Whether you are starting seedlings or growing plants indoors, one of the most important purchases is a high-quality grow light. Your young plants need light, and often different light than is traditionally in your house, so finding the best grow lights is essential to raising healthy and mature indoor plants. If you are growing a small batch of starters, it may be difficult to find a cost-effective non-commercial grow light. Even if you are growing a commercial garden, you’ll want to get an inexpensive grow light to meet your needs. In order to help you find the best, here is a list of some of the top grow lights on the market. Each one will be compared, and you’ll find out everything you need to know in order to purchase the right grow light to fit your needs.
How We Reviewed
Each grow light was selected based on a number of important factors. These lights are bestsellers and have high customer ratings.
All the grow lights on this list are also highly rated by professionals and offer a wide range of features and options. Whether you have a large-scale operation or a single plant, there is a grow light on this list that will fit your needs.
Grow lights can range dramatically in price, whether you are lighting one or 100 plants. Depending on the build quality and size.
Each one is designed for a different number of plants and level of intensity, so determine your needs before choosing one of the best grow lights from out list.
Top 6 Best Grow Lights
This mounted panel is designed to either hang suspended from the ceiling or mount directly to it. It has a wide angle of use and mixes red and blue lighting to achieve a multi-use spectrum.
Customers love the effectiveness of this grow light, particularly for seedlings and small plants. However, it has low wattage for larger plants. It’s an excellent choice for a mid-sized or small operation.
For a larger scale operation, consider the Lithonia Lighting fluorescent grow light. This energy-efficient light uses 28 watts and provides a large amount of full-spectrum lighting for a great price.
However, it’s plastic design and fluorescent bulbs are not as effective or durable as more premium-priced lights. Customers love this light for their small garden and find it very reasonably priced for their first grow light.
Try this grow light if you want a budget model that’s still effective.
The first heavy-duty HPS grow light on the list, this unit is considerably more expensive for a significantly more intensive light. Try this for your most sunlight-needy plants and let the 1,000-watt HPS light do the rest.
It’s a smaller unit than other, less expensive lights. However, it provides professional quality, enough intensity and color spectrum for any flowering plant. You can also purchase a Hydro Crunch grow light with 1,150, 750 or 600 watts.
For a top-of-the-line product for a range of growing uses, try the Kind K5 Series XL 1000 LED grow light. This high-powered unit uses 630 watts to provide full-spectrum color with LED efficiency.
If you aren’t satisfied with the coloring, you can adjust the brightness of three individual light spectrums. It’s a very versatile and energy-efficient grow light, which makes it perfect for any size indoor operation.
The easy mounting hardware and large light coverage allow it to work for multiple plants or seedlings. This is not, however, a great choice for many amateur gardeners.
Its price makes it a very hefty investment, so consider the plants you are growing and whether or not it’s worth the price tag for your situation.
For the most seedling-coverage for your money, the LED SunLite 3-Tier Garden provides three large areas of excellent LED light coverage. The efficient bulbs will run for five times longer than fluorescent lighting and use less energy as well.
The sturdy structure allows you to grow three times the number of seedlings in one area, so it’s perfect for confined indoor gardens. Get the most seeds started this spring and be ready for an entire garden of seedlings once the last frost is gone.
Customers love the design and ease of use with this grow light. However, its design isn’t as flexible as more generic, overhead mounted grow lights. It’s also quite expensive, so it’s a big investment for first-time growers.
This unique, reading-light-style grow light sports two adjustable heads. It’s the most affordable grow light on the list and is perfectly designed to support two budding or flowering plants. Attach it to a table, desk or planting pot, and watch your two seeds begin to grow.
It uses full-spectrum LED lights to give your plants the right color and intensity. It comes with a great warranty, and customers love the affordability of this grow light.
However, it’s not designed for heavy use, particularly with more than two plants. If you are planning a larger-scale operation, you’ll want to consider other options.
1. What Is a Grow Light?
Grow lights are used to give indoor seeds and plants the precious sunlight they need to continue to grow. The artificial light source emits an electric light from a bulb that stimulates photosynthesis.
While your growing room may be well-lit, there are a few key factors that your standard lighting may be missing. These include the right color, intensity and duration of light to encourage growth. Take a look at each of these three areas and determine what will fill your needs.
