The truth is, natural sunlight is the best source of light for vegetables. Period.
However, giving 14 hours of natural sunlight to vegetables isn’t an option for people who live in areas with long winters, or that just don’t get a lot of light. That doesn’t mean you have to hang up your shovel and gardening gloves and throw them in the towel. You can use a grow light to keep your veggies happy until they’ll get enough sunlight outside.
Technology has advanced exponentially over the years so this second-best option is better than ever. This guide takes the guesswork out of finding grow lights with detailed reviews on the best grow lights on the market and helpful buying tips.
Backyard Boss Top Five Grow Lights for Vegetables
|Shengsite UFO 250 LEDs Indoor Plant Grow Light||Check The Price!|
|Newhouse Lighting Dual Head LED Clamp Grow Light||Check The Price!|
|Roleadro LED Grow Light Bulb||Check The Price!|
|Ankace 40W Dual Head Grow Light||Check The Price!|
|MAXSISUN Hanging LED Grow Light||Check The Price!|
Why You Should Trust Us
If you need someone to shed light on grow lights, Backyard Boss has got you covered. Our dedicated team includes a range of experts, like myself, who have grown countless plants indoors and in unfavorable conditions.
We absolutely love and rely on grow lights. We’ve reviewed some of the best grow lights available, including the best grow lights for seedlings, the best grow lights for succulents, and even the best grow lights for cannabis.
If you are looking for a grow light that’s powerful, efficient, cost-effective, premium quality, or anything else under the sun, or rather, grow light in this case, we’ve tried it. These reviews are on the best of the best and reflect our combined and extensive experience with grow lights.
Best Overall Grow Light
WHY WE LIKE IT: With a small size and energy-efficient design, this is an excellent space-saving option for people growing only a few plants indoors.
The round disc shape of this light ensures that all of your plants will get some light. The 250 LEDs produce bright light, but because they are LED, you don’t have to worry about the rays burning your plant’s leaves. Without a noisy fan inside, this light is quite quiet, not producing the annoying humming noise typically associated with grow lights.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: This wonderful light is great for people who have small indoor gardens and want a space-saving grow light.
Best Compact Grow Light
WHY WE LIKE IT: This small grow light is extremely easy to set-up and use with its compact clamp-based design.
To install it you simply need to plug it in, clamp it to a table or desk, and then place the light where you need it. The flexible neck on this lamp makes it easy to move and adjust the head so it’s perfectly positioned over your plants. The compact size of this model makes it ideal for people who want a space-saving light, however, it can only illuminate a few plants.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: People who want a small but effective grow light to shine on a few plants.
Best Panel Grow Light
WHY WE LIKE IT: At 45W this small, affordable, and effective grow light helps plants flourish from seeds to plants and even into the flowering stage.
This grow light is easy to set up and even has an external power supply which keeps this unit fairly lightweight. Because this grow light is powered by LEDs it’s quite energy-efficient. However, it’s rather small so you will probably have to use other grow lights with it if you have a lot of plants.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: If convenience is your priority, this is one of the easiest grow lights to set-up and use.
Most Convenient Grow Light
WHY WE LIKE IT: This grow light can be effectively used to nourish all kinds of plants in various stages of growth.
The blue/red LED light combination ensures that plants take in the optimum amount of light to help in germination, enhancing photosynthesis for the best results. There are three timer setting options so you can choose whether the light shines for three, six, or 12 hours. With fully customizable settings, this grow light has five dimmable modes and three switch modes, along with a 360 degrees gooseneck so you can easily adjust it.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: If you want a fully adjustable, convenient to use grow light, this is an excellent option for you.
Best Heavy-Duty Grow Light
WHY WE LIKE IT: This powerful grow light is built to last with an impressive 3-year warranty.
While this grow light may cost a lot, it will save you money in the long run with high photon efficacy. You’ll be able to customize this light so it has the perfect power level for your vegetables, with its customizable light intensities. Its light spectrum is tailored towards optimizing plant growth so your veggies will thrive.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT: If you want a high-quality grow light that’s built to last, and you don’t mind spending a little extra on it, then this is the perfect grow light for you.
Do Vegetables Need a Special Type of Grow 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.
Why Should You Buy a Grow Light?
If you live in an area with long winters, or that doesn’t get a lot of sun in general, then you are going to need a grow light to keep your plants happy. Most plants, particularly vegetables, love light so if they aren’t getting enough of it they could begin to become and look sickly.
You love your plants. We know that because we love our plants. So treat them right and set them up for success by providing them with the perfect amount of light through using grow lights.
In the video below, The Plant Doctor outlines why you should use grow lights:
Is Price an Indicator of Quality in Gardening Grow Lights?
If it costs more it must be better.
Sometimes we shop for items and lean toward buying the more expensive product, believing that if it costs more, it must hold a greater value. And sometimes that’s the case, but NOT with grow lights.
You can find quality grow lights for less than $30, and crappy grow lights for more than a $100.
In other words, just because you have a limited budget doesn’t mean you won’t be able to purchase a high-quality grow light.
Types of Grow Lights
Grow lights widely range in their capabilities, use, and installment based on what type of grow light they are. Below are descriptions of the three most popular types of grow lights.
Fluorescent Grow Light
One of the most classic grow lights is the fluorescent grow light. These lights have a lifespan of about 20,000 hours, requiring replacement bulbs roughly every two years.
Fluorescents lean toward the blue spectrum, so they’re great for the vegetative stage, and help produce bushy plants, but you can find some in full-spectrum light now.
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 may be able to find a starter set that includes the ballast though, so all you have to do is hang the light and plug it in. However, these sets can be a little pricey.
HPS Grow Lights
Another popular choice for grow lights is HPS, which many indoor gardeners have sworn by for the flowering and fruiting stage. HPS has a warmer light which isn’t the best for seedlings or for the vegetative stage, though.
These lights produce tons of heat so you’ll need to have a well-ventilated grow room. Plus, you’ll have to plan on spending more on electricity because these lights aren’t energy-efficient. While they’re surprisingly affordable, they’re somewhat outdated and are likely to become obsolete soon because they’re costly to run.
LED Grow Lights
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 more expensive to buy, but they are also more energy-efficient than any other light source. Not only do they use just pennies of electricity per day, but 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.
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.
Look for a model that doesn’t require you to buy any other equipment, use up too much electricity, and 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.
How We Picked
These five grow lights represent the absolute best on the market. They all are energy-efficient, easy to use, include convenient features, and most importantly, are great for growing vegetables.
We chose grow lights that would appease people with different needs, whether they needed a heavy-duty, premium grow light or a compact affordable option. We looked at clamp grow lights, hanging grow lights, and grow lights that stand up on their own.
Every light on this list is an incredible option for you, but one outshined all the others.
Which Grow Light Do We Recommend?
The best grow light on the market right now is the Shengsite UFO 250 LEDs Indoor Plant Grow Light. It has everything a good grow light should, with energy efficiency, plenty of red and blue LED light, a compact size, convenient design, and an impressive warranty, so you know it’s high quality.
Plant parents love this light, and you will, too! Of course, if one of the other lights on this list was calling your name, then go for it. When it comes to these five impressive lights, there really is no way to go wrong.