Who doesn’t love a fresh herb? If you love to cook, chances are you are getting your supply of herbs from the supermarket. Why not have your own indoor plant garden made entirely out of herbs?
If you are growing indoors, your plants may lack the natural sunlight that they need. So, we need the help of grow lights to fulfill the light requirements of indoor plants.
With all the confusion that exists on the internet around indoor gardening, choosing the best grow lamp for herbs can be a daunting task, especially for beginners in indoor plant gardening.
There are a variety of famous brands of grow lights, and there exist hundreds of contradicting opinions on each one of them.
People spend hours online trying to figure out which grow light to get for their herbs just to end up becoming more confused and indecisive.
But don’t you worry. We will help you pick the best grow lamp to start growing herbs indoors. In this article, we will list some of the good choices and their pros and cons.
Notes To Keep In Mind Before Buying A Grow Light For Herbs
Before we look at our list of the best grow light for herbs, here are some important points that you should always remember before choosing a grow lamp:
Most Herbs Need Less Light Intensity Than Other Plants
Most herbs do not need as much intensity of light as with fruiting and heavy-flowering plants.
So to make this list shorter, we won’t include any grow lights that emit a very high intensity of light. Hight light intensity grow lights are mostly used to grow Most, vegetables, etc.
Instead, we will focus more on grow lights that emit moderate amounts of light. These type of grow lamps is suitable for growing your herbs indoors and allow them to thrive at home.
You Get What You Pay For
Grow lights can come at different price ranges. Some are for expert growers with lights in the high-end spectrum, others at the mid-ranged, and there are also lights that are cheap.
When you are buying a grow light, you are paying directly for results. As they say, you get what you pay for.
So, avoid cheap brands because these will generate too much heat, consume too much electricity, and produce a very low amount of beneficial light.
We’re not telling you to buy the most expensive grow light out there. In fact, you’ll see down below that some of the best grow lights for herbs are very affordable for the home grower.
Price doesn’t always mean it is a good grow light for your herbs. You need to factor in the quality and the quantity of light it produces that is suitable for indoor herb growth. We don’t want to buy those expensive grow light but doesn’t go well with your herbs, do you?
Don’t Focus Much on Watts
With grow lights, common units can be very confusing because manufacturers and retailers use them inaccurately for advertising purposes.
In our review, we will focus on the real number of watts consumed by the lamp to assess its power consumption and efficiency. But we will also concentrate on several other specifications and features to assess how good the light is.
The PAR Output Determines Quality
PAR stands for photosynthetically active radiation. It is the frequency of light that your plant needs to do photosynthesis. Any frequency of light that isn’t in the PAR region of the spectrum cannot benefit your herbs.
The higher the amount of PAR, the bigger your herbs will grow (there’s a certain limit of course). Therefore, PAR output is a better measurement of the quality of light than lumens, which only tells us how bright the overall light is.
When studied in relation to the number of watts consumed, the PAR output also shows how well-optimized the grow light is for plants.
We can assess the PAR output of a lamp by measuring PPF (μmol/s) or PPFD (μmol/s/m2). Learn more about growing plants with lights.
If you really want to take your indoor gardening to the next level, we suggest getting a lux or a PPFD light meter. This tool is optional but it can really help you measure the intensity and quality of light your plants are receiving either from natural light or from artificial light sources such as from grow lights.
Owning a light meter can also help you if in case you want to grow other plants indoors aside from herbs.
LEDs Are the Best Grow Lights for Herbs
We will focus on LED light because it is more efficient than all other grow lamps such as fluorescent light. LED grow light consumes less electricity and emits more PAR.
Also, LED lamps generate very little heat and have a wide coverage area due to their strong lighting footprint (the area that the light can illuminate at a certain distance).
LEDs last for a long time and degrade at a slower rate than fluorescent lights. So, rather than having to change T5 fluorescent tube or fluorescent bulb every once in a while, one LED fixture can allow you to grow herbs for many years.
Maybe the most disturbing thing regarding some LEDs is that the light they produce can be too colorful for some people. But today many brands manufacture optimized LED grow lights that emit light similar to natural light.
You Can Use Grow Lights to Supplement Sunlight (Supplemental Lighting)
In case your indoor herbs receive a few hours of natural sunlight a day, you might not need powerful grow lights, such as the first three grow lights on our list.
Instead, you can use grow lights that emit moderate to low light intensity to supplement sunlight.
For example, if your full-sun and partial-sun herbs are receiving 2-4 hours of sunlight only, you can give them 12-16 more hours of low-intensity artificial light.
