When you make the decision to invest in your indoor grow, you'll definitely want to learn about the best LED grow lights.
LEDs are regarded as some of the best indoor grow lights on the market, but there are so many out there that it can be tough to weed out the cheap, unreliable brands and models from the legitimate ones. And with the price of some of these grow lights, it's crucial that you do your research before purchasing.
Before you buy an LED, you should make sure its the right light for your grow. We have an entire post on choosing your grow light that can help you compare the different lighting technologies so you can arrive at the right conclusion. Before we get started with our list of the best LED grow lights, we need to cover some basic information on this technology.
What are LED Grow Lights?
LED stands for light-emitting diodes. LED grow lights have rapidly come down in price and home growers everywhere are starting to make the switch to solely using them as their lighting option.
These lighting systems produce extremely low heat, come ready to plug-and-play, and can produce high yields with incredible energy efficiency.
Whereas HIDs require a reflector and ballast for operation, LED lights do not. They can last for decades, whereas HID bulbs will often need to be replaced every couple of years. But, one of the main reasons LED grow lights are regarded as the best is due to the spectrum they produce.
Different types of LED grow lights
LED grow lights are available in different forms, so let’s look at the pros and cons of each so you can find the right LED light for you:
Panels are the most common type of LED grow light and most of our list will consist of LED panels. They include heatsinks for removing heat, a driver (think of it as a ballast), and often come with a warranty. When you think of LED grow lights, you are more than likely thinking of an LED panel, as these are the only type of LED really suitable for full state growth.
- Full spectrum with switches for both the vegetative and flowering stage - can be combined
- Comes ready to plug right into a standard house outlet
- Incredibly long lifespan - the bulbs typically last for decades.
- Most expensive type of LED grow light
Many growers add LED bars as an easy way to expand their lighting footprint or change up their light spectrum. LED Bars are a single row of diodes that come in different spectrums. You typically wouldn't use an LED bar to grow a plant from seed to harvest. Instead, think of these as supplemental lighting to a main light source (maybe HID).
- Can replace T5 fixtures for increase PAR and less energy consumption
- Some units come plug-and-play and can work with a standard 120V house outlet
- Usually only one spectrum with no switching options
- Can usually only be used for supplementing, and multiple bars will need to be purchased if using as sole light type
An LED grow light bulb is exactly what it sounds like - a single LED bulb. Similar to LED bars, you wouldn't want to use one of these to grow plants through flower (usually).
But, they can be a great way to grow small leafy greens or start plants with a full spectrum. You can quickly replace all your old CFL bulbs with LED bulb, which will give you all the added benefits of LED grow lights.
- They will fit into a standard light socket
- Great for mixing and matching for creating your preferred spectrum
- Multiple bulbs required
- A reflective hood may be require
What makes the best LED grow light?
The best LED grow lights have a few things in common - a uniform spectrum, efficiency, high-power, and reliability/durability.
The best LED grow lights have a uniform spectrum, so if you have 4 plants under your light, they all get the same spectrum.
We already touched on spectrum a bit, but its important to reiterate that the best spectrum consists of not just red and blue light, but also infrared (IR) and Ultraviolet (UV).
Full spectrum LEDs allow you to grow from seed to harvest with the same light, as opposed to having to replace bulbs or use different grow lights for veg/flower.
The more light your LED actually gives off, the bigger yields you’ll get (for the most part). So, the best LED grow lights need to be incredibly powerful.
In general, LED grow lights are very efficient. But, the best LED grow lights tend to also be the most efficient. Operating at a high level, producing high power, and maintaining a low cost to run is very important.
Given the cost of LED grow lights, they need to be seen as an investment. Obviously, your investment needs to last you a long time for it to show a return. Therefore, the best LED grow lights are reliable and durable, standing the test of time. All of the lights we will be listing are from the most reputable brands and include some sort of warranty. This will give you peace of mind when you purchase, knowing you are protected.
Best Beginner LED Grow Light
When just starting out, you may not need the most powerful grow light, or even the best all-around grow light. But, that doesn't mean you should buy some cheap Amazon LED that is going to disappoint you with a lackluster harvest.
The all-new Covert LED-X provides a full spectrum of high powered LED light without costing an arm and a leg. The modern open bar design minimizes heat and reduced hot-spots on your plants, while creating an even light footprint.
This is the best beginner LED because it features many of the same benefits of top-tier lights without the huge price tag. It costs just around $10 a month to operate, and is great for tents sized from 2' x 4' all the way to 4' x 4'. If you want this light in a bigger tent, check out the Covert LED-X 500 Watt LED Grow Light.
