Growing bud isn't always cheap.
This is especially true if you're growing indoors.
You have to buy a lot of equipment, from seeds and nutrients to lighting and ventilation. Advanced equipment like temperature controllers and CO2 regulators will set you back even further. No matter how you look at it, the cost starts adding up quickly.
Although you can make your money back in just a few months if you grow enough herb, not everyone has the cash, or the will to do so. And you shouldn't worry, because there are always ways to cut the cost if you're careful with what equipment you buy.
Today, I'm going to talk about what you should look for in a grow light if you're on a tight budget followed by my selection of best cheap grow lights.
Best Cheap Grow Lights: Quick Product Comparison Chart
If you’re impatient to see what products I featured in this article and their specs, here’s a nifty little table.
Number of Bulbs
Growstar Reflector Series 600W LED
TaoTronics Full Spectrum Grow Light
4.3 x 4.3 x 6.3 inches
Sun System Grow Lights
18.1 x 9 x 6.5 inches
Roleadro Galaxyhydro Series
Growstar 300W UFO LED Grow Light
10.6 x 10.6 x 2.6 inches
Of course, if you’re interested in learning more about these products, scroll down and read on!
What To Look For In A Grow Light?
As any experienced ganja grower will tell you, you can't have good bud without proper lighting. If you use low-quality light, you will only rack up your electricity bill and end with a dead plant.
Proper grow lights are essential because they mimic the spectral light wavelengths your plants need to produce energy for vegetation, growing and producing. Grow lights come in many different forms and emit different wavelengths that are important for different stages of the plant's development.
Furthermore, they come in different types, forms, and at varying price points. You can choose between HID lights, Fluorescent lights, and LED lights. Some are more affordable than others, and all come with their own sets of pros and cons.
For example, you can find an affordable HID light that you can use to develop your ganja plant from a seedling to a bud-laden tree. However, they tend to burn out quickly.
I'm not saying that all cheap grow lights have a short life span, quite the contrary. Reputable brands such as Roleadro and Meizhi produce affordable grow lights that will last you for years before they burn out.
The key to finding a cheap grow light that also delivers - lies in research. Pay attention to user reviews. See how many people complained about the light dying out after just a couple of days/months, or being dead at arrival. If you find only one or two bad reviews, you're good since it all falls in the margin of error. However, if there are lots of complaints, don't even consider purchasing that particular product.
But, before I start talking about different types of grow lights and which ones are best for what, I have to talk about the light spectrum.
It's All In The Spectrum
Like I mentioned before, you need proper light wavelength so your plants can grow and thrive.
So, how do we define light spectrums?
We can define the light spectrum by the temperature wavelength emitted by the colors provided by sunlight. Plants prefer different ranges of wavelengths for different stages of growth. Thankfully, with a proper (and affordable) grow light, you will be able to cover all these spectrums. You just have to be aware of your plant's needs and the capabilities of the bulb/LED/tube you use.
Let's go over which wavelengths are required for different stages of the plant's development. It's not exactly rocket science, so don't worry.
Seedlings and mature plants (vegetative phase) prefer short wavelengths of light. These are found in the blue end of the spectrum. Ganja, in its vegetative stage, requires a lot of blue light and UV light. Hence, you need to use a grow light that can emit both blue light (between 400 and 500nm) and a bit of UV light (between 180 and 400nm).
On the other hand, if your ganja is in its flowering stage, it will require more red light than infrared light. A grow light that can emit light between 620 and 780nm is ideal, but you can go for one that emits light slightly higher on the spectrum.
Ideally, you want to find a grow light that is both affordable and covers the full spectrum. This is a bit tricky but not impossible. You can use separate lights for different growth stages, and there are even some full-spectrum grow lights you can find at more-than-affordable prices.
You can find out much more about light spectrums and grow lights in general in my earlier post.
Grow Light Types, Their Strengths, And Which Is Most Affordable
To be able to support your beloved weed plants in all their development stages, you need to pick and choose the right type of light that provides the right wavelength. Before you make a decision, make sure you know for which stage you want to use the light for, and then consider your preferences in choosing the type of grow light.
Not all grow lights are built the same, and some are more affordable than others. So, let me take you through all the types available in the market, and what are their strengths and weaknesses.
High-Intensity Discharge bulbs are lit by combusting the gas that is trapped within the bulb. These bulbs require a specific type of hood set up, and ballast for regulating the electricity that goes into it, so it doesn't burn out.
HID grow lights can emit light from the entire spectrum depending on the type you choose. You can use them for both flowering and vegetative stages, and they are incredibly powerful.
