Wattage: Advertised vs. Real

I came from the world of traditional HID lighting for indoor gardens, with more 600s than I want to think about, with some 1000s thrown in for good measure, so wattage means something to me. No one would expect the same yield from a 600W HPS as a 1000W HPS in an otherwise identical grow, so wattage is important whenever grow lights are being compared.

Unfortunately it is often difficult to determine how much wattage LED grow lights are actually running, and many companies advertise their LEDs with very misleading wattage information. You must know the truth of how many watts a light will pull- for comparing lights as well as growing with them!

Individual LEDs are labeled based on the "theoretical wattage" they could be run at if they were perfectly cooled. What's sold as a 3-watt LED diode can't actually be run at 3 watts in the real world without burning out, so "3-watt LEDs" are typically run at 1 – 2 watts in actual use.

Some LED grow lights are marketed based on this theoretical wattage, even though it's not real. For example, some companies will put 100 3-watt LED diodes in a light and sell it as a 300-watt light, even though it are only runs 150-200 watts of power. This is extremely deceptive and makes it very hard to compare LED grow lights.

There are three levels to this deception: (1) Confusing Names; (2) Deceptive Names / Deceptive Statements; and (3) Outright Lies.

The companies that actually seem to provide an honest and straightforward reporting of the wattage their lights use are listed in "The Honest" column in the table above. Companies which seem to be trying to deceive you are listed in "The Deceivers" column, while companies that are outright lying are listed in "The Liars".

You can see all of the wattage data for each model light in the table at the bottom of this page.

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Confusing Names

A confusing name could be model name like "SPYDR-1200" or "K5-XL1000" that some people assume means the light pulls 1200 or 1000 watts, respectively (these two actually draw 665 and 650 watts). I personally don't find this deceptive; there are lots of products on the market that have numbers in their names and the numbers don't correspond to any actual measurement of the product. But I've gotten more than one email, for example, asking about "that new 1200 watt light" because a new LED model was called the "P1200" (actual power draw: 690 watts), so I guess it is confusing enough. Still, how many people expect their Ford F350 pickup truck to get 350 miles to the gallon, or have a 350cc engine?

I wouldn't rule out purchasing one of these lights just because the model name may be confusing.

Deceptive Names and Deceptive Statements

A deceptive name would be a model name with a number followed by a "W" or "watt", such as the "Solar Storm 880W", "GL100LED Full Spectrum 300W LED" or "900 Watt Full Spectrum G8LED Grow Light" (650, 104, and 540 actual watts, respectively), which I do find deceptive. You expect the "W" to mean watts, but it usually doesn't indicate how much power the lights actually draw.

Deceptive statements aren't outright lies only when the "actual power draw" is buried in the technical specifications. While this is extremely deceptive, at least if you do enough digging through the specs you can find the real wattage for lights from these companies- hopefully before ordering a light and being disappointed.

The deliberately deceptive companies are:

  • Advanced LED
  • California Light Works
  • G8LED
  • LumiGrow
  • Mars Hydro
  • Platinum LED

Before buying from any of these companies, be very sure you read all the fine print on all the product descriptions, spec sheets and any other material they offer to make sure you know what you're actually getting. These companies are being deliberately deceptive, but you can usually find the truth if you search hard enough. Still, if they're being deceptive about wattage, it makes you wonder what else they might be hiding.

Outright Lies

These companies claim their light is a particular wattage, but when you get one and plug it into a Kill-a-Watt meter, you find that it is using a lot less than what was claimed. There's no excuse for this kind of deception and I wouldn't ever buy a light from a company that engages in it.

Because of the way LEDs are run and slight variations between individual LEDs, some variability in the power draw is to be expected. Two identical model lights will almost always read slightly different on a Kill-a-Watt meter. But in my opinion, it gets deceptive if the advertised power and actual power are off by 15% or more. You should get 85% or more of what is advertised; otherwise these companies are lying to you.

To find the actual wattage, I scoured internet forums to find people who had plugged their light in to a Kill-a-Watt meter and reported the actual power draw.

