Cannabis Grow Lights

One of the first decisions you need to make about growing cannabis indoors is which grow lights you will use. The lights are the most expensive part of growing cannabis indoors. They are expensive to purchase and to operate. Selecting the best grow lights for your set-up can improve the efficiency of your grow and the quality and quantity that you harvest, while saving money and electricity. Here, we provide our honest grow light recommendations for the best LED grow lights for different budgets and grow sizes.

We have a complete Grow Light Guide to help you learn and navigate the world of horticultural lighting.

You may want to start getting into grow lights by reading our "Grow Light Metrics Primer". If you want to know how much light you need, be sure to read our article, “How Much Light (PPF) Do You Need for Indoor Cannabis”. Use our Grow Light Calculator to calculate the efficiency, coverage and harvest potential of different grow lights! And check out our Grow Light Field Test Reports and Reviews!

On this page, we give you our impartial grow light recommendations, which are informed by our experience testing and reviewing grow lights. I have tested fixtures in each product line that we recommend. The lights listed below are the fixtures that we would buy to use for ourselves. We consider numerous factors in making our recommendations including efficiency, cost, light distribution, component and build quality, and track record. We are confident that you will be happy with any of our recommended LED grow lights.

This is a rapidly developing market and we are monitoring it closely to bring you regular updates on the best grow lights on the market. Updated September 14, 2020

LED LIGHTS

LED grow lights have been popular with home growers because they produce less heat, are easier to set-up, and more convenient to operate. However, until recently, High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lights such as High-Pressure Sodium (HPS), Metal Halide (MH) and Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) were the most efficient for both electricity and cost. Technological gains have allowed LEDs to surpass the efficiency of HID lighting. All of the fixtures that we recommend below are more efficient than HPS, MH or CMH grow Lights.

LED lights that are capable of outperforming HID lights have been available for several years now, but they have been very expensive. It is only within the last year or so that models have become available that can out compete HID lights on both efficiency and cost. LED fixtures are now the clear choice for home growers.

There are quality LED fixtures available at an affordable price. However, the LED market is full of incomplete information and false claims. There are many discount LED lights that grossly exaggerate their efficiency and HID light equivalence. Without good information it can be easy to end up with a low-quality light. Steer clear of the no-name brands that make fantastical claims. If you want the best LED grow light for your space and budget, then choose from among the brands and options below.

Mars Hydro

Mars Hydro has come a long was in a short time. They are still known for their history of making lower efficiency Blurple lights, but they have seriously stepped up their game in the last two years. In 2019, the TS series changed the game and sent ripples through the grow light industry. It quickly became our top pick for entry level LEDs. In 2020, they added the SP3000 and the FC series lights which both compete with the best fixtures available on the market. Mars Hydro has become a serious grow light brand. They offer elite efficiency and great build quality at unbeatable prices.

Shop Direct from Mars-Hydro.com Use Discount Code: CCFC.

Mars Hydro TS Series LED

The Mars Hydro TS Series is a Game Changer!

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The Mars Hydro TS series fixtures deliver performance that until recently was only available on models that cost 4-5 times as much. The photon and cost efficiency of these lights forced us to reconsider everything about how we recommend grow lights. We stopped recommending HID lights to new growers because of these Mars Hydro TS series LEDs. The TS series deliver high efficiency, excellent distribution, and a proven track record.

The TS series have efficiencies up to 1.83 µmol/w. This is great for a low-cost fixture. What makes the TS series even more impressive is the even distribution of light to the edges and corners. The TS series spreads the light out better than fixtures that cost considerably more. The TS series fixtures come in several convenient sizes and are an excellent value for money. They continue to be among our top recommendations for entry-level high efficiency LEDs.

