We're back with an updated LED Grow Light Battle. In 2021, we've updated our comparison to include Luxx Lighting and Gavita LED lights, as well as an additional fixture, the ChilLED Growcraft.
We compare all these against the reigning champ, the Growers Choice ROI-E680. This big update means you'll get the side-by-side comparison of the Luxx 645 LED Pro vs. Gavita, the Growers Choice LED vs. Gavita, and just about every other combination you want to explore.
Happy Hydro's LED Grow Light Battle puts the following four indoor lights to the test:
Indoor LED Grow Lights vs. HPS, HID, and MH
LED grow lights have evolved to the point where they can deliver the same intensity and output quality as traditional lighting (HPS and MH).
Most importantly, for small-scale growers and commercial operations alike, the costs have come down. They are finally affordable, especially when compared to their non-energy efficient cousins.
It wasn't all that long ago that small to medium-sized growers were priced out of quality LED lighting options. Unless you had bottomless pockets, you couldn't afford to shop for the top LED grow fixtures.
Thankfully, this is no longer the case, as a recent series of high-powered, low-cost LED lighting options have been made available to the home grower. Today, LED grow lights are well worth the investment.
LED grow light fixtures have come down in price but still deliver the high-quality performance expected from commercial lighting. In addition, these options are affordable and approachable fixtures, even for the home grower.
But with a market full of possible LED options, what one is the best? So in side-by-side comparisons, we'll look at it all. What's the most affordable, efficient, space-saving, and effective grow light?
When we looked at the Growers choice LED vs. Gavita, the Luxx 645 vs. the Gavita, and the ChilLED Growcraft vs. Growers.... what came out on top?
Spoiler Alert: Even a year later, the Grower’s Choice ROI-E680s is still our top pick.
Why do we love the Growers Choice ROI-E680s so much?
The ROI E-680s fixture holds up in nearly every category worth comparing without getting ahead of ourselves, especially if you are budget-conscious.
It clearly meets or beats conventional grow room lighting when it comes to performance, and as we'll see, the ROI-E680 beats most of the LED options as well.
In our experience, the Grower's Choice fixture's price point, output, efficiency, and features make it a clear choice for any operation.
But don't take our word for it. To highlight just how this affordable option compares to other LED grow lights within the same category, let's put it in a battle against the Gavita 1700E, the ChilLED Growcraft X6, and the Luxx Lighting 645w LED Pro.
What LED Grow Light is the Most Affordable?
- Best Price: Growers Choice ROI-E680 at $749
- Second Place: ChilLED Growcraft X6 at $999
- Runner Up: Luxx 645w LED Pro at $1099
- Last Place: Gavita 1700e at $1,199
Let's be honest—your grow light decision ultimately comes down to budget constraints.
What is the highest quality grow light you can buy for your budget?
Let's look at the two most expensive lights: The Gavita 1700e ($1199) vs. the Luxx 645w LED Pro ($1099). These are both measurably at the more expensive end of the spectrum.
Both have roughly the same PPF, around 1700 µmol/s, but the Gavita has nearly 1000 more individual diodes.
The Gavita also uses the Philips Advance driver, whereas the Luxx 645w LED Pro website doesn't discuss what driver it uses, claiming "chips and drivers from leading manufacturers." However, that doesn't necessarily put our concerns to rest.
The Gavita is the clear winner for pricier models — but is this high price point worth it?
Our favorite—and the best choice when the price is the concern—is the Grower's Choice ROI-E680s. It is one of the most affordable LED grow lights on the market today, and it does not compromise specs.
At $749, it's a fraction of its competitors' cost, but it doesn't compromise efficiency, performance, or specs. For example, it has an equal PPF to the more expensive models at 1700 μmol/s, uses Osram Top Bin Diodes, and has an ultra-efficient driver.
The more expensive ChilLED Growcraft X6 comes in at $200 more and has nearly the same PPF efficiency (1647 μmol/s).
But, it is a DIY kit that requires you to build it on arrival. Not every grower has the time or desire to construct every LED light in their grow room.
What LED Grow Light Has the Best Output and Efficacy?
- Tied for First Place:
- Growers Choice ROI E-680 (1700 μmol/s and 2.6 µmol/j)
- Gavita 1700E (1700 µmol/s and 2.6 µmol/j)
- Luxx 645w LED (1700 µmol/s and 2.67 µmol/j)
- Last Place: ChilLED Growcraft X6 (1647 µmol/s and 2.6 µmol/j)
With all the advances in LED grow light technology, it's come down to a game of numbers. Which brand can pump out the most intensity with the highest efficacy? If we take a closer look, the numbers speak for themselves.
As the name suggests, the Gavita 1700E produces 1700 µmol/s (but this is only a slight increase from the Gavita Pro 1650 model). Thus, it has an efficacy of 2.6 µmol/j.
