Two types of indoor farmers could do with grow light bulbs. The first are those who don’t have an unlimited number of south-facing windows at home. Grow light lamps are the only worth-exploring option they have if they’re planning to keep their plants illuminated day-round.
The second type are those who don’t have a greenhouse at home. Greenhouse is a building designed to protect out-of-season plants or tender seedlings against excessive heat or cold. Unless you have the space (and the patience) to build it, grow light bulbs are your best bet.
Think you belong to any of these two categories? Then you’re at the right place. In this article, we’re going to recommend the ten best grow light fixtures money can buy. We also suggest that you check out our website for all things grow light bulb related.
The Original LED Grow Light Bulb is easily one of the best ones on the market. It offers an output of 1,200 lumens to meet the brightness needs of your leafy greens, basil, mint, lettuce and more. A full-spectrum light allows this bulb to cover all stages of your houseplants’ growth cycle.
That’s not all. Despite churning out 100W brightness, it consumes only 200W power, thereby weighing lightly on your electricity bills. A built-in safety sensor ensures that the bulb’s temperature remain in check, preventing it from overheating.
Installing this model couldn’t have been any easier, either. All you have to do is screw it into your standard light socket and it will get up and running. And to further sweeten the deal, it offer a protective lens cover, and an ebook on grow lights in its package. What more can you ask for!
- 3-year warranty
- Extremely easy to install
- Safety design prevents overheating
- Four color options
The Pure White LED Grow Light Bulb shares many similarities with our top pick. Both offer screw-in installation, are backed by 3-year warranties and have a safety design that keeps them from overheating. They also have a similar power consumption (200W) and a similar output (1,200 lumens).
Yet they do have one major difference. Our top pick churns out four colors including red, white, blue and ultraviolet. The Pure White Led Grow Light Bulb, however, offers full-spectrum white light. One that contains all the wavelengths plant need for photosynthesis.
That means that while this grow light bulb contains only one color, that one color has all the wavelengths plant need at all stages of their growth. That’s because white light is made by combining all other colors of the spectrum and thus provides the benefit of all of them, too.
- Full spectrum light
- Consumes minimal wattage
- Suitable for plants at all stages of growth
- Backed by a 3-year warranty
The GooingTop LED Grow Light could be the perfect companion for your indoor plants. This 6000K white light is equipped with 10 Red and 74 white LEDs that emit the same full-spectrum light as emitted by visible sunlight at noon. A sturdy clamp means you can clip it on any stable surface of your choosing.
You don’t have to manually turn this light on off. Each of its three timer settings (4 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours) will automatically shut down the light once their duty time is up. This feature is super-helpful as it will ensure your plants get only as much light as they need for perfect growth.
This grow light offers 5 levels brightness, too. A flexible gooseneck means you can tilt its head in any direction you may want. And the best thing about this product is that it comes with a wired remote control. You can use it to adjust its brightness, turn the light on/off and activate its timers.
- Comes with a remote control
- Has a flexible goose neck
- Three timer functions
- Could be brighter
- Cord could be longer
Multiple features of the Mosthink LED Grow Light Strips make them a must-have. The first is that they come in a pack of two and let you connect all the strips to create one long light. Alternatively, if your indoor plants are scattered throughout the room, you can use each strip independently.
All the light strips come with an auto on/off timer. You can use it to turn off the strips after 2hour, 4hour and 8hour cycles. The best thing about the timers is that they remember the last setting. That means they will automatically turn the strips on at the same time next day, saving you from manual effort.
Each strip provides a decent output light of 7.5 watts. Join all of them together and they’d produce more light than T5 standard fluorescent lights of equal length. And that too while emitting less heat, lasting longer than fluorescent tubes and giving off a spectrum that is good for vegging, cloning and seeding.
- Four brightness levels
- Up to 50,000 hours life
- Give off full-spectrum lighting
- Not the best option for plants that need a lot of light
Most grow lights you see on the market offer a single suspension method. The VivoSun VS1000 offers two of those to ensure maximum flexibility. You can either hang it at the rod (to save space) or you can use the included carbineers to aim it directly over your houseplants.
You also get three dimming modes to adjust its light output. The warm white light mode (3000K) helps plants bloom and makes their flowers bigger. The blue light (6500K) and red light (660nm) modes, meanwhile, boost plants germination and help them yield more leaves, respectively.
