When a marijuana plant grows wild in the nature, it survives because everything that it needs for basic growth is right there. The sunlight, air, rain/groundwater is all that it needs along with the natural cycle of the sun and the changing environment. However, when it comes to professionally growing the marijuana plant indoors, growers need to take care of a lot of things and setting the right kind of lighting is perhaps the most important of all that. The right kind of lighting can be set using the best LED grow lights. Over the course of this article, we shall focus on the top 7 best LED grow lights for vegetative growth which will help your plant get greener and leafier and make sure it is getting optimum levels of growth.
Here, we shall first take a closer look at what an LED grow light is and why is it so useful for the growth of the plants. Followed by this, we shall be taking a closer look at what the vegetative phase of growth is. Then, we shall look at the 4 best LED grow lights for vegetative growth in detail, along with the pros and cons of each of them. Post that, we take a quick look at a buyer’s guide where you will know what to look for in a grow light before you buy it. Lastly, before we conclude, we look at some frequently asked questions about LED grow lights. Let us now begin by addressing some basic questions first:
What is an LED grow light and why is it useful?
There are a number of different kinds of grow lights but all of them serve the same purpose. They ensure that the plant that you are growing indoors gets enough lighting in the absence of sunlight. These grow lights have lights of different wavelengths which make sure they recreate the natural sunlight inside a controlled environment. Unlike the natural cycle of the sun, however, you can control exactly how much light you are giving to the plants and for how long. This helps the growers create what they call an ‘optimal’ plant which offers high volumes of yield in the end.
There are a number of different types of grow lights but LED grow lights are usually considered to be the best option for growers. Other types of grow lights include High-Pressure Sodium grow lights, metal halides, CFL grow lights, etc. However, LED grow lights are better because of many reasons – first off, they are long-lasting and can last you for close to 100,000 hours or even more. Another great thing about these lights is that they are totally non-toxic and do not carry any chemicals inside them, making them safer to operate and easier to dispose off. Then there’s the biggest benefit of it all – LED grow lights have a much cheaper operating cost when you compare it with other traditional grow lights.
It is because of all these reasons put together that LED grow lights are considered to be the best and the most useful of them all, especially when you get hold of a full-spectrum LED grow light which helps you grow your plants through both, the vegetative as well as the flowering stage. While our article is on the best LED grow lights for vegetative growth, we shall only be considering the full-spectrum grow lights so that you don’t need to buy another grow light for the bloom phase later on. .
Understanding the Vegetative Phase of Growth
The vegetative stage of the growth is the fourth stage in the marijuana plant’s seven-stage growth cycle. It comes after the seed, germination and seedling stage and is followed by the pre-flowering, flowering and harvest stages. This is the stage of the growth where the seedling becomes to mature into actually becoming a proper plant and a large number of branches and leaves start to appear. Here, the plant gets sturdier as the stem gets thicker and the height of the plant gets a major boost from being a tiny seedling to quite a tall plant. This is the phase of growth where you would need to provide a lot of light to the plant to ensure that they are getting enough light for photosynthesis. This is quite important given that the green portions of the plants are still growing. A plant is fully matured by the next stage. In this stage, you need high humidity as well as the leaves can directly absorb the moisture from the environment instead of using the roots.
7 Best LED Grow Lights for Vegetative Growth
Now that you know what LED grow lights are and what the vegetative stage of growth is, here’s a look at the four best LED grow lights for vegetative growth of the marijuana plant.
1. Bloomspect 600W LED Grow Light
We start off with a 600 watt LED grow light from Bloomspect, which is a company that has been making grow lights for quite some time now. This is a good solution for growers who want an inexpensive grow light for growing their marijuana plants. This is a 600W LED grow light which features 60 pieces of double chip LEDs of 10W each in a single panel. The panel measures 11.8″ x 7.9″ x2.6″ and weighs close to 6lbs. It offers a lifespan of about 50,000 hours on an average.
When hung from 16”, this grow light offers a coverage of 2 x 2ft while it rises to 2.5ft x 2.5ft when it is increased to 20”. The PPFD rating is also quite high here. While it offers an output of about 600W, the actual power draw from the socket is close to 132W with a variation of about +/- 3%. A full-spectrum LED grow light, this doesn’t have seperate switches for the VEG and BLOOM modes, meaning it is good for both the stages with the kind of light it provides. It offers a mix of reds and blues – and is perfect for beginners so that they do not get confused during the different stages of growth. This is one of the best LED grow lights for vegetative growth of the marijuana plant.
Those wondering about the heat management of this grow light, there’s a single fan on the back which ensures all the heat is dissipated properly. There are also small circular openings on the front panel from where the heat can escape without damaging the lights. There is a two year warranty on this LED grow light. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee from Amazon.
