Grow Lights for Weed2018-09-30T00:49:44+00:00

Grow Lights for Weed

Reviews of the 5 Best Grow Lights for Marijuana

As more and more states legalize cannabis for cultivation and personal use, interest in growing your own weed at home has never been so high. It comes as no surprise that many people are choosing to grow their own marijuana using indoor hydroponics techniques instead of traditional soil-based methods. This is because hydroponics offers many benefits, such as faster growth, higher yields, fewer pests, and a more discreet way to grow cannabis to its fullest genetic potential. But producing high-quality marijuana doesn’t come easy. It starts with a good hydroponics system for marijuana and a setup that includes the best grow lights for weed.

One of the most important decisions an indoor hydroponics grower will make is how their plants will receive adequate light to power them through the vegetative and flowering stages of growth. In fact, grow lights for weed are possibly the single most important element to achieving healthy plants, high yields, and big buds. Let’s look at some of the principal things you should consider before purchasing a grow light for weed, and then review 5 of the best marijuana grow lights on the market today.

Grow Lights for Weed: The Requirements

In the absence of natural sunlight, grow lights play a critical role in indoor gardening.  Light is necessary to bring about photosynthesis, during which water, carbon dioxide, and light provide the energy source for plants to produce glucose and oxygen for their growth. In order to find a suitable grow light for weed, you should consider the following:

Color: Different light sources provide different colors, each with varying energy outputs and wavelengths. Plants need more blue light during the vegetation phase and more red light during the flowering stage. Blue waves tend to be smaller and possess more energy whereas red light waves have a longer reach but with less energy output. Full-spectrum grow lights contain all colors of the sun and therefore appear white.

Light Intensity: The brightness of a light determines how much light energy can be absorbed by the plant. Intensity is measured in Lumen output.  Low intensity grow lights often produce long, leggy plants because they reach to find an adequate amount of light. High-intensity lights are superior for growing cannabis because they produce more dense, compact, and higher yielding plants. While you can somewhat increase intensity by moving the grow lights closer to the plants, it’s best to choose a high intensity grow light from the start.  For great results, you want something that is capable of delivering the high-intensity light with a broad spectrum of colors.

Grow Light Cycle for Weed: When growing cannabis, the vegetative stage of plant growth requires a longer duration of light than does the flowering stage. Some grow lights have built-in timers for light cycles (automatically turning on/off lights at set times), while more basic grow lights (without this capability) will need a timer.

See our Marijuana Growing Supplies page for timers and other cannabis growing supplies.

Generally speaking, you should follow the following lighting cycle for weed:

Vegetation Stage: 18 hours of light / 6 hours of darkness

Flowering Stage: 12 hours of light / 12 hours of darkness

Different Types of Grow Lights for Weed

Type of Grow Light Pros Cons

Fluorescent

• Inexpensive

• Space saving

• Wide availability (buy at local store)

• Low heat output and electricity usage

• Only useful for compact plants and small grows

• Each bulb needs a socket

• Low yields and poor efficiency

HID

• Initially cheaper than LED

• Good coverage and deep penetration

• High yields and high quality buds

• Runs hot (keep at a distance from plants)

• Consumes a lot of power

• Bulbs need to be replaced often

• Ballast, socket/reflector, and ventilation needed

LED

• Most efficient

• Low operating cost

• No learning curve for beginners (plug-n-play)

• LED bulbs have long lifespan

• More control of spectra

• Runs cool (no additional components needed)

• Higher initial cost

• Some lights are not as powerful as manufactures claim

Fluorescents

There are two types of Fluorescents: CFL and T5 grow lights. CFL lights are usually twisted in their shape, while T5 grow lights are long and narrow.

Fluorescent grow lights have warm, cool, or full spectrum colors. They are inexpensive, can be used in a standard lighting socket, give-off a pleasant color for indoor environments, provide good temperature control, and have low electricity consumption. The downside is their penetration is less intense. As such, fluorescent lighting tends to produce smaller yields per watt vs. HID and LED, as well as smaller and fluffier buds.  They need to be positioned very close to the plant to be effective. Thus, they are not recommended for taller, full-sized cannabis plants. Be aware that fluorescents also contain a small amount of mercury.

