Best Grow Lights
For avid gardeners, the cold winter months can be really difficult stuck inside watching the snow pile up on your once thriving flowerbeds. However, if you equip yourself with the right tools- such as a great grow light- you can create a fantastic garden right in your home even as the snow blows all winter. In the past, these devices have received a bad rap for sucking up a low of power, for being noisy, and emitting an unsettling fluorescent hum throughout your entire house. However, modern LED models set out to remedy all of these problems to give you and your plants a wonderful place to stay this winter. We have done our research to find some of the best grow lights out there on the market so gardening doesn’t have to end at the first frost.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 5 hrs of research
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Uses red, blue, and IR LEDs
Top 10 Picks
Money back guarantee
Uses red, blue, and IR LEDs
Some users feel that they just aren’t strong enough for their needs
What we liked so much about this option is that is is pretty low impact on the ambiance of your home (and low impact on your wallet!), but it offers up just enough brightness to keep your plants happy and perky all year round.Read more
This unit uses a combination of both red and blue LEDs that serve two distinct purposes. The red LEDs offer a warmer brightness that is great for seedlings and young saplings. The blue, on the other hand, is ideal for leafy growth as well as promoting stem strength. It also has a few IR bulbs that are great for nutrition blooms for flowers. It is a 45-watt unit, which is just a little less powerful than some models, but powerful enough for most flowers and vegetables.
Measuring in at about 12 inches by 12 inches, and 1.2 inches deep, this is a great size for singular pots or plats.
What we liked about this option is that is has a basic square frame that isn’t too deep, and it emits a cool purple hue when left in a dark room.
There are wires placed at all four corners of this unit with a centralized hook in the center so that users can hang this unit from a ceiling and it will provide brightness to about 12 square feet of floor space (according to any past users).
The price of this unit is one of its most attractive features. This unit might set you back about the same amount of money you would spend on a large pizza. It comes with a 1-year warranty in case anything goes wrong with your unit, and also a 30-day money back guarantee if you find that it doesn’t suit your needs.
If you are looking for something that is powerful and effective that won’t break the bank, this design from UNIFUN is going to be your best bet for growing inside this winter.
2. Hydrofarm Argobrite
Offers cool natural brightness
Great for saplings and mature plants
Can be easily daisy-chained together and run off of one power source
Some users have found that the bulbs burn out rather quickly with continued use
The Hydrofarm Agrobrite model is for those serious about their indoor growing and might need something that is a little more powerful than the lower watt LED models. While this unit cost a little bit more than LED options, it is actually one of the more affordable options that use traditional fluorescent bulbs.Read more
This unit uses 4 lines of 6400K T-5 fluorescent bulbs. What this means for you is that it produces a bluer, cooler tone that is more similar to the actual rays of the sun. While cooler tones aren’t ideal for seedlings, Hydrofarm Agrobrite states that their powerful bulbs are perfect for seedlings all the way to blooming and adjusted houseplants. It emits a powerful 8,000 lumens, so if you were looking for something that is powerful, this is going to be your best bet.
Measuring in at 2 feet long- with a 4-foot option offered at a higher price point- this is a great size for a modest plat of plants. It weighs in at about 12 pounds, so hanging it from the ceiling will not break you back the way heavier options can.
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to this option. It has a solid while rectangular frame that houses 4 rows of bulbs that emit a natural white brightness that mirrors natural sunlight.
What is great about this model is that it can be placed in three different positions. Users can elect to hang it from the ceiling for overhead brightness, or they can prop it on its side horizontally or vertically for a more concentrated brightness.
While the cost is quite a bit more than some of the smaller LED options, this is actually going to be one of the more affordable fluorescent options out there on the market. What’s even better is that it comes with an impressive 5-year warranty if you find anything fails on your device.
For the more serious indoor growers that want something that it is going to have quite a lot more power, this is going to be your best without breaking the bank. Just remember, though, that significantly more power means that there is going to be a slight but noticeable difference in your monthly electric bill.
