The Strongest COB LED Grow Lights For Indoor Growing (2020)
I’ve been thinking about COB LED lights lately and realized that all LED grow lights should be COB design.
COB LED grow lights are better than regular LED grow lights because they emit stronger light intensity, which will result in a higher yield from your plants compared to a low wattage SMD LED grow light.
Since these grow lights are among the strongest available, they’re also pricey. If they’re not for you, I recommend checking out other popular options like the best cheap LED grow lights, this year’s best LED grow light list, or high quality grow lights you won’t find on Amazon.
Optic LED is a popular COB Grow light brand that’s known for their quality lights. The company offers a full product line of COB LEDs and accessories. The Optic 6 Gen 4 is a mid range 570 watt model with an impressive coverage area and PPFD readings.
This Optic 6 uses six 80 watt CREE CXB 3590 COBs, and supplemental Samsung LM301H LEDs. Secondary lenses are installed over each COB, increasing intensity significantly.
One unique feature I really like about this light is the timer that’s built into the side of the light. You don’t see built in timers in nearly any other brand of light, but it’s a big convenience to be able to set it and forget it.
Optic LED claims you can harvest up to 1.8 grams per watt with this light. Just remember yields can vary greatly from grow to grow.
Spectrum & PPFD:
As you can see, this light offers powerful blue and red spectrum. It’s ideal because you don’t want a light that’s heavy on one or the other. Balance is key. The Optic 6 spectrum covers 380nm to 780nm wavelengths which includes UV-A and near infrared – two key wavelengths for boosting THC, CBD, yield, and ensuring your plant physically forms properly.
Most COB LED grow lights put out impressive PPFD measurements, and this light is no different. Average PPFD at 24″ hits 739 umol, and closer to the center you’ll get readings near 1800.
These are the type of readings you want to maximize your yield. You won’t see these readings from a regular 600 watt LED grow light.
Coverage area on this grow light is 4x4 for vegetative and bloom phases.
One important thing to note is that your plants will actually receive usable PPFD intensity at the furthest edges of the Optic 6’s coverage. It’s a real achievement by Optic LED because the PPFD on most other lights just isn’t significant at the furthest edges of coverage.
Power Consumption & Cooling:
You’ll be pulling 600 watts from your wall when using this light. The CREE COBs draw 330 watts and the LEDs pull another 270. The Optic 6 has 20% overbuilt heat sinks, slotted housing, and 6 large cooling fans on the top.
I went through dozens of review for this light and couldn’t find any negative comments about heat.
Comparatively speaking, this is the second strongest COB I’ve reviewed in this article. It’s one of the most popular and productive COB LED grow lights among serious cultivators.
Warranty & Comments From Current Owners:
The longest duration warranty we’ve seen offered for a grow light is 5 years. Optic LED is one company offering that benefit to their customers. This light is covered for 5 years worry free.
It’s great to hear about all the features from a manufacturer but it’s better to hear about user experiences from users themselves. I read through user reviews from several places. Some of comments that struck me the most were:
A current owner said they used the Optic 6 COB LED grow light for one grow cycle so far. They said it’s the best light they’ve used and worth every penny.
Another person switched over from two BestVa reflector grow lights. They said the difference in vegetative phase is incomparable.
Lastly, a 20 year experienced cannabis cultivator said they’re a proud owner of 3 different Optic LED lights, and they’re “impressed on all levels,” and continues to grow larger than normal buds and trichomes.
The enthusiastic owner reviews go on and on, and I think when you pair that with a 5 year warranty you really can’t go wrong.
The Amare SolarECLIPSE is another truly impressive COB LED grow light. They say you get what you pay for, and I found that saying to ring true for each of my picks in this article about the most popular COB LED grow lights.
Amare Technology is known as an innovator in the LED grow light field. They were the first company to offer COB LEDs and enhanced white light spectrum back in 2014.
The SolarECLIPSE SE 500 uses 6 CREE CXB3070 COB LEDs, and 60 supplemental 5 watt CREE XP G2/E2 LEDs.
