“COB LED grow lights are the future. They’re the best lights on the market.”
Remember hearing that all the time a few years ago?
Now those same people are touting bar style lights.
Are those really better than COBs now?
Yes, for most growers.
But COBs still have their advantages, most notably a deeper canopy penetration.
If that is more important to you than an even light spread, then COB LED grow lights are the way to go.
Unfortunately, there are very few good ones left on the market.
In fact, there are only two that we consider a great value, and a third that comes close.
We’ve got much more on all three of those brands below, plus two more that are also decent, but definitely lag behind our top choices.
You may notice two very conspicuous absences on my list. There is a reason for that.
Keep reading to see the best COB grow lights on the market today, and to learn why we do not recommend arguably the two most famous COB brands.
- 1 Best COB LED Grow Lights Compared
- 2 Best COB Grow Light: Brief Reviews
- 2.1 Best Overall: Phlizon COB Series LED Plant Lights
- 2.2 Best Budget COB Lights: Aglex COB Series LED Grow Light
- 2.3 Best COB Only Lights: Rapid LED COB Lights
- 2.4 Vivosun 1200W COB LED Horticultural Light
- 2.5 Hipargero 800 Watt COB LED Grow Light Fixture
- 3 Best COB Grow Light: Final Thoughts
Best COB LED Grow Lights Compared
As is always the case with Chinese brands, every spec provided by the manufacturer is grossly exaggerated, especially the wattage. These days, they always provide the average wattage on the product page on Amazon, but the number they use in the title is still grossly exaggerated.
Why No Optic Or Amare Lights?
If you’ve been researching the top COB LED grow light brands on the market, you have no doubt come across two main players: Optic LED and Amare LED. Both of these companies make COB and hybrid COB LED grow light fixtures.
They are generally considered the top of the line brands when it comes to COB LED grow lights.
And while they are good lights, they are not good value.
My top pick, the Phlizon COB Series of grow lights (read more below) are basically exactly the same as the Optic LED grow light fixtures. With one major difference.
Phlizon lights cost half as much as their Optic counterparts.
True, Optic is an American brand. But they are made in China. And they have serious quality control issues, just like most Chinese brands. In fact, their quality control is worse than Phlizon’s and on par with the worst Chinese brands.
On top of that, their customer service is also horrendous. Perhaps not quite as bad as the worst Chinese companies, but definitely worse than Phlizon and other good Chinese brands.
As for Amare, they are basically the same as Optic (Chinese-made lights rebranded), but more expensive. In other words, they are also a bad value. Plus, they seem to have disappeared. Maybe. It’s hard to tell, which is obviously not a good sign.
In the end, you are generally best off with one of the much cheaper Chinese branded lights I recommend on this page. The difference in price is huge and they do just as great a job growing and flowering plants.
What Makes COB LEDs Better?
Before we get to the reviews, let’s take a look at why COB LED chips are better. I’ll keep this brief, since you’ve probably already done the research on this, or you would not have found yourself on this page. This article has more info.
The advantages of chip-on-board LEDs are:
- Compactness: far more LEDs fit into a much smaller space, meaning more output from a smaller area
- High-Intensity: since more LEDs are packed into a smaller space, the light is more intense, meaning deeper canopy penetration
- Design simplicity: only use 1 circuit with 2 contacts to energize all the chips on the COB array, reducing the number of components needed
- Lower failure rate: due to lower heat generation and better heat dissipation and fewer welding points (since each chip is mounted directly on the substrate, instead of soldered in place), quality COBs have a lower failure rate
The primary disadvantage is the fact that COB LEDs focus an intense light into a single beam. This means tons of intensity directly below the fixture, but much less around the outside of the coverage area. The other big disadvantage is heat.
When it was just COBs and blurple lights, COBs were much better. But now that we have quantum board and bar style lights, those are better for growing cannabis, for most growers. See our rundown of the best LED grow lights on the market for more.
But COBs still have their advantages, which makes them better in specific situations. For example, they are great if you have a single plant beneath the light, or a single row of plants beneath a row of lights.
