Good Finds: The Best Cheap LED Grow Lights For You

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There are cheap grow lights available for those of us on a budget, but just because it is cheap, you can still get a quality built light for less money. 

You want to find a light that is low in cost but not low quality in construction or materials.

We have put together a list of cheap grow lights that still provide a quality product although they are less expensive. 

 

Optic LED 1 Veg COB Grow Light 5000k $129.00

Optic LED 1 Veg COB  

 

Manufactuer’s description:

The Optic 1 VEG is equipped with a CREE XLamp® COB Led on a passive pin heatsink and Meanwell Driver running @54W continuous. 

This light gives you the full spectrum white light technology at 5000k color temperature, ideal for vegetable growth. 

Optic 1 is plug and play ready, features a hanging hook on the top side, which easily attaches to your ratchet hanger.

The XLamp® CXB3590 LED Array is the brightest member of the second generation of the CXA family that delivers up to 30% higher efficiency and up to 20% higher lumens than the first generation in the same LES. 

The CXB3590 LED delivers high lumen output and high efficacy in a single, easy-to-use package that eliminates the need for reflow soldering. 2.15 umol/watt efficiency rating along with the 3' x 3' 

Coverage area makes this 1 of the best choices for VEGGING a 3' x 3' area. 

High-quality glass optics spot beams the light into a concentrated area, further enhancing the light intensity, Par output & light penetration by up to 200%. 

 

California Lightworks Solar System UVB Grow Light $139.00

 

California Lightworks Solar System UVB

The SolarSystem features the latest generation high output UVB T8 fluorescent bulbs as well as the most versatile control system on the market. 

This system is perfect for a single light in a tent or several hundred lights in a large commercial operation. 

The T8 Fluorescent will help to improve the resin development and potency. This system also has a piggyback design that means you can install multiple lights from a single outlet.  

It offers a four by four-foot coverage and is the most effective when used during the last few weeks of flowering. 

 

Mars Hydro SP-150 Quantum Board Full Spectrum LED Grow Light $139.99

 

Mars Hydro SP-150 Quantum Board

 

Waterproof LED board for the Mars SP 150 growing lamp works within a high humidity greenhouse growing environment. 

This Mars Hydro grow light has a 50% longer lifespan compared with other brand lights.

Newest SMD LED technology can get an average yield at 1.8g/w (power draw), 2.75μmol/J. 

This will help you increase your yield by about 50% when compared with other 250w led grow lights.

This efficient grow light uses only 135W with 322 LEDs. The Mars Hydro saves up to 70% energy than other led plant lights. 

One light is perfect for a 2x2ft growing area, and four will cover a 4x4ft growing area.

The casing is a heat sink, and with a fanless design, it will make your growing life easy and quiet. With no noise, this grow light is suitable for indoor plants growing.

 

Mars Hydro TS 1000 Quantum Board LED Grow Light  $139.99

Mars Hydro TS 1000 Quantum Board

 

The newest line of Mars Hydro LEDs is their best LED grow lights yet. 

You get full spectrum white light, high-quality quantum boards, an upgraded power supply, and it all runs completely silent with no fan required. 

The TS 1000 will provide you with two by two feet of light coverage with a white light spectrum.

The Mars Hydro has a dimmable ballast and 500 uMol needed for the vegetative stage. 

There is a single outlet timer so that the light does not need to be unplugged at the end of each day’s light cycle.  

 

Kind LED X-series Bar Grow Light $169.95

Kind LED X-series Bar Grow Light

 

Manufacturer description

The X40 and X80 are the most versatile LED bars lights on the market. 

With a wide-angle footprint and Perfect Blend Ideal Spectrum, the X-Series bar lights will be the ideal addition to any seedling, propagation, mixed-light, supplemental, complete indoor, or greenhouse application.

The X-SERIES Bar Lights were designed with the utmost versatility in mind. With an IP65 rating and ETL listing, its applications limitless possibilities open up to the grower.

Perfect Blend Spectrum available in either flower or vegetative integrations provides ideal photon emissions in every essential wavelength along the photosynthetic spectrum.

Perfectly tuned photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) delivers optimal concentration and quantity of photon energy from canopy surface to the plant's base.

From propagation to harvest, leafy greens to fruit-bearing, greenhouse to indoor, the X-Series bar lights will take any growth to the next level and beyond.

