The Best LED Grow Lights of 2022

Help your indoor plants and vegetables thrive with high-quality LED grow lights.

By Savannah Sher | Updated Jun 8, 2022 2:06 PM

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The Best LED Grow Lights Option

Photo: depositphotos.com

When attempting to grow vegetables indoors or to start plants from seed, natural light isn’t always enough, especially in colder climates or seasons. Though some houseplants can survive in low lighting conditions, others need added light from grow lights.

Light-emitting diode (LED) grow lights are the go-to pick for many home gardeners, because they’re energy-efficient and eco-friendly options, and they can produce full-spectrum light. LED grow lights are different from the standard LED bulbs such as those used in home light fixtures. Read on to learn more about how to choose the best LED grow lights for your home.

  1. BEST OVERALL: MARS HYDRO TS-1000 Led Grow Light
  2. BEST BUDGET: Juhefa LED Grow Lights, Full Spectrum Grow Lamp
  3. BEST TRADITIONAL: VIPARSPECTRA 300W LED Grow Light
  4. BEST SPREAD-STYLE: SPIDER FARMER SF-4000 LED Grow Light
  5. BEST COB: Phlizon COB Series 2000W LED Plant Grow Light 
  6. BEST FULL-SPECTRUM: VIPARSPECTRA P1500 LED Grow Light
  7. BEST FOR BEGINNERS: LEOTER Grow Light for Indoor Plants
The Best LED Grow Lights Option

Photo: amazon.com

Types of LED Grow Lights

LED grow lights come in a variety of forms. Learning about the most popular ones can help you choose a suitable type for your indoor garden.

Spread-Style

Spread-style LED lights have many small individual lights spread out over their entire surface area, which makes them effective in providing light to a large number of plants. The two main subcategories of spread lights are spider-style and quantum board.

  • Quantum board lights use a large number of small LED grow lights spread out over a relatively large, flat surface area. They use full-spectrum white LED diodes and typically feature passive cooling, allowing the plants to be placed immediately under them without the danger of too much heat emission.
  • Spider-style lights feature multiple LEDs on narrow “arms” in an open bar design rather than on a solid board. These tend to be more expensive than quantum board lights.

Chip on Board (COB)

Chip on board (COB) lights feature a number of tiny LEDs placed close together on a single chip, resulting in a single powerful point of light. While the center point of the area they cover receives optimal lighting, they don’t offer the same level of widespread, equal coverage as spread-style LEDs.

Since they’re so powerful, COB lights often emit more heat than other types of LEDs and may require the use of fans to cool down the area. They use full-spectrum white LED diodes and provide deeper canopy penetration than spread-style LEDs.

Traditional 

Traditional LED grow lamps are usually compact, making them a good choice for small spaces. They use LEDs that provide medium power and typically feature multicolored LEDs that cover the full spectrum of color frequencies, unlike white LEDs. This gives their light a colorful appearance that indoor growers might or might not like.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best LED Grow Lights

The following sections detail some of the most important qualities to keep in mind when shopping for the best LED grow lights for your needs.

Light Spectrum 

Natural sunlight features all the colors on the electromagnetic spectrum. Some LED lights can reproduce only certain color frequencies, while full-spectrum white LED lights produce all the hues necessary for every stage of the growing process.

  • Blue light helps plants grow in the earliest stages of their lives. It’s the first color plants can absorb in their vegetative state.
  • Purple light is also used in the vegetative state; however, it’s not as effective for photosynthesis as blue light.
  • Red light helps in the latter stages of growing and is essential for buds to flower.
  • White light encompasses all the colors of the spectrum. Used alone, it can be effective for every developmental stage.

Power 

It’s a bit difficult to compare LED grow lights because manufacturers use a variety of metrics to measure the power of their lights and the amount of light they emit. The brightness of LED lights is measured in lumens. Seedlings require approximately 2,000 lumens per square foot to thrive, while flowering plants may need as much as 10,000 lumens.

While lumens measure visible light, biologists often use photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) or photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) to measure light intensity in terms of the light that indoor plants will actually absorb. PPF is measured in μmol/second (or micromoles per second), which is the number of photons of light emitted every second. PPFD is also measured in micromole/m2/s and measures the density of light distributed per square meter per second. The higher the PPF and PPFD, the more effective the light should be.

Heat Output

One of the risks when using a grow light is that the heat emitted by the bulbs can damage your plants. However, LED lights give off very little heat relative to the amount of light they produce. But they do produce some heat, so many models are equipped with built-in cooling systems to ensure proper temperature regulation.

Some LED lights have aluminum heat sinks, and others come equipped with fans. A unit with a fan might be loud, so factor noise level into your choice when selecting a grow light.

Coverage and Wattage

To choose the right plant grow light, you’ll first need to establish how much coverage you need. To do this, group the plants together and measure the square footage they take up. Most grow lights will clearly list the coverage they provide.

