Best LED Grow Lights in 2017 – Top Picks For the Money
- Top 5 LED Grow Lights on the Market
- LED Grow Lights Buying Guide
- What is an LED light?
- Why should you buy an LED grow light instead of just a standard one?
- How many watts should you look for in Your LED grow lights?
- What Are Lumens?
- What is Haitz’s Law?
- How long does an LED bulb last?
- What are some common complaints of LED lights and should you be worried?
- What should you look for when you buy LED Grow Lights?
- Cannabis Growing Q&A
The laws around cannabis are changing. More and more medicinal uses have been uncovered even though only 6% of studies on it are dedicated to this. It has been proven to be useful in treating glaucoma, epilepsy, cancer, anxiety disorders and more. Some states even allow marijuana for recreational use and the trend seems to be towards these rights spreading to other states and countries.
With weed legally on the rise, it is creating a legal market that wasn’t in existence before. Now, you can go to Washington D.C. or even places like Buffalo, New York and find several, legal dispensaries.
If you want to grow your own indoor cannabis garden, though, you are going to need some supplies. There are, of course, a variety of things you need and that can depend on different factors, but one thing you are sure to need are grow lights.
One of the best options available to you is an LED grow lamp. These lights can help your cannabis plants grow faster and bigger thanks to the unmatched quality they provide. So, in this article, we are going to look at some of the best LED grow lamps available on the market today!
Top 5 LED Grow Lights on the Market
|Product||Wattage||Max Coverage||Editor Rating||Pricing|
|Advanced Platinum Series P600||370W||6.0' x 3.8'||4.9/5|
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|Advanced Platinum Series P300||180W||4.5' x 3.8'||4.7/5|
Best For The Money
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|VIPARSPECTRA Reflector 600W||276W||4.0' x 4.0'||4.5/5||$$
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|G8LED 240||140W||3.0' x 2.0'||4.3/5||$$$
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|Mars Hydro Reflector 144||317W||2.5' x 4.5'||4.3/5||$$$
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There are a ton of LED Grow Lights out there on the market, so we have gathered a list of our five products to narrow down your options. We do not want you to have to do it alone so we want you to know exactly what you should be looking for in LED Grow Lights. As well as our top 5 reviews, we have a LED Grow Light buying guide and an in depth look at how to grow cannabis. Every base is covered! Let’s get started with our top pick, The Advanced Platinum Series P600.
1. Advanced Platinum Series P600 – The Winner
The first item on our list is our personal favorite; the Advanced Platinum Series P600. This model is extremely durable and sturdy, offering your cannabis “artificial sunlight” for many years to come. In addition, you can cover up to 22.5 square feet at 18 inches away. This is as powerful as it comes in this range.
The lights on this model are intuitive. While they will shine brightly, they will not retain any heat. This means they will be cool to the touch helping with overheating or any potential fire hazard. A full variable spectrum also ensures that you can adjust the lamp as needed from deep UV rays to higher IR rays.
When you buy this product, you also get a five-year warranty. This protects your LED grow lamp from any malfunctions. However, this product is not exactly for someone with a budget. While it is a fantastic grow lamp, you need to be prepared to pay quite a bit of money. We think the price is more than fair when you take into account how strong these lights are and the five years of warranty protection.
- Adjustable spectrum
- Safeguarded from overheating
- 5-year warranty
- In the higher price range
2. Advanced Platinum Series P300 – Best for the Money
If you are disappointed by the price tag of the Advanced Platinum Series P600, don’t worry. Not every grow lamp will run you quite so much money. If you want the best LED Grow Light for your money, we suggest the Advanced Platinum Series P300.
The power on this LED grow lamp reaches 400 watts. This lamp, on average, works on an area a little larger than 3 feet by 4 feet but some users have reported it working in an indoor garden of 3 feet by 5 feet. That would be the limit, however. Perfect for most home users. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that if you want to extend your garden beyond three by 5 feet, plants on the outside will bend in towards the light.
If you are looking for a long-lasting LED grow lamp, this is an excellent choice. Not only is this grow lamp durable and held together with a sturdy frame, but it also has almost unmatched durability.
Finally, you will not have to worry about being stuck at one light setting. The Advanced Platinum P300 LED grow light has two switches that are easy to adjust to your needs, no matter what they are. This model also has a 90-degree secondary focusing lens that will help you change your light even further with great ease.
Overall, other than some concerns about the range, this is a great option for home use and great value for money.
