But looks can be deceiving.
Luckily, they are not, in this case.
These are budget light, but still extremely well-built. And they deliver in terms of output as well.
But there is one exception.
The PAR600 is a bit different than the other lights in the series. For some reason, it does not have the dimming feature that the other three lights have.
I’m not sure why Viparspectra did not include it. Either way, we’ll get into that and everything else in the review below.
First, let’s take a quick look at every light in the series and see how they compare. The following table should make it easy to figure out which one will best fit your needs (keeping in mind that the 600 does not dim).
Viparspectra PAR Dimmable LED Grow Lights Comparison Table
|2' x 2'||840 umol/m²/s|
|2.5' x 2.5'||1020 umol/m²/s|
|2.5' x 2.5'||1140 umol/m²/s|
|3.5' x 3.5'||1140 umol/m²/s|
Viparspectra PAR1200 Review
I’ve decided to focus the review on the 1200 watt version, because it is the most powerful in the series and the one that would be most useful for the average home grower, since it fills a standard sized grow tent (3×3 to 4×4 feet).
Focusing the review on a single model allows me to give specific figures and compare them to the competition.
Everything said about the 1200 watt version goes for the 450 watt, 600 watt and 700 watt versions as well, apart from the specific numbers, like wattage, coverage area, output, etc. You can find that information in the comparison table above.
Dimmable Series PAR1200 Features
- Uses 545 watts — save about 40% on your electric bill over HID lights
- Equivalent to a 800 watt HID system — but costs less to buy AND to operate
- Great full spectrum light — works for all stages of growth (but I’d like a few more white diodes)
- 3.5 by 3.5 foot core coverage — equivalent to a comparable HID system
- Veg and bloom dimmers — tailor light makeup and output to your plants’ current needs
- Bridgelux/Epileds LED chips — top quality high-intensity chips that are more efficient
- Great heat management — runs 70% cooler than HID
- Runs on AC100 to 240V — will work in any country
- Rated for 100,000 hours — 10 years with no need to change bulbs
- 3-year warranty and 30 day money back guarantee — risk-free purchase
Most review sites refer to these lights as the Viparspectra Dimmable Series, so it only makes sense to begin a discussion of the pros with the dimming feature.
It is for that reason that these lights should not be referred to as the dimmable series, but the PAR series, which is the term Viparspectra themselves use.
So why do all these other sites use the phrase “dimmable series”?
They don’t actually know anything about grow lights. You can always tell that immediately after getting a few sentences into their (generally very poorly written) reviews.
Basically, they just copy everything they write from some other review site or from Amazon. Since the phrase “dimmable series” is used everywhere, they use it, too. I have no idea who started using it though.
Be all that as it may, the PAR450, PAR700 and PAR1200 are all dimmable. But not in the same way.
- The PAR1200 has two dimmers: one for veg and one for bloom. You can dial each down from 0 to 100%, n increments of 25%.
- The PAR450 and the PAR700 have three dimmers: one for the red diodes, one for the blue diodes and one for the white diodes. They are also adjustable in increments of 25%.
Having a dimmer for each color gives you a bit more control, but to be honest, the veg and bloom dimmers work just as well. The white lights are simply included in either veg or bloom, with the cool white diodes in veg and the warm white diodes controlled by the bloom dial.
These dimmers are the one feature that really sets the Viparspectra fixtures apart (except for the non-dimmable PAR600, of course).
Most lights in this price range have separate switches for veg or bloom, but they do not allow you to dim the lights at all, much less dim different diodes separately. That is something you usually only find in pricier lights.
They don’t give the the most output, but they are close. And far above the average light in this price range.
More importantly, they spread out that output.
A lot of budget brands make lights that have super high PPFD (PAR) ratings dead center, because they want to trick us into thinking their lights are far more powerful than they actually are.
But when you move to the outer parts of the coverage area, the PPFD value become pathetic and you realize the light can only grow a plant right in the middle, but nothing beyond that.
Viparspectra don’t use this little (unfortunately very common) trick. Their PPFD values at various heights don’t look so impressive on their own.
But when you take a look at the entire coverage area, they start to look much better. You can see that even plants on the outside of the coverage area still get plenty of light to flourish.
It also means that you need more vertical space, since you can’t get such an intense beam of light too close to your plants.
With enough vertical space (around 3 feet) the 90° lenses work wonders. They give you an intense light across a coverage area of 3.5 by 3.5 feet.
That is similar to other lights in the price range, but unlike most of those lights, this one covers that entire area with a ton of light. Plants on the outside get to enjoy plenty of light, too.
And what kind of light do they enjoy?
A great mix of red, blue, white and IR diodes.
