LED Lights: Top for Under $200

LED Grow Light Under $200

With Led technology exploding forward over the past year it has created a market for powerful but affordable LED grow light. This is great news for the beginner grower as it’s never been cheaper to start growing indoors than it is right now. For a surprisingly little amount of investment you can start growing one, two or even three plants with these Led Grow Light under $200.

I thought it was important to set out some guidelines so each of the lights I tested had as many replicable variables as possible. So, for my testing of led grow light for under $200 I used the following guideline to ensure impartial results. This review was over 8 months in the making using two separate grow tents to simultaneously test two led grow light at a time. Two tents, two grows, 4 LED Grow Light. Which will be the editors pick?

LED Grow Light Testing Plan

Seeds – I purchased three packs of three seeds each that contained the same Auto Fem AK 47 strain from seedsupreme.com. This is a great beginner strain because it really doesn’t need much work to grow it. It’s hearty and is less likely to have growing issues. What makes it truly great is that you don’t have to worry about male plants or changing your light timing around. These cannabis seeds are as close to plant and go as you can get.

For each test grow I germanized the seeds by soaking them in a glass of water for 24 hours. I then set the seeds on a wet paper towel in a bowl and then covered the seeds with another wet paper towel. I stored the seeds in a cupboard in my kitchen, so they would stay dark. Three days later I checked the seeds to see how long their taproots were. If the tap roots were one inch long I planted them in two-inch pots with Fox Farms potting soil.

Cannabis Seed Sporut

The LED Grow Light that was tested were all hung 18 inches above the plants throughout the whole grow just for simplicity of testing. As the plants grew I raised the led grow light to maintain it’s 18-inch distance for the entire grow.

Since I was growing an auto strain I opted to run the lights 18 hours on and 6 hours off which just decreased the grow time of each test. Consistent light exposure was maintained with a simple digital timer.

Once the plants started to grow their 3rd set of sugar leaves I started nutrients at half the recommended strength. I used the nutrients that I had on hand which was Fox Farms FX Liquid Nutrient for Soil. I use these nutrients in all of my grows. They are fantastic and do wonders for my yields and general plant health.

Full nutrient concentration was reached over three weeks so that the plant was able to get used to the increased nutrients without any negative side effects happening. I followed the manufacturers standard feeding formula after the first three weeks.

All of the grows took place in the same 3x3x6 grow tents which had a 6-inch exhaust fan drawing air out of the tent. I also used 3 clip fans to move air around the grow area from below and above the canopy.

Led Grow Light Grow Tent Setup

The plants were watered when the top inch of soil was dry to the touch. We added water just until it started dripping out of the bottom of the pot.

So, there you have it a testing plan that I’m using to test out the top led grow light under $250.00. With this testing strategy, we should really be able to get at the effect of the test LED Grow lights on plant growth.

Mars Hydro 600W Led Grow Light Full Spectrum

First up was the Mars Hydro 600W led grow light, which I just happened to have kicking around because I reviewed it previously.

The Mars 600 full spectrum led grow light has both the power and the correct spectrums of light to ensure happy, fast growing cannabis plants. The wavelengths that are covered by this grow light are 450-475nm 620-630nm, 650-660nm, and white which gives you the perfect mix of light for vegetation and flowering.

 

Mars Hydro 600W Led Grow Light Click Here to See More Images

The Mars 600 easily replaces a 250W HPS light while using 40% less electricity and creating about half the heat. The heat reduction alone makes it much easier to keep a stable healthy temperature for your cannabis plants.

Like all Mars units, it comes with a 12-month guarantee and a 30-day return option if you are unsatisfied with the unit. The LED grow light used for this grow light have a life expectancy of 50,000 hours.

As for the grow with the Mars Hydro 600 goes it was a pretty standard grow. The 3 plants I placed 18-inches under this LED grow light grow very evenly and without any health issues along the way. The LED grow light was added to the cannabis plants just as they started to veg.  From there these beautiful Auto’s started to flower at the 7-week mark without any outside intervention.