- 5-year warranty
- Adjustable light strength
- Replaceable bulbs
- Limited range
3. VIPARSPECTRA Reflector 600W
For our third choice, we are taking a look at the VIPARSPECTRA Reflector 600W. As it is 600 watts,
according to the general rule for LED grow lamps, this one is best suited to a maximum of a little over 4 feet by 4 feet. That represents its only real downside. It will not be ideal for anything beyond small gardens.
Compared to the last model that VIPARSPECTRA released, the VIPARSPECTRA Reflector has an extremely updated cooling system. They took a close look at any errors in their previous model and made sure that this grow lamp was safe from overheating. I would say they succeeded in their goal as this model has great feedback compared to its predecessor.
So far as power goes, this is a 5W LED grow lamp. This makes it one of the best grow lamps because the minimum that most people will use is 3W to grow cannabis. At 5W, this is considered a more than sufficiently powerful lamp.
When you order the VIPARSPECTRA Reflector 600W, you will have a 30-day period in which you can return it (this may vary depending on where you buy your model) and a 3-year warranty. This is not as good at our top pick, but it is not bad at this price range.
Once again the only downside is the limited range. As always, however, this is only a disadvantage if you need more range. If you are only working with a four by four feet space, then this model is a fantastic option.
- Superior cooling system
- 3-year Warranty
- Made for small gardens / won’t work on larger areas
4. G8LED 240
The G8LED 240 grow lamp might be fourth on our list, but it is still one of the best LED grow lamps that money can buy. High Times even awarded this lamp their “2016 Best LED Grow Light” award for its magnificent performance.
As far as power goes, the manufacturer promises that this lamp will cover a space that is 2 feet by 3 feet while only using 140 watts! This will usually give you enough space to grow 2 or 3 plants from the time they are a seed and into maturity.
Another important factor is the adjustability of the light. With this light, you will be able to adjust the intensity to any range between 380 nm and 780 nm. This light is also made with 3W chips, making this the perfect strength for growing weed.
On paper, this sounds like the perfect lamp, but there is one significant downside. While it is fantastic at first, many customers complained that after having it for a while, it broke down without them damaging it in any way. This is not guaranteed, but it is definitely something to keep in mind.
- Durability is rather weak and need to be fixed
5. Mars Hydro Reflector 144
Finally, our last pick is the Mars Hydro Reflector 144. This LED grow lamp is no exception to this brand’s reputation for quality products that are sold at affordable prices. Like other models on this list, the only possible downside it the 2 by 4 feet maximum range. That makes it one of the smaller options in terms of range on our list, but if that is what you need, it is a fantastic choice.
Let’s talk about how adjustable this LED grow lamp is. It has a broad range including 440 nm, 460 nm, 630 nm, 660 nm, 730 nm, and from 2700K to 3000K. You can get a really nice range of light that mimics the natural light cycle to a high degree. This is vital to growing strong and healthy cannabis plants.
If you buy this lamp, know that it will last you awhile as well. As well as being replaceable, the lights in this unit are made to last up to 50,000 hours.
There isn’t much negative to say about this unit save for the fact that it only works for a garden that is 2 feet by 4 feet. If your garden is bigger, you will need to buy another model in the series.
- Adjustable light settings
- Smaller unit; if you want a garden bigger than 2 feet by 4 feet, you will need a larger
LED Grow Lights Buying Guide
When you are new to indoor gardening and growing weed inside, it can be a little confusing to find out exactly what you need. With so many options, you are bound to get intimidated if you just jump in the deep end and hope for the best. You do not have to stress out over it, though, we have created this section for you; a buying guide that will help you know exactly what to look for in LED grow lights.
What is an LED light?
Before we look at what’s important in an LED lamp, it is important to know what you are buying in the first place. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. While that may seem like a technical term, it just means that the bulb producing light is smaller than a typical bulb.
Rather than using just one bulb as with a fluorescent or incandescent bulb, these LED bulbs are used in high numbers instead so they can produce a lot of light. They also come in a variety of colors as well.
Why should you buy an LED grow light instead of just a standard one?
We have talked a lot about LED grow lights at this point. However, what we have not discussed is why they are the best choice for your indoor cannabis garden compared to other types of light. First of all, they last longer and take up less energy, so you will not find yourself trying to find a new one once your electric bill has gone up.
These smaller bulbs also have a lower heat. This means that you will not burn yourself and you will not have to worry about your plants being damaged by the heat. Since they last longer too, LED bulbs are better for lights that have to be constantly on as well.
