LED lights are commonly used for growing marijuana indoors. Why is that? If you’re running an indoor or hydroponic grow operation at home, you could definitely benefit from using LED grow lights. They will deliver high-quality plants and produce the best yields.
Below, we explain in more detail why you should use LED lights for growing cannabis and where you can the best LED Grow Lights South Africa has to offer.
- The Best Full Spectrum Grow Lights Available in South Africa Reviewed
- Cluster Full Spectrum COB LED Grow Lights Review
- Helios High Bay 140W Plant LED Grow Light Review
- 5050 LED Striplight Grow Lights Review
- T8 LED Grow Light Tubes Review
- Mars Hydro Full Spectrum 48 LED Grow Lights Review
- Spectrum King SK 602 Full Spectrum Grow Lights Review
- 12V DC Digital LED Light Timer
- The Popularity of Grow Lights in South Africa
- 6 Benefits of Using LED Grow Lights to Grow Cannabis
- South Africa: LED Indoor Grow Lights – Factors to Consider
- Why You Should Invest in Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights in South Africa
- Should you use COB LED Grow Lights in South Africa?
- LED Grow Lights Suppliers South Africa
- Final Thoughts
We have reviewed some of the best grow lights available in South Africa to help you make an informed choice. If you’re looking for more information on how LED grow lights work, and what to look out for, we’ve got an in-depth guide after these reviews which explains every aspect of LED lighting you could imagine.
Now, let’s take a look at some reviews
If you’re looking for high quality, full spectrum LED lighting at an affordable price, then the Cluster Full Spectrum LED Grow lights are one of your best choices for LED grow lights in South Africa.
These lights provide a full-spectrum of growing light for your plants, in all their stages of growth, using its 3000K and 5000K COBs. Each COB runs four 3W LEDs, housed by high quality LED drivers. The Cluster lights also use lenses instead of reflectors, in order to prevent damage or wear and tear to the silicon chip surface, ensuring a longer life for your lights. The lights are housed in aluminium side panels, with metal front and rear panels.
The Cluster COB Lights also arrive optimized for smart spectrum control. Each light has three toggle switches on the back side of the module, namely: Veg, Full Spectrum, and Flowering. Simply turn on Veg during the vegetative stage, Veg and Full Spectrum for the main growth stage, and all three for the final flowering stage of your plant’s life. Combined with a good timer, this makes controlling light spectrum incredibly simple for all stages of plant growth.
The Cluster Full Spectrum COB LED Grow Lights come in three size options which can be used in combination to fit just right in your grow tent or growing space. Here are some useful details about each light option:
- 4 x High-Efficiency COB LEDs
- True Power of 120W (Equivalent to 250W HPS)
- 90cm x 90cm coverage in Vegetative Stage
- 60cm x 60cm coverage in Flowering Stage
- 9 x High-Efficiency COB LEDs
- True Power of 270W (Equivalent to 400W HPS)
- 110cm x 110cm coverage in Vegetative Stage
- 80cm x 80cm coverage in Flowering Stage
- 16 x High-Efficiency COB LEDs
- True Power of 480W (Equivalent to 600W HPS)
- 140cm x 140cm coverage during Vegetative Stage
- 100cm x 100cm coverage during Flowering Stage
Helios High Bay 140W Plant LED Grow Light Review
If you’re looking for another option that’s on the cheaper end of things (while still managing to get some bang for your buck), then the H158D 140W Helios LED Grow Light might just be the one for you. After all, it’s got a 1-minute modular assembly, which is perfect for beginners.
The first big bonus is that it’s daisy-chain friendly – this means you can easily attach multiple lights in sequence through the included inter-connection cable system. This would be ideal for hooking up multiple lights in a grow, all connected to the same power source and timer allowing for maximum control. The housing also has an air circulation design, helping you keep your temperatures as regular as possible. While not waterproof, there’s a handy self-testing function that alerts as soon as a light module is faulty.
The dimensions of the light box are 280 x 280 x 70mm, making it small enough to remain versatile, but still large enough to get some decent coverage. It’s made up of eighty 3W Cree LED diodes, outputting 140W HID-equivalent light, and 1.592lm (lumens). The diodes combine blue light in the 450-470nm wavelengths, and red light in 650-660nm. This mix allows for the use of these lights all the way through the growing process, from seed to flower, and then harvest.
