I’ve seen Mars Hydro’s name mentioned more in forums than any other grow light brand. I know that’s because they pay forum owners for the privilege of constantly bringing up their lights, but forum users seem to respond well. Many have bought their lights, like the Mars300 LED grow light reviewed here, and most are happy with that decision.
The reason for the popularity is simple: these lights are very inexpensive, especially this model. It costs even less than the equivalent HID system, so you save money initially AND every month in operating costs.
And despite the low price, it delivers results comparable to, and in some cases better than, much more expensive competitors.
The drawback? They’re a Chinese company so you get everything that comes along with that: higher failure rate, poor customer service, long lead times and long response times.
Mars Hydro have addressed the last two by opening up a service center in California, which should make it easier to get your broken light serviced or replaced.
I mention these things, because you need to be aware of them. The chances of getting a faulty light are small but they’re larger than with the top brands. If you do get a bad light, Mars will replace it, but you’ll lose time. If you can live with that slight risk, this light is an incredible bargain. You get a lot of performance for very little money.
Let’s take a look.
MarsHydro 300 Watt LED Light Features
- 132 watt actual power draw — save on electricity over HID lighting
- VDE and UL-certified plugs and wiring — safe and easy to maintain
- Heat-proof tube — no fire risk
- Runs on 85-265V — works in any country
- 50,000-100,000 hour lifespan — up to 10 years without bulb changes
- Full-spectrum light with blue, red and white diodes — great for all growth stages
- Includes 1-year warranty and 30-day returns — if you do get a bad unit, you can get it replaced
The Mars300 only consumes 132 watts of power and delivers similar output to a 200 watt HPS or metal-halide bulb. It will save you over 50% in power costs (when you factor in the power usage of the ballast) and also produce far less heat, which saves you even more money.
All LED grow lights will save you money over HID lights in operating costs, but the Mars Hydro 300 actually saves you money with the initial purchase price as well. That’s right, it costs less than an HID light. And not just a little. It costs a lot less.
The coverage area is 1.5 by 1.5 feet during flowering and 2 by 2 during veg. It is the perfect light for a single plant or as supplemental lighting for a larger grow. It is well-suited for small grow tents, due to its size and its low heat output.
The Mars300 has red, blue and white diodes, giving you a full-spectrum light that works for all stages of plant growth. It uses 5 watt Epistar LED chips. These powerful chips give you a deeper canopy penetration than the 3 watt chips used in most competing fixtures.
The drawback of 5 watt chips is heat, but Mars Hydro have outfitted this light with large heat sinks and a large-diameter fan, that combine to efficiently dissipate any heat generated. The large fan does produce 56 decibels, though. That’s a bit louder than the fans in other lights of a similar size.
Mars Hydro have included a number of safety features in their 300 watt plant light. It has a heatproof tube to ensure there is no risk of catching fire. Each diode has a small protector next to it that ensures all the other diodes continue to function if one stops working. The plug and wires are VDE and UL certified.
Each LED is further covered by a lens that focuses the light down onto the canopy. Some lenses direct the light into a 90° beam, while others are inclined at 120°. This mixture ensures the best combination of coverage area and light intensity.
This light can operate at 85 to 265 volts, so you can use it anywhere in the world. It operates at a frequency of 50/60 hertz and uses 1.33 amperes at 110 volts and 0.68 amps at 220 volts.
Mars Hydro has had issues in the past with repairing or replacing faulty fixtures in a timely fashion, but they have opened two service centers in the US. They are now able to handle service requests much more quickly.
The Mars300 can flower a single plant, but it is not the best option for the blooming stage. Its small size means it simply doesn’t have the power to maximize yields during flowering. It is great as a supplemental light or a light for vegging or cloning.
The fixture does not have any switches. If you want to turn it off, you have to unplug it. There is also no way to dim the light or to turn off some of the LEDs when full power is not needed.
The final disadvantage is Mars Hydro itself. They’ve had issues in the past with faulty fixtures and long wait times to get them serviced or replaced. MarsHydro have been working very hard to rectify this, so it is unlikely you will have any problems. It’s something you should be aware of though.
Mars300 LED Grow Light Review Verdict
You’re not going to find many LED grow lights that cost as little as the Mars Hydro 300, at least not ones that actually work. If you’re looking for a low-cost light for one plant or to supplement an existing lighting system, the Mars300 is a great choice.
I give it a high Grow Light Info rating of 4.5 out of 5 and also featured it on my list of best LEDs costing less than $100.