In the past 25 months, the Growing Marijuana Perfectly team did a major testing project to find the best LED grow lights.
We tested almost all LED grow light brands sold to marijuana growers, including:
Grower’s Choice ROI
There are dozens of other garbage lower-cost LED grow lights we didn’t test. They’re made in China, sold by Amazon, Wal-Mart, and LED grow lights stores, typically cost $240 or less and are dangerous, pathetic pieces of crap.
All but one LED grow light manufacturer and their lights failed to meet our standards.
The problems that every one of the manufacturers on the above list had (other than the one good company) include one or more of the following:
- Lights not working out of the box or failing within a few days to a few months.
- Too hot.
- Old-school units with noisy fans that are too heavy and have other problems.
- Not energy efficient.
- High price, low quality.
- Poor configuration, angle, placement of chips.
- Unit sold as part of grow tent kit but not matched to tent size.
- Fails to meet PPFD specs. Underpowered.
- Inferior/defective LED chips.
- Bad controllers, dimmers, etc.
- Spectrum not ideal for marijuana plants or only useful for grow OR bloom phase, not both.
- Bad instructions.
- Incompetent, uncaring, unethical customer service and technical support.
- Refunds, overcharges, shipment delays, missing orders, defective products, missing parts not dealt with in a timely, professional manner…or at all.
- Unit not sealed against moisture and debris.
- Electrical defects/shorts/fires
- Power cables not included, not long enough, etc.
- Flimsy, bad materials, poor workmanship.
- Overpriced per PPFD/electricity conversion ratio.
- Daisy chains and other mechanical or software functions don’t work.
- Apps don’t work.
- Company uses fake reviews and paid review shills.
- Company out of business.
It’s important to understand that although almost all LED grow light brands have major flaws, some flaws are tolerable, while others are dealbreakers.
For example, California Lightworks is a legit, ethical LED grow lights company. Their people are honest, smart, professional.
Unlike many other brands on the list, their lights last tens of thousands of hours, are well-made, their spectrum controllers are reliable, the company honors its warranties and customers.
But their lights have several flaws because they’re the old-style LED grow light with a light-robbing protective barrier between the chips and your plants. Also, they’re heavy, and have noisy fans built in.
California Lightworks only needs to modernize design features and spectrum to make lighter, fanless units, and then their grow lights could be top-rank, with no major flaws at all.
Unfortunately, many grow light companies don’t make quality gear because their business model is to make a quick profit off you. They use the cheapest components possible and price the unit as high as they can get away with while working hard not to take returns or issue refunds.
Scamming is rampant in the LED grow lights industry.
For example, we tested two AC Infinity units that cost less than $500 each.
They failed within three months. We researched AC Infinity gear and saw massive complaints similar to problems we experienced.
AC Infinity is like Vivosun and other unspecialized companies that make dozens of low-cost marijuana growing products such as fans and grow tents that arrive with flaws and quickly stop working properly.
I got one of their tents and during the first season I grew in it, it developed pinhole light leaks in the main panels and along the zippers. The company refused to send a replacement or give a refund.
When you look into AC Infinity, you see they’re not cannabis growers who make gear because they’re committed to grower satisfaction.
In fact, the company’s focus is mostly not even about marijuana growing. It’s devoted to home theater, HVAC and other non-gardening equipment.
One of many complaints about AC Infinity LED grow lights:
“By far the absolute worst light I’ve ever purchased. To begin with the clips that they give do not fit in the slots to ad versatility for mounting. The “brackets” that the give are extremely weak and will not support the light long term. The brightness is absolute trash. Save your money and stay away from their lights.”
When we queried AC Infinity about the many complaints and about their product failures in our testing, they were dishonest, hostile, evasive.
Dishonesty is nothing new in the LED grow lights industry. These greedy people don’t want to answer questions about how they chose their spectrums, chips, drivers, casing materials, design, and other features…because they don’t know.
Just like many marijuana seed companies buy cheap seeds from bulk breeders without even understanding the genetics they’re re-selling, these feckless LED companies buy stacks of cheap lights made in China without doing strict quality control or insisting on the best specs.
Worse yet, it isn’t just LED grow lights manufacturers and their units that are ripoffs—it’s also most companies that re-sell LED grow lights.
For example, we had good luck a few years ago with low-cost quantum board LED grow lights made by Nextlight. They sold full-spectrum, white-light quantum board lights with adequate engineering, heat dispersion, and PPFD intensity.
