Best LED grow lights: Reviews & buying guide

best led grow lights

LED grow lights are fairly new to the indoor growing scene and come in many different sizes, shapes and power output levels. We've studied all the options available and created this review of the best LED grow lights you can currently buy with your hard earned cash. 

Our reviews are divided into sections based on the most common power outputs of 300W, 450W, 600W and 1000W. Hopefully this will make it easier to pick the best LED grow lights for whatever size grow tent you're using. Remember that you can also use two smaller lights in place of a single large light. This is a great option in many cases because you can position multiple lights in different parts of your grow tent to maximize the light coverage of your plants. In general, you should aim for around 60 Watts of light per sq foot in your grow space.

Because each manufacturer uses different LEDs, lens angles and other elements to build their lights, comparing the light output of different LED lights can be a challenge. The most reliable way to compare lights is to looks at the power consumption and how the light coverage compares to an HPS or MH bulb. We've included these metrics in all our reviews.

For each power output, we've picked 2 'value' options that were chosen by considering the overall combination of price, value for money, build quality, light output as well as feedback from growers. We've also picked the best 'premium' light for each power level. For premium lights, we didn't completely ignore price but a lot more emphasis was placed on quality and features. The main benefit you get for paying for a more expensive light is more usable light output (measured in lumens and PAR), so a smaller light will give good coverage of a larger grow area.

Table of contents


Keep reading or click the product links below to read detailed reviews discussing the features, advantages and disadvantages of each light.

The best LED grow lights: 300W

Model Image Category Power

VIPARSPECTRA Reflector Series 300W

 

 VIPARSPECTRA Reflector-Series 300 Watt

Value

  • Output:300W
  • Consumes:136W
  • HPS: 250W

 

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MarsHydro 300W

 MarsHydro 300W

Value

  • Output:300W
  • Consumes:132W
  • HPS: 150W
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PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series P300

 PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series P300

Premium

  • Output:300W
  • Consumes:180W
  • HPS:400W
 Check price

The best LED grow lights: 450W

Model Image Category Power
VIPARSPECTRA Reflector Series 450W  VIPARSPECTRA Reflector-Series 450W Value
  • Output:450W
  • Uses:200W
  • HPS:400W
 Check price
 MarsHydro Reflector 480W  MarsHydro Reflector 480W Value
  • Output:480W
  • Uses:190W
  • HPS:250W
 Check price
PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series P450  PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series P450 Premium
  • Output:450W
  • Uses:247W
  • HPS:600W
Check price

The best LED grow lights: 600W

Model Image Category Power
 King Plus 600W  King Plus 600 Watt Led Grow Light Value
  • Output:600W
  • Uses:120W
  • HPS:400W
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VIPARSPECTRA Reflector Series 600W  VIPARSPECTRA Reflector-Series 600 Watt Value
  • Output:600W
  • Uses:240W
  • HPS:600W
Check price
PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series P600  PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series P600 Premium
  • Output:600W
  • Uses:368W
  • HPS:800W
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The best LED grow lights: 1000W

Model Image Category Power
King Plus 1000W  King Plus 1000 Watt Value
  • Output:1000W
  • Uses:185W
  • HPS:300W
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MarsHydro Reflector 960W  Marshydro Reflector 960W Value
  • Output:960W
  • Uses:388W
  • HPS:450W
Check price
G8LED 900W  G8LED 900 Watt Premium
  • Output:900W
  • Uses:540W
  • HPS:1200W
Check price

Detailed reviews of the best LED grow lights

We trust the following brands because we’ve either personally used them or received a lot of positive feedback from other growers. You'll also notice that Platinum LED lights won the premium award in pretty much every power output category! We wish the results were a bit more varied but the fact is that these lights are amazing and totally worth their premium price.

Excellent value for money (but still good quality)
More expensive (premium build quality & higher light output)

VIPARSPECTRA Reflector Series 300W

VIPARSPECTRA Reflector-Series 300 Watt

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  • Output: 300W
  • Consumes: 136W
  • HPS equivalent: 250W

The ViparSpectra Reflector 300W is a high quality option that's extremely affordable if you have a small grow space.

