Last Updated on
Growing cannabis at home is becoming increasingly popular around the globe. However, as conventional grow lights, such as HPS and sodium vapor lamps, consume an insane amount of electricity, the focus has shifted onto LED grow lights. Grow LEDs do not only provide the same light intensity at a considerably lower energy consumption, they are also designed to illuminate your growing area for much longer time frames and may even come with a much more favorable light spectrum.
Related: Top 10 Grow Shops in Europe in 2020
After several months of testing, we are finally confident to present to you our selection of the top five best budget LED lights to grow cannabis for the year 2020. In fact, we actually used the products below to grow cannabis. One piece of information ahead — every single one of these LED grow lights is capable of growing a healthy marijuana plant from seed to harvest. The question is: which LED grow light should you buy to grow weed in 2020?
Here’s how we weighted our rating aspects:
Light intensity, which accounts for 40 percent of our final score, strongly influences the final yield and is thus the most important aspect of every grow light. Specialists also call this Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) value.
Light spectrum is weighted 20 percent. There isn’t really a consensus on which exact spectrum is most suitable for growing cannabis. We know that red light plays an important role during bloom, while blue light is vital in the vegetative stage. That said, recent studies indicate that a sun-like spectrum is probably the best choice.
Power consumption is weighted 30 percent since electricity costs usually exceed the initial costs of a grow light after only a few grows. In some European countries electricity prices are as high as €0.30 per kWh.
Overall product considers the product as a whole, including workmanship, quality of materials used, manufacturer warranty and other related aspects. We valued these aspects combined with 10 percent.
The 5 Best Affordable Grow LEDs in 2020
1. OpticLED — PhatSlim 1 (Final Grade 92.5%)
The Phantom 1 (editor’s note: OpticLED has meanwhile changed the name to PhatSlim 1) by OpticLED is, without a doubt, a masterpiece in the world of cannabis grow lights. Having been released in late 2019, it is well equipped with state-of-the-art tech at every level. The Phantom 1 uses 180 highly efficient white LED chips, which were invented by Samsung and released in April 2019, known as LM301H. As Samsung stated in a press release, ‘at 3.10 micromoles per joule (μmol/J), the newly introduced LM301H now features the highest photon efficacy among today’s mid-power white LED packages.’
In addition to its 3500k warm-white LEDs, the Phantom 1 (name changed to PhatSlim 1) comes with 4 CREE XPE Deep Red LEDs as well as 2 CREE XPE Royal Blue LEDs. This combination creates a profoundly beneficial light spectrum for growing cannabis, in particular during the flowering phase. Thanks to its high quality LED chips, the grow light also shines through its extraordinarily high PAR-efficiacy of 2.92 umol/J. This allows growers to yield up to 108 grams of dry flower at only 54 watt.
On the downside, the Phantom 1 is somewhat bigger than most other growing LEDs that we tested. This might be a problem for microgrowers who use spaces with heights below one meter. Furthermore, it also tops our list of the best marijuana growing LEDs in terms of price, as it is currently sold for €139.
Our testers concluded that the overall quality of the Phantom 1 is outstanding. The material used to craft the light appears very robust, heat development is favourably low and even details such as drivers, power cords and other small parts are perfectly manufactured. OpticLED also seems to be quite confident about its product, as the company offers a full warranty for 10 years as well as a lifetime warranty for its Meanwell Driver.
Therefore, Strain Insider can recommend this cannabis growing light to everyone who is planning on growing marijuana on a regular basis, as its high efficiency and longevity enable immense savings on electricity and replacement costs in the long run.
2. Mars Hydro — TS600 (Final Grade 89.5%)
MarsHydro’s TS600 is an LED growing light that impressed our testers with its great light spectrum and decent efficiacy while still being available at a very competitive price. The TS600 comes with a total of 240 SMD LED chips, including 3000K warm white, 5000K blue light, 660 nm red light and 730 nm infrared light LEDs. This sun-like light spectrum is ideal for growing all kinds of plants, including cannabis, during both vegetative and flowering stages.
The TS600 has a considerable PAR-efficiacy of 2.35 umol/J and is capable of creating yields of up to 150 grams at 100 watt power consumption. These numbers become particularly impressive when you look at the price of a TS600, which currently stands at only €75. In addition to its technology, the TS600 also convinced our testers with its beneficial design. The device is not only slim, which allows cannabis growers to use it in small growing environments, the reflecting material also increases light efficiency and enables the heat to spread evenly throughout the case.
Unfortunately, however, the cheap price also means that the overall quality is not on the highest possible level. According to MarsHydro, the usual lifespan of a TS600 is about three years of use, with the manufacturer warranty being also at three years. The overall workmanship is acceptable but certainly could be improved.
Coming to a conclusion, we recommend this product to beginner growers and those with a limited budget. At less than €80, the TS600 provides incredible value for such a low price, and is undoubtedly capable of producing a great yield.
