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!
Below, we give you our unbiased grow light recommendations. The grow lights listed here 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 the lights that we recommend below.
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 May 28, 2020
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 TS Series LED
The new Mars Hydro TS series really is a game changer. They 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 no longer recommend HID lights to new growers because of these Mars TS series LEDs. They are an excellent value for money, and they are our top recommendation for most growers.
Mars Hydro TS1000
Mars Hydro TSL2000
Mars Hydro TSW2000
HLG Quantum Boards
The Horticultural Lighting Group (HLG) was the first to adopt the simple “quantum board” concept. A quantum board is just a printed circuit board with a distribution of highly efficient LED diodes. The design is cost efficient and does not require complex or costly cooling solutions. There is some assembly required, but the simple design means that most home growers will have no trouble assembling it themselves. If you are interested in the quantum board concept, we recommend the original HLG quantum boards rather than generic clones. We suggest purchasing from the LED Grow Light Depot because their offer includes a dimmable driver, which makes it a complete system. If purchased elsewhere the driver is usually sold separately.
HLG 65 QB 120
Crecer Lighting is a new company in the horticultural lighting market, but they offer some excellent products. They use quality components and have great build designs. They are also extremely competitive on price. If you are looking for a single high-powered LED for your grow tent, then the Crecer PanthrX may be the perfect light for you.
NextLight is a leader in the horticultural lighting market and they produce excellent models primarily for the commercial market. This is our top-end recommendation. If you are looking for cost efficiency, we recommend that you consider the Crecer PanthrX above. However, if you want the absolute best quality light for your home grow than the NextLight Mega may be the light for you.
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
Sunmaster Metal Halide 600
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
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
You need a timer to control the lights and also potentially to control the exhaust and drip irrigation systems.
Digital Programmable Timer
Digital Timer with one second intervals
These are very handy to control the lights without messing with the timer or for turning other equipment on and off.
Grounded Power Switches
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.
Magnetic Bubble Levels
If you are growing in a tent or a closet you need a light so you can work.
Clamp Light with Reflector
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.
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.