Choosing The Best LED Grow Light For Marijuana (Or Other Plants) In 2017
Choosing the best LED grow lights for weed (or any other plant) is impossible.
Different brands each have unique advantages, so the real question is: "What's the best light for MY needs?"
In this guide we'll look at the features that differentiate the LED grow lights for sale, so you can choose one based on the features most important to you.
Feel free to jump straight down to our popular comparison table for an overview of all our lights.
We'll start our guide with price, but it is not the best way to choose an LED light.
They are all expensive and you don't buy one to save money on your setup. You buy them for higher quality yields and to save money on power and replacement bulbs down the road.
That said, if you're looking for supplemental lighting or you only have a plant or two, a cheaper light will do the job. Why spend more on power you don't need?
Here are our recommendations for various price levels:
Best LED Grow Light Value Under $200
Lights in this price range won't be powerful enough to light your whole grow, unless you only have a plant or two. Even then, you would get better yields with more powerful lights. These lights are excellent for supplementing an existing system, though.
90 watt UFOs are the best purchases in this price range. Lighthouse Hydro's (pictured above) costs $197.95 and gives you the most output with a PAR of 188 umol. It draws 74 watts of power and has a 6-band spectrum, so you can use it during any stage of growth.
A much cheaper option are LED grow bulbs. By far the best one is the Cirrus EVO. It only costs $59.99 and draws 24 watts. It simply plugs into any regular light socket and is a great supplemental light, with three different wavelengths, two red and one blue. As a standalone light, it's not powerful enough to flower marijuana, but can work for a small herb garden.
Best Value Under $500
The SolarFlare 220 series from California Lightworks (pictured above) is the best sub $500 value. It comes in three versions: Full Cycle, Veg Master and Bloom Booster. All three cost $465 and have a 5-band spectrum that is specifically tailored for each version's purpose.
The Advance Spectrum MAX 360 (pictured above) gives you the most power per dollar spent in this price range. It runs at 216 watts and costs $497.
Best Value Under $1000
Two of the most trusted and respected LED plant light brands are Lush Lighting and California Lightworks. Both have powerful lights in this price range.
The main difference between the two is that California Lightworks uses 5 watt LED chips and includes UV-B bulbs, while Lush uses 3 watt chips and includes IR and UV-A light.
Both make excellent lights, but we prefer Lush Lighting, because they have two options when it comes to secondary lenses. Plus, you can always get a separate UV-B fluorescent light if you think it makes much of a difference.
The Lush Dominator 2X (pictured above) costs $999 and runs at 435 watts. It has two optical lenses, which focus the light into a more intense beam. The drawback is a smaller coverage area and the light needs to hang higher above the plants. The Lush Dominator is the same light with only one optical lens.
The CLW SolarStorm 440 is our other favorite: it costs $899 and consumes 350 watts. As mentioned, the main differences are Lush's options for optical lenses, the different chip wattages and CLW's UV-B bulbs.
A third option is Advance Spectrum. They make cheaper lights, but they're still quite good and they come with a 3-year warranty in case anything does go wrong. The MAX 900 gives you the most power for your money of all the lights, with 540 watts for $999. The MAX 810 (pictured above) costs a hundred dollars less and gives you 486 watts of power.
Best Value Over $1000
This price range includes the best LED fixtures money can buy. We'll give separate recommendations for fixtures using all white LEDs and those using multiple colored LEDs.
Multi-Color Full Spectrum Light
The brand-new Cirrus Titan 5 (pictured above) is the most technologically advanced light on the market and the one we recommend to anyone with a large enough budget to afford it.
It costs $2199 and only consumes 500 watts of power, but is equivalent to a 1200 watt HID system (while also including the blue-spectrum light of an MH system). It also runs about 40% cooler than its competitors. The Titan 3 is a cheaper, and less powerful, alternative ($1199 and equivalent to 600 HID watts).
White Full-Spectrum Light
The NextLight Mega is the best all-white LED light. It costs $1525.50 and is equivalent to a double-ended 1000 watt HPS light, but includes more blue-spectrum light, making it ideal for all stages of plant growth.