A 4’x4’ coverage area means it can provide enough light for 6 to 8 pots placed at a distance of 12” to 20” from each other. The Samsung Diodes emit super-bright light while drawing only 1000 watts of electricity. And you also get 3 years of after-sales service with this special fixture.
- Three dimming modes
- Low power consumption
- Large coverage area (4’x4’)
The Giixer LED Grow Light is a notable upgrade over traditional grow bulbs. It relies on dual chip technology to provide excessive illumination for each of its 110 watts. The technology has also made this grow light more power efficient than its competitors.
Its double switch gives you the choice between Bloom and Veg settings. The Bloom setting, featuring a combo of red and white LEDs, should be turned on when growing flowers. The Veg setting, meanwhile, offers a combination of blue and white LEDs and aids vegetables in their growth.
Just like other LEDs you saw above, this one too offers 50,000 hours of life. It is equipped with additional protection diodes that will keep the lights on if the first diodes go off. And the best thing about this grow light is that you get a 2-year warranty.
- Dual-chip design
- 2-year warranty
- Affordable asking price
- Coverage area could have been bigger
The next item on our list is this grow light kit from Juhefa. The reason it cannot compete with high-end LEDs is because it doesn’t want to. This model targets smaller applications such as decorative plants and basic flowers. A fact that would be clear for you to see once you go through its specifications.
Apart from operating on 25 watts power capacity, it has only 75 LEDs on its panel. All of them add up to provide this grow light with a coverage area of 1 x 0.369 feet. This means you’d need multiple panels if you want to illuminate a bigger area. Yet it does offer more than a few bells and whistles.
Foremost among them is its 1-year warranty. This is something you’d be lucky to get in pricier models, let alone a budget grow light like the Juhefa. Fast heat dissipation, certifications from top bodies and a moneyback guarantee are efforts by this product to sweeten the pot.
- Low power consumption
- Moneyback guarantee
- 1-year warranty
- Only suitable for smaller applications
Unimpressed by the smaller coverage area of the Juhefa? Then you might like what the Spider Farmer LED Grow Light has to offer. It is equipped with a more-than-decent 200 watts power capacity. One that its 600+ LED pcs make the most of by providing a 2’x4’ coverage area.
You don’t have to worry about the quality or brightness of the panels. Neither is there any reason to doubt that they’d go out before outlasting their started 50,000 hours life. Want to know why? Because they are manufactured by Samsung and because they’re warrantied for 3 years.
This grow light also features a dimming knob. You can therefore adjust its output based on the growth stage of your indoor plants. Remember it’s a rule of thumb that most plants need more light as they grow, with their light requirement the highest as the seed turns into a little plant.
- Stainless steel and aluminum construction
- Offers full-spectrum lighting
- Market-high 3-year warranty
- Brightness at the highest setting requires you to wear sunglasses
Here is another LED grow light whose electricity consumption won’t send your power bills through the roof. The MAXISUN LED Grow Lights offer a full light spectrum that helps your plants in all stages, including seeding and harvesting. Its 2’x1.75’ coverage area, however, could have been bigger.
Despite drawing just 400 watts from the main grid, this unit can compete with 800 watts HID units while pulling 50% less power and generating 50% less heat. This means you won’t have to install any pedestal or ceiling fans to cool down this supplemental lighting kit. The good news continues.
An aluminum heat sink passively cools this unit and an IP65 rating means that its panels can withstand more than an occasional splash. You also get a remote control to adjust its brightness/intensity from distance. A three-year warranty, plus a 90-day moneyback guarantee, are part of the package too.
- Optimizes plant growth from seed to harvest
- 3-year warranty and 90-day moneyback guarantee
- Comes with a handy remote control
- Might end up blowing a hole in your pocket
Why should anyone prefer the VIPRASPECTRA Plant Grow Light over others in this review? Start with its dimmable operation that allows this product to help plants in all stages of their growth. Then comes its daisy chain that lets you connect multiple lights with fewer outlets for easy operation.
You have two options when it comes to this grow light’s size. The 20-inch option is enough to provide a coverage area of 2.5’x2.5’, while the 16’’ model can illuminate a 2’x2’ area. Both can run for up to 18 hours per day at 100% brightness. Though this LED light does seem to have a habit of getting hot.
