Whether you’re an experienced gardener or a novice learning how to grow your own plants, grow lights are fantastic resources for your home garden. They make it possible to cultivate a variety of plants indoors, regardless of the season or amount of sunlight. “Light is among the most vital factors to consider when growing plants, because it is a vital component of photosynthesis,” say Jamie Chan and Blas Herrera, who write about all things horticultural for the blog Fog City Gardener.
We researched the top-rated grow lights available online, and tested a few in our own homes. We then evaluated their size, wattage, bulb type, ease of setup, and overall effectiveness. Our best overall pick, the GE BR30 Grow LED Light Bulb, is versatile enough to fit in any standard lamp and provides a balanced light spectrum for effective plant growth. Here are the best grow lights for your plants, backed by our thorough research and testing.
GE BR30 LED Grow Light Bulb
Fits in most lamps
Soft, natural white light
Simple to install
Requires a nearby lamp
Our pick for the best overall grow light is the GE BR30. This light offers an advanced red spectrum, which is ideal for growing tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, as well as fruit trees and flowers. At 120 volts, it conveniently fits into most standard lamps, which means you don’t have to go out and buy any additional accessories or equipment. Plus, it requires very little setup. However, you do need to have a lamp on hand to use it, or multiple lamps if you intend to use more than one bulb.
When we tested this light, we found it gave off a nice, warm glow without being as glaringly bright as other options. The light was still plenty bright to give seedlings what they needed though, and we noticed rapid growth within just a few days. We also used it on a yucca plant and reported noticeable improvements after three weeks.
Price at time of publish: $56 (4-pack)
Size: 4.06 x 5.94 inches | Type: Bulb | Wattage: 9 watts | Return policy: Dependent on retailer
Runner-Up, Best Overall
Soltech Solutions Hanging Grow Light
Installation equipment included
Lasts 15 years
Available in different sizes and colors
Installation requires about one hour
This hanging grow light from Soltech Solutions is as sleek and attractive as it is functional. It comes in two sizes: 5.8 x 3.8 inches with 2,000 lumens, and 7 x 4 inches with 4,000 lumens. Both are extremely powerful and provide a nice amount of natural-looking light. We also like that this lamp is sleek and stylish and comes in two colors—black and white—to match your decor.
Although this hanging light is one of the more expensive options on the market, it should last longer than the competition: According to the manufacturer, it can last for up to 15 years when used for an average of 16 hours per day.
We tested this 20-watt lamp on an aloe plant with very favorable results. After three weeks of use, we noticed several new growths sprouting up, which was much more than we had experienced without the light.
Each unit includes a 15-foot fabric cord, three ceiling hooks, two wall fairleads, and a swag hook for do-it-yourself installation. Despite clear instructions, we found the installation process to be somewhat tricky, requiring two people, a ladder (given the ceiling installation), and a drill.
Tricky installation aside, we believe the Soltech Solutions Hanging Grow Light is highly effective and aesthetically pleasing.
Price at time of publish: $150
Size: 3.8 x 5.8 inches | Type: Hanging | Wattage: 20 watts | Return policy: Dependent upon retailer
Aceple LED 6W Desk Plant Grow Light
The Aceple Desk Plant Grow Light produces excellent results at an affordable price, and offers a combination of red and blue LEDs. The 660 nanometers (nm) of red light is ideal for flowers and fruits, while 460 nm of blue light encourages photosynthesis.
You can attach this grow light to almost any table, chair, desk, or countertop, thanks to a wide-opening clamp. Plus, the flexible gooseneck allows you to easily adjust the angle of light. It is extremely portable, easy to set up, and small enough to tuck away in a drawer. Its compact size makes it ideal for households with a few small plants.
We tested this light in a house and greenhouse on African violets and lemon cucumbers, and noticed a vast improvement in their growth. In particular, after two weeks of use, one of the African violets started to produce a new bud, after not sprouting for years.
However, it’s important to note several flaws in the design: Unlike many other options, this light doesn’t come with a timer, but it is easy enough to turn it on and off manually. Also, we'd prefer if the gooseneck arm were a little longer. But overall, we found this light to be an excellent budget-friendly option.