3. KingLED King Plus
Offers a full spectrum of brightness
Cooling fans give users peace of mind that it will not overheat while they are not at home
LED bulbs save on electric bill
A little expensive considering smaller size
The KingLED King Plus is the best of both worlds- it offers excellent cooled brightness, but it doesn’t consume the same level of energy as some of the fluorescent units that can be a real drain on your electric bill. Keep in mind that this unit is a little bit smaller than some of the fluorescent units, and it also comes at a much higher price point.Read more
What we liked most about this option is that it offers the full spectrum of colors, much like the actual sun. Colors include the standard blue and red as well as IR, but it also has yellow, white, and UV- which is something not found on other designs. It also emits an impressive 1,000 watts of power, with higher and lower options available at different price points. What users really appreciate about this option is that it has built-in fans in the base, which means that it users will not have to worry about it overheating, and it also helps distribute the brightness evenly.
This unit measures in to be 12 inches wide, 12 inches long, and about 8 inches deep (which is a little thicker than some of the other options out there on the market).
Users really seem to like the soft purple glow emitted from this unit, and the soft LED bulbs don’t put off that familiar hum that fluorescent bulbs can. The downside is that the fan in the base of the unit has been reported to be a little too loud for some users, so keep that in mind when considering this option.
Solid metal clips located on the four corners of this unit make it easy to hang from a high surface to shine down on your plants to mimic the sun.
Given the smaller size of this unit, the price tag may seem a little too high. However, if you were looking for something that is powerful safe, and won’t hike up your electric bill too much, this is well worth the slightly padded price tag.
What we liked most about this option ware the powerful LED bulbs that offer substantial power and natural rays that your plants will gobble right up, even in the middle of winter. The downside to this option lies in the slightly padded price tag as well as the fans that can be a little too noisy.
Uses magnified LED chips that reduce limit power usage
Soft yellow glow
Some users feel that the fans are too loud
For some homeowners, the look of a soft purple hue filling their living space conjure images of living in a dorm room and may be less than ideal. For them, the Roleadro is going to be their best bet because it is composed of soft yellow bulbs that will allow your plants to thrive without diminishing your sophisticated living space.Read more
This unit is powered off of a series of tiny LED chips on the base. Each chip produces 10 watts of brightness and combined equal about 1200 watts of power. Using chips instead of bulbs actually magnifies the brightness emitted, so users will be able to produce a higher frequency of brightness without putting a strain on their electric bill or the environment.
The unit is just a little bit bigger than many of the standard LED options, measuring in at about 18 inches long and 12 inches wide. The addition of cooling fans makes it a bit thicker as well.
For those that are worried about how these devices may look in their living space, this unit is designed to give off a neutral glow that may mimic the glow your lamps emit.
Fans located on the side and on the back keep the unit cool while in use. Wires that run on the backside of the unit allow the user to hang in from the ceiling to cast brightness down onto your pot of plants.
The cost of this unit is quite a bit more than some of the other LED options, but users that want something that is electant, as well as effect, feel that the higher price point is well worth the extra cost.
Emitting an impressive 1200 watts of power, the LEDs used for this option will keep your electric bill in check. Plus, the soft yellow brightness of this unit means that you will be able to position it right in your living room without that unusual purple glow.
Uses red, blue, IR, and UV rays
No cooling system
Not very powerful
Perhaps you are an indoor gardener that does not care much about regulating the proper temperatures, and you also do not mind how your units looks- as long as it comes in at an affordable price point. If that’s the case, you might want to check out this option from Growstar.Read more
This unit uses both red and blue hues to create the perfect growing environment for your indoor flowers and veggies. What we really liked about this option is that it also utilizes UV, IR, and white rays to create the perfect environment. Clocking in at 45 watts, it might not be the most powerful option on the market, but it uses LED bulbs that will keep energy cost down.
This unit is incredibly flat, measuring to be only .4 inches thick. It is a little bigger than some of the other standard LED bulb options on the market with dimensions that are 13 inches long and 13 inches wide.