Bottom Line: Fluorescents are inexpensive, can be effective, and don’t consume a lot of electricity. However, if you want dense, high trichome buds, fluorescents are not your best choice.  They do make for a decent supplemental light source to your other grow lights.

High Intensity Discharge (HID)

High-Intensity Discharge (HID) grow lights are a step above fluorescents in efficiency and are a favorite among expert growers. They have an awkward shape and are normally used in conjunction with a reflector hood to direct light down towards the plants. The disadvantage to HID lighting their tenancy to running very hot, so exhaust fans are often used to vent a  grow tent or greenhouse. Besides ventilation and temperature control, they may also require specific lighting fixtures and ballasts (to mediate the electric currents). So while the initial investment in the light may be lower than LEDs, they do require more investment in other ways, as well as changing light bulbs more often.

The three types of High-Intensity Discharge lighting are Metal Halide (MH), High-Pressure Sodium (HPS), and Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH, LEC, Light Emitting Ceramic). Metal Halide’s blue hues are particularly good for vegetative growth, while HPS yellow lighting is great for the flowering stage and produce an amazing yield per watt. Ceramic Metal Halide lighting is manufactured with ceramic, thus making them more efficient than standard MH lights.

Bottom Line: HID / MH lights can produce high yields and super quality buds. However, the grow light setup requires more maintenance and safeguards to prevent heating issues.

LED Grow Lights

While HID lighting is certainly efficient, the heating issues are a concern. If you read our Best LED Grow Lights article, you know the primary benefit of LED grow lights is that they can significantly reduce heat output and power consumption vs other lighting sources.  LED grow lights often have built-in fans and heat sinks to regulate temperature and ventilation, and they are more energy efficient overall. While the initial cost is higher than the alternatives, LED grow lights can actually save you more money in the long run.

LED grow lights are plug-n-play. You can simply hang a grow light over your plants and plugged directly into the wall without any other major adjustments. Better LED grow lights can produce the particular spectrum a plant needs for its various stages of growth. Another advantage is their longevity; LED bulbs will not need to be replaced nearly as often as fluorescents or HID. Because of their numerous benefits, we recommend LED grow lights to hydroponics marijuana growers – beginners and experts alike.

Bottom Line: LED grow lights are cost-efficient, low maintenance, and have a lifespan of many years. Some cannabis growers use LED grow lights in conjunction with High-Intensity Discharge lights to produce high-quality buds, but they can be used as a stand-alone grow light for weed with amazing results.

Best Grow Lights for Weed

Now that we recognize which elements of grow lights are important – and which types of grow lights work best – let’s take a look at 5 of the best grow lights for marijuana.

3.5 drop rating
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Specs:

Led Brand: Epistar
Spectrum: 450~475nm 620~630nm, 650~660nm, & white
Lumen: 11595Lm ± 5% @ AC110V 11632Lm ±5% @ AC220V
Par Value: 779 umol
Frequency: 50 – 60 HZ
Input Voltage: AC85 – 265V
Amps: 1.781A @ AC110V 0.9042A @ AC220V

Package includes:

  • MEIZHI 450W Reflector Series LED Grow Light
  • 1 Power Cord
  • 1 Hanging Kit

Meihzi 450W LED Grow Light

Excellent Budget Grow Light for Weed

The 450W MEIZHI LED Grow Light is very easy to operate – right out the box.  Just plug it in, turn it on, and there is nothing left to do.   The construction is heavy duty and durable. There are two cooling fans and heat sinks to control the heat, and veg/flower switches to optimize every phase of a grow. As far a power, the high-quality Epistar LEDs are very bright and the reflector lens keeps all the light focused down on plants.  This grow light has an excellent PAR rating (779 umols) for such a compact light.

Other benefits include low power consumption (energy efficiency), long lifespan (50,000-100,000 hrs), and daisy chain functionality.  While the coverage area is fairly small (3.5′ x 2′), the daisy chain functionality allows you to add additional lights to increase the coverage area. And while similar lights can have much high price tags, the cost of the MEIZHI  Reflector-Series 450W LED Grow Light is very affordable. Definitely one to consider, especially for someone who is just growing weed for the first time.

