Last updated: May 29, 2020
Full-spectrum LEDs are a very tempting option for growers these days. They operate at a fraction of the electrical cost of other systems while still offering bright, penetrating light that can make massive yields. However, slogging through the giant list of manufacturers and reviews on the web can take the wind out of your sails pretty quickly, especially when you don’t know exactly what to look for.
Accidentally settling on a “day-light” spectrum bulb, only to find out that it doesn’t produce the non-visible light waves that our plants crave is a big letdown, especially after shelling out some serious cash for it.
We have gone through a lot of full-spectrum LEDs here, and have compiled a list of our favorites that work well on most cannabis grows to peruse at your leisure.
A powerhouse of a system with 1000W equivalent LEDs, the King Plus LED Grow Light offers functionality for both vegetative and flowering states while maintaining a great quality at a fair price. The only thing that could be improved is the fans. They work well but get fairly loud after a lot of use. Nothing crazy, but they can be heard from the next room over.
You’ll get used to to the noise, depending on how close you are to the grow. The King Plus powers its lights consistently without overheating things, but if a completely silent build is what you’re after, this might not be the choice. For everyone else, this is a great price for a very powerful LED that offers full-spectrum coverage as well as bloom and vegetative modes. Highly recommended.
A budget version of the aforementioned King Plus, it offers similar lighting potential but skimps slightly on build quality. It’s a 1000w equivalent lighting system with both vegetative and flower modes that can be toggled with the flick of a switch. Recommended to just use one or the other on this one, but it can technically use both at the same time.
Specifically, the aluminum feels thin, the fan is also noisy, and we lost a couple of bulbs on our first lamp pretty quickly. Luckily, they did replace the system pretty quickly, and they offer a 24-month warranty in case this happens to you.
The price is very low, so it is impressive it functions as good as it does. It’s well worth a shot if budget is a concern, as the Giixer is one of the best full spectrum LED grow lights for the money out there.
This is a very bright grow light, in the sense that you don’t want to look directly at this thing.
It’s impressive the amount of power that they can get out of these LEDs nowadays, these rivals much hotter running HPS systems.
The price is a bit more than some of the cheaper LEDs on this list, but the amount of light that comes out of this for the power used may end up paying for itself in the long run. There’s a bit of heat that comes off of this, nothing that can’t be handled through a bit of circulation, but it’s something else to keep an eye on during use.
It does run pretty quiet as well, surprising for the amount of power being produced. Other than that, we’re very happy with this light and if the budget permits it’s a great choice.
VIPARSPECTRA’s 900w LED is a cool and quiet grow light ideal for small enclosed environments, though lacks a bit of power compared to others in the price range. That’s not to say this won’t grow a couple of medium-sized plants into flowering stages, because it will, but for the price, we have seen brighter.
Don’t discount the quality of life that a very cool and quiet running system can offer though, if you are already facing ventilation issues then this may be a great choice as it doesn’t add much heat to the system. The VIPARSPECTRA V900 misses out on the top 3 because it’s better under those specific circumstances, but it’s still a nice lamp.
Very similar to the previously mentioned VIPARSPECTRA, but runs quite hot and the fan is very loud. The Philzon’s budget price is nice but it isn’t as powerful as 1000W budget lamps. This one is meant to run with either or both switches activated, which might account for why the fan is so loud. It runs hot like this, but not exactly scary.
It’s an alright system that just barely misses the mark compared to other models in its price range. The good news is, from what we’ve seen and heard, it seems quite reliable.
Day-light spectrum lights, such as this, are a great way to get a crop going but tend to lack some of the punch of other lights when it gets to the flower stages. This is because issues with them not putting out much light outside our visual range.
The good news is that this light runs very cool, is virtually silent, and still can handle some serious large plants. It still isn’t ideal though, so should be considered best in small, stealth grows or nurseries. There also seems to be a few structural issues with the support on the Mars Hydro, the ratchets are a poor-quality plastic that may lead to issues in the future.
It works well out of the box, though, and the price is very reasonable.
SAMSUN chips are an attempt to limit some of the light scatter of LED diodes in the hopes of using less light and power for the same overall effect. BESTVA’s take on the SAMSUN chip LED is pretty standard for what we’ve seen, in that they are very bright for the amount of power being, but we’re still not clear if it’s a good trade-off yet.
It all runs quite cool and it will grow a couple of plants quite well, though the penetration may be lacking for larger grows. It is generally better to not be on the bleeding edge of LED tech, as though it will end up being the standard in the near future, right now it seems a bit overpriced and unreliable.
We will probably see more SAMSUN style LEDs being used in the future, but for now, more powerful lights with a reflector would do a better job.
KINGBO GL45 is a 45W LED panel light that has the equivalent brightness of a 100W HPS bulb. This is a very good light for the specific purpose of a small, single plant grow or as a supplementary system to add some extra brightness in a room but isn’t recommended for much else.
Using this in a closet to test the waters of indoor growing at a low price seems like what this was built for, and it does a good job at that. A very quiet system with no noticeable heat at all, it’s surprisingly bright for the amount of power being used. A good buy for very small operations, but limited uses beyond that.