The light it produces is equivalent to a 250W HPS bulb which will perfectly cover a 2 x 2 ft grow space at a height of 24 inches. We tested this light in a slightly larger 3 x 2.5 grow space and it fell just short of giving enough penetration into the canopy. If you need more light you can easily daisy chain more than one of these lights together.

Despite the 300W output it only draws 136W from the wall which is barely noticeable on your electricity bill.

Decent sized fans and heat sinks are also included to keep it running cool. We did notice that the fans were a bit noisier than some other models, but that could just be our unit. Other growers we know haven't noticed any fan noise with larger ViparSpectra lights.

The LED angle is 90 degrees which is good for a small light like this to get maximum penetration into the canopy.

A 3 year warranty is included which gives very good piece of mind if anything goes wrong.

MarsHydro 300W

MarsHydro 300W

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  • Output: 300W
  • Consumes: 132W
  • HPS equivalent: 150W

This little MarsHydro 300W LED grow light is extremely good value for money and has pretty decent light output. You'll get light equivalent to a 150W HPS bulb, which doesn't sound like much but it would be a very cheap way to grow 1 or 2 small plants.

The best way to get value from a light like is to use more than one of them in a larger grow tent.  If you bought 4 of these for a combined HPS equivalence of 600W it would still be cheaper than many single 600W LED lights!

MarsHydro use a combination of LEDs angled at 90 and 120 degree for a compromise between canopy penetration and light spread. However, the LEDs aren't recessed into reflectors like so this light can seem annoyingly bright to work around as more light leaks out the sides.

All MarsHydro lights are tested for 48 hours before they package and ship them to ensure everything is working and their are no defective LEDs. They also have a service center located in California which makes it much more convenient to deal with warranty issues if you live in the U.S. Speaking of warranties, this light only comes with a one year warranty which is a bit disappointing.

PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series P300

PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series P300

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  • Output: 300W
  • Consumes: 180W
  • HPS equivalent: 400W

PlatinumLED make some of the best LED grow lights you can buy. They're expensive compared to some other brands but it's pretty easy to see where the money goes. Platinum LED have very strict quality standards and their lights have an 8 - 10 year lifespan. They also achieve some of the highest light outputs (lumens & PAR) of any manufacturer in the industry.

The 300W Advanced Platinum version is only 20 inches long but can fully replace a 400W HPS light which will easily cover a 3 x 2 ft grow space at 18 inches height. For vegetative growth this could be pushed even further up to 3 x 3 ft. The 12 band full spectrum includes IR light which encourages bud growth. Efficient 3W LEDs are used to keep the heat output to a minimum and you can switch between 'veg' and 'bloom' modes that will switch on more red LEDs during the flowering stage to maximize the size of your buds.

PlatinumLED are a U.S. based company and offer local support for their products as well as a full 5 year warranty.


VIPARSPECTRA Reflector Series 450W

VIPARSPECTRA Reflector-Series 450W

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  • Output: 450W
  • Consumes: 200W
  • HPS equivalent: 400W

The 450W version of the ViparSpectra reflector series is great value and although it's only a small step up from the 300W version reviewed above you get an extra 150 watts of usable power compared to an HPS bulb. This light can replace a 400W HPS or MH light and only consumes 200 watts of power which will easily give you enough coverage in a 3 x 2 grow tent at 24 inches height. We know someone who uses two of these lights in a  4 x 4 grow tent and it's awesome.

The LED lens angle is set to 90 degrees which slightly favors canopy penetration over light spread and unlike the smaller 300W version, the 450W is switchable between veg and bloom modes so you can maximize bud growth when your plants flower.

Like all ViparSpectra lights, a 3 year warranty is included.

MarsHydro Reflector 480W

MarsHydro Reflector 480W

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  • Output: 480W
  • Consumes: 190W
  • HPS equivalent: 250W

The MarsHydro Reflector 480W feels very solid and well constructed and is a total beast weighing in at 8.8 pounds! The solid feel is enhanced by the fact that this light has a very compact design which would work well in a small grow tent. The lime green color is also pretty cool 🙂

This light is best suited to smaller grow spaces because it only achieves 250 watts of usable light compared to an HPS bulb. However, like some other entries on our list, it's very affordable and designed so that growers with larger spaces can buy more than one and still come out ahead on price.