 

Optic LED Optic 1 XL COB LED Grow Light 100w 3500k $179.00

 Optic LED Optic 1 XL COB LED Grow Light

 

Manufacturer description

Optic 1 XL 100w COB LED Grow Light utilizes the latest in technology at every level. 

Starting with CREE's most efficient & highest yielding COB to date, the CXB-3590, which illuminates your grow space in our daylight white color temperature. 

The passive cooling system has been overbuilt by 25% to help the light run cooler and extend the lifespan of the COB. 

Industry best Meanwell Driver pumps 100 actual watts of high power growing through CREE's USA Made COB. 

Modern-day glass lens technology allows us to spot beam every photon into our desired coverage area while giving you unprecedented canopy penetration resulting in more developed flowers deeper into your canopy and higher-end yields. 

High-quality Glass Optics can magnify PAR and increase canopy penetration by up to 200%.

 

Optic LED 1 XL 100W Dimmable COB Grow Light $189.00

 

Optic LED 1 XL 100W Dimmable COB Grow Light 

 

 

Manufacturer description

Optic 1 XL Dimmable COB LED Grow Light utilizes the highest quality components in COB LED Tech today. 

Starting with CREE's most efficient and proven highest yielding COB LED Chip to date, the USA Made X-Lamp CXB-3590. CREE's COB LED chips last forever, and CREE is backing every one of their COBs with a lifetime replacement warranty. 

The Xlamp CXB3590 is still 1 of the most efficient LED technologies on the market, boasting powerful PPFD numbers helping to propel your garden to the next level. 

CREE's Full Spectrum white light technology not only delivers the spectrum your plants will love and absorb easily but also illuminates your growth in a 3500k Daylight White overall color temperature making your plants appear green just as they are in mother nature. 

The ultimate in Low Key growing with fanless technology delivers a noiseless operation that keeps you flying under the radar. 

Optic 1XL cooling system has been overbuilt by more than 25% to help the light run cooler, Shine brighter & last longer. 

Industry-best, commercial-grade Meanwell dimmable driver pumps 100 true watts of high power growing through CREE's USA Made COB LED Chip. 

Modern-day glass lens technology allows us to spot beam every photon generated into our desired coverage area while giving you unprecedented canopy penetration resulting in more developed flowers deeper into your canopy and higher-end yields.

 

How Does a Grow Light Work?

A grow light mimics the light wavelengths that plants of all kinds use for their growth from seedlings to vegetation. 

Used indoors, a grow light provides an electromagnetic spectrum similar to that of the sun. 

Typically used for indoor gardening, a grow light is used extensively for such operations that include hydroponics and aquaponics.

 

Know About The Light Spectrum

All green plants require light to grow. Light is necessary for the process of photosynthesis, as this is how plants synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water.

The light spectrum gets its definition by the temperature wavelength emitted by the colors, both visible and non-visible, that sunlight provides.

Most of the light that plants use is from the blue (cool) and red (warm) spectrum. Blue light will stimulate vegetative growth like the leaves and the roots on a plant. 

The red light in the spectrum will enable the plant to produce flowers and fruit. 

The amount of light that a plant needs to thrive will vary widely depending on the type of plant. 

 

Get The Needed Spectrum Light From Cheap Grow Lights

Grow lights provide the lighting needs for your plants. That is why it is necessary to know what type of light your plants need and what bulbs will deliver that light. 

You will find that early growth and maturity do better with warmer, short wavelengths of light. That would be towards the blue end of the spectrum. 

When it comes time for bloom and plant production, it is the time for the wavelengths found in the spectrum's red end.

Grow lights give you the ability to control what light your plants receive throughout all the growth stages. 

 

Growing Indoors

As an indoor grower, it is important to know a few basic concepts about lighting in general so that you understand how light affects your plants. 

When you know this, you will also be able to see what makes a particular type of grow light more suitable for your goals. In turn, this will save you time and money.

Light, both visible and invisible, falls in a range somewhere on a light spectrum. Spectrum measurements are nanometers. 

These nanometers correspond to the wavelength of light. As an indoor grower, you will need the 400 - 700-nanometer range.

 

Lighting terms

Light Intensity

The amount of light that reaches a surface (or plant) at any given distance from the light sources itself is called intensity. 

This is important to understand because a very bright bulb that is a foot away from a plant would provide the same light intensity as a dimmer bulb that is only two inches from the plant. 