- Full spectrum lighting – ensures plants grow well and get an almost-natural sunlight
- Easy to use
- Power efficient – doesn’t draw a lot of power from the socket
- Great for vegetative stage of growth
- Does not feature separate VEG and BLOOM switches
- No support for daisy chaining
2. Advanced Platinum P300 LED Grow Light
The best option for those growers who want to use a premium LED grow light and are willing to splurge a little for that. This is a 300W LED grow light which offers one of the best growing experiences you can find for your marijuana plants. The design of the grow light is quite elegant and the lighting it provides is superior compared to most other brands. And to add to everything else, this is a made-in-USA product. It comes with VEG and BLOOM switches and features 100 LEDs of 3W each.
There are 12 different bands of light, when put together ensuring that this grow light is a full-spectrum solution for all your growing needs during the vegetative stage as well as the bloom stage. This is one of the best LED grow lights for vegetative growth of your plants, as well as their growth during the bloom phase. Another great thing about this grow light from PlatinumLED is that it gives you a large coverage of about 4.5 x 5 ft when hung from about 24” and when you move it to 18” it goes down to about 3.5 x 4 ft which is still pretty decent.
When you use this grow light, it gives an output of 300W but it can easily replace a 400W HPS grow light while consuming only 93W during the vegetative phase of growth. It offers a very high PAR value of 1050 uMols at 18” and is one of the best performing and the most impressive names in the markets. This grow light comes with a large number of heat vents as well as two fans located on the back. What really makes it one of the best LED grow lights in the markets is the fact that it comes with a 5-year warranty as well! This might be a little pricey but it is totally worth it given what all you get back.
- Very impressive lighting and PAR score
- Consumes very little power
- Decent coverage for a 300W grow light
- 12-band full spectrum grow light along with IR and UV lights
- 5-year warranty period
- No dimmers, which you would expect at this price
3. Viparspectra 1200W LED Grow Light
Viparspectra is a name which has been around the industry almost since it became a trend to grow weed indoors. The company has over 10 years of experience in manufacturing grow lights and is one of the biggest and the most popular as well as credible names in the markets. This is a 1200W LED grow light from Viparspectra which is very bright as well as very effective when it comes to growing marijuana indoors. It measures 19.4×19.4×3 inches and carries a 20lbs weight. There are 240 LED lights in this grow light, each of 5W. These LED lights are divided into two sections in the panel.
If you buy this grow light, you get a 12-band full spectrum lighting, along with VEG and BLOOM channels for simpler growth. All in all making it one of the best grow lights for vegetative growth of marijuana plants indoors. When you use this grow light to grow marijuana plants during their vegetative stage, you get a coverage of 4.5’ x 4.5’, while when you lower the lights during the flowering phase it reduces to 3.5’ x 3.5’.
This grow light can replace a traditional/HPS grow light of 800W. The actual power consumption, surprisingly, is only 520W (with a small scope of variation). The PAR value here that you get is pretty good for a grow light of 1200W – you get 870 uMols at 18”. This grow light is a big device and it needs a lot of cooling features – there are four fans located on the back side which help make sure that all the heat is dissipated properly and is circulated out of the light’s body thanks to the openings directly in front of the fans as well as the vents on the sides. There’s a decent three-year warranty period on this grow light and it gives the growers a 30-day return period too.
- Separate VEG and BLOOM switches
- 12-band full spectrum lighting
- Very safe to use – a UL certified product
- Decent PAR score too
- Optimal for a 4×4 grow tent
- Does not support daisy chaining
- Power consumption could have been more fine-tuned
4. Bestva DC 2000W LED Grow Light
Last but not the least, this is the Bestva DC 2000W LED grow light, which is one of the best LED grow lights for vegetative growth of marijuana plants – it is also one of the brightest! At 2000W, this is as good as it gets for marijuana plants to ensure that they are getting maximum yield. This is also great for growers who need a larger area because the total coverage that you get here is close to 7.8 ft x 7.5 ft when hung from 24” and would go down by about 1-1.5 ft when lowered to 18”.
This is a full-spectrum LED grow light which offers you VEG and BLOOM switches so that you can adjust the lighting based on which phase of growth you are at. You can also switch both of them on a the same time if you wish to. There are 200 dual-chip LEDs of 10W each in this grow light panel. It offers a 9-band spectrum with LEDs angled at 120 degrees for optimum growth. The PAR score here is also pretty decent, as you get about 1036 uMols at 18”.
When you look at the power draw, while you get an output of 2000W, the actual input is only about 390W. This grow light can replace a 1400W HPS grow light. When you analyze these numbers, it is a no-brainer that this is a great device in terms of power efficiency. Given that this is a 2000W grow light, one would expect it to produce a lot of heat. Hence there are four fans on the back side which ensure that this heat does not damage the product and is hence dissipated properly via the fans and the heat vents. There’s a 3-year warranty as well as a 90-day money back guarantee on this grow light.