It features a patented reflector array as well as removable 90 degree lenses installed over the COBs. Because the lenses increase intensity so much, Amare doesn’t recommend hanging this grow light lower than 28″ if you have the lenses installed. The lenses are removable but that’ll lower your light intensity.
The light measures in at 21.65”x 21.65”x 3.15”, and weighs 33lbs.
SolarECLIPSE SE 500 Spectrum & PPFD:
Spectrum and PPFD are the two most important factors when selecting a grow light. You need the full PAR spectrum in addition to UV and IR in order to get the most out of your cannabis plants.
This Amare light covers the full 380nm to 740nm PAR wavelengths, including UV and IR wavelengths that are key for boosting THC, CBD, yield, and ensuring your plant physically forms properly. This light actually contains its own UV-A/B fluorescent bulb in the middle of the fixture. That bulb has it’s own switch and power cord so it can be run on a separate timer.
Take a look at the full spectrum output below:
It has a decent amount of green spectrum as well, and this helps drive photosynthesis even further in cannabis plants because the green wavelength is absorbed more easily by the leaves.
Take a seat because the PPFD measurements from this light are going to knock your socks off. Remember you have the option of removing the lenses so there are a few different possibilities:
- No lenses installed: 1207umol @ 24″, 770umol @ 36″, 546umol @ 48″
- Lenses installed: 2118umol @ 24″, 1523umol @ 36″, 974umol @ 48″
If you’re used to seeing or experiencing regular non-COB LED lights and what type of intensity they put on your canopy, the SolarECLIPSE SE 500’s numbers can be a true shock. But this is what you get when you pick top shelf over plain satisfactory grow lights. It’s a whole other level.
What type of coverage will these PPFD values get you? Amare Technology says 4.5′ x 4.5′ at 36″ above canopy during vegetative, and 4′ x 4′ at 24″ above canopy during bloom. You can bet all your edges will have usable light intensity on them too.
Power Consumption & Cooling:
The Amare SolarECLIPSE SE 500 will draw ~510 watts from your wall. It features separate modes for vegetative and bloom plant growth phases, so if you’re only using veg mode you’ll use considerably less. You’ll draw 370 watts with COBs only, and 160 watts with 5w LEDs only.
The light uses four premium cooling fans and a proprietary copper-core heat sink. I looked around through current owners’ comments and nobody complained about heat. One person said “virtually no heat,” and another said “low temps. fans quiet.”
Comparatively speaking, this is the strongest light I’ve reviewed in this article. If you’re looking for the best of the best – this is your pick.
Warranty & Comments From Current Owners:
If you’re going to move on this light, you want to have some level of comfort first. After being convinced of it’s capabilities you want to make sure you won’t be left hanging in the rare event something malfunctions. This light comes with an industry leading 5 year warranty and you’ll be fully covered if anything goes wrong.
Furthermore, current owners couldn’t be happier with their decision. Who better to ask than someone who made the move before you?
A quick look through the reviews and you’ll see owners are saying things like this about the Amare SolarECLIPSE SE 500: “blown the doors off other lights I’ve used,” and “Best light I’ve ever used, I have three models and love them all.” Another owner says the light “delivered in spades and you would not be disappointed.” I can keep going but you get the point.
You can get the Amare SolarECLIPSE SE 500 from my friends at LED Grow Lights Depot where they offer free shipping, price match guarantee, 90 day returns, interest free financing, and family-like customer service. You won’t be disappointed.
The California Lightworks SolarXtreme 500 is an American made COB LED grow light. California Lightworks has a product line split between two light types: LED and COB LED. This is their mid-range COB model.
This full spectrum light features 8 COBs of 50 watts each. The light features direct AC drive technology, eliminating the need for LED drivers.
This plug and play COB LED grow light emits a white light, not blurple, and it’s effective for all plant growth phases.
It looks like a big light but actually only weighs 11lbs, and measures 18″ x 8.5″ x 4″.
One distinct difference between this grow light and the previously discussed Optic 6 and Amare SolarECLIPSE, is that this one doesn’t feature an intensifying lens. With that said, it’s also in a lower price range.