Overall, it’s a pretty solid light to use in most small or beginner setups. When accompanied with a good grow tent, ventilation and some nice seeds (like the Durban Poison seeds South Africa is so fond of), you’re more than set to have a great yield come harvest time.
Perhaps you’re growing in a closet, or modified chest of drawers – or maybe even a space bucket. In a case like this, you’re going to need flexible lighting options, that can be tailored in a customized fashion to the space you’re growing in. This is where strip lights like the 5050 LED Strip Grow Lights come in handy.
The 5050 LED Strip Grow Lights come in a 5-meter strip, and have the ability to be cut and reconnected using 5050 strip joiners – they can be cut into sections as small as 5cm, which is great for getting full spectrum coverage in a small space. Speaking of spectrum, while not adjustable, these lights provide a full spectrum lighting coverage of 450-470nm blue light and 650-660nm red light. They provide 72 watts of true power per 5m strip. They have a 4:1 red to blue colour ratio.
These are a great versatile option for small and strange grow setups, and can also be used in addition to hanging lights, to increase light coverage on the sides of your plants, or increase the overall wattage of your grow. Please note, however, that these lights require a separate 12v DC LED Power Supply which is not included with them.
Another alternative for more adaptive lighting options are the T8 LED Grow Light Tubes. These tubes come in multiple sizes, namely 60cm, 90cm, 120cm and 150cm allowing you to customize and combine them for maximum lighting coverage in your setup.
They have the same full-spectrum wavelength coverage as the strip lights we previously mentioned, meaning they can be used all throughout the different growing stages, all the way from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage. They have a 3:1 red to blue colour ratio and the different sizes have respective outputs of 9W, 15W, 16W and 22W.
While these might not be the strongest or most customizable LED grow lights available in South Africa, they’re versatile and can be combined with hanging panels, and strip lights, to create a more efficient light coverage. They can also be used to supplement your main lighting to increase your square-centimeter coverage.
Mars is one of the more popular LED grow light brands on the market at the moment, despite many having issues with controlling the heat these lights can unintentionally produce compared to other LEDs.
The Mars Hydro 48 LED grow light is made using high-quality Epistar LEDs, which have a lifespan of up to 50 000 hours. Each LED has an output of 5W, and in the true power of this Mars Hydro model comes in at a decent 150W. They have a coverage of 60cm x 60cm, making them perfect for your regular sized home grow tent.
Each individual diode has a reflector around it, which is used to mix and spread all the diodes’ lights evenly and efficiently, making sure there aren’t any hot spots in your lighting spectrum. This module has a spectrum of 440nm blue, 460nm blue, 630nm red, 660nm deep red, 730nm infra-red, and 2700k-3000k overall.
The Mars Hydro Full Spectrum 48 LED Grow lights are great for beginners, although they’re a little more costly than some other brands. To find out more about this, and other Mars Hydro models, read our breakdown of the best Mars Hydro LED Lights.
Spectrum King is another well-known LED Grow light brand that has become very popular amongst both home and commercial growers in the past few years. Like Mars Hydro, they’re a little more pricey than your entry-level lighting options, but they’re great quality lights that are worth the price.
The SK 602 is a higher end model for the more serious home grower. It’s a lot bigger than the others in this list, and has a much higher wattage – but that, of course, comes with a fair increase on the price tag.
The SK 602 is a large model and has the out-the-box bonuses of being waterproof, as well as having a dimmer for controlling light intensity. It has a huge coverage – 2.4m x 2.4m during the growth stage, and 1.5m x 1.5m in the flowering stage – making it great for a serious home grower who’s looking to really increase their yield.
Like all other LEDs, it’s got a great low power consumption which, when compared to the 610-640W output is a great trade-off. This space coverage and wattage combo could allow you to grow between 4-9 plants with just one light, depending of course on the size of the plants, and other conditions. These lights effectively have the same output as a 1000W double-ended HPS bulb.
As we’ve mentioned, the SK 602 Full Spectrum grow light is quite a hefty one, and meant for serious growers. If you’re looking for some smaller-scale or more economical options from Spectrum King, take a look at our article on the best Spectrum King LED Grow Lights.
Digital LED light timers will help keep your lights on the correct on/off schedule in your grow environment. It can be used on many other appliances, but for convenience and accuracy, we would recommend buying a digital timer for your grow operation.
It’s a huge help to be able to leave your grow alone for a few nights, for whatever reason, knowing that your light cycle is staying perfectly in sync even if you’re not there to check up on it.
