Light-emitting diodes (LED) have changed the world, especially in the hydroponic sector. The main reason for this is they are that they’re energy-efficient, have an incredible lifespan, emit little to no heat, and cast light over a large area.
Combine all these elements, and you can see precisely why they’ve taken over the grow-light market.
With this massive rise to the top, choosing which LED grow lights to use has become complicated.
If you’re worried about sifting through millions of blog posts, this will be the last one you’ll ever need when selecting the best LED hydroponic grow light.
While you can utilize fluorescent lights, fluorescent tubes, or the high-pressure sodium/high-intensity grow lights (HPS/HID), LEDs are becoming the be-all and end-all to hydroponic grow light solutions.
Just a reminder, LEDs can be pricey and are still early in their development. But so far so good.
But before we get into our selection of the best LED hydroponic grow lights to get you growing in 2022 – let’s talk about the different LED grow light setups.
- Best LED Grow Light: Spider Farmer SF-4000 LED Grow Light
- Best Beginner LED Grow Light: Covert LED-X 500 Watt Full Spectrum LED Grow Light
- Best Budget LED Grow Light: Mars Hydro LED Light
- Best Tubular LED Light: Barrina Plant Grow Lights
- Best COB LED Lights: California Lightworks SolarXtreme 1000 Full Spectrum 800w LED
- Best Bar Lights: Spider Farmer SE Series
- Best LED Grow Bulb: GE Grow Light LED
Best Hydroponic Grow Lights Reviewed
Best LED Grow Light: Spider Farmer SF-4000 LED Grow Light
This LED light panel uses Samsung LM301B diodes, which are known by many to be the best in the industry.
These diodes are extremely energy efficient and cast a solid light footprint, allowing for the best light penetration.
The Spider Farmer SF-4000 LED Grow Light also offers full-spectrum lighting and dimming, which will allow you to adjust the light intensity whenever required.
Then, for indoor grow setups, noise matters. There’s nothing worse than a whirling fan. But with this unit, there’s no noise as it has an aluminum heat sink that is sturdy and thick.
And if you’re looking to replace the electrical ballast, it is fully detachable.
Also, it’s water-resistant in case the hydroponics flow gets a little out of control.
The Spider Farmer SF-4000 is a well-rounded and the unit and comes with a three-year warranty.
- It is a well-known brand
- Top of its class performance
- Long warranty
- The price point might be relatively high for the average gardener.
Overall, we’d highly recommend purchasing this unit, as it ticks all the boxes for an epic LED grow light.
Best Beginner LED Grow light: Covert LED-X 500 Watt Full Spectrum LED Grow Light
As a cross-pollination of the bar and board, newbies can get a real feel for utilizing LED grow lights.
You can quickly create the exact footprint you need for your crop by offering a full-spectrum lighting solution with this unit’s adjustable arms.
The bar design also assists in minimizing heat, and heat spots on your plants. Moreover, the unit offers a manual dimming option and the option to attach a controller for accurate, in-depth lighting schedules.
Diodes are BMTC and the heat is controlled with a heat sink. It comes with a three-year warranty.
- Easy to use
- Highly adjustable
- Could be noisy compared to the competition
This grow light is perfect for any newbies to the hydroponic game as a simple hang-up, plug-in, and enjoy unit.
Best Budget LED Growlight: Mars Hydro LED Light
The Mars Hydro LED Light provides 1000w of power. And by consuming only 150w with 354 LEDs, it is sipping at its capacity, overall saving up to 50% power. This is the latest model and has gone through several changes in the past.
With a reflective skirt around the LED board, you can be sure this unit is not wasting any light. Also, it is fanless, which makes it noiseless, a quality desired by all indoor growers sharing space with these units.
You can also rig this unit into a commercial setup, which will allow for 60 units to be connected.
And finally, this comes with a hefty five-year warranty.
- Power capacity is great
- Great coverage thanks to the reflective skirt
- The addition of control options is limited within the brand
We’d be happy to hang this LED grow light in our indoor area. Nothing wrong with going with the MARS HYDRO TS 1000W.
Best LED Tubular Light: Barrina Plant Grow Lights
If you are looking to dip your feet into the indoor hydroponic growing world or looking to expand your setup, the Barrina Plant Grow Lights are amazing.
Nothing could be easier to install with its reflective skirt, full-spectrum lighting, easy plug and play options, and simple connection options.
Also, the skirts help to divert light from your eyes.
Each length includes 120 LEDs and only consumes 24 watts of power. These units shine in the versatility of where you can install them.
And with six units in a pack, you can light up any area required.
The Barrina Plant Grow Light comes with a two-year warranty
- Easy to install
- Full-spectrum lighting
- It can’t be programmed
- Coverage is not as good as panels
We’d suggest these for hobbyists who need to ensure their plants thrive through the winter months.
Best COB LED Lights: California Lightworks SolarXtreme 1000 Full Spectrum 800w LED
Chip On Board (COB) is a relevantly new technology, but it is a smarter light that allows for a better light footprint without a controller.
The California Lightworks SolarXtreme 1000 is hands down, leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
This little beast can fill a footprint of 8×8 inches. Also, as it is full-spectrum, you can use it throughout the growth phases.
It has active heat management with fans. And it is as simple as it gets, plug and play.
- Great technology
- Good coverage
- Easy to install
- With COBs, you require a fan to keep the unit cool.
