Top 5 Best LED Grow Lights under $500

LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, are lights comprising of multiple individual diodes. The primary structure of an LED grow light is made up of a small semiconductor chip enclosed in a capsule and a junction allowing electric current flow as multiple electrons. LEDs do not use lead, mercury, filament or gas to generate light. LED grow lights don’t require a separate ballast unlike HIDs and can be plugged into a standard socket. This and many other factors have made LEDs Grow lights as the product of choice among horticulturalists.[1]

Sunlight provides the entire spectrum of light to plants grown outdoors. Indoor plants too, require this complete light spectrum to flourish and therefore, it is important to select grow lights that effectively replace the natural sunlight are able to provide a complete spectrum for all growth stages of the plant’s life cycle.

LEDs have also gained popularity because of their ability to provide a very specifically targeted spectrum of light. These lights are capable of delivering up to 80-100% PAR efficiency. LED grow lights come with lifespans that can last anywhere between 50,000 to over 100,000 hours.[2] Unlike the traditional grow lights, LEDs run cooler temperatures and most come with inbuilt heat dissipation systems to avoid overheating or light burn. They are easy to install and operate and are available in various shapes and sizes.

In this article, we will review the top 5 LED grow lights that are available in the market for under $500. The reviews are based on multiple factors such as coverage area, wattage, HPS replacing capabilities, electrical efficiency, lifespan, cost, spectrum, etc. These 5 LED grow light models are selected for the purpose of this review as each one of them has its own unique attributes and can cater to various types and scale of growers.

Top 5 LED Grow Lights under $500

NameViparspectra Timer Control Series TC1350MarsHydro Reflector 960W LEDAdvanced Platinum Series P300Viparspectra Dimmable Series PAR1200Viparspectra V1200
Rating4.4/54.4/54.5/54.4/54.3/5
Wattage1350w960w300w1200w1200w
Light Bands12 bands12 bands12 bands12 bands12 bands
Coverage Area5ft x 5ft5.5ft x 5.5ft4.5ft x 3.8ft4ft x 4ft4.5ft x 4.5ft
HID Replacement1000w450w400w1000w1000w
Lifespan100,000 hrs50,000 hrs100,000 hrs100,000 hrs100,000 hrs
Warranty3 years3 years5 years3 year3 years
PriceCheck HereCheck HereCheck HereCheck HereCheck  Here

 

Viparspectra Timer Control Series TC1350 1350W LED Grow Light Reviews – Best timer control model

Viparspectra Timer Control Series TC1350 1350w LED is not for the novice as it requires a certain degree of skill to operate. On the other hand, if you are familiar with this series of LEDs, then this light will give you the best value for the money spent. As an organization that has focussed on developing lights for indoor growers, Viparspectra Timer Control Series TC1350 also comes with a three-year warranty and a 30 days money-back guarantee.

Following are some of its key features,

  • Built-in Timer – This is only light in our review that comes with a built-in timer. This feature reduces your work substantially as you can set the light’s timer according to your requirements and the LED will function accordingly. What’s even better is the fact that this is all done via remote control. [3] The only downside is that if you are a beginner or a first-time grower, then this may seem a little complicated to control. However, this feature is excellent for seasoned growers as they can utilize their experience and adjust the grow lights as per the requirements of different stages.
  • Dimmable Channels and 12 Band Spectrum – This dimmable model of LED grow light also comes with 12 bands full spectrum. There are 3 LCDs which give you a complete picture of the light’s program. The first two LCDs display the switch on which the LED grow light is running and the third indicates the intensity of the light that is running. It is also possible to adjust and program the veg and bloom lights separately. In other words, the Viparspectra timer control series TC1350 gives you overall control over its spectrum adjustment.
  • Excellent Cooling – Viparspectra TC1350 LED grow light comes equipped with state-of-the-art aluminum heat sinks and low noise high-speed cooling fans that ensure effective heat dissipation and keep the lights cool. According to the manufacturer, these LEDs run at least 70% cooler than the HIDs and their power consumption is only 608w making it highly cost-effective to use.
  • Impressive Coverage Area – These lights provide good coverage for all stages of the plant’s growth cycle.
    • Maximum vegetative coverage at 24 inches – 5×5 ft
    • Maximum flowering coverage at 32 inches – 4×4 ft
    • Core coverage at 24 inches – height 4×4 ft for flowering

 

This LED grow light includes 270 pieces of high-intensity 5w Epileds/Bridgelux LED chips and an estimated lifespan of 100,000 hours. As a scientifically engineered light providing a balanced PAR output and coverage, the Viparspectra TC1350 is equipped to handle all stages of your plant’s growth cycle.