Companies that lie about their wattage are:

  • Apache Tech– all models pull more wattage than claimed. Their "120 watt" grow lights that draw 156+ watts of actual power, if you read the fine print. (To make it more confusing, they don't give actual wattage for 2 of the "120 watt" models, or for their "720 watt" model- but in all user-documented cases I can find, the lights are running about 40 watts over their advertised wattage.) The "AT600-WR2" model claims to be 720 watts, but actually pulls about 760 watts, a 5% difference. But for the AT120 models, the actual draw of 156+ watts is a 30% increase over the advertised 120 watts, which doesn't make a huge difference for a single light, but if you were planning a large setup, an unexpected 30% increase in power usage would be problematic.
  • Apollo Horticulture lights run 35-61% of the claimed wattage
  • Kessil range from 81-100% of claimed wattage
  • Lighthouse Hydro [BlackStar] is 40%-69% of claimed wattage
  • Pro Max Grow is 83-100% of claimed wattage
  • Truth Lighting is the worst performer of all at 33-59% of claimed wattage

Interestingly, Kessil and Lighthouse Hydo have been pulling this same deception since 2012 when I first created this site. Many other sellers have started cleaning up their act and at least give the actual wattage somewhere on their site, but these companies seem set on dishonest marketing, and I would never recommend purchasing a light from them.

Comparison Graph

The farther the score is from the 100% line, the more the company is trying to decieve you.

Loading graph…

Wattage Data for All Lights

The data table is very large- you may need to scroll side-to-side as well as up and down to see the whole thing. Larger screens help! If you're only looking for one company or light model, enter the name in the search to only show those results.

