California Lightworks SolarXtreme 500 vs. Phlizon CREE COB LED 400w

California Lightworks SolarXtreme 500 vs. Phlizon CREE COB LED 400w

The California Lightworks SolarXtreme 500 and Phlizon CREE COB LED 400w grow lights incorporate higher-quality COB (Chip-on-Board) LED diodes. COB LEDs, which offer many advantages over traditional LEDs, are a more affordable design that works well in smaller grow rooms. Operating efficiency increases in importance with power limits for commercial growers having been lowered by regulators in multiple states.

Quite a few of you have asked for this comparison, just the latest in an extensive GrowersHouse project to test all the lights we sell for performance factors. A comparison of these two grow lights is appropriate, since they both use COB design and come from companies that are relatively new to the industry.

Both LED fixtures incorporate direct AC drive technology, which eliminates LED drivers. That reduces weight and size. Lower operating costs and higher PAR efficiencies appeal to any growers.

As you read details below, you will find differences:

  • The California Lightworks SolarXtreme is more expensive to buy but cheaper to operate. It has all COB diodes, so it has superior coverage and probably a longer life. Its spectrum exhibits more deep red and infrared. The SolarXtreme has a 3-year warranty. It’s available from GrowersHouse.
  • The Phlizon CREE COB LED 400W has fewer COB LEDs mixed with some older-style LEDs, so it’s not as energy efficient. It provides less consistent coverage, but its spectrum better penetrates the canopy and has high levels of green, IR and UV. The Phlizon has a 2-year warranty. It is not sold by GrowersHouse.

Both fixtures have high PAR efficiencies: 2.25 umols/J for the California Lightworks SolarXtreme and 2.33 umols/J (b/t 380-780 nm) for the Phlizon CREE COB LED 400.

The following table, which closely compares the specifications of the SolarXtreme and Phlizon LED lights, shows in detail how they stack up.

LED Specs Compared

Discussion: The SolarXtreme uses only COB LEDs, while the Philzon has a combination of COB and traditional LEDs. The COB (Chip-on-Board) diodes in both lights provide:

  • Better diode stability at higher power levels.
  • Broader PAR spectrum coverage from a single diode.
  • Lower thermal resistance.
  • Longer life.
LED Specifications California Lightworks SolarXtreme 500 LED Phlizon CREE COB 400W LED
Wattage (Input Power) 400w 451w
Voltage Options 100-240v 100-265v
PAR Efficiency (umol/J) [380-780nm] 2.25 2.33
Total PPF Intensity (umols/sec) [380-780nm] 900 1,050
PPFD Intensity (umols/m2/sec) [380-780nm] 800 (@ 18”H), 500 (@ 24”H) 940 (@ 18”H)
LED Diodes Proprietary CLW (8) COB (Chip-on-Board): Full Spectrum (4) CREE Brand COB (Chip-on-Board) | (68)(630-660nm) | (10)(470nm) | (6)(cool-white) | (4)(warm-white) | (4)(410nm-UV) | (4)(740nm-IR)
Amps 4 @ 100v | 3.3 @ 120v | 1.67 @ 240v 4.51 @ 100v | 3.76 @ 120v | 1.88 @ 240v
Mounting Height 18” – 24” From Canopy 18” - 24” From Canopy
Coverage Footprint Veg Up to 5’ x 5’ Up to 5’ x 5’
Coverage Footprint Flower Up to 4’ x 4’ Up to 4’ x 4’
Length 18” (45.7 cm) 21.25” (54 cm)
Width 8.5” (21.6 cm) 12.2” (31 cm)
Height 4” (10.2 cm) 3.15” (8 cm)
Weight 11 lbs 13.5 lbs
Warranty 3 years 2 years
Controllable No No
DLC Listed for energy rebates Yes No
IP Rating N/A N/A
UV and/or IR spectra IR Only Both UV and IR
Dimming No No
Cooling Active (fan-based) Active (fan-based)
Heat Output (BTUs) 1,280 N/A


Since the SolarXtreme uses only COB diodes, it is expected to last longer and produce better overall stability. The Phlizon, on the other hand, produces a more ideal PAR spectrum (as shown in the graphic below) with the addition of several useful wavelengths, including both IR and UV radiation. The SolarXtreme COBs do release significant levels of deep red and IR radiation, but not UV, which if present can help increase resin content.
The SolarXtreme LED, which has a warranty that is one year longer, is eligible for a DLC energy rebate to defray installation. The Phlizon is not listed yet for DLC energy rebates.