This design is going to emit that rick purple brightness from the combination of the red and blue bulbs. Users love the very flat surface that doesn’t look all that big a bulky when hung from a ceiling.
All of the mounting hardware is included with the purchase of this product. Users will simply need to install a hook on their ceiling, and then hang the unit form the hook. Considering that this unit only weighs 2 pounds, hanging it will not that be all that difficult.
This unit gets an A+ in the cost department. Hands down, this is the most afford option out there on the market and will likely set you back the same amount that you would spend on a large pepperoni pizza.
If you are looking for something that is simple and affordable that doesn’t come with all of the extra bells and whistles such as cooling fans and brightness controls, this is going to be one of your best options.
Users can adjust the warmth of bulbs
A little larger than standard LED options
Doesn’t use as much power as fluorescent bulbs
What users love about the iPlantop design is that is does something that other brands cannot do- and that allows the users to adjust the color and tone of the bulbs. For experienced growers that know the exact type of brightness that their plants need, this is going to be a real game changer for your indoor growing season.Read more
This unit gets a gold star in this department. Instead of simply having one steady set of bulbs that users often have to adjust their plants to accommodate, the iPlantop has various settings that users can adjust to create cooling or warming effects just with the bulbs. This feature is perfect for adjusting brightness depending upon the stage of development of your plants. It also provides an impressive 2,000 watts of power without putting a lot of strain on your energy bill
Measuring in at 28.5 inches long and 13.2 inches wide, this unit is just a little bit bigger than some of the standard 12x12 LED designs.
Enclosed in a solid white case, this unit emits a soft purple glow that rages in tone based upon the setting the user selects.
Wires located on the four corners of the box come together in the middle to allow the users to hang in from a hook on the ceiling to hang over their selected plat of plants.
If you were thinking that this unit sounds too good to be true, it’s because we have talked price yet. The cost of this unit almost doubles that of some of the higher end LED units out there, so if you are just an amateur or first-time indoor grower, you might want to save this option for when you are further down the road in your indoor gardening adventures.
Users find few faults with the innovative design of this unit. It offers a powerful brightness without putting any extra strain on your electric bill, and it is able to adjust to the stage of development of your plants.
Easy to install
Powerful LED lens
Some find that the LEDs get a little hotter than expected
What we liked most about this option is that it gives users the benefit of using red and blue tones in their bulbs, but none of the eerie purple glow. While this unit doesn’t offer the same array of hues (such as UV or IR), it excels by covering a larger surface area than many of the standard options with their larger and magnified LED bulbs.Read more
Like we mentioned earlier, this unit doesn’t cast a purple glow like some of the other options but there on the market, but instead gives off a subtle yellow glow. That isn’t to say that the red and blues from the color spectrum aren’t in there, they just are as noticeable to the naked eye as some other options.
This unit measures to be about 14 inches long as a little over 13 inches wide. The addition of the fans in the base makes it just a little bit thicker than most, measuring to be able 5 inches thick.
The design from Macegrow has a little more of a sleek design. It is stored in a white shell casing with lime green accents along the bottom and on the sides
Hanging this unit is simple and easy. Included with purchase of this design is a hanging hit that will give you an adjustable rope as well as hanging hooks that are mounted in the ceiling for your unit to hang off from to shed light on your plants from the top down.
The cost of this unit is slightly more than other options out there on the market. However, if you were looking for something that is sleek enough to display in your living room, and has a lot of power, we feel that this is worth the lightly padded price tag.
For users that want something that isn’t going to give off an eerie purple glow, just still has enough subtle hues in the color spectrum of the bulbs to be beneficial to your plants, this unit is well worth the cost.