Grow lights can be small, desk-top lights, or large, ceiling-mounted setups. Obviously, larger lights will be more expensive, and some need to be installed by a professional.
Consider the scale of your operation and choose the grow light that is large enough to cover your plants, but not so large that you waste your money.
This list will have a variety of sizes, so you can find the perfect grow light whether you are growing a single plant or an entire indoor garden.
2. What Color Light Do I Need?
Grow lights, unlike traditional lighting, should only use full-spectrum lighting sources. While your typical indoor lighting has different colors based on personal preference and the mood of the room, grow lights need to replicate natural light using the full color spectrum otherwise your plants may not grow properly.
Warm and cool lights, while giving rooms unique moods using less expensive light bulbs, don’t provide the right balance needed for your seedlings and plants to survive. Most grow lights cover from infrared to nearly ultraviolet wavelengths of light. You can find full-spectrum bulbs in both LED and fluorescent.
3. How Long Do I Need To Run My Grow Lights?
The time your lights should be on varies, depending on the particular plant you are growing. Your grow lights shouldn’t be on all day and night, but plants, especially seeds, need a lot of light in order to grow successfully.
You may not be able to simply mimic the time the sun is up, because you may be growing a plant that doesn’t normally thrive outside in your climate or during that particular season. For this reason, plants are usually divided into three groups.
The first group is long-day plants, which need between 14 and 18 hours of sunlight or grow light each day. Usually, vegetables fall into this category. Another category is day-neutral plants.
These need eight to 12 hours a day and include geraniums and other foliage plants. The last category is one that requires the least amount of sunlight, and the plants are considered short-day plants.
Anything requiring 12 hours or less can fall under this category, but the specific amount will vary depending on the plant. As always, check your specific plant before using your grow lights. Too little light can harm your plants, but too much can also damage them.
4. Where Should I Place My Grow Lights?
When setting up your grow light station, consider the distance between the light and plants. If your plants need high-intensity grow lights, you’ll want to choose a bright bulb and place the lights close to your plants.
Other plants require less intensity and should have a greater distance between themselves and the lights. Check your specific plants, as each one will vary.
Houseplants that flower only need ten to 12 inches from a light source. Others are happy being 36 inches away.
5. Can I Use an LED Grow Light?
Yes, LED lights are a popular, mid-priced option. There are four basic categories of lights that can be used as grow lights.
The most effective and intense grow lights are HID or high-intensity discharge lights. HID lights are either MH (metal halide bulbs) or HPS (high-pressure sodium bulbs); however, there are differences.
HPS bulbs can last up to 18 months and have more red and orange light. They are great for increasing the bloom of flowers, but the plant growth may be leggier than with MH bulb.
MH grow lights use more blue light on the color spectrum. These lights are used to increase leaf growth. Both varieties of HID lights are more expensive than fluorescent or LED lighting, but they are more effective and provide higher intensity lighting.
LED lights are more long-lasting and energy efficient. They don’t give off as much excess heat, so you won’t have to worry about heating up your plants or burning your hand. Fluorescent lighting, on the other hand, is the most affordable grow light option available.
These lights, as long as they are full-spectrum fluorescent, can still be effective; but they aren’t as intense, so you may struggle to grow plants that require high-intensity lighting.
6. How Many Grow Lights Do I Need?
Some lights are only designed for one or two seedlings, while others can support a whole raised bed of starters.
Depending on the number of seeds you are starting, or the number of indoor plants you are caring for, you’ll need a different amount of grow lights.
Try to find the best grow light for your size of indoor garden but be prepared to buy two or more if you have an especially large operation.
It can be tempting to head for the extremes and buy either the most expensive or the least expensive item on any list. In this case, that could be an excellent idea. The Ppunson Dual Head grow light is an affordable, flexible and highly effective grow light for a few small seedling starters.
The Kind K5 Series, on the other hand, is an excellent choice for even the largest indoor garden operation. Take your time and look at each option in between. Now that you know some of the specifications of the best grow lights, you can determine the perfect one for your home or small business.
Starting a garden indoors can be an excellent way to welcome spring and summer, but it’s a tall order without the right grow light. Finding a full-spectrum, energy-efficient grow light can be a challenge, but this list makes it simple to find the best light for your home.