Mars Hydro TS 1000
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Shop Direct from Mars-Hydro.com Use Discount Code: CCFC.We tested this fixture, see our complete field test report.The Mars Hydro TS1000 is a dimmable full spectrum LED Grow Light with a simple design and minimal components. The cost-efficient design offers growers an incredible light at an amazing price. We recommend it to cover a 2’ x 2’ area. In a standard 4’ x 4’ grow tent you could run up to 4 of these lights. One of the advantages is that you can start with one or two and add additional lights when your budget permits. Perfect for small spaces, the TS1000 has an ideal flowering distance of about 16” above the canopy.In Shane’s test, he recorded a Usable PPF of 242.1 µmol and a Power Draw of 147 watts. In that test, the Usable Photon Efficiency was 1.65 µmol/w which is excellent. However, the maximum PPFD in that test was below 1000 so he could have hung the fixture somewhat lower and recorded an even higher Usable PPF and photon efficiency. Either way, it is an amazing photon efficiency for a light in this price range. It is one of the most cost-efficient LED grow light options that exist. Our harvest expectations for one of these lights is about 133-182 grams or 4.8-6.5 ounces.

Mars Hydro TSL 2000
Shop Direct from Mars-Hydro.com Use Discount Code: CCFC. I know this light well. I used two TSL-2000s for three of my personal grows. I got my largest ever harvests out of my 4x4 tent with two of them! I ran PAR tests with one and two TSL -2000s. See the Complete Test Report.The TSL2000 is a dimmable full spectrum LED Grow Light, which offers all the same qualities as the TS1000, with more output and coverage. It is roughly equivalent to two of the TS1000 lights.In my test, the Mars Hydro TSL-2000 produced an average PPFD of 727.2 µmol/m2 across the 4’ x 2’ test area. It drew 286 watts and converted them into a Usable PPF of 523.6 µmol. This gives the TSL-2000 a Usable Photon Efficiency of 1.83 µmol/w. This is lower than the top-of-the-line fixtures, but significantly better than any HPS or CMH fixture. We rate the 1.83 µmol/w as “elite”. The harvest potential for one of these lights is 266-363 grams or 9.5-13 ounces. It has an ideal flowering distance of 15” above the canopy.When I put the two of them together and tested in a 4’ x 4’ space they performed even better. The average PPFD went up to 750.6 µmol/m2. The Usable PPF went up to 1080.9 µmol, which meets our goal for fully lighting a 4’ x 4’ grow space.The Mars Hydro TSL-2000 is an excellent deal! The purchase cost is only about $0.50/µmol. That is among the best prices you will ever find for any light. For the best prices, shop Mars-hydro.com and use discount code CCFC.

Mars Hydro TSW 2000
Shop Direct from Mars-Hydro.com Use Discount Code: CCFC. The TSW-2000 is very similar to the TSL-2000. The difference is the shape. The TSW is a square designed to cover a 3’ x 3’ space. It is ideal for 3’ x 3’ tents and grow spaces. It has an ideal flowering height 16-18” above the canopy.The TSW-2000 has an advertised power draw of 310 watts. I expect it has a similar Usable Photon Efficiency as the TSL-2000, about 1.83 µmol/w. The purchase cost efficiency is less than $0.50/µmol, which is among the leaders in the market. The harvest potential for one of these lights is 275-375 grams or 9.8-13.4 ounces.

Mars Hydro SP Series

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Shop Direct from Mars-Hydro.com Use Discount Code: CCFC.

I had the opportunity to test and review two of the new Mars Hydro SP-3000s and I was really impressed. Read the complete SP 3000 Test Report and Review. The SP-3000 is a new model, which is a significant upgrade over the previous generation of SP fixtures. It features top of the line Samsung LM301b diodes and a 300-watt Mean Well driver.

Mars Hydro SP 3000
The Mars Hydro SP 3000 is 108cm (42.5”) long in a bar shape. Since it is a single bar, I was concerned about its edge and corner coverage, but I was very impressed with the performance in my PAR test. I tested the the SP-3000 in a 4x2 space. It produced the best 4’ x 2’ PAR map I have seen.In addition to an amazing PAR map, the SP-3000 has a superior Photon Efficiency. I measured a Usable PPF of 630.3 µmol with a power draw of 297 watts. That is a Photon Efficiency of 2.12 µmol/w, which competes with some of the best fixtures on the market.