In other words, they shine when you do not need as much intensity around the outside of the coverage area. They are also good if you use multiple fixtures and hang them closer together so that their coverage areas overlap. This doubles up the intensity on the outside of each light’s coverage area and essentially evens out the light spread.
Best COB Grow Light: Brief Reviews
These reviews explain why the grow lights got their ratings and will also help you decide which of these fixtures is best for your needs.
Best Overall: Phlizon COB Series LED Plant Lights
- Very high output with deep canopy penetration — powerful COB chips penetrate much deeper than regular diodes
- Top Rated CREE COBs — more efficient and last longer
- Daisy chainable — can connect multiple lights and run from a single power source
- Runs on AC100-240V — works for growers in any country
- 50,000+ hour lifespan — grow up to 5 years without bulb changes
- Perfect spectrum for plants — ideal mix with peaks on red and blue, but some light in every wavelength, plus UV and IR LEDs
- Includes 2-year warranty and 30-day returns — if you do get a bad unit, you can get it replaced
The Phlizon COB Series has (at the time of writing) 5 lights: a 1000w, a 1500w, a 2000w, a 2500w, and a 3000w fixture.
Their wattage figures are way off (read my complete Phlizon review for more on that), but basically, the 1000w fixture is equal to the Optic 2, the 2000w is equal to the Optic 4 and the 3000w is equal to the Optic 6.
And when I say equal, they are virtually identical in terms of specs and performance. The one major difference is price: Phlizon lights cost about half as much as their Optic equivalents.
In short: they are amazing lights. The best on this list. A large reason for that are the high-quality CREE chip-on-boards, which you would not expect on a budget light.
For this brief review, I focused on the 2000w version, since it is closest in specs to the other lights on this list. I gave that light a rating of 10 out of 10. All other Phlizon lights have the same rating.
The 2000w Phlizon COB grow light has the highest output of any light on this list, with a PAR reading of over 2000 umol/m²/s dead center at a height of 18 inches. At 24 inches, it gives you 1561 umol/m²/s.
The power usage to achieve that is only 451w. In terms of HID lighting, it is about equivalent to a 800 watts of HID light. It can cover a 4 by 4 foot area during flowering, though I would keep the area closer to 3×3 for maximum intensity. The expected lifespan is 50,000 hours.
The spectrum on this light is great for every stage of growth. It has two warm white and two cool white 50w COBs that combine with a mix of 10w red, blue, white, UV and IR diodes to give you a full spectrum light with two peaks in the red range and one in the blue, plus a large amount of green and yellow light. This is the best spectrum for plants.
This LED grow light does have a switch for veg/bloom and a second switch to turn the COBs on or off, which means you can cut down on power costs when your plants don’t need the full output (during vegging, for example).
When you buy this COB LED grow light, you also get a set of hangers and adjustable rope ratchets, grow light glasses and a thermometer and humidity monitor. You also get a power cord and your light is covered by a 2 year warranty and a 30 day return policy. This is the best COB LED grow light value on the market.
- High quality CREE COB LED grow light diodes: the industry standard
- Most powerful light on this list (2161 umol/m²/s at 18 inches)
- Great full spectrum light for plants in all stages of growth
- 4 by 4 foot coverage is among the largest on this list (though 3×3 gives max intensity)
- 2 year warranty
- More expensive than most other lights on this list
- Heavier than most other lights on this list
Best Budget COB Lights: Aglex COB Series LED Grow Light
- Ideal spectrum for plants — the perfect light for all stages of growth, with peaks on red and blue and healthy amounts of all other colors (which is what plants need)
- Deep canopy penetration — powerful COBs and 90 degree lenses penetrate deep into the canopy
- Bridgelux BXCD1734 COBs — high quality 3500K and 7000K COB LEDs provide a mix of warm and cool full spectrum white light
- Supplemental Diodes — 10w diodes add the perfect amount of red, blue, UV, IR and white light to the cool white COB spectrum
- Dual switches — saves money, since you can turn off some of the diodes when you don't need full power
- Rated for 50,000 hours — 4-5 years with no bulb changes
Like the Phizon light above, the Aglex Series of lights also combines high-powered COBs with smaller supplemental diodes to provide full-spectrum white light with additional red and blue, plus UV and IR.
