It’s impossible to over-emphasize the importance of selecting the right LED grow light bulbs to meet your indoor gardening needs. It’s a big step to invest in a grow light system, and it can be incredibly disappointing to get poor results. Buying the wrong LED grow light bulb makes it that much harder to have gardening success.
It’s a good idea to educate yourself before purchasing your LED grow light bulbs. It will spare you the headache of burned or stunted plants, or the risk of damaging your grow light system.
LED Grow Light Bulbs
LED grow lights, also called plant or grow lights, emit artificial light to help plants grow. The grow light bulbs come in cool blue or warm red spectrum options. Best for vegetables, cool blue (6500 K) versions provide the energy for green plants to grow. Flowering plants prefer warm red (2700 K) lights.
The K after the number measurement stands for Kelvins. A unit of measure for the color temperature of a light bulb, Kelvins indicate how much heat the LED grow lights generate. It’s important for urban gardeners to consider this when purchasing so that they can grow successfully.
LED stands for light emitting diodes. They don't have a filament like traditional light bulbs. LED grow light bulbs have a semiconductor and electroluminescence in their design to emit this specific type of light.
Available in single bulbs, or in groups, they’re sold to cover a specific area of plant life and typically have a lifespan of 10,000 hours. Different from a regular light bulb, LED grow light bulbs emit a particular wavelength to encourage photosynthesis. This wavelength and color of light allow urban gardeners' plants to thrive in almost any space. They take the place of the sun, mimicking the light a plant would receive outdoors.
Questions to Ask Before Buying LED Grow Light Bulbs
Maybe you need to replace your current LED grow light bulbs. Perhaps you do not see the results you’d hoped for with your current set-up. Whatever your reasons, before purchasing LED grow light bulbs you should ask yourself the following questions.
What do you want to grow?
If you want to grow vegetables, flowers, or a combination of both, you’ll need to purchase a different type of LED grow light bulb. If you're going to use your LED grow lights for seed starting, you’ll want a full-spectrum bulb that has a balance of cool and warm light. Blue LED grow light bulbs are great for veggies, while flowering plants do best with warm red light.
What size is your current grow light set-up?
Grow light bulbs come in different shapes: the traditional lightbulb shape, horizontal tubes, and a spotlight bulb with a larger, flatter bulb shape. If you’re replacing existing bulbs the easiest way to determine what you’ll need is to unscrew and measure your old bulbs.
If you’re buying LED grow light bulbs for a new system, make sure that you carefully check the system’s requirements. Not just the LED grow light bulb’s size but its wattage. Wattage is the amount of electrical power expressed by a light bulb. If you buy an LED grow light bulb with wattage that is too high the intense heat could melt the light socket and insulation on the wires.
What type of socket does it fit in?
You’ll also want to consider the type of socket that the bulb fits. Standard sockets are E26 and E27. Tubular bulbs typically come with a two-prong plug-in.
Where to Buy
Everyone from Amazon to Home Depot, from independent retailers such as Gardener’s Supply Company to Harris Seeds, sells LED grow light bulbs. Your budget, options available, and if you want to see and touch the LED grow lights before buying, will influence your purchasing decision.
Top 10 Models of LED Grow Light Bulbs
The right grow light bulb for you will depend upon the bulb you’re trying to replace or need for a new system. Therefore, we’ve included a range of traditionally shaped light bulbs, E27 shaped bulbs, and light tubes.
- GROW MORE WITH LESS - Designed to replace traditional greenhouse lighting, our LED Grow Lights deliver superior growing...
- KEY FEATURES - Accelerate indoor plant growth with this energy-efficient LED grow light bulb ideal for hydroponic or...
- ENERGY EFFICIENT- Bulbs provides similar light to a 65 watt incandescent while producing considerably less heat and...
This LED grow light bulb is one of the nicer, inexpensive options. Because the grow bulb emits light between 450 lumens blue to 660 red on the spectrum, it’s suitable for growing different types of plants. However, the red spectrum has been enhanced to improve results with budding and flowering plants.