Price at time of publish: $12
Size: 2 x 2 x 16 inches | Type: Lamp | Wattage: 6 watts | Return policy: 30-day window, 1-year warranty
Feit Electric Dual Full LED Plant Grow Tube Light
Arrives fully assembled
Easy to install
Excellent blue/red ratio
Low heat emission
May burn out in a few months
Designed to be mounted flush or hung against a ceiling or wall, the Feit Electric Dual Grow Tube Light is meant to replace traditional greenhouse lighting and delivers a full spectrum to help achieve optimal results for a variety of plants and flowers.
The energy-efficient LED bulbs have low heat emission, so you don’t have to worry about burning your plants' leaves. The bulbs emit 450 nm of blue light and 655 nm of red light, an ideal combination that encourages plant growth and photosynthesis.
For added convenience, the light arrives fully assembled and is easy to install. The unit comes with two 6-inch hanging wire harnesses, a 5-foot plug-in cord, and all the necessary mounting hardware.
Although the stated life expectancy of the bulbs is 25,000 hours, we noted that some bulbs stopped working within several months. However, this light is more affordable than some of the other options in this roundup, should it need to be replaced.
Price at time of publish: $34
Size: 23.33 x 4.9 x 1.73 inches | Type: Hanging or mounted | Wattage: 19 watts | Return policy: Dependent on retailer plus 3-year warranty
Venoya 75W LED Grow Light for Indoor Plants
Diverse range of light
Great for seedlings
Affordable and energy-efficient, the Venoya LED Grow Light is an excellent choice for a full-spectrum hanging light, with a spectrum of 380 nm to 730 nm, which includes UV, IR, red, and blue light. These lights have a vegetative coverage of 2 x 2 feet.
In addition to encouraging herbs and seedlings, this light can spur even the most delicate tropical plants and flowers to flourish year-round and at every stage of growth. At 75 watts, this grow light is powerful without getting hot.
The Venoya Full Spectrum Grow Light is lightweight and comes with four stainless steel wires and an S-hook, which you can attach to a dowel, rod, or hook.
A potential downside is that it lacks a timer, so you need to reach the light to turn it on or off. We like that it comes with a 12-month warranty, should you have any issues.
Price at time of publish: $32
Size: 12.2 x 12.2 x 1.4 inches | Type: Hanging panel | Wattage: 75 watts | Return policy: 12 month warranty or 30 days return
Leoter Grow Light for Indoor Plants
Three light modes
10 dimmable settings
Flexible gooseneck arms
USB port or standard outlet power
No warranty information
Burns out within a few months
The LEOTER Grow Light emits a full spectrum of color to encourage varied phases of plant growth. It emits 660 nm of red light and 460 nm of blue light, and a full-spectrum bandwidth of 380 nm to 800 nm. A combination of all three delivers the most positive growth results.
This light is equipped with an array of convenient features, including three timing modes, 10 dimmable modes, and three switch modes. The timer has 3-, 9-, or 12-hour increments and automatically turns on and off each day. That way, your plants receive adequate light even if you are at work or away on vacation.
“We use timers on our lights for ease of maintenance every day, note Jamie Chan and Blas Herrera of Fog City Gardener. "It will automatically turn off and on based on our desired schedule."
This grow light can be powered by a USB port or plugged into a standard outlet. An adapter is included for added convenience. It has four light heads, and four flexible gooseneck arms that can be adjusted by 360 degrees. Thanks to a sturdy mounting clip, it can be attached to any surface up to 3 inches thick, allowing for versatile placement.
The only downsides are that the light tends to stop working within months, and we couldn't find any information regarding a warranty.
Price at time of publish: $24
Size: 3.35 x 5.87 x 13.66 inches (only the package dimensions are provided) | Bulb Type: LED | Wattage: 40 watts | Return Policy: Not listed
AeroGarden Harvest Elite with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit
Comes with grow pods
Can be tricky to clean
The AeroGuard Harvest Elite offers full-spectrum 20-watt LED light, so your indoor garden can thrive. In the large grow deck and bowl, you can grow up to six different herbs, flowers, or vegetable varieties year-round. (The kit also includes seeds for six different herbs: Genovese basil, curly parsley, dill, thyme, Thai basil, and mint.) Measuring just 11 x 4.61 x 15 inches, with a sleek design, this seed pod kit looks great on a desk or countertop.
