If you’ve ever tried to start seedlings during winter or early spring you might have found that your sprouting plants are leggy and a bit weaker than if you’ve gone through the process during spring. The cause is simple enough – poor light quality.
In this post we’re going to take a look at the best LED grow light for seed starting, understand why they’re important and how they differ from regular grow lights.
In fact, the products listed below are the same that we use ourselves in our hydroponics systems at home.
Let’s get started!
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At A Glance: Our Top 5 CFL Grow Lights For Hydroponics
- Best Overall: ACKE Full 12W Full Spectrum LED Grow Light
“It’s amazing how much light is produced by this compact unit. It’s ideal for starting seeds turning them into strong, healthy plants.”
- Best Value: Roleadro Galaxyhydro Dimmable LED Grow Light
“The Galaxyhydrop is an amazing choice for those needing high quality light output without breaking the bank.”
- Best Light Quality: King Plus 1000w LED Grow Light Double Chips Full Spectrum with UV
“This full spectrum light really does have a high quality light output without overheating.”
- Best For Small Spaces: Grow Light Plant Lights for Indoor Plants
“If space is limited or you only have a few plants to care for then this is the grow light for you. It’s small, compact and affordable with great quality light output.”
- MARS HYDRO TS 1000W Led Grow Light
What Should You Look For In An LED Bulb
As we wrote in our hydroponic lighting guide, there are two main things to look for when it comes to grow lights – light color which is referred to as temperature and Nanometers (nm) output.
Light is a spectrum and made up of many different colors or bands. At one end we have the cool, blues and on the other end, we have the intense red light. Sunlight contains both blue and red light and this is exactly what we’re looking for from a good LED grow light.
Blue light – blue light is used by your plants to grow which makes it extremely important during the early stages of your plant’s development.
Red light – red light is used by the plant for vegetative growth, fruiting and flowering.
Color temperature is measured in Kelvins – the lower the number the more red in the light and the higher the number the bluer. So 2,500 is very warm light and 5,000 kelvins is a very cool blue light.
5 Best LED Grow Lights For Seed Starting
We’ve spent 36 hours reviewing and testing the various different CFL grow lights below along with another 10 hours researching them online.
1. ACKE Full 12W Full Spectrum LED Grow Light
When it comes to the best LED grow lights for seed starting, the ACKE Full 12W Full Spectrum LED Grow Light is certainly up there with the best available at the moment.
This is a full spectrum LED grow light meaning it contains red 630nm and 660nm, blue:460nm and white light 2700K which makes it suitable for all stages of plant development.
Fully waterproof and with a low heat output, this really is the perfect bulb.
2. Roleadro Galaxyhydro Dimmable LED Grow Light
The first thing that jumped out at us about the Roleadro Galaxyhydro Dimmable LED Grow Light is the quality of light it produces. It’s another full-spectrum light that includes both blue and red light at 430-440nm, 450-460nm, 610-615nm, 620-630nm, 650-660nm, white, IR(730nm), UV 380-400nm, 470nm.
The other big plus here is the dimmer. Being able to control the amount of light using the dimmer was one of those features that really makes life easier as you don’t have to adjust the physical height of the light which can sometimes be awkward and involves trial and error.
3. King Plus 1000w LED Grow Light Double Chips Full Spectrum with UV
So at first, we didn’t know what to make of the but the more we learned, the more we liked!
When it comes to plant development, anything past 700nm isn’t visible by us but it’s a key part of the light spectrum for your plants. The lamp puts out light across the full spectrum from 380nm to 780nm – so you know that your plants are going to love it.
The other great thing about the King Plus 1000W is that you can change modes by the flip of a switch helping give your plants the right light at the right stage of their development.
4. Grow Light Plant Lights for Indoor Plants
So if space is an issue and you’re only looking to start a few seeds then this is the light for you.
The Yoyomax packs in so many features into a compact unit.
Producing both blue and red light and comes with 3 auto on/off timers so you can automatically set the unit to stay on for 3,6 or 12 hours at a time.
5. MARS HYDRO TS 1000W Led Grow Light
Up next is the MARS HYDRO TS 1000W Led Grow Light which claims to help you generate a 30% higher yields from your crops – a bold claim!
As you’d expect, this is a full spectrum grow light-producing light in the middle of the spectrum at 660-665nm Red IR/3200-4200Knm/5200-6800Knm.
If we’re honest, we’d like to have seen a little more blue light here. What we do like, on the other hand, is that the design of the light means that it uses 50% less energy and the plants can absorb 90% of the light so it’s incredibly efficient.
The Bottom Line
So there you have it, our guide to the best LED grow lights for seed starting. Hopefully, now you’re armed with the knowledge of what to look for in an LED bulb and will have taken a look at the items on our list.
Image by F.D Richards