Plants need sunlight, but sometimes, that can be difficult to give them. Cold weather, lack of space or other factors can make outdoor gardening impossible. Grow lights give your plants the light they need for essential functions, like photosynthesis, without the need for outdoor space. This is also useful for gardeners who cultivate plants that don't grow naturally in their region. The Apollo Horticulture, California LightWorks SolarStorm 880 and the Kind LED K3 L600 are popular choices because of their long lives and low energy requirements. 

Grow lights mimic natural sunlight by operating on the same electromagnetic spectrum, which stimulates photosynthesis. Different grow lights have different temperatures and colors, and these variances suit them for different plants. Grow lights for indoor plants are often set to mimic daylight changes, while lights that are used to supplement outdoor plants have simpler setups.

Grow Lights: What to Look For

Grow lights come in a variety of different temperatures, designs and wattages to meet different needs. Here are a few important factors to help you find the best grow lights for your plants.

Type of Bulb
The type of bulb affects energy use, longevity and temperature. Many people look for an LED grow lamp because it tends to have a high level of efficiency and a longer life. Metal halide and fluorescent bulbs are also popular choices for their low initial cost and wide availability.

One wattage is not necessarily better than another, but finding the appropriate one for each situation is important. Higher-wattage bulbs cover a wider area, making them a good choice for professional greenhouses or large gardens. Lower-wattage bulbs are a better choice for plant boxes in living areas because they won't be as distracting to residents.

Color can be related to the bulb type, but it's an independent factor. Many grow lights give off a light in the blue spectrum, which resembles clear summer skies. However, this can also distort the colors of the plants on display, so light with a warmer color may be a better choice for flowers or display boxes.

Grow lights get a lot of use, so a long lifespan can be an important benefit. LED grow lamps usually have the longest lifespan, with some lasting as many as 100,000 hours. However, these long-lasting lights often have a higher initial price that may put them out of reach for the hobby gardener.

Some bulbs burn hotter than others, which can adversely affect plants that prefer cooler climates. For people who live in the same spaces as their plants, it may also create an uncomfortable environment. On the other hand, this can reduce heating costs in cold weather, and many plants thrive in a warmer environment.

Grow lights can help you take your gardening operation to the next level, but it's important to find the right lights for your situation. Learn about the different types and sizes of grow lights to decide which one best meets your needs.

Apollo Horticulture Review

The Apollo Horticulture GL80X5LED is a midrange grow light for indoor plants. Its light spectrum includes six different wavelengths, making it suitable for various plant types and stages of growth.

The lighting panel uses 80 individual LEDs, each consuming 5 watts of power, with a total consumption of 400 watts. When active, the LEDs deliver a powerful 10,800 lumens. Despite the lumen output, the lighting panel emits only a small amount of heat, so there is no risk of damaging plants. There is no danger of overheating either. The unit has a built-in cooling system that combines the use of two 4.5-inch fans to keep the unit cool to the touch at all times.

This indoor grow light emulates a wide spectrum of natural light to suit flower, vegetable and fruit growth. The light covers an area of 3 x 3 feet when plants are in a vegetative state, and 2.5 x 2.5 feet during the flowering stage. You can alter the angle of the LEDs between 90 and 120 degrees, which helps maximize light coverage.

Four 19-inch stainless steel hanging clips allow you to suspend your LED grow lamp above plants at different heights. The power cord is 6.6 feet in length, so you may need an extension cord if you are planning to use the unit outside your home, in places such as greenhouses or grow tents.

The GL80X5LED is compatible with greenhouses, grow tents, and other H20 and most hydroponics systems. It includes a two-year limited warranty for parts and performance and has a lifespan of 50,000 hours. In total, the unit measures 13.2 x 13.2 x 3.75 inches, making it compact and portable.

The Apollo Horticulture GL80X5LED's panel uses 80 individual LED grow lights that emulate natural light. It is suitable for all plant types and growth, including vegetation and flowering. You can change the angle of LEDs to increase light coverage and position the entire unit at any height. The LEDs deliver a total of 10,800 lumens and have a low heat output. This lighting system is not a heat lamp and is not suitable for plants requiring extra warmth.

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BML LED Light Bar Review

The BML LED Light Bar Grow-Max Spectrum is a grow lamp that helps you achieve maximum flowering capacity and vegetative growth. It increases radiation capture and leaf expansion. You can use it for growth chambers, vertical farming, supplemental lighting, research projects, tissue culture labs and more.

