Over the past several years we have observed that the kind of indoor grow lights used to grow plants are constantly evolving. While a few years ago HPS lights were all the rage, growers are increasingly moving to LED grow lights – and even in LED grow lights there have been a number of changes in trends. Some people are quickly moving to fanless quantum boards from old-school LEDs while there are some who vouch for COB lights benign way better than SMD LEDs. If you too are confused by all the terms used here, this is the perfect article for you! Here, we shall be looking in detail at some of the best COB LED grow lights in 2020, as well as discussing everything that you need to know about LED lighting.
We shall first start by talking about why lights are important for plants, then take a closer look at the LED lights, and then at some different types of LED lights before finally moving into what COB lighting is and why it is considered better than regular grow lights. Once we have provided you with the review of the best COB lights in 2020, we shall also quickly go through a buyer’s guide which will help you make a better and well-informed decision when it comes to choosing the best kind of light for your needs!
Why is Light Important for Growing Marijuana?
Plants need light for practically all their growth. Be it for the green leaves that you see on your plants or be it the flowers that come out of it. Even the growth of their branches and roots have a lot to do from the light that they get! The most basic function of light, however, is to help in the preparation of ‘food’ for the plants with the help of photosynthesis, where the light gets converted into energy which helps break down sugars for the plants. In addition to that, sunlight also carries lights of different wavelengths which have different functions such as improving root mass or improving the spacing of branches. Grow lights also help with the formation of chlorophyll which is very important for the plants to grow.
When your plants are growing outdoors, they have access to the natural sunlight which carries just the perfect lighting. However, when you grow indoors, you need an artificial source of light which can replicate the sunlight. This comes in the form of grow lights which are created in a way to provide your plants with the perfect indoor lighting experience. These lights combine a full-spectrum lighting where you can ensure that all the required wavelengths of light are reaching your plants even when you grow them indoors.
There are a number of different types of grow lights available out there, but LED grow lights are the latest and the most popular ones. Here’s a closer look at why LED lights are considered better than other forms of lighting.
What is LED Lighting?
LED grow lights are essentially grow lights that feature Light Emitting Diodes. These are considered to be the most ‘modern’ and the best type of grow lights these days. This is because they consume the least power while providing the best possible output for the growers. LED lights also tend to heat up the least while taking very little time to cool down – hence making it possible to create fanless grow lights which cool down only using heat sinks! LED grow lights tend ot last for much longer in comparison to older forms of lighting.
Another major benefit of using LED lights is that even if one portion stops working there are other lights in the same setup that will continue to work. These lights are also easier to operate and safer to dispose of once you are done with them. When one talks of ‘LED grow lights’ in the traditional sense, they are referring to SMD LEDs. Here’s a closer look at the two different types of LED lights that you need to know about:
SMD LED lights vs COB LED lights
SMD stands for Surface Mounted Devices, while COB stands for Chip On Board. In case of an SMD grow light you will have chips which are fused onto a PCB (Printed Circuit Board). Interestingly, this is the technology that is used in the LED notification lights on smartphones, or on light strips, or on many similar platforms. SMD LED grow lights usually produce between 50 to 100 lumens per watt. The most common notion of “LED grow light” is an SMD grow light. An SMD system allows the growers to have three diodes per chip. Red, Blue and Green diodes are put on these chips – when you adjust their output levels, you can mix them up to practically create any color!
With COB LED grow lights, the focus moves towards improving the efficiency of the energy. COB lights tend to have a much higher number of diodes per chip than compared to SMD lights. While SMDs can have a maximum of three diodes per chip, COBs generally have a minimum of 9 diodes. Their circuit design too is much simpler when compared to the SMD lights which look quite complex and crowded. COB lighting also offers a much better lumen per watt ratio when you compare it against standard SMD lights offering a minimum of 80 lumens per watt on an average. The most popular example of a COB light is in the flash bulbs of cameras. However, we are specifically talking about the use of COB lights in growing plants – and here’s a list of some of the best COB lights in 2020:
Best COB Lights in 2020
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Phlizon, over the years, has made quite a name for itself in the world of LED grow lights. While the company largely makes regular SMD lighting, their COB lights are among some of the best that you can find! This one in particular is a 2000W COB LED from them and is quite an impressive product. Straight up the first thing that the company advertises about this light is the extremely high PPFD numbers that you get when you use this light. When hung from 18”, you get about 941 umols/sq.m. The grow light only consumes about 451W of electricity from the wall socket, which is very impressive considering the 2000W output.