I’ve never grown this cannabis strain before but from my experience, the plants have been of average size throughout the entire grow. The flowering cycle was eight weeks before the trichomes were cloudy and ready for picking.  After drying curing and trimming each plant averaged a 14-ounce yield.

To check the current price please click here.

Pros:

High-intensity light
Full grow spectrum including IR
Quality 120 Degree optics

Cons:

Could use more powerful ventilation fans
Didn’t include hangers

VIVOSUN 600W Full Spectrum LED Grow Light

I had to purchase the Vivosun to test as I didn’t hear back from anyone at the company about getting a test unit. Luckily for me, this is the LED Grow Light Review: Best for Under $250, and the Vivosun comes in way under that.

Unpacking the unit, it seemed to be well constructed with 2 Reinforced 5″ Exhaust Fans built into the unit. It also came with hanging gear and a long plug cord.

vivio-sun-125x125 Click Here to See More Images

Since this unit is “rated” at 600w I’m expecting it to act like the Mars Hydro 600 and that it will be on par with a 250w HPS as far as output goes. Manufacturer information on this unit is extremely limited, it is claimed to be a “Full Spectrum” light but details about those wavelengths were not available. So, we’ll just move on to the grow.

The Vivosun 600W led grow light looked underpowered when I first turned the unit on. The intensity that I would expect to see right below the light unit is just not that high. I don’t have a light meter, so I’ll have to just judge it by experience.

The grow itself was underwhelming but without any issues. Growth started slow and continued slowly to the end of the grow. The Veg time stretched out to 8 weeks and the flowering time increased to 10 weeks. The yield for each plant averaged a disappointing 12 ounces.

Though this is a cheap LED grow light it’s performance is significantly lower than these other grow lights we tested in this price point range of under $250.

To check the current price please click here.

 

 

Pros:

Solid construction
Great ventilation and cooling

Cons:

Not as powerful as the other units tested in this category.

VIPARSPECTRA Reflector-Series 600W LED Grow Light Full Spectrum

I’ve used and reviewed the Viparsepectra 600W Reflector Series on several occasions. I would consider this beginners level unit to be a workhorse. It produces very high-intensity light especially directly below the LED grow light. Though this unit is rated conventionally at 600W or equivalent to a 250W HPS; I can tell right away that this light unit is putting off more intensity than the other led grow light we’ve tested.

VIPARSPECTRA 600W LED Grow Light Click Here to See More Images

The Viparsepectra 600W Reflector Series is a very well made led grow light with ample cooling built right into the grow light housing. The light intensity looks like that of a 350w HPS or maybe even a 400w HPS.

This unit has 12 light wavelengths that will grow your plant from Vegetative to flowering with just the flip of a switch.

Viparsepectra provides a 3-year warranty and a 30-day money back satisfaction guarantee.

I had initially started each grow light at 18 inches above the top of the plants. After a day at this height, I raised the unit to 24 inches because the plant was showing signs of strain. The light was kept at 24 inches above the plant for the rest of the grow.

Vegetation shot off like a canon with the Viparsepectra 600w Reflector Series. I had larger than expected plants 6 weeks and Flowering started toward the end of week 6. Flowering took a total of just under 7 weeks. My dry bud yield for the Viparsepectra was an average of 16 ounces per plant, a clear winner in the under $200 category.

To check the current price please click here.

 

 

Pros:

Solid construction
Great ventilation and cooling
Powerful 680 Par rating
Full Wavelength including IR

Cons:

This unit runs hotter then the other LED grow lights and requires more ventilation.

Conclusion

LED grow light technology has come a long way in a short time. For essentially the cost of a 250W HPS setup you can get in on any of the 600w LED grow lights I tested.  LED remember uses 40% less electricity and runs much cooler. For the same money, you get a better growing unit and cost savings over a 250W HPS. The Viparsepectra is the clear winner if we are looking at pure yield.

Check out reviews of the best Grow Tents. We have reviewed a lot of tents for you.

See which nutrients help you grow healthy plants or find the top rated led grow lights rated here. For a premium LED Grow Light check out this one.


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