While most Viparspectra lights are designed for beginners, this one is an exception and is more suited for experienced growers.

Pros   

  • Remote control and timer are the biggest advantages of this LED grow light
  • Good value for money
  • The light comes with comprehensive LCDs that display setting
  • Effective and low noise cooling system
  • Excellent coverage area for all stages of the growth cycle
  • Above-average PAR values
  • Use of good quantity components and design make the Viparspectra Timer Control Series TC1350 LED grow light highly durable
  • Comes with a full 3-year manufacturer’s warranty and a 30 days money return guarantee

Cons

  • Its biggest advantage is also its biggest negative as all that remote control technology can be a bit cumbersome to operate for beginners and inexperienced growers.

Overall, if you are a seasoned and experienced grower, then this grow light can be the perfect addition to your indoor garden. Its excellent features and the ability to be controlled remotely allows you to have a firmer control over your grow area.

MarsHydro Reflector 960W LED Grow Light reviews – Best attractive model

MarsHydro Reflector 960w LED grow light is indeed one of the most attractive models available in the market. The light is enormous in size and comes at a fairly reasonable price point. Its features far outweigh the price at which it is marketed. The following review seeks to highlight some of its most attractive features to justify its presence in our selection of top 5 LED grow lights available under $500.

  • Excellent PAR Value – MarsHydro Reflector 960w LED grow light provides you with radiant light. At 24 inches this light is capable of delivering 865 umols which is much higher than the usual range of 600-650 umols emitted by some of the best grow lights in this category. Even from a distance of 36 inches, this LED grow light can give your plants more than 560 umols. Hene, this light is ideal for cultivating a crop of plants that require more power of light to grow and flourish.
  • Good Quality Components – 5w LED chips manufactured by Epileds are high quality and durable. As Epiled products are known for their strength and reliability, the MarsHydro Reflector 960w LED grow light is not just effective, but also, a fruitful LED grow light. The light is capable of delivering at least 50,000 hours of light. [4]
  • Good Coverage area – Vegetative stage requires much lesser light than the subsequent phases, and for this reason, most growers keep their LED grow lights at a distance of 24 inches or so. However, upon sprouting, these lights are brought down to a distance of 18 inches as the plant requires a higher intensity of light. With MarsHydro Reflector 960w LED grow light, you are not just getting coverage of 5.5ft x 5.5ft for the vegetative stage but also coverage of 4ftx4ft for the bloom stage. These dimensions are excellent for the price at which the light is marketed.
  • Complete Spectrum of Lights – The MarsHydro Reflector 960w LED grow light provides a full spectrum of all the 12 wavelength groups including IR. The spectrum is by far the most important aspect of any light’s effectiveness. And this LED from MarsHydro score full points on this attribute. The entire spectrum is well balanced and adjusted. This LED grow light provides different modes for vegetative and bloom stages and through these modes, the LED adjusts its intensity and spectrum requirements.

This LED grow light can be ordered online and comes with a three-year warranty and a 30-days money return policy in case the user is not satisfied with the product. Following is a list of factors that may leave your satisfied or unsatisfied with this product,

Pros

  • Effective and satisfying PAR output across different stages of the plant’s growth phases. Is installed with the new SMD epistar
  • Economical solution equipped with all essential features
  • Full-spectrum of light and Infrared radiation for effective plant growth
  • The cultivator can easily switch between vegetative and bloom phases with the flip of a switch.
  • Electrical efficiency with a maximum power draw of 350w in comparison to the 450w of the HID equivalent.

Cons

  • This light is not equipped with a daisy chain feature, meaning that adding new lights can be tedious as your grow area increases
  • While it includes a full-spectrum with IR, the UV diodes are missing.

MarsHydro is a well-known brand with warehouses spread across the USA, Germany, UK, Canada, and Australia allowing them to provide excellent post-sales customer services. Amazon rates this LED with 4.4 stars out of 5. In spite of the lack of two main features – daisy chain and UV diodes – from its design this LED has managed to keep its users satisfied. [5] And this is one of the reasons why it has made to our review table of the top 5 under $500 LED grow lights.