It draws on 25 watts of power, much higher than other LED grow light bulbs, but it has a shorter lifespan at 25,000 hours. Due to its A19 shape, it’ll fit a normal light socket, but that means it isn’t compatible with some grow light systems. The advantages of this grow light is that it is inexpensive and is on the enriched red spectrum.
- 【Full Spectrum LED Plant Grow Light】- 150PCS High Efficiency 2835SMD LED Chips: 100Red+35Blue+10White+5IR(red...
- 【Suggest Hanging Height + Easy to Use】 - around 3 inch above plant for starting plants, 1 inch over the top of...
- 【Excellent Heat Dissation Effect+Energy saving】 - 100W Plant Lidht bulb is made of metal aluminum radiator shell,...
An excellent choice for urban gardeners who want to grow a wide variety of plants, the surface of this bulb has different colored pieces to provide your plants with light for every stage of their life. Of the 48 pieces, 31 are red, 11 are blue, two are white, two are warm, and there is one IR piece and one UV piece.
The bulb has an excellent range of light. Additionally, it is a high-efficiency bulb that can be purchased for a reasonable price. Some of the cons of this grow light bulbs is that it only has a 20,000-hour lifespan, which is less than similar bulbs in its price range. Also, it won't fit in all grow systems, is unsuitable for growing seedlings, and there is no warranty information available.
- Direct Replace 21'' T5 13W tubes from your T5 Under-Cabinet Lights to get over 50% light and energy saving
- Alum Body and Milky PC cover provide great 900 Lumen 4000K Cool lights
- Long life up to 50,000 hours and much cooler opetation than regular Fluo.system
If you want to upgrade the light spectrum in an existing system, these tubular-shaped LED grow light bulbs can be used to replace T5 fluorescent tubes. Because they’re more efficient than fluorescent tubes, they use half the electricity and last three times longer. They are also mercury-free, so they will not shatter like glass.
Depending on the length selected they use 12 to 24 watts of energy.
- Newest 12*3W LED Grow Lamp: Higher lumens and safer, aircraft grade heat sink with aluminum fins dissipate heat 1.5...
- 60 Degree Beam Angle: Expands illumination area without sacrificing the lighting intensity
- Free Standard E26 Socket: No need to buy socket again. TaoTronics thinks for you and takes care of you in every detail...
With 12 watts of power, but still multiple LEDs, the Taotronics LED Grow Light Bulb is a good choice for gardeners concerned about their electricity costs. The bulb’s 12 LEDs, three blue and nine red, let gardeners grow a variety of plants. The bulb is known for its high luminous efficiency and gardeners have been able to grow basil, strawberries, lettuce, lavender and more.
This bulb has a much longer lifespan at 50,000 hours, and it fits an E26 light socket. Unfortunately, it is unsuitable for some grow systems. It also only has a one-year warranty.
- Top Rated T8 LED Tube Single Sided Connection with G13 Base
- 2 FOR 1 - Convert to LED with Sunco for instant energy savings (up to 85%), 1 LED tube does the job of 2 fluorescent...
- COMMERCIAL GRADE - We uphold the highest standards for all our products by testing each product for optimal performance...
If you need to replace a T8 fluorescent tube, this is one of the few options available that doesn’t require you purchase a large number of bulbs. Other replacements are sold in minimum quantities of 50-80, unsuitable for the urban gardener.
These 12-watt bulbs produce 5000k on the light spectrum, making them a good mid-range bulb which draws on less power than other bulbs. They have a two-sided connection, so check your grow system before ordering. Their lifespan of 50,000 hours is the norm for more expensive LED grow light bulbs.
However, while they fit a tubular light system, they won't fit other systems. There is also no ability to change the light spectrum output, and you must buy a six-pack. But they do have an excellent five-year warranty.
- Designed & engineered in USA to provide improved growing performance. Headquartered in Troy, Mi
- Patented triangular tube shape is engineered for broader and more uniform light distribution
- Reduces excess heat in grow operations
One of the few tubular LED grow light bulbs sold as a unit, this bulb is perfect if you only need to replace one of your lights. When using it to replace T8 fluorescent light tubes, you’ll have to rewire the system to bypass ballast. It’s energy efficient and has a shatterproof construction.