- One of the best LED grow lights for vegetative growth for those who are growing in tents between 6×6 to 8×8 feet in size
- Extremely bright lights, help in increasing yields
- Fans have a noiseless operation
- Good warranty period
- Lack of daisy chaining feature
- High cost
How to Choose the Best LED grow lights for growing marijuana?
With the knowledge of the four best LED grow lights for growing marijuana now with you, you must also know some crucial factors that you must consider before you buy these grow lights. You need to consider the following things:
- Spectrum: You must get a grow light which offers a full-spectrum lighting. This means you are getting the reds as well as the blues. The red end of the spectrum is important for the growth of the plants in the flowering stages while the blue end is good for the growth and vegetative stages of the plant’s life cycle.
- Coverage: You must know how wide the coverage of the grow light is – will it be enough to cover your grow tent? Make sure that the grow light(s) you are getting are enough to cover the entire grow tent but do not exceed it or are not less than the size of the tent otherwise it might not be optimal!
- Power Consumption: You need to see how much power the grow light consumes off the power socket. Don’t go by the wattage reading that the light provides you. A 2000W grow light might consume only about 800 to 1300W of power. This is something you need to check to make sure you’re getting a device which is easy on the power consumption front.
- Cooling: Cooling is pretty important for a grow light because lights emit a certain amount of heat. While LED grow lights heat up lesser compared to other grow lights, there’s still quite a bit of heat which might end up damaging either the plants or the equipment itself. Hence you need to make sure there’s enough cooling arrangements to dissipate the heat that the light generates.
- Cost, Warranty: Last but not the least, cost matters too. Grow lights are one of the most expensive parts of the indoor growth setup and they cost you anywhere between $50 to $1000 depending on what kind of a grow light you’re getting. Invest smartly. Furthermore, most grow lights offer at least 2 years of warranty so make sure that’s the minimum you’re getting.
3 Bonus Best Grow Lights for Vegetative Growth in 2020
1. Hydroplanet T5 HO Fluorescent Grow Light
For those who are looking forward to buying a good fluorescent grow light for growing marijuana plants indoors, this is a good option for you. This grow light is particularly effective during the vegetative phase of the plant’s growth cycle and helps you grow plants which grow up to be quite stable and provide high yields. This grow light comes with aluminium reflectors attached to it. It comes with plug and play ballasts which makes it easier to operate them compared to traditional form of lighting where ballasts tend to be rather complex.
This is one of the best grow lights for vegetative growth as it carries 8 bulbs of 6500K each. Each bulb on this grow light produces about 5000 lumens of light, providing a total of 40,000 lumens. The bulbs being of 6500K provide lots of blue lights for your plants which is of particular importance during the stages of vegetative growth. Another great thing about this grow light is that it also supports daisy chaining feature which means you can plug other grow lights on to this and create a chain of interconnected grow lights sharing power rather than plugging each individually to power outlets. The package of this grow light also comes with a hanger for hanging the lights.
Mounting and installing this grow light from Hydroplanet is a simple process and anyone with basic skills can do it with ease. There’s a two-year warranty on the product – and the grow light itself is pretty durable and can survive quite a few scratches and bumps with ease. All in all, a very bright and a durable product that will help growers get better vegetative growth and leafy plants.
- Super durable
- Very bright, 40,000 lumens
- Excellent blue lighting – growers can get very leafy vegetative growth
- 2-year warranty period
- Heats up quite a bit
2. Mars Hydro TS Full Spectrum LED Grow Light
Mars Hydro is a popular name among the growers community and this is an LED grow light from the company. Here, the growers get a large panel of LED lights which is perfect for growers who want to grow marijuana indoors and in a small-scale setup (2.5 x 2.5 ft or 3 x 3 ft). This is a 1000W LED grow light where you have 342 LED lights functioning together to provide the best lighting solution possible for a good vegetative growth of the marijuana plants. The spectrum of the lights here ranges 660-665nm Red IR/3200-4200Knm/5200-6800Knm and is simply perfect for indoor growth as it gives a near-natural effect to the plants.
Another great thing about this grow light here is that it offers the growers with a fanless cooling system which makes sure that the heat gets dissipated but there’s no noise that is usually associated with a fan. The best part here is that while you get a massive 1000W output, it only consumes about 150W of energy from the power socket when used under ideal settings. There’s reflective material around and below the bulbs which help ensure that the intensity of the light is magnified. This Mars Hydro grow light is good for both the stages but in particular the vegetative stage.