The SolarXtreme 500’s Spectrum & PPFD:
This COB LED delivers a full spectrum to your plants. As you can see below, they’ll get a balanced blue and red with some beneficial green in there as well.
The PPFD from the SolarXtreme 500 is 800 umol at 18″ hanging height. That’s enough to get you a healthy yield on your cannabis. In fact, while researching I stumbled upon some comments from a grower who switched over to this COB LED grow light from ceramic metal halide lights.
They grew 4 autoflowers (shorter growing cannabis plants that flower automatically) with each light. The CMH yielded him 10 ounces from 4 autoflowers, while the SolarXtreme 500 yielded 14 ounces from the same plants during a different grow.
You’ll get about 4’x4′ coverage with these COB LEDs during bloom, and 5’x5′ during the vegetative growth phase. The light is perfect for a 4x4 grow tent.
Power Consumption & Cooling:
The SolarXtreme 500 features two huge fans that sit right on top of a large heatsink. California Lightworks says these grow lights make about 1280btu worth of heat.
Out of dozens of positive reviews I’ve only seen a few owners say they produce some heat, and they say it’s manageable with a 10 inch fan and accompanying 10 inch carbon air filter. So you may need those if you’re using a grow tent. If you’re growing in an open space you should be good with a space fan.
Warranty & Comments From Current Owners:
California Lightworks offers a one year warranty with this COB LED grow light. It’s not the longest in the industry. That said, I read through owner reviews of the SolarXtreme 500 from a few places. Most owners are very satisfied. One said their other California Lightworks grow light is 7 years old and still running strong. They really believe these are high quality grow lights.
Click here to check out the California Lightworks SolarXtreme SE 500 COB Grow Light at LED Grow Lights Depot
You can’t talk about COB LED grow lights without mentioning Timber COBs. They offer a ton of different size lights for different size grow spaces. The Model 3VL pictured above is perfect for a 2x4 foot grow tent.
This light comes three Vero29 Generation 7 COB LEDs. It pulls 300 watts from the wall, so you know this grow light will light your 2x4 foot tent up nicely.
Timber COB grow lights are hand made to order in California, USA, and typically ship within one week. Timber grow lights are top shelf grow lights, and can even compete with quantum boards.
Timber 3VL Spectrum & Intensity (PPFD):
The full spectrum white light emitted by the Timber COB LEDs is perfect for all stages of cannabis growth. Studies have shown white spectrum light to be 10-15% better for growing compared to purple/blurple spectrums.
You can choose your color temperature when you order – 3000K, 3500K, or 4000K. 3500K is recommended as the best balance for all phases of growth. 3000K has more red in the spectrum, and 4000K has more blue in the spectrum.
As shown in the video below, the light intensity is a strong 600 micromoles even at 24 inch height. You’ll have plenty of light to maximize your cannabis yield.
Power Consumption & Cooling:
Generally speaking Timber grow lights consume slightly more power than other similar lights. But that’s because the light intensity is very strong. Even though power efficiency is important, it’s important to note what you’re getting for that power. A 150 watt grow light just won’t perform the same as a 300 watt LED grow light.
This Timber 3VL consumes roughly 300 watts from the power outlet. The grow light dissipates heat using the spike shaped heat sinks on top of the fixture. Overall it’s a solid design.
Other Timber Grow Light Features:
In comparison to other grow lights, Timber grow lights do have a few differences that you may want to consider. You can dim these lights between 10-100% intensity. They’re also daisy chainable, which is unusual for COB LED grow lights.
The Model 3VL is 40 inches long, meaning it’ll stretch over the majority of your 2x4 grow space, providing a uniform light coverage that isn’t provided by other smaller dimension grow lights.
Comments From Current Owners:
One owner, Andrew, had this to say about his Timber grow lights:
I purchased a pair of the the Timber grow 2VL in 4000k to add to the HGL V2 I bought in 3000k to add the extra kick the flowering stage needs. They lights are awesome , bright as heck and they are dimmable. Great buy. Highly recommend !