It is a great spectrum for plants in any stage of growth and the separate veg and bloom buttons allow you to save some money, by turning some of the diodes off when your plants don’t need full power.
On the 2000w fixture, the veg switch controls the 4 COBs and the bloom switch controls all of the smaller supplemental diodes.
In terms of light intensity, the Aglex lights deliver as well. The 2000w gives you an impressive 1241 umol/m²/s dead center at 24 inches from the canopy and covers a 4 by 4 foot area for flowering (I’d keep it closer to 3 by 3 for best results), while consuming 408w.
That is almost as good as the Phlizon COB LED grow light. Considering the lower price, you are probably wondering why I recommend that light over this one.
I prefer the Phlizon, because they use high quality CREE COBs, as opposed to Bridgelux. Don’t get me wrong: Bridgelux are great, but they are not CREE LEDs, which are the industry standard.
On top of that, Phlizon lights have more power, they come with more extras and Phlizon has a better track record than Aglex. I am just not that familiar with Aglex and was not able to find much info on them.
That makes their lights a bit more of a risk, but if you are looking to spend a little less, they are a great choice. That is why they are rated only slightly behind the Phlizon COB LED grow light, which is probably the best deal on the market today.
The Aglex lights are also a great choice if you want a smaller light. The Phlizon is available with 6 chip on board diodes, with 4 and with 2, whereas the Aglex has versions with 6, 4, 2 and 1 COB.
Every Aglex COB LED grow light is also daisy chainable, so you can connect multiple lights together and run them off a single outlet. They are rated for 50,000 hours of use. Aglex gives you a 3 year warranty on their lights.
- Very powerful with 1241 umol/m²/s at 24 inches
- Good coverage of 4 x 4 feet
- Perfect spectrum for all stages of plant growth
- Daisy chain capability
- UV and IR diodes
- 3 year warranty
- Aglex is not a well-known brand, which makes it a bit riskier
Best COB Only Lights: Rapid LED COB Lights
- Single COBs use 75 watts — save 40 to 50% on your electric bill over HID lights
- Ideal spectrum for plants — choose from 3000K, 3500K, 4000K or 5000K white light
- Highly efficient — great output from a low power usage
- 22 by 22 inch core coverage — with deep canopy penetration
- CREE COB — high quality LED chip
- Meanwell driver — high quality driver (choose dimmable or not)
- Extra wide reflector — directs all of the light downward toward plants
- 60 day returns — of unused lights
Rapid LED grow lights are different from the other lights on this list. For a number of reasons. The most obvious at first glance are the higher price and the lack of any other diodes.
Rapid uses CREE CXB3590 COBs only. They sell these COBs individually, or in fixtures that simply use multiple of those individual COB lights. What’s more, these fixtures are all available in a DIY version.
These DIY fixtures are easy to put together, buy buying them saves you some money. Definitely worth it, in my opinion.
But are these lights worth the higher cost overall? That’s harder to answer.
If you want only the white light from top-of-the-line CREE COBs, then Rapid is easily your best bet. But we prefer COB fixtures with supplemental diodes to round out the spectrum. They fill in the gaps where white light falls a little short.
For that reason, we only recommend the Rapid lights if you are specifically looking for what they offer. IF you just want the best COB LED grow light for your money, that is the Phlizon. If you are on a tighter budget, then the Aglex.
As for the Rapid LED grow lights, let’s take a closer look.
The single fixture with one COB uses 75 watts and is more or less equivalent to 110 or so watts. It covers an area slightly smaller than 2 by 2 feet. You can choose from a color temperature of 3000K, 3500K, 4000K, or 5000K.
You can also choose a dimmable driver, if you want the ability to dim the lights. These are a number of different fixtures available (also in DIY kits) that make use of multiple of these COBs in various configuration. You will almost certainly be able to find one that covers your grow space perfectly.
