Growing plants indoors seems convenient, but it won’t work without the right grow lights. Plants need light to photosynthesize, and if there’s no sunlight, artificial grow light will do.
The right choice of grow light will bring color to your plant, help the fruits grow, and make the flowers bloom. Yet, it’s a hard decision. If you’re interested in learning more about the best grow lights, what makes them the best, and how to choose them, continue reading.
The Best Grow Lights Right Now
Here is a selection of our favorite five grow lights from different categories and types, how they stand out among the competition, and where there is room for improvement. Whether you have herbs, flowers, small or large plants, we have something for you. They come in different budgets as well.
1. Best Overall: Roleadro LED Grow Light
If you’re looking for a high-quality grow light for all kinds of plants when you don’t have time to research for each one, the Roleadro LED Grow Light is your best option.
First things first, these lights are reasonably priced. Also, they’re easy to hang anywhere, which makes them beginner-friendly. That being said, they have no switch, so you can turn them on/off by plugging/unplugging them.
They’re full-spectrum blue and red lights, meaning that they imitate natural sunlight to grow seedlings, succulents, flowers, fruits, herbs, and more. Thanks to their heat dissipating design, these lights won’t overheat or burn the plants.
Full light spectrum so works for all kinds of plants
Heat dissipation technology
Easy to hang
You have to unplug to turn off the light because there’s no switch
2. Best Bulb: GE Full Spectrum Grow Light
If you don’t want to buy a whole setup with trays and stands and just want a good-quality bulb, the GE Full Spectrum Grow Light is an amazing option.
One of the bulb’s biggest advantages is how little it costs, which is perfect for gardeners on a budget. The fact that it’s a bulb means you can install it anywhere you want.
Also, this LED full-spectrum doesn’t have the harsh purple glow of its counterparts. It looks perfectly natural to the human eye while still providing the plants with a balance of red and blue lights for seeds, greens, flowers, and more.
Full light spectrum so it works for all kinds of plants
Natural to the human eye
A little bit noisy. So if you’re sensitive to sounds, this might not be the bulb for you.
3. Best Mounted: Feit Electric Dual Full LED Plant Grow Tube Light
Sometimes you want the grow light to come from above the plant like it’s in a greenhouse. So, if you’re looking for an easy-to-use mounted light, we highly recommend the Feit Dual LED Grow Tube Light.
It’s not the most affordable item on our list, but it’s definitely worth every penny. If you’re new to mounted light and find them intimidating, you’ll find this easy to install. Plus, it’s humidity resistant.
Of course, this LED light is full-spectrum, which widens your range of plants to grow. Yet, the brightness of these lights can be harsh on the human eye.
Easy to install
Full light spectrum so works for all kinds of plants
Harsh to the human eye
Not the most affordable
4. Best Hanging: Soltech Solutions Grow Light
Hanging grow lights are a two-in-one solution for both the plant and its owner. They get the job done while upgrading the environment around them, making it look breathtakingly beautiful. If you want to have that effect, consider the Soltech Solutions Grow Light.
The first thing you’ll notice is that this light doesn’t come cheap. Yet, it’s a luxury price for a luxury item. It has the most aesthetically pleasing design on our list for your Instagram-worthy needs.
Nonetheless, it’s not just pretty. It balances your plant’s warm and cool needs with its full spectrum while still looking natural to the human eye with a warm white color.
Full-spectrum so works for all kinds of plants
Aesthetically pleasing design
Natural to the human eye
Expensive for most people, so you need to save your pennies before buying this one
5. Best for Herbs: TorchStar Plant LED Kit
Growing herbs indoors has become quite the trend recently. Why not grow something that you can eat and drink? You need the right grow light for your herb garden, and there’s no better choice than the TorchStar Plant LED Kit.
The first thing you’ll notice in this kit is how beautiful its wooden frame looks, which is why it’s so expensive. Indoor gardening has never looked so pretty. Yet, the size of the frame may be small for some herbs, so do your research.
In terms of installation, it’s pretty easy. Its performance never disappoints, thanks to its warm/cool balance and smart timer.
Beautiful wooden frame
Full-spectrum so works for any kind of indoor plant
Easy to install
Size is too small for some herbs
On the pricier side. Comparing to similar models.
How to Choose Grow Lights
Here are the most important aspects you should consider before buying a grow light for your plants. It’s also important to know what grow lights are and how they work before making a choice.
The size of the grow light you’ll choose depends on the number of plants that you want to illuminate and how much space they need from the light. If it’s just a plant or two, their needs will differ from a whole indoor garden.
How much grow space will the light have anyway? This will directly affect your choice in terms of size. In addition, you should consider the light’s level of portability if you’re planning to move it around.
Grow lights come in a variety of types, the most common of which is freestanding. Freestanding lights are those that can stand on their own. They come in trays or on stands. In addition, Their popularity stems from their convenience and ease of use.
We highly recommend them for growing seedlings. That being said, they come in fixed sizes, meaning that you can’t expand them.
