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

BEST LED GROW LIGHTS TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • What to Consider When Buying a LED Grow Light?
    • LED Efficiency
    • Spectrum and Wavelengths
    • Wattage and Coverage Area
    • Warranty and Durability
  • Most Efficient LED Grow Lights?

LED Efficiency

LED grow light efficiency in umol/Joule (400-700nm) is 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 often referred to as the range of Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR).

LED Spectrum and wavelengths

LED grow lights can be designed with spectra (plural for spectrum) in many different recipes, as they're called. When thinking about buying a LED grow light it's important to think about what phase you're going to use the grow light for propagation, vegetative growth, flowering phase, or a generalist for all phases of growth, often referred to as 'full spectrum' or 'full cycle.' 

Often you will see spectral charts showing what looks like a rainbow of colors on a graph with numbers below it. The numbers below are known as nanometers or thousandth of a meter long. Light waves have changing wave frequencies that cause us to see different colors. Plants have evolved to use mainly blue and yellow to red light spectra to photosynthesize, although they do use other colors including infrared, green, white and ultraviolet. See the chart below to see an example of a LED spectral chart:

To get you more familiar with LED grow light spectral charts for different phases of growth, below we have the HLG 300L Rspec (flowering phase/full cycle) and Bspec (vegetative phase) so you can compare them. Notice how the HLG 300L Rspec has more relative intensity in the yellow, orange, red area and a little less in the blue.

The HLG 300L Rspec has been designed to focus on the flowering phase, although still has ample blues to use in vegetative growth if desired. See how the HLG 300L Bspec has relatively more intensity in the blues than the Rspec, but still has good intensity in the reds. HLG, like many other LED companies, makes one vegetative focused light and one flowering/full-cycle light. You'll see other companies do the same when they have two models instead of just one generalist model. 

HLG 300L Rspec Flowering/Full-Cycle SpectrumHLG 300L Rspec Flowering/Full-Cycle Spectrum
HLG 300L Rspec Flowering/Full-Cycle Spectrum
HLG 300L Rspec Vegetative SpectrumHLG 300L Rspec Vegetative Spectrum
HLG 300L Rspec Vegetative Spectrum

Most efficient led grow lights comparison test

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)

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.

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

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 LED

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 Full Test Results

Fluence SPYDR 2i LED PAR Chart 24" over 5' x 5' Full Results

Fluence SPYDR 2i LED Spectral Distribution [blue = 450-500 | orange/red = 590-740]

Fluence SPYDR 2i LED Fluence SPYDR 2i LED

Fluence SPYDR 2i LED Hanging 24" above 5' x 5' PAR Grid

Fluence SPYDR 2i LED GridFluence SPYDR 2i LED Grid

Fluence SPYDR 2p LED

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 LED Full Test Results

Fluence SPYDR 2p LED PAR Chart 24" over 5' x 5' Full Results

Fluence SPYDR 2p LED Spectral Distribution [blue = 450-500 | orange/red = 590-740]

Fluence SPYDR 2p SpectrumFluence SPYDR 2p Spectrum

Fluence SPYDR 2p LED Hanging 24" above 5' x 5' PAR Grid

Fluence SPYDR 2p GridFluence SPYDR 2p Grid

Gavita Pro 1700e LED

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 LED Full Test Results

Gavita Pro 1700e LED PAR Chart 24" over 5' x 5' Full Results

Gavita Pro 1700e LED Spectral Distribution [blue = 450-500 | orange/red = 590-740]

Gavita Pro 1700e SpectrumGavita Pro 1700e Spectrum

Gavita Pro 1700e LED Hanging 24" above 5' x 5' PAR Grid

Gavita Pro 1700e GridGavita Pro 1700e Grid

HLG 550 V2 R-Spec LED

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 LED Full Test Results

HLG 550 V2 R-Spec LED PAR Chart 24" over 5' x 5' Full Results

HLG 550 V2 R-Spec LED Spectral Distribution [blue = 450-500 | orange/red = 590-740]

HLG 550 v2 R-Spec SpectrumHLG 550 v2 R-Spec Spectrum

HLG 550 V2 R-Spec LED Hanging 24" above 5' x 5' PAR Grid

HLG 550 v2 R-Spec GridHLG 550 v2 R-Spec Grid

California Light Works Solar Storm 550 LED

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 550 Full Test Results

California Light Works Solar Storm 550 LED Spectral Distribution [blue = 450-500 | orange/red = 590-740]

California Light Works Solar Storm 550 SpectrumCalifornia Light Works Solar Storm 550 Spectrum

California Light Works GH Pro 340 LED

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 UL Test Results

California Light Works GH Pro 340 LED Spectral Distribution [blue = 450-500 | orange/red = 590-740]

California Light Works GH Pro 340 SpectrumCalifornia 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 Full Test Results

HLG 650R LED PAR Chart 24" over 5' x 5' Full Results

HLG 650R LED Spectral Distribution [blue = 450-500 | orange/red = 590-740]

HLG 650R LED Grow Light Spectrum Spectral ChartHLG 650R LED Grow Light Spectrum Spectral Chart

HLG 650R LED Hanging 12" above 5' x 5' PAR Grid

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

HLG 650R LED Hanging 24" above 5' x 5' PAR Grid

HLG 650R LED Grow Light PAR Chart 30 Above Canopy 5' x 5 GridHLG 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 UL Test Results

NextLight Mega LED Spectral Distribution [blue = 450-500 | orange/red = 590-740]

NextLight Mega LED Grow Light SpectrumNextLight Mega LED Grow Light Spectrum

Growers Choice TSL ROI-E720 LED

Fixture Dimensions: 46.9" x 46.8" x 3.2"
Coverage Area Veg: 7' x 7'
Coverage Area Flower: 5' x 5'
Coverage Area Supplemental: 9' x 9'

Better for Indoor or Greenhouse? Indoor/Greenhouse

Growers Choice TSL ROI-E720 LED Spectral Distribution [blue = 450-500 | orange/red = 590-740]

Growers Choice TSL ROI-E720 LED Grow Light Spectral Chart 1Growers Choice TSL ROI-E720 LED Grow Light Spectral Chart 1

Growers Choice TSL ROI-E720 LED Hanging 12" above 5' x 5' PAR Grid

Growers Choice TSL ROI-E720 LED Hanging 12" above 5' x 5' PAR GridGrowers Choice TSL ROI-E720 LED Hanging 12" above 5' x 5' PAR Grid

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