When you look at the coverage that you get while using this grow light, it stands in at about 4.1*4.1ft during the flowering stage. During the vegetative stage the light goes higher up and the coverage increases but the flowering reading is the one that matters. This light can last you about 50,000 hours as per the manufacturer. There’s a 2-year warranty on this grow light, and it also comes with a 30-day return promise. There are four COBs present on this light – two warm white and two cool white lights – a combination of which is best for your plants at all stages of their growth. The one drawback is that you don’t have different switches for turning the VEG and BLOOM modes on and off.
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Similar to what we have seen in the light above this one, this COB LED grow light from AGLEX makes use of COB lighting as well as regular diodes to ensure that your plants are getting the best lighting possible. This is a full-spectrum grow light, where the plants get red, blue, white and IR lights along with four powerful Bridgelux COB lights. One benefit that this grow light has over the one that we have seen above is that it features two different switches for the VEG and BLOOM modes – which ensures that you can use the right kind of light during the right stage of the plant’s growth cycle.
There are four powerful fans present on the back of the light – which will make sure that the heat can be easily dissipated. There are aluminum heat sinks which also aide the fan in keeping the lights cool. When you hang it at 24”, the light gives 1241 umol/m²s of PPFD numbers which are very impressive. This AGLEX grow light consumes an average of about 408W to provide this 2000W output which is pretty impressive. The light can last for about 50,000 hours which is a decent lifespan. On top of that there’s a 3-year warranty that you get when you buy this grow light.
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Bestva is perhaps the best-known brand on this list given their experience in making world-class LED grow lights. The company makes a lot of SMD lights but they also make some grow lights using COB lighting. This is a 2000W grow light from the company which, as per the manufacturer, can help double your yields if used the right way! The light features two switches to trigger the VEG and the BLOOM channels so you can customize the lighting based on the phase of growth your plants are at. The light offers a maximum coverage of 5.4ft x 5.4ft which is pretty impressive.
This is a full-spectrum grow light which combines 12 bands of light to produce the perfect light for your plants to grow in. Bestva claims that their grow light offers 43% better PPFD readings than most other grow lights, which is also great for your plants. Their lighting is also focused at certain angles which ensures that no light is wasted off the corners. This grow light generates very little heat and has 5mm heat sinks which help cool it down, along with four fans on the back which make sure all the heat is blown out. Besides that you get a three-year warranty as well as a 90-day money-back period.
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While we’ve seen three 2000W LED grow lights above, this one offers a little less wattage – at 800W. However, it is still a full-spectrum grow light that ranges from 380nm to 730nm, with the help of 16 standard 3W LED lights and 4 COB lights of 3000K. This light is great for those growers who want to grow in a personal capacity. It offers a 2ft x 2ft flowering space and a 3x3ft vegetative space. There are a number of vents on the sides which allow the hot air to escape aided by high power fans on the backside.
The light supports switches for the VEG and BLOOM mode, as well as another great feature which is ‘daisy-chaining’ where growers can hook one light on to another instead of having to use three plug points for three grow lights. The light is very simple to operate and practically anyone can make use of it by simply using the bundled user manual! The COB lights on this grow light are very powerful and help give your plants an all-round growth. The company promises one year of after-sales services and are known to get back to all queries in about 24 hours which is a pretty good turn-around time.
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Featuring five open COB lights (no covering on top), this grow light offers a very unique look when you compare it with the other lights that we have on our list. It offers the full range of spectrum from 380nm to 800nm using the 5 COB lights. Each of these lights offers a 300W output giving you a total 1500W output. There are two fans on the back with one on/off control switch which makes operating the light very simple. The body is made of flame-proof material which ensures it does not catch fire and remains safe.