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4 drop rating
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Specs:

Product Dimensions: 18″ x 8.5″ x 4″
Weight: 13 lbs.
Origin: USA
Led Brand: High Power Osram LEDs (50,000 hrs)
LEDs: 171 x 3W LEDs (red, blue, white)
Actual Draw: 400 watts actual draw at full power
Par Value: High intensity PAR output of 620 μuMoles/s
Voltage: Automatic voltage regulation – 90 – 277 volts
Max Heat Output: 1200 BTU
Coverage Area:  Up to 3′ X 4′ area in bloom and up to 6′ X 8′ area in veg
Warranty: 5 year limited, local support

California LightWorks SolarSystem 550 

Superior Design for Total Spectrum Control

Both California LightWorks SolarSystem 550 and 1100 models are loaded with advanced capabilities to optimize light spectra. Don’t let the compact size fool you; this light has the high power intensity and functionality to rival anything on the market. When it comes to growing marijuana, the results speak volumes: bigger buds, better yields, and maximum control over your grow.

The SS 550 is the great option for indoor growers with limited space or greenhouse growers trying to reduce their shadow effect. The California LightWorks SolarSystem 550 – along with the controller – offers a fully automated, low cost, and highly controllable growing system with daisy chain capabilities for 1 to 1000 grow lights. Its ease-of-use, relatively low cost, advanced functionality, and overall efficiency are game changers for both individual growers and commercial operations.

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4.5 drop rating
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Specs:

Dimensions: 36″ x 3″ x 9″
Weight: 22 lbs.
Max Power: 620 watts
HID equivalent: 1000 watt DE HPS
LEDs: (6) 50-watt CREE COB LEDs (UV/IR) , (96) 5-watt supplemental Bridgelux/Epistar LEDs, Red diodes: Epistar, Dual Core Red Diodes Blue and White diodes: Bridgelux Blues Dual Core Whites (single core)
Optics: Secondary Lens
Spectrum: Full-spectrum + near infrared + Ultra Violet
PAR: 1550 umol/m2/s at center of footprint
Timer: Built in 6 Stage Timer. 10/12/14/16/18/24 Dimmability: Dual Channel
Thermal management: 6 x cooling fans, heat-sinks
Coverage area: Veg: 5′ x 4′ (Max 6′ x 5′) Flower: 4′ x 4′ (Max 5″ x 4′)
Hanging height: Veg: 24″-36″ Flower: 24″-30″
Lighting package includes: hanging cables & fixture, 120v power cord, hanging hooks

OPTIC LED OPTIC 6 COB LED

Super Powerful COB LED Grow Light for Weed

Optic LED offers some of the most powerful and best quality COB LED grow lights on the market. Chip-on-Board technology – referred to as “COB” –  is a fairly new development in LED packaging technology.  It uses mounts multiple LED chips directly onto a substrate to form a singular module.

The Optic LED Optic 6 COB LED grow light has a full spectrum of IR and UV that boasts 50W CREE COB LEDs, 5-watt supplemental, high-quality Bridgelux/Epistar LEDs Red diodes and Epistar Dual Core Red, White, and Blue diodes with Bridgelux Blues Dual Core whites single core. The light is equivalent to a 1000-Watt HPS while offering a massive output for only a 620 wattage draw. Secondary reflectors direct light downwards to magnify PAR output (by 200%),  and the built-in 6 channel timer and 3 channel dimmer can independently adjust the 5W diode array and COBs for deep penetration of the canopy.   Additionally, the Optic 6 features cooling fans and heat-sink to manage heat output efficiently. The Optic 6 COB LED grow lights are stacked with power and functionality to make your next cannabis grow a success.

