Best LED Grow Light Brands

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Best LED Grow Light Brands

Have you spent countless hours researching LED grow lights and you still haven’t come any further? I have been in your shoes! That’s why I created this grow light guide to help you decide! If you are new to LED grow lights, I recommend reading my LED grow light glossary to get you up to speed on the most important terminology. If you don’t want to read the intro, skip down to the mid-range grow lights section.

TL;DR If you want my advice, go with the Atreum Hydra-1000 or the Spider Farm SF Series. The HLG 100 V2 Rspec® is another great option, although slightly more expensive than the other two. More details in the summary section.

Table of Contents

Spider Farmer SF Series

Atreum Hydra-1000

Mars Hydro TS Series

HLG 100 V2

Vivarspectra Reflector Series

Summary

There are two main types of grow lights: full spectrum and separate vegging/blooming grow lights. Some lights have a switch for switching between vegging and blooming. Separate lights are good if you have separate spaces for vegetative growth and blooming/flowering (source). However, for most people, a full spectrum light is the way to go.

Some features that are useful in grow lights are full spectrum lights with adjustable output spectrum settings. A proper cooling system with heat sinks and/or fans are very important. The Atreum Hydra even lets you remove the LED driver from the metal PCB. The circuit board should ideally be a metal core PCB too. A constant current driver circuit with a good supply of direct current is also advisable.

The best LEDs hands down are from Horticultural Lighting Group (HLG). If you have the budget, go with an HLG quantum board fixture. HLG are manufactured in the US, have excellent customer service and started the quantum board trend. Their lights have high photon efficiency and have a full spectrum. However, seeing as a lot of people don’t have the budget for very expensive LEDs, I will focus this article on more budget options around 100W output power.

Quantum boards are the newest hype in the LED growing industry. Whereas COB lights have a few high power LEDs, quantum boards have many more low power LEDs spread out over the entire light fixture. This leads to a more evenly distributed light, giving a more even PAR to the entire grow area. Seeing as these LEDs do not produce as much heat as their COB equivalents, quantum boards do not require a fan. A fan tends to be one of the first components that stops working, so this could potentially lead to longer lasting grow lights. A disadvantage of quantum lights compared with COB is the lack of higher power LEDs. The lower power LEDs in quantum boards are not able to penetrate the plant canopy as well as COB grow lights.

Below, I will show you some of the best mid-range 100W quantum board grow lights.

Spider Farm SF Series

Spider Farmer SF 1000
Spider Farmer SF1000 (not an affiliate link)
  • quantum board grow lights
  • high photon efficacy at 2.5 umol/J
  • high quality Samsung diodes with Maxwell LED drivers
  • 3 year warranty
  • rated lifespan of 100,000 hours
  • Amazon rating: 4.7/5 with 3363 reviews

One of the best options to consider is the Spider Farm SF Series of quantum board grow lights. They are similar to the HLG quantum board line, only that they are made in China. Chinese brands tend to not be as reliable as American, but Spider Farm is a lot better than other Chinese brands. They use high quality Samsung diodes with Maxwell drivers and the lights come with a 3 year warranty policy. In addition, no fans and a rated lifespan of 100,000 hours (8-10 years of use) provides a reliable long term solution. Infrared diodes are also included and the light is dimmable. Looking at the Amazon reviews, we can see a 4.7/5 rating with more than 3000 reviews.

Atreum Hydra-1000

Atreum Hydra 1000
Atreum Hydra-1000 (not an affiliate link)
  • uses Samsung LEDs and Meanwell LED drivers
  • quantum board design, stays cool without cooling fans
  • full spectrum light
  • 111 W power draw
  • Photon efficacy (350-1000 nm) of 2.8 umol/J and PPE (400-700 nm) of 2.68 umol/J
  • coverage of 3×3 ft in vegetative growth, 2×2 ft in bloom/flowering
  • Distance: 12 to 24 inches from plant canopy
  • dimmable, ability to daisy chain
  • 3 year warranty, US company
  • Amazon rating: 4.9/5 from 47 reviews

Another great quantum grow light in the 100W range is the Atreum Hydra 1000 grow light. It is very similar to the Spider Farm SF-1000, but has better efficiency and light output. The driver block is removable to help with heat management, which is noticeable when comparing the two. The SF-1000 pulls 91W when the PCB warms up, while the Hydra-1000 is pulling 114W, leading to more power being passed from the outlet to the plants as useful PAR. The Hydra-1000 also includes an LED display to see the current power the light consumes. It is not a perfect power meter, but is a good estimate of power draw. All in all, a great mid-range LED to consider for a 3×3 grow tent [source].