The SP-3000 is really tough to beat on cost, it comes in at only $0.63/µmol. These numbers are almost too good to be true – but they are true, I tested it myself.

I ran several PAR tests with the SP 3000. I had two of them, so I also ran them in several different array configurations. These tests are featured in my Grow Light Physics video. The PAR maps and data are all included with the SP-3000 PAR Test and Review. The SP-3000s did tremendously in all of the tests.

One SP-3000 is my top choice for 4’ x 2’ to 4’ x 2.5’ coverage. I am now running one SP-3000 in my 4’ x 2’ tent. Two of these lights produced an insane PAR map in a 4’ x 4’ grow space. It is close to the theoretical limit for the amount of light that you can safely fit in a 4’ x 4’ space! Two SP-3000s were almost enough to cover a 5’ x 5’ space, but their sweet spot is about 20 sq. feet. I think three SP-3000s would be ideal for a 4’ x 8’ grow space. In any of these spaces, I give the SP-3000 my highest recommendation. It is an awesome fixture and I am sure that any grower will love it.

Shop Direct from Mars-Hydro.com Use Discount Code: CCFC.

Photontek Lighting

Photontek is a new brand in the United States and Canada, but it arrives with a stellar reputation. Photontek is the new sister company of Lumatek, which has a long and excellent track record in the grow light industry. Our friend Shane from Migro recently tested the Lumatek Zeus 600w PRO. It was one of the best fixtures he had ever tested. I was disappointed that we could not get the light in the US, but now we can! Photontek is bringing the technology and designs to the US and Canadian market.

Photontek is a brand you can trust. They have excellent customer service and one of the best warranties in the business. If you want a top-quality light for your grow, I strongly recommend the Photontek X series

Shop Photontek-lighting.com Use Discount Code: CocoPTK5

Photontek X Series PRO

I recently had the privilege to test the Photontek X600w Pro. The Photontek X series are beautiful, well-designed fixtures. They feature top-of-the-line components and quality construction that you can feel.

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The Photontek X series use LED bars in an array. Each LED bar clicks into the frame with a magnet. It is a quick and clever design. You can run the fixtures with anywhere from 1 to all the bars. This is great for grows that start small and then expand into the grow space. As the plants grow out you can add more bars to cover them.

The removable LED bars are just one of several cool things about the X series. All the cables and connectors feature quick release fittings. Assembly of the fixtures is a breeze. Everything snaps together easily and feels solid. The quality of the adapters, fittings, and overall build are notable. These are well designed and engineered fixtures.

The Photontek X Series fixtures feature top bin Osram and Lumileds Philips Diodes, with excellent efficiency ratings. The diodes are IP65 Waterproof and deliver a full spectrum of light. With the Osram 660nm diodes, there is a strong peak in that range, which can be beneficial to cannabis cultivation. The light produced is ideal for both vegetative and flowering growth.

The Photontek X Series fixtures come standard with a remote dimmer switch. There is an optional “Photontek Digital Lighting Controller” that is sold separately. It has some innovative features like functions for “sunrise” and “sunset” and it will even dim the lights if the temperatures in the grow space get too hot. If you have a large grow, several fixtures can be daisy chained and controlled by a single dimmer or controller.

Shop Photontek-lighting.com Use Discount Code: CocoPTK5

Photontek X 465w PRO
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The X 465w PRO is just released and I think it is going to be one of the best 4’ x 4’ grow lights on the market. I am really excited about this one. It is a top-of-the-line fixture with quality components, excellent build quality, superior photon efficiency and outstanding light distribution.Based on my test with the X 600w PRO, I estimate that the X 465w PRO will have a usable photon efficiency above 2.2µmol/w and produce about 1065µmol/s of Usable PPF. This is more than enough to cover a 4x4 tent with high density light. With our 5% discount (Use code: CocoPTK5), the total cost is about $755 or $0.71/µmol. In sum, it has superior efficiency, produces a ton of light, and comes in at an excellent price. According to the Grow Light Calculator, the benchmark harvest for one of these lights is about 800 grams or 28.5 ounces!

