I have tested 13 of the best grow lights for a 4ft x 4ft or 1.2m x 1.2m grow tent and compare them for PAR output, efficiency and value for money.
The 4ft x 4ft or 1.2m x 1.2m grow area is one of the most popular grow tent sizes and also a common modular size for commercial grow setups. There are a large number of grow lights on the market for 4 x 4 grow areas including a lot of commercial grade fixtures so there is a lot of competition and great value for money.
To maximise the potential yield from the space you need about 400 to 500 watts of high efficiency LED lighting to achieve an average of 700 to 800 µmols PAR intensity. Some fixtures are in the 800 watt range and designed to delivery very high average PAR intensity of about 1,200 µmols which would require CO2 supplementation to make use of the high light intensity.
Ideally the light fixture will be suitably sized to cover the area evenly i.e. the fixture is rectangular and close to the physical size of the grow tent. The PAR chart is shown below for each model so you can judge the best solution for your grow space.
All of the lights have a mixture of mid temperature white LEDs with 660nm reds to improve their electrical and photosynthetic efficiency. Therefore all of the grow lights tested are full spectrum and suitable for growing from seed to harvest.
Grow light comparison method
The comparison chart uses the results from Shanes PAR output and efficiency tests to calculate and compare the total cost of each fixture to deliver an average PAR of 750µmols/m²/second over 1m² grow area over a 3 year period. The 3 year costing includes the cost of the fixture and adds the electricity costs at 17c/KW hour over 14 hours per day average.
MIGRO ARAY 8
Our own MIGRO ARAY 8 is designed by Shane and built here at the MIGRO factory.
The ARAY 8 has two variants, the 480 watt ARAY 2 +RED red and the higher efficiency 530 watt PRO version.
It is a 480 Watt to 530 Watt 8 led bar light for a 4ft x 4ft (1.2m x 1.2m) grow area with the following features:
- On board dimming from 10% to 100% output
- High efficiency LED driver can be located outside the tent to minimise heat input in the grow tent.
- Full spectrum output to grow from seed to harvest
- LEDs are acrylic coated to protest from dirt and moisture
- Low hanging height for small spaces
The relatively wide spread of the LEDs allows a low hanging height, very useful for small grows paces.
The 16cm and 18cm hanging height for the ARAY 8 +RED and PRO versions delivers an even spread with system efficiency of 2.26 to 2.37 usable PPF per watt, respectively.
The ARAY 2 is excellent build quality and uses the highest quality and efficient white LEDs by Seoul Semiconductors and Osram 660nm reds.
The ARAY is also a modular system and can be upgraded to larger grow sizes by simply adding on additional fixtures.
Spider Farmer SE7000
The SE7000 is a very high powered LED bar type light for a 4 x 4 delivering an average PAR intensity of 1,257 µmols/m²/second. In order to make use of this high intensity it is recommended that CO2 levels are raised to about the same figure as the PAR intensity i.e. 1,257 ppm.
Spider Farmer SE7000 is a high efficient led grow light. Delivers an uniform PPFD, excellent light spread and very even coverage.
This new light is packed with features:
- 100% authentic Samsung LM301B. (Spider Farmer is an official partner of Samsung company, which can be verified on Samsung website)
- Dimmable brightness and wattage from 10% to 100%, for separate growing stages seedling/veg/flower.
- Dimming daisy chain function allows multiple fixtures controlled at same time -Detachable bar and driver, easy assemble
- DLC/ETL/CE Certified
MARS HYDRO FC8000
The SE7000 is a very high powered LED bar type grow light for a 4 x 4 delivering an average PAR intensity of 1,298 µmols/m²/second. In order to make use of this high intensity it is recommended that CO2 levels are raised to about the same figure as the PAR intensity i.e. 1,298 ppm.
The Mars Hydro FC8000 is a commercial grade LED bar type light light with Samsung lm301B diodes and LED bars that are adjustable to vary the light distribution. The system efficiency and light spread are very good.
This fixture is aimed at the commercial market with features such as:
- Dimmable from 10%-100%
- Dimming daisy chain function for up to 30 lights connected together
- Uniform PPFD in the range of 1200-1800 μmol/m²/s
- DLC/ETL certified
Pandvillow Mate 400W
The Pandvillow MATE 400W LED panel type grow light is a very good value option. It is a simple construction with 4 x LED boards mounted to an aluminium back plate with two Meanwell drivers mounted on top. The drivers are controlled together with a dimmer adjusting smoothly from 10 to 100% output.
The LEDs are a mixture of cool white, warm white and 660nm reds for higher system efficiency. The spectrum output is Full spectrum and suitable to grow from seed to harvest. The LEDs are also coated in silicone to protect them from dust and moisture and extend the fixtures lifespan.