White light contains all wavelengths, so the white diodes ensure that your plants are also getting green and yellow light. That is very important. Plants grow much better when they get every color of light.
I know that LED grow light manufacturers have been telling us for years that only red and blue light is important, but they were mainly trying to sell their red and blue LED plant lights (red and blue diodes are easier to make and cheaper).
Nowadays we know that green and yellow light is important too. Plants don’t need as much of it, but they do need some.
These Viparspectra lights give a good mix of colors that works great for all stages of growth.
Personally, I would prefer to swap a few of the blue diodes out for more white ones, and perhaps include a few UV diodes, but the spectrum is pretty close to perfect as is.
UV is only needed during the last few weeks of the bloom stage anyway, so it is generally much better to simply buy a couple of UV fluorescent tubes instead.
Another area where these horticultural LED lights really shine is heat dissipation. They use upgraded 3.2″ front-fans, which is very unusual, but makes a lot of sense.
Most lights vent out the top, but that can be a problem if they are hanging close to the ceiling. Venting out the bottom gives much more space for the heat to dissipate, especially when you are blowing a fan over your plants (which you should be doing anyway).
These fans are combined with big 0.8 inch aluminum heat sinks. The heat sinks cool the LED chips and the fans expel the heat from the fixture. (0.8″ height) are easy for heat dissipation quietly.
All Viparspectra PAR Series LED grow lights reviewed here are backed by a 3-year warranty. You probably won’t need it with the extra-long rated lifespan of 100,000 hours, but it’s nice to know the manufacturer is confident in their lights.
They even give you a 30 day money-back guarantee, which gives you some time try out your light risk-free. In addition, the light ships with a hanging kit and a set of adjustable ratchet hangers. You also get a power cord, but I find it a bit short at 6 feet.
And finally, something that shouldn’t even be an advantage, but kind of is when it comes to Chinese brands: Viparspectra lies less than most. Sure, they exaggerate the statistics, too, but much less than other Chinese brands.
The PAR1200 light reviewed here is supposedly 1200 watts. That is nowhere near the truth. It uses a bit over 500 watts and is equivalent to about 750 watts of HID light. But the call it a 1200 watt light. And other manufacturers have similar lights that they call 2000 watt or even 3000 watt lights.
So yes, Viparspectra does not go quite as big with their lies. Good for them? I guess…though I’d rather see a company just be completely honest about their products.
The PAR series horticultural lights don’t have any major disadvantages, but there are a few shortcomings that I would change if I could.
Short Power Cord
The first would be so simple to change, too: give us a longer power cord.
6 feet is a bit short, but I suppose most growers are running extension cord into their tents anyway, so it probably doesn’t make much of a difference to most people.
I know I mentioned this as an advantage. And it’s a great spectrum.
But I would prefer a slight modification.
As mentioned, I feel it is slightly blue heavy, so I would swap a couple of the blue or purple diodes out for white ones. I’d use cool white (the existing cool white diodes are 7000K), so you’d still be getting a lot of blue light from them, but also some light in all other colors.
I also mentioned the lack of UV diodes above, but I don’t think I would add them. I prefer to just use fluorescent bulbs to supplement UV light. Nevertheless, this may be a con for people who want a fixture that includes light in the UV wavelengths.
Finally, I feel I should mention the vertical space requirement. This is not something I would change, since it would mean redesigning the whole light, but it is something you need to be aware of, in case you don’t have sufficient space for this light.
Because of the 90 degree lenses, this light should hang about 36 inches from the canopy. You can get it closer, but that would cut down the coverage area quite a bit.
If you do not have enough vertical space, just know that you will not be getting the full 3.5 by 3.5 foot coverage. If you don’t need that much coverage, hanging it closer actually gives you a boost in output, so your plants will love you for it, up to a point. Get it too close and they will burn.
If you need the full coverage area, but do not have 36 inches of space above your plants to hang the light, then I would recommend a different light.
With limited vertical space, you want a quantum or Spyder style light. These can hang much closer. For quantum lights, my top choice is Spider Farmer.
Viparspectra Dimmable PAR Review: Final Verdict
The Viparspectra PAR1200 Dimmable LED grow light is one of the best lights on the market and the same goes for the rest of the lights in the series.
The only exception might be the PAR600. If you want a dimmable light, remember that this one does not have that feature. Get the PAR700 instead, if you want the ability to dim.
Overall, I highly recommend these lights, as long as you have the vertical space to take advantage of the full capability of these lights (36 inches for the PAR1200, 28″ for the PAR 700, and 24″ for the PAR600 and PAR450).
I give three of the Viparspectra PAR LED grow lights reviewed here a Grow Light Info rating of 4.7 out of 5. I score the PAR600 a bit lower, due to the lack of the dimming feature. It gets a 4.5.