Phantom PHOTOBIO MX 680W vs. Iluminar iL8x 670w

Phantom PHOTOBIO MX 680W vs. Iluminar iL8x 670w

The Phantom PHOTOBIO MX 680W and Iluminar iL8x 670w are similarly priced LED grow lights with similar specs that you can purchase here on GrowersHouse. These two LED grow light companies, both around for a while, are big players in the agro-LED industry, producing high-end fixtures primarily geared toward commercial cultivation. We’re comparing the performance of these two quality lights as part of our extensive project to test all the LED lights we sell.

LED grow lights are becoming more efficient and less expensive. Manufacturers such as PhotoBio and Iluminar are using diodes that incorporate the newest tech and highest PAR efficiencies to help reduce power consumption while providing a nearly full light spectrum.

Both the PhotoBio MX 680W and Illuminar iL8x 670w are ideally suited for commercial indoor cultivation:

  • Both fixtures can be operated with controllers for automated, large-scale lighting.
  • They are optimally designed to save the grower space by providing high PPFD coverage at lower mounting heights compared with other styles of LEDs.
  • Both incorporate impressive PAR efficiencies, coming in at 2.55 umols/J for the PhotoBio MX 680W and 2.6 umols/J (b/t 380-780 nm) for the Illuminar iL8x 670w.

How do they stack up to each other? Quite well, if you look at the following table. It closely compares the specifications of the MX and iL8x LED lights.

LED Specs Compared

LED Specifications PhotoBio MX 680W LED Iluminar iL8x 670W LED
Wattage (Input Power) 680w 670w
Voltage Options 110-120v | 208-240v | 277v 120v | 240v | 277v
PAR Efficiency (umol/J) [380-780nm] 2.55 2.6
Total PPF Intensity (umols/sec) [380-780nm] 1700+ 1742
LED Diodes S4 Spectrum: Full FSG: Full Spectrum Growth | High Efficiency SMD Array
Amps 5.67 @ 120v | 3.27 @ 208v | 2.83 @ 240v | 2.45 @ 277v 5.69 @ 120v | 2.8 @ 240v | 2.42 @ 277v
Mounting Height 6” – 24” From Canopy 6” - 12” From Canopy
Coverage Footprint Veg Up to 7’ x 7’ Up to 7’ x 7’
Coverage Footprint Flower Up to 5’ x 5’ Up to 5’ x 5’
Length 44.1” (112 cm) 42” (106.7 cm)
Width 43.3” (110 cm) 39.5” (100.3 cm)
Height 2.2” (5.6 cm) 5.08” (12.9 cm)
Weight 47 lbs 35.3 lbs
Warranty 5 years 5 years
Controllable Yes with Autopilot PX2 Controller Yes with Iluminar HASH Controller
DLC Listed for energy rebates? Yes Yes
IP Rating IP65 IP65
UV and/or IR spectra? No No
Dimming Yes, (0-10v) Yes, (0-10v)
Cooling Passive Passive
Heat Output (BTUs) N/A 2278
LED Lifespan (90%) 50,000+ hrs 55,000+ hrs

 

Discussion: The PhotoBio MX and Iluminar iL8x LEDs are very comparable, with many of the same features commercial growers and ag researchers find most useful.

When controllers are used to automate the intensity of many fixtures simultaneously, both fixtures are ideally suited for commercial crop production. The PhotoBio MX can connect with a single controller designed by Autopilot while the Iluminar iL8x can use two controllers designed by Illuminar.

The Autopilot PX2 Advanced Digital Lighting Controller of the PhotoBio MX LEDs provides full control over two grow zones with up to 50 LEDs in each zone (100 total):

  • It connects with two temperature sensors, one for each zone, that allow for temperature-based control of LEDs.
  • Auto dimming, scheduling, timers, sunrise/set simulation, and emergency shut-down protocols can also be input into the Autopilot controller.

Either of the two Iluminar-made controllers, the Iluminar HASH Lighting Controller and HASH Environmental Controller, can be connected to the iL8x LED, depending on the amount of control desired. The Iluminar HASH lighting controller offers several advantages over the Autopilot:

  • Can dim an unlimited number of LEDs in two zones.
  • Incorporates up to 6 temperature sensors.
  • Can rule triggers, schedules, timers, remotes, etc.
  • Enables manipulation of the LED intensities based on a variety of environmental factors, including HVAC status.