The Luxx 645w Pro has an output of 1700 µmol/s and an industry-standard efficiency rating of 2.7 µmol/j.
The ChilLED Growcraft X6 kit claims a minimum of 2.66 μmole/j at full system efficacy, but it may reach upwards of 3.13 μmole/j. Its output is the lowest of the group, clocking in at 1647 µmol/s.
The Grower's Choice ROI-E680s falls within the top-tier industry-standard efficacy with 2.6 μmol/j and an output of 1700 µmol/s
This time around, all the lights in our LED light battle all fall within the 2.6 to 2.7 µmol/j range, which isn't a big difference. So the final decision is all pending statistically insignificant changes in efficacy compared with outputs. Who wins?
We'd say that for a fraction of the price, the ROI-E680 beats out its competition. It has the same output as the Luxx 645w LED (1700 μmol/s) and an excellent system efficacy of 2.6 μmol/j while costing $350 less.
What LED Grow Light Has the Best Coverage Area?
- Best in Class: Grower's Choice ROI E-680 and Gavita 1700E
- Runners Up: Luxx 645w Pro and ChilLED Growcraft X6
Although an important category, this is perhaps the least controversial of the comparisons we are making here.
Why? Because all the LED grow lights we are comparing are designed to cover a similar size plot of 4' x 4'. In a side-by-side comparison of these four fixtures, they will all cover this area.
The Gavita 1700E comes with a suggested coverage area of a 4' x 4' plot, but depending on the supplier, some claim upwards of 5'x 5' flower. So if you are keen on the Gavita, plan for a single fixture to efficiently cover 5' x 5' in flower and 6' x 6' in veg.
The Luxx LED light, in ideal circumstances, will also cover a 4'x 4' canopy. Unfortunately, there is much less information available than for other lights. At the very least, it should cover 4'x4' in veg and 4'x4' in flower.
The ROI-E680 and the ChilLED Growcraft X6 fixtures have similar coverage. The ROI E-680 has a suggested footprint of 5' x 5' in veg and 4' x 4' in flower. For the ChilLED fixture, it is best to stick with 4' x 4'.
See below for the par chart for Growers Choice.
What LED Grow Light has the Best Spectrum?
- Best in Class: Growers Choice ROI-E680s
- Runners Up: Gavita 1700E
- Last Place: ChilLED Growcraft X6
For some time, scientists have known how the light spectrum is just as crucial to prolific harvests as light intensity. We go into full detail here, but the key takeaway from this article is that cannabis requires different spectrums of light during various growth stages.
The vegetative stage needs between 400 to 500 nm (blues, violets, etc.), and flowering requires 600 to 730 nm (reds, infrared's, etc.).
Out of all four LED grow lights in our side-by-side comparison, the Grower's Choice pumps out the broadest spectrum of light, especially in the blues, violets, reds, and infrareds that matter most.
According to one analysis, the ROI-E680 generates a high output between 400 to 430nm, followed by an impressive output from 560 nm to 700 nm. Thus, this spectrum easily satisfies the requirements of each stage of a plant's growth cycle (see below).
The Growers Choice ROI E-680 fixture contains three specific diodes that spit out this large spectrum: warm white, cool white, and 660-nanometer (deep red). This full-spectrum output allows your operation to thrive—all the way from seedlings to harvest.
How do the other options compare in this category?
The Gavita 1700E, ChilLED Growcraft X6, and the Luxx 645w Pro perform better than any HID variety but do not stack up against the spectrum of the ROI-E680.
The Luxx 645w Pro has decent coverage between 560 to 670 nm and a spike in output around 450 nm. This is similar to the Growers Choice (see below)
The Gavita 1700E has improved deep blue spectrum but inferior red coverage, varying between 600 and 700 nm. It's not as consistently strong in the spectrum as the other contenders (see below).
And in the last place comes the ChilLED Growcraft X6. Although it has good spikes in the deep blues and reds (see below), it doesn't quite reach the cross-spectrum consistency you will need for peak potency and flower production (see below)
What's the best output in a battle between Growers choice LED vs Gavita? We'd say the Growers Choice.
What is the Best LED Grow Light for Small Spaces?
- Best in Class: Grower's Choice and Luxx 645w Pro lowest hang height of 8"
- Third Place: ChiLLed Growcraft X6, lowest hang height of 12"
- Last Place: Gavita 1700E, lowest hang height of 24"
All four LED grow lights on this list are passively cooled LED light bars. This means the heat considerations are much better than with an HPS or MH. What's more, these LED lights have no reflectors and have a significantly lower profile than traditional grow light options.
For the growers, this means no monstrous HVAC and cooling systems are needed to keep the environment stable and safe—instant space savings on this point.