From a spectrum standpoint, it features a perfect blend of white LEDs and far-red LEDs, contributing to the perfect spectrum for all phases of growth. The Covert LED-X is also very powerful, putting out 525 µmol s-1, and achieving an efficiency of 2.1 µmol s-1 per watt.
With the optional Covert Master Lighting Controller, you can manage on/off times, set a high-temp shutoff point, dim the light up to 50%, and control 2 separate zones or rooms. If you want to start off with a more powerful LED light, maybe the Covert LED-X 500 Watt light is more your style!
Most Powerful LED Grow Light
When it comes to power, there are some incredible LED options. This was a tough choice because there are lots of very powerful LED grow lights, but one stood out to us at the best.
Back Dog LED is one of the most scientific and researched backed companies in the grow lighting industry, and they use this to produce the most powerful LED grow light on the market.
The Black Dog PhytoMAX-2 1000 pulls 1050 Watts from the wall, or 2100 LED watts, which is just incredible. It operates on a 120 or 240 volt outlet, and costs around $45.36 per month to run.
This powerful LED implements 420 high-output 5 watt diodes, which can penetrate a dense canopy and fill out plants in areas that other lights cannot. The true full spectrum on this light ranges from UV to IR (365-750nm), producing the ultimate seed to harvest spectrum. The Black Dog PhytoMAX-2 1000 Watt LED creates a 7' x 7' veg footprint, or a 5' x 5' flower footprint.
You would think this much power may result in excess heat, but you'd be wrong! The PhytoMAX-2 features the largest heat sink in the industry, resulting in superior cooling and increased lifespan of the light. It also contains ultra-quiet and reliable fans to further control temperatures.
If you like the features of this light but don't need that much power, check out the other Black Dog LED models. The PhytoMAX-2 line ranges from 400 Watts - 1000 Watts.
Most Efficient LED Grow Light
LED grow lights are incredibly efficient in general, but what is the most efficient LED grow light? This was a tough choice as well, because smaller LED grow lights tend to run more efficiently than larger ones, so the playing field is not entirely level. Even still, there is a newer LED light that operates at an INSANE efficiency, and once we thought it through was the obvious choice.
Gavita took the industry by storm with their 1650e LED, and quickly made improvements upon it to come out with the Generation 2. We have an entire review of the Gavita Pro 1700e Gen 2 LED, and currently, have it set up in our own grow tent!
We're calling it the most efficient LED, so let's talk about the specifics. Gavita set out to solve a huge problem in the commercial growing industry with this light - efficiency at scale. Because commercial facilities employ large numbers of grow lights, energy costs stack up fast. That's why its important the LEDs used in these facilities are as efficient as possible.
The Gen 2 Gavita Pro operates at an insane efficiency of 2.6 µmol s-1 per watt. It is dimmable up to 50% when paired with the Gavita Master Controller, further increasing this efficiency. Despite also being incredibly powerful, it still costs just $27.91 per month in electricity.
This is an amazing LED grow light, and as you'll see towards the end of this article, efficiency isn't the only thing it wins in.
Best COB LED Grow Light
COB, or Chip On Board, is a newer technology that more and more LED grow lights are starting to employ. It allows the grow light to produce a higher quality of light both in terms of intensity and uniformity. COB grow lights are also more stable, reliable, and tend to have a longer life-span.
The California Lightworks SolarXtreme 1000 is by far the best COB LED grow light currently on the market.
It comes in two options - with or without supplemental UVB light. If you are a serious grower, there is no reason not to add to your spectrum!
This grow light is super easy to use, and provides you with a full, balanced spectrum for all cycles of growing. It also features a new direct AC drive technology, eliminating the need for noisy, inefficient LED drivers.
The California Lightworks SolarXtreme pulls 800 watts from the wall, and only puts out 2550 BTU's of heat. For the power and size of this light, that is not very much!
This beast can fill a veg footprint of 8' x 8', or a flowering footprint of 5' x 5'. You can expect to pay around $34.56 per month to run this light. California Lightworks will appear in more than one instance on our list of the best LED grow lights.
Best commercial LED Grow light
The best commercial grow light will differ greatly from the best grow light for one plant. There is a lot that goes into commerial growing that hobby growers don't even think about, such as compliance, wet rating, etc.
But at the end of the day, a commercial grow light also needs to be super efficient, while producing HUGE yields - and there aren't many lights that check all these boxes.
Making its second appearance on this list is the Gavita Pro 1700e. We really didn't want to have any duplicates on this list, but hear us out.
