Can’t you just hang them from the ceiling?
Sure, if you’ve got a large indoor garden in a dedicated space, hanging your grow lights makes sense.
But for a small garden it often doesn’t.
Even more so if you plan to move your plants to different locations.
Then you want a grow light stand. Or a full-on shelf system.
Something that allows you to get your grow lights above your plants no matter where they are.
Unfortunately there are surprisingly few good options. That’s why many people just build their own.
But if you have better things to do with your time, there are thankfully still a few good stands that can make your life so much easier.
I’ve done all the research and found the best, so you don’t have to waste your time on that either.
I’ll begin with a stand only (i.e. no light included) and then give you a few great stands that come with lights. The first three come with LED grow lights and the last three with T5 fluorescent lights.
- 1 Best Adjustable Grow Light Stands Compared
- 2 Adjustable Grow Light Stand Reviews
- 3 LED Grow Light Stands And Shelves
- 4 T5 Fluorescent Grow Light Stands
- 5 Adjustable Grow Light Stand: Final Thoughts
Best Adjustable Grow Light Stands Compared
Here’s a quick summary of my findings. If you’re curious why I chose these stands, you’ll find brief reviews for each below.
Which Grow Light Stand Is Best For Me?
It really depends on the size of your garden more than anything.
Well, that and whether you already have a light.
If you have the light and just need a stand, the first option below is easily the best choice.
After that, take a look at the other options and see which best fits your need. The modular ones allow you to start small and add shelves and lights as your garden grows. The tabletop ones are for a few small plants only. And the large 3-tier systems are for larger gardens.
As for the LED vs. fluorescent question, the answer is simple.
I always recommend LED over fluorescent tubes.
They cost far less to operate (5 times fewer bulb changes and half the power usage) and, while they do cost more, it is not a huge difference. You’ll easily make up for it within a year, thanks to the cost savings of running LED.
Adjustable Grow Light Stand Reviews
There are so many different types of grow light stands, so we wanted to include at least one of each major type. That wy, there is a good recommendation below for every need.
Best Stand Without Light: iPower 4 Foot Foldable Light Rack
- Stand only, so you can use it with any lights you already own
- Adjustable hanging height
- Foldable and portable
- Low cost
There are very few grow light racks available without included bulbs. This 4 Foot Foldable Stand by iPower is easily the best deal among them. You can also get it with included bulbs, but I would only get this stand on its own.
The included T5 bulbs are fine, but they are budget bulbs, fairly dim and don’t last as long as you’d like. You will probably want to use something stronger.
If you’re looking for a stand with bulbs included, there are tons of choices. I recommend this same stand from iPower. It offers the best value for money.
Back to this version of the grow light rack without the bulb.
It is meant for T5 fluorescent bulbs, but works just as well for an equivalent LED bar. If you’ve got a UFO fixture or a panel, it can hold those as well. Obviously, it is not made to support a massive light, but you can easily hang 15 pounds (8 kg) of lights from it.
The stand is easy to assemble and is foldable, which makes it portable. It is made entirely from stainless steel and measures 55 inches in length and 39 inches in height, while the feet take up 19 inches in depth.
The stand includes the ropes to hang the light. They are attached to a rope ratchet that allows you to easily adjust the hanging height of the light.
LED Grow Light Stands And Shelves
Best Modular Stand: LED Stack And Grow Light System
- Modular system allows you to add on shelves as needed
- Included LED bars use half the power and last 5 times as long as T5 tubes
- Great spectrum for seedlings and vegging plants
- Not set up for other lights (apart from the included ones)
- Lights are great for seeding, cloning and vegging, but not ideal for flowering
The Stack N Grow Light Shelves are a great modular system. The unit pictured here is the base unit. It has two shelves and two 3 foot long LED grow lights.
There is also an add-on available that adds another layer with an additional set of two lights to go on top of this one. You can stack up to two on top of this base unit, giving you the option to expand your indoor garden in the future.
The unit is very easy to assemble, requiring no tools at all. It only weighs 7 pounds, but is sturdy enough to hold up to 110 pounds. The unit is 31 inches long, 15.5 inches wide and 21 inches tall.
The two included LED bars emit a 6500K full spectrum white light, that is very similar to the light from a T5 fluorescent bulb, except they last 5 times longer than fluorescent tubes and only use half the power. They also feature a blue spike (additional blue light in the spectrum), to really boost plant growth.