This indoor grow light uses 50 percent less electricity than a fluorescent lighting system while emitting the same light level. You can save money on cooling while reducing the grow area's temperature. The light operates at 350 milliamps using 3-watt LEDs and 110 to 277 volts of energy. This ensures high electrical efficiency and long life on this built-to-order grow light for indoor plants. The light also has high PAR levels and edge-to-edge lighting with no hot spots.

There is a life expectancy of 50,000 hours on this fan-free, industrial-quality LED fixture. This eliminates the need to change bulbs frequently, saving you time and money. Additionally, the LED bars reduce the risk of mercury contamination to the plants in your growing area.

The unit comes with the LED fixture, an 8-foot cord and a power supply. It also includes mounting brackets for quick installation, allowing immediate use. The indoor grow light uses an innovative rail design that gives you unlimited mounting options. You can choose between fixture lengths of 7, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60 and 72 inches, and beam angles of 30, 45, 60, 75 and 90 degrees. This allows you to maximize your plants' radiation capture.

This unit is dimmable when used with a controller or manual dimmer; however, a dimmer is not included. It can dim from 10 to 100 percent and is compatible with analog dimming systems of 0 to 10 volts. This allows you to achieve the PAR your plants need at different times in their life cycles.

The indoor grow light contains a polycarbonate cover that is simple to clean. The heavy spray-proof aluminum casing protects your investment. The LED grow lamp comes with a three-year warranty, which covers manufacturing defects. The light also has a weatherproof rating of IP66.

The BML LED Light Bar Grow-Max Spectrum is an energy-efficient grow light for increasing vegetative growth and flowering capacity. You save time and money with this eco-friendly LED grow light. It is custom made with high-quality materials. Adding a dimmer will further enhance its PAR distribution to plants. The unit comes with everything you need to get started.

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California LightWorks Review

The California LightWorks SolarStorm 880 is an indoor grow light that provides both LED and UVB lighting. The light spectrum from this lamp allows greater crop growth and yield in a medium-sized bed of crops.

The unit has 288 LED bulbs that use 5 watts of energy each. These Osram SSL LED emitters are only 3 x 3 mm in size, and they run cool and efficient. Four LED boards distribute the 288 LED emitters. LEDs are more energy-efficient than HID (high-intensity discharge) lighting, so this light can save you money on your electric bill.

The LED emitters provide blue, deep blue, red, deep red and warm white light. These emitters should last 50,000 to 80,000 hours. That's over eight years when the indoor grow light runs for approximately 16 hours a day.

The SolarStorm 880 also comes with two 18-inch T8 fluorescent UVB bulbs. You can control when these bulbs turn on, because they work independently of the LED emitters. The UVB bulbs help to provide a higher yield from your crop.

This LED grow lamp has two settings: Veg and Bloom. The Veg mode covers an area of 7 x 7 feet and runs at 475 watts. This mode uses only the LED emitters. The Bloom mode covers an area of 4 x 4 feet and runs at 650 watts, with only the LED emitters on. With the UVB bulbs in Bloom mode, it runs at 680 watts.

This lamp works best when placed 18 to 24 inches above the plants, but it works up to 6 feet above them when used in Veg mode. Made out of aluminum and sheet metal, the unit has several fans with vents in it, so it does not overheat. The lamp itself is deep red.

There are two switches on this LED grow lamp. One is to power it on and off, and the other toggles between Veg mode and Bloom mode. The unit comes with surge protection and high-temperature shut-off. Manufactured in the USA, the unit has universal voltage built in. It will operate in any country at 90 to 277 volts AC without the need for a power adapter. It comes with a three-year warranty.

The California LightWorks SolarStorm 880 is an indoor grow light providing both LED and UVB lighting. It features a powerful spectrum of colors, including deep red and deep blue. You can use the lamp to enhance your overall plant growth and yield in a moderate-sized plant bed.

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Dorm Grow Review

The G8-600 Full Spectrum LED Veg/Flower Grow Light from G8LED is an LED indoor grow light that illuminate a space of 5 x 4 feet for a total of 20 square feet of coverage. The color bands this light provides help plants grow fast and full.

This LED grow lamp has 3-watt LEDs and is more energy-efficient than an HID, MH or HPS system. It operates at 600 watts and gives off eight bands of color, including infrared, ultraviolet and white. You can also purchase 90-watt reds separately to use during flowering to enhance your yield.