Here are some of the features of this LED light timer:
- This digital timer is user-friendly and easy to operate
- It has a built-in rechargeable battery – this means you won’t lose your real-time clock or programmed settings in the case of a power failure
- 17 Program settings
- Day, Weekday, Weekend and 7-day settings
Now that it’s legal to grow weed in South Africa, many people want to start growing their own bud to the best of their ability. If you want to grow high-quality marijuana, you need to make sure that you understand how LED lights work when growing weed. When you properly understand how to use an LED grow light, South Africa’s blistering sun can’t even keep up.
We’ve heard that LED lights are the future of growing indoor cannabis. So let’s get started and cover the A-Z of growing marijuana with LED lights.
Using an LED grow light can be beneficial to the growth cycle of your plants. There are many benefits to using these lights for growing your buds, and here are some of them:
- Switch up the colour spectrum which is beneficial for your plants
- LED grow lights are energy efficient
- Lower exposure to heat
- LED lights have a better longevity
- Save on water usage
- Digital timers for growing weed
- LED Grow lights can be used for both soil and hydroponics setups
Plants benefit from different colours in the spectrum at different stages in their growth cycle. During the initial growth stage, blue LED grow lights are the best to use. Red lights are used when the time has come for your marijuana to begin flowering or budding.
To avoid using two different types of lights for different stages in the growing cycle (metal halide bulbs and high-pressure sodium bulbs), you should consider switching over to LED grow lights. This means that you’ll have the best of both worlds in one product – blue and red spectrum lights!
The use of LED grow lights will give your marijuana plant the right colour spectrum at each stage of the growth cycle. Normally, you can switch different bulbs on or off at different times in the growth cycle.
Using LED grow lights to grow your buds is much more economical than using traditional lights. LED lights can produce the same wattage as traditional lights, but the energy output of LED grow lights are half that of traditional bulbs.
The use of LED grow lights will have the same effect on your sweet Mary-Jane’s growth, but your electricity bill won’t go through the roof.
Marijuana is known to produce a lot of heat during its growth time. Metal Halide or high-pressure sodium bulbs also produce a lot of heat. The heat coming from the traditional bulbs and the cannabis create a high-exposure heat environment, which quite frankly, can ruin the yield of your cannabis crops.
LED grow lights produce a very low amount of heat. So, the combination of very little heat from the LED lights and a lot of heat from the growing marijuana balances each other out. LED lights are a growing revolution and will protect your weed from potential overwhelming heat exposure.
This can be a huge advantage if you’re finding it hard to keep temperatures under control using a grow tent in South Africa’s climate.
LED lights will last you for years. Traditional lights are known to not last longer than 20 000 hours, whereas LED grow lights can last between 50 000 and 100 000 hours. You can do the calculations. LED lights will be the best cost-effective option. A good investment goes a long way.
Since South Africa has recently had a lot of water restrictions, we still want to use as little water as we possibly can. Growing marijuana can take up a lot of water, especially in a grow space with CFL or HID grow lights. With LED lights, which gives off less heat, there isn’t a huge effect on the moisture in your growth room or on the soil of your plant.
Using LED lights will reduce the amount of water you use. All the moisture you will add to your growth operation will actually be used by your plants – reducing your water usage and ultimately saving you money.
You need the best tools possible if you want your growing operation to be successful. Digital timers are great for indoor growing. A digital timer is essential if you’re not at home all the time, because it will allow you to monitor your lights.
One of the best benefits of using a digital timer is that it’s convenient. Using a digital timer means that you don’t have to frequently monitor your lights and turn them off and on your own.
It’s also the most accurate way of setting a specific time schedule for your plants. You can set the timer to follow the program you prefer, and it will automatically turn off the lights when necessary.
During the vegetative stage, it’s recommended that you turn on the lights for 18-24 hours.
During the flowering stage, you should have 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. Using a grow tent kit in South Africa can also give you extended control over your lighting, making sure no outside light is getting in.
Now that you know why LED lights are the better choice for your indoor cannabis-growing operation, we can consider the important factors for setting up your lights. We’ll be looking at the following factors:
- LED grow light wattage determines the distance from the top of the plant
- Your light schedule during the different growth stages
- Watts per plant for growing with LEDs
While LED lights don’t produce as much heat as normal lights, you still have to determine the right height of your light to not burn your plants. Different power rating (watts) will perform best at different distances.