The stack and grow planter is also available with T5 fluorescent lights instead of the LED bars (see below), but I definitely recommend this LED version. It costs slightly more, but will quickly pay for itself through lower electricity costs and not needing to replace the bulbs every year or two.
Best Table Top Grow Light Stand: Root Farm All-Purpose LED Grow Light
- Versatile: comes with adjustable legs and a hanging kit
- Great color spectrum for seeding and vegging
- Extremely portable (weighs 6.1 lbs.)
- Low cost
- Not powerful enough to flower
- 16 inch maximum stand height may be too low for many plants
The Root Farm 45 Watt LED Stand is the smallest model on this list, but also one of the most flexible.
Not only can you use the stand to position the light above your plants, but you can also use the included hanging kit to hang it above them, when they grow too big for the stand.
The stand legs are also adjustable, which means you can easily raise or lower the light as needed. They can extend up to 16 inches above the surface.
The LED light includes red, blue and white diodes. Most of them are white, which gives you a full spectrum light similar to what you’d get from fluorescent tubes. The added blue diodes give it a boost for seeding and vegging and the red diodes help with flowering.
That said, the light isn’t really powerful enough to flower anything large on its own. It is ideal as a vegging light or to grow seeds. The added red light helps out a lot with that (plants want red during vegging as well, contrary to popular belief). Used for vegging, I give the Root Farm TableTop LED light and stand kit a Grow Light Info rating of 4.5 out of 5.
Best 3-Tier Grow Light Stand: SunLite Gardens Heavy Duty LED Shelf System
- Includes 3 reflectors and 6 LED bulbs
- Bulbs use half the power of fluorescent and last 5 times as long
- Includes watertight shelf trays
- Set of wheels for portability
- Strong build for durability
- 15 square feet of grow space
- High price
- Not great for flowering
If you’re looking for something more heavy-duty, the 3 Tier Shelf System from Sunlite Gardens is the best set of grow light shelves on the market. It is not cheap, but is durable and includes 6 LED tubes, making it a great bargain.
This indoor grow rack includes everything you need. It comes with 3 light fixtures and two LED tubes for each one (total of 6), plus watertight shelf trays for each shelf. It also has a set of wheels, making it easy to move to whole unit to a new spot when needed.
The light fixtures are adjustable, allowing you to raise and lower them as needed. The LED tubes are rated for 50,000 hours and emit a full spectrum white light with a color temperature of 6500K. The additional blue light they give you is perfect to maximize plant growth for your seedlings and when vegging.
50,000 hours of use means you won’t need to replace your bulbs for many years. In fact, they last 5 times longer than the T5 fluorescent tubes they replace and also only use half the power to operate (20 watts). This saves you a ton of money in the long run.
The shelf trays ensure no spills drip through to the lower levels. Each tray measures 46-5/8″ (L) x 15-1/2″ (W) x 2″ (D). The whole unit is 51″ (L) x 14-5/8″ (W) x 68-1/2″ (H) and the three shelves combines provide 15 square feet of grow space.
This unit is also available with T5 fluorescent lights instead of the LED lights. That version costs a bit less, but since this LED version costs much less in the long run (far fewer bulb changes and half the power usage), I recommend this version. The difference in cost will easily pay for itself many times over.
T5 Fluorescent Grow Light Stands
Best Modular Stand: Stack N Grow Light System
- Very flexible: add on extra lights and shelves or extend space between shelves
- Easy to set up and take down, so you can store it away when not being used
- Lightweight, but incredibly strong
- Fluorescent lights are much less efficient than the LED lights in the LED version
- No wheels
This Stack And Grow Light System is basically the same as the one mentioned above, except it comes with T5 fluorescent bulbs instead of LED tubes. As a result, it costs less, but the operating costs will be higher (as mentioned, I recommend paying a bit more and getting the LED version).
Like the other version, this one begins with the base unit pictured here. You can then add up to two add-on pieces that each features another two grow bulbs and an additional shelf. Combining the snap-together pieces is just as simple as the initial setup and neither requires any tools.
The frame is made from 100% recycled polypropylene. It only weighs 7 pounds, but can hold up to 110 pounds per shelf. One shelf can accommodate up to 72 seedlings.
The base unit comes with two high intensity full-spectrum T5 fluorescent bulbs. They are set in newly designed reflectors that direct 58% more light down onto your plants, for healthier growth and less glare.
The lights are 36 inches long and the unit as a whole is 31 inches long, 15.5 inches wide and 21 inches tall. You can buy height extenders separately that double the vertical space between the shelves, in case you have taller plants, making this one of the most flexible indoor plant grow light stands.