Listed as a 1200W equivalent, the GREENGO GG-A1200 doesn’t quite reach the advertised luminosity. In reality, this system does the work of a 600-800W HPS system, while consuming very little power. This is a good thing, but the misleading advertising throws us off the product a bit.
It’s a decent choice for a small to medium size grow, but there are bright products in the price range. It runs fairly cool as well, but the three fans inside the housing are quite noisy.
Another SAMSUN chip LED with slightly misleading claims, at a fairly high price. The FINNEST Reflector claims to offer the equivalent of a 1000W LED, while only using a quarter of the power. Maybe under specific conditions, but the reality is we didn’t see it get that bright and the extra money could easily be spent on other parts of the grow.
It’s still a nice bulb, the reliability of it seems there, and the remote is a nice touch for ease of use, but the misleading claims on these sorts of fixtures turn us off recommending them. All this is to say, this is a light that is more powerful than the small package it comes in looks and it will grow plants to blooming very well.
It’s just a bit overpriced and overhyped due to the new tech being used in it.
Choosing to use a full-spectrum LED is a great way to save on running costs for a grow and a great way to keep temperatures and noise down as well.
The tradeoff for this is being a bit wary about how much light is being produced and the spectrum that is hitting the plants. Let’s take a look at some things to take into account when purchasing a full-spectrum LED.
An ideal full-spectrum light will be producing light colors outside of the visible range of human eyes, as plants respond well to UV and IR radiation depending on the stage of growth they are in.
Many lesser brands of “full-spectrum” lights miss out on this aspect of growing plants and leave the purchaser in a bit of a bind when the plants are halfway done growing and start hitting an energy limit.
Lights that have vegetative and blooming or flowering functions tend to be the ones to go for as they have included this issue into their design, though there are quite a few single setting lights that really can produce even in these ranges.
So, the wattage claimed by LED lamps can be a bit misleading. Some advertise their “equivalent” to HPS bulb rating while others will show their actual wattage used. Watch out for this and read the finer details.
Two different LED bulbs claiming 700W can have completely different brightness, especially dependent on the spectrum they’re in and the chips being used in the system. In the fine print of most products is the true wattage. As a general rule of thumb, LEDs work at about double the power efficiency of HPS systems. Some are more, some are less, but it’s a good guess.
So, if a bulb is claiming to be 700W, and it uses around 350W of power, then it most likely will be in that power range. However, if it is claiming something ludicrous like 150W use but 700W equivalence, then something is up. This also doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad bulb either, it could just be bad packaging.
One of the key benefits of using LEDs is how low impact their use can be on an electrical bill and the temperature of the area they are in. However, once you start getting into the bigger and more powerful lights there can still be a lot of noise and heat being produced by these systems.
Yes, it’s much less than an HPS equivalent light without a doubt, but as 1200w equivalent LED is still going to warm up a room and potentially be heard from outside the area depending on if any sound-proofing has been added. The power bill will go up as well, these are not small lamps.
It’s a thing to think about when designing a grow-op and deciding how big to expand. Don’t stretch too far, start small and ramp things up as you feel more comfortable.
Diodes go out from time to time, but as a whole, LED systems last quite a while compared to other lamps. That is, if they’re well-built. Issues can come up with LED boards that aren’t meant to be run for thousands of hours causing part of them to flare out, making the whole system much less powerful. Depending on which lights, it might affect the spectrum it produces as well.
Well-built full-spectrum LED system does not have this issue, so dig deep into some reviews and see if it’s an issue that other people have faced. Sometimes it can be worth it to risk this as well if you don’t plan on using that lamp for multiple grows.
A cheap LED board might not last and last like a more expensive one, but they can still get the job done for a little while.
The last thing we’ll talk about with these full-spectrum LEDs is their use in small and enclosed grows. The small heat produced by their low power makes them an ideal candidate to turn a cabinet or small closet into what is essentially a greenhouse.
Lower powered and quiet lamps are ideal here, as even LEDs can heat such a small space. When set up correctly, these spaces can produce some magnificent quality specimens of cannabis, even if the yield is a bit lowered due to the lack of space.
Even the more high-powered LED system can be countered by a bit of ventilation. A good exhaust fan and intake go a long way in a small space, both for filtering smells and keeping the air quality good.
Don’t assume you won’t need to use an exhaust rig, just because you’re using a low power LED, but you may be able to skimp on a fair amount of circulation if you are cautious with your bulb choice.
Full-spectrum LEDs are technologically complicated, but shopping for them doesn’t have to be. Look for products like the King Plus LED Grow Light, as it’s a great all-around lamp at a good price.
If you’re worried about light penetration and want to ensure the canopy is being fully penetrated, then the Apollo Horticulture GL140X5LED LED Grow Light isn’t that much more expensive than the other options here, and it is surprisingly powerful for the cost.
Otherwise, take into account what kind of space you’re dealing with and the cost you’re willing to spend and take a look through the options here. We hope you can find something useful.
Featured Image Credit By: KINGBO Full Spectrum Reflector, Amazon
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