Both the NextLight Mega and the Titan 5 made our list of the 4 best 1000 watt LED lights. That article has in-depth reviews of all four lights and is worth a read if you're considering a 1000 watt fixture. We have a similar article for 600 watt LED grow lights.
To grow marijuana, you want a minimum of 25 watts per square foot of grow space. Of course, more wattage will give you larger yields.
So if you have four plants that each take up 4 square feet (2 by 2), you need a minimum of 400 watts of actual LED power (16 square feet x 25 watts/sq.ft. = 400 watts).
If you can afford it, go with more power. At least 600 watts for the 16 square foot area in the example.
Here are our suggestions:
|Coverage Area||LED Units|
|2 by 2 feet||one 180 to 240 watt unit|
|2 by 3 feet||one 300 to 400 watt unit|
|2 by 4 feet||two 180-240 watt units|
|4 by 4 feet||
four 180-240 watt units OR
two 300 to 400 watt units OR
one 600+ watt unit
|4 by 6 feet||
three 300-400 watt units OR
two 600+ watt units
NOTE: We are using the actual power here (and also in our table below), not the rated power. LED diodes are never run at full power, as this would considerably shorten their life. A 3-watt chip for example, will only run at approximately 60% of full power.
So if a fixture has two hundred 3-watt diodes, it is technically capable of producing 600 watts of power, but it will actually only draw about 300 to 400. Most manufacturers will list the rated power (600 watts), but this is obviously a bit misleading.
We recommend a full spectrum light in almost all instances, unless you're just looking for a supplemental light with a specific color spectrum.
The only time we'd consider a light tailored specifically for one grow cycle is if you're only cloning or vegging. Even then, most growers will just use fluorescents for their cloning room, but the new NextLight Veg8 may change that.
Designed to replace a 8 tube 4 foot fluorescent fixture, the Veg 8 actually outperforms it in every aspect and will save you money within the first year. This light is a true game-changer.
White or Multi-Band?
When it comes to full-spectrum LED grow lights, there are two options: white LED lights and those using multiple color bands.
Proponents of all-white LEDs, claim they best approximate natural sunlight and are a perfect combination of HPS and MH light.
Proponents of multi-band LED lights say white LEDs include too much light in the green and yellow spectrum range. Since this light is not usable by plants, it goes to waste, making white LEDs less efficient.
We prefer multi-band full-spectrum light, since they all (the LED plant lights for sale on our site anyway) include white LEDs as one or two of their bands.
No one combines multiple LED colors better than Cirrus LED Systems. Unlike other brands that combine many diodes that each give off one color, EACH of Cirrus' proprietary mCOB LEDs emits the complete spectrum (pictured above), resulting in a perfectly even spectral distribution—each part of your plants get the exact same light, maximizing yield quality and quantity.
If you prefer all-white LED lights, NextLight lights are the best. They are incredibly powerful and outperform their HPS equivalents.
Coverage is difficult to put into a single number, since it depends on the distance from the light to the top of the plants. And as you increase coverage by moving the light back, you also decrease the PAR output and the canopy penetration.
For the values in the table below, we used the coverage provided when the light is 18 inches to 2 feet from the canopy. This is generally where you want it during flowering, in order to deliver maximum power.
During vegging, you can move the light back and get a much larger coverage area.
Since you can increase coverage by moving the lights further from the plants, the coverage values given by manufacturers are all over the place.
No matter the claims, the most powerful LED lights will give you a maximum coverage area of 4 by 4 feet (maybe 5 by 5), if you're trying to deliver enough power during flowering to maximize yields.
Because the PAR values (see next section) are much higher in the middle of a light's coverage than around the outside, the plants around the outside of the coverage area will not get as much light.
Make sure you rotate the plants regularly to ensure every part of every plant enjoys the same light intensity. You can also overlap coverage areas if using multiple lights.
PAR stands for Photosynthetically Active Radiation and is used to measure the amount of light given off that is usable by plants. It differs from lumen, which measures the amount of light visible to humans.
Unfortunately PAR figures can also be a bit misleading, which is why some manufacturers don't even provide them. The ones that do will usually measure the PAR value in the center of the coverage area, directly under the light.