HID grow lights are quite affordable. You can find full kits including ballast, bulbs and a reflective hood for just under $200. Even though you can find LED grow lights for half that price, they are perfect for large scale growing.
HID grow lights suffer from two drawbacks. The first is that they wear out quickly, meaning you will have to change them yearly. And the second is that they get quite hot, so you have to install cooling fans if you're planning on having any success with them.
Fluorescent lights have a far wider use than just lighting office spaces and garages. These lights produce light in the blue range, which makes them ideal for supporting your weed plants in early growth and maturity.
They are favored amongst growers that don't want to hassle with complicated ventilation setups or don't want to have loud cooling fans in their grow space. Furthermore, fluorescent grow lights are cheap and use less electricity than HID lights.
Unfortunately, they come with a few caveats. They are not very powerful, which means you will have to set up a dozen or so lights in the reflective hood if you want to have any success with them.
Another disadvantage is that they only produce light in the blue spectrum, which means they are only good for the early and late stages of the plant's development. You will have to use one of the other types of grow lights during the flowering stage, which completely defeats the idea of affordability.
Light Emitting Diodes represent the latest technology in grow lights. Although they can cost up to $500 for a single unit, you can find plenty of models that offer the same functionality at a fraction of the cost.
Their price scales with their size. If you are growing your ganja in a mini grow tent like CoolGrows, you won't make a mistake if you purchase a small LED grow light unit.
LEDs are extremely energy-efficient, which means you won't have to worry about your electricity bill.
You can also combine red and blue LEDs into one unit as your growing operation expands. So, instead of having to switch between different types of grow lights, you can set your grow tent (or area) with one of these babies, and you'll be able to provide light to your plant through its entire lifespan.
I forgot to mention that, in addition to their superb energy efficiency, they also have an amazing life span. An LED grow light will last for years before you'll have to get a new one. Even if you decide to opt-in for a more expensive model, you will be saving money in the long term because of the low electricity bill.
One more thing - If you’re planning on using regular LEDs to grow marijuana, please don’t. Read this article to learn why.
As you can see, all types come with their own catch 33. If you decide to go for an inexpensive HID grow light, you will have to go through the hassle of setting up the ventilation and cooling.
You can, of course, go for an affordable fluorescent grow light, but that you will have to set them up in pairs, which defeats the idea of affordability.
Lastly, you can go for a small but cheap LED grow light that you’ll be able to use throughout the plant’s lifespan.
My best advice is to go for an LED grow light because it will save you a lot of cash in the long run. However, if you don’t have the money for one, you can go for either of the two other types. In the next part of the article, I’ve covered all types so you don’t have to worry about exclusion.
5 Best Cheap Growing Lights For Growers On A Budget
Now that I've told you just about everything you should know when choosing an affordable grow light under which your precious ganja plants will thrive, it's time to show you my selection of the best products that fit this criteria.
I've covered all three major types available on the market, so you have enough options to choose from. I've also given my best at finding and showcasing the best quality grow lights. If you disagree with any of my choices, you can let me know in the comments.
Let's stop wasting time and jump into the reviews!
#1 Growstar Reflector Series 600W LED
- 【VEG / BLOOM Switches】VEG and BLOOM are both functional switches, that can be set accordingly to the plant in different...
- 【Daisy chain design】The 600w LED grow light with daisy chain design allows multiple lights to connect in parallel at the same...
- 【Energy savings uses 80% less electricity than HPS/MH】The 600w LED grow light input voltage AC85-265V, The LED grow light can...
If you're tight on budget, but still want to start growing using a high-quality product, look no further than Growstar. The only thing bringing down this grow light are loud cooling fans. Thankfully, if you find it noisy, you can return it and get your money back. Growstar offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, and a one year warranty on all their products.
This grow light boasts some impressive specs for its low price, let’s have a closer look at it.
The Growstar features 120 pieces of LEDs at 5w each, producing 600W of light in total. The manufacturer was nice enough to include 4 IR chips, which are integral for your ganja plant's proper germination period. For such an inexpensive device, I didn't expect it covers the full spectrum of light. It produces light in wavelengths ranging from 380 to 780nm, and when you factor in the IR chips, you have an excellent all-in-one device.
To ensure your ganja receives the maximum amount of light, all LEDs feature a 90-degree optical lens. These lenses produce high PPFD values that ensure maximum efficiency. The LEDs feature Zener diodes which ensure the whole light panel doesn't go out if one of the diodes burns out.
