5 Best COB LED Grow Lights Review: Complete Buyer’s Guide (2018)

Have you heard that plants grow better under COB LED grow lights? Well, it’s true. The broad spectrum sky-high Color Rendering Index (CRI) of the COB is usually well over 80, which makes it the the best lighting choice for indoor growers.

Also, with COB LED grow lights space is never an issue. If you are using a grow tent or small room then the compact size of the COB lighting fixtures can’t be beat.

Undoubtedly, these COB grow lights produce full spectrum lighting that meets all of your plant’s needs and exceeds your expectations in a convenient package size geared towards the specific needs of an indoor grower.

If you're seeking one of the best indoor grow light systems, then you won’t be disappointed with the COB LED grow light. The COB grow light is a compelling, full spectrum lighting choice that is perfect for all stages of a plant’s life cycle.

Also, unlike traditional LED lights which tend to be large, the COB’s compact size is better suited for indoor gardening and grow tents.

What is a COB LED Grow Light?

COB stands for ‘chip-on-board’. The term describes the multiple LED chips that are mounted onto the light’s substrate.

They are arranged to form a single module. Multiple small LEDs are packed and a wired to each other within the confines of a copper or ceramic board.

The many small LEDs work together to produce one light source. When the COB LED is energized it has the appearance of a large lighting panel with a multitude of small individual lights. All of the rays flow together to create a singular, bright light.

Why Growers are Crazy for COB LED Grow Lights?

There are numerous reasons to choose to use COB grow lights for all of your indoor gardening needs.

Electrical Efficiency: Efficiency is measured in µmol/j, which is the amount of photosynthetically active photons that can be produced per watt that is consumed at the wall. The process is interpreted as µmol per watt. The efficiency of a COB LED is about 130-140 lm/watt.

Light Intensity: Plants require adequate light to grow. The COB grow light offers stronger lighting than other light sources, even standard LED grow lights. Many growers consider COB LED to only be behind HPS in quality of light output.

Light Spectrum: Modern LED lights, such as COBs, have the widest spectrum wavelengths. Some bulbs feature a 12-color spectrum that includes IR (infrared ray) and UR (ultraviolet ray) to meet all of your plants’ light requirements.

Heat Output: Heat ventilation in COB LED grow lights are ideal. The LEDs produce strong light without emitting a great deal of heat. Some high-end COB grow lights have a quality substrate that boasts fans and drivers to reduce heat output even more.

Size: COB LEDs produce an abundance of brightness but they are relatively compact in size. The light’s small size makes it ideal for a small indoor grow room or tent.

Lifespan: LEDs have the highest usable lifespan of all grow lights. Yes, the initial investment might be a bit more costly but the lights pay for themselves because you do not have to frequently replace them.

A high quality LED lighting fixture lasts at least 30,000 hours. Even doubled ended HPS lamps have a life expectancy of only 10,000 hours.

Are COB LED Grow Light Worth The Money?

Does the high cost of COB LED grow lights concern you?

Yes, they are initially expensive to purchase when compared to other, similar grow lights. You might be wondering if they are truly worth the expense or if the hype surrounding them has simply pushed the price skyhigh.

Undoubtedly, you do not want to spend an arm and a leg on expensive grow lights that you might not need.

However, rest assured that COB LED lights are worth every penny. In time, they will pay for themselves in cost savings and robust harvests.

Depending on the manufacturer, the lifespan of the COB LED ranges from 30,000 to 60,0000 hours.

No other types of grow lights even compare. The longest lifespan of the ceramic metal halide light is still 20,000 hours. A double-ended HPS is only 10,000 to 15,000 hours.

The Superior Light Quality of COB Grow Lights

Serious indoor gardeners are embracing COB grow lights not just because of their excessively long lifespan, but also because they render superior light quality that surpasses other grow lights.

If you are serious about indoor growing then the first thing that you realize is that the crucial component of not only a plant’s growth but also its ability to flower is the quality of light.

COB LED broad spectrum lighting offers amazingly high CRI (usually over 80) is superior to any other grow light. All COB manufacturers offer 70 CRI broad spectrum chips in their lighting.

The chips easily go up to 97 CRI. This means that the lights render no purple, excessive orange, red, or yellow, but instead they display high-quality white lighting that shows true realistic colors just like natural sunlight.

Plants grown under COB have the ability to photosynthesize better and create robust flowers for a high yield.

HIB and COB Technology

HIB lights have long been king in grow rooms around the world. However, times are changing and now COB has taken center stage as the favored lighting choices for everyone from large scale commercial cultivation outfits to small backyard growers.

LEDs can effectively produce better photons than HID technology. Without a doubt, COB LEDs will always outperform HID technology by producing exceptional lighting that evenly covers your plants’ canopies.