- Great spectrum for plants (though not quite as good as the Phlizon and Aglex lights)
- Top of the line CREE COB CXB3590 chips for deep canopy penetration
- Top of the line Meanwell driver
- Optional immer so you can reduce power and save on electricity when you don’t need the full intensity
- 60 day return policy
- Very expensive compared to other COB LED grow lights on this list
- Only white light
Vivosun 1200W COB LED Horticultural Light
- CREE COBss — with 3w supplemental diodes
- Great spectrum for plants — white COBs, plus multi-colored supplemental diodes
- 120 watt power usage — equivalent to around 200 HID watts
- 2 by 2 foot core coverage — smaller than the lights above
- Veg & bloom switches — save money by keeping some diodes off during veg
- 3 year warranty — and a 30 day return policy
The Vivosun 1200w horticultural COB LED Grow Light is nowhere near a 1200 watt light. It actually consumes 120 watts. And the coverage area and output (PPFD) are nowhere near as large as claimed.
Vivosun loses huge points with us here for lying even more than other Chinese brands. Why even bother with that, it just keeps customers away?
Be that as it may, if you know that you’re only getting a 120 watt light here, this is not a bad purchase. The 3 series of lights mentioned above are all better choices, but if those are not available (or too expensive), this is a better backup option than the next light below.
A big reason for that are the CREE COBs, and the overall great spectrum. 3000K and 5000K are supplemented with 3 watt diodes in the following colors: 3000K white light, 730 nm infrared, 660 nm deep red, 630 nm red, 610 nm orange, 460 nm blue, and 430 nm violet.
Their light is full spectrum, but it has peaks on red and blue and is very similar to the spectrum of those lights above that combine COB LEDs with supplementary diodes.
In other words: it is a great spectrum for plants in all stages of growth.
The veg and bloom switches mean you can run only the COBs or only the supplemental diodes. You’d usually want to run the supplemental diodes during veg and turn everything on during bloom. The light is not all that powerful, though it can flower a 2 by 2 foot area.
If you are on a tight budget and can’t find any of the top choices above, it may make sense to go with the Vivosun COB LED grow light for your indoor plants. But it is nowhere near the choices above. You do get a 3 year warranty and a 30 day return policy.
- Great spectrum for indoor plants in all stages of growth
- Very low price
- CREE COBs
- Less power than the top lights
- Smaller coverage area than the top lights
Hipargero 800 Watt COB LED Grow Light Fixture
- Epiled COBs and Osram diodes — good quality, but not CREE or Samsung
- Great spectrum for plants — 3000K COBs, plus supplemental diodes
- 240 watt power usage — equivalent to around 350 HID watts
- 2 by 2 foot core coverage — smaller than the lights above
- Letron driver — good, but not great
- Daisy chainable — connect multiple lights together
- 1 year warranty — shorter than other brands
The Hipargero 800 COB LED grow light features 4 chip-on-board LEDs from Epiled. The difference here is that those LEDs emit far less power than the previous lights.
It also surrounds those Epiled chips with 3 watt Osram supplemental LEDs, but it only uses 16 of them in total. That makes this light far less powerful than the previous fixtures. Hipargero uses Letron drivers. That is a top Chinese brand, but far from a Meanwell.
This light uses 240 watts of power and gives you a PPFD of 721 umol/m²/s dead center at 24 inches from the canopy, and 1266 umol/m²/s at 18 inches. It covers a 2 by 2 area during bloom and is roughly equivalent to a 400 watt HID light.
The main positives of the Hipargero COB LED grow light are a great spectrum for plants (similar to the Phlizon and Aglex spectra), the ability to daisy chain multiple lights, and a lower price. It is a good light, but there is one big reason why I rated it lower than the previous ones.
This is a fixture with 4 chip-on-board LEDs, but it gives you roughly the same power (and costs about the same) as the Aglex and Phlizon versions with only 2 chip-on-board LEDs. Why would I buy a 4-COB fixture, when a 2-COB fixture gets the same (or better, in the case of Phlizon) results?
That said, if you prefer having more COB LEDs in your fixture, this is a great light and you will be happy with it, as long as you know exactly what to expect from it (i.e. it is only as powerful as other brands’ 2-COB grow light fixtures).