The digital control panel includes a timer, vacation mode, and advanced settings, so your hydroponics get proper care, even when you’re out of town. Since the height of the lamp is adjustable up to 12 inches, you can make more room for your plants as they grow.
We read some reports that AeroGarden Harvest Elite stopped working shortly after setup. Be sure to take advantage of the one-year warranty if you encounter any problems or defects.
Price at time of publish: $205
Size: 10.9 x 4.61 x 15 inches | Type: Indoor garden with built-in bulbs | Wattage: 20 watts | Return policy: Dependent on retailer plus 1-year warranty
Best for Herbs
TorchStar LED Indoor Herb Garden
Mimics natural sun cycle
Some reports of defects
With full-spectrum solar simulation, the LED Plant Kit from TorchStar provides the ideal amount of light for growing indoor herbs. To mimic natural sunlight, it illuminates for 16 hours and then shuts down for 8 hours overnight.
Measuring 14 x 19.89 x 16.54 inches, this herb grow light is the perfect size to place on a desk, table, or countertop. Thanks to an all-white design and modern aesthetic, it should blend in well with most decor without detracting from your herbs.
This grow light requires a minimal amount of assembly, but we expect you can put it together in about 10 minutes. You can plug it into a standard outlet, and the product comes with a UL-certified power adapter for added safety.
Be sure to take advantage of the two-year warranty if you encounter any problems.
Price at time of publish: $45
Size: 16.54 x 11.42 inches | Type: Indoor garden with built-in bulbs | Wattage: 14 watts | Return policy: 30 days plus 2-year warranty
Gardener’s Supply Company Stack-n-Grow Lights System
Easy to assemble
Stackable and expandable
Drip trays sold separately
May need to be wall-anchored
This modular unit from Gardener's Supply Company allows you to grow plants vertically and expand as needed. Measuring 31 x 15.5 x 21 inches at its base, the compact, stackable design frees up precious floor space. Each shelf can hold up to 110 pounds, and you can add up to two shelves—in addition to the base unit. When stacking two or more units, you may need to anchor it to a wall with the supplied brackets for added stability.
With 3.5 square feet of space on each tier, you should have plenty of room for seedlings and a variety of other plants. Meanwhile, two full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs cover a large growing area. High-tech reflectors direct light downward, reducing glare and encouraging plant growth.
The unit is easy to assemble: The pieces snap together, and no extra tools are required. It’s also lightweight, which is a major plus. Each shelf weighs 7 pounds, and they come apart for easy storage when not in use.
It’s important to note that water drips from the upper shelves onto the light fixtures. You can purchase small boot trays from the manufacturer, or another type of drip tray, to prevent this from happening. Also, this product lacks a timer setting, but you can plug it into a power strip that has a built-in timer.
Price at time of publish: $215
Size: 31 x 15.5 x 21 inches (base measurements) | Bulb Type: Fluorescent | Wattage: 62 watts | Return Policy: Not listed
Best Large Capacity
Spider Farmer SF4000 LED Grow Light
Easy to install
Large coverage area
Even light distribution
Lacks timer function
With 5 x 5 feet of vegetative coverage, the Spider Farmer SF-4000 LED Grow Light illuminates a large area. This 450-watt grow light emits a full spectrum of colors: white, blue, red, and IR. You can adjust the dimming from 10 to 100 percent.
Despite their large capacity, the included LED lights are energy efficient, according to the manufacturer. Thanks to a new diode layout, the light is more evenly distributed at optimal intensity. For safety, this unit features waterproofing and protective covering on the cables. It’s made from durable aluminum, which doesn’t throw off a huge amount of heat.
The only feature this otherwise stellar performer lacks is a timer. Hanging it above your plants is easy, and it lives up to the manufacturer’s plug-and-play claim.
Price at time of publish: $389
Size: 25.3 x 21.1 x 1.95 inches | Bulb Type: High-power LED | Wattage: 450 watts | Return Policy: Not listed
Our top pick is the GE BR30 Grow LED Light, which fits into any standard-sized lamp and helps a wide variety of plants and flowers grow year-round. If you only have a few plants, we recommend the Aceple Desk Plant Grow Light. This portable option is easy to set up and very affordably priced.