To establish how much electricity a light uses, look for its “actual power draw” or “actual power consumption.” This is measured in watts and gives a good indication of the light’s power. Bulb wattage is not a good indicator because LEDs are designed to be energy efficient.

Connectivity 

Many LED grow lights are designed to link to other units to cover larger areas, which is typically referred to as “daisy-chain connectivity.” Products with this capability simply plug into each other and then plug into one outlet, which minimizes the number of cords required for setup.

Our Top Picks

The following picks consider the features described, including light spectrum, power, and heat output. This list offers choices for a top-notch LED grow light in various categories, available in a range of price points.

Best Overall

The Best LED Grow Lights Option: MARS HYDRO TS 1000W Led Grow Light
Photo: amazon.com

The spread-style MARS HYDRO TS-1000W LED grow light is a panel light that features 342 tiny LED bulbs. This energy-efficient light uses only 150 watts of actual power, with a PPFD of 743 micromole/m2/s at a distance of 18 inches. It produces full-spectrum white light and can encourage plant growth at every stage of the growing process. The lights are dimmable and have daisy-chain functionality to connect a maximum of 15 units using only one electrical outlet.

Use a single lamp to cover 2.5 square feet for the flowering stage and 3 square feet for the vegetative stage. Because it regulates temperature internally, this grow light has no fan, ensuring quiet operation.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Spread-style
  • Coverage: 3 feet by 3 feet
  • Wattage: 150W
  • Dimensions: 14.2 by 13.2 by 1.4 inches

Pros

  • 342 full-spectrum white LEDs
  • Low power draw
  • Operates quietly

Cons

  • Requires installation

Get the MARS HYDRO LED grow light on Amazon and at Walmart.

Best Budget

The Best LED Grow Lights Option: Juhefa LED Grow Lights, Full Spectrum Panel Grow Lamp
Photo: amazon.com

Beginner home gardeners who aren’t ready to take the plunge and invest in a pricey lighting setup can use a relatively inexpensive solution, like these Juhefa LED Grow Lights with full-spectrum capabilities. The product uses a combination of blue, purple, red, and white lights.

The PPFT is 105 micromole/m2/s when the light is 12 inches from the plant. The light covers an area of 1.2 feet by 3 feet at a height of 2 feet. This grow light package includes a steel hanging kit and power cord for easy installation

Product Specs 

  • Type: Traditional
  • Coverage: 1.2 feet by 3 feet
  • Wattage: 25W
  • Dimensions: 12 by 4.7 by 1.2 inches

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Full-spectrum light capabilities
  • Includes steel hanging kit

Cons

  • Low coverage

Get the Juhefa LED grow light on Amazon.

Best Traditional

The Best LED Grow Lights Option: VIPARSPECTRA UL Certified 300W LED Grow Light
Photo: amazon.com

This VIPARSPECTRA grow light offers a full spectrum of color with 12 wavelengths of color output. It has an actual power draw of only 130 watts and is UL certified for safe operation. At a height of 12 inches, its PPFD is 811 micromole/m2/s.

The unit covers 2 square feet at a height of 24 inches or 1.5 square feet at a height of 18 inches. Daisy-chain functionality allows it to connect to other units for a larger lighting setup. The light has aluminum cooling heat sinks as well as a quiet fan for optimal heat dispersal.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Traditional
  • Coverage: 2 feet by 2 feet
  • Wattage: 130W
  • Dimensions: 12.8 by 8 by 2.8 inches

Pros

  • High PPFD
  • Includes daisy-chain functionality
  • Quiet fan
  • Full-spectrum color

Cons

  • Low coverage

Get the VIPARSPECTRA LED grow light on Amazon and at Walmart.

Best Spread-Style

The Best LED Grow Lights Option: SPIDER FARMER SF-4000 LED Grow Light
Photo: amazon.com

Dedicated home gardeners looking to upgrade their setup may need the power supplied by the SPIDER FARMER SF-4000 LED Grow Light. It’s larger than many grow lights, so one unit can cover a large surface area. For an even larger setup, the light has daisy-chain functionality, allowing growers to connect up to 12 lights.

This SPIDER FARMER light is powerful, with a maximum PPFD of 2479 micromole/m2/s at a height of 12 inches. Because of this extra power, however, it consumes a lot of energy for an LED fixture, requiring 450 watts of electricity.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Spread-style
  • Coverage: 5 feet by 5 feet
  • Wattage: 450W
  • Dimensions: 25.3 b 21.1 by 2.3 inches

Pros

  • High coverage
  • Powerful performance
  • Includes daisy-chain functionality

Cons

  • High energy consumption

Get the SPIDER FARMER LED grow light on Amazon

Best Cob

The Best LED Grow Lights Option: Phlizon CREE Cob Series 2000W LED Plant Grow Light
Photo: amazon.com

The COB Series 2000W LED Plant Grow Light from Phlizon combines full-spectrum white COB lights and multicolored LEDs to provide recommended light frequencies for every growing phase. The fixture has four COB lights, two with a warmer color temperature and two with a cooler temperature. It also contains red, purple, and blue LEDs.

