All Grown Up!

LED grow lights have finally come of age. But read this before you order your LED light system.

LED lighting--wave of the future!

Looks cool, doesn't it? Futuristic... a space odyssey...

L.E.D. stands for light emitting diode. It's a fairly new lighting technology that you probably have seen used for indicator lights on electronic devices, like clocks and stereos. It is now being used more and more for higher power applications, such as super-bright flashlights and area lighting... and for grow lights.

Are LED Grow Lights for you?

Okay guys, here's the lowdown on LED lighting for hydroponics gardening…

For years we have been telling you not to buy them for growing flowering and fruiting crops. Why? The technology just wasn't there yet and the results were disappointing. LEDs just didn't deliver the spectrum of light necessary for vegetable crops.

But we kept an eye on this promising new technology, because LEDs have some really attractive advantages... They are very cool and do not create the excessive heat that HID lighting does.

expensive  HID bulb

They consume less than half the electricity of the traditional lighting, and the bulbs last for many years. But you must replace HID  bulbs every year or two.

So we've also been watching ads, reading research articles, and listening in on hydroponics and gardening websites. At last, the hydroponics forums are starting to buzz with more and more LED success stories. As well, we have started to receive emails from our readers, with more of the same.

It appears to us that LED grow lights have finally come of age, and is now an acceptable alternative lighting system to be seriously considered.

We want to caution you however that there is a lot of cheap LED garbage out there which won't grow any better than a $12 light stick from Walmart.

[Don't get me wrong, light sticks work fine for philodendron]

On the other hand, more and more reports have been coming in that some quality LED lighting setups had produced not only adequate but impressive results with vegetative, flowering and even fruiting of vegetables. So we encourage you to consider LED lighting for your home hydroponics set up.

Advantages of LED lights:

  • Granted, LEDs are more expensive up front, but you must factor in:
  • Greatly reduced electricity costs; no pricey replacement bulbs like HIDs.
  • Disappearance of heat problems

[Higher initial investment; lower operating costs and longevity; no more battling to grow cool cabbage in a sweltering hot box.]

Disadvantages of LEDs:

We like to give a balanced, honest presentation before we encourage you to invest in expensive equipment. So these are the disadvantages to LED lamps:

  • Honestly, they are just not 100% up to par with the growing power of HID lighting. But they are very close, and can still produce an impressive garden.
  • They do not have quite the penetration through the plant canopy as HIDs. The diodes deliver light at a 90° angle and do not diffuse significantly around the sides and undersides of the plant. However, this can be much improved with reflective materials like for foil, mylar, reflectix or titanium white paint for the walls.


There are three types of LED grow lights on the market today:

#1: CRAP.

Do not choose based on price alone! Go online to eBay, or Google "LED lights" and you will be stunned by the array of inexpensive LED lights hawked as suitable for growing crops indoors. The LEDs we're talking about here give very little information about PAR levels, spectrum information, or actual wattage draw.

They are usually round, with cheap plastic frames, called UFOs, do not have fans, and each diode or chip is usually only one watt. They are blue and red in color and sell for between $50-$200 apiece.

LED UFO lamp

Don't waste your money!

These cheap knockoffs do not contain the proper spectrums for serious hydroponics gardens. Yes, they are cheap, but you might as well hang a flashlight over your prized heirloom tomatoes for all the help they will be.

The diodes usually dim and burn out quickly. Avoid. Reports are dismal. These folks will be no where to be found when your lamp fails just a few short months later.


Moderately priced LED panels. These LEDs are usually specified as banded units, like 3-band, 5-band, 7-band, etc. What this means is they cover several spectrums in the growth cycle of plants, and can be quite effective for supporting your hydroponic crops from seedling to fruit.

These units usually have 3 watt or 5 watt diodes, cost between $300-$900 (depending on wattage) and last 5-7 years or even longer without failing. They can have red and blue diodes, most have cooling fans, and are often called BROAD SPECTRUM lights.

We do recommend some of these lights at this time, read the reviews before you buy.


We offer these reasonably-priced, quality 6 or 7-band LED lamps. 

Sorry, Lower 48 states only.


  • High power 3-watt LED chips
  • 7 light spectrums:
  • 660nm Deep Red for Chlorophyll A
  • 630nm Bright Red for Chlorophyll B
  • 460nm Bright Blue for Chlorophyll B
  • 430nm Deep Blue for Chlorophyll A
  • 10,000 Kelvin white/blue spectrum for complete plant growth
  • 390nm UV Light for robust growth
  • (+ 7-band extra) InfraRed (IR) Spectrum for vigor and mold/mildew prevention
  • Chips deliver at preferred 90° angle
  • Voltage = 85
  • 264 V AC; 50/60 Hz
  • Grounded power cord, wire hanging kit, a one-year warranty and friendly efficient support.

240 watt Vegetative LED Panel

#80 3-watt LED chips for input power of 240 Watts

Low Profile: 16"L X 8.5"W X 2.5" Thick

This lamp is suitable for 1-2 large specimen plants or a small planter of low profile leafy green crops or herbs.

432 watt LED Panel

#144 3-watt LED chips for input power of 432 Watts

Low Profile: 19"L X 12.25"W X 2.75" Thick

This lamp is comparable to 400 watt MH-HID...
perfect for a standard
4' X 4' garden







Newest generation LED grow lights for the serious grower. These lamps are truly highest technology; they will produce the same yield as an HPS or MH light with an average of 40% less energy usage. 

These babies deliver all the spectra! (Is that a word? :-) Anyway, the high end LED lamps have had rave reviews. If you want to buy the best, go with one of these. 

After much research, we have selected this lamp due to it's impressive specs and favorable reviews:

SolarSystem 550W LED Grow Light

The all-new California Lightworks SolarSystem 550 is a game changer with it's new advanced programmable spectrum control that matches the sun in any growing conditions for better, healthier growth, lower energy usage and higher yields. 

Top of the Line Osram LEDs are driven to their maximum power rating using an exclusive active heat management system. Higher Power = Highest Yields, Guaranteed.

This high-end LED lamp is perfect for:

Veg Footprint 4' x 8'

Flower Footprint 3' x 4'

Life Expectancy 50,000 Hours (LED's and Fans)

Dimensions 18" x 8.5" x 4"

All California Lightworks LED's are produced entirely in their factory in Southern California. Did you catch that? These are NOT chinese imports!

California Lightworks Solar System 550


5 year guarantee and friendly US based support.

Well, that's our compact synopsis and recommendations for new LED grow lights.

Please drop us a line and let us know how your LED project went. We appreciate your feedback and it will help us keep this page on the cutting edge for other growers.

Return From LED Grow Lights to Lighting

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