Users can adjust the temperature of the brightness
Cooling fans are virtually silent
Hanger is not included with purchase
The AGLEX option does things just a little bit differently than many of the other designs we have seen out there on the market. Instead of having a series of uniform bulbs, this unit has four bigger bulbs in the center for a more concentrated brightness that comes from the center of the unit and radiates outward. We like it because users can adjust the level of brightness depending upon their plants.Read more
Offering up 2,000 watts of power through a series of LED bulbs, this unit is made to handle just about anything. What well really liked about this design is that the bulbs don’t just emit red and blue hues, but it tackles all of the hues on the color spectrum, which include yellows as well as UV and IR, as well as everything in between.
This unit measures in at 16 inches by 16 inches, making it just slightly larger than many of the average LED models that measure to be 12x12.
The box of this unit is black, which is different from all of the white cases we have seen from other brands out on the market. One thing we must note about this option is that the cooling fans found in the base are advertised to be quiet, and users can agree that this unit is one of the few with virtually silent fans.
To hang this unit, simply place the hook of this unit to a hook or line from your ceiling. The plug found on the side of the unit also makes it easy to plug two units together and have them run off of the same power source.
The downside to this model is that it is one of the more expensive designs out there on the market. However, if you are serious about your indoor garden this year, we feel this is well worth the price.
If you are serious about getting your garden started early this year before all of the snow melts, this option is going to be an excellent choice if you are willing to pay the elevated price tag.
9. Mars Hydro
Easy to hang
Small and compact box
What makes this design different than all of the other is that it has a reflector panel on the front of the unit that will magnify and strengthen the spectrum of rays given off by this small and compact little unit. Don’t let the size fool you, however, because this unit can pack quite the punch when it comes to your indoor plants.Read more
This unit emits about 240 watts of brightness via a series of LEDs bulbs that run the spectrum of hot and cool hues. It also has two IR bulbs to help with sapling growth. Do not let the lower wattage deter you from considering this unit, because the reflector panel located on the front allows this unit to give off quite a bit of energy while requiring less electricity.
Measuring in at exactly 12 inches wide and 12 inches high, this unit about the standard size for similar boxed LED bulb models out there on the market.
The brightness emitted from this device gives off that soft purple glow that occurs when mixing both blue and red LED bulbs. This unit is encased in a bright green aluminum case with air pockets for the fans to expel heat from building up inside of the device and effecting your plants.
What users appreciate about this design is that a hanging kit is included with purchase. Users will simply have to mount the hooks to their ceiling over the plants that they are cultivating, and hang the unit evenly on the ceiling mounted hooks.
For a 12x12 LED option, the price tag is quite higher than other similar options out there on the market. However, the inclusion of a reflector panel on the front that improves the range and potency of brightness make it well worth the higher price point.
What users love so much about this option is that it comes in a small package, but it is really able to pack quite a punch of power without adding any extra pressure to your electric bill.
Very large and will cover a lot of ground space
Easy to daisy chain together
Users experienced their bulbs burning out quickly or arriving broken
This option from VIVOSUN is unique because it is one of the few fluorescent options to land on our list. For some indoor growers, these old school options are just far superior than their LED counterparts. We liked this option is because it is a lot bigger than many of the designs on this list while still coming in at a similar price point.Read more
There aren’t any red hues to be found in these fluorescent options- only cool blue light, which makes it perfect for already established fruits and vegetables. Its bulbs can put out an impressive 120 volts of power and will be able to generate a good deal of heat if that is something that you are also looking for.
This unit measures to be 4 feet long and 4 feet wide, making it by far one of the biggest options to be found on our list.
One thing that users seem to like about these fluorescent options is that they emit a cool brightness that looks similar to that of the sun in the middle of the summer. The case of this unit is made from a solid alum powder coated aluminum that is sure to match any room that you place it in.
This unit can technically be hung from the ceiling, but because it weighs over 20 pounds, some users have elected to prop it up against a wall either vertically or horizontally.
While the price tag on this option may seem a little bit higher than most, you have to take into consideration that the base of the unit is an impressive 4 feet by 4 feet, making it a really fantastic deal.
For those that are looking for something that will be able to cover a lot of floor space, while putting off a cool glow, this unit is going to be an excellent choice for your home growing needs.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
If they aren’t very effective, then what you have on your hands is a very strange ambient lamp.