Best Table Top Light Rack: SunBlaster SBL1600200 Grow Light Garden
- Includes everything for a complete garden system
- High output bulbs are incredibly bright for the size
- Adjustable height
- Auto watering system, so plants always get the exact amount they need, when they need it
- Limited size
- T5 bulbs are specialized size, so you can't just replace them with any bulb
There are a lot of compact hydroponic light stands that include T5 bulbs. Among them, the SunBlaster SBL1600200 is easily the best value on the market.
You’re basically getting a complete little tabletop garden. It comes with two SunBlaster Nanotech reflectors and two high output 6400K 17 watt T5 fluorescent tubes, an adjustable canopy and reservoir base, a raised platform and wicking mat for auto watering and 4 seedling trays.
The raised platform, wicking mat and seedling trays work in conjunction to automatically give your pants the right amount of water. You never need to worry about whether they’re getting enough water or too much. They also ensure proper aeration.
The whole plant stand grow light system measures 23.2 x 3.1 x 2 inches. The powerful lights are great for vegging and seedlings or cuttings, but they are not as good for flowering. The whole system is a bit too small for most flowering plants anyway.
Best Indoor Grow Light Rack: SunLite Gardens 3-Tier Stand
- 15 square feet of growing space
- Three wide light fixtures with 2 high output T5 bulbs each
- Full spectrum light that is perfect for plants
- Sturdy build and comes with watertight trays
- Wheels for portability
- Great for seeding and vegging, but lights not powerful enough to flower most plants
- High price
The SunLite Garden Indoor Plant Stand With Grow Lights is the same as the other Sunlite Garden model above. The reason it costs less is that this one comes with T5 fluorescent bulbs instead of LED bulbs.
The initial cost might be lower, but the operating cost will be considerably higher. Not only do the T5 tubes use twice as much power (for the same output), but they also need to be replaced 5 times more often. For these reasons, I always recommend paying a bit more upfront and getting the LED version.
That said the fluorescent tubes included here are better than most. They give you a higher output and last up to 10,000 hours. They also use up to 45% less energy than standard T5 tubes (104 watts per fixture, which is still far more than LED)
The fixtures have built-in electronic ballasts to eliminate any buzzing sound. The fixtures are extra wide at 14″, to give a footprint that covers the entire shelf. Despite all that, they weigh only 6 pounds each. Chains make it easy to adjust the height of the lights.
The frame is constructed from powder-coated aluminum and the total dimensions of the unit are are 51″ (L) by 14-5/8″ (D) by 68-5/8″ (H). Three watertight trays are included to protect the lower shelves and your floor from spills. Each of these trays measures 46-5/8″ (L) by 15-1/2″ (W) by 2″ (D). The three shelves combined give you 15 square feet of growing space. Wheels on the bottom make it as easy as possible to move the entire shelving unit.
Adjustable Grow Light Stand: Final Thoughts
As mentioned above, we included several different types of adjustable grow light stands, from full 3-tier racks to small tabletop stands. One thing they all have in common is that they can only support smaller grow lights.
There are no grow light stands that can handle large HID or LED fixtures. You will need to hang lights like that from the ceiling or the roof of your grow tent. Of course, larger grows that require such lights won’t fit under a grow light rack anyway.
In general, these stands are best for seedlings, or for vegging small gardens, if you are growing marijuana. They also work great for small herb gardens or other non-flowering plants.
Melanie Booth says
The root Farm with an added argo bulb 60w was enough to get my gorilla glue 4 to flower 🌼
That’s great to hear!
Ret Talbot says
Thanks for your review. What about the “High Intensity” SunLite LED Shelf System (the one with three LED tubes per fixture as opposed to two)? Is the worth the additional $160? Our primary purpose is seed starting in Maine. Thanks!
It depends on your needs. Two tubes is probably enough for seed starting.
Ret Talbot says
Thank you. It is very frustrating to not have any technical specs on these LEDs. I have people telling me to spend $23 on a pair of shop lights at the Big Box store, promising they will do just as good a job at seed starting as the SunLite LEDs in the SunLite LED Shelf System. Do you know of any reviews that actually measure PAR or other metrics that can help a buyer? Is the following marketspeak or meaningful? “Our product development team engineered these LED light tubes to meet the exacting needs of plants. They deliver full-spectrum light with an additional spike of blue light to stimulate stronger root growth and enhance photosynthesis.” I so appreciate finding your site and your efforts to provide some clarity. Cheers!