Three of the four Mega models we tested had no problems after 11,000 hours of testing. All the Nextlight Core models we tested were functioning reliably well after 7,000 hours but started to have minor failures after that.
For the price, these units were a fair deal, and we wanted to repair the lights and get more. Then we discovered Nextlight (an Ohio-based company) had gone out of business.
You can imagine our surprise when we we saw LED grow light sales sites still selling Nextlight gear.
When we asked them how they could do that, given that Nextlight was out of business and could not honor warranties, they told us Nextlight had been bought by a bigger LED company that would honor the original 5-year warranties.
Further investigation revealed, however, that Nextlight was NOT bought by an LED company.
Instead, all remaindered Nextlight gear was bought in bulk by a solo profiteer after Nextlight announced its demise.
This profiteer is not a grow light company and reportedly can’t guarantee making repairs or honoring warranties.
And yet, several major online retailers are selling Nextlight units while deliberately hiding the fact that the manufacturer is out of business.
Yes, you might get lucky and have acceptable performance from inferior grow lights, and not realize they’re inferior.
Some units from even the worst manufacturer could perform adequately and may last longer than a few months.
But the overwhelming evidence is that none of the LED grow light companies listed above, except for one, are worth giving your money to.
That might sound harsh, but our brand is truth. We want our readers NOT to get ripped off. We want you to have the longest-lasting grow lights that deliver maximum PPFD per watt, with the perfect light spectrum.
For example, here’s one of many negative experiences marijuana growers have had with one of America’s largest grow light manufacturers, Fluence.
“I pre-ordered 3 VYPRx lights directly from Fluence. I opened and set up the lights, plugged them in, and only two of the three worked, the other light would not turn on with any power supply. I immediately reached out to Fluence for help. After leaving messages on a voicemail box, 26 hours later I received a call back. After sending them a bunch of photos and videos, they explained that I would need to find an authorized retailer near me to take the lights to. The only shop near me, GrowActive Solutions at 3612 Hartford St, St. Louis, MO 63116, explained that they cannot help me in any way, it was almost as if it was a joke (I will never shop there either now). Fluence also told me that I could not send any products back to them, since they do not make repairs themselves (though they send new products, odd…). Fluence will not honor the warranty without establishing what is wrong with the unit, and there is no way to determine what is wrong without taking it apart, which will void the warranty.
So what I have discovered is that this is a highly corporate company that will gladly take your money, sell you complete trash.“
The good news is, and we have published an extensive article on them before, there is one legit marijuana grow lights company. It’s called SANlight.
The bad news is the company is based in Austria and it’s a bit challenging to get their perfect grow lights in North America.
The good news is you can contact the company and they’ll get the lights to you, and pretty soon, they told me, their lights will be sold via a North American distributor.
You’re probably using LED grow lights that aren’t SANlight and might be getting results that satisfy you.
Obviously, some grow lights made by other companies will work some of the time so some growers get some buds using them.
But the simple fact is your grow op is a lot safer and more productive when you get rid of your existing lights and use SANlight instead.
It gives us no pleasure to report we examined all the major brands of LED grow lights and discovered a shocking lack of professionalism, energy efficiency, PPFD intensity, company ethics, customer-centered policies, and reliability.
If there ever is another LED grow lights company that’s as good as SANlight, we hope to hear about them, test their gear, and give them props here.
In the interim, know this: we’ve run an array of SANlight LED grow lights continuously in grow ops for tens of thousands of hours, and not once has there been a failure of any kind.
Using professional Apogee PPFD meters, we see ZERO dropoff in intensity after constant usage.
SANlight gear runs cool and quiet. Their grow lights are lightweight, elegant, effective. Energy efficiency is superb, PPFD is intense, dimmers and cables work perfectly, the light spectrum supercharges your cannabis plants from seedling to harvest.
Yields, cannabinoids, terpenoids, and growth rate all increase because of SANlight grow lights.
The SANlight founder and his team have always been professional, accurate, honest, helpful.
I never found even one negative review of SANlight, but most other LED grow light companies have tons of negative reviews.
SANlight didn’t pay us to write this article. Just like with cannabis seeds and strains, nutrients, and other marijuana growing supplies, we test everything and only promote the absolute best because we’re all growers and we know what it’s like to buy things that fail.
And we also know the joy of finding unicorn marijuana growing products that are the best in that niche, designed and crafted by people who made all the right engineering choices, creating the most useful, most reliable grow lights on earth.
SANlight isn’t just the best LED grow light brand—it’s the only one worth buying.