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4 drop rating
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Specs:

Dimensions: 21″ x 14″ x 3″s (52 cm x 36 cm x 7.6 cm)
Weight: 22 lbs
Veg Coverage: 4′ x 5′ (122 cm x 153 cm)
Flowering Coverage: 4′ x 5′ (122 cm x 153 cm)
Power Draw: 380 Watts
PAR Value: 1480 umol
Amperage: (110V) 3.3 Amp;  (240V) 1.6 Amp
HID equivalent: 800 – 1000 Watts

G8LED 600 Watt MEGA LED Grow Light 

High Times Magazine’s “Best LED Grow Light” 2 Years in a Row

The G8LED 600 Watt MEGA LED grow light is a state-of-the-art grow light with a simple and initiative design. It features an optimal 8-Band wavelength ratio spectrum with Infrared (IR) and Ultraviolet (UV) and superior heat dissipation features to ensure it runs cool.  This 600-watt G8LED light is ideal for every stage of the growing cycle  -from veg to flowering.  One light provides intense coverage for 18 square feet of floor space. To increase intensity even further, use the dual 90W Red Flower Boosters to penetrate 60″ past the plant canopy to fully maximize yield.

After 8 years of research, Dorm Grow/G8LED released their MEGA LED to critical acclaim. As a testament to the quality, G8LED 600W MEGA LED grow light has won the High Times Magazine’s “Best LED Grow Light” award for two years running. It was designed with simplicity and performance in mind; novice growers will appreciate how easy it is to operate, while everyone will love the quality of cannabis and massive yields this light can produce.  G8LED lights are manufactured in the USA and come with a 2-yr warranty and exceptional (US based) customer service.

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4.5 drop rating
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Specs:

Product Dimensions: 18.75″ x 18.75″ x 5.13″
Origin: USA
Wattage (Avg): 630w
LED Wattage: 1260w
Number of LEDs: 252
Acceptable Voltage Range: AC 100V~250V
AC Frequency Range: 50~60 Hz
Operational Temperature Range: -4 ~104 °F (-20 to 40 °C)
Certifications: ETL, CE, FCC, RoHS
M.T.B.F: > 50,000 Hours
Power Factor: > 0.98
Fans: 70,000 Hour Expected Life
BTU: 2148
Max Flowering Footprint: 5′ x 5′
Max Vegetative Footprint: 6.5′ x 6.5′
Warranty: Limited Lifetime

Black Dog LED PhytoMAX-2 600 Grow Light

State of the Art, High Intensity LED Grow Light for Weed

Black Dog LED manufactures some of the most powerful LED grow lights in the business. Researched and made in the USA, the PhytoMAX-2 lines of grow lights is the company’s latest and greatest series to date. With an actual wattage of 630 and 961 μMol/s total photon flux, the PhytoMAX-2 600W LED grow light will outperform any single-ended 1000-Watt HPS on the market. The patent-pending design delivers a powerful and reliable 365-750nm, UV to NIR full spectrum to penetrate dense canopies and nourish lower hanging leaves and flowers.

The Black Dog LED PhytoMAX-2 600W LED grow light can reach up to an astounding to 5′ X 5′ (25 sq ft) of flowering footprint coverage, spread evenly over the entire footprint. The company uses the highest quality LEDs and the latest technology to ensure top quality results. With a 5 year, limited lifetime warranty, Black Dog has your back if anything goes wrong. Although priced higher, this is truly a top-shelf grow light for weed!

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More Grow Lights for Weed

Here are a few more top-rated and best-selling grow lights for weed. They didn’t quite make our top 5 list, but they are still worthy of your consideration!

Mars Hydro Reflector Series

  • Popular grow light series among cannabis growers
  • Full Spectrum w/ grow/bloom switch
  • Easy to use – just plug ‘n play
  • 3 years authentic warranty
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PlatinumLED Advanced Platinum Series 

  • Highest intensity PAR/lumen output per watt
  • 12-Band Full Spectrum w/ UV and IR
  • Quiet cooling fans and efficient aluminum heat sinks
  • 4.5′  x 3.8′ coverage at 18″ height
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VIPARSPECTRA Dimmable Series

  • 3 Dimmers
  • 12-Band Full Spectrum
  • Veg/Bloom for indoor cannabis grows
  • Max coverage 2.5′ x 2.5′
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Thanks for reading our Best Grow Lights for Weed article. We hope that you found a light for your next cannabis grow. For more hydroponics and aquaponics articles, please see our LED Grow Light ReviewsGrow Cabinets for WeedGrow Tent Kits, Hydroponics Growing Medium, and Hydroponics System pages.



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