Photontek X 600w PRO
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The X600w Pro is a big beautiful fixture. It is designed for a 5’ x 5’ grow space. I had the privilege to test one in August 2020. It is elegantly engineered and has a superior Photon Efficiency. If I had a 5’ x 5’ grow space I would have kept this light for myself. It is truly a top-of-the-line fixture. See the full Test report and review.In my 5’ x 5’ PAR test it put out 1427µmol of Usable PPF. With the LED bar array design, it did an excellent job distributing the light across the 25 square feet. It had a power draw of 624 watts, which gives it a superior usable photon efficiency of 2.29µmol/w. With our 5% discount (Use code: CocoPTK5), the total cost is about $950 or $0.67/µmol. According to the Grow Light Calculator, the benchmark harvest for one of these lights is 1070 grams or over 38 ounces! If you are looking for a top-quality fixture for 5’ x 5’ coverage, I highly recommend the Photontek X 600w PRO.Shop Photontek-lighting.com Use Discount Code: CocoPTK5

HID LIGHTS

High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lights: Metal Halide (MH),  High-Pressure Sodium (HPS), & Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH)

HID lighting technology, has been around for years. However, in most markets, it is no longer the most energy or cost efficient choice. If you already have a HID set-up then it is worth replacing the bulbs and continuing to run your lights. However, if you are a new grower or if it is time to upgrade, we recommend choosing an LED grow light instead of HID. See our LED grow light recommendations above.

Metal Halide (MH) Bulbs

Metal Halide bulbs produce a light spectrum that is ideal for vegetative growth. However, it is not perfect for flowering. Most growers use an MH bulb for the first part of their grow and switch to an HPS bulb when the plants enter flowering.

Bulb manufacturers are not all the same. There are vast differences between bulb products which can cause noticeable differences. If you can only invest in one aspect of your HID lighting, then it should be the bulbs. I (Dr. Photon) would rather have an inexpensive reflector than an inexpensive bulb. 

Eye Hortilux Metal Halide Blue
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This is possibly the best bulb for vegetative growth. It is a premium bulb and will give great results for about 10,000 operating hours. We linked the 600 watt version, but it is also available in 1000 watts.

Sunmaster Metal Halide 600
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Although not as excellent as the Eye Hortilux bulbs these Sunmaster Metal Halide bulbs are a premium product and will do a great job for vegetative growth.

Sunmaster Metal Halide 1000
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These are our pics for Sunmaster 1000 watt MH bulbs in each market. These are excellent bulbs for the vegetative stage of growth.

High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Bulbs

High pressure sodium is the industry standard for flowering cannabis plants. These bulbs simply replace the MH bulb when the plants reach the flowering stage. The Quality of the HPS bulb that you select will go a long way towards determining the quality and yield of your harvest. This is one item where you want to invest in quality.

Eye Hortilux Super HPS
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Dr Photon uses and recommends Hortilux Bulbs. Hortilux has been the leading horticulture bulb manufacturer for years, due to their superior product quality and performance standards. They also come with a premium price. However, if you want the best performance out of your gas discharge system, we highly recommend Hortilux. Choose either the 600 or the 1000 watt Eye Hortilux Super HPS based on your needs.

Sunmaster HPS
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Sunmaster also makes great bulbs, but not quite on the level of the Eye Hortilux. Still if you are concerned with Budget and trying to get set-up, the Sunmaster bulbs provide a great option for a quality bulb at a good price. They are available in both 600 and 1000 watts.

Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) Bulbs

Philips CMH Bulbs
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If you need a new CMH bulb or if you want to upgrade the bulb, we recommend Philips CMH bulbs.

LIGHT ACCESSORIES

Light Hangers

It most grow tents, you need to hang a number of things from the top bars: lights, exhaust fan, carbon filter, bracing frame, etc.