Hipargero gives you a one-year warranty (not good enough anymore, since most Chinese brands now give 2 or 3 years) and a 30 day money-back guarantee. Overall, I would only get this COB LED grow light if the options above are not available. Everything this grow light does for your plants, those lights do better.
- Great spectrum for all stages of plant growth
- Daisy chain capability
- Smaller coverage area at 2 x 2 feet
- Less power than the top COB LED grow lights
- Warranty is only 1 year
Best COB Grow Light: Final Thoughts
The best COB LED grow light on the market today is any fixture by Phlizon. It’s not even close. The main reason for that is that not to many brands still offer COBs and the ones that do are either insanely overpriced (Optic, Amare) or not any good (virtually all the no-name Chinese brands).
Aglex is a good backup if you are on a tight budget, or if you can’t find the Phlizon light you want. Vivosun is a good backup to them, but definitely a slight step down. Hipargero is a last resort choice. If nothing else is available, it will do.
Finally, there is Rapid LED. If you want only COBs and you want the best, Rapid is the brand for you. Just know that you will be paying for the high quality. They are not cheap.
Michael Mack says
I think you need to consider the
Hortibloom Luma B4 cob grow lights to add to your review.
They can arrange the lights with 3000k or 4000k
-They can be 240 or 320 watts draw
-They can use citizen 1212 or 1218, vero, or cxb 3590
Cobs depending on your preference.
-They use meanwell drivers
-They have a 3-5 year warranty
-80 cri to 97 cri depending on which chip u use
(240 watt 4x citizen 1212 setup cost me 170 usd with free shipping for one fixture)
Looks interesting, but that’s a company I know nothing about. They don’t even give an address and only list their location as Shenzhen, China, which is a city of over 10 million people. I’m always a bit weary when a company doesn’t list an address on their site, especially when it’s a company that claims to have been in existence since 2005.
Let us know if you ever need to make a warranty claim on the light. I would love to know how responsive they are when dealing with any issues with their lights.
Hortibloom is a sub company of geyapex. Geyapex makes commercial led lights for big companies (under that name)
And use hortibloom for selling their smaller scale grow lights
Before buying I asked them to array my light bars in a 3k 4k 3k 4k setup which they did.
Shipping was free
And they used PayPal.
Under PayPal buyer and shipper is both protected
Got it, thanks for the additional info!
B Ragsdale says
Not the first I have seen hawking Chinese products on Amazon mostly junk. Even so always remember your dealing with Amazon’s return policy, Buyer beware still out over 200$ on my last purchase from said Marketplace! So is it really that good !
My advice buy from a quality manufacturers check return policy and warranty it’s worth a little more for a real warranty no an implied one. Don’t buy Amazon you’ll regret it!
Philzon has a great response team even when buying off Amazon. You could deal with philizon directly and not Amazon and still get your money back. It’s how good philzon is.
Check em out. And 2-3 year warranty on their lights
I’m researching lights
Most say stay away from Chinese lights except yours
What light do you have to compare to the Optic 6 or 8
Where do you think the diodes for quantum boards and cobs come from?
Korea and China.
The only people saying stay away from Chinese lights are the American companies like optic and HLG that use Chinese internals but because its “ASSEMBLED” in the USA.
It is still. 100% Chinese or Korean no matter where its assembled.
Wheres samsung located?
Not the USA. But the American company HLG has a special contract with Samsung for top bin diodes yet they charged 70% more for their lights than the Chinese companies.
So please don’t tell me your researching lights.
Research involves “RESEARCH” not listening to a couple people with biased opinions off of some weed forum.
I’ve been growing with Chinese quantum boards and Chinese brand ceramic metal halide bulbs for 3 years now and just won plant of the month on 420magazine in September and can prove it.
One of my quantum boards cost 480 delivered to my door. Chinese. Thats what I grow with.
The same board from HLG costs 1400.
My Chinese (universe lite co.) Ceramic metal halides bulbs cost 55 bucks. My name brand PHILLIPS cmh by cost 114..