The ROI-E680 fixture requires 12" at most between the canopy and the fixture (although some growers report as little as 8"), making this fixture ideal for indoor growers lacking in vertical grow space.
The Luxx 645 LED also has a recommended hang height of between 8" to 18". But, it needs approximately 25" space above the fixture for hanging. This fixture does have the capability to dim between 40 to 100 percent.
The ChiLLed Growcraft X6 requires a minimum of 6" of headspace above the fixture. It has a recommended hang height between 12" to 24" above the canopy. It has a dimming range of 5 to 100 percent, which will impact the hanging height.
A Gavita 1700E claims a hang heght between 24" to 36" from the canopy for maximum area coverage. Some sources claim it may even require up to 48" of headspace during vegetative stages. Notably, this fixture doesn't come with a dimmer… this is a separate attachment.
As per Gavita, "Dimmable up to 50% without loss in efficiency when used with the Gavita E-Series LED Adapter." The adapter comes with an additional cost of roughly $150.
So not only does this fixture need the most amount of space, but it also means shelling out more money for the dimming feature.
When price and other features are considered, the winner in the space category is clear: Grower's Choice ROI-E680. Its lowest recommended hang height is only 8", it has an onboard dimming function, and it's the cheapest of the bunch.
Side Note: Is Heat Ever Worth Considering with LED Fixtures?
As an aside, depending on the setup, there may be circumstance-specific heating considerations. LED lights, even those with passive heat dissipation features, still produce some heat.
This could mean you'll need a proper cooling system or, at the least, some form of ventilation. If you have tight space restrictions (for example, in a grow tent), don't completely ignore the heat produced by LED grow lights.
LED Grow Light Highlights: Warranty, Waterproofing, & More
Of course, well beyond the light spectrum, output, and budget comparisons outlined here, each LED grow light has several additional features that may help you with your decision-making process:
- Growers Choice ROI-E680s: 5-year warranty
- ChiLLed Growcraft X6: 3-year warranty
- Luxx 645w Pro: 5-year warranty
- Gavita Pro 1700E: 5-year warranty
- Growers Choice ROI-E680s: IP65, ETL, CE
- Luxx 645w Pro: DLC, IP66 Waterproof, UL/ETL Listed
- Gavita Pro 1700E: DLC, FCC and UL8800 compliant, IP66 wet rated, CE and CB compliant, IP56 wet rated in Europe
- ChiLLed Growcraft X6: 33.85 lbs
- Gavita Pro 1700E: 28.4 lbs
- Growers Choice ROI-E680s: 30 lbs
- Luxx 645w Pro: 31 lbs
As a bonus, both the Grower's Choice ROI-E680 and ChilLED Growcraft X6 qualify for free shipping, as these are both Happy Hydro products.
The Gavita 1700E and the Luxx 645w Pro: may require additional shipping charges, depending on the supplier.
If you enjoy having full control over your growing conditions, you'll want to add the Grower's Choice Master Lighting controller to your order.
Manage every aspect of your lighting, including HID Dimming, LED dimming, Light Cycle, Temperature, and Sunrise/Sunset modes—all packed into a control system with a simple user interface.
A Clear Winner: the Grower's Choice ROI-E680
For most cultivators, three categories are important when choosing an LED grow light: output, efficiency, and price.
Other features and specs are helpful but don't ultimately sway the final purchasing decision.
These three categories are where the ROI-E680 really shines. It boasts a high output with industry-standard efficiency—all at a low price point. Furthermore, its affordability still comes with many (if not more) of the additional features you love to see in a grow light, including dimmers, uniformity of PAR, and the option of advanced controls.
The team behind the Grower's Choice ROI-E680 has figured out how to make a great product at a reasonable price point. Growers buy based on results, and this fixture delivers far above its competition.
Bonus Battle: Grower's Choice ROI-E680 vs. ROI-E720
Not only does the ROI-E680s dominate the competition, but it also has a slightly larger sister model: the ROI-E720. Grower's Choice utilizes the same high-quality components for both models but expands the power and coverage by a small amount to make it usable for larger grow operations.
While the ROI-E680's coverage makes it the perfect choice for 4' x 4' grow tents, those growing in larger tents or dedicated rooms may find the ROI-E720 an attractive alternative. The E720 covers a 5'x 5' area during bloom and a 6' x 6' area during veg, providing 720 watts of full-spectrum power in both scenarios.
At $849, the ROI-E720 is about $100 more in price than the E680s. So unless you need the extra power, the ROI-E680s is still the perfect choice for small to mid-sized grows.
Both models can be used with the Grower's Choice Master Controller to control up to 100 ballasts per output, making your lighting endlessly expandable as you scale up your operation.
Click here for more details about the ROI-E680.