Grow Lights For Herbs: The Top List
Here is our final list of the best grow lights for herbs after spending a substantial amount of time inspecting and comparing the most popular LED grow lights in indoor gardening.
1. Mars Hydro TS 1000
First on our list of the best LED grow light is the Mars Hydro TS 1000. From all the grow lights we reviewed and tested, Mars Hydro TS 1000 is hands down the best LED grow light for herbs.
Under this light, you can grow any species of herbs, including full sun ones, such as sage and chamomile.
Mars Hydro TS 1000 is a very flexible device that is suitable for all the different stages of a plant’s life cycle.
The PAR output of Mars Hydro is around 350 μmol/s. This is enough for all herbs, including the highest light-demanding ones.
To better understand how powerful this grow light is, let us look at its PPFD measurements. Here are the PPFD values of Mars Hydro TS 1000 at 18 inches (45 cm) above the herbs.
High-light herbs need a maximum of 200 μmol/m²/s for 14-16 hours a day to thrive. And evidently, Mars Hydro TS 1000 can get the job done.
Keep in mind that for the vegetative stage, the recommended coverage area of the light is around 3′ x 3′ (0.9m x 0.9m), and the recommended distance from the plant is 18 inches (45 cm).
Mars Hydro consumes 150 watts only, and its efficacy rate is very high (around 2.3 μmol/J). Any grow light with a PPF efficacy rate above 2 μmol/J is considered super-efficient.
Mars Hydro doesn’t use any cooling fans to get rid of the heat generated by its diodes. Its heat dissipation system is based on the function of the aluminum heat sink that covers its LED board.
Aluminum has a high thermal conductivity which allows it to absorb all the heat produced by the LEDs. This heat dissipation system is called passive cooling and most modern LED grow lights rely on it.
The Mars Hydro TS 1000 grow light has a life span of 50,000 hours (like most other grow lights) and has a three-year warranty.
The device retails at a very affordable price (you can check it here), and therefore, it is a very suitable option for both amateur and pro indoor gardeners alike.
2. HLG 65 V2 Quantum Board
They are perfect for any type of plant, including your indoor herbs.
HLG QBs are made of top-rated Samsung LM301H LED chips.
For that reason, they have optimized LED light spectrums and a high efficacy rate. The PPF efficacy of a quantum board is around 2.5 μmol/J, higher than that of Mars Hydro.
HLG QBs also dissipate heat amazingly well using high-quality aluminum heat sinks.
There are many models of HLG QBs and most of them are DIY, which means you need to assemble the light yourself.
But don’t you worry. Setting up the HLG QB is easy. You can also find a lot of tutorials online that will show you how to put together an HLG Quantum Board.
As an herb gardener, you’ll find HLG 65 QB (DIY) very suitable for you.
It has a PAR output of around 156 umol/s, lower than that of Mars Hydro TS 1000, which means it has a smaller coverage area, around 2′ x 2′ (0.6m x 0.6m).
HLG 65 QB is very affordable (check its price here), and it is highly recommended for herb growers.
3. Viparspectra 600W LED
The third grow light on our list is Viparspectra 600W. This LED grow lamp is an affordable and adequately intense grow light.
Viparspectra 600W LED is an elegant lighting fixture that puts out a full light spectrum pink-colored light.
The average PAR output of this device is around 350 μmol/s. So, the device is as intense as Mars Hydro TS 1000.
If you’re using Viparspectra 600W, place your most-light demanding herbs at the center of the coverage area and the ones that need less light at the edges.
The recommended coverage area of Viparspectra 600W is around 3′ x 3′ (0.9m x 0.9m) at a hanging height of 18 inches (45 cm).
The device consumes a relatively high amount of electric power. Its power consumption is around 276 watts and its PPF efficacy is around 1.5 μmol/J.
So, if you’re looking for a very efficient grow light, Viparspectra is not the best choice for you.
Viparspectra has two Veg and Bloom switches. These switches allow the indoor gardener to control the quality of the light emitted by the device during different stages of plant growth.
To keep your leafy herbs in the vegetative growth phase, you can simply turn the Veg switch on and keep the Bloom switch off. This feature will also allow you to reduce the power consumption of the LED device.
Most grow lights rely either on aluminum heat sinks or cooling fans to remove heat. Viparspectra, however, uses both.
The cooling fans of the device are silent, but needless to say, they need electricity to operate. That’s why we call this method of heat dissipation active cooling. A fan may be a good addition to a grow light, but it also means extra juice is needed to power this LED lamp.
The life span of Viparspectra 600W is 50,000-100,000 hours and has a three-year warranty.
Viparspectra 600W price is comparable to Mars Hydro TS 1000 (you can check its price here).
