Best Grow Lights for Vegetables

You already know that natural sunlight is the best source of light for your vegetable garden. However, your veggies might not be getting the 14 to 18 hours of sunlight it needs. That could be because of a long winter, or you’re just not in an area that gets a lot of sunlight. The alternative is growing your plants indoors with grow lights. While it is a second-best option, it’s still a good one because technology has improved quite a bit over the past few years.

The best grow lights for vegetables are now affordable, efficient, and they don’t produce nearly the same amount of heat as grow lights from the past. Not only will you be able to place these lights right up next to your seedlings to give them the most intense light possible, you also won’t have to worry about your electric bill soaring.

6 Best Grow Lights Comparisons

IMAGE MODEL FEATURES
LED-Plant-Grow-Lights-Shengsite-UFO-250-LEDs-Indoor-Plants-1 LED Plant Grow Lights, Shengsite
  • Wattage: 50W
  • Diameter: 13.1 inches
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs.
  • Number of LEDs: 250
  • Lifespan: 50,000 hours
  • Warranty: 1 year
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Hydrofarm-Jump-Start-Grow-Light-System Hydrofarm Jump Start Grow Light System
  • Wattage: 54W
  • Dimensions: 31.75 H x 18 D x 50 L inches
  • Weight: 11.1 lbs.
  • Number of bulbs: 1
  • Lifespan: 20,000 hours
  • Warranty: 1 year
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Dimgogo-1500w-Double-Chips-LED-Grow-Light Dimgogo 1500w Double Chips LED Grow Light
  • Wattage: 1500W
  • Cooling system: 3 fans; vents
  • Dimensions: 17.8 L x 10.9 D x 4.8 W inches
  • Weight: 8.15 lbs.
  • Number of LEDs: 150
  • Lifespan: 50,000 hours
  • Warranty: 3 years
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Newhouse-Lighting-Dual-Head-LED-Clamp-Grow-Light Newhouse Lighting Dual Head Grow Light
  • Wattage: 10W
  • Dimensions: 4.5 L x 20 D x 3.25 W inches
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs.
  • Number of LEDs: 10
  • Lifespan: 50,000 hours
  • Warranty: 30 days
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Roleadro-LED-Grow-Light-Bulb Roleadro LED Grow Light Bulb
  • Wattage: 45W
  • Dimensions: 4.5 L x 20 D x 3.25 W inches
  • Weight: 1.7 lbs.
  • Number of LEDs: 117
  • Lifespan: 50,000 hours
  • Warranty: 1 year
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Hydrofarm-HPS-Mini-Sunburst-with-Lamp Hydrofarm HPS Mini Sunburst with Lamp
  • Wattage: 150W
  • Dimensions: 5 H x 17 D x 9 L inches
  • Weight: 8.9 lbs.
  • Number of bulbs: 1
  • Lifespan: 24,000 hours
  • Warranty: 2 years
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Do Vegetables Need a Special Type of Grow Light?

Newhouse Lighting Dual Head LED Clamp Grow Light 1

You may have seen a surge in information on grow lights for cannabis. With the recent changes in legal growth and sales of cannabis, it’s become a hot topic. That telltale purple glow isn’t just for weed, though. All plants need a little something different, whether it’s the amount of sun each one gets, the nutrients, or pruning, but they all need light.

Vegetable plants don’t require any special kind of light to grow, so you can purchase and use anything from incandescent or HPS to fluorescent or LED. All it really comes down to is how much money you’re willing to spend in upfront costs, long-term, and for replacement bulbs. You may also want to consider how cold your grow room is and whether it can handle the heat some grow lights give off. It’s possible you want to use a couple of different types of lights for growing, but most of them now offer full spectrum light, so you don’t have to search for the natural white light, blue lights, and red lights to encourage photosynthesis.

Is Price an Indicator of Quality in Gardening Grow Lights?

Dimgogo 1500w Double Chips LED Grow Light 1Sometimes we shop for items and lean toward buying the more expensive product, believing that if it costs more, it must hold a greater value. That isn’t necessarily the case with lights for indoor gardens.