The light can be used in a 4 x 4 with a system efficiency of 2.09 µmols/watt which is very good for this price range but the light spread is not as good as some other fixtures due to its relatively small size.
Growers Choice ROI E420
The Growers Choice ROI E420 is and LED bar type light, has been out a few years now and has a solid reputation.
It is a foldable LED grow light consuming 392 Watts in the test. The light was hung low in the test as per the manufacturers recommendations and delivers a good system efficiency of 2.32 µmols/watt. However, for more uniform distribution we would recommend a higher hanging height of about 25cm or 10".
The Hyphotonflux HPF4000 LED bar grow light designed for a 3ft x 3ft or 90cm x 90cm up to 5ft x 5ft or 1.5m x 1.5m space and to hang at a minimum 40cm or 16" over the plant canopy.
It is not the highest quality construction as other lights in this comparison but has all the features you need including:
- Full spectrum light output for growing from seed to harvest
- On board dimming control from 10 to 100%
- Meanwell driver
- Daisy chain dimming control
The light spread is good and in our test the fixture output an average PAR of 741 µmols/m²/second over the 4ft x 4ft or 1.2m x 1.2m plant canopy an consumed 493.5 watts for a calculated system efficiency of 2.16 µmols/watt or usable PPF/watt.
The Viparspectra KS5000 is a new LED bar type light for a 4 x 4 or 1.2m x 1.2m grow space. It is a foldable grow light and is pre assembled and ready to hang. It is very well built and includes high quality LEDs, the LM301H by Samsung and the 660nm Reds by Osram.
The LED driver is remote with a long power cable with on board and daisy chain dimming as standard. There are 6 LED bars unevenly spaced & with LEDs more dense at the end of each bar to ensure the most even spread of light possible.
The light is recommended for a 16" or 40cm hanging height and delivers an excellent 750 µmols average PAR across the grow area and consumes 491.43 wats at the wall. The efficiency test result is 2.2 usable PPF per watt which is excellent for a light with this price tag.
The MARS HYDRO FC4800 LED bar type grow light with Samsung LM301B diodes for a 4ft x 4ft or 120cm x 120cm grow space.
The light draws 480 Watts from the wall and at 40cm or 16" hanging height delivers an average PAR of 738 µmols/m²/second which is a good level. The system efficiency is 2.21 µmols/watt (usable PPF/watt)
Spider Farmer SF4000
The SF4000 is a panel type light of basic construction and relatively expensive for the performance and quality of construction.
We found the optimum hanging height to be 48cm or 19" which is relatively high for a light of this size and the light spread is not as good as the LED bar type lights in this comparison. The system efficiency is also the lowest in this comparison.
Forever Green Indoors Uniformity PRO Flex
The Uniformity PRO Flex from Forever Green Indoors is a very high performance grow light for a 4ft x 4ft grow area with a lot of great features.
The fixture is high build quality, easy to assemble and hang and has a few cool features such as wireless control and can be integrated with cloud control systems such as Google home and Amazon Echo.
This 630W fixture delivers a very high average PAR intensity of 1,036 µmols/m²/second. As the model name suggests, the uniformity of light spread is incredible; the lowest PAR measurement in our test was 900 µmols/m²/second and the highest was 1,150 µmols/m²/second.
Protech 430W LED
This is a high quality but expensive LED bar type grow light by Protech and mostly available in the UK and Ireland. However the fixture is very good build quality and full spectrum for growing from seed to flower.
The 430W version is very efficient at 2.36 usable PPF per watt but the light spread is not the best in this comparison due to its rectangular shape.
Lumatek & Photontek 465W PRO
The Photontek 465W LED bar type grow light is a very high quality fixture. This is the same light as the Lumatek 465W pro which is the UK brand from the same company.
This light delivers an excellent spread over the 4 x 4 area and a very good system efficiency of 2.22 usable PPF/watt.
Have questions about my use with the 1000w photontek c02 pro model and how far at what % should I be running fixture at what distance from plants at seedlings vs young adult vs adults veg vs bloom. I’m running 800 watts at 4ft away at 100% and they are 7 weeks old from germination and they have been growing slow under 600w at 75% at 4ft so I turned up light % and added 2 light rails back onto fixture. I use the ppfd meter app on my phone and I measure the light at 42inches at 500ish ppfd at 600w at 100% but 800w at 100% gives me around 900-950ppf. But the plants have been growing slowly and I can’t figure out why. Please help. Thanks
June 23, 2022
Do the UV and IR on the Growealth add to their performance a desirable feature?
May 03, 2022
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