6-Pack 1/8 Inch Ratchet Pulleys
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These ratchet pulley hangers are an excellent choice to hang your lights and other equipment.  They are particularly convenient for lights which must be raised and lowered during the course of the grow. These pulleys make it easy to set the lights exactly where you want them.

Digital Timers

You need a timer to control the lights and also potentially to control the exhaust and drip irrigation systems.

Digital Programmable Timer
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The Century digital timer linked in the US is what I use for my lights. I chose the best equivalent models in the UK and Canada. These timers are digital, accurate, and have battery back-up. Unlike mechanical timers, you will be able to precisely control the timing of your lights. Battery back-up means that power outages will not cause the timer to stop and then get out of sync with the plants’ rhythm. It is perfect for lights, but there is a better timer for drip systems.

Digital Timer with one second intervals
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If you are looking for a timer for your automatic watering system, then this model is a better fit. It allows you to set watering intervals in one second increments, which allows fine-tuning an automatic watering system.

Power Switches

These are very handy to control the lights without messing with the timer or for turning other equipment on and off. 

Grounded Power Switches
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I use these for my grow lights and irrigation pump. I plug the timer into the power source, then the switch into the timer. Finally I plug the light or pump into the switch. This way, when I need to turn either one off, I do not have to mess with the timer at all, I just flip the switch. We are looking for comparable products at reasonable prices in the UK and Canada.

Light Meters

Light meters are used to evaluate the light distribution in the grow space and to determine the best height to hang your light above the canopy. This is not a required tool. Many growers can do fine following general guidelines, but if you want to dial in your grow you need to be able to measure the light.

Lux Meter
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If you have HID lights or LEDs that produce a "near neutral", "warm", or "cool" balanced spectrum, then you can comfortably use LUX meters with acceptable reliability. The Dr. Meter Lux meter, which is pictured and linked, is a great value.

PAR Meter
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PAR stands for Photosynthetically Active Radiation. It is the amount of energy that the plants can actually use. This is the number you are really interested in when it comes to light. PAR meters can be used to measure any light source. They are the only option to measure monochomatic or "blurple" LED lights. However, PAR meters are much more expensive than LUX meters.

Bubble Levels

Magnetic Bubble Levels
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I  like to keep my LED lights perfectly level. When raising or lowering them I used to use a torpedo level and would move it around in different angles and fight to get the lights level. Then I got these little bubble levels . I leave two of them stuck to the top of each light. It makes keeping them perfectly level so much easier!

Clamp Light

If you are growing in a tent or a closet you need a light so you can work.

Clamp Light with Reflector
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I see a lot of "Blurple" pictures, which means growers are working and taking pictures under the horticultural grow lights. Grow lights provide harsh light to work under and "Blurple" is terrible light for pictures. Rather than working or taking pictures under the grow lights get a simple clamp light to use when you are working in the tent.

About Our Product Recommendations

At Coco for Cannabis, our mission is to help growers maximize the success of their cannabis crops by providing scientifically accurate information and sharing proven growing practices.

The products that we recommend are the actual products that we chose to purchase and use ourselves. In a few cases, we recommend products that we would buy if we needed them. We do not accept advertising and will not recommend any product that we would not buy for ourselves. We offer this guide as a resource to growers.

We may receive a referral when you purchase products through this page. This is the main revenue stream that keeps Coco for Cannabis up and running! When you click through our links and make purchases you are supporting our work! As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Whether we receive a referral does not influence our recommendations. For example, when products are cheaper to buy locally, we’ll tell you that rather than just recommend a more expensive online option.

Disclaimer:

The information on cocoforcannabis.com should not be considered as financial, legal, or medical advice. You are responsible for knowing and following the local laws that pertain to cannabis cultivation, possession, and use. Decisions to grow cannabis should be made in consultation with a lawyer or qualified legal advisor. Decisions to use cannabis should be made in consultation with your doctor or medical professional.