3. ViparSpectra — V300 (Final Grade 83.5%)
The Viparspectra V300 grow light is certainly among the most successful budget LEDs for growing cannabis plants. It includes 60 high intensity Bridgelux/Epileds chips in 12 different colours. Among these are five LED variations on the red spectrum, four blue variations, one infrared diode and 3000K warm white as well as 7500k cool white LEDs. This full spectrum makes it a suitable grow light for both the vegetative phase and the flowering phase of a marijuana plant.
Our tests have shown that the V300 has a PAR-efficacy of 1.26 umol/J, which is considerably lower than the TS600 and the Phantom 1. This is mainly due to the fact that V300 is recommended to be used at a minimum height (while flowering) of 40 to 45 cm, while the Phantom 1 can be used at only 15 to 20 cm in the final three weeks of the flowering stage. In addition, the V300 has higher power consumption at 132 watt.
The overall quality of the V300 is decent considering the low price point. The device as a whole, however, is bigger than other products we tested. One reason for this is that it is cooled by an electric fan. While this is keeping the temperature a bit lower than other lights, it is also a source of noise. Viparspectra offers a three year warranty on the V300 but claims that it should work for more than 100,000 hours.
Despite some downsides that come with the V300, we found that it can be a solid budget LED light for beginner growers. Thanks to the cooling fan, the V300 is suitable for warmer environments, while we also assume that consistent cooling will increase its longevity. Nevertheless, growers with rooms that are limited in height might want to opt for a TS600 instead.
4. KingLED — King Plus 600w (Final Grade 81%)
KingLED’s King Plus 600w appears to be very similar to the V300. It is also comes with 60 Epistar LEDs that include various red, blue, infrared, ultra violet and cold white LEDs. In contrast to the other products we reviewed, the King Plus 600w provides the option to switch off ‘VEG’ LEDs (mainly blue and cold white light) or ‘Bloom’ LEDs (mostly from the red spectrum) if needed (but which we do not recommend).
The light intensity tests we performed on the King Plus 600w have shown that this grow LED has a PAR-efficacy of 1.153 umol/J, which is slightly below the V300 and significantly lower than the Phantom 1 or TS600. With 120 W, the power consumtpion of the King Plus 600w is also similar to the V300. The light spectrum is mainly focused on red and blue light and lacks warm white light.
When it comes to the overall quality, we found that the King Plus 600w is inferior to the V300 and any other product that we tested. The device doesn’t feel like good craftmanship, and we’d fear to use it in too moist or too dry environments. However, the size is suitable for small grow environments, as it is slim and constantly cooled by two electric fans. KingLED offers a three year warranty on the all of their products.
Concluding, the King Plus 600w is certainly capable of growing healthy cannabis plants from seed to harvest. Nevertheless, since Viparspectra’s V300 is extremely similar but with better overall quality, we cannot give a buy recommendation for this product.
5. SANSI — Full Spectrum LED Bulb 36w (Final Grade 77,5%)
SANSI’s 36w LED Grow Light Bulb is without a doubt the smallest light that we tested for this article. Thanks to its E26/27 sockets, it is fairly easy to set up and should fit most desk lamps. It comes with warm white, full spectrum light that is suitable for both growing a cannabis plant and producing yield. It does, however, lack infrared and ultraviolet light.
Strain Insider tested the 36 watt edition of this light bulb, which is also the actual power consumption (unlike with the King Plus 600w). Its intensity is sufficient to grow a cannabis plant from seed to harvest, yet we would highly recommend to use at least two of these lamps per plant to achieve decent yields. A major benefit of LED light bulbs is that they do not need a dedicated cooling system to remain at a quite low temperature during operation. According to SANSI, the life expectancy for all of its grow LED bulbs is 25,000 hours, with a warranty being granted for up to five years in Canada and the U.S., or two years in Europe.
The overall quality of the SANSI full spectrum bulb is well above average. It left a great impression with our testers, who claimed one can clearly feel why SANSI is a highly successfull illumination brand. On the downside, at a price of roughly $40, the device becomes rather expensive for growers who are looking to achieve excellent yields. Our estimations indicate that one would need to acquire at least four SANSI bulbs to match the light intensity of a TS600, which would equal twice the price of a TS600 and almost 50 percent greater electricity costs.
We can recommend this LED bulb to grow marijuana if you are a beginner grower with very limited budget or limited space. For instance, microgrowers who are using PC boxes to grow cannabis could take advantage of the small size, low excess heat and low light intensity. Nevertheless, if you plan on growing in a bigger environment and are hoping to achieve satisfying yields, we recommend to opt for one of the products above.
Over to you: This was our list of the top 5 best affordable cannabis grow LED lights under €150 in 2020. Have you tried one or more products presented in this article? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!