What to Look for in a Grow Light
When deciding which size grow light you need, think about how many plants you need to cover and where you intend to put them. If you plan to move your light from place to place, opt for something lighter and portable. If you know it’s going to stay put, that might not be as much of a factor. Wherever you plan to put it, make sure there’s room for it to operate safely and not up against furniture, drapes, or other items.
There are various types of grow lights to consider, from panels to products that hang overhead or screw into standard light fixtures. The type of plants you have, the amount of existing natural light, and where your plants are located help you narrow down your choices. Typically, hanging lights are larger, while desktop lights are smaller and easy to move around. If you want a complete system, consider a full garden kit that includes the planter with a built-in light.
“Hanging your lights too low can burn your plants, but hanging them too high can leave them stretching for light, and weak,” says Kansas City-based Melissa Lallo Johnson, host of Art of Gardening, a vlog and podcast that features influential gardeners from around the world. The standard placement recommendation for incandescent grow lights is at least 24 inches from plants. Since fluorescent and LED lights have lower heat outputs, they can be placed 12 to 18 inches away from plants.
Different plants require different intensities of light, however. If you grow seedlings, Johnson recommends positioning them within 2 to 3 inches of a fluorescent light source, or as close to the light as possible without touching it. Hanging or positioning lights directly over plants is the best arrangement, because that mimics sunlight and ensures that the entire plant receives adequate light.
Wattage is a useful tool to determine the correct fixture for your plants. Generally, you need 32 watts per square foot, so most indoor plants (especially herbs) do just fine with a lower-watt light. The more important metric is PPFD, or photosynthetic photon flux density, which measures the specific light emission a lamp gives off. Not all products list this, however.
LED lights are one of the most popular, as well as the most efficient options. They also offer ideal light spectrum ranges. LEDs emit less heat than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 30 times longer. “LED lights are my preferred go-to for lights, because they’re energy-efficient and generate little to no heat,” Johnson says.
Fluorescent lights are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, but they tend to be pricier.
Incandescent bulbs are the least-expensive option, but they’re also the least energy efficient. They also have fairly high heat outputs, which is not the most ideal growing condition.
The beauty of indoor grow lights is they allow herbs, seeds, houseplants, and flowers to flourish year-round. However, they need the right amount of sunlight and darkness to thrive. Johnson says that for germination and seedlings, you can run lights 16 to 18 hours per day until they are a few inches tall. "As they mature," she adds, "you can slowly reduce to get them on a similar light pattern for spring before you transplant them.”
After some experimenting, you should be able to peg the optimal duration for your specific plant variety. A grow light with a built-in timer makes it easier to control proper light levels, especially if you’re away from home. Johnson suggests that you try to get the light schedule as close as possible to the current sun pattern, so your plants are less shocked when transplanted outdoors.”
How far should grow lights be from plants?
Though it depends on the wattage and light wavelengths, you should position grow lights at least 2 feet away from your indoor plants to avoid overheating. LEDs and fluorescent lights typically have lower heat outputs, so they can be placed a little closer.
How long should grow lights be on?
To effectively mimic the sun's natural light, a grow light should be on 8-16 hours a day, depending on where you live, what time of year it is, and the type of plant. Generally, if your plants receive some natural light, they don't need as much artificial light. A plant that doesn't get any natural light may need the full 16 hours.
Do you have to use LED lights?
LEDs are most often recommended for grow lights, though some fluorescent and incandescent bulbs can work. The most important thing is that regardless of type, the bulbs should offer full-spectrum illumination and produce waves of red and blue light, which is often necessary for plants to thrive indoors.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was updated by Sage McHugh, a lifestyle writer for The Spruce who specializes in the home and garden sector. To select the best grow lights for this roundup, she considered dozens of products, carefully evaluating their size, wattage, bulb type, and overall performance, including our testing insights. She also interviewed Kansas City-based Melissa Lallo Johnson, host of Art of Gardening, a vlog and podcast that features influential gardeners from around the world. She also consulted with Jamie Chan and Blas Herrera, who blog about things horticultural on Fog City Gardener.