It’s an excellent all-purpose bulb, with peak wavelengths within the blue and red spectrum. Similar to other LED grow light bulbs in its price point it has a 50,000-hour life. The bulb's triangular shape more uniformly distributes light to your plants.
It's a definite pro that you can buy just one light bulb if needed. The five-year warranty is another plus. While it's a disadvantage that you'd have to re-wire if purchasing the bulb as a replacement fluorescent bulb, this is true of all the LED replacement bulbs for fluorescents.
- Professional Lighting. The Led grow light provides you a targeted spectrum(including 460nm,630nm and 660nm wavelength),...
- Maximized Growth. With 12 LEDs (3blue & 9 red), the blue light is ideal for vegetative growth that creates tall, leafy...
- Latest 36W theoretical power, 12X3W, 36W. High brightness. The more brightness, the better photosynthesis performance....
One of the few 36-watt options in the E27 bulb format, it produces triple the light of comparable bulbs and is less expensive. The Litom LED grow light bulb has three bands of light in an aluminum casing for the best heat dissipation.
This bulb is a good pick if you’re growing plants whose plant canopy has a wider spread. It’s unsuitable for seedlings or if the light needs to be close to the plant and will not fit in all grow systems. It is cheaper than the Taotronics bulb with many of the same features, but there is no warranty information available.
- 1. BLUE & RED SPECTRUM.Designed for germination, vegetative growth and flowering/fruiting.
- 2. ENERGY SAVING. LED technology helps save more than 40% of your lighting bill
- 3. GROW VERTICAL. Low heat output makes it suitble for commercial vertical farm or home planting.
This is another tubular LED grow light bulb option. At 18 watts, it’s between the TOGGLED and Sunco light bulbs for energy consumption. Its mix of blue and red spectrum light provides plants’ needs from germination to flowering. You can bypass the ballast with this light bulb, but that will require rewiring similar to the TOGGLED bulb above. These bulbs are considered excellent for vertical farming. They only have 25,000 hours of useful life, however.
The mid-range energy consumption and the mix of light are pros to this bulb. The bulb has a three-year warranty.
- 1 – 180W Apollo Horticulture LED UFO
- Diameter: 10.5” , Coverage Area: 2.5’ x 2.5’ ; 5 Square Feet
- 60pcs , 3W Chips ; Lifespan: 50,000 Hours
The Apollo Horticulture 24W LED Grow Light is an E26 light, so it’ll fit in any standard light socket. Both red and blue light spectrums encourage growth in a variety of plants. This bulb can be placed closer to your plants because it produces less heat than other bulbs.
It comes with a two-year limited warranty. It won't work in a tubular grow system.
- Easy to use for plant growth: This led grow bulb can rapidly improve the health of plant and growing, generally more...
- Better Heat Dissipation with Ribbed Design: LED grow light bulb has low power consumption,high luminous efficiency and...
- Best Fit: AEJSLOK plant grow lights have 12pcs 1W high power lamp beads, 3-band targeted spectrum, Red ( 6pcs 630nm,...
The cheapest on this list, at only five dollars a bulb, this LED grow light bulb still offers a lot of value. It has a three-band spectrum of wavelengths delivered through 12 LEDs and an aluminum body for heat dissipation. The 24-watt bulb still has a 50,000-hour lifespan like similar, more expensive, options.
It has a one-year warranty.
Which LED Grow Light Bulb is the Best?
The Taotronics LED Grow Light Bulb won out over other options for the best spotlight bulb. While it’s pricier than the Litom LED Grow Light Bulb, there is no warranty information available for Litom. It also has a longer lifespan than the Kyson LED 16W Grow Lights Bulb, though it does have a shorter warranty.
Our favorite of the tubularly-shaped bulbs is the Gardener’s Supply Co Retrofit LED light bulbs. We selected this bulb because it’s available in multiple lengths, has a longer lifespan than the GrowLED ThinkLux, and can be purchased singularly. Gardener’s offers an excellent warranty and customer service is easily accessible, unlike many of the bulbs on this list whose manufacturers are difficult to track down.
Do you have a favorite LED grow light bulb that isn't on our list? Let us know in the comment section below!