So, how did we determine how effective these products were? There were three main components that we took into consideration. The first feature was the bulb itself. Fluorescent bulbs have a reputation of being real energy hogs, but they are also incredibly powerful. We made sure to select at least one option with a fluorescent option, because some indoor gardeners feel they are the most effective for their plants. However, LED options seems to be the markets favorite choice by users for a myriad of reasons. The first reason these units are preferred is because they are easy on energy bills, and for the environment. Plus, they are known to last quite a bit longer than HID options. While wattage was something that we kept in mind, the most important thing we looked at was the type of brightness and the tone of the bulbs. Products that had a wider spectrum of color that ranged from UV and blues to IR and reds were generally considered to be more effective than those that simply offers a small fraction of the color scale.
Size was important to us because it determined how much floor space the bulbs could cover, and in essence it means how many plants will be able to be serviced with one single unit.
What we discovered is that products that used LED models and that carried a reasonable price tag typically measured to be about 12 inches by 12 inches, with subtle variances in depth depending upon the presence of a cooling fan. If you are in the market for a product that is going to be able to cover a lot of ground in your home, you might want to purchase a fluorescent designs, because they are typically bigger than LED options, and come in at a price point that is a little bit lower. However, if you want the benefit of LEDs for your larger space, be sure to select a style that has the option to daisy chain multiple units together using one centralized power source. Many of the options out there on the market has this feature built in on the side, but there are a few out there that don’t. Before you make your purchase, be sure to measure your room and determine how many feet of coverage you will need for your indoor plants.
No one wants to feel cheated out of their money. We did our best to bring you fairly priced and dependable products.
What we discovered is that there are two separate price points that these units reside. One price point is affordable and will likely set you back the same amount that you would spend on a pepperoni pizza. For these models, they typically didn’t have the same amount of power as some of the higher end designs, although they still offered the same range of red and blue light. The only difference in the lower end models was that they typically were not as powerful, and they also didn’t come with the addition of a cooling fan in most cases. If you really want to ensure that your plants are taken care of and will get enough nutrients from their light source, you may want to dish out a little bit of extra money for some of the higher end options.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
The most important thing that users need to look at when considering these models is the type of bulb that is used. Many contemporary indoor gardeners prefer the use of LED because they are easier on the environment, easier on your electric bill, and do not generate too much heat that may negatively affect your leafy growth.
You aren't going to want to purchase something that is going to be more than you need, because that means that you are spending money on something that isn't the right size for you. Be sure to look at the coverage area of each option to ensure that it matches the space in your home that you will be using it.
You may also want to consider investing in a grow tent. A grow tent provides a more controlled environment and typically yields better and faster results. If this is something you would like to learn more about, check out this article.
Other Factors to Consider
When we conducted our research, we made sure to include designs that were more neutral and had white and yellow tones to blend in with the neutral motif of your living room. For many, these lamps will be housed in their basement or attached garage, so a little bit of groovy purple infrared lighting will not be as much of an issue. We also wanted to select styles that were housed in basic and neutral aluminum or plastic frames. One factor that users will need to consider is the option of a cooling fan. These fans are great and keep the bulbs cool and the plants below from getting burned, but we discovered is that they can be rather loud. If you plan on placing one of these units in a high trafficked and lived in area of your home, you might want to forgo the inclusion of the fan altogether or be sure to select a design that users have claimed that the fan is virtually silent, such as the AGLEX option. Again, for users that are buying these products for a basement or garage, this probably won’t be much of an issue that you will need to consider.
We tried to stick with designs that were able to be used in more than one way, such as mounted from the ceiling or propped up on its side either vertically or horizontally. Finding just the right angle to place these products is a really important part of the process, so we wanted to make sure that were selected options that were able to be used in a myriad of ways. One thing that is important to keep a lookout for in the inclusion of mounting hardware that is included with purchase. No one wants to make a trip down to the hardware store to buy special wire and hooks to mount their unit just right- you want anything to be included with purchase. Another thing that is important to consider is the ability to daisy chain them together. This means that you want there to be an input plug on the base of the unit so that you will be able to plug in more than one unit on a single power source as your indoor garden continues to grow.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are these products typically used for?