But having a high PAR value directly beneath the light is only good for the plant in the center. The plants on the outside of the coverage area might be getting considerably less light.
Don't be fooled by an amazing PAR value. The best lights actually have lower PAR values, because they don't concentrate all their power in the center and instead spread it throughout the coverage area.
NextLight LEDs are great at producing intense light throughout the coverage area, but they use only white LEDs. If you prefer a multi-colored LED fixture, Cirrus LED's Titan Series cover a large area with powerful light throughout.
We included this here, since the length of the warranty generally signals how confident the manufacturer is about their lights. All of the brands we carry give you a minimum warranty or 3 years for their higher-priced products and a minimum of 1 year for the lower-priced lights.
Our comparison table has helped many satisfied customers buy LED grow lights for weed or for any other plants they might be growing. It includes all the features discussed above and is sorted by price, from the lowest to the highest.
The highlighted entries are our best-selling lights.
If you need more help choosing an indoor light, call us at 800-660-8319 or email us at email@example.com. We answer all emails within 10 hours and usually much sooner.
|BlackStar 50 UFO||27 watts||380, 425, 630, 660, 730nm, 12000K||1.3 x 1.3 ft||99 umol||1 year||$119.95|
|BlackStar 100 UFO||41 watts||380, 425, 630, 660, 730nm, 12000K||1.3 x 1.3 ft||108 umol||1 year||$144.95|
|LH 90 UFO UV||74 watts||380, 425, 630, 660, 730nm, 12000K||2 x 2 ft||188 umol||1 year||$197.95|
|BlackStar 135 UFO||78 watts||380, 630, 660, 730nm, 12000K||2 x 2 ft||197 umol||1 year||$207.95|
|LH 90 UFO HO||85 watts||380, 630, 660, 730nm, 6000K, 12000K||2 x 2 ft||181 umol||1 year||$209.95|
|BlackStar 180 UV||111 watts||380, 425, 630, 660, 730nm, 12000K||2 x 3 ft||364 umol||3 years||$229.95|
|BlackStar 180 HO||105 watts||380, 630, 660, 730nm, 6000K, 12000K||2 x 3 ft||413 umol||3 years||$239.95|
|SolarFlare 110 VegMaster||85 watts||440, 470, 620, 665nm, 3100K||3 x 3 ft||253 umol||3 years||$279|
|SolarFlare 110 BloomBooster||85 watts||440, 470, 620, 665nm, 3100K||3 x 3 ft||253 umol||3 years||$279|
|Max 180 Panel||108 watts||430, 460, 630, 660, 710nm, 10000K||3 x 3 ft||not given||3 years||$297|
|Max 225 Multi-Band UFO||135 watts||430, 465, 630, 660nm, 6000K||3 x 3 ft||not given||3 years||$297|
|Max 225 Blue UFO||135 watts||430nm||4 x 4 ft||not given||3 years||$297|
|Max 225 Red UFO||135 watts||660nm||3 x 3 ft||not given||3 years||$297|
|BlackStar 240 UV||127 watts||380, 425, 630, 660, 730nm, 12000K||2 x 3 ft||545 umol||3 years||$307.95|
|BlackStar 240 HO||161 watts||380, 630, 660, 730nm, 6000K, 12000K||2 x 3 ft||715 umol||3 years||$317.95|
|BlackStar Chrome 180||111 watts||425, 460, 630, 660, 680nm, 12000K||2 x 2 ft||364 umol||3 years||$319.95|
|Max 270 Panel||162 watts||430, 460, 630, 660, 710nm, 10000K||3 x 3 ft||not given||3 years||$397|
|SolarFlare 220 Full Cycle||165 watts||440, 470, 620, 665nm, 3100K||2 x 2 ft||745 umol||3 years||$439|