I’ve been growing side by side with those lights for 2 years and can notice “ZERO” DIFFERENCE
As for optic or close to. That light is garbage. Their all garbage.
Why would u want 1 light. With 6 or 8 cobs in the middle of the light. With a few diodes. Putting down ONE giant beam.
When you could by 4 small quantum boards that gave better cooling efficiency. Light output. And even coverage and 4 beams of light..
This is where math comes into play. One giant beam creating Hotspots? Or 4 little beams creating an even coverage over your canopy……….
In my small tent I have 3x cob led bars. 4 citizen 1212 cobs per light bar. All in total 720 true watts of light. Even coverage over a 4×4 and only cost me 600 bucks
I could buy that optic for 1600 bucks and get garbage coverage. And one giant beam pointing down.
It literally makes ZERO sense.
They look pretty. But they are pointless when there’s better for less
As Mack said, it’s often better to deal with the companies directly, though many of the Chinese brands will be impossible to contact. But with the good ones, even if you buy on Amazon, you can get returns or repairs done much more quickly by contacting the company directly,
I’m trying to grow plants (trees) in a difficult area.
On a sloped area. Doesn’t get too much sun. The area is covered over with mature trees.
Can I add your lights for 6 or 8 hours a day to get some trees growing and established ?
How close would the lights have to be to starter 1 foot tall plants (trees)?\
Which light models would I need for a group of trees?
Sure, the lights would help, obviously. But I have no idea how much light you would need. That depends on far too many factors, like the light requirements of your plants in terms of intensity and spectrum, the amount of natural light, etc. Also, very few of the Chinese lights would work outdoors under natural weather conditions. They are not waterproof and are made specifically for growing plants indoors.
Thanks! I know it’s an odd question.
The local nurseries have no clue either.
Michael Mack says
Using any LED to light trees outdoor is not cost effective or practical.
If your gonna do anything use a couple open ended 1000 watt HID lights and have the ballasts and the fixtures covered somehow.
That will be the best bang for your buck.
They will grow without sun.
Start them on an indoor outside cycle till they get a couple feet tall. Then put transplant onto your slope. And dont worry about them getting to much shade. Water them enough and they’ll grow eventually.
I mean are your gonna use artificial lighting for these trees their whole life? If their in shade at seedling their gonna be in shade at maturity. Not sure what.your end game is here is stud
Maybe put them in 20 gallon pots on the back of the trailer. Grow em in the sunshine for a couple years. then transplant to your shade spot.
Redan Boxter says
Another ad for amazon. Why does one bunch of people who banned me forever because my phone number is different from the one on my bank account. After 6 or 8 years and 50+ purchases.
What ad? I’m not sure what your issue has to do with my site. It sounds like you need to give Amazon a call and figure out what happened and get it straightened out. Instead of whining about it, fix it.
I recommend the spectrolight company from Poland – it works great in large chalets and small ones – the best cannabis lamp
Patrick O'Day says
High Steven. Thanks for translating all this stuff. I have a 10′ long, 5’wide, 7’high space. I am thinking of using 4 Philizon 2000 cob lights, 2 to each 5’x5′ zone. I also have a 500w plasma light, made by Chameleon. I don’t know if that 500w number is accurate. I was thinking of putting that in the middle, or i could trolley it, up and down the center. Your thoughts? Would this be enough light?
Sounds to me like it will be enough.
Thom (green) Thumb says
Hello Steven and friends!
I am looking for lights to grow in a 3x4x6 ft tent
This will be my first indoor grow…
So far deciding between
2x Aglex COB 1200
Or 1x Phlizon COB 2000
Or 2x Phlizon COB 1000
The 2x Aglex would provide better coverage
But the 1x Phlizon 2000 possibly uses better components
The 2X Phlizon 1000 has the coverage and components but less wattage (maybe) than the 2x Aglex 1000
Are these still the best options out?
Leaning toward COB LED lights for simplicity but open to other ideas…
I want to keep the cost for lights under $200
Heat is not really an issue because this will be in an unheated building during mild norcal winter, but would like to be able to use for cloning in summer as well so prefer cooler options
Thank you so much for the great information and I welcome your opinions!