When you purchase fluorescent lighting for your plants, you may also need to buy a ballast, as you can’t just plug a T5 tube light into a regular lamp. So, there are some extra costs associated with a T5 setup. You can find some of these starter setups that include the ballast, so all you have to do is hang the light and plug it in. However, they are a little pricey. And you’re looking at an average of 20,000 hours of lifespan from those lights. So, you’ll need to buy replacement bulbs sooner rather than later (2 years). Fluorescents lean toward the blue spectrum, so they’re great for the vegetative stage, and help produce bushy plants, but you canfind some in full spectrum light now.

Another popular choice for grow lights is HPS, which many indoor gardeners have sworn by for the flowering and fruiting stage. The warmer light isn’t the best for seedlings or for the vegetative stage, though. They’re surprisingly affordable, but they’re a bit outdated and are likely to become obsolete soon because they’re costly to run. These lights produce tons of heat, and you’ll need to have a well-ventilated grow room. Plus, you’ll have to plan on spending more on electricity because these lights suck up the juice.

One of the newest lights to hit the industry is the LED grow light. At first, it seemed LEDs wouldn’t be able to produce enough light to help plants grow at all, but it turns out that LEDs can offer a full spectrum of light to help plants grow from seed to harvest. Compared to other bulbs, LEDs are a bit expensive to buy, but they are more energy-efficient than any other light source. Not only do they use just pennies of electricity per day, they also produce very little heat. You can scooch your seedlings up close to this light source and not worry about burning. Then back the light off as your plants grow. You’ll have enough white, red, and blue to go from itty bitty seeds to big, bushy plants, and finally to the flowering stage. And soon, you’ll be able to harvest the vegetables.

What to Look for in Grow Lights for Your Veggies

To get the most bang for your buck, you should look for a light that works as hard as you do to make sure your little seeds grow up into big, bushy plants that will produce lots of flowers, and then vegetables.Roleadro LED Grow Light Bulb 1

Find a model that doesn’t require you to buy any other equipment. Many types for growing have onboard fans, or won’t require cooling at all. Some LED bulbs, for example, only require you to have a lamp for you to screw the bulb into. You can also find some setups that include a fixture, so all you have to do is plug it in and put your plants underneath it. Others may require you to hang the fixture from your ceiling.

Look for a light that doesn’t use up too much electricity, and one that has a long lifespan. You should also keep an eye out for grow lights with long warranties. Should anything go wrong with your light, it’s better to return it for a repair or replacement than have to pay for a whole new light. It’s also helpful to have a light that has a built-in heat sink that will absorb heat that is produced by the glow.

Top 6 Best Grow Lights for Vegetables Reviews

50W LED Plant Grow Lights, Shengsite UFO 250 LEDs Indoor Plants Growing Light Bulbs with Red Blue Spectrum Hydroponics Plant Hanging Kit for Germination, Vegetative & Flowering

50W LED Plant Grow Lights, Shengsite UFO 250 LEDs Indoor Plants
  • Wattage: 50W
  • Diameter: 13.1 inches
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs.
  • Number of LEDs: 250
  • Lifespan: 50,000 hours
  • Warranty: 1 year
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There are more than a few reasons why this Shengsite UFO LED grow light is so popular. Its size is ideal if you’re growing just a couple of plants, and the round shape ensures that all the plants get some light. The 250 LEDs produce bright light, which is what plants crave. And because these are LEDs, you can place the fixture close to your plants’ leaves without worrying about burns. You’ll hardly notice, by your ear, anyway, that this light is on because it doesn’t hum like other lights, and there’s no fan to make noise.

This light is only rated at 50W, and even then, that’s not entirely accurate. It clocks in at about 34W of actual power that it draws. That’s both good news and bad news. The good part is that it doesn’t suck up a ton of energy, and you’re unlikely to notice any change to your electric bill – even if you use this for 16 to 18 hours per day. The bad news is that you’re not getting what’s advertised. Perhaps the biggest issue with this light, though, is the design on the back. The power cord is right next to where one of the hanging cables go, so it sits a bit off balance.

PROS

  • Bright light
  • Quiet operation
  • Works well for vegetative stage
  • Includes warranty
  • Energy-efficient

CONS

  • Has some design flaws

PRO TIP!

For a couple of vegetable plants or a small indoor garden, this LED light for growing could work well.