To enhance the light output, MarsHydro have used a mini reflector design along with a mixture of 90 and 120 degree angled LEDs to give a bit more spread while not sacrificing canopy penetration.

If you live in the U.S. and something goes wrong you can take advantage of the California based service center and unlike the 300W MarsHydro above, this one has a 2 year warranty.

PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series P450

PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series P450

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  • Output: 450W
  • Consumes: 247W
  • HPS equivalent: 600W

This premium 450W PlatinumLED grow light is powerful enough to replace a 600W HPS light and easily drenches a 2 x 4 ft space in light. We've only ever seen this light in a 2 x 4 ft grow tent but from the look of it you could probably get away with one of these lights in an even bigger area.

It includes all the PlatinumLED features such as excellent build quality, 3W LEDs and their 12 band full spectrum lighting model that includes light in the IR band. As usual, you need to save your pennies to take this light home but you won't regret it if you do, especially with the 5 year warranty and local support to fall back on.


King Plus 600W

King Plus 600 Watt Led Grow Light

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  • Output: 600W
  • Consumes: 120W
  • HPS equivalent: 400W

King LED lights are some of the best LED grow lights you can buy based purely on how affordable they are without sacrificing quality. You don't get the light output of a more premium brand but this 600W version delivers 400W of HPS level lighting which is perfect for a small to medium grow space. Considering how ,much usable light this unit produces, it's amazing that it manages to only draw 120W from the wall!

King LED lights are also know for being well built and long lasting and this might be due to the fact that use extremely efficient 10W double chips to drive the LEDs.

Everyone you speak to talks about how fast the shipping is when you buy from King and while that's not a good enough reason alone to choose a light, it does suggest they care about customer service. This light also includes a 3 year warranty.

VIPARSPECTRA Reflector Series 600W

VIPARSPECTRA Reflector-Series 600 Watt

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  • Output: 600W
  • Consumes: 240W
  • HPS equivalent: 600W

For a 'value' option, the Viparspectra Reflector 600W is starting to get a bit more pricey but when you consider that you actually get 600W of HPS equivalent light and it only consumes 240W it's actually a really great deal. This light would work well in 2 x 4 or 3 x 3 ft grow space.

The fans on this model seemed to run almost silently and it's good to see that the light includes a switch for veg and bloom modes at this price.

We initially thought a few of the LEDs were malfunctioning until we realized that these were actually the IR LEDs that emit light at a frequency the human eye can't see! However, plants can use light in the IR spectrum to help speed up stem growth and (more importantly) increase the size of your buds.

ViparSpectra lights are made to be easier connected together in a daisy chain and 2 or 3 of these lights together could very efficiently light a massive grow tent full of plants.

PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series P600

PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series P600

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  • Output: 600W
  • Consumes: 368W
  • HPS equivalent: 800W

If we could only choose a single LED grow light to win this competition we would choose the PlatinumLED P600.  Even though it's expensive, you get almost 800W of HPS power in a single, compact, high quality light and it only draws 360W watts of power from the wall. The local service support and 5 year warranty is icing on the cake.

This light will easily cover a 4 x 4 ft grow space which we think is the perfect size for most home growers. It's a small enough space to be manageable and not require too much electricity to light, but big enough to grow a variety of strains so you can experiment with flavors and effects and growing styles. If you use weed for medicinal purposes then this sized grow tent is idea.

We also appreciate that PlatinumLED pack their lights extremely well for shipping so you can have confidence that nothing will get damaged in transit.


King Plus 1000W

King Plus 1000 Watt

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  • Output: 1000W
  • Consumes: 185W
  • HPS equivalent: 600W

Like the 600W King LED grow light, this one makes it on to our list because of the incredible value of price, build quality and excellent customer service from King LED.

The 10W LEDs they use are ultra efficient and have allowed the designers to keep the light nice and compact because only 100 LEDs have to fit on the board.

