With so many options on the market, finding the best LED grow lights for your indoor garden can be understandably tricky.
LED grow lights are becoming increasingly popular for indoor gardening and hydroponic systems. They offer a number of advantages over traditional HID (high-intensity discharge) lighting, including lower energy consumption, less heat output, and longer life spans.
But that doesn’t simplify things when picking the right one for your indoor gardening needs. There are dozens of options on the market, with different features, coverage, light intensity, and design, making it overwhelming to know which one is the right option.
That’s why at Planet Natural we have written this complete guide to the best LED grow lights in 2023 to help you find the one that’s right for your indoor garden and requirements.
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What are LED Grow Lights?
LED grow lights are a type of lighting specifically designed to help plants grow. They use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to produce light in specific wavelengths that are beneficial for photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert light energy into chemical energy.
These lights are mainly used in hydroponics and indoor gardens to create an environment where photosynthesis occurs with the greatest efficiency, resulting in constant plant growth rates and higher yields.
Grow lights are designed with various spectrums and intensities that can be adjusted to meet the needs of your plants.
They can easily be used for indoor garden systems including grow tents and provide an efficient way to supplement natural sunlight or replace it altogether when growing indoor plants, including cannabis.
Types of LED Grow Lights
LED grow lights come in a variety of shapes and sizes. By educating yourself on the most common types, you’ll be better equipped to choose one that will work best in your indoor garden. So let’s look at what the most common types are:
Spread-style LED lights have a lot of small lights spread out over their whole surface. This makes them good for lighting a lot of plants at once. The spider-style and quantum boards are the two main types of spread lights.
Quantum board lights make use of a large number of small LED grow lights spread out over a relatively large, flat surface area. They utilize full-spectrum white LED diodes and typically incorporate passive cooling, allowing plants to be placed directly beneath them without the risk of excessive heat emission.
On the other hand, in place of a solid board, spider-style lights feature multiple LEDs on the narrow arms of an open bar design. These are typically more costly than quantum board lights.
Chip on Board (COB)
Chip on board (COB) lights are comprised of a number of tiny LEDs positioned closely together on a single chip, resulting in a single intense point of light.
Even though they provide optimal lighting to the region in the middle of the area that they cover, these types of LEDs do not provide the same level of widespread coverage that spread-style LEDs do.
As a result of their high power output, COB lights typically produce more heat than other types of LEDs and may necessitate the use of fans in order to maintain a comfortable temperature in the surrounding area.
They use full-spectrum white LED diodes and offer deeper canopy penetration than LEDs with a spread pattern.
Traditional LED grows lamps are typically compact, which makes them an excellent option for small spaces. In contrast to white LEDs, their LEDs are typically multicolored and cover the entire frequency spectrum of color.
This gives their light a colorful appearance, which indoor growers may or may not appreciate.
What to Look for When Buying LED Grow Lights
With so many different LED grow lights on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is best for your needs. Here are all the things to look at and consider when buying LED grow lights:
All colors of the electromagnetic spectrum are present in natural sunlight. Some LED lights can only reproduce specific color frequencies, whereas full-spectrum white LED lights produce all the hues required for each stage of the plant growth process.
For example, blue light stimulates plant growth in its early stages. It is the first color that plants can absorb when they are in their vegetative state.
Next, purple light is used in the vegetative state as well, but it is less effective for photosynthesis than blue light.
Red light is important for flowering and helps plants grow in their last stages. While white light encompasses the entire color spectrum. It can help at every stage of development when used on its own.
When it comes to light intensity, there are two approaches. The first is photosynthetic photon flux (PPF), also known as photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) (PPFD).
This is important because it indicates the amount of light absorbed by plants from the LED grow lamp. When looking for a grow light, compare how much light your plant requires to the intensity of the PPF or PPFD.
The other way to look at grow lights is through lumens, which measure how much visible light they give off.
Grow lights typically provide measurements for the amount of vegetative and flowering coverage they provide. Make sure the light you choose gives off the right amount of light and covers the area you want to grow in, like an indoor garden space or grow tent.
Several aspects of your LED grow light should be adjustable. The first consideration is color. Many of today’s LED grow lights are equipped with programmable settings that allow them to emit light of varying color wavelengths. This allows you to regulate the types of lights at various ratios for plants at various stages of their life cycles.
In addition to being able to change the color of their lights, LED growers usually have knobs that let them change the brightness of their bulbs for the best intensity of light.
You can also adjust how close the lights are to your plants by adjusting the length of the rope or chain that they are hanging from. This allows you to move the lights closer or further away from your plants.