The PhotoBio LED is 11.7 pounds heavier than the Illuminar, bringing its total weight to 47 pounds. It’s one of the heaviest LEDs on the market.

Light Spectrum Differences

The spectrums between 380-780nm produced by the PhotoBio MX 680W and Iluminar iL8x 670W LED lights are shown in the first graphic below, along with the absorption spectrums for chlorophyll and carotenoids: The spectrums produced, between 380-780nm, by the PhotoBio MX 680W and Iluminar iL8x 670W LED lights are shown in the first graphic below along with the absorption spectrums for chlorophyll and carotenoids:

PHOTOBIO MX 680W vs. Iluminar iL8x 670w LED Spectrum Comparison

PHOTOBIO MX 680W vs. Iluminar iL8x 670w LED Spectrum ComparisonPHOTOBIO MX 680W vs. Iluminar iL8x 670w LED Spectrum Comparison

Below, a second graphic includes additional LED spectrums from other well-established brands, including Growers Choice, Fluence, HLG and California Lightworks, to be used for direct comparison:

multi-LED spectrum comparison multi-LED spectrum comparison

 

Discussion: (GRAPHIC 1) A significant difference between the spectrums of the PhotoBio and Iluminar LEDs is clearly observed, with the PhotoBio producing greater levels of red (1.0 vs. 0.6) and deep red (0.95 vs. 0.5) while the Iluminar produces greater levels of Blue (0.95 vs. 0.8). Interestingly the Iluminar produces slightly higher PAR intensities between the wavelengths 660 and 700nm, but it’s unlikely this provides any significant benefit.

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

Overall, the PhotoBio LED incorporates a more useful PAR spectrum, since it uses relatively high intensities of all important wavelengths, particularly red and deep red.

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

PAR Grid Chart Differences

Neither of the subject LEDs has undergone a PAR PPFD coverage test, but both the PhotoBio MX and Iluminar iL8x have very similar profiles to the GrowersChoice ROI-E and Fluence Spydr Series LED, both of which provide significantly more uniform PAR coverage when compared to the much smaller profiles of conventional LEDs. Unfortunately, neither of these LEDs has undergone a PAR PPFD coverage test yet, but both the PhotoBio MX and Iluminar iL8x have a very similar profile to the GrowersChoice ROI-E and Fluence Spydr Series LED which provide significantly more uniform PAR coverage when compared to the much smaller profiles of conventional LEDs.

PhotoBio MX 680W LED vs. Iluminar iL8x 670W LED Cost Comparison

  PhotoBio MX 680W LED Iluminar iL8x 670W LED
Estimated Fixture Cost $895 $999
Adapter for Controller N/A N/A
Controller Yes, Autopilot PX2 Controller ($355) Yes, Illuminar HASH Controllers (Lighting = $399) | (Environmental = $480)
Cost to run per month @ $0.13 per kWh (US average)(12-16 hr DLI) $31.82 (12-hr DLI) –
$42.43 (16-hr DLI)
@ 680w
$31.36 (12-hr DLI) –
$41.81 (16-hr DLI)
@ 670w

 

The PhotoBio LED light is a more ideal selection when it comes to cost since it is more than 10% cheaper to purchase. The controller is also slightly less expensive, although the Iluminar controllers provide a significantly better selection of features for larger indoor commercial facilities. The Iluminar lighting controller can connect with an unlimited number of fixtures within two zones; Autopilot can control up to 100 LEDs. The Illuminar controller also has the ability to use up to six temperature sensors, while Autopilot can use just two.

The difference in monthly cost to run each of these two lights is insignificant—within 60 cents.

More LED Testing & Comparisons

Where can I find deals and bulk discounts on PhotoBio and Iluminar LEDs?

Stay tuned! Right now we are testing all of the LED lights that we sell on this site and we are discounting them as we go along. Join our email list for updates on our latest LED deals and discounts.  If you find them cheaper somewhere else, please allow us the opportunity to beat it with our 100% price match guarantee. If you are looking for bulk discounts on PhotoBio LED and Iluminar LEDs please contact our staff for pricing.

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