|SolarFlare 220 BloomBooster||165 watts||440, 470, 620, 665nm, 3100K||2 x 2 ft||745 umol||3 years||$439|
|SolarFlare 220 VegMaster||165 watts||440, 470, 620, 665nm, 3100K||5 x 5 ft||420 umol||3 years||$439|
|BlackStar Chrome 270||152 watts||425, 460, 630, 660, 680nm, 12000K||2 x 3 ft||1023 umol||3 years||$439.95|
|Max 360 Panel||216 watts||430, 460, 630, 660, 710nm, 10000K||3 x 3 ft||not given||3 years||$497|
|NextLight Veg 8||190 watts||full-spectrum white||2 x 4 ft||365 umol||5 years||$535.50|
|NextLight Mini||150 watts||full-spectrum white||2 x 2.5 ft||760 umol||5 years||$535.50|
|Kind K3 L300||220 watts||12 bands||2 x 3 ft||not given||3 years||$595|
|Max 450 Panel||270 watts||430, 460, 630, 660, 710nm, 10000K||3.5 x 3.5 ft||not given||3 years||$597|
|BlackStar 480 HO||294 watts||380, 630, 660, 730nm, 6000K, 12000K||3 x 4 ft||920 umol||3 years||$617.95|
|Black Dog 200||215 watts||365 to 750 nm||2.5 x 2.5 ft||not given||lifetime||$629|
|BlackStar Chrome 405||250 watts||425, 460, 630, 660, 680nm, 12000K||3 x 3 ft||1264 umol||3 years||$639.95|
|ION 8 426||195 watts||380, 630, 660, 730nm, 6000K, 12000K||2 x 2 ft||931 umol||3 years||$649.95|
|BlackStar 480 UV||290 watts||380, 425, 630, 660, 730nm, 12000K||3 x 4 ft||689 umol||3 years||$689.99|
|Max 540 Panel||324 watts||430, 460, 630, 660, 710nm, 10000K||3.5 x 3.5 ft||not given||3 years||$697|
|Kind K3 L450||270 watts||12 bands||2.5 x 3.5 ft||not given||3 years||$745|
|Max 720 Panel||432 watts||430, 460, 630, 660, 710nm, 10000K||3.75 x 3.75 ft||not given||3 years||$797|
|Kind K3 L600||320 watts||12 bands||3 x 4 ft||not given||3 years||$895|
|Kind K3 L600 VEG||320 watts||12 bands||3 x 4 ft||not given||3 years||$895|
|Max 810 Panel||486 watts||430, 460, 630, 660, 710nm, 10000K||4 x 4 ft||not given||3 years||$897|
|SolarStorm 440||350 watts||285-315, 440, 470, 620, 665nm, 3100K||3 x 3 ft||1389 umol||3 years||$899|
|Pro Max Grow MAX 600||125 watts||full-spectrum white||4 x 4 ft||not given||3 years||$987|
|Max 900 Panel||540 watts||430, 460, 630, 660, 710nm, 10000K||4 x 4 ft||not given||3 years||$997|
|BlackStar Chrome 720||446 watts||425, 460, 630, 660, 680nm, 12000K||4 x 4 ft||1672 umol||3 years||$1039.95|
|Black Dog 400||425 watts||365 to 750 nm||3.5 x 3.5 ft||not given||lifetime||$1214.00|
|Kind K5 XL750||430 watts||12 bands||4 x 4 ft||not given||3 years||$1245|
|NextLight 525||525 watts||full-spectrum white||3 x 3 ft||919 umol||5 years||$1294.67|
|NextLight Mega||650 watts||full-spectrum white||5 x 5 ft||not given||5 years||$1525.50|
|Pro Max Grow MAX 1200||250 watts||full-spectrum white||4 x 4 ft||not given||3 years||$1617|
|Kind K5 XL1000||650 watts||12 bands||5 x 5 ft||not given||3 years||$1695|
|SolarStorm 880||680 watts||285-315, 440, 470, 620, 665nm, 3100K||4 x 4 ft||2439 umol||3 years||$1799|
|Black Dog 600||600 watts||365 to 750 nm||4.25 x 4.25 ft||not given||lifetime||$1799.00|
|ION 8 1546||850 watts||380, 630, 660, 730nm, 6000K, 12000K||4 x 4 ft||1912 umol||3 years||$2149.95|
|Black Dog 800||800 watts||365 to 750 nm||5 x 5 ft||not given||lifetime||$2339.00|
|Black Dog 1000||1015 watts||365 to 750 nm||5.5 x 5.5 ft||not given||lifetime||$2789.00|