When it comes to finding the best grow lights, there's going to be a lot to consider, and that's where we're here to help point you in the right direction.
They can be a convenient solution for growing indoor plants, especially if you don't get that much light where you live, and also during winter when light levels are naturally reduced.
First and foremost, the key thing to look out for is going to be price. Some grow lights are pretty affordable and, therefore, a superb choice for everyone, whilst others can be a little pricey, so it's worth weighing up how much you want to spend on some.
In addition, you'll also want to consider their brightness and efficiency, which leads you into the debate of whether you go for fluorescent or LED bulbs.
Fluorescent bulbs are cheaper but less efficient than LEDs, and LEDs do need to be placed further away from plants than their fluorescent counterparts.
If you're working with a more compact growing space, then go for some fluorescent lights as these can work when hung as little as three inches above the plants, whilst LEDs usually work best between 14 and 24 inches.
This distance also works hand in hand with the brightness figure: the more lumens, the brighter the light. If you opt for brighter lights, you don't need to position them as close to your plants as if they're a little dimmer.
So, with all this in mind, we've listed what we think are some of the best grow lights based on specs, general reviews, and features they offer that we think make them stand out from the crowd, plus answered some of your most frequently asked questions too.
Let's get into it - here are some of the best grow lights out there today.
Best Grow Lights
- GE BR30 LED Grow Light Bulb
- VIVOSUN 6500K 2FT T5 HO Fluorescent Grow Light
- Aceple LED Grow Light
- Soltech Solutions Aspect LED Grow Light
- Feit Electric Dual Full LED Planet Grow Tube Light
Best LED Grow Lights - GE BR30 LED Grow Light Bulb
For a brilliant set of LED grow lights, the GE BR30 LEDs look like a rather good choice.
First off, they should offer up some great natural light so won't look out of place at home, especially with them outputting with an even RGB colour spectrum, so the light appears white.
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That natural light also means they're great for growing seeds and greens especially, and GE recommends the BR30 LEDs for usage at the seeding, budding and flowering/ fruit production stage of your plant's growth, meaning you should get plenty of use out of them.
They should be bright and efficient too due to being LEDs with an output PPF of 16 micromoles per second, which will help your plants grow immensely.
PPF refers to Photosynthetic Photo Flux, or in other words, is a measure of how much photosynthetic light a bulb can produce, which can help plants to grow. Much like with general brightness, a higher PPF figure is more desirable, for better performance.
Best Fluorescent Grow Lights - VIVOSUN 6500K 2FT T5 HO Fluorescent Grow Light
If LEDs aren't your thing and you want some grow lights for some close-up growing, then the VIVOSUN Fluorescent Grow Light should serve you well.
It operates as more of a hanging-style arrangement and can be configured with either two, four, or eight tubes, depending on how much space you've got. The light can then attach either to your ceiling or to a shelving unit, which makes it quite versatile too.
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A brightness rating of 2000 lumens per tube with the 2ft lamp or 5000 per tube with the 4ft tube also means the light outputted will be pretty sharp indeed.
Lumens are a measure of a light's brightness and more specifically refer to the total amount of visible light to the human eye from a particular source. In essence, the higher the number of lumens, the brighter the light will appear.
The VIVOSUN Fluorescent Grow Light also features dual switches so you can choose which lights you wish to have on, be it the outer ones or the ones in the middle.
There are also some convenient aluminium reflectors to provide your plants with more light, which is useful.
Best Budget Grow Lights - Aceple LED Grow Light
The Aceple LED Grow Light looks like a fantastic choice if you're on a budget and want to try a light out on your indoor plants for the first time.
It comes as a lamp with a flexible gooseneck arm, meaning you can manoeuvre it to suit where your plants are with ease. With its silver styling and sharp black clip, it looks good too, and its compact size means it won't look overbearing if placed on a desk, for instance.
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In addition, it combines both red and blue colours, which should be brilliant for flowers and fruit alike, as well as aiding in the process of photosynthesis, too.
You can also switch the LED to show purely white light if you wanted to use this as a handy desk light.
Best Hanging Grow Lights - Soltech Solutions Aspect LED Grow Light
If you're after a stylish set of hanging grow lights, the Soltech Solutions Aspect LED Grow Light should be a fantastic choice.
It offers quite a minimalistic design with a colour choice of either white or black. This means it should simply look like another hanging lamp in your house, with nothing to suggest that underneath, it's a powerful grow light.
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That power is backed up with the respective 2000 and 4000-lumen brightness options, depending on size, which means the light it gives off should be plenty to help your plants grow.
The Soltech Solutions Aspect LED Grow Light also features a precise photosynthesis spectrum so your plants should be able to grow nicely, whilst also giving off a warm white light so it maintains the image of simply being another light fitting.
Best Mounted Grow Lights - Feit Electric Dual Full LED Planet Grow Tube Light
The Feit Electric Dual Grow Tube Light should offer you a versatile grow light that you can mount in a variety of places.
You can either choose to hang it from above or mount it right up against your ceiling or wall, which makes this quite a versatile grow light that should work in a lot of different spaces.
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In addition, you'll find it can emit 655nm of red light and 450nm of red light to offer some impressive growth, and it also shouldn't emit too much heat, which helps to make it quite an efficient grow light.
Its 25,000-hour lifespan should mean you can keep this going for a very long time and allow you to grow as many plants as you wish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Grow lights can be relatively complex, so let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to making your decision.
Are grow lights worth it?
In our humble opinion, getting grow lights could definitely be worth it if you're looking to grow plants indoors when you don't have adequate sunlight in your room.
They look to be quite versatile and you can also get them in multiple different configurations as standalone bulbs, as well as tube lights, so you're also sure to find a solution that works.
How much should I spend on grow lights?
This all depends on the kind of grow lights you're using. If you're going to be using an array of standalone bulbs, then around $10 per bulb sounds right, whereas if you're looking for an all-in-one solution with tube lights, then you'll be spending around $50-$80.
Do LED lights work as grow lights?
If you're talking about standard LED bulbs, then the answer is no. This is because regular LEDs don't emit enough of the right light to grow plants.
Plants need light with wavelengths in the range of 400-700nm, which standard bulbs can emit, but not in significant quantities unless they've been specially designed for these wavelengths.
For growing plants indoors you can pick up some specific LED grow lights, as we've detailed above that will blend different levels of certain colours to achieve the principle of plants growing well.
What wattage is best for grow lights?
To work out the wattage and size of the bulb you need, you first need to determine how much space you need to illuminate.
As a general rule of thumb, look to have around 20-40W of power per square foot. For instance, if you're illuminating an area that's 10 square feet, you'll need 400W of power.
Then it's a case of working out how many bulbs you need. If the bulbs you're using are 10W each, then you'll need forty of them over the entire area. You can then scale up or down according to your individual area.
This then goes hand in hand with the question of whether grow lights use a lot of electricity. In essence, they can use a lot, but that obviously depends on how many lights you've got, their total watt output, and how much they'll cost to run.
What colour LED is best for plants?
Arguably the two best colour LEDs for plants are red and blue. This is because it aids in kick-starting photosynthesis and offers the most efficient method of growth.
How long should plants be under a grow light?
As a general rule, plants should be under grow lights for between eight and ten hours a day to give them ample chance to grow.
That duration of time is why so many LEDs exist for grow lights as they're the more energy-efficient option compared to fluorescent bulbs.