HIC and COBs function as single-point light sources but the COB lights are far easier to handle and position so you are guaranteed outstanding light coverage.

Unlike with HIDs that use a single light source, COBS can easily be fashioned at various angles and spacing to create uniformity. 

Such placements help you avoid hotspot or low intensity areas. COBS have the ability to consume less energy, produce exceptional light, and create a far better light spread across your plants’ canopies.

Things You Must Look For When Choosing LED Grow Lights

When deciding on which grow light will best fit your needs you will want to take the time to compare the various lights. You can weigh the pros and cons before deciding of COB lighting is your best option.

COB LEDs Compared to Other Types of Grow Lights

Here is how COB LED lights compare to other types of popular grow lights:

COB LED vs. HPS

Where do COB LEDs Beat HPS?

  • Light spectrum
  • Efficiency
  • Lifespan
  • Power Consumption
  • Power Consumption

Where do HPS Beat COB LEDs?

  • Overall cost

COB LED vs. MH

Where do COB LEDs Beat MH?

  • Power consumption
  • Lighting spectrum
  • Efficiency

Where do MH Beat COB LEDs?

Overall price

COB LED vs. CMH

Where do COB LEDs Beat CMH?

  • Energy consumption
  • Overall lifespan
  • Efficiency 
  • Lighting spectrum

Where do CMH Beat COB LEDs

  • Easier to obtain

COB LEDs vs. CFL

Where do COB LEDs beat CFL?

  • Energy efficiency
  • Lighting spectrum
  • Overall lifespan

Where do CFL Beat COB LEDs?

  • Ease of use

What is the difference between LED and COB LED?

Many people become confused and think that COB LEDs are not LEDs. However, they are the same technology but just packaged differently. COB LEDs offer fantastic light intensity and spread because of the design.

Best COB LEDs to Buy in 2018

Here is a list of five of the best COB LED lights for indoor gardening:

1: CREE CXB3590 COB LED Grow Light Full Spectrum 200W

The CF Grow CREE CXB3590 200w Full Spectrum COB LED Grow Light has LED chips that can reach 120W power for abundant light flow. Each of the chips produces an exceptional spectrum for your plant’s optimum growth.

This lighting unit has the same high intensity that you find in HPS bulbs. The lights effectively combine the high PAR output to offer similar red and blue rays. This feature promotes plant growth during all stages of life.

This LED grow light has large 90-degree glass lenses which provide a high light out-coupling efficiency. You can expect 97 percent light transmittance.

You can use this light for 12 hours to encourage foliage growth and abstain from leaving the light on for 24 hours as you often have to do with grow lights that do not put forth as much lighting.

The grow light’s efficiency will cover an area of 7.5-70 square feet. You can hang the lights 8 to 59 inches depending on the plant’s life cycle and current lighting requirements.

Facts And Figures

  • Wavelength: Full Spectrum 380nm to 780nm to meet all of your plant’s life cycle needs. 
  • Expected Lifetime: 50000hrs
  • The LED driver offers high-quality stable voltage to increase the life expectancy of the COB LED chips.
  • The light comes with a 30-day full refund guarantee. There is a three-year warranty with 365 days of technical support included

Drawbacks: Unlike some grow lights, these are not waterproof so always maintain extreme caution when used around moisture.

2: HIPARGERO 450W Full Spectrum COB LED Grow Lights for Indoor Veg and Flower

The HIPARGERO 450W Full Spectrum COB LED Grow Lights are a combination of 5W CREE LEDs, the 100W 1200k 3000k and 5000k COBs. They work together to effectively simulate sunlight.

The Hipargero HG450 LED Grow Lights only use the highest quality LED chips for long-lasting durability. In fact, the chips have the reputation of being some of the best on the market.

The full spectrum 2*1200k, 3000k and 5000K COBs provide much higher PPFD and lumens than other grow lights.

They also produce an abundance of red lights which encourages flowering for a greater yield.

Unlike other grow lights that get excessively hot to the touch, this COB lighting unit has a heat-sink and aircraft grade high heat-conducting shell that can transfer heat from the lap to the outside.

The shell is a tiny bit warm to the touch but nothing excessive, unlike other grow lights which heat up substantially.

Facts and Figures

LED Grow Light - 450W COB LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants Veg and Flower Lighting Fixture with 1200K 3000K 5000K Full Spectrum 100W Epileds COBs and High Power 5W Cree LEDs

  • True full spectrum lights: 410-470nm: blue lights 640-680nm, red light, and 710-730nm small red which effectively provide the needed lighting for all of your plant’s life cycle needs.
  • One grow light provides coverage for 2ftx2ft grow tent or 3ftx3ft grow tent.
  • Equipped with two high-speed cooling fans to keep the lights cool while in operation.
  • The lighting unit comes with a one year warranty and a 30-day money back guarantee.