4. Click & Grow Smart Garden
Click and Grow is not entirely a grow light. Rather, it is more like a smart herb planter or portable herb garden equipped with smart techy features such as a self-watering system and LED grow lamp.
With Click & Grow Smart Garden, you can grow various types of herbs, including rosemary, basil, cilantro, and parsley.
The Smart Garden is a self-watering optimized indoor garden that uses automatic lighting, watering, and feeding system to grow herbs.
It is very simple to set up and use the device. This is why Click & Grow is considered the perfect choice for people who want to grow herbs with no effort.
The LEDs of Click & Grow Smart Garden only consume 8 to 13 watts of power. They’re not nearly as intense as Mars Hydro or HLG QBs but surprisingly, they’re convenient for herbs. This has to do with the fact that they’re situated very close to the growing plants.
There are two primary models of the Smart Garden that vary according to how many plants they can grow. You can grow up to three herbs with the smaller model and up to nine herbs with the larger one.
If you want an instant and hassle-free way to grow an indoor herb garden, then the Click & Grow Smart Garden will be your best option.
Click & Grow Smart Garden 3 retails at a price lower than that of Mars Hydro and Viparspectra (check its price here).
5. Relassy LED fixture (Supplemental Lighting)
Another way to successfully grow plants indoors is with the help of Relassy LED fixture. This LED light is a flexible and optimized supplemental LED grow lamp for herbs that are made of two adjustable and separate LED bulbs.
The LED bulbs of the device emit a bright full light spectrum that resembles the color of natural sunlight.
The PPFD output of each LED bulb is around 90 μmol/m²/s at 12 inches from the plants. Having said this, the device is better used as a supplemental grow light for high-light and medium-light herbs.
Relassy consumes 25 watts of electric power. And although we don’t know its exact PPF efficacy, we are aware that the device is highly efficient, taking into consideration its relatively high PPFD measurements.
There’s no recommended coverage area for this fixture since it’s highly flexible and can be used for many purposes.
This device is the cheapest grow light on our list (check the price here). So, if you want something cheaper for testing purposes or just need supplemental lights, then the Relassy LED light is your best bet.
6. Roleadro 75W (Supplemental Lighting)
Roleadro 75W is one of the best supplemental lights for herbs and one of the most popular grow lights on Amazon.
Roleadro 75W is composed of red light and blue light LEDs that together emit a full light spectrum.
The PAR output of the device is around 50-60 μmol/s. For this reason, Roleadro 75W should be used as a supplemental grow light for herbs.
The grow light coverage area can reach 2′ x 2′ (0.6m x 0.6m) at a hanging height of 12 inches (30 cm).
The electric consumption of this device is very low. It only draws 25 watts of power and its PPF efficacy is around 2 μmol/J.
Roleadro 75W sports no cooling fans and only depends on an aluminum heat sink to dissipate heat.
It retails at a very low price on Amazon compared to other advanced grow lights (You can check its price here).
7. GE LED Grow Light Bulbs (Supplemental Lighting)
Last on our list—but certainly not the least—are GE LED bulbs.
GE grow light LED bulb is on our list for one significant reason: versatility.
A GE grow light bulb can fit in any lighting fixture of your choice. You can use GE grow light bulbs with floor lamps, table lamps, wall lamps, etc. It’s just like your ordinary LED bulb.
That means you can be infinitely creative with those lights.
There are several types of GE lamps that you can choose from.
GE Balanced Spectrum BR30 lamp is the brand’s most popular grow light. It can provide enough light for individual medium-light herbs.
GE BR30 bulbs draw 9 watts of electric power, so they are very efficient.
Keep in mind that you can’t get a very high yield from your plants using GE BR30 bulbs.
If you’re growing light-demanding herbs and want to achieve better results, use GE PAR38 bulbs instead of BR30 bulbs.
GE PAR38 lamps generate triple the intensity of BR30 lamps, so they produce much better results.
Both PAR38 and BR30 GE LED bulbs are very cheap and they last for a very long time (25,000 hours).
Remember, although the bulbs are cheap, you also need to purchase a lighting fixture to be able to run them.
So there you have it. With over a thousand choices out there on the grow light market, we narrowed down your list into 7 of the best grow lights for your indoor herbs.
Not all grow light is perfect. Each one has its own pros and cons. It really depends on the consumer on what they are after and what they expect from a grow light.
You can go all out with the expensive grow lights with all these awesome features. Or you can settle with an affordable grow light as supplementary light or if you are still testing the waters in indoor herb gardening.
So, what is your choice for the best grow light for herbs? Do you have a personal favorite that we haven’t included in the list? Please share them in the comments below.