Mars Hydro TS Series

Mars Hydro TS600
Mars Hydro TS600 (not an affiliate link)
  • available in 600W (100W actual), 1000W (150W actual), 2000W (300W actual), 3000W (450W actual)
  • quantum board design, stays cool without cooling fans
  • full spectrum light with IR
  • 100 W actual power draw
  • Photon efficacy of  2.27 umol/J [source]
  • uses 342 LEDs to give an evenly distributed PAR
  • dimmable, daisy chain up to 15 lights together
  • Amazon rating: 4.7/5 with 5674 reviews

Mars Hydro is a Chinese grow light brand that make high quality grow lights at an affordable price. As with a lot of other Chinese grow lights, the customer service can be bad. If you have the budget to go with Atreum or Spider Farm, I would go with one of those. However, if you do not have the budget, Mars Hydro can be an attractive grow light at a good price point.

HLG 100 V2 Rspec®

HLG 100v2
HLG 100 V2 Rspec® (not an affiliate link)
  • available in two varieties (HLG 100 V2 for vegetative growth, HLG 100 V2 Rspec® for all growth stages)
  • quantum board design does not require a heat sink or cooling fans
  • uses 176x Samsung LM301H white LEDs and 4x LM351H V2 deep red LEDs
  • white light full spectrum grow light
  • 95 Watt power draw
  • Photon efficacy of 2.41 umol/Joule
  • non-dimmable Meanwell driver
  • Amazon rating: 5/5 stars from 423 reviews

The HLG 100 V2 comes in two varieties: the HLG 100 V2 and the HLG 100 V2 Rspec®. The main difference between the two lights is the Rspec® version includes less white LEDs than the regular V2, but includes 4 deep red LEDs for flowering. The HLG 100 V2 should only be used for vegetative growth, while the Rspec® version can be used for all growth stages.

The quantum board design is great and since the LEDs are spaced apart enough, the aluminum board does a good enough job of dissipating heat away from the LEDs. The Samsung LEDs and Meanwell drivers are top of the range, no questions asked. The flowering footprint is 2×2 feet, while the veg footprint is 3×3 feet, which is very similar to the other lights shown. The PPF efficacy of 2.41 umol/Joule is also very competitive, only being beaten by Spider Farm and Atreum.

Only real downside is the price and the non-dimmable Meanwell driver. Other than that, you get what you pay for with this light.

Vivarspectra Reflector Series

Vivarspectra
Vivarspectra Reflector Series, 600W (not an affiliate link)
  • comes in 300W, 450W, 600W, 900W, 1200W
    • although the “600W” version only consumes 260W (beware the fake marketing)
  • photon efficacy: 0.8 umol/J at 24 inches
  • 12 LED color spectrum
  • 3 year warranty, 30 day product return policy
  • full spectrum grow light with IR light
  • can daisy chain multiple lights together
  • Amazon rating: 4.6/5 with 1830 reviews

Some other highly respectable full spectrum grow lights come from Vivarspectra. The reflector series 600W offers a 12 LED color spectrum with a 3 year warranty and 30 day product return. This is a COB style board, which has the advantage of being able to more easily penetrate the plant canopy, leading to more growth in the lower canopy of the plant. However, it requires fans to dissipate heat from the high power LEDs, leading to increased noise. In addition, fans are often the first components to stop working. COB lights also do not have the same amount of light coverage and the photon efficacy is a lot worse than the competition.

Summary

To summarize, I would go with quantum board fixtures vs COB. Quantum board lights have better light distribution, run at lower temperatures and do not require a fan. Out of the ones reviewed, I would go with the Atreum Hydra-1000. They are US based and provide a 3 year warranty. The CSA group independently verified a wopping 2.7 umol/J photon efficacy, class leading for 100W quantum board grow lights. A close second is the Spider Farms SF-1000, which also has a great grow light, but are a Chinese company.

You can either purchase the Atreum Hydra-1000 from their website or Amazon. You will not be disappointed!

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AUTHOR

Every since studying engineering, Bjorn has been interested in how technology can help grow plants quicker.

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