Are LED Grow Lights Worth The Extra Cost?

It seems many of our readers live in colder climates, because we get a ton of questions about growing indoors. Now obviously many of those questions concern installing sprinkler systems inside a greenhouse or using a completely different water delivery system altogether, like hydroponics or aquaponics. But we also get a lot of questions about indoor grow lights and most of those questions concern LED lights.

Everyone knows they cost more than traditional lighting. As you can see on this page, LED grow lights can be very expensive. The question is: is this higher expense justified by better performance? The truth is: it isn’t so easy to answer.

There are a lot of very bad LED manufacturers who churn out cheap light fixtures that might be okay if you’re only vegging, but if you want to flower plants, they simply won’t perform. You find these lights on Amazon and on eBay and, of course, on various Chinese websites.

red led diode for grow lightThey use cheap LED diodes, not the quality ones made by Cree or Osram and, although the companies often promise money-back guarantees and warranties, they rarely honor them. If you try to get your money back, you end up on the phone with some guy in China who doesn’t speak a single word of English and in the end you give up. Luckily, these lights are quite cheap, so you don’t really spend too much and lose too much. One of these lights can cost less than $100.

You are most likely thinking: of course you’re not going to get a good light for under 100 dollars. That’s true, but you’d be surprised at how many people risk a purchase like that in the hopes of saving a lot of money. The only thing that surprises me is that they are then surprised when they get a bad light that doesn’t work. And then they get angry at the company, as they should, I suppose, but really, it is completely their own fault. Why did they buy this light in the first place?

So let’s assume you’re smarter than that and you know that you’re going to have to pay over $1000 for a quality high-performance and high powered LED plant light. We’re talking lights by companies like Black Dog or NextLight or Cirrus LED Systems. Some people would include Kind LED, and they do make good lights, but I wouldn’t include them in the top tier anymore. The same goes for Lush LED and Advanced LED Lighting.

So, to answer the question: yes, these lights are worth the expense. They will save you a lot of money in power costs and in heating costs. The top tier lights also outperform their high-pressure sodium and metal halide counterparts. They give you a lot more output for a lot less input.

led plant grow light

They also have a spectrum perfectly tailored for plants, which is why they use so little power. It is also why the resulting fruits and buds are higher quality than they are with HPS. Whatever you may be growing, you will get better results with a quality LED light than with traditional lighting systems.

And if you are growing in a greenhouse, you get the benefit of sunlight and then also the LED light on top of that. Is is a great supplement for sunlight and it also works on its own on days when there is no sunlight.

So, if you have the money for an LED grow light and you’ve been wondering if it’s worth it to spend that money, now you know. It is definitely worth it. Your plants will thank you and your garden will thank you.

Your wallet will also thank you. Not only will you spend less money, you might actually make more money when you sell whatever you are growing, if you sell it. Even if it’s only for your own personal use, you will enjoy the much higher quality. And of course the lower power bill. And I didn’t even mention how much easier it is to grow with indoor LED lights than with HPS or MH lights, but we can talk about that in another article.

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