One more thing that LED lights pull ahead is in luminous efficiency. This describes the ability of your light to create what is called “visible light.” The effectiveness of your light will be measured in light per unit. The higher this number is, the higher the efficiency or luminous efficiency.
How many watts should you look for in Your LED grow lights?
When you are looking at any lightbulb, you should take a look at the watts that you are working with. When you are using a fluorescent or incandescent light bulb, you are looking at anywhere from 60 to 100 watts. For LEDs, however, you have to take the space where you are growing your cannabis to determine the exact wattage you need. The table below should help you figure out the wattage that matches the area you are working with.
|2 feet by 1 foot||64 watts|
|2 feet by 2 feet||128 watts|
|2 feet by 3 feet||192 watts|
|3 feet by 3 feet||288 watts|
|3 feet by 4 feet||384 watts|
|4 feet by 4 feet||512 watts|
|4 feet by 5 feet||640 watts|
|5 feet by 5 feet||800 watts|
Of course, if you are growing in a more spacious area than that, the list continues to go up. For example, 36 square feet would need a 1152-watt light while a 40-square foot garden would call for 1280 watts of light. To determine the number of watts you need, remember the trick that for a single square foot of garden, you need to employ 32 watts of power.
What Are Lumens?
Remember when we discussed luminous efficiency? That concept is actually fundamental. To measure it, we use lumens per watt or lumens, for short. Just like watts, though, these sizes vary, even if they might be “less” when you look at the numbers alone. Remember, though; this is how many lumens are in each watt.
The standard fluorescent bulb reaches about 100 lumens per watt. LEDs, on the other hand, only produce 18-22 lumens per watt. Looking at it like this, it seems obvious that fluorescent bulbs outperform their LED counterpart. However, LED bulbs are affected by something that doesn’t really affect fluorescent bulbs: Haitz’s Law.
What is Haitz’s Law?
So, LED lights follow Haitz’s Law but what does that mean? Well, this a version of Moore’s Law which was coined by Gordon Moore in the mid-60s referring to the doubling of intel chip capacity each year. For LED lights, this is called Haitz’s law.
The lumens per watt output for an LED light will double every 18 months making this the optimal lighting technology going forward. This principle is bound to make your LED light brighter and better than fluorescent bulbs.
How long does an LED bulb last?
We already know that an LED light bulb lasts a long time. However, exactly how long it will last may surprise you because it is even longer than most people think.
The prediction is that an LED light bulb can stay on for anywhere between 25,000 hours all the way up to 50,000 hours. There are even bulbs constructed in the 70s that are still running strong today.
What are some common complaints of LED lights and should you be worried?
While we love LED lights, you also need to recognize when you are looking at a bad LED light. First up is the cost. While it is true that LED lights currently cost more than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. However, they last longer than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, so you do not have to purchase them nearly as often.
The other complaint people have is that LED stunts the growth of some plants. This is not a common complaint when it comes to cannabis, though, so your weed should grow in fine as long as you set up carefully and correctly. Check out the cannabis growing Q&A below for more on this.
What should you look for when you buy LED Grow Lights?
Of course, there are factors you should consider when you are buying an LED grow light but without any help, it is hard to figure out what these features are. Below we will not only tell you what features you should take a close look at but what is good or bad about them as well as how much of an effect they will have.
- Wattage. The first thing you need to look at is the wattage you need for what you are growing. In the section above, we went over the proper wattage for different indoor garden sizes. However, many of those who grow weed will tell you that it is not the watts that make or break a lamp but the quality of your lamp that matters, so keep that in mind as well.
- Adjustable Output Spectrum. Through the growing cycle, you need to make sure that your plants get not too much or too little light, and this can change. It is important, therefore, that you find a growing light that will let you adjust the output to fit your needs.
- Cooling Systems. LED lights can get hot, especially when they are on so often. It is important that the cooling kit in your lamp is of sufficient quality to prevent the lamp from burning out or even worse, creating heat and risking a fire or burning you.
- Metal Core Printed Circuit Board. A Metal Core Printed Circuit Board (or MCPCP, for short) is space-grade technology. In case any of your cooling systems fail, you need something quality like this that can keep working instead of overheating and dying. This is one feature that I would make a priority.
- Heat Sink with Fins. A heat sink is another feature that you need to check to protect it from overheating. The important thing to remember is that the more fins a heat sink has, the better it will be for cooling the LED lights.