This is not the end of cool features this budget device delivers. Unlike other cheap grow lights, this one comes with the ability to daisy-chain multiple units for a larger grow space. The one thing Growstar shares with other budget grow lights is it’s nonexistent water resistance. This doesn’t mean it’s low quality, it means you should be careful with water around it.
You can also select between two light modes, vegetative and blooming mode. The modes are pretty self-explanatory. If your plant is in its early or mature stage, you hit the VEG button. If it's blooming, hit the BLOOM button and you're good.
Like I mentioned in the introduction, the only thing I don't like about this product is how loud the cooling fans are. You won't be able to hold a normal conversation if you have it turned on. It also offers no water resistance, but that is a given for most budget grow lights.
- Incredibly feature-packed for a budget grow light
- Covers the full spectrum of light
- Can be daisy-chained
- Uses very little power
- The fan noise can be insufferable for some
#2 TaoTronics Full Spectrum Grow Light
- Full Spectrum LED Grow Lamp: 12 evenly spaced 3W LEDs provide your plants with all wavelengths they need to grow healthy from...
- Easy to Use for Immediate Growth: Compatible with the standard E26 / E27 sockets and 100~240V AC so you don't need to purchase a...
- Better Dissipation with Umbrella Design: Does not heat even after 24 hours of continuous usage so it won't harm your plants and...
Second place in my list of inexpensive grow lights goes to TaoTronics Full Spectrum Grow 240W Light. Why? Well, not many LED grow lights boast 50.000-hour lifespans that can fit a standard E26 socket, and has active cooling. It also comes with a 12-month warranty, so you don’t have to worry about your investment. These are perfect for both growing tents and room-scale growing ops.
The thing that surprised me about this inexpensive little LED bulb is its coverage. It covers around 6 feet of growing area, which means you don't have to bunch up your ganja plants, so they receive enough light.
When it comes to spectrum, this grow light has you covered from seed to harvest. The lamp's 12 LEDs produce a full spectrum band light, both in the UV and IR range. The light it produces in UV has a wavelength of 380nm, while the IR it produces has a wavelength of 730nm. To ensure a safe and healthy flowering phase, it also produces red light in wavelengths between 630 and 660nm. For such an inexpensive grow light, this is beyond impressive.
I also love the design - it features a unique metal body that also acts as a cooling block. The cooling is made even more efficient with the addition of not one, but three cooling fans. These fans run completely silent, which is a huge plus because I can't stand constant buzzing (and I'm sure you feel the same way).
The only thing I don’t like about the design is its low water resistance. Because it is built out of cooling fins, and without an enclosure, I’d be careful with around it if I’m watering the plant.
The only thing I dislike about it is its narrow cone of light. If I want to cover the advertised six feet of growing space, I have to place it 6 feet above the plant which reduces its efficiency and starves the plans of light. Other than that, this is an excellent affordable LED grow light.
- Full-spectrum light
- Uses very little power
- Doesn't overheat
- Incredibly cheap
- The cone of light is too narrow
#3 Sun System Grow Lights
The third place in my list of affordable growling lights goes to HPS grow light from Sun System. The reason why I have put it in third place on this list is that it's not only inexpensive but also easy to set up. Let's take a closer look at it.
This Sun System light fixture features a state-of-the-art Galaxy digital ballast that draws way less power than what a magnetic ballast does. The ballast can operate both MH and HPS bulbs and can run at either 200w or 400w. This gives you lots of flexibility because you can switch out the included bulb with one that better suits your needs.
Speaking of included bulbs, this affordable grow light comes with an incredibly bright HPS light bulb that produces 16.000 lumens. It produces light in the red part of the spectrum, which means it is excellent for the flowering stage. If you chip in a few extra bucks, you can get a second light bulb that produces blue light so you can cover your ganja's complete life cycle.
To ensure the maximum amount of light reaches your plants, this grow light comes equipped with a highly refractive aluminum insert. Since HPS light bulbs can run really hot, it also comes with an integrated cooling system. However, if you decide to purchase one, I recommend you secure additional cooling since the one included feels a bit inadequate, especially if you decide to replace the bulb with a more powerful one.
When it comes to water resistance, there is no mention of it anywhere, but I think it’s safe to presume it’s not very water-resistant. Maybe it can withstand a light water splash, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Just like with any HPS or HID grow light, the only thing I don't like about it is its power consumption. Another thing I don’t like about it is that the warranty only covers the light bulb, and not the fixture.
- Inexpensive, even for an HPS/HID system.
- Requires zero setup.
- Ships with a light bulb,
- High power consumption
#4 Roleadro Galaxyhydro Series 1000W
- Blurples Light-Roleadro Grow light is an infrared grow light that is great for indoor plants. All Kinds of Indoor Plants Will be...