 

Hydrofarm Jump Start Grow Light System

Hydrofarm Jump Start Grow Light System
  • Wattage: 54W
  • Dimensions: 31.75 H x 18 D x 50 L inches
  • Weight: 11.1 lbs.
  • Number of bulbs: 1
  • Lifespan: 20,000 hours
  • Warranty: 1 year
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One of the downsides of choosing a fluorescent grow light is that you can’t easily plug it in anywhere and start showering your seedlings and plants with light – except in the case of the Hydrofarm Jump Start Grow Light System. It’s a little pricey to start, but when you consider everything you’re getting, it could be worth it. You get a tall and long stand that will accommodate several of your little vegetable plants, and there are cables you set up to make adjusting the light easily. You can have the lamp close to your plants and soil to help with germination or pull it up high to just give it the light and little warmth.

There are no fans built into this system, so you may want to add one to help dissipate the heat generated by this lamp. It isn’t a ton of heat, but it may be significant enough to warrant a fan. Also, the light that this T5 bulb generates is more of a natural white light, but it isn’t a full spectrum. You may notice your plants getting leggy as they grow and falling over. So, there’s a chance you’ll need to switch out lights for the flowering stage. This is a good light for seedlings and herbs, but the bulb isn’t going to last very long – up to two years with continuous use.

PROS

  • White light
  • Quiet operation
  • Good for germination
  • Includes warranty
  • Energy-efficient

CONS

  • Bulb isn’t a full spectrum
  • Lifespan of the bulb is short

PRO TIP!

If you’re looking for a fluorescent grow light system to get some seedlings started, this could be a great grow lamp for beginning your vegetable garden.

 

Dimgogo 1500w Double Chips LED Grow Light,150 Chips Full Spectrum LED Grow Light for Greenhouse and Indoor Plant Flowering Growing (10w LEDs)

Dimgogo 1500w Double Chips LED Grow Light
  • Wattage: 1500W
  • Cooling system: 3 fans; vents
  • Dimensions: 17.8 L x 10.9 D x 4.8 W inches
  • Weight: 8.15 lbs.
  • Number of LEDs: 150
  • Lifespan: 50,000 hours
  • Warranty: 3 years
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The life of a vegetable plant requires a few different types of light, and you get all of them with this full spectrum LED grow light from Dimgogo. This 1500W grow lamp includes 150 LEDs using dual 5W chips, so this is a bright light that glows purple, so you know you’re getting the reds and blues your plants crave. It also includes the natural white light that your plants want for all cycles of their lives, from seedling to growth to flowering to fruiting.

The grow lamp itself is a decent size that should provide enough light for about half a dozen plants or so, depending on their size. The LEDs ensure that your plants get lots of bright light, but not a lot of heat. Any heat that is produced by these lights are pushed away by the three onboard fans, and out through the several vents in this unit. You’ll have to pay a bit more upfront for this light, but its operating costs are quite low. The only issue that’s been noted is that the quality control is a bit lacking, so you may get a defective unit. The good news is that this grow lamp comes with a three-year warranty, which is longer than most.

PROS

  • Uses dual 5W chips
  • Full spectrum light
  • Works well for all stages
  • Excellent warranty
  • Energy-efficient

CONS

  • Poor quality control

PRO TIP!

If you’re looking for a powerful grow lamp for your vegetables that’ll last long and includes an excellent warranty, this may be your best bet.

 

Newhouse Lighting Dual Head LED Clamp Grow Light

Newhouse Lighting Dual Head LED Clamp Grow Light
  • Wattage: 10W
  • Dimensions: 4.5 L x 20 D x 3.25 W inches
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs.
  • Number of LEDs: 10
  • Lifespan: 50,000 hours
  • Warranty: 30 days
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When you have to bring your vegetable plants inside for the winter, they still need light to keep growing, and the Newhouse Lighting Dual Head LED Clamp Grow Light can provide the light needed for a couple of small plants. This grow lamp isn’t like the big fixtures that you hang from a ceiling, rather it’s a clamp lamp. So, you can plug this in, clamp it to a table or desk, and then place the lights where you need them. The flexible necks make it easy for you to move one head above your plants and the other to the side or down below to ensure each leaf is getting some artificial sunlight.

This is a small unit, though, so you won’t be able to light a large indoor garden. Plus, it’s only a 10W light, which means you aren’t getting the most intense light possible. With such a low wattage device, though, you shouldn’t notice an increase in your electric bill at all. Also, you can turn one light on and one light off, if you don’t need too much light. The reds and blues of this LED grow light can help with seedlings, the growth stage, and flowering, but it may struggle with the fruiting stage. This LED grow lamp doesn’t come with the best warranty – you only have 30 days to return it if anything goes wrong.