To the naked eye, the LEDs look purple or pink and are very bright. The light itself projects 60 inches past the plant canopy, allowing photosynthesis at a lower level for even, full-grown plants. The LEDs last 50,000 hours, which is over eight years if the indoor grow light is on 16 hours a day. The unit comes with a two-year warranty.

The light has gray housing. LEDs generally stay cool, but this light also comes with six cooling fans installed. These fans vent out of the top and side of the light and should prevent the need for extra cooling units. However, it is still recommended to keep this light more than a foot above the plants.

This indoor grow light operates at 110 to 240 volts and comes with a 6-foot power cord. The cord is available in different voltages for different countries, including the U.S., EU and U.K.

The lighting unit is 17.5 x 14 x 3 inches and weighs 16 pounds. It comes with hanging wires so you can hang it from the ceiling. The light can hang horizontally above the plants to provide overhead lighting. It is not designed to hang vertically or give side lighting. The unit has a power switch on the top, so you can leave it plugged in and still turn it off.

The G8-600 is a powerful LED grow lamp that provides essential light to plants in a space of 20 square feet. The LEDs are energy-efficient and have a long lifespan. This unit is not designed to start plants from seed.

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Hydrofarm Mini Sunburst Lamp Review

The Hydrofarm Mini Sunburst HPS Lamp is a high-intensity lighting unit to promote healthy growth of plants indoors. The lamp's high-pressure sodium bulb is suitable for plants that need lots of light, such as flowering and fruit-producing plants, and you can use it in grow tents and closets.

The lamp's exterior casing is powder-coated, which makes it resistant to moisture. Surrounding the bulb is a reflective aluminum specular, which has a hammered finish. The specular maximizes the light your plants receive from the bulb. With a total power consumption of 150 watts, this energy-efficient lamp uses only a small amount of electricity to provide the high intensity of light that some plants need.

This Hydrofarm indoor grow light is CSA certified. This ensures that it meets the standard electrical safety requirements for the U.S. and Canada. The unit has an internal venting system to keep it from overheating during operation. This is not a heat lamp for plants. It only provides plants with light, rather than direct heat.

The lamp does not require any assembly. Setup of the light is fast; you just plug it into the nearest electrical outlet. Once turned on, the lamp produces a minimal amount of noise. The lightweight and compact design of this indoor grow light makes it suitable for growing plants in small spaces.

The unit includes a set of V-hangers for positioning the lamp in different locations. The power cord is 8 feet long, which allows you to set up the lamp at a distance from power sockets. The bulb fixture also accepts metal halide bulbs, as well as high-pressure sodium bulbs. The lamp is compatible with LGCKT2 and LG50023 flange kits, which are not included. This indoor grow light includes a two-year warranty for parts and performance.

The Hydrofarm Mini Sunburst HPS Lamp is a high-intensity light for growing plants indoors. It consumes 150 watts and has a high-pressure sodium bulb. Its reflective specular directs extra light toward your plants, and the built-in cooling system keeps the unit from overheating. The unit uses only a single bulb, which restricts the light coverage for your plants. Because of its compact design and ease of operation, this indoor grow light is suitable for use in small spaces.

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Kind LED Review

At just over 2 feet long and 3 inches tall, the Kind LED K3 L600 Grow Light provides a broad spectrum of light for your growing plants. Its 12-band complete spectrum helps your plants grow healthy and robust.

There are 150 3-watt LEDs in this indoor grow light. It runs at 302 watts and 100 to 240 volts AC, and it illuminates a space 3 x 4 feet in size. Over its lifespan, this unit provides 50,000 hours of lighting for your plants.

This light provides the complete spectrum, meaning that it provides more than just white, red and blue light. It also provides the colors in between, such as yellow and green. These colors are also used by plants to grow, just not quite as much as red, blue and white.

With the complete spectrum of light, this LED grow lamp is good for plants from seed all the way until harvest. Its light is best designed for the blooming period. The LEDs have a secondary optical lens, letting the light reach lower levels of leaves, not just the ones on top. This lens increases the efficiency of the LEDs and magnifies PAR (photosynthetic active radiation). This is crucial for photosynthesis and optimal plant growth.