Advanced Platinum Series P300 300w LED grow light review – Amazon’s choice

Advanced Platinum Series P300 300w LEDs are some of the finest grow lights available in the market today. Their full spectrum of light including UV/IR makes them strong enough to benefit plants in both vegetative and flowering stages. Let us highlight some of the main features which make this light one of the top 5 LED grow light under $500,

  • Complete Spectrum of Light – As has been stressed before, indoor grow lights are primarily installed to replicate the spectrum of natural sunlight that is beneficial for a healthy yield of the crop. Keeping this in mind, it is important to select a light that checks this box. Advanced Platinum Series P300 300w grow light not only provides a full spectrum of light but also emits UV and IR wavelengths. The well designed 12 bands offer very effective spectral outputs.[6]
  • Second Focusing Lenses – This LED grow light comes equipped with 90-degree secondary focusing lenses. This unique feature allows the light a deeper level of penetration within the canopy offering not just higher efficiency but also a more vigorous growth of the plants. This high-end feature is available at a very affordable price in this LED grow light. The light is made up of multiple 3w LEDs that offer at least a 50,000-hour guarantee. Additionally, these LED grow lights also come with the highest PAR value available in the market in this category.
  • Energy-efficient – This LED grow light generates power that is similar to a 400w HPS but consumes only 180w of electricity. Its power-saving capabilities are another plus point to convince prospective buyers. In the vegetation stage, the light draws an average power a little under 95w and in the flowering stage, this can be increased to 180w. All of its power draws a substantially lower wattage than HPS grow lights in the same category.
  • Effective PAR Value – At this price tag, Advanced Platinum Series P300 300w LED grow light offers one of the best PAR values available in the market today. At a distance of 24 inches, the PAR is 683 umols which increases substantially to 1050 umols when hung at a distance of 18 inches.
  • Extended Warranty – Unlike the most LED grow lights in this category, Advanced Platinum Series P300 300w LED comes with a whopping 5 years of manufacturer’s warranty. They also offer a 90-day money-back guarantee which is three times more than what is offered by others in this category.

Even though LEDs have a higher initial investment cost associated with them, their long life spans and energy-efficient capabilities make them a far more reasonable option in the longer run.

Pros

  • Advanced Platinum Series P300 300w LED grow lights are capable of generating enough power that makes them suitable for any kind of fruit or vegetable
  • The excellent spectral output is inclusive of IR and UV.
  • Effective heat dissipation and cooling system system
  • 5-year manufacturer’s warranty with a whopping 90-days money return guarantee.

Cons

  • At this price, Advanced Platinum Series P300 300w LED grow light offers more than most and it is difficult to find a negative in that. The only possible shortfall is that this LED is not waterproof. However, if you can overlook that fact then this seems to be one of the few flawless lights available in the market today. As an LED grow light made exclusively for indoor use, it should be easy to overlook its lack of water resistance.

With one of the best ratings on Amazon, it is indeed one of the most efficient LED grow lights under $500 in our top 5 list. As everything seems to work in its favor, Advanced Platinum Series P300 300w LED grow light is one of the nearly perfect lights available to buyers. The light works equally well for beginners and seasoned cultivators.[7]

Viparspectra Dimmable Series PAR1200 1200W LED Grow Light Reviews – Editor’s choice

Viparspectra offers the most options in the under $500 price tag category. Like its counterparts, the Viparspectra Dimmable Series PAR1200 1200W LED Grow Light comes with a full 12 band light spectrum and IR. Being a dimmable model, this LED provides growers with better control over their growing area. Let us explore its features to arrive at a better understanding of this grow light’s attributes,

  • Dimmable Switches – This model comes with dimmers that are not be confused with the veg and bloom on/off switches available in other products. These dimmers can be adjusted anywhere between 1-100 at any given time providing you with 100% control of your growing environment. However, it is important to have a good working knowledge of the intensity requirement as guesswork will not lead to perfect light control.
  • Full Spectrum – Like most others in this category, this grow light comes with a full 12 band spectrum of light. While it includes Infrared (IR), UV or ultraviolet is absent. However, the spectrum is not the only determining factor of a healthy yield.
  • Heat Dissipation – The effective heat dissipation system ensures that the lights don’t overheat and that a healthy amount of air circulation takes place in the growing area. The front side of the light’s panel includes fans and the LED also comes equipped with an aluminum heat sink.[8] The fans are fairly quiet and don’t generate any disturbing noises.
  • Effective PAR Value – With 240 components of 5w LED chips this light is equipped to provide excellent PAR output. At a distance of 18 inches, the light emits 1120 umols which marginally reduces to 1020 umols at 24 inches making it one of the most powerful grow lights in this category.[9]
  • Good Coverage – The product offers maximum coverage of 5×5 ft for the vegetative phase and 4×4 for the blooming phase making it an ideal light for beginners as well as seasoned growers.
  • Energy Efficiency – the product has an average power draw of approximately 545w but is capable of replacing the 1000w HID grow lamps.