VIVASPECTRA has resolved the overheating issue by equipping this grow light with an aluminum sink and built-in cooling fans. Both of them not only keep this light’s temperature under the lids. But they also enhance its lifespan so that it can live many times the 2-year warranty period.
- Daisy chain function lets you connect multiple lights together
- Built-in aluminum heat sink and cooling fans
- 2-year warranty and 30-day moneyback guarantee
- Dimmable switches come with no numbers, leaving you to guesswork
What are Grow Light Bulbs?
Grow bulbs provide plants with light that is conducive to their growth. Most of them provide a light spectrum that is similar to that of the sun. Others offer a range of colors that could meet the needs of the plants being grown. Here’s how they achieve that objective.
These lighting fixtures mimic natural, outdoor conditions by varying their temperatures, colors, and spectral outputs. They also let you modify the intensity of light based on the plant’s cultivation stage, type, and light requirements.
Types of Grow Lights
Following are the major types of grow lighting fixtures:
LED Grow Light
LED grow lights provide innumerable benefits. They run at cooler temperatures, are incredibly energy efficient, and offer a wide range of color spectrum. These lights don’t need an extensive setup for their installation, either. And the best thing about them? They produce very little heat.
This means you can count on them not to burn your tender plants or their seedlings. That is despite the fact that LEDs produce a much greater light intensity than other bulbs and can therefore help you grow larger quantities of plants indoors.
- Last more than 50,000 hours
- Consume less electricity than other grow lights
- Produce much greater light intensity
- Cost more upfront
Fluorescent Grow Lights
Standard fluorescent lights don’t last as long as LEDs and produce a weaker intensity light, which is suitable for plants in their germination and vegetative growth stage. But they do cost less upfront and emit light that is capable of covering a wider surface area.
There are two primary types of fluorescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) are best suited for clones, small plants and seedlings because of their low power output. Fluorescent tubes, meanwhile, can easily fit into tight spaces and are more budget friendly.
- Produce less heat
- Cost less upfront than LEDs
- CFL offer a wider light spectrum
- Won’t last as long as LEDs
High Intensity Discharge
High Intensity Discharge lights are available in two types. Metal halide (MH) bulbs emit-blue colored light that promotes vegetative growth but is less conducive to flowering. MH bulbs are therefore used to promote leafy growth in the initial stages of the plant’s lifecycle.
High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights should take the baton from there. Their orange to red hue helps plants produce buds and flowers. However, when used in the absence of MH lights, HPS bulbs might end up making the plant less sturdy. Which is why we suggest you use both these lights in tandem.
- Are extremely efficient
- MH lighting promotes leafy growth
- HPS lighting helps plant produce buds and flowers
- Consume lots of electricity
Incandescent Grow Lights
Incandescent grow lights cost less than all the options we saw above. However, that’s their only unique selling point. Their heat output is the highest of any grow lights and their efficiency the lowest, meaning they’re a poor indoor lighting source for plants.
That’s not all. Experts tell us that the specific wavelengths produced by an average incandescent light bulb aren’t the ones an average plant needs for photosynthesis . All these drawbacks are the reason we suggest you opt other supplemental lighting options over them.
- Cost less upfront
- Not ideal for plant growth
- Abnormally high heat output
- Meager energy efficiency
Consideration When Buying Grow Light Bulbs
You must consider a few things when buying grow light bulbs. They include the type of the grow light, the color it emits, light spectrum to which the color belongs, light wattage, its color temperature and more. Pay attention to all these factors when buying grow light bulbs.
Grow lights come in various types, from panels to the ones that screw into a standard light fixture to those that are hanging overhead. Which type is right for your plants depends on the type of your indoor plants and the amount of natural light they need.
Desktop lights are easy to move around because of their smaller size, while hanging lights are mostly larger and cover a bigger area. Those of you who want a full system would do well investing in an all-in-one garden kit.
Which color light do your houseplants need? It depends on which growth stage they are at the time of grow lights’ installation. Plants in their foliage growth and vegetative phases will need a different color than those in their flowering and fruiting phases.
Here’s how you can choose your grow bulb’s color:
- Blue: The blue light, ranging between 400 and 490 nanometers wavelength, is required by plants during their vegetative and foliage growth stage.
- Orange-Red: Plants need the orange red light during their flowering and fruiting phase. This light ranges from 500 to 700 nanometers.