The Gavita Pro is already the most efficient LED on the market, and also one of the most powerful. It produces 1700 µmol s-1 PAR and pulls 646 watts from the wall. It works incredibly well in commercial grows and greenhouses and carries a manufacturer's warranty of 3 years.
From a compliance standpoint, no other LED on the market can even compete. It features an IP66 Wet rating, and is UL8800 compliant for use in wet environments - making it perfect for commercial growing environments. It is also FCC compliant, and ETL certified.
The Gavita Pro LED is composed of Philips Drivers, Samsung white LEDs, and Osram deep-red LEDs. This light is built to last, and by far the best commercial LED grow light.
Best LED Bar Light
We touched on LED bar lights earlier, but they are generally not used as a primary light source. Rather, LED bar lights are typically used as supplemental lighting.
Serious growers will string bar lights on the sides of their plants to fill out areas that don't get a ton of light, or simply to add in a different spectrum.
KIND produces some of the best LED grow light panels on the market, and their bar lights are no different.
The X Series XD75 is 4' and the XD150 is 8'. From there, you can choose between a veg or blooms spectrum, but these bar lights are not full spectrum.
These bar lights revolutionized supplemental lighting, working as intracanopy, dual-sided lights. They work great in commercial grows because they are ETL listed and have an IP65 rating. Its application is only limited by your imagination.
The X Series produces ideal intensity, and allow for ultimate versatility. If you are looking for supplemental lighting or even just want to grow some leafy greens, you cannot go wrong with the KIND X Series.
Best Cheap LED Grow Light
A cheap grow light doesn't have to be low quality. There are tons of budget-friendly LED options on our site, most of which are single LED bulbs or LED bars. But, you can actually get a pretty great LED panel for under $250!
California Lightwork makes another appearance on our list of the best LED grow lights, this time with the SolarXtreme 250. This small LED is the little brother of the SolarXtreme 1000, which we awarded as the best COB LED grow light.
The SolarXtreme 250 is 200 watts, and fits perfectly in a growing space of 3' x 3'. It operates on 120 volt power source and puts out a full spectrum ideal for all stages of growth.
It is incredibly cheap to run, costing only $8.64 a month in electricity! The California Lightworks SolarXtreme 250 also saves you money on HVAC costs, putting out just 640 BTU's of heat. It comes with a 1-year warranty and is by far the best LED for under $250.
Best LED Grow Light For One Plant
As we mentioned earlier, part of what makes an LED grow light the "best" for a given category is its size. So, it goes without saying that the Gavita Pro would not be the best LED grow light for one plant!
There are plenty of LED grow lights capable of growing just one plant, but generally, when growers focus on just one plant, they want it to be awesome. They want it to grow huge, fill out with dense flowers, and be of the highest quality. So, the LED grow light used needs to be the best.
The Spectrum King Closet Case 100 Watt LED is a single LED bulb that consists of many LED diodes. This results in ultra-targeted LED power.
While most LED bulbs are not sufficient for taking a plant from seed to harvest, the Spectrum King CC100 is different. This powerful LED bulb is full-spectrum, so it can be used during veg AND flower.
We consider this LED bulb the best LED for single plant growing, but it actually has a spectrum of 2.5' x 2.5' while flowering. This is more than enough for one plant.
The Spectrum King CC100 features driverless LED technology, with 90 degree reflectors specially designed to spread light evenly. It also manages heat incredibly well with extra efficient heat sinks.
Best all-around LED grow light
We've shown you some awesome LED grow lights, and we truly do consider these the best of the best. But, if we had to choose just one, which would it be?
For the best all-around LED grow light, we will consider from the perspective of a medium-sized hobby grow or smaller-scale commercial grower.
We consider their largest model the most powerful LED on the market, and Black Dog's PhytoMAX-2 line is the best all-around LED. Most growers will never get a chance to experience the science of Black Dog LED because they are priced at a premium, but they truly are the best.
These LED grow lights are patent-pending and have been built based on 6 years of experience with indoor growing. Here are some of the reasons Black Dog LED PhytoMAX-2 are the best LED lights on the market:
- They source only the finest quality top-bin LED's, from the likes of Cree, Osram, etc.
- Unmatched durability, cleanliness, and efficiency through glass primary lenses.
- Completely uniform coverage, from edge to edge of the footprint to eliminate leaf burn and hot spots.
- ETL certified to UL safety standards
- The most advanced active heat management currently available, which ensures the longest LED life, efficiency, and spectrum stability. These lights also feature the largest heat sink on an LED to date, further cooling the growing space.