 

Viparspectra is a well-known brand for LED grow lights and its products have proved to be significantly popular with users across various categories. The light is scientifically engineered to provide balanced and effective coverage for the growing area. However, like most grow lights, Viparspectra Dimmable Series PAR1200 1200W LED Grow Light has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The most significant are listed below,

 

Pros

  • The light is durable and is manufactured using high-quality materials and components.
  • The manufacturer provides a set of two dimmable switches that can be adjusted as per the cultivator’s requirements.
  • Viparspectra Dimmable Series PAR1200 1200W LED grow light provides excellent power output and efficient PAR values as listed in the above sections.
  • The light offers a full 12 band spectrum and is effective for all stages of the plant’s growth cycle.
  • The light is efficient and consumes significantly less energy in comparison to the HIDs in this category.
  • The product comes with a 3-year warranty and a 30-day money return guarantee.

Cons

  • The dimmer switches can be complicated for new users. They require the user to have significant knowledge of the process before using this feature.
  • The 6 ft power cord is shorter than what most manufacturers offer in this category.
  • Viparspectra Dimmable Series PAR1200 1200W LED Grow Light does not have Ultraviolet diodes.

Viparspectra Dimmable Series PAR1200 1200W LED Grow Light is one of the best lights available in this category and the fact that it is light on your pocket is just the required cherry on the top. With excellent reviews on Amazon, this under $500 LED grow light is feature-rich and productive at the same time.[10]

Viparspectra V1200 1200W LED Grow Light reviews – Best for cannabis

This is the third Viparspectra LED grow light in our table of the top 5 which goes on to prove the popularity of this brand. The V1200 1200w LED grow light is the highest power model that is currently offered by this manufacturer. Viparspectra has been a player in this market for over a decade and they have sustained their growth by delivering high quality and effective grow light products.

Viparspectra ensures that their products help increase yields, consistently provide a high quality of crop and reduce the cost of operations. Viparspectra V1200 1200W LED Grow Light is no different and we hope to explore the same in its significant features that are listed below,

  • Highly Durable – This LED comprised of 240 high quality LED chips of 5w each with a perfectly balanced light distribution among them. These chips provide an excellent blend of white, red and blue lights.
  • Full 12 band Spectrum – Viparspectra V1200 1200W LED Grow Light provides a complete 12 band light spectrum that replicates the natural sunlight and is essential for high-quality crop growth across all stages. The light is not equipped with separate switches for bloom and vegetation stages and is still capable of raising a healthy crop.
  • Effective cooling – the product comes equipped with a powerful cooling system including 6 4.72inches cooling fans that ensure that the LEDs don’t overheat and cause a light burn. All this with the minimum possible noise. The LED is also equipped with multiple 0.8-inch high aluminum heat-absorbing sinks for efficient heat dissipation.[11]
  • Good Coverage PAR values – The light provides coverage of 4×4 ft in the flowering stage and 4×4 ft in the vegetation stage. This is when the light is hung at the recommended distance of 24 inches. At this distance, the Viparspectra V1200 1200w LED grow light also provides a PAR value of 508 unmols and this increases to 750 unmols at 18 inches.
  • Efficiency – The power draw of Viparspectra V1200 1200W LED Grow Light is just around 520w and it is capable of replacing 1000w HID/HPS grow lights.
  • Like all other Viparspectra LEDs, this grow light too comes with a 3-year warranty and a 30-day money return guarantee.

This grow light is significantly lower than most LED grow lights in the 1200w category. However, it is not without its unique advantages and disadvantages some of which are listed below,

Pros

  • The Viparspectra V1200 1200W LED Grow Light is manufactures using high-quality components and powerful Epiled/Bridgelux LED chips.
  • This grow light offers a full spectrum of light to support all phases of the plant’s growth cycle.
  • Price-efficient and extremely affordable for this category of grow lights and can be used by those with lower budgets as well.
  • Low noise and effective cooling system that ensures complete heat dissipation
  • The Viparspectra V1200 1200W LED Grow Light has a 3-year warranty

 

Cons

  • The light has lower PAR values than comparative models.
  • Given its size, the coverage area is lesser
  • The Viparspectra V1200 1200W LED Grow Light is not waterproof making it viable exclusively for indoor use.