- 3W Chip. This is for the penetrating property of the lights. For most people, 3W is the minimum that they will use. Ideally, higher than 3W is better, however.
- Lenses. For quality, most people recommend that you use a light with lenses rather than reflectors. A reflector helps bounce light around the room. However, an LED grow light only needs the light going one direction when growing cannabis: down.
Cannabis Growing Q&A
In this section, we will run through some common questions that crop up when people first think about growing weed.
Is it hard to grow weed?
In short: no. Of course, you will need to take care of your plant – it cannot just sit there to wither and die. It requires the same amount of attention as any other plant – don’t be intimidated because it is cannabis, it is still just a plant. Sources like High Times like to remind us that this plant is called weed for a reason. Namely, you can grow this plant nearly anywhere like a common garden weed.
How long does it take to grow weed?
If there is one thing that everybody wants to know about any plant that they are growing, it is how long it will take before it can be harvested. If you are growing for a dispensary, this can be even more important since you need to keep the client informed of your supply. However, finding the answer is not as straightforward as you might think.
There are various stages that your cannabis plant goes through as it grows. The first is, of course, a seed. After that, your plant will graduate to seedling during which time you will begin to see it poking out of the soil.
The vegetative state is next. This is the step we usually think of with the pointed leaves that adorn so many t-shirts, banners, posters, and well almost anything. Then it begins to flower. The final step is to harvest your crop.
There are a lot of variables that can affect your plant’s growth which lelads to a huge window that the harvest stage can fall within. This growth period can last as little as 7 or 8 weeks, but sometimes it can take more than seven months to get your plants to the harvesting stage.
What do you need to grow cannabis?
The first thing you need is what you are doing right now: research. We know it sounds boring, but when it comes down to it, it is the same as any other responsibility you take on. If you want to succeed, you have to first take your time to know what you are getting into.
For beginners, many companies also offer kits to get your cannabis crop started. If you really want to learn on your own, though, going on without the kit is not impossible.
At the simplest level, mainly what you need is space and light. If you can, set aside part of a room for this task rather than putting it somewhere that your plant can get easily knocked over or damaged. Otherwise, you need to concentrate on high-quality soil (we talk more about this below) and seeds as well as top notch components other than lights. These include an air ventilation system, a fan, a heater and a grow tent. This is where the research really comes in as grow lights are only part of the equation.
Is all the equipment expensive?
The most expensive piece of equipment you will need to buy is your lights. With the LED lights that we mentioned today, the price was variable, but there were viable options on each end of the spectrum. However, if you are concerned about the budget, we suggest the Advanced Platinum Series P300.
Of course, you will also need to consider the extra hit on your electric bill. This is because you are running a heat lamp, so it is the same as if you were – for example – taking care of a reptile. However, during the vegetative stage, you will not have to worry so much since cannabis does not need as much light then.
What should a beginner grow first?
If you are interested in growing weed, you already know that there are hundreds of different strains to choose from. What you might not know, though, is that certain strains are resistant to factors such as mold, bugs, extreme temperatures, over or under watering and even special needs sometimes.
So, which is the right choice for you? If you are new to this, we suggest Indica / Sativa hybrids. This combination usually results in a shorter flowering period and doesn’t have any major sensitivities that would throw a curveball at a beginner. If you would like a different recommendation, though, some also identify strains such as Northern Lights as a good option for beginners as well.
However, do not try to grow pure Indicas or pure Sativas on your first try. They have special needs and instructions that are unsuitable for a beginner. Also, as a beginner, you want a win the first time you grow weed. Then, you can start experimenting.
What substrate is best for your cannabis?
When it comes to what to plant your seed into – substrate – it can be a difficult choice. For those who are new at this, soil is your best bet. Don’t plant your seeds right now, though, because not every soil is proper for the growth of cannabis.
If you can find a spongy, acidic soil, then you probably have what you need already. That is, as long as that soil is good at holding moisture but can also drain well. The following mixture is often cited as the one for producing the best soil: about 30% black peat and 25% yellow peat. Also, you will need it to have 20% perlite, 15% Coco coir, and finally, 10% humus.
You should also make sure you fertilize the soil you use for your plant’s health. Once again, there are plenty of options here. However, we suggest that you use a slow-release fertilizer since it is easier to use than most other options. Again, you are just going to want to start easy. Jumping in with something difficult will only frustrate you.
When do you need to change the pot your weed is in?
When you are growing your cannabis inside, you will eventually need to change the pot that your plant is in. This is entirely normal and, actually, a sign of a healthy plant. You are changing its pot because it is growing but how do you know when to do that?
