HLG 650R Grow Light – Test and Comparison
Horticulture Lighting Group (HLG) has released their new flagship quantum board LED grow light. I bought one for myself and I’m writing to answer all of your questions.
The HLG 650R is a 630 watt LED grow light designed for full cycle cannabis growth. This grow light uses the newest Samsung LM301H LEDs, and emits stronger light intensity than the HLG 550 models.
You might be wondering why HLG wanted a new flagship grow light only 150 watts stronger than the 550 V2? In my opinion, they wanted to compete more closely with other high end LED grow lights such as the Optic Slim 600H, Gavita 1700e and the Scynce Raging Kush.
Each of those lights are different from the HLG 650R, but HLG just stepped into their arena with the 650R.
Below I’ll lay out detailed pictures, specifications, comparisons, and where you can buy one if you’re looking for one!
This is the HLG 650R full spectrum quantum board LED grow light from Horticulture Lighting Group. It’s HLG’s new flagship model grow light meant to flower a 5x5 foot grow space.
This grow light is strong, and made to compete with the best. There are several exciting new features to this grow light and I’ll lay them out below.
|Wattage:||630 Watts (Dims to 60w)|
|Spectrum:||4000K + 660nm Red|
|Energy Efficiency:||2.85 umol/Joule|
|Coverage:||7x7 ft (veg) / 5x5 ft (flower)|
|Amperage:||5.08 at 120v; 2.54 at 240v|
|Dimensions:||29 x 22 x 4 inches|
|Hang Height:||Flowering: 30 inches / Veg: 48 inches|
|Where to buy:||LED Grow Lights Depot|
First on the features list is the wattage. This is HLG’s strongest LED Grow light model, which pulls 630 watts from the outlet. The extra wattage makes this light strong enough to flower an impressive 5x5 foot space, and veg an even more impressive 7x7 foot space!
These impressive numbers put this grow light in direct competition with the Scynce Raging Kush, Optic Slim 600H and the Gavita 1700e. But what’s nice is the HLG 650R costs considerably less than those other models.
The light dims to 630 watts all the way down to 60 watts. It comes with the same convenient knob dimmer that the HLG 550 V2 has.
The new Samsung LM301H LEDs light your plants with 4000K spectrum. This spectrum is good for full cycle cannabis growth. The impressive part about the HLG 650R spectrum is that HLG was able to max out both blue and red wavelengths, making it ideal for full cycle plant growth.
As you’ll see below, the 4000K spectrum offered on the smaller HLG 550 Eco has considerably less red light in the mix, so the 650R is an improvement on that front.
HLG 650R Spectrum 4000K -- Good for all phases of growth:
HLG 550 Eco 4000K -- Good for Veg only.
The HLG 650R covers 5x5 feet during flowering, or 7x7 feet during the vegetative phase of growth.
If you’re using a 5x5, 5x10 or any tent size divisible by 5 feet, you’ll likely want this model over the smaller HLG 550 V2. If you’re growing in a 4x4, 4x8, or any tent size divisible by 4 feet, you’ll likely want to go with the HLG 550 V2 and save a few bucks.
HLG 650R Hang Height & Light Strength:
The HLG 650R is a very powerful light. It’s so powerful that HLG recommends hanging this light 30 inches above the canopy during flowering! That’s a full foot higher than most other grow lights. Of course, if you’re pressed for space you can always use the dimmer instead.
Peak intensity (ppfd/micromoles) for the HLG 650R comes in around 1700 micromoles in the center. That’s enough to turn your plants crispy if you don’t use it properly. In one University of Mississippi study, they found 1500 micromoles to be the highest recommended strength for growing cannabis, and they used CO2 as well.
So I would personally only recommend going above 1100 micromoles of light if you’re using CO2. Otherwise 1100 micromoles will be plenty to grow you large colas.
Click here for more about measuring and determining proper grow light intensity.
Does the HLG 650R get hot?
After running mine for a few hours, it does produce heat. But that’s not uncommon for grow lights, especially a 630 watt grow light. Luckily my grow tent fan was able to manage the temperatures just fine. You should have a sufficient fan in your grow space and expect to use it!
How Does The HLG 650R Compare To Similar Grow Lights?
Everyone I speak to tells me how stressful and confusing picking a grow light is. There are so many options with so many different specifications.
I’ve spent countless hours reading and comparing grow lights for the benefit of my readers. In my mind there are three close alternatives to the HLG 650R, but they’re all more expensive.
They are the Optic Slim 600H, the Scynce Raging Kush, and the Gavita 1700e. How do they all stack up?
Optic Slim 600H:
The Optic Slim 600H is probably the closest match. The spectrum is very close, but it uses CREE LEDs in addition to Samsung. HLG uses Samsung only, but they’re both very good brands so there’s not much difference there.
The Optic LED comes with a 10 year warranty compared to the HLG’s three year. But you pay for that warranty with the higher ticket price. The Optic consumes a similar 600 watts and the light intensity is a bit weaker, peaking around 1400 micromoles at a lower height.
