Best LED Grow Lights of 2020 Comparison & Review Test Using Laboratory Data

14 minute read · March 3, 2020

We're doing something no one has ever done before--well, sort of. Using light laboratory data we are reviewing the best LED grow lights for PPF, umol/Joule, efficiency, and output from some of the top brands making LED grow lights. We're trying to find the best LED grow lights currently available in the market. Each LED company who takes their craft seriously focuses on buying high quality components that will last a long time (read: not fail within 2 years) and have high efficiency/output ratings. To test for the best LED grow lights comprehensively, you really need to send them to a laboratory that will will run the light through a battery of instrumentation.

Lights included in this test--thus far (we're continually testing LED models):

  1. California Light Works GH Pro 340 LED Grow Light
  2. California Light Works Solar Storm 550 LED Grow Light
  3. Fluence SPYDR 2i LED Grow Light
  4. Fluence SPYDR 2p LED Grow Light
  5. Gavita Pro 1700e LED Grow Light
  6. HLG 550 V2 R-Spec LED Grow Light
  7. HLG 650R LED Grow Light
  8. NextLight Mega LED Grow Light - 650W


This is not your normal 5' x 5' grid where you use a lumen meter. That can be somewhat helpful, but we're going to use testing done at UL and Light Laboratory Inc., which are independent 3rd party light laboratories that do not have an incentive to make one brand look better than another. These are the same laboratories that most LED manufacturers use to test when designing their lights.

Each test from these companies is not cheap. For all the testing that we're requesting, the bill can run up to about $1,500 per light. This was no cheap endeavor, but we wanted to create the most unbiased, comprehensive, and informative comparison review test on the web. Therefore we needed to be using the best equipment available to do our testing.

The other amazing thing about this test? It's never ending. That's right, we're going to continually test lights and add the information to this page along with the PDF of results directly from the testing lab. We'll also include information in easy to digest tables and graphs below, along with definitions of the terms so you won't need to be a optical scientist to understand what's going on.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to LEDs. We hope this testing helps you choose the best light for you. Also, if you're going to purchase a LED grow light soon, please consider buying from GrowersHouse.com. We put a lot of time and money into this testing to help our customers make informed purchasing decisions. Being a customer helps support our mission of educating fellow growers.

To make it easier on our customer's wallets, we're also offering a 5% coupon good for any of the lights featured in the testing below: GHLED5. Not combinable with other sales or discounts.

*If you're on a computer (not mobile) you can click on the purple column headings to sort the columns from highest to lowest or vice versa. Definitions of headings are below the table.

LED Fixture Wattage Efficiency (umol/Joule) [400-700nm] Total PPF (400-700nm) Luminous Efficacy (lm/W) Brand of LED chips
California Light Works GH PRO 340 332 2.61 890 94.4 Osram
HLG 550 V2 R-Spec 484 2.60 1257 169.3 Samsung LM301H
California Light Works Solar Storm 550 369 2.40 885 42.3 Osram
Gavita Pro 1700e LED 653 2.70 1764 176.3 Samsung, Osram
Fluence SPYDR 2p LED 643 2.39 1536 152.4 Osram
Fluence SPYDR 2i LED 626 2.67 1669 175.2 Osram
HLG 650R LED 630 2.75 1728 173.9 Samsung LM301H
NextLight Mega LED Grow Light 638 2.21 1410 156.4 N/A


Reference Definitions:

LED Efficiency in umol/Joule (400-700nm): Often stated as micromole per Joule--or seen as umol/j or PPF/W--means for every joule of electrical energy (Joule = watt x second) a number of photon micromoles are produced. Most entry level LEDs are between 1.0 and 1.7 umol/j. Higher end LEDs are usually 2.0 umol/j. 400-700nm relates to the wavelengths of light in nanometers (nm). 400-700nm is the spectral range that plants use most efficiently to photosynthesize. This range is also offtenly referred to as the range of Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR).

Total PPF (400m-700nm): PPF is the abbreviation for "photosynthetic photon flux". It gives the information on the number of photons, which are emitted by a light source. Only photons in the wavelength range from 400nm to 700nm are considered. This is the so-called PAR (photosynthetic active radiation) and photons within these wavelengths contribute to photosynthesis. The unit of the PPF value is µmol/s (quantity of light particles emitted per second). Knowing the PPF value from different light sources allows an easy and objective comparison on the total light output which can in theory contribute to photosynthesis. Please note that the PPF does not consider the direction in which the light is emitted.

Luminous Efficacy (lm/W): A measure of how well a light source produces visible light. It is the ratio of luminous flux to power, measured in lumens per watt. Wavelengths of light outside of the visible spectrum are not included in this measure. The majority of the light plants use to photosynthesize are visible, but there are non-visible spectra that plants also use including ultraviolet and infrared.