At a height of 12 inches, these lights offer a PPFD of 2573 micromole/m2/s. The actual power draw is 400 watts, with a maximum grow area of around 4 square feet. This COB model offers multiple settings, each optimized to provide the ideal amount of light for both the vegetative and flowering phases of your plants.

Product Specs 

  • Type: COB
  • Coverage: 2 feet by 2 feet
  • Wattage: 400W
  • Dimensions: 21.26 by 12.2 by 3.15 inches

Pros

  • Includes full-spectrum COB lights and multicolored LEDs
  • Multiple light settings available
  • High PPFD

Cons

  • High energy consumption

Get the Phlizon LED grow light on Amazon.

Best Full-Spectrum

The Best LED Grow Lights Option: VIPARSPECTRA P1500 LED Grow Light
Photo: amazon.com

The VIPARSPECTRA P1500 LED Grow Light is one of the best full-spectrum LED grow lights on the market. It features the right type of light to help plants thrive during all of their developmental stages, mimicking the effect of natural sunlight. When positioned 12 inches from the plants, this light offers a PPFD of 1353 micromole/m2/s.

This model is fanless, making it totally silent. It instead uses solid aluminum heat sinks to help dissipate residual heat. It’s able to cover 3 square feet during the vegetative stage and 2.5 square feet during the flowering phase, all while consuming just 150 watts of energy.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Spread-style
  • Coverage: 3 feet by 3 feet
  • Wattage: 150W
  • Dimensions: 13.7 by 11 by 2.6 inches

Pros

  • Includes dimmer function
  • Silent fanless design
  • Features full-spectrum light

Cons

  • Low PPFD

Get the VIPARSPECTRA LED grow light on Amazon and at Walmart.

Best for Beginners

The Best LED Grow Lights Option: LEOTER Grow Light for Indoor Plants
Photo: amazon.com

Beginners looking to try out LED grow lights will appreciate the affordable price and impressive performance of this option from LEOTER. It has a gooseneck design and features 80 LEDs—36 red, 16 blue, and 28 full spectrum—providing plenty of options for various vegetative growing stages. Users can try out the device’s three light- spectrum modes and 10 dimmable modes to establish what works best for their plants.

It’s equipped with a timer, allowing users to set the light to operate for 3, 9, or 12 hours at a time without having to worry about manually turning it off. This light lacks the specific coverage of some types, but with its gooseneck design on four lights and 360-degree rotation, beginners get some easy flexibility.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Traditional
  • Coverage: Not specified
  • Wattage: Not specified
  • Dimensions: 13.51 by 5.48 by 3.31 inches

Pros

  • Includes timer
  • Dimmable
  • Can be powered using USB or AC power plug
  • Includes aluminum heat sink

Cons

  • Coverage and wattage not listed

Get the LEOTER LED grow light on Amazon.

Our Verdict

After reviewing this guide, you should now know more about shopping for plant grow lights for your indoor plants. We recommend the MARS HYDRO grow light for its low power consumption, full-spectrum LEDs, and relatively affordable price. Those on a budget may appreciate the Juhefa full-spectrum grow lamp, which offers great performance at a lower price point.

How We Chose the Best LED Grow Lights

Years of experience covering home and garden products as well as extensive product research went into creating this guide. We explored more than 25 options for LED growing lights and weighed a number of practical considerations before making our recommendations.

Since different types of plants require different color frequencies of light in order to thrive, we chose grow lights with full-spectrum white LEDs as well as options that featured specific colors for particular plant needs. To provide variety for shoppers, we opted to feature options for traditional, spread-style, and chip on board (COB) lights. We aimed to primarily include LED grow lighting that features a low actual power draw to ensure low energy costs and prevent excess power consumption.

FAQs 

For readers who still have questions about LED plant lights, here are some answers to some commonly asked questions.

Q: Which lights do professional growers use? 

Cheap LED grow lights for vegetables won’t perform at the same level as those used by professional growers. Professionals generally use high-intensity discharge lamps (HID) or fluorescents, though the industry is shifting to favor LEDs. Because of their energy efficiency, LEDs are a better choice for home use.

Q: How many watts per plant do I need?

When comparing the power of various grow lights, look at the “actual power draw” or “actual power consumption” in watts. Generally speaking, grow lights should use 32 watts per square foot of grow space at the absolute minimum, though 50 to 80 watts per square foot is ideal.

The actual brightness of LED lights is measured in lumens rather than watts, which is another way of measuring light intensity. Vegetables typically require 2,200 lumens per square foot, while other plants generally need approximately 1,375 lumens per square foot.

Q: How far should LED lights be from plants?

LED lights should generally be at least 12 inches above your plants to prevent leaf burn.

Q: What advantages do LED grow lights have over HPS lights? 

LED grow lights are more energy efficient than high-pressure sodium (or HPS) lights. They also emit less heat, which means you don’t have to worry as much about temperature regulation.