PROS

  • Adjustable lights
  • Works well for most stages
  • Easy to use
  • Use one or two lights
  • Energy-efficient

CONS

  • Poor warranty
  • Small in size

PRO TIP!

If you need a small lamp to keep your vegetable plants going indoors, this one might work well for you.

 

Roleadro LED Grow Light Bulb, 45w Plant Growing Lights Lamp Panel with Red & Blue Spectrum for Indoor Plants, Hydroponic, Greenhouse, Succulents, Flower, Seedlings Growing

Roleadro LED Grow Light Bulb
  • Wattage: 45W
  • Dimensions: 4.5 L x 20 D x 3.25 W inches
  • Weight: 1.7 lbs.
  • Number of LEDs: 117
  • Lifespan: 50,000 hours
  • Warranty: 1 year
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The Roleadro LED grow light at 45W is a popular choice because it’s small, affordable, and effective for helping vegetable plants and other types go from seeds to plants and even to the flowering stage. It does all of that without ridiculous operating costs, and this grow light is easy to set up. This is a suitable unit for a few little ones, but if you have a larger indoor garden, you’ll have to invest in a few of these.

The biggest difference between this LED grow light and others is that the manufacturer included an external power supply, which keeps this unit incredibly lightweight. However, the power block does get extremely hot, which could be a hazard. At least it isn’t producing heat right over your little plants, though. Because these are LEDs, they’re quite energy-efficient, but you won’t get the full 45 watts – it comes in around 24W of actual power draw. Also, there’s no on/off switch, so you’ll have to hook this up to a timer or unplug it to turn it off, and plug it back in to turn it on.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Works well for most stages
  • Includes warranty
  • Has an external power supply
  • Energy-efficient

CONS

  • No on/off switch
  • Gets extremely hot

PRO TIP!

If you need a grow light for your vegetable garden you brought indoors to keep them going until spring, this could be a good choice.

 

Hydrofarm HPS Mini Sunburst with Lamp

Hydrofarm HPS Mini Sunburst with Lamp
  • Wattage: 150W
  • Dimensions: 5 H x 17 D x 9 L inches
  • Weight: 8.9 lbs.
  • Number of bulbs: 1
  • Lifespan: 24,000 hours
  • Warranty: 2 years
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One of the best things about this Hydrofarm HPS Mini Sunburst grow light is that it can cover a 3-foot-by-3-foot area, which is larger than some grow lamps in the same price range. This grow light is meant for plants that have already gone past the seedling and growth stages and are on to flowering and fruiting. That means that if you’re trying to grow peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, and other veggies, this light could help you see all of them come to fruition.

The grow light is quiet, though there is a noticeable hum from the HPS bulb. It does produce a bit more heat than LED grow lamps, but you can keep the light farther away from your blooms and produce to prevent burns. You get a two-year warranty with this grow light, which is good because you may notice defects. The lifespan of HPS bulbs with continuous use, though, is a little more than two years. So, your bulb is likely going to just barely outlive the warranty.

PROS

  • Easy to use
  • Quiet operation
  • Good for flowering, fruiting
  • Includes warranty

CONS

  • Bulb isn’t a full spectrum

PRO TIP!

If you’re looking specifically for a grow light to help with flowering and fruiting stages of your indoor vegetable garden, this one could work for you.

Conclusion

Choosing the right grow light for your indoor vegetable garden comes down to a few different things. If you just need one for the flowering stage, then you can skip most of the LED grow lamps. But if you’re looking for a grow light that covers all stages of the growth cycle, then only one on this list really makes the cut and could be considered the best grow light for vegetables.

The Dimgogo 1500w Double Chips LED Grow Light,150 Chips Full Spectrum LED Grow Light for Greenhouse and Indoor Plant Flowering Growing (10w LEDs) offers full-spectrum lighting to help with all stages of your vegetable plants’ lives. Plus, this small, but powerful grow lamp uses LEDs, so you won’t notice much of an increase in your electric bill month after month. The LEDs have a long life – up to 50,000 hours, which equates to more than 11 years of continuous use. However, if you run across burnt-out bulbs or a defective unit in the first three years you own it, the manufacturer warranty should cover you.

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