What’s New in LED Grow Lights for 2024

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Robert Pavlis

LED Grow lights have come a long way in the last 5 years and there are some great new designs and changes that make these lights even more attractive to home gardeners. In this review I will have a look at some very important innovations and price changes that make LED grow lights an even better choice.

What's New in LED Grow Lights for 2022
What’s New in LED Grow Lights for 2023, source: Sylvane

LED Grow Light vs LED Shop Light

I have written a few articles over the last couple of years and I was still leaning towards LED shop lights rather than proper LED grow lights, mostly because of cost. The LED grow lights were getting quite good, but the price was still very high, and the coverage area was too small.

That has all changed. LED shop lights are still cheaper but if you compare price and features, the LED grow lights are now a better buy. Here are some reasons why.

Price of LED Grow Lights

The price of high end LED grow lights is still high, but they now produce so much light that they mimic the sun and most growers do not need these high end units. Instead, you can buy smaller units that provide plenty of light for most houseplants at around $50. These are no-name brands, with better brands selling for under $100.

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Inexpensive LED grow light, 100 watts
Inexpensive LED grow light, 100 watts

These lights provide a good PPFD light output of about 500 (in the center), which is lots of light for growing seedlings, and most houseplants. The light spectra is good and the efficiency is great with most using about 100 watts of power. Note that 100 watt lights are still called 1,000 watt lights by the industry. So an “X1000 watt light” is actually a 100 watt light!

Why is the price so low? Several reasons. The LED chips are more efficient and cheaper, allowing light manufacturers to provide a good spectrum at a reasonable cost. The second reason is a change in design. The LED chips are mounted on an aluminum backing that dissipates heat. This means the fan system is no longer needed and the whole light is cheaper to build. The simple design has also resulted in a lot of competition, forcing the price down.

Blurple is Out, White is In

Older technology used blue and red LED chips, forming blurple light, because they produced the highest light output at the wavelengths used most by plants. It was efficient, but ugly to look at. With the new LED technology, lights can produce a pleasing white light that has a higher light output than most of the older blurple lights.

The new LED lights even combine cool white and warm white to give a good light spectra for plants.

Higher Light Output

A few years ago the low end lights were producing outputs of 100 – 200 PPFD in the center of the lights, dropping off quickly near the edges. That was better than an LED shop light, but not much better, especially given the small area that grow lights illuminated.

I recently reviewed this light, the BESTVA Dimmable Pro4000 LED Grow Light that had a PPFD of 1,922, in the center, at a 12″ height. Sunlight has a PPFD of about 1700. A PPFD of 800 is lots of light to flower most orchids. The Pro 4000 may be a bit large for most home settings but the Pro 1000 is a good quality, high output LED grow light, and is currently selling for $100.

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There is another aspect to high light output. You can hang the light higher above the plants. Due to a low light output shop lights need to be a couple of inches away from plants making it difficult to work under them. The more powerful grow lights can be hung well above the plants providing you with lots of work space. It is so much more convenient for you.

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Better Light Distribution

Ever since LED grow lights hit the market I had one complaint. They are a small size and have their LED chips concentrated in a small area. That means they can’t cover a very large surface area, and we all know that us gardeners have many plants and want a larger area. That is where shop lights worked well. They were narrow and long, covering a good sized area for the price.

In the last year a new “bar” design has emerged, like the Spider Farmer SE3000. They consist of bars of light that are spaced out over a larger surface area, giving you a more even distribution of light. These are still a bit more expensive, but since they cover a bigger area you need fewer lights.

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Improved Spectra

The big problem with shop lights is that you have no idea what kind of light you are getting because none of the manufacturers provide spectra data. Some of you will try to use the color temperature, like a 3700 Kelvin light, and some will try to use lux which measures light according to our eyes and not the light plants use. To understand why these don’t work for buying LED lights see 18 Grow Light Myths You Should Know About

Most LED grow light manufacturers now provide light spectra so you can see what you are getting. You want lots of blue and red light as well as green. A small amount of IR in the 730 nm range is also valuable for flowering.

Light spectra showing the PAR range which is what plants use.
Light spectra showing the PAR range which is what plants use.

Best LED Grow Light Today

If I were buying a new LED grow light today, I would not buy a shop light. Spend a bit more and get a much better light.

For a low priced LED light consider the 1 ft x 1 ft, aluminum backed lights in the 100 watt range, like the BESTVA P1000. It is great value for the money and has reasonable coverage. Two, spaced about two feet apart would allow you to grow a lot of plants.

What is new in 2022? Prices will continue to fall and the efficiency of LED chips will continue to improve which means the hydro cost for running them will drop. I expect to see some new designs that continue to spread the light out to give a more even coverage.

This post includes affiliate links. If you use them and buy anything from Amazon I get a small commission, but it costs you mothing extra.

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Robert Pavlis

I have been gardening my whole life and have a science background. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

6 thoughts on “What’s New in LED Grow Lights for 2024”

  1. You can get the 4000 for $260 on Amazon shipped to your house. Has the new lm301b chips in it as well and new mean well drivers. Best deal on market as it’s 415w. The only issue I have is it’s heavy. But other than that’s, it’s a beast!!! Thanks Rob for the great reviews. I watch all your videos online. Jah bless 🙌

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