- Ultra-long lifespan, over 70,000+ hours of use!
- Phyto-Genesis Spectrum™ is the most efficient spectrum known for growing plants indoors. This is based on their 6 years of research, which showed it to outperform other LEDs, along with HPS/HPS, CMH, T5, etc.
- The spectrum contains not just white, red diodes, but also UV and IR diodes to produce higher potency and active compounds of the plant, and increase photosynthetic activity.
There are many more reasons we consider Black Dog LED the best on the market, but why not find out for yourself? They have an LED for every size grow, from 200 watts all the way to the industry-leading 1,000 watts grow light!
The Best LED Light For Grow Tents
Many growers who use grow tents grow with LEDs. There are a number of reasons for this, but LEDs just work so well in tents. They are low heat which is very important in tents where heat can build up easily.
But, there is a different "best" LED for each size tent. The size of your tent will determine which LED will work best in it.
Best LED Grow Light for 2x4 tent: KIND K3 XL300 210 Watt LED
The best LED in a 2' x 4' grow tent would be the KIND K3 XL300. This 210 watt light fits that footprint perfectly, and is designed with the home grower in mind. With that said, it still packs the punch of the finely tuned spectrum and power that commercial growers utilize.
Here are some of the key features of the KIND K3 XL300 LED:
- Drastically increases quality and potency of flower with enhanced UV diodes. Terpenes and flavanoids will go through the roof!
- Re-calibrated secondary optical lenses focus light intensity and deliver 200% canopy penetration. This leads to a significant increase in flower density and harvest weight.
- The optomized diode distribution leads to fewer hot spots that cheaper LEDs can sometimes produce. This results in balanced, rapid growth across the fixture's footprint.
Best LED Grow Light for 3x3 tent: Covert UFO LED
The Covert UFO LED grow light is brand new to the market, and perfect for a 3' x 3' grow tent. This home grower style of light is shaped like a UFO, and features divots throughout its design to help passively cool the growing environment.
At only 150 watts, this LED costs an insanely low $6.47 per month to operate! It operates at an incredibly efficient 2.1 μmol/s. Its entirely plug and play, and could have been chosen as the best beginner LED, the best cheap LED, and more.
The Covert UFO LED features a balanced spectrum for full-cycle growing. Its perfect for keeping your favorite mother plants/ strains available, but can take a plant from seed to harvest as well. It features even coverage and PAR distribution, along with a PPF of 315 μmol/s which is super powerful for such a small light.
If you have a 3' x 3' tent or smaller, the Covert UFO LED will help you increase yield and quality of your plants.
Best LED Grow Light For 4x4 tent: KIND K5 XL750 430 Watt LED
The best LED for a 4' x 4' grow tent is the KIND K5 XL750. This is the KIND's commerical light, and a big brother to the aforementioned K3 XL 300. If features a lot more power, with over twice the wattage at 430 watts from the wall.
This LED fills out a 4' x 4' footprint perfectly, which is part of why we made it our pick for this tent. But, it goes beyond just being a good match. Its also one of the premier LEDs you'll find in this industry.
It emits virtually no heat, and can significantly increase yields through its perfect mix of 3W and 5W diodes. Here are some of the other features of this incredible LED light:
- Fully customizable spectrum
- Internal timing function with 8-stage 'Mother Earth' function, which imitates the slow rising and descent of the sun, giving your plants the most realistic growing experience possible.
- Fully automated and controllable through a convenient remote
- Pulse Width Modulation Dimming allows the light to only consume as much power as it needs to drive the diodes at their set level of brightness.
- Cost-effective growing, saving you huge on your energy bill
Best LED Grow Light For 5x5 tent: Gavita Pro 1700e Gen 2 LED Grow Light
Yes, this is the Gavita Pro LED's third appearance on this list. But, we stand by that! This truly is one of the best LED grow lights on the market, and it fits a 5' x 5' footprint to near perfection. That is why we consider it to be the best LED for a 5' x 5' grow tent.
Other than the footprint, it works so well in grow tent through its open bar design. Because heat can build up so easily in tents, its important that your light does not contribute to this. The Gavita Pro does just this, making it an awesome choice for 5' x 5' grow tents.
This light is incredibly versatile and can be used by commercial growers or serious hobbyists. Regardless of how you grow, you cannot go wrong with the Gavita Pro LED!
Need help choosing an LED grow light?
These are the best LED grow lights on our site, but they may not be the best for you. Every grow is unique, and we recognize that! If you want help selecting an LED grow light, or have any questions about which one is best for you, reach out to our experts at 888-815-9763.