The overall power consumption here is close to 270W which is very good considering the output that this light gives you. To top it all off, there’s a 2-year warranty on this grow light along with a very good customer service which tends to revert in under 24 hours. It costs only about $85, making it quite cheap and hence giving it a price advantage over all the other names on this list.
Buyer’s Guide to COB Lights
Now that you know which are the five best COB LED lights that you can buy online, there are some other things which need to be considered as well. You must keep the following in mind as a checklist of sorts:
Grow lights need to ensure that they are covering your plants! If your COB light covers an area of 3×3 but your plants are spread over a 4×4 area, then there’s no point of buying that light. Make sure that you are getting a grow light that can cover the area of your plants in the flowering stage! Looking at just the vegetative coverage is misguiding because when you lower the lights during flowering the coverage decreases.
You must aim at getting a full-spectrum grow light for your plants because plants need different kinds of lighting during the different phases of growth. A young plant needs more blue lights while a mature plant needs more red lights. Hence, getting a full-spectrum lighting is always going to be beneficial as well as easy to operate.
3. Power Consumption
The amount of power that your light is drawing off your wall socket is another important aspect that you need to keep in light. COB lights are very energy efficient and compare a third (or sometimes even less energy) than HPS grow lights! Make sure you are looking at the exact power consumption and are not judging the light by the wattage written on the title which is the output number.
4. Cooling System
Your grow light needs to have an efficient cooling mechanism with the help of fans and heat sinks which will make sure that the heat is getting dissipated and does not gather around to damage your plants or your circuit.
5. Cost, Warranty, and Delivery
These are also quite important as the light needs to be in your budget, must have a decent warranty period (about 2 to 3 years is the industry norm). There must also be a good return period if you are not satisfied with the product. If the delivery is discrete it is even better for those growers who are looking forward to grow weed.
Pros and Cons of COB LED Grow Lights
Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of COB LED grow lights:
- One of the biggest advantages of getting COB lights is that there is a much higher number of LEDs that fit on the chip than compared to regular SMD lights
- These lights are much more focused and high-intensity when compared to old-school lighting solutions
- The circuits of COB lights are actually very simple unlike SMD grow lights where they can be very complex
- COB lights don’t heat up as much as other grow lights
- These lights tend to have quite a long life and a very low failure rate
- One of the biggest disadvantages of using COB LED grow lights is that they don’t really come in every colour spectrum that SMD offers.
Frequently Asked Questions About COB LED Grow Lights
We get many questions from our readers about certain kinds of products and COB lights are among the ones about which there seems to be the most confusion! Here’s a collection of answers for some of the most common and frequent questions that we get about this kind of a lighting setup:
1. Are COB lights more expensive than regular LED grow lights?
It depends upon the wattage that you are buying. There is indeed a small difference between SMD and COB lights, and COB lights tend to be about 10-20% costlier than regular SMD grow lights.
2. Are COB lights legal to use?
Yes, COB lights are completely legal to use. Growing weed might not be legal so that’s one thing you need to check with your local authorities.
3. What are DIY COB light grow kits?
DIY COB kits are something that is meant for pro-growers. These involve different parts that can be put together and assembled so that growers can make the most out of their grow light. Here, you get the brackets, the bulbs, the fixtures and put them all together to get a good lighting experience.
4. Where can I buy COB lights?
COB lights can be purchased at any store that sells gardening supplies. They are also available at Amazon where you can easily buy them off just a few clicks! We have provided the links to the five best COB LED grow lights in our article above which you can buy with ease.
Many people hail the COB lights to be the future while there are some who say that the time for COB LED grow lights is now. In this article, we hope that we have provided you with a three-sixty degree view about everything that COB lights are including their pros and cons. We have also provided you with a list of the best COB LED grow lights in 2020 which you can buy off just a few clicks! These are indeed a new kind of lighting when it comes to growing marijuana and growers who are planning to start off in 2020 must consider them. While there are many good SMD grow lights that are still out there, COB lights are indeed the future! If there are still any questions, feel free to drop us a mail or let us know in the comments below. Till then…
…happy growing! 🙂