If you want to make sure that your crops that you are going to plant in your garden this summer are going to be plentiful, you might want to get a head start on the growing process. While many gardeners plant their seeds in the ground in the late spring, it can sometimes feel that it may take an entire growing season for your crops to even start to bloom, and an early frost in early fall can mark the end of your entire season. Many like to get a head start on growing their crop inside while there is snow on the ground. Using one of these products, gardeners can grow their seeds until they are big enough (and it is warm enough outside) to officially plant them and essentially extend their harvest. Others just like the idea of looking at beautiful flowering plants all year round, and these products make that possible.
q: How do warm and cool hues benefit my plants?
This is a popular question, because different shades on the color spectrum product different effects. The natural color spectrum starts with UV rays, then blends to cooler hues, meets in the middle for yellow and whites, then moves on to warmer hues such as red and orange, and ends with infrared. Generally, warmer shades such as reds, oranges, yellows and and IR rays are preferred for initial growth for seedlings and younger plants. Cooler hues such as blues, greens, and UV rays are ideal for leafy growth and stem health. Most products out there on the market have a blend of both shades so they will be ideal for everything. Some of the higher end models allow users to adjust the coolness or warmth of their bulbs to focus on one specific stage of their plants growth. If you are serious about your indoor garden and want to see quick results, you may want to spend the extra money and opt for a design that will allow you to adjust the tone of your bulbs.
q: Can the heat from the bulbs burn my plants if they grow too close?
In the case of fluorescent bulbs, this is a real possibility. Due to this fact, almost all designs that you see out there on the market that utilize the fluorescent options also have a series of fans built into the base to keep the heat to a minimum. Some novices may assume that the reasoning for using these products is to reproduce the heat from the sun, but this isn’t the case at all. The reason why these bulbs are so important is because they produce the much needed rays (such as UV and IR) that are emitted from natural sunlight to synthesise their food. Typically, your home is already at the right temperature for your indoor plants to thrive. It is the rays emitted from the bulbs that they need to survive in the lowlight of the winter. What we found is that LED options are a great source of these types of rays, and they don’t produce the same amount of heat or use as much energy as fluorescent bulbs. Some users have found that even when their crops are actually touching their LED bulb, they still don’t burn from the low level of heat.
q: Which is better: fluorescent or LED?
The answer to this question lies solely in who you ask. Many old school home gardeners swear by their fluorescent bulbs because they are the best at generating a lot of power, and they feel that the LED lights just aren’t strong enough to emit the same level of beneficial rays. Also, many LED options do not emit any UV or IR light at all- which may slightly stunt your plants growth. From our research, we found that the benefits of the LEDs are outweigh the few benefits of fluorescent or HID bulbs. The most important benefit of LED designs is that they don’t require a great deal of power to function, which translates to money saved on your energy bill. This also means that they aren’t going to run as hot, which is going to be beneficial in keeping your plants from becoming too hot as they grow closer to the base. LEDs have a much longer lifespan than the traditional HID bulbs, and they also run silently and don’t give off that iconic hum that users may recognize.
q: Are they safe?
It can be a little unsettling leaving for work in the morning and not turning off all of the lights before you leave. However, if you are sure to follow a few simple guidelines, there is not reason that you cannot leave the house for the day with your lights on and feel perfectly comfortable in doing so. The very first thing that you are going to need to look at before you make your purchase is to ensure that your product is CSA or UL approved. Another important task is to ensure that you read the safety instructions booklet in its entirety before use. When you hang your unit, be sure that you never overload a wall outlet, or place wires in places where moisture can occur. If you follow all of the precautions listed here as well as on your products label, these units are perfectly safe to use, even if you are not at home while they are in use.
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