CompanyConclusion RankingProductClaimed WattageActual Wattage% Actual Wattage / ClaimedRatio Actual Wattage / ClaimedAdmit Real WattageAdmit / Provide Real WattageActual Wattage Notes
Diamond Series DS 100 - Extreme 3w
100
100
100%
Yes
Diamond Series DS 200 - Extreme 3w
200
185
92%
Yes
Diamond Series DS 300 - Extreme 3w
300
260
87%
Yes
Diamond Series DS 400 - Extreme 3w
400
368
92%
Yes
Diamond Series DS 600 - Extreme 3w
600
557
92%
Yes
Diamond Series DS 800 - Extreme 3w
800
758
94%
Yes
XTE Series DS XTE 100 - 5W LEDs
100
91
91%
Yes
XTE Series DS XTE 200 - 5W LEDs
200
185
92%
Yes
XTE Series DS XTE 300 - 5W LEDs
300
274
91%
Yes
XTE Series DS XTE 400 - 5W LEDs
400
368
92%
Yes
Diamond Series EX-Veg DS200
200
191
96%
Yes
Diamond Series EX-Veg DS300
300
283
94%
Yes
Diamond Series XML DS XML 150
130
130
100%
Yes
Diamond Series XML DS XML 350
330
330
100%
Yes
Diamond Series XML DS XML 650
618
618
100%
Yes
AT-120WB (White and Blue LEDs)
120
156
130%
Yes
AT120RB (Red and Blue LEDs)
120
156
130%
Yes
AT120W (All white LEDs)
120
160
133%
No
AT120WR (White and Red LEDs)
120
171
142%
No
Actual wattages from various forum posts such as http://www.rollitup.org/t/advanced-apache-coco-led.537544/page-2
AT-600-WR2 (White and Red)
720
742
103%
No
GL100LED Full Spectrum 300W LED
300
104
34%
No
Actual wattage from Amazon review / questions
GL80x5LED Full Spectrum 400W LED
400
175
43%
No
Actual wattage from Amazon review / questions
Full Spectrum 600 Watt LED
600
360
60%
No
Actual wattage from Amazon review / questions
GL140x5LED Full Spectrum 700W LED
700
326
46%
No
Actual wattage from Amazon review / questions
Full Spectrum 900 Watt LED
900
405
45%
No
Actual wattage from Amazon review / questions
Full Spectrum 1200 Watt LED
1200
540
45%
No
Actual wattage from Amazon review / questions
GL25LED Full Spectrum 75W LED
75
38
50%
Yes
GL25LED Full Spectrum 135W LED
135
76
56%
Yes
GL25LED Full Spectrum 180W LED
180
109
60%
Yes
W90-3000K
95
95
100%
Yes
W90-4000K
95
95
100%
Yes
W90-5000K
95
95
100%
Yes
PhytoMAX 200
215
215
100%
Yes
PhytoMAX 400
425
425
100%
Yes
PhytoMAX 600
600
600
100%
Yes
PhytoMAX 800
800
800
100%
Yes
PhytoMAX 1000
1015
1015
100%
Yes
SPYDR 600 START-MAX Spectrum
346
346
100%
Yes
SPYDR 600 GROW-MAX Spectrum
333
333
100%
Yes
SPYDR 1000 GROW-MAX Spectrum
520
520
100%
Yes
SPYDR 1200 GROW-MAX Spectrum
665
665
100%
Yes
Solar Storm 880W
880
650
73%
Yes
Solar Storm 440W
440
320
72%
Yes
Solar Flare 220W LED VegMaster
220
165
75%
Yes
Solar Flare 220W LED BloomBooster
220
165
75%
Yes
Solar Flare 220W LED FullCycle
220
165
75%
Yes
Solar Flare 110W LED VegMaster
110
90
81%
Yes
Solar Flare 110W LED BloomBooster
110
90
81%
Yes
90 Watt LED All RED G8 Flowering BOOST
90
82
91%
Yes
240 Watt Full Spectrum G8LED BLOOM only
240
120
50%
Yes
450 Watt Full Spectrum G8LED BLOOM only
450
280
62%
Yes
240 Watt Full Spectrum G8LED Grow Light
240
140
58%
Yes
450 Watt Full Spectrum G8LED Grow Light
450
280
62%
Yes
600 Watt Full Spectrum G8LED Grow Light
600
390
65%
Yes
900 Watt Full Spectrum G8LED Grow Light
900
540
60%
Yes
E60
630
630
100%
Yes
RX30
400
420
105%
Yes
L4A Series 10 (refurbished)
600
600
100%
Yes
LX601 C-plate
630
630
100%
Yes
LX601 G-plate
630
630
100%
Yes
LX602
630
630
100%
Yes
21X-PRO 36W
36
36
100%
Yes
84X-PRO 120W
120
120
100%
Yes
126X-PRO 200W
200
200
100%
Yes
168X-PRO 270W
270
270
100%
Yes
189X-PRO 290W
290
290
100%
Yes
336X-PRO 500W
500
500
100%
Yes
420X-PRO 600W
600
600
100%
Yes
Sol 1 (45 Watt Configuration)
45
45
100%
Yes
Sol 1 (85 Watt Configuration)
85
85
100%
Yes
Sol 2 (45 Watt Configuration)
85
85
100%
Yes
Sol 2 (85 Watt Configuration)
175
175
100%
Yes
Sol 4 (45 Watt Configuration)
175
175
100%
Yes
Sol 4 (85 Watt Configuration)
300
300
100%
Yes
Sol 6 (45 Watt Configuration)
265
265
100%
Yes
Sol 6 (85 Watt Configuration)
500
500
100%
Yes
Sol 9 (45 Watt Configuration)
390
390
100%
Yes
Sol 9 (85 Watt Configuration)
750
750
100%
Yes
NeoSol DS
520
520
100%
Yes
NeoSol NS
300
300
100%
Yes
NeoSol LS
50
50
100%
Yes
H380
90
90
100%
Yes
H350 (Magenta or Purple models)
90
73
81%
No
H150 (Magenta or Purple models)
36
30
83%
No
H150 Blue
36
30
83%
No
H150 Red
36
30
83%
No
K3 - L300
220
220
100%
Yes
K3 - L450
270
270
100%
Yes
K3 - L600
320
320
100%
Yes
K3 VEG L600
320
320
100%
Yes
K5 - XL750
430
430
100%
Yes
K5 - XL1000
650
650
100%
Yes
90 watt LED Grow Light UV
90
?
?
No
Unknown actual wattage
90 watt LED Grow Light HO (Vegetative Model)
90
?
?
No
Unknown actual wattage
BlackStar 480 watt LED Grow Light HO V2.0
480
239
49%
No
BlackStar 480 watt LED Grow Light UV V2.0