When you have a lower-powered light, like a 250 watt LED grow light you should keep it between 30 – 60 cm above the top of the canopy. Medium-range lights -between 600 and 900 watt- should be kept 35 – 65 cm from the top of your plants.
Last, but not least, high-powered lights, such as 1500, 2000 or 3000 watt LED grow lights, should be raised 60 – 90 cm from the top of your canopy. When in doubt, further away would be the best rule to follow. This is especially important for hydroponics in South Africa, as you want the utmost control over your environment down to the finest details.
Guideline: LED Wattage vs Distance from the top of the canopy
- 250 W | 30 – 60 centimetres
- 450 W | 35 – 75 centimetres
- 600 W | 35 – 90 centimetres
- 900 W | 40 – 90 centimetres
- 1500W + | 60 – 90 centimetres
What do you need to know about the light schedule when using your LED lights in the vegetative and flowering stages of the growing process?
These light patterns mimic seasons which means that you can control when the flowering stage should start. Your cannabis plants won’t start flowering until they receive 12 hours of darkness each day.
This means they will continue staying in the vegetative stage until you add darkness to the grow space. You can keep your plants in the vegetative stage forever, as long as they will get more than 13 hours of light every day.
In the vegetative stage:
- 18 hours of light (some growers do 24 hours)
- 6 hours of dark
These are more commonly referred to as 18/6 schedule. Some growers decide to give their plants 24 hours of light a day, because a lot of light means they will reach their maximum potential quite fast.
During the flowering stage:
- 12 hours of light
- 12 hours of dark
The flowering stage is referred to as 12/12 light schedule.
You want to make an informed decision before buying an indoor LED light. They can be quite expensive, so it is important to determine the size of your grow space. 400-600W per square meter is more than enough light for when you’re growing at home.
For a home scale operation, you could even use LED lights with a wattage of between 250 – 300 watts. This will definitely affect your yield, but we all know how expensive LED lights can be. This will still work in a small space, so it will still be worth it to get a light with lower wattage.
Commercial growers might use 1000W+ to get a maximum yield. Just take note that the more lamps you add, the more heat will be produced. This is not great for the quality and growth progress of your cannabis crops.
Another important factor to consider, is actual wattage versus advertised wattage. Advertised wattage (LED Watts) is determined by multiplying the number of diodes by theoretical wattage. Let’s use an example: 192 X 5 Watt diodes = 960 LED Watts.
The actual wattage (actual power, power consumption or power output) you will get from your LED light will be listed under the product’s power output specification. In this example, the actual wattage for this product is listed as 450 Watts.
You might see people advertising grow lights referred to as full spectrum LED grow lights. Why are these specific LED lights important to use when growing weed?
A lot of people grow their plants (and their cannabis) outside with exposure to natural sunlight. Sunlight includes all the various spectrums of light needed for the process of photo-respiration to take place – like ultraviolet and infrared.
Full spectrum lights are specifically designed to imitate natural outdoor sunlight so that you can grow happy, healthy plants that will help yield better harvests. They are made to include most wavelengths needed for plants to develop to their full capacity. This allows you to grow popular outdoor strains in a better controlled environment, giving you a better end product.
The best full spectrum grow light would replicate the light spectrum of the sun and allow you to adjust the light intensity to your needs. A full spectrum grow light would be the best to buy, because you can use it through the whole plant life cycle instead of switching between different grow lights for each stage.
COB stands for Chips-on-Board, and is a new type of LED where multiple LED chips are combined as one module, essentially creating a lighting panel. COB LED Grow Lights are more energy-saving than normal LEDs, have a longer life, and produce a far better light quality than standard HID or halide bulbs.
As such, if you can afford to spend a little extra, COB LEDs are a great addition to any grow room or grow tent setup, whether you’re growing using hydroponics or growing in soil.
The type of LED grow lights you’ll need for growing cannabis is quite hard to find at walk-in stores. We’ve compiled a list of South African online stores where you can find the best grow lights to fit your needs:
- Hydro Herb Africa
- Weed Culture
We hope you’re now a bit more clued up on the benefits of using LED grow lights when growing your sweet Mary-Jane. They are energy-efficient, offer low heat-exposure and they’re a great long term investment.
So, if you know how much space you have available, you can easily determine which LED light would be the best for your set-up. For greater cannabis yields and high-quality buds, LED grow lights are the way to go. With LEDs, you’ll be winning all the way – happy growing!