Fluence SPYDR 2i 

Fixture Dimensions: 42.8” L x 46.99” W x 4.3” H (108.7cm x 119.4cm x 10.9cm)

Coverage Area Veg: 6' x 6'

Coverage Area Flower: 4' x 4'

Better for Indoor or Greenhouse?: Indoor

Fluence SPYDR 2i LED Grid

Fluence SPYDR 2p

Fixture Dimensions: 42.8” L x 46.99” W x 4.3” H (108.7cm x 119.4cm x 10.9cm)

Coverage Area Veg: 6' x 6'

Coverage Area Flower: 4' x 4'

Better for Indoor or Greenhouse?: Indoor

Fluence SPYDR 2p Spectrum Fluence SPYDR 2p Grid

Gavita Pro 1700e 

Fixture Dimensions: 44.1" x 43.7" x 2.3"

Coverage Area Veg: 6' x 6'

Coverage Area Flower: 4' x 4'

Better for Indoor or Greenhouse?: Indoor

Gavita Pro 1700e Spectrum Gavita Pro 1700e Grid

HLG 550 V2 R-Spec

Fixture Dimensions: 26" x 20" x 3"

Coverage Area Veg: 6' x 5'

Coverage Area Flower: 4' x 4'

Better for Indoor or Greenhouse?: Indoor

HLG 550 v2 R-Spec Spectrum HLG 550 v2 R-Spec Grid

California Light Works Solar Storm 550

Fixture Dimensions: 20" x 9" x 4"

Coverage Area Veg: 5' x 4'

Coverage Area Flower: 4' x 3'

Better for Indoor or Greenhouse?: Indoor

California Light Works Solar Storm 550 Spectrum

California Light Works GH Pro 340

Fixture Dimensions: 34" x 3.2" x 3.2"

Coverage Area Veg: 6' x 4'

Coverage Area Flower: 5' x 4'

Coverage Area Supplemental: 8' x 5'

Better for Indoor or Greenhouse?: Greenhouse

California Light Works GH Pro 340 Spectrum

HLG 650R LED

Fixture Dimensions: 29" x 22" x 4"

Coverage Area Veg: 7' x 7' @ 48"

Coverage Area Flower: 5' x 5'@ 30"

Coverage Area Supplemental: 8' x 8'

Better for Indoor or Greenhouse?: Indoor

HLG 650R LED Grow Light Spectrum Spectral Chart

Relative to Grid Below, Hanging Height Above Canopy: 24" (2 ft)

HLG 650R LED Grow Light PAR Chart at 24 Inches 5 x 5

Relative to Grid Below, Hanging Height Above Canopy: 30" (2.5 ft)

HLG 650R LED Grow Light PAR Chart 30 Above Canopy 5' x 5 Grid

NextLight Mega LED Grow Light

Fixture Dimensions: 37" x 37" x 2.5"

Coverage Area Veg: 7' x 7'

Coverage Area Flower: 5' x 5'

Coverage Area Supplemental: 9' x 9'

Better for Indoor or Greenhouse?: Indoor

NextLight Mega LED Grow Light Spectrum

Associated Products

Responses

  • Oliver Starr
    Oliver Starr March 7, 2020

    You should consider testing the Fohse F1-v and A3-i. GPL is running them after committing results to Fluence and HPS DEs

    Reply
    • Edwardo
      Edwardo April 5, 2020

      The a3i would be interesting?

      Reply
  • Mark kully
    Mark kully March 24, 2020

    You might want to check out Rapid Leds out of South San Francisco . They have some very interesting and trick lights , been around since 09 I just called of your competitors and the person I talked to just happened to be running rapid Leds and they don't sell them where he works! ! I heard about them on instagram by one of the most loved and followed breeder's !!

    Reply
  • Mayo55
    Mayo55 April 18, 2020

    Has anyone tried the Zeus 600w!! or can we even get it in the US heard it's one of the best lights out now?

    Reply
  • Les
    Les April 20, 2020

    Horticutural Lighting Group has the best bang for the buck and outstanding customer service. Look in the table, the HLG light is close to the high end Fluence and the Gavita yet is $500.00 + cheaper! And We always knew California Lightworks suck!

    Reply
  • Cory D
    Cory D April 27, 2020

    I would love to see Kind LED's XL1000, apparently they have engineered the light for full spectrum with magnification diodes. I am eagerly awaiting this test!!!!

    Reply
  • Angelique
    Angelique May 5, 2020

    I would love to see how the iL8 from ILUMINAR Lighting compares to the Fluence using the same Osram emitters but have their own ballast (driver)...

    Reply
  • Mike
    Mike May 6, 2020

    Why you guys leave out the best light on the market that is cheaper than all of these when they have sales? Chilled growcraft blows all of these out of the water. Hardly any drop off on ppfd, price is unmatched for their quality. All built in USA. Custom boards, not some slapped together slop. Massive heatsinks and the things run so cool you can barely feel them. Can't believe you guys would do chilled tech so dirty and include fluence, hlg, and California light works. Not even in the same category. They are all different types of light to begin with. Chilled tech FTW

    Reply
    • paul b
      paul b May 25, 2020

      I own the ChilLed x6 600 and next to it the HLG 550 R spec. Both great lights,the ChilLed delivers more uniformity and runs cooler. The HLG runs a little hotter, is smaller in size but can hold its own at a little less $$.

      Reply
  • Justin
    Justin May 8, 2020

    Test the nextlight mega I’d love to see a side bye side with the Gavita

    Reply
  • Josh
    Josh May 13, 2020

    I'd like to see Grower's Choice ROI-E680 & Spectrum King SK602 results.

    Reply
  • Cleveland Blue
    Cleveland Blue June 2, 2020

    So between the spydrx and gravita, which is better?

    Reply
  • The muffin man
    The muffin man June 8, 2020

    Luxx led test?
    Very torn between Gavita Led and luxx led

    Reply
  • atodd
    atodd June 12, 2020

    Hey Nate, Love ya. Love your show.... I am also a customer. Thanks for all you do. I would really like to see something from Black Diamond, Perfect sun.. They boast the most. So, lets see if they are as they claim. Thanks.

    Reply
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