So the intensity of a light bulb is important. The more intensity, the farther away from the plant, the light can be positioned.

The best cheap grow lights will deliver a light intensity that is enough for your plants to be able to grow from seeds to harvest. 

To do that will mean that you need 20 to 40 moles of light every day. You will want a grow light that will emit somewhere between 600 uMols and 925 uMols of light for a maximum yield. 

That will cover the 18 hour vegetation and 12-hour flowering that you need for your plants. 

If your grow lights have sufficient intensity, then the wattage is not a factor that you need to concern yourself with as wattage is not an accurate indicator of performance when it comes to grow lights. 

Duration

Most grow lights will have an on and off switch, but some have timers. In lighting terms, the duration is the number of hours that a plant receives light in a 24 hour period. 

You will need to know the duration of light required by the plants you are wanting to grow. 

Color

The third lighting term that is important to know is color. This is simply the visual appearance of the grow light. 

Most, but not all, grow lights provide the full-spectrum light. As we had said previously, plants use blue and red ends of the spectrum. 

They use a little, but not as much, of yellow and green light. 

 

Consider The Stages of Plant Growth You Need Light For

If you are on a budget and trying to find cheap grow lights, you still need to provide the specific light that your growing plants will need. 

Consider the various stages of plant growth, especially if you are growing from seedlings.

 

LED Lights Are The Best For Growing Plants

The calibration on most LED lights meets the exact needs of an indoor plant. The blue lights will simulate stronger roots, enhance photosynthesis, and give peak growth. 

As a bonus, LED lights let off very little heat.

While LEDs may cost more upfront, there are still cheap LED grow lights that you can find. They are definitely the way to go. 

LED's use half the electricity and last five times longer than a fluorescent bulb, which would be your other choice for growing.

Not only is an LED good for your budget, but it is also good for the earth. 

LED tubes are mercury-free, and they don't shatter like glass. Fewer LED lights end up in landfills, which is a very good thing.

 

What to Look For When Buying a Cheap Grow Light

Good Spectrum

The best cheap grow light will have a balanced spectrum. Try not to choose a light that has too much blue or too much red. 

That will not give you enough to get through the veg or flower stage of growth.

In general, a good cheap grow light will use a white spectrum or use a balance of blue and red. 

Check it out by looking at the spectrum chart for the light you are considering. 

Size of The Cheap Grow Light

One of the first considerations when choosing a grow light is the number of plants that you will need cover for. 

Most cheap grow lights won’t cover much more than a 2 x 2-foot area. If you need more coverage than that, you will have to consider getting multiple units. 

Also, take into consideration if you will leave the plants in one location or if you might need to move them from place to place. 

If you need to move them, look for a cheap grow light that will be lightweight and portable. 

Type of Cheap Grow Light

There are various types of grow lights to consider. Some hang from overhead; there are panels or ones that will screw into a regular fixture. 

Take into consideration the type of plants you will be growing, if there will be any existing natural light, and where you want your plants located. 

That will help you determine what type of light would be best suited for your operation. 

Size of Your Space For Growing

The space you will have available for your growth will also influence the type of cheap grow light you will look for. 

The more that you grow, the more lights you will need. Even with cheap grow lights, that cost can add up quickly. 

Before you buy, know the footprint size that the light provides and what you need to cover.

In Conclusion

There are cheap, but quality, grow lights available to suit your needs. Before you buy, make sure that the light will do what you need it to do.

A bit of research before purchasing will help you choose the right cheap grow light and save you time and money.

FAQ

Which cheap LED grow lights should I avoid?

Avoid the cheap grow lights that emit less than 400 uMol and cover a small space that is only about one foot. 

Don't get any that have an unbalanced spectrum, for example, only red or only blue. It isn't easy to find a good grow light for less than $100.

When I buy LEDs, should I buy them based on watts or lumens?

It is best to buy based on lumens; watts determine how much energy it takes to produce those lumens. The higher the lumens, the less energy you will need to produce the light.

What Is CRI?

CRI stands for Color Rendering Index. It is a measurement of the quality of light. CRI measures on a scale that runs from 0 to 100, with 100 being the best number. 

LED's are usually in the 70 to 95 range, with the higher the CRI, the more expensive the LED chip, and the more expensive the product itself.

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  • Trevor
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