Do you go cheap, or is it worth spending more for expensive LED grow lights?
Will the cheap ones break and end up costing you more than the money saved?
Or are the expensive ones far too overpriced to be worth it?
When comparing cheap LED grow lights vs expensive, we can quickly see that the truth lies in the middle.
The best value light are not the cheapest or the most expensive.
You’ll find the best value in budget lights that cost a bit more than the cheapest.
Our favorite example is Spider Farmer. They currently offer the best value LED Grow Lights on the market.
Keep reading for a full comparison of cheap and expensive LED grow lights, to see which of the two makes the most sense for you. Or if you would be better off with a slightly more expensive light that is still on the cheaper side.
- 1 Cheap LED Grow Lights Vs Expensive
- 1.1 Cheap LED Grow Lights
- 1.2 Expensive LED Grow Lights
- 1.3 Similarities Between Cheap And Expensive LED Grow Lights
- 1.4 Differences Between Expensive and Cheap LED Grow Lights
- 1.5 Advantages Of Cheap LED Grow Lights
- 1.6 Advantages Of Expensive LED Grow Lights
- 1.7 Why You Should Get Cheap LED Grow Lights
- 1.8 Why You Should Get Expensive LED Grow Lights
- 2 Are Cheap LED Grow Lights Worth It: Final Thoughts
Cheap LED Grow Lights Vs Expensive
We will begin our comparison of expensive vs cheap LED grow lights by looking at each price range individually, before comparing them directly.
Then we will look at the advantages of each and help you figure out which ones are best for you. Our article covering the best LED grow lights on the market lists the best options in each price range. You can see that here.
Cheap LED Grow Lights
If you’ve started to do some online research into your first or next set of grow lights, you may have noticed there can be quite some variation in the size of the price tags affixed to different models on the market.
Do LED lights help plants grow even if they are cheap? Yes, though they are generally not as good at it, meaning them are likely to be less efficient and to have a less-than-ideal spectrum.
But while it may be true that the more expensive lights are built better and from better-quality components, ones that fall into the cheaper $100 to $200 price range can still do a decent job in certain circumstances.
Expensive LED Grow Lights
LED grow lights with a price tag of around $500 or higher fall into the category of being the more expensive options on the market. But you can also find units whose price tag is much higher than this.
In the same way a Ferrari is better built and uses better-quality components than a Mitsubishi Mirage, expensive LED grow lights are of a higher quality than their cheaper counterparts.
However, while a Ferrari can easily outperform a Mirage, the smaller Mitsubishi can still have its advantages over the pricier Ferrari in some specific situations.
And many, myself included, will argue that the increase in price is too large to justify the increase in quality. In other words, the most expensive models on the market (be it grow lights or any other product) are always overpriced and not as good a value as cheaper products).
Similarities Between Cheap And Expensive LED Grow Lights
Regardless of the price tag, all grow lights are designed to emit the range of light needed to stimulate photosynthesis in your plants in an energy-efficient way. But some, especially the more expensive ones, may do this in a better, more efficient manner.
Both the higher- and lower-end models incorporate light-emitting diodes to emit the light, which is an energy-efficient way to do so.
Compared with other types of grow lights, like HID and fluorescent, LED grow lights consume less energy to generate the same output and will need replacing less often, saving you money in the long term.
Differences Between Expensive and Cheap LED Grow Lights
The main differences between the two are the quality of the build and the quality of the components used in the build.
Cheaper models will usually need replacing quicker than the more expensive models. Higher-quality diodes last longer, and their performance decreases less over time than cheaper alternatives.
When you get the cheapest lights, it probably won’t be long before the LED diodes start flashing on and off, or half of the LEDs stop working altogether. Both are common issues with cheap LED grow lights.
When shopping around, you should pay attention to the technical specifications as you compare models. The specs listed for higher-end models tend to be more accurate.
The more expensive lighting systems give you real world specs rather than theoretical maximums, so the power rating is more in line with what the light will actually consume. Chinese brands especially, have a tendency to greatly exaggerate the specs of their lights. In many cases, they flat-out lie.
Advantages Of Cheap LED Grow Lights
The obvious advantage is the lower cost. However, as obvious as this seems, it may not be the full story.
As noted earlier, lower-quality components may need replacing more often than better-quality ones, and you may end up spending more in the long run.
But if you’re looking to start your first grow and are working with a limited budget, that initial smaller outlay is a big advantage and may help you get started more quickly.
Cheaper LED grow lights may also be fine if you are only looking to grow a couple of plants in a small area, rather than initiating a large-scale commercial grow. You don’t need a Ferrari to pop down the road to Walmart.
Advantages Of Expensive LED Grow Lights
In addition to being better built using higher-quality components, more expensive LED grow lights often last longer than their cheaper counterparts. Over time, this can save you money, especially if you are daisy-chaining multiple lights to cover a large grow space.
The more expensive units also tend to be more efficient than those made using cheaper diodes and chips, which again will save you money over time.
When shopping around for your new lights, you should also check out the details regarding warranties and replacement or repair protocols offered by the sellers. The higher-quality units usually come with much better terms and conditions for you, the consumer, should any issues arise.
Why You Should Get Cheap LED Grow Lights
If you’re looking to set up your first grow, you may want to start by looking at the cheaper lights on the market, especially if you’re just looking to grow one or two plants in a small grow tent or space.
Starting to grow cannabis plants involves a certain learning curve, and at the start of your growing journey, cheaper lights can get you started quicker. They will provide adequate light for a small grow and will work well enough as you fine-tune your growing process and iron out any other issues.
Once you become a more competent grower or look to grow a larger number of plants, then you can look to upgrade your lighting system as needed too.
There’s no need to spend upwards of $500 to grow a single plant in a small space. But if you have no budgetary constraints, then, of course, you still can.
Why You Should Get Expensive LED Grow Lights
If you’re growing a more significant number of plants per batch, then investing in better-quality lights is more important. A higher-end, better-quality LED grow light can, in theory, lead to a higher yield per plant.
While the difference in yield may not be that huge for a single-plant grower, if you multiply that difference by 100 for a large, commercial grow, there will be a much bigger difference come harvest time.
Also, if you’re daisy-chaining a number of grow lights together to cover a larger area, having high-quality lights will give you more peace of mind. You should expect fewer faults or issues to arise during the growth cycle.
In addition to having to shell out less money for repairs or troubleshooting, the slightly better energy efficiency and lower heat output of many higher-end models will also save you more money over time.
Are Cheap LED Grow Lights Worth It: Final Thoughts
Cheap LED grow lights can make sense if you are on a strict budget or if you only want to grow a plant or two. For larger grows, it makes sense to spend more. However, you do not need to buy the most expensive lights on the market.
The super expensive lights are actually the worst value. Instead, you get the best bang for your buck with the price ranges in between cheap and expensive.
Our favorite is the higher end of the budget price range, where you find brands like Spider Farmer. You could also go a bit higher and get HLG, which is an American brand but still quite reasonably priced. You can find our review of HLG lights here.