Even though this light only achieves around 600W when compared to an HID light, the fact that it only draws 180 watts means that it's a lot cheaper to run than some other models. For example, the much more expensive PlatinumLED 450W light above has an equivalent HID rating and consumes almost a 100 watts more power!

This light also runs very cool and quiet.

MarsHydro Reflector 960W

Marshydro Reflector 960W

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  • Output: 960W
  • Consumes: 388W
  • HPS equivalent: 450W

Buying one of these lights on its own makes limited sense because we've suggested options that deliver more useful light for less watts consumed. However, it makes our list because we've seen two of them used together in a 4 x 4 grow tent and the results they were producing was incredible. The compact shape means you can position them for maximum coverage and the addition of 120 degree LEDs gives you more spread of light throughout the tent. Another perfect use case for this light would be as a backup to supplement the vegetative stage.

There was a bit of noise from the fans but the light runs nice and cool even after hours of operation.

G8LED 900W

G8LED 900 Watt

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  • Output: 900W
  • Consumes: 540W
  • HPS equivalent: 1200W

G8LED lights are up there with the most expensive but also the best LED grow lights you can buy. Their 900W version is a total monster and can comfortable replace a 1200W HPS light while only drawing half that at 540 Watts.

They have the highest build quality and the best design in the industry and this is what you're paying for. High Times even awarded this light the best LED grow light in 2016.

This light doesn't have a switch between veg and bloom mode but G8LED add extra red LEDs to their lights that remain on all the time so a separate flowering mode isn't needed.

G8 use LEDs made in the U.S.A (which partly explains the high price) and they have a 2 year warranty on all their lights.

If money is no object for you then you simply can't do any better than G8LED lights.


Understanding full spectrum LED grow lights

All of the lights that made our list are full spectrum LED grow lights. A full spectrum LED grow light is designed to mimic the natural white sunlight that plants receive outdoors and provide a balanced amount of light from different areas of the color spectrum. Many of the best LED grow lights we've listed have modes that can switch the lighting spectrum to optimize for the vegetative and flowering stages of growth.

The science is not totally clear on whether using a full spectrum LED grow light improves growing time and yield. Wikipedia has a great article on the science behind full spectrum lights and the National Lighting Product Information Program  suggest that full spectrum lights don't offer any advantages. Let us know what you think!

Lex Blazer also has a nice overview of how the light spectrum affects growing weed.

What are the advantages of using LED grow lights?

LED grow lights have several advantages over fluorescent and high intensity discharge (HID) grow lights.

  • They give the biggest bud yields of any lighting solution when measured on a per watt basis.
  • Although they can initially be more expensive than other lighting solutions, they last much longer (up to 90,000 hours!) and are the cheapest to run over time.
  • They don’t produce much heat compared to the amount of light they produce and usually come with a heat sink and a built in fan. A separate fan is often not required for LED grow lights.
  • They are simple to set up and can be plugged into a standard wall socket without needing a separate ballast (to limit the current into the electrical circuit).
  • The best LED grow lights are full spectrum lights which means they produce light that is perfect for both the vegetative and flowering stages. This is a big advantage over HID lights that need separate bulbs for the vegetative and growth stages.
  • LED lights are environmentally friendly and easy to dispose off because they don't contain any harsh chemicals.

Just Grow It has a nice video explaining why they chose to switch from HPS to LED lights.

How many LED grow lights do I need?

As you've seen, all the LED lights on our list have very different outputs of usable light and looking at the output watts isn't a reliable measure. The best way to determine how many LED lights you'll need is to do the following:

  1. Calculate the total light you need by aiming for approximately 60 watts per square foot of your grow space area. For example, if you have a 2’ x 4’ grow tent, you have 8 square foot and will need roughly 480 watts of lights.
  2. Match the total watts you calculated with the HPS / MH equivalent output of the LED light or lights you're considering. We've included this data in all our reviews.
  3. Remember that multiple lower powered lights can be a good option to save money and get good coverage!

Read our reviews of the best grow tent for growing weed to understand more about grow tent sizes.

 



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