Phlizon is a well known LED grow light company that sells a full line of plant grow lights. This Phlizon 3000 watt COB grow light is the strongest model in their COB LED grow light series.
This light features top shelf CREE COBs covered with intensifying lenses also seen on the first two grow lights in this article. The COBs are supported by 144 supporting LED chips that set this light up to possibly be the best COB LED grow light on the market, all considered.
The light is controlled with two swithes: One switch is for Veg and Bloom phases, and the other switch is labeled “stronger,” which cranks your light to full roaring power.
Phlizon 3000 Watt Spectrum & PPFD:
This 3000 watt COB LED grow light emits a great spectrum that’s perfect for all phases of plant growth. Phlizon hasn’t supplied a full sized spectrum chart, but the Amazon listing features a smaller image on the middle of the page that’ll give you a good idea. The spectrum contains high blue, a considerable amount of green wavelength which promotes plant growth¹, as well as full red wavelength which promotes growth in the flowering phase.
In addition, the Phlizon 3000w COB LED grow light’s spectrum includes ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths. Ultraviolet light has been found to increase THC levels in cannabis plants. Infrared helps with penetration beneath the canopy, accelerating flowering, and increased yield. All in all this light is a true full spectrum light.
The spectrum isn’t the only impressive feature of the Phlizon 3000 watt grow light. The PPFD reading was an impressive 2520 umol at 18″ hanging height.
Phlizon says you’ll get a solid 4’x4′ coverage out of this light, but we like to lean conservative with coverage readings so call it 3.5’x3.5′. The good thing about this light is that with such a high intensity, that whole coverage space will have sufficient PPFD levels to take your cannabis plants (or other plants) to the maximum. You can read our article on PPFD here to learn more about the most effective intensity levels for growing cannabis.
Power Consumption & Cooling:
This 3000 watt COB LED grow light will only draw 629 watts from your wall. When it comes to heat, this light is up to the task of dissipating it quickly. The Phlizon 3000w features 6 cooling fans on the back of the panel, and vents all around the sides.
We looked through dozens of owner reviews for Phlizon COB LED grow lights and none of them mentioned excessive heat – a great sign.
Here’s just one example of a very happy Phlizon 3000 watt COB LED grow light owner. Take a peek:
Warranty & Owner Comments:
Phlizon offers a two year warranty on this grow light. I read through all the owner reviews out there, only one had an issue that was covered by warranty. The rest were very satisfied and felt as if they got a great deal. One reason owners are so enthusiastic about these Phlizon COB grow lights is because they offer a ton of value for the output. You’re getting a COB LED with lenses and 2500+ PPFD for the half the price of more expensive models with the same stats.
Thanks for sticking with me through this long multi-light review. My aim was to group the best performing COBs currently available. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. These aren’t the cheapest COB LED grow lights out there, but they’re the best there is. I actually wrote another article (linked below) that has lower output COBs that are more affordable, if that’s what you need. You can read that article by clicking here.
Are all COB LED lights strong enough to grow plants?
Not all COB LEDs are strong enough to grow plants. The ones listed here will grow plants well!
Do COB LED lights get hot?
All grow lights emit some heat. All of the grow lights listed here have cooling fans built in to keep temperatures at more reasonable levels. Depending on your grow environment you may or may not need to use space fan as well.
How do COB LED grow lights compare to regular LED grow lights?
COB LED grow lights are manufactured so all diodes are on one single chip. This increases power efficiency and brightness, making them better than lights that use individual LEDs spread out across a board.
Are COB LED grow lights cost competitive?
COB LED grow lights are sold in a variety of price ranges, depending on the size and strength of the grow light.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sharakshane, Anton. “White LED Lighting for Plants.” bioRxiv (2017).
- 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.
- 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.
- He, Dongxian & Kozai, T. & Niu, Genhua & Xin, Zhang. (2019). Light-Emitting Diodes for Horticulture: Materials, Processes, Devices and Applications. 10.1007/978-3-319-99211-2_14.
- Effect of green light wavelength and intensity on photomorphogenesis and photosynthesis in lactuca sativa