- Higher PAR Value and Energy Saving-Unique 90 degree optical lens and Eplieds 10w chips design bring higher PAR value(453umol at...
- Unique LED Bead and Zener Design-This plant light adopted led bead and zener design instead of the reflector to ensure if one led...
As my fourth affordable growling light of choice, we have a 1000W feature-packed model from Reladro. It is impossible to talk about grow lights without mentioning Releadro. This company is famous for producing high-quality products that receive universal praise.
Let's start with the design. On the first look, you wouldn't believe this is an inexpensive grow light. It's overall design closely resembles models that are five times more expensive.
This 1000W LED grow light features Zener diodes that ensure continuous operation even if one of the LEDs burn out. Thanks to the combination of a 90-degree lens and the 3w EpiLED chips, it achieves an excellent PAR value if 453umol when 18 inches above the plant.
Spectrum-wise, this grow light emits light in both UV and IR, which means you can use it thought your plant's entire lifespan. Not only that but to ensure your plants grow strong and healthy, it boasts a 9-to-1 ratio of the red and blue spectrum. Thanks to this ratio, your plants will grow to be vividly green and healthy.
While this device doesn't generate a lot of heat, it still comes equipped with two cooling fans. Although they aren't completely silent, they generate just enough noise not to be irritating.
This grow light has no water resistance. While this isn’t a problem in most cases, there is always a risk of it shorting out because of high humidity or accidental water damage. Thankfully, it is covered by a 24-month warranty.
In addition to no water resistance, there are a couple of other things I don't like about it. First, it doesn't support daisy-changing, which is important if you have more than two or three plants. Second, it doesn't have a timer, which I personally don't like. And lastly, you have no manual control over the spectrum, which isn't ideal for seedlings.
- Very affordable
- Covers both IR and UV light spectrum
- Durable LEDs and LED chips
- Doesn’t support daisy-chaining
- No timer
- No manual spectrum control
#5 Growstar 300W UFO LED Grow Light
- 🌱[Eco-friendly Products and Energy Saving] - Growstar spent more costs on product quality, safety factors, environmental...
- 🌻[Advanced CREE LED Chips & Full Spectrum] 3000k High Par Value COB LED Grow Light 300W uses CREE LED chips which is one...
- 🌱[Powerful Cooling Fan System]All our led grow lights have passed temperature test before leaving factory. Built-in...
The last place on my list is reserved for Growstar UFO LED grow light. Not because it's the worst, but because it can cover only a small grow area, which makes it good for use with a single plant or as a secondary lighting.
The main reason this grow light is on the list in the first place is its central chip-on-board (COB) LED from Cree, and the ideal color spectrum for weed farming. COB LEDs are more powerful than standard LEDs, which allows them to penetrate deeper into the canopy. They also emit full-spectrum light that weed plants love.
The central COB in this affordable ufo grow light produces 3000k warm light that contains all wavelengths, while the surrounding Bridglux/Epileds produce additional red and blue light that is needed throughout your plant's lifespan. Don't worry, it also has UV and IR diodes, so you can use it for germination.
Like I mentioned before, this grow light has terrible coverage. While it can be used for growing a single plant, I would personally use it as supplemental lighting for an area of 2.5 by 2.5 feet. It consumes only 115 watts of power and produces an output of 801 umol/m2/s at 12 inches from the canopy, and only 260 umol/m2/s when its 24 inches from the canopy.
For a budget grow light, the Growstar comes with an impressive warranty. The manufacturer gives you a 2-year warranty and a 30-day return guarantee if you're not satisfied with it.
The only thing that could be improved on this product is its water-resistance because it has none. So, if you're not careful with how you water your plant, you might end up with a dead light.
- Perfect light spectrum for all stages of growth
- Has a great output of 801 umol/m2/s
- Excellent warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee
- Only suitable for a single plant
- Not waterproof
So, after all this we are still there is still the question which one of the products I showcased above is the best affordable growing light?
This is quite a tough decision to make, since all these devices come with a set of unique features and uses.
However, after some time spent contemplating over this, I’ve decided that my vote goes to Growstar Reflector Series 600W LED; Out of all the products I’ve reviewed for this article, the Growstar is the only one that offers you the ability of choosing light modes, and it can be daisy-chained.
Both are very important in my book since I don’t like exposing my plants to unnecessary light because it can hurt my yield, and having the ability to daisy-chain multiple units ensures good scaling.
Leave any questions you have in the comments below. Tell me if I missed any of the affordable grow lights! See you in the next one!
Last update on 2019-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API