Even though the low hum of the fan won’t annoy everyone, we know some of you will not be keen.
The California Lightworks SolarXtreme 1000 is the best of the best.
Best Bar Lights: Spider Farmer SE Series
With adjustable bars that extend to provide any crop’s canopy with great, even coverage, the Spider Famer SE Series is a brilliant bar system.
There are multiple bar options, depending on your budget, but all the diodes are from Samsung.
This means they are a great quality product.
In the four bar set you can expect to receive 896 diodes drawing in just 300 watts of power. These also lend themselves to being a part of a larger daisy chain network and can be dimmed.
The bars cool by airflow, and are waterproof.
There is a 5-year after-service option as well as a 5 year warranty.
- Easy to use
- Coverage might not be as good as panels
- You’ll need to invest substantial capital to make it work on commercial scale
Once again, we’re nitpicking with our feedback. Any grower would be especially happy to install this unit for a small area.
Best LED Grow Bulb: GE Grow Light LED
As an LED grow light option, this is the simplest and is aimed at the houseplant grower who’s just started investing.
Offering a balanced light spectrum for seeds, it can be used throughout all the growth stages of your plants.
Usually, these bulbs are offered simply in purple light, but the balanced light spectrum guarantees to deliver better light for your plants.
It’s arguably the easiest to install and use.
- Basic for the newbie
- Green for simple houseplants
- Limited control
- Expensive to scale
- Only meant for a single plant
While not a professional grow light, this is perfect for those just wanting to experiment and sprout some simple seeds. The ease of installation is a huge plus for this gardening demographic.
Now that we’ve highlighted our favorites, let’s see what you should look for when selecting a LED hydroponic grow light.
Different LED Hydroponic Grow Light Setups
LED lights have branched out into multiple configurations in a relatively short time. Each of these setups has its pros and cons. Also, they are best suited for certain roles and specific plants.
But let’s get into these configurations.
When browsing through your Google search results, you’re bound to see an LED grow light panel, as they are the most common.
The LED lights are attached to a panel that will include a heatsink that removes excess heat, and an electrical ballast that limits the amount of electrical current. They’re expensive so make sure to get an excellent warranty.
These are the most common rigs as they can cast a full spectrum of light and are suitable for every growth stage.
When we’re referring to growth stages, this is a term generally used in cannabis cultivation, but you can apply the term to the life cycle of any plant.
This versatility means that grow light panels come with a hefty price tag. But in return, you get a grow light that can do full-spectrum lighting, is ready for plug and play, and a unit that will last decades.
LED Grow Light Bars
Used to expand the lighting footprint or light spectrum, LED grow light bars are a single row of diodes that come in different light spectrums.
As an additional lighting option, these won’t be used throughout all the growing stages for cannabis. But if you’re planning to utilize them for growing another crop, these will work a treat for indoor plants.
If you are running an HPS or HID lamp, you can switch them for a light bar one row at a time as and when you have funds.
A great benefit of these new light bars is they are a simple plug-and-play device.
Unfortunately, grow light bars aren’t usually available in full-spectrum, so you will need to purchase a number of them.
LED Grow Light Bulbs
As the name would suggest, this is an LED light bulb. These are great for giving those reluctant house plants a good pick-me-up boost of light. They are best used for fully grown plants.
A considerable benefit is these bulbs will fit into standard light sockets, making the transition seamless and easy.
Also, you can mix and match light bulbs for larger setups.
On the downside, you will require multiple light bulbs to cover a large crop. And you may need a reflective hood to maximize the lighting footprint.
What To Look For When Selecting a LED Grow Light
When selecting a LED grow light there are a number of factors you need to consider for yourself, which include:
Durability is key when selecting your new lighting rig. A good quality lamp will be around for at least a decade.
And with products that last longer, you can invest more into them. Electrical Output and Consumption
Your LED hydroponic grow light will need to be on for around 10-11 hours a day. Depending on your hydroponic unit, you’ll want to ensure that your unit is drawing the least amount of power.
LED lights that get too hot will damage themselves and the plants. You need to be sure that the unit is pumping out the least amount of heat.
And if it does overheat, the heating management system should do its job well.
Space and Plants
A major factor will also be the space you’re growing your plants in.
Spaces with little to no ventilation will cause mold to form on the plants.
And if you share a space with the LED lights, you’ll want to consider noise issues.
Ease of Use and Daisy Chain
Your LED hydroponic grow lights need to be simple to operate. Otherwise you won’t utilize all the great features.
Ease of use also extends to installation. An easy to install unit is one that gets to work faster.
For ambitious growers, you will want the option to expand your grow project. Make sure you’re happy with the amount of units you can link up to one another.
None of these options are especially cheap. Thus each unit should come with a warranty or return policy.
Don’t purchase a unit if there’s no warranty or return policy.
Choosing the Right LED Hydroponic Lighting Unit Makes All The Difference
By simply purchasing the correct LED hydroponic lighting you could own a unit for a decade. That’s ten years of highly productive plants.
Our main choice, the Spider Farmer SF-4000 LED Grow Light was a great all-rounder. It draws little power, produces a massive amount of light, and can be tailored to your plant’s exact needs.
Also, being able to integrate it with many units and controllers means it is engineered to be future-proof. At no point in the future will you struggle to update this rig.
Not forgetting it is easy to fix.
But choosing the right lights for your hydroponic setup is highly personal to your requirements so any of the lights on this list will do the job well.