Drawbacks: Unlike some grow lights, these cannot be daisy chained.

3: Roleadro 400W COB Full Spectrum Grow Light For Flowering And Veg

The Roleadro 400W COB Full Spectrum Grow Light offers a wide spectrum of light shades instead of straight red or blue.

Undoubtedly, the lights help your plants flourish through all life stages.

The grow light’s Chip on Board Tech is made up of multiple led chips are integrated together into one panel instead of a single diode.

The consistent color uniformity and PAR value help to substantially increase yield.

Facts and Figures

Roleadro 400W COB Full Spectrum Grow Light LED Plant Lamp with ON/OFF Switch and Daisy Chain Function, 2nd Generation Plant Light for Flowering and Veg

  • Features a patent reflector cup design (90 degrees) that lets you direct light where you need it the most across your plants’ canopies.
  • Higher PAR value and Lux value than other grow COB LED lights so you know that your plants’ are receiving the necessary light they require for all growth cycle phases.
  • Epileds LEDs for optimum light output and efficiency.
  • Sunflower radiator system which makes the lower portion of the chips operate at cooler 118.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Has separate on/off switch
  • The light’s design ensures that even if one part breaks the other parts still work. 
  • UL approved cooling fans reduce the light’s heat output so the temperature in your grow room or tent does not increase as a result of the using the lights.
  • Daisy chain capabilities allow you to hook more than light together.
  • Comes with a two-year warranty and a 30-day money back guarantee.

Drawbacks: Some buyers have reported that the brightness of the lights starts to fade over a year or so.

4: Macegrow 900w Full Spectrum COB Led Grow Light For Indoor Hydroponic Plants

The Macegrow 900w Full Spectrum COB Led Grow Light features specialized CREE/OSRAM led chips to form the shape of a sunflower which simulates the shape of the sun.

The built-in 105°optical holistic lens dramatically increases the light’s brightness.

Unlike many COB LED grow lights, these can easily be daisy-chained.

The high PAR value of  MG 900 led full spectrum consumes only 260 watts.

Facts and Figures

Led Grow Light-900w Grow Lamps for Greenhouse Hydroponic Indoor Plants Growing Veg and Flower Lighting Fixture with Full Spectrum COB and CREE/OSRAM Led Chips

  • Has 7 in 1 optical lens. The lens angle is 105 degrees so you can direct light where you need it across your plants’ canopies.
  • Complete Daisy Chain control so you can link more than one lighting unit together.
  • Features a convenient on/off switch
  • Housing is made from a combination of aluminum and iron for added durability.
  • Lifespan is 50,000 hours
  • The light comes with a full one year warranty and a thirty-day money back guarantee

Drawback: This light is not waterproof and should only be used in a well-ventilated area.

5: MaxBloom 800W Full Spectrum COB Led Grow Light For Indoor Plants

The MaxBloom 800W Full Spectrum COB Led Grow features a bright pink color for intense and widespread coverage.

The full spectrum light is designed to enhance a plant’s photosynthesis. It has 12 bands with full spectrum UV and IR.

Unlike other COB LED Grow lights, these have a built-in dimmer to control the light’s brightness and output.

The light’s lumens are 15 to 30 percent brighter than comparable lights but you can easily dim the light output down and tailor it for your plants’ custom growth needs.

Facts and Figure

LED Grow Light COB Led Grow Light Dimmable CREE 800W 12-Band Full Spectrum for Indoor Plants Veg and Flower UV&IR MaxBloom CREE X8 Plus Led Grow Lamp

  • 12-band full spectrum lights meet every aspect of your plants' needs during all growth states.
  • Dimmable features let you control the light’s output.
  • Features a 10 ft power cord, which is longer than other brands so you can easily find an electrical outlet and will not be forced to use extension cords.
  • Has a full five-year warranty with a thirty-day money back guarantee and a ninety-day replacement policy.
  • The quiet UL fan keeps the lighting unit cool so the temperature in grow room or tent does not increase.

Drawback: The main drawback to this COB grow light is that it is not waterproof.

Conclusion

Indoor gardening allows you to cultivate plants year round. However, one of the essential components of producing a bountiful harvest is having the correct lighting. A COB LED grow light is an efficient and modern lighting choice for grow rooms.

If you are seeking a grow light that truly mimics the sun then you won’t be disappointed with the energy-saving COB LED grow light.

These lights also last for years and provide all of the various lights required by your indoor garden to flourish from seedling to harvest.

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Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she attended University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture. She has supplemented her formal education by working on various organic farms, including spending a semester abroad in India.

Growing and/or raising just about anything gets her excited. She is especially passionate about environmental justice and low-tech, sustainable ways to better run small-scale farms and homesteads. Lindsey started Urban Organic Yield to discuss gardening tips and tactics.

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