Since the grow light uses LEDs, it is more efficient than an HPS (high-pressure sodium) light, and it only requires half the amount of electricity. The LEDs also give off little to no heat, so there is no external heat control required. This indoor grow light has multiple quiet running fans to keep the lights cool and six fan vents on top of the unit to push the warm air out. It also has aluminum circuit boards, which help keep the unit cool.

This LED grow lamp is white and weighs about 20 pounds. There is no visible off switch on the unit, and there are no multiple or variable settings for the light. The LEDs look red, blue and white to the naked eye. The light comes with a three-year warranty.

The Kind LED K3 L600 is an indoor grow light that provides a broad spectrum of light for growing plants. It runs cool, requiring no external temperature control, and it operates at a higher efficiency than an HPS light.

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Sun Blaze Review

The Sun Blaze T5 VHO 44 from Sunlight Supply is a fluorescent grow light that provides bright, even light to indoor plants. You can use the light to start plants from seeds and improve growth from seed to harvest. The unit can hang horizontally over plants for overhead lighting, or vertically next to the plants for side lighting.

The unit measures 50 x 14 inches, or just over 4 x 1 feet. It comes equipped with four VHO (very high output) fluorescent lamps. Each is a "blue" lamp, giving off 6,500 degrees K, 7,200 lumens and 95 watts. You can purchase additional fluorescent bulbs in red, but only the blue lights come with this fluorescent indoor grow light. This model is not compatible with HO lamps.

The fluorescent lights in this indoor grow light provide up to 10,000 hours of light, which is just over a year and a half if you leave the light on 16 hours a day. The bulbs come with a one-year warranty. Because they are fluorescent, the bulbs don't get too hot. Therefore, you shouldn't need extra cooling equipment for this light. You still don't want to place the light too close to your plants, however.

The VHO fluorescent bulbs give off twice the amount of light that a standard fluorescent bulb does. The light spreads evenly over the entire growing area. By design, the unit reflects and diffuses the light as well.

The lamp has a white steel housing that is just under 3 inches deep. There are louvers and slots on the top and side to provide cooling, but no fans. It also comes with wire cable hangers that can attach to the side or the top of the unit.

This indoor grow light works on 120-volt power only. It does not have an off switch or any other controls on the unit. It automatically turns on when you plug it in. It does not have automatic shut-off for if it overheats either. Although the bulbs come with a one-year warranty, the housing unit comes with a five-year warranty.

The Sun Blaze T6 VHO 44 is an indoor grow light with four VHO fluorescent lamps that emit blue light. It will provide nourishing light for your plants from seed to harvest, and you can hang it horizontally or vertically for convenience.

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ViaVolt Review

The ViaVolt T5 HO Fluorescent Fixture from Viagrow is a commercial grow light for indoor and outdoor plant propagation. You can use it to propagate seedlings and clones, or to maintain plants in an optimal growing environment all year long. This grow light is suited for cloning starts, germinating seeds, or growing herbs for a clean, healthy gardening experience.

The outdoor and indoor grow light has a T5 HO bulb that gives off 2,000 lumens and provides a plant spectrum of 6,500 degrees K. The fluorescent light uses 24 watts of energy. It emits lumens in the blue spectrum with the white fluorescent bulb. The light has a bi-pin base code for operation.

This is an energy-efficient unit with a high-output ballast. Its long lifespan saves you money and time. You may be able to save even more by growing your own herbs inside or outside of your home, and by keeping all your plants healthy and happy all year long. You can use this indoor grow light to give your plants and herbs a light boost, thus promoting healthy growth.

The unit comes with all the hardware you need to get started. You get the fixture, power cord, bulb, safety lens and a power switch. The light is simple to install and mount. There are no complicated installation requirements, so you can begin using the fixture immediately.

You can also use the fixture within a propagation dome. The included 4-foot jumper cord lets you add multiple fixtures together for an enhanced growing experience indoors or out. The fixture only requires one 24-watt bulb, which is included, saving you money on electricity costs.

The fixture accommodates one 2-foot bulb. You can add extra jumper cords for chaining fixtures together when growing a larger span of plants and herbs. You can also choose to add on an 18-inch or 48-inch jump cord and still use the included 120-volt cord when linking multiple fixtures.

This lightweight outdoor and indoor grow light weighs only 3 pounds. It comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty and a 90-day return policy.

The ViaVolt T5 HO Fluorescent Fixture helps with propagating seedlings and clones year-round. Included in the indoor grow light package is everything you need to get started right away.

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