In spite of its disadvantages, Viparspectra V1200 1200W LED Grow Light is a product of choice for Cannabis cultivators and the same has been highlighted in its popularity in Amazon.[12] Even without different switches for veg and bloom stages, the light is capable of developing plants faster. The Viparspectra V1200 1200W LED Grow Light is equally suitable for beginners/casual growers and serious horticulturalists. Like most other Viparspectra products this LED too comes equipped with a full kit including hanging ropes and power cords. As a powerful light at a lower price, this light is an ideal option.

Conclusion: Best LED Grow Lights under $500

Some of the best LED grow lights are available in the market today for under $500 and can be afforded by beginners and professional horticulturalists alike. We hope that your favorite made it to our list!

In conclusion, LEDs are energy efficient and come with a longer lifespan making them the best option for indoor cultivators. They perform well in all stages of the plant’s growth cycle and provide higher yields and lower heat outputs. However, it is important to consider some significant factors before investing in one,

  1. Area – It is important to ascertain the amount of space you want to cover prior to investing in the LED lights. Each LED grow light comes with a unique coverage range and it is important to understand the size of your garden.
  2. Budget – The industry norm is that higher-quality lights normally yield the best results. As a beginner, however, you may want to consider a lower-priced option. For those who are more experienced, it never hurts to go with the quality, higher-priced option.
  3. Brand – There is a whole gamut of LEDs available in the market today. However, we recommend going with a better-known brand than a newer player.
  4. Full Spectrum – A full spectrum LED grow light is considered ideal for your plant’s growth. Infrared and ultraviolet are equally important depending on the stage of your plant’s growth cycle. It is highly recommended to purchase a full spectrum LED grow light.
  5. Electrical Efficiency: Most well-known brands make LEDs that are reliable and durable. Being energy efficient is another significant attribute that should be considered before purchasing these lights. As these lights have a higher investment cost than the HIDs, it is important that they run with a lower operational cost and prove to be more energy efficient in the longer run.

The above-mentioned points, along with our 5 extensive reviews can surely help you select the ideal LED grow light that is available under $500.

Footnotes:
  1. https://www.cso.com.au/mediareleases/34872/global-led-grow-lights-market-outlook-by/
  2. https://ledgrowlightworld.com.au/
  3. https://www.viparspectra.com/goods.php?id=91
  4. https://www.mars-hydro.com/buy-mars-reflector-960w-led-grow-light-for-medical-plants-mars-hydro-for-sale
  5. https://www.amazon.com/Marshydro-Reflector-Spectrum-Hydroponic-Greenhouse/dp/B00XBYHORY/ref=as_li_ss_tl?linkCode=sl1&slotNum=11&linkId=771745092086c43fc0b6da105b29ec4d&imprToken=6pnpnoC5M87gLO14EvcfvA&language=en_US&tag=420expertadviser-20&ie=UTF8#customerReviews
  6. https://platinumgrowlights.com/product/p300/
  7. https://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Platinum-P300-12-band-Grow/dp/B00NTBS91Y/ref=as_li_ss_tl?linkCode=sl1&slotNum=8&linkId=7b502ba1bafc14ac08b603c769cf3614&imprToken=6pnpnoC5M87gLO14EvcfvA&language=en_US&tag=420expertadviser-20&ie=UTF8
  8. https://www.viparspectra.com/goods.php?id=75
  9. https://budsoflife.org/viparspectra-dimmable-series-par1200-1200w/
  10. https://www.amazon.com/VIPARSPECTRA-Dimmable-PAR1200-1200W-Light/dp/B01N7CEW5Q/ref=as_li_ss_tl?linkCode=sl1&slotNum=21&linkId=1c65f37364defe46aabe4b36d3d92b8d&imprToken=6pnpnoC5M87gLO14EvcfvA&language=en_US&tag=420expertadviser-20&ie=UTF8#customerReviews
  11. https://www.viparspectra.com/goods.php?id=56

https://www.amazon.com/VIPARSPECTRA-V1200-Spectrum-Indoor-Plants/dp/B00UORXUBA/ref=as_li_ss_tl?linkCode=sl1&slotNum=4&linkId=7e91bcd4b27bfb4a16ae647c6e9fe356&imprToken=XvMismsucHYCEZL6esShRg&language=en_US&tag=420expertadviser-20&ie=UTF8#customerReviews