Best Grow Lights of 2021

Many plants are wonderfully resilient, while others wilt at the first sign of distress. However, they all share a need for light, but figuring out exactly what type of light is can be difficult. No matter what you want to grow, the sun could always use a little helping hand. Adding grow lights to your garden setup can extend your growing season or open up your options for new plants that don’t necessarily grow in your climate.

These grow lights won’t get you ready to start your own professional operation, but they can handle your plants properly and will suit your needs to give you and your plant friends just the right amount of light to thrive.

How we picked the best grow lights

methodology

There are some certified plant fanatics on the editing and writing crew at PopSci. I am an avid gardener and have been for almost two decades. I regularly start my seedlings indoors before bringing them into the New York climate.

To create this list, we interviewed dozens of different models online, drawing on real-world experience. This list represents a variety of options that can cover a wide variety of very different situations. Some are more suitable for serious growers while others are suitable for those who have an occasional interest or are just starting out. We’re trying to neatly outline the various technologies and options here to help along the way.

Best Grow Lights for Micro Greens: SereneLife Smart Starter Kit – Hydroponic Herb Garden

Salad shooter

Grow your dinner – or at least your appetizer – on your counter. Serene life

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Why it made the cut: If you don’t want to buy a stand-alone fixture and want to build a grow room, you can simply buy this compact hydroponic kit that will automatically take care of your plants.

Specifications:

  • Light type: LED
  • Power consumption: 18 watts
  • Adjustable
  • A complete hydroponic garden that can sit on your counter
advantages: disadvantage:
  • All-in-on hydroponic solution
  • Requires peat pellets
  • Height adjustable light
  • Limited to 8 plants at a time
  • Automatic light timer
  • Compact enough to sit on a counter
  • As the best grow light for micro greens, this miniature hydroponics setup includes its own 18 watt LED grow light that stays on for 16 hours a day and turns off for the other eight. This simulates the natural cycle of the sun that makes plants happy.

    The basis of the light is a full hydroponic setup. Put the seeds in the compact peat pellets and the water will automatically circulate through them for ideal hydration. Everything happens automatically so you don’t have to worry about it.

    This approach works wonderfully for microgreens that grow quickly and easily in these conditions. Once the plants get too big, you can increase the light to make more space for the plants. It is ultimately a solid alternative to buying individual pieces for a small grow room when you are just starting out.

    Best Grow Lights For Outdoor Plants (When They Are Indoor): LED grow light

    Plant stay

    When outdoor plants need to come inside, they can take advantage of the extra light. Relassy

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    Why it made the cut: When outdoor plants need to get indoors for winter, they don’t necessarily need a rush of light. These adjustable lights have what they crave.

    Specifications:

    • Light type: LED
    • Power 75 watts (equivalent)
    • Adjustable
    • The whole spectrum
    advantages: disadvantage:
  • Adjustable lights
  • Not super powerful
  • Full spectrum lighting
  • 4 dimmable levels
  • Built-in timer
  • Some plants can thrive outside in summer but need to get some warmth for winter. In this case, they almost certainly need a little help in the photosynthetic department of extra light. This adjustable light uses high intensity LEDs to pump the equivalent of 75 watts of light while using 25 watts of electricity.

    These best outdoor grow lights have a built-in timer that is highly customizable in three-, six-, and nine-hour increments. The flexible gooseneck design allows you to determine exactly where you want the light so it can easily be moved closer or farther away for more control.

    The full spectrum light mimics the sun and does not cast strange shadows in your home when switched on, which is good for both the plants and the mood in your house.

    Best fluorescent grow lights: Hydrofarm FLT44 System 4 ′ fluorescent lamp

    Hydrofarm is our pick for the best grow lights.

    Feel the tide

    These professional light banks are ready for your ascent into the plant world. Hydrofarm

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    Why it made the cut: Many professionals choose fluorescent light. This one offers huge performance that covers a lot of space in case you get big.

    Specifications:

    • Type of light: fluorescent
    • Dimensions: 3 ″ H x 13.5 ″ W x 46 ″ L
    • Up to 18,800 lumens
    • Replaceable tubes last up to 20,000 hours
    advantages: disadvantage:
  • Very bright
  • Expensive
  • Covers many areas
  • Big
  • The whole spectrum
  • Heavy power consumption
  • Light bulbs last a long time
  • If you want a professional grow room, this hydrofarm fluorescent tube bank is nearly four feet long and can produce nearly 19,000 lumens when fully equipped with high power T5 lamps. That’s a lot of light. Behind the lightbulbs, there are reflective aluminum reflectors that direct the rays of light to where they should be.

