I have tested 16 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 square 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 23c/KW hour over 14 hours per day average.
MIGRO ARAY 4X4 | 500W
The MIGRO ARAY 4X4 is 500 watts and a foldable LED grow light with remote LED driver as standard which can be located outside of the grow tent.
The MIGRO ARAY 4X4 is designed for a 4ft x 4ft (1.2m x 1.2m) grow area with the following features:
- Full spectrum - grow from seed to harvest
- High Efficiency 2.7 - high PAR - low power
- 2860 LEDs - intelligent spacing - uniform spread
- Supersized heatsinks - LEDs run cool for longer life
- Power supply remote mounted - reduce heat for longer life
- Dimming - on board - daisy chain - external controller compatible
The MIGRO ARAY 4X4 500W LED grow light delivers high PAR and incredibly uniform intensity over a 4ft x 4ft or 1.2m x 1.2m grow space.
The ARAY 4X4 is excellent build quality and uses the highest quality and efficient white LEDs by Samsung and Osram 660nm reds.
MARS HYDRO FC-E1000
Mars Hydro FC-E1000W is a 1000 watt LED grow light with a full spectrum light targeting full cycle plant growth. Built for high PPFD cultivation and designed for sealed grow rooms with added CO2 to make use of the very high average PAR delivered by this fixture. The most powerful grow light by MARS HYDRO to date date with a whopping PPF of 2,766 µmol/s and an average PPFD of over 1,800 μmol/m²/s.
Different from the other FC-E LEDs, FC-E1000W offers scalable flexibility, with 10 light bars that can be configured for 4'x4' or 4'x6' grow spaces to be used as 4x4 enhanced bloom grow lights, or as specific grow stand lights for 6-ft-wide rolling tables.
The fixture was tested in a 4x4 space with the light configured in the smaller size and the average PAR intensity is 1,668 µmols/m²/second and a system efficiency of 2.44 usable PPF/watt.
The Cretivity CF7000 LED grow light is an incredible $599 + shipping in the US. Can a grow light that cheap be any good?
The short answer is yes, it is good but not perfect. Hardly surprising given the price.
First the drawbacks:
There are three drivers bolted to a plate on the back of the led bars with loose power cables connecting them. The cables are safe and connected correctly but look unsightly. The LEDs are coated with Dow Corning silicon glue to protect them from dust and moisture. The fixture are assembled with UL listed safety driver, IP65 waterproof.
The light has been tested by Intertek and ETL listed which verifies this light is well constructed and safe to use. It also has everything you want in a grow light including: Full spectrum Even coverage High system efficiency of 2.23 µmols/watt or usable PPF/watt Onboard dimming and daisy chain dimmer controls. 5 years warranty
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
Medic Grow minisun 320W
The Medic Grow Mini Sun 2 LED Grow Light is an excellent fixture in one, very affordable, package. The fixture is suitable for a 3x3 up to a 4x4 sized grow tent. At 320 watts it is the lowest wattage fixture in this comparison.
The white LEDs are San'an and the red LEDs are Osram.
The light was tested in a 4x4 or 1.2m x 1.2m area at 16" or 40cm hanging height and the system efficiency result was 2.28 µmols/watt or usable PPF per watt.
An excellent quality grow light packed with features and with a very innovative feature in the light timer incorporated into the fixture.
Spider Farmer SE5000
Spider Farmer SE5000 is a high efficient led grow light for a 4ft x 4ft grow space. Delivers an uniform PPFD, excellent light spread and very even coverage.
The Grow light includes the following features:
- 100% authentic Samsung LM301B
- Added deep blue, deep red and far red leds
- 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
The SE5000 was tested in a 4ftx 4ft area with silver mylar walls and delivers an average PAR of 780 µmols/m²/second and a system efficiency of 2.3 usable PPF per watt
MARS HYDRO FC8000
The FC8000 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
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.
Vivosun Aerolight 4 pack
This is a package of 4 x 100W Aerolight led grow lights and the GrowHub controller. The Aerolight 100W fixtures join together with 'H' shaped connector brackets that are fixed into position with grub screws. The lights are each powered separately with 4 x plugs and are connected together and to the Growhub controller by RJ11 network cables.
The 4 lights then operate as one using the controller to adjust the brightness and light timing. Each of the Aerolight 100W fixtures have an integrated circulatory fan which will push air down onto the canopy to improve CO2 exchange and general air circulation in the plant canopy. Again the fan speed and timing can be adjusted using the Growhub controller.
There is also the option to integrate the Vivosun AeroZesh extract fans. The Growhub controller has a temperature and humidity sensor with an app to monitor and control the grow room remotely. The controller can also be setup to active devices based on the grow room temperature and humidity.
The white LEDs are Samsung 3000K warm white and 5000K cool white LM301Bs with added 390nm UVA, deep blue, dep red and 730nm Far red LEDs. The overall spectrum is about 4200K CT which is perfect for full cycle growing from seed to harvest.
I tested the fixture in its specified 4 x 4 grow area at 12" hanging height. The power consumed was 420.4 watts and the average PAR over the test area was 583 µmols resulting in a system efficiency of 2.0 µmols per watt or usable PPF per watt.
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.