- Green: Green lights is used by plants to retain and convert energy, though most of it is reflected because plants by nature are green.
- Purple: Purple color on its own won’t help the plant in photosynthesis, though it might help it in the vegetative stage.
That means that for leafy green vegetables and seedlings, blue bulbs in the higher spectrum range are required. However, if you want your flowers to set fruit and flower, you might need to invest in lower spectrum bulbs in the red range.
The range of wavelengths a light source produces is its light spectrum. Two technical terms determine it: Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) and Color Rendering Index (CRI). The CCT is the color of light in terms of cool (blue) and warm (yellow) colors. Visible sunlight has a CCT of 6500 Kelvin.
Color Rendering Index, meanwhile, determines how well the artificial light fares when compared with visible sunlight, which has a CRT rating of 100. Any grow light whose CCT and CRI numbers are close to those of visible sunlight will be most beneficial in all stages of plant growth.
Bulb or Stand Setup
How many plants do you intend to grow indoors? If the number is less than five, you’d be better off with a single bulb, at least when the plants are still in their early growth phase. However, the moment they start getting taller, you should opt for a stand setup.
A stand setup, as its name implies, is a rack with built-in lights. You can increase or decrease the height of the stand based on how much distance you want between the plants and the light source. Keep in mind, though, that premade grow light stands do not come cheap.
How much space are you freeing up for your indoor plants? The answer to this question will determine how much wattage you need. Bigger spaces with lots of plants will obviously need a grow light fixture with more wattage than the smaller ones.
According to a rule of thumb, one square foot of space requires 32 watts of lights. This means that if you’re growing houseplants in a 5’x5′ space, your grow lights will need 320-480 watts of electricity.
The Kelvin Scale
The Kelvin scale ranges between 1,000 and 10,000 and indicates a color’s temperature. The higher the color scale, the closer a grow light’s color is to visible sunlight. Scientists have divided the Kelvin scale into two ranges: warm and cold.
Colors with their Kelvin rating at or less than 3,500K are cold. They are best for plants in their flowering and fruit growing stage. Those with a color temperature rating of around 6,500K, meanwhile, are ideal for leafy vegetable growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can any LED be used as a grow light?
You can use any LED light to grow plants as long as it’s emitting enough light. That is easier said than done because regular LED bulbs do not emit light in the specific wavelengths (blue and red) plants need for photosynthesis. This means that if you use any LED light as a grow light, your plants may not grow efficiently and healthily.
Are grow lights safe for humans?
What color grow light fixtures are best?
How long should grow lights be on plants?
What should be the distance between the plants and the grow light?
The distance depends on the type of grow light you’re using. As a rule of thumb, LED and fluorescent lights have a lower heat signature, so you can place them up to 6 and 12 inches over the plants, respectively. Incandescent grow bulbs should be at least 2 foot away from your plants.
Can you leave grow lights on 24 hours a day?
You shouldn’t leave grow lights on 24 hours a day, regardless of the type of indoor plants you’re wanting to grow. Plants also need a period of darkness to allow their metabolism to work properly. Otherwise, if you keep the indoor lighting on for 24 hours, your plants will overwork and might end up getting harmed.
What is the difference between T5, T8 and T12 fluorescent lights?
The letter ‘T’ in T5, T8 and T12 demonstrates that the fluorescent light is not a bulb but a tube. The number that follows the letter represents the diameter of the tube in fractions of an inch. For instance, a T5 bulb is 5/8 of an inch, a T8 bulb is 1-inch wide and a T12 bulb is 12/8ths of an inch,
Your houseplants need natural daylight to survive. Given that it’s something their shaded location might not afford them, grow light bulbs are your best bet. These lights are capable of offering full-spectrum lighting to your indoor plants 24*7, resulting in a quick harvest cycle.
While a few LED grow lights no doubt cost you to rob a bank, they justify their initial asking price with a long lifespan. You can count on these lights to last up to 50,000 hours, which is way more than the traditional supplemental lighting systems like fluorescent bulbs and incandescent grow lights.
Want to garner all these benefits? Then you must check out our top two picks. Apart from offering these bells and whistles, both the Original LED Glow Light Bulb and the Pure White LED Grow Light Bulb offer easy installation, full-spectrum light and minimal energy consumption. What more can you ask for!