    The bench comes with four 6400K light tubes that mimic the color of the sun, which means they won’t cast wild hues in your grow room, just clean, white light. The powder-coated steel case is huge, but also sturdy, so it can withstand bumps and bruises when you have to move things.

    This isn’t as energy efficient as an LED, but you get a lot more total output from this bank than a typical LED. As the best fluorescent grow lights, these fluorescent benches can also be daisy-chained together to power several from a single outlet, which is handy when you’re short on outlets.

    Best growing lights for seedlings: Jump Start JSV2T JumpStart T5 light timer system

    Jump Start is our pick for the best grow lights.

    Bloomers

    It has what the seeds crave. Jump start

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    Why it made the cut: If you want to grow your plants indoors before you take them out for the season, this is a great solution.

    Specifications:

    • Type of light: fluorescent
    • Light source: T5 tubes
    • Light color: 6400K (sunlight)
    advantages: disadvantage:
  • Only needs a lightbulb
  • Cannot accommodate larger plants
  • High output
  • Low heat
  • Automatic timer
  • Adjustable height
  • Getting your seeds going before the growing season officially begins in your area can be an effective way of extending the season and getting more out of your vegetable crops. Jump Start, the best growing light for seedlings, has a lighting system that suspends a single fluorescent tube over the growing area. You can raise and lower it using the electronic ballast. Typically you want to keep the full spectrum light about three to six inches away from your fresh little growers, but customization is easy.

    With the built-in timer, you can automate the on / off process by dividing the day in half or in 18 hours and six hours in break. Fluorescent lights are high wattage but don’t produce a lot of heat, so they’re also good for plants like orchids, which can be very picky.

    Best grow lights for the home: Bamboo LED Grow Light Garden

    These bamboo lights are the best grow lights.

    Shelf improvement

    It’s like a luxury home for your seedlings and other plants. Gardening supply company

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    Why it made the cut: This shelving system is basically a vertical indoor garden that helps maintain plants from the start.

    Specifications:

    • Light type: LED
    • Fits plants up to 12 inches tall
    • 6400K light
    • Dimensions: 38-1 / 4 “L x 18-3 / 4” W x 54 “H
    advantages: disadvantage:
  • Galvanized planter bowl will not break down during watering
  • Expensive
  • Attractive bamboo construction
  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Built in lights
  • Huge capacity
  • The shelves of this bamboo setup are lined with LEDs that pump full spectrum light to the plants below. The bottom shelf can hold up to 50 pounds of plants while the top shelves can hold up to 30 pounds each.

    The bottoms of the shelves are lined with galvanized steel so that the water doesn’t destroy the surfaces if you spill during pouring. The furniture-quality bamboo frame is built in such a way that it will last for decades without much maintenance. You can stack the segments in any order, but all three rows of growlights get all of the power they need from a single outlet. Buying the best home grow lights is a great way to display and display a whole range of houseplants without having to scatter them around the house.

    Some things to consider when purchasing grow lights

    Light type

    The two types of light on this list are LEDs and fluorescent tubes. The latter has been a very popular choice with breeders for decades. Heavy duty T5 tubes can produce an impressive amount of light that will nourish plants at any level. Fluorescent lights are high on power but low on heat, which is good if you don’t want to burn your young plants.

    LEDs are extremely efficient and use less power. In addition, they are often much more flexible in their physical size and shape because they do not need long tubes to generate the lighting.

    power consumption

    If you use grow lights for up to 18 hours a day, they will use a lot of electricity, even if you use efficient LEDs. You want something with a built-in timer because then you don’t forget to turn it on and off, which is bad for both your electricity bill and the plants.

    Keep in mind that watts was used on lightbulbs to indicate relative power, but it doesn’t quite work that way with LEDs. You can directly compare lamps when they state how many lumens they produce, but watts is no longer an effective way to directly compare performance when it comes to LEDs

    adjustability

    Some plants can be picky about how close or far a light can be in order for it to achieve the desired benefits. Adjustable lights ensure that the lighting source maintains the desired distance from the plants themselves so that they do not starve or burn.

    One last word on Grow Lights

    The sun does a wonderful job of tending to plants with its light, but it can’t always get to the plants in your home. This is where the best plant lights come into play. Make sure you choose the right species for your plants, home, and budget.

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