Spectrum Differences

The spectrums produced by the California Lightworks SolarXtreme 500 and Phlizon CREE COB 400W LED lights from 380-780nm are shown in the first graphic below, along with the absorption spectrums for chlorophyll and carotenoids:

California Lightworks SolarXtreme 500 vs. Phlizon CREE COB LED 400w

California Lightworks SolarXtreme 400 and Phlizon CREE COB LED 400w led light spectrum comparisonCalifornia Lightworks SolarXtreme 400 and Phlizon CREE COB LED 400w led light spectrum comparison

Below, a second graphic includes additional LED spectrums from the well-established brands, including Growers Choice, Fluence and HLG, for direct comparison:

CA Lightworks vs Phlizon vs Growers Choice vs Fluence vs HLG

CA Lightworks vs Phlizon vs Growers Choice vs Fluence vs HLG light spectrum comparisonCA Lightworks vs Phlizon vs Growers Choice vs Fluence vs HLG light spectrum comparison

Discussion: (Graphic 1) A significant difference between the spectrums of the SolarXtreme and Phlizon LEDs are clearly observed, with the SolarXtreme producing slightly greater levels of red (0.95 vs 0.9) and deep red (0.6 vs 0.3), while the Phlizon produces greater levels of UV, blue (1.0 vs 0.6), green and yellow wavelengths.

Generally, greater levels of red (600nm) and deep red (660nm) light are used during reproduction, while greater levels of blue (450nm) are used during vegetative growth. In this case the LEDs use sufficient levels of both red and blue radiation, meaning they can cultivate both vegetative and reproductive crops.

Overall, the Phlizon LED incorporates a more useful PAR spectrum incorporating relatively high intensities of all important wavelengths as well as others that promote higher resin content and yields, including UV, IR and green.

The SolarXtreme does exhibit a much greater deep red intensity and IR spectrums compared with other LED models because of the COB diodes.

(Graphic 2) Here we see that the Phlizon spectrum conforms to those produced by the Growers Choice, Fluence and HLG LEDs more closely than the SolarXtreme LED does. With elevated green and yellow radiation, the Phlizon LED is better able to penetrate crop canopies, keeping the lower parts of the crop healthier, while also boosting yields over a longer period of time. High intensities of both blue and red radiation ensure ideal growth through vegetative and boom phases.

One advantage the SolarXtreme appears to exhibit over other grow LEDs, including the Phlizon, is a higher intensity of deep red radiation, which is especially vital to reproduction. The IR spectrum also is elevated and is likely due to the wide spectral output unique to COB diodes.

PAR Grid Chart

Take a look at the PAR grid chart below for the Phlizon CREE COB 400W LED. Unfortunately this is the only PAR chart available at this time as the California Lightworks PAR chart is still in the works.

plizon 400w grow light PAR chartplizon 400w grow light PAR chart

Discussion: Probably the weakest characteristic of the Phlizon CREE COB 400W LED is its relatively low PAR uniformity, especially when compared with other grow LEDs. Over a 2’ x 2’ grow area the PPFD drops significantly, by as much as 77.2%, whereas the PPFD of similar high-end LEDs, including the HLG 600 R-Spec, drops only by about a third.

One way to counter this is by using two Phlizon LEDs over a 4’ x 4’ area to help maximize uniformity. Considering the fixtures' far lower purchase cost, this may be a prefered setup for some growers in comparison to using a single, more costly, higher-power LED. There’s a big drawback to doing that, however: Just one Phlizon can cost an additional $227 to run for one year compared with one SolarXtreme. Two Phlizons would boost the annual electric bill by as much as 225% over one SolarXtreme, or $674.

Although a PAR chart doesn’t exist for the SolarXtreme 500, the uniformity exhibited by the LED is likely superior to the Phlizon, since it uses a significantly more powerful array of COB LED diodes, which exhibit wider grow-area coverage.

California Lightworks SolarXtreme 500 vs. Phlizon CREE COB 400W LED Cost Comparison

  California Lightworks SolarXtreme 500 LED Phlizon CREE COB 400W LED
Estimated Fixture Cost $470 $280
Adapter for Controller N/A N/A
Controller No No
Cost to run per month @ $0.13 per kWh (US average)(12-16 hr DLI) $18.72 (12-hr DLI) – $24.96 (16-hr DLI) @ 400w $30.42 (12-hr DLI) – $40.56 (16-hr DLI) @ 650w


Discussion: The Phlizon LED light is a more ideal selection when it comes to purchase cost, since the fixture is 40% cheaper. Overall, this is a great deal, considering what you are getting, the highly effective PAR spectrum produced, and an unlikely requirement for supplementation for UV or IR spectrums.

That being said, the reason for this large price difference is because the SolarXtreme incorporates higher-quality parts overall and, therefore, has a better build quality. The SolarXtreme is likely to last longer, reflected in its longer warranty. The SolarXtreme is also expected to have better PAR uniformity over a 4’ x 4’ grow area, since it uses more COB LEDs, which have far superior coverage compared with traditional LEDs.

Deals & Bulk Discounts on California Lightworks

How can I find deals and discounts on the SolarXtreme 500 and Phlizon Cree COB 400W? We offer priodic discounts on LEDs that we sell including the California Lightworks SolarXtreme (we don't currently sell the Phlizon). If you find this light cheaper somewhere else, please call or email our staff to allow us the opportunity to beat it with our 100% price match guarantee. You can also sign up for our email list to get notified of discounts on LEDs as we announce them.

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