Stackable Modular Units
As the name suggests, modular units are stackable so that you can expand your indoor garden freely. You start with what you need at the moment, then expand vertically according to your gardening needs with additional racks. You’ll get a lot more options in terms of size as well.
Not everyone has the space for an entire garden. It’s becoming more common to grow plants indoors on countertops, thanks to countertop models. These indoor grow lights allow for space-saving gardening with their compact design. In addition, they’re great for an aesthetically pleasing view.
Light bulbs are a great option for DIY enthusiasts that love to install and customize their own setups instead of buying the whole thing intact. Plus, this no-fuss option means that your complete focus will be on the light’s performance when choosing, so it’s quite straightforward.
Some plants don’t like to have their light right above them. So, if you want to grow houseplants and succulents indoors, a home lamp would be the ideal choice. Like freestanding lights, they’re also good for growing seedlings and even seed germination.
Quick Pro Tip: If you’re growing seedlings, pair your home lamps with sterilized soil for the best bacteria and fungus-free results.
Cool, Warm, and Full-Spectrum
You may have heard these words before as a beginner without context and wondered what they even mean.
Basically, cool, warm, and full-spectrum refer to the light’s temperature, especially on the Kelvin scale. So, you’ll find numbers ranging from 2,500K to 6,400K, and the higher the number, the cooler the light will be, and vice versa.
Cool light is more desirable for vegetative growth, so it produces greener leafy greens. On the other hand, warm light is better for flower production and growing fruits.
If you want to skip the guesswork and get the best of both worlds, there’s no better option than a full-spectrum light. In fact, most people use full-spectrum grow lights because they’re the best at imitating natural sunlight that has both the warm and cool in it, which enables them to grow all kinds of plants.
Ease of Use
What’s the point of a grow light if it doesn’t make your life easier? Get grow lights that you can install, especially if you’re just starting out. Check the instructions before you buy it and see if it comes with all the needed connections or if you’ll have to buy something yourself.
Also, consider if the light you have in mind has helpful features, such as height adjustability, timers, remote control, casters, and self-watering.
Quick Pro Tip: Grow lights can make the soil dry faster, so check your plants daily to monitor their water needs.
LED vs. Fluorescent Bulbs
Each of these grow lights have their devoted fans. These two are the most popular, and people are abandoning their MH and HPS lights for them because they save money while consuming less energy and having less heat output. So, which one should you get?
Generally speaking, LED is the more advanced option and has impressive longevity, so it’s more expensive initially. It’s more energy-efficient since it uses less energy for the same light output that its fluorescent counterpart uses. Finally, it has a greater spectrum of light than fluorescent.
On the other hand, fluorescent light is cool, meaning that it’s good for lush foliage. Since this light intensity is low, you should place it inches away from the plant. Still, it provides good coverage. Fluorescent comes in two categories: tube lights and compact fluorescent lamps or CFL.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s answer some of the most common questions people have.
What Lights Do Professional Growers Use?
It depends on their biggest priority. If they’re looking for energy efficiency, they go for LED and fluorescent. Their more expensive counterparts, MH and HPS, have different purposes. MH light is used by professionals in the vegetative phase, while HPS light is for flowering.
That being said, LED and fluorescent lights have taken over the market in the last few years, thanks to their efficiency. T5 bulbs seem to be very popular right now.
Will Any LED Light Work as a Grow Light?
Technically, you can use any LED light. However, the LED bulb that you already have around won’t perform as well as an LED grow lamp that’s meant for that purpose. Also regular incandescent bulbs won’t do the trick unfortunately, as incandescent light is far too hot for most plants to grow.
If you’re growing leafy greens, it’ll be easy to grow with most LED bulbs. That being said, if you want to induce flowering, you’ll need more powerful LED bulbs.
Should I Turn off the Grow Light at Night?
Yes. You should adjust the light to meet the plant’s light-dark cycle, as grow light is supposed to mimic sunlight. Sunlight isn’t around all day, and neither should the grow light.
However, the duration of the dark differs from one plant to another, so do your research and set a timer to remind yourself to turn the light on/off. Otherwise, the plant could burn, and the soil could dry out.
How Many Hours a Day Should Grow Lights Be On?
It differs depending on the light requirements of the plant you’re growing. The most common range for indoor plants is 12 to 14 hours. Nonetheless, some plants don’t need more than 6 hours of light a day, while seedlings need up to 18. Your best bet is to do some research on your plants and set a timer accordingly.
Can Too Much Light Kill a Plant?
Definitely, since all plants have their own light requirements, exceeding them will lead to drastic results. Just like how humans get sunburned if they stay under sunlight for too long or are exposed to too much light, plants act the same. If your plants grow in shade or low-light conditions, you shouldn’t push them to their limits so that they remain alive and healthy.
- Our top choice is the Roleadro LED Grow Light. Awesome for any grow room or houseplant.
- You should consider the grow light’s size, type, ease of use, and whether it should be LED or fluorescent before you buy it.
- You should check your plant’s light requirements and not exceed them.
- LED is a popular grow light because it’s energy-efficient and perfect for growing seeds indoors if you have a grow tent.