Other factors to consider as you look for the best led grow light is the length of the power cord, whether or not it has a built-in timer and the lifespan of the lights.
Best LED Grow Lights in 2023
Best for Large Coverage: Spider Farmer SF-4000 LED Grow Light
The Spider Farmer SF-2000 LED Grow Light, which has a spread-style design, can be used throughout all stages of plant growth, from vegetative to flowering.
While no LED light can replace the natural light, this grow light comes close with full-spectrum lighting. The LED grow light has a low power consumption of 202 watts and features diodes manufactured by Samsung. The LED grow light has a high energy efficiency rating of 2.7 umol/J.
The SF4000 has more light beads at the edges with fewer at the center to allow for more uniform PPFD, resulting in better light absorption and higher yields. Plus, you get a dimming knob with this light to adjust for intensity.
With a multi-light connection design, you can easily use this for large indoor growing or even commercial planting areas, including for cannabis.
The flowering coverage measures 2 by 4 feet, whereas the vegetative coverage measures 3 by 4 feet. The grow light has no fans, so noise won’t be an issue. This grow light has a 100,000-hour lifespan, and the manufacturer provides a three-year warranty.
Best for Small Areas: VIPARSPECTRA LED Grow Light
The VIPARSPECTRA LED Grow Light is a full-spectrum LED light that can go up to 600 watts and has some special features. Specifically, the bloom and veg switches correspond to each stage of growth.
32 inches gives 3 by 3 feet of vegetative coverage, and 22 inches gives 2.5 by 2.5 feet of flowering coverage.
High-velocity fans are built into this LED grow light, but they move air so quickly and quietly that they won’t significantly affect your electricity bill.
This LED grow light also has daisy chain connectivity to connect multiple lights together with fewer outlets, fire-resistant reflectors, and overall low energy consumption. With the purchase of this model, you’ll also be covered by a three-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Best High Quality: TheBudGrower Mars Hydro TBG 3500
This Mars Hydro Manufactured LED light specific to TheBudGrower is the best high-quality grow light you can buy. It has 450W coverage giving you a full light spectrum, including red light, blue light, warm white light, and IR light.
It covers a vegetative coverage of 5 x 5 feet and a flowering coverage of 4 x 4 feet. Featuring IR 600nm and 760nm red, it’s much closer to natural light than other LEDs on the market.
This grow light also comes with easy dimming features and daisy chain functionality to allow you to easily connect multiple lights.
You also get a high-reflective hood design. This means that the aluminum hood reduces light loss and increases light intensity by up to 30% more than other non-reflector grow lights
This LED grow light has a 50,000-hour lifespan with a 1-year warranty allowing you to contact customer support with any issues. We highly recommend you check this one out!
Best Budget Friendly: VIVOSUN VS1000 LED Grow Light
With a good build quality and a competitive price, this VIVOSUN VS1000 is a great budget-friendly option that will work well for just about any beginner looking to buy a new LED grow light.
This grow light includes both a heat sink and built-in fans to ensure that your grow lights stay cool to produce higher yields while using less electricity.
This budget-friendly LED features a diode by Samsung, making it incredibly durable, especially for the price. The high-energy efficient light has a rating of 2.75 umol/J.
You get a vegetative coverage of 3 x 3 feet and a flowering coverage of 2 x 2 feet with this particular model.
Plus, it’s a full-spectrum LED to make sure your plants receive the right spectrum of light at each stage of growth. On top of it all, you still get the multi-light dimming daisy chain functionality at this price point.
This is truly a great option for anyone on a budget and looking to buy their first LED grow light.
Best Portable: KIND LED X Series Bar Light
If you’re looking for versatility, portability, and a bar light design, then this KIND LED X Series Bar Light is the one for you. It’s a great, multi-purpose LED grow light for seedlings, propagation, mixed light, and supplemental light allowing yohttps://supercloset.com/product/grow-lights/led-lighting/kind-led-x-series-bar-light/u to use it for different purposes.
This light comes in two spectrum options, namely flower and vegetative and so it’s different from the other full-spectrum lights on our list.
But many readers are looking for something more specific to help with their seedlings and propagation, so we thought we’d include this option as well.
You also get to choose between two sizes namely 2 feet and 4 feet for varying needs. If portability is a concern, then you definitely can’t beat this LED grow light!
And there you have it, folks, these are our top picks for LED grow lights in 2023 that will make indoor gardening a breeze every step of the way!
Melissa Pino is a biologist, master gardener, and regular contributor for Planet Natural. Melissa’s work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices, helping people create healthy gardens and finding ways to achieve overall health and wellness.