“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
Note: Things have changed since this article and there are now almost no COBs on the market. The Phlizon COBs have been unavailable for months, so the only real option is Aglex.
If you feel a COB light would be best, go with Aglex. But again, for most growers, a bar or board style light would be better. This article covers the best on the market.
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.
Read our Aglex grow light review for more.
- 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
Note: This light is no longer available and I have not yet found a good replacement. COB LED grow lights just aren’t in favor anymore. The industry has moved on.
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.