room need, you’ll be able to make the right decision!
All that’s left for you to do now is pick the best LED grow light for your plants and your growing goals!