Mars Hydro is a trusted brand and has been known for making high quality LED grow lights in the past and this is yet another good product from them. What also stands out about this grow light is that while it is quite large it is not that heavy and you can easily hang it in your tent without worrying about the weight. One of the best grow lights for vegetative growth in 2020, even the heat production here is minimal and your plants are at no risk of heat-related damage..
- Offers high lighting output at a low energy input
- Large yet lightweight
- Full spectrum lighting great for vegetative phase but ideal for bloom too
- Some users have had packaging and shipping related issues with this grow light from Mars Hydro
3. Hydrofarm AgroBrite T5 Grow Light System
The third name on our list comes from Hydrofarm, and is a decent lighting system which offers really bright lights! And by really bright, we mean that the lumen output that you get here is up to 60,000 lumens, making it the brightest on our list. This is a large product particularly great for those growers who want to buy the best grow light for vegetative growth in 2020. Your marijuana plants are going to love this light because of how bright it is! Plants, especially in early stages and vegetative growth need a lot of light compared to their later stages. Hence, this is a great choice for indoor growers.
There are 12 bulbs in this grow light from Hydrofarm and each of these bulbs has the power of 5000 lumens, giving a grand total of a mighty 60,000 lumens of light. This is an ideal setup for those growers who want to grow four to five plants under it. The color temperature that you get here is 6400K, meaning it is very blue – and blue light is great for the vegetative growth of the plants! Oh and if this wasn’t big enough for you, the grow light also has provisions for daisy chaining other lights on to it for an even brighter effect!
Mounting and installing this grow light is pretty easy and quite breezy because all you’ve got to do here is to just plug and play it. There are no special ballasts which are needed for this and you can keep this light overhead on the plant, sideways or however you please like. There are multiple power switches on this grow light which will let you choose how many out of the 12 bulbs do you want to light up – this is one of the best features of the grow light which allow you to set up a custom lighting setup and save on some energy as well.
- Covers a large area
- Supports daisy chaining
- Very bright – great for vegetative growth
- Allows you to switch off certain bulbs manually
- Heats up frequently
- Reflective system not so good
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Grow Lights for Vegetative Growth
Here are some frequently asked questions about grow lights for vegetative growth which we have tried to answer to the best of our capabilities:
1. How much light do plants need in the vegetative stage?
The vegetative stage is a stage in the growth of the plant where it needs a LOT of light. Exactly how much should the photoperiod be? You can start off by giving as much as 20 to 22 hours of light for a few days then eventually ease it down to about 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness when the plant begins to grow. Eventually, as you enter the pre-flowering phase, you can reduce it to 16 hours and down to 12 hours when you want to trigger your plants into the flowering stage.
2. Can I grow a plant without using an LED grow light?
Yes, you can make use of other types of grow lights to grow your marijuana plants. These include HPS lights, Metal Halides, CFL lights and other similar options of lighting. However, LED grow lights are generally considered the best out of all these due to multiple reasons such as being non-toxic, being cheaper to operate and for being long-lasting. In fact, you can totally eliminate the need for using grow lights and even choose to grow your plant outdoors or in an area where you get a lot of sunlight. However, using grow lights gives you a greater advantage as you can control the intensity of the light as well as the amount of hours that the light is provided to the plant.
3. How does light determine the shift from vegetative stage to flowering stage?
The photoperiod is the term which is used to describe the amount of time that the light should be provided to plants. Photoperiod determines many things such as the growth of the plant, as well as helps change the phase of growth too. When you reduce the photoperiod from 18-16 hours to 12 hours after the pre-flowering phase is nearing its completion, this is when flowering begins.
4. How many hours of darkness (non-light hours) do plants need?
The amount of non-light hours or hours of darkness that you are providing to your marijuana plants depends a lot upon the phase of growth these plants are in. During the early stages, you can provide up to 2-3 hours of darkness, during peak vegetative phase, you can provide about 6 hours of darkness, pre-flowering would require 8 to 10 hours of darkness while flowering phase needs 12 to 14 hours of darkness.
5. Is it legal to use LED grow lights?
Yes, it is completely legal to use LED grow lights. Growers use these grow lights to grow not only marijuana, but also many other plants. However, if you are planning to grow marijuana using LED grow lights, you need to check with your local law enforcement if it is legal to do so. Grow lights are legal, but growing weed might be illegal so watch out for that.
To conclude, we hope that this article on the best LED grow lights for vegetative growth helps you get hold of the best equipment that you need to ensure that your plants give you the best yield. Selecting grow lights for growing marijuana can be quite a tough task and we hope this has helped you gain a better insight into the world of LED grow lights. Do let us know in the comments or drop us a mail if you feel we’ve missed out on something or if there’s something more that you would like to know.
Happy Growing! 🙂