There is a balancing act to this but it is not too complicated so don’t worry. You have to wait until after the main root is strong enough to be moved. However, you also can’t leave it in the smaller pot for too long, or you risk damaging the roots. The best way to tell is to look at the roots – if they are wrapped around each other and all the dirt in the pot, they probably need more room to spread out.
How do you know when your cannabis is ready for harvest?
Once again, this does not have an exact answer since people tend to harvest at different times for different uses. However, a general rule is this; do not harvest your cannabis right after it flowers. Even if it has flowers, they need time to develop fully.
What you will notice is fine “hairs” on the buds of your plant. These are called pistils. When we are trying to determine when to harvest your cannabis, you should take a closer look at the pistils on your plant.
When these pistils change from brown to white, they are going to start curling back toward the bud of your plant rather than growing straight out. As this happens, most people start to harvest their cannabis.
Of course, there are more exact ways to determine when to harvest, but there are a lot of different factors that weigh into it including the environment it is in and what you want to use the weed for.
When it comes down to it, you are going to need to make sure you do thorough research when you are looking at when to harvest. However, if you do not get it right on the first try – don’t give up yet. Some of this is trial and error since none of its exact. It might take a couple of tries, but eventually, you will get the hang of exactly when you need to harvest your plants for your purpose without making a mistake. Of course, with each new strain, you will need to learn new lessons.
What gender is your cannabis plant?
If you do not already know, the gender of your cannabis plant is absolutely crucial. This is because while they can either be male or female, only the female plant will give you the bud you are interested in harvesting.
The easiest and simplest way to tell is to pay attention to your cannabis plant as it flowers. Males will most likely grow in first, and once it gets closer to maturity, it very obviously doesn’t have any buds but rather pollen sacs. These pollen sacs will burst later, so be prepared for pollen when your male plants mature.
A little after the male plant grows in, your female plant would follow. When a female plant blooms, the first thing you see are the white hairs that become the pistils on the bud of the plant when it reaches maturity. We highly recommend you to watch this video below which digs a lot deeper into this topic.
How much should you water your cannabis plant?
When it comes down to it, many experts will tell you that beginners tend to overdo it. This means that they over water, overfeed, and usually over-worry about their marijuana plant. Unfortunately, one of the most effective ways to kill weed is to over water it.
So, how often should you water your cannabis plants? Well, sticking with the idea that you are using soil, you should water your cannabis plant once every one to two weeks. However, you can always check if the top 2 inches of your plant’s soil is dry.
It is also important that you let some of the water drain out of the bottom of the pot too. If you do not, you are risking the buildup of fertilizer. While it may originally be meant to feed your plant, too much of it will prove toxic.
If you cannot plant them right away, how long will your seeds keep fresh?
Sometimes you buy seeds, and life just gets in the way. Whether it be due to a sudden roommate moving in or you just didn’t have as much space as you thought you would, you cannot always plant your seeds the minute you get them.
Fortunately, you are in luck! Left on their own, your seeds will last roughly five years. Of course, these need to be kept in a cool and dry place otherwise you might experience different results.
If you need them to last longer, cannabis seeds can be frozen. This will double the time that they are “good” to around ten years. However, not every seed will live through this process and the seeds that are planted may or may not germinate – the likelihood of the seeds germinating is more of a gamble than a hard statistic.
What Is the best way to store your stash once you harvest it?
One thing that nobody wants is to do all this work and then incorrectly store their weed. This is because if it is stored incorrectly, you are going to lose a good amount of the potency you have spent months nurturing.
To best store your weed, cure it until you hear a satisfying snap when you break one of the stems. Then your best bet is to vacuum seal your supply. This will keep it from being affected by any pests or bacteria that might get into it before you get a chance to use it.
When it comes to LED grow lights, you have a lot of options. Between options between price ranges and the variety of models that are being created and updated as the years go on, there are a lot of choices to be made.
In our reviews of LED grow lights, we looked at 5 of your best options. We think these options cover virtually any use case for the new weed grower.
The best model that we looked at today was the Advanced Platinum Series P600, and it was fantastic, even if the price tag was a little high. If you needed a less expensive model, though, the Advanced Platinum Series P300 is sure to please. Depending on the size of your garden, you should be able to find another option that suits your needs. We also have a guide to buying LED grow lights as well as a quick Q&A on cannabis growing. We hope you have found it all you need to start growing weed!