I think I would probably take the HLG in this head-to-head comparison.
Scynce Raging Kush:
A more aged LED grow light but nothing to sneeze at. This one has a fully customizable spectrum which is still a pretty rare feature especially on high end grow lights. If you’re into full customization for your spectrum then the Scynce wins in this case, but if it’s not broke why fix it? The HLG 650R spectrum is perfectly balanced.
The Raging Kush pulls a higher 690 watts and results in a slightly weaker light intensity. How so? The older LEDs used here are not as efficient. Scynce also says this light flowers 4x4 feet, compared to 5x5 feet for the HLG.
A very popular high end grow light brand is Gavita, and their 1700e model is the closest match to the HLG 650R. The Gavita pulls a similar 645 watts and has a similar peak light intensity near 1700 micromoles. The spectrum is also a close match, although the LEDs on the HLG are about 10% more efficient.
My one complaint about the Gavita 1700e compared to the HLG 650R is the price. It’s several hundred more, but if you’re willing to pay for it, it’s a decent competitor.
Ironically those three alternatives are all listed among my Best LED Grow Lights list, and I’ll probably have to add the HLG 650R to that list soon.
Do I need the HLG 650R Grow Light or is there a better option?
Let me tell you the scenarios you would want the HLG 650R grow light for, and when you would want a different grow light model.
If you’re growing in a space that’s divisible by 5x5 feet -- for example, 5x10 feet, 5x15 feet, 10x10 feet, or 20x20 feet, then the HLG 650R is a solid option for you.
If you’re growing in a 4x4 grow tent, the 650R might be too strong. If you want the nice LM301H LEDs or the perfectly balanced spectrum you can still get it and use the dimmer as needed. But you’d also be perfectly fine considering the slightly smaller HLG 550 V2 for a 4x4 foot space.
Save Money With The DIY Kit:
Need a full cycle LED grow light to flower 5x5 feet, but also need to save some cash? Consider the HLG 600H DIY grow light kit. It’s a solid alternative to the HLG 650R, but you’ll need to make a few concessions.
Similar to the HLG 650R, this HLG 600H is 620 watts. The spectrum is slightly different at 3500K compared to the HLG 650R’s 4000K, but it’s still ideal for full cycle growth.
The two downfalls with the 600H, if you’re willing to deal with them, is the shorter warranty period and the slightly lower intensity coming in at ~1500 PPFD compared to the 650R’s 1700. It’s barely a noticable difference when you get up to those high intensity levels.
Of course you have to put it together as well but that’s a easy process and there are instructional videos on YouTube should you need them.
For those small differences you’ll be able to save several hundred dollars compared to the HLG 650R.
The HLG 650R is a powerful beast of a grow light that will bring you some of the highest yields possible if you use it properly and maintain the proper growing environment.
With the 650R, HLG has been able to compete with several other high end grow lights like the Optic Slim 600H, Scynce Raging Kush, and Gavita 1700e. The HLG 650R is priced hundreds of dollars cheaper than these other high end models and I expect people to see it as an attractive alternative for their grow tents.
If you’re still unsure or have other unanswered questions about the HLG 650R, feel free to reach out to me via the live chat box on your screen, or email me Nick@420ExpertGuide.com !
- Chandra, Suman, Hemant Lata, Ikhlas Khan, and Mahmoud Elsohly. “Photosynthetic response of Cannabis sativa L. to variations in photosynthetic photon flux densities, temperature and CO2 conditions.” Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants 14.4 (2009): 299-306.
3. Eichhorn Bilodeau, Samuel et al. “An Update On Plant Photobiology And Implications For Cannabis Production”. Frontiers In Plant Science, vol 10, 2019. Frontiers Media SA, doi:10.3389/fpls.2019.00296. Accessed 14 Oct 2019.
4. MARUO, Toru, et al. “Effects of Supplemental Lighting with Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) on Tomato Yield and Quality of Single-Truss Tomato Plants Grown at High Planting Density.” Environmental Control in Biology, Japanese Society of Agricultural, Biological and Environmental Engineers and Scientists, 11 June 2012, https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/ecb/50/1/50_63/_article.
5. Lin, K., Huang, M., Huang, W., Hsu, M., Yang, Z. and Yang, C. (2013). The effects of red, blue, and white light-emitting diodes on the growth, development, and edible quality of hydroponically grown lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var. capitata). Scientia Horticulturae, 150, pp.86-91.
The HLG 650R will flower a 5x5 foot grow space, or cover a 7x7 foot grow space during the vegetative phase of growth.
In my opinion the HLG 650R is the strongest competitor among similar grow lights due to cost and performance. You can read more details in this article.
The HLG 650R should be hung 30 inches above the canopy during flowering, and 36 inches above the canopy during the vegetative phase of growth.
Yes, the HLG 650R spectrum is ideal for all phases of plant growth -- cannabis or other.
The HLG 650R uses Samsung LM301H LEDs
The HLG 650R uses a 4000K white spectrum plus 660nm far red. This spectrum is perfectly balanced for all phases of plant growth.