Performing an LED grow light comparison is essential if you want to get the most out of your buds.
With so many LEDs to choose from, It’s important to know what to look for in a good LED grow light.
In this article, I’ll show you exactly what to look for, while also comparing some of the most most popular LED grow lights on the market.
Table of contents
Why Choose LED Grow Lights?
LED grow lights have taken the cannabis growing community by storm over the last few years.
And for good reason!
Here’s why you should be using LED over tractional types of grow light such as HPS:
- Bigger yields – An LED grow light will give you up to a full gram more per watt than an equivalent HPS, using less electricity.
- Lower Heat – Controlling the temperature of your grow room is costly. Compared to HPS grow lights, LED’s run much cooler. This means you don’t have to purchase cooling systems to reduce the heat of your grow room. There’s also a reduced fire risk.
- Energy Savings – LED grow lights use up to 60% less energy than HPS grow lights, meaning lower energy bills.
- Full Spectrum – LED’s are engineered to provide the exact spectrum of light that your plants need at every stage of their growth.
- Lifespan – the average HPS light will last 10,000 hours. An LED grow light will last 50,000 – 100,000 hours.
- Better for the environment – Unlike HPS lights, no toxic metals are used in LED grow lights.
- Easy to use – LEDs are very easy to setup compared to HPS grow lights, you just need to plug them in and you’re off.
How To Compare LED Grow Lights
Ok, now that we know why LED grow lights are a great choice for your plants.
But what should you actually look for in a good LED grow light?
Here are the most important things to look out for when comparing LED grow lights.
- High quality LED chips – Avoid LEDs that use cheap non brand chips with less than 3W’s of power.
- High PAR Output – PAR is the measurement of the usable light that your plants are getting from your fixture. It’s the most important value to consider when choosing a grow light if you want to get a big, potent yield. You need 200-400 umols of PAR for the veg stage and 700-900 umols for the flowering stage.
- Balanced, Full Spectrum – Most new LED grow lights come with a full spectrum these days, but you still need to check that there is a healthy balance between red and blue lights to ensure your plants are getting enough blue light when vegging and red light when flowering.
- UV & IR wavelengths – UV and IR wavelengths have been shown to increase yields and potency. Lights with these wavelengths are a big plus.
- Daisy Chaining Functionality – Optional but very handy if you plan on using more than two lights. This functionality allows you to connect lights together so that you require only one socket.
- Veg & Bloom Switch – Many LED’s come with two switches to optimise the light intensity for the veg and bloom stage. An optional feature but it can save you energy costs and ensure you’re plants are getting just the perfect amount of light.
- Good Warranty – Your grow light should have at least a 2-3 year warranty with good customer feedback.
ACTUAL WATTS: It’s also very important to understand what actual watts are when comparing LED grow lights.
Actual watts are what you should be using to compare the power of different grow lights.
Actual watts are what an LED light actually draws from the wall socket, and can be found by looking for information about how much electricity the light consumes.
Most grow light manufacturers use the total number of LED chips in their title as it looks more impressive. But this is misleading, as the true power of the light is nowhere near this value. For example, a light consisting of 100 3w LED chips might be called a 300w grow light, when the actual power draw is only 160w (actual watts ).
Always use actual watts to compare the power of different led grow lights.
Should You Buy From USA Manufacturers?
This is a question I get asked a lot, and until a few years ago, my answer to this question would be a resounding YES.
US manufacturers like Black Dog LED ( a USA based company ) provide some of the best high-end lights available. They have high quality components and achieve phenomenal results.
However, they come with a big price tag that most growers simply cannot afford.
There are now some very reliable Chinese manufacturers that are producing low cost lights that do a fantastic job, while also offering excellent customer service.
These are the LED grow lights I recommend you use if you have a grow light budget of under $500.
LED Grow Light Comparison
Ok, time to start our LED Grow Light Comparison
I’ve created a comparison table with four of the most popular budget LED grow lights on the market. the table includes all of the key features that a grower should compare before buying a light.
Below the table, I’ll go through each feature and explain how each grow light measures up to what we’re looking for.
The first thing to note in the comparison table is the actual watts of each grow light.
Knowing the actual watts ( the amount of watts the light consumes ) of the grow light gives you an easy way to calculate the size of grow light your require.
As you can see, the Viparspectra has significantly more power than the Phlizon (269w vs 130w) even though they are both named “600w led grow light”. This is why you should always compare the power of grow lights using actual watts instead of looking at the lights name.
Each cannabis plant you grow requires roughly 1square foot of space ( if growing in soil )
And each square foot of grow space requires roughly 32 -50 actual watts ( I recommend 50w for optimal results )
Therefore, the Viparspectra 600w grow light will grow up to 4 or 5 plants (269 actual watts divided by 50 = 5.38 ) while the Roleadro 300w would be good for 2-3 plants (130 actual watts divided by 50 = 2.6 )
The HPS equivalent value is usually provided by grow light manufacturers.
This is only really helpful if you have previously grow with HPS lighting and should be taken with a grain of salt.
More often than not, grow light manufacturers will just make this up, so you should use the actual watts ( true watts ) method above when considering the power of the light.
PAR output is the most important value you should be looking for from your grow light, as it’s the measure of the actual wavelengths that plants use to grow.
For optimal growth during the flowering stage, we want to see at least 700 umols/m/2 at 18″
Due to the fact that it outputs pretty much double the actual watts over the other grow lights in this comparison, it’s no wonder the Viparspeta 600w comes out on top here with 750mols/m/2 while the Roleadro 300w produces a respectable 453umols with only 130w of power.
So far, the Viparspectra 600w has scored top marks, but this is where it slips up.
Although it has a well balanced full spectrum ( including IR ) it does not include UV. I like to see UV is grow lights as it has shown to be beneficial to THC production, making your buds more potent.
If I’m buying anything electric online, I like to have a solid warranty to go with it.
The same goes for LED grow lights.
The Viparspectra lights again come out on top here, with a very generous warranty. From personal experience, I know that this warranty is solid and that Viparspectra’s customer service is top notch.
That said, I see anything above 2 years as a good warranty, so all of these grow lights get good marks here.
Daisy Chain Functionality
I’ll put my hands up now, I absolutely LOVE this feature.
I usually run two grow lights side by side over 6 plants, so the ability to plug one light into the other an use only one power chord is a big plus.
Many led grow lights decide to omit this feature. However, All 4 lights in this comparison include it, which is great to see.
Veg & Bloom Switches
There’s a bit of debate in the cannabis community about how useful this feature is.
Veg and bloom switches are basically two switches on the back of the light that allow you to optimise the lights intensity for the veg and bloom stage.
Some growers ignore them and keep both on all the time, the idea being that more light = better results.
However, I disagree.
I’ve experimented with them and found that I didn’t see any difference in yield or potency when vegging with the boom switch turned on as well.
That means I was simply wasting energy which came back to bite me in the form of my electricity bill.
So I now keep the bloom switch turned off until flowering.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide if it’s something you want to have from your grow light.
Hopefully this article has given you everything you need to perform your own LED grow light comparison.
This is the exact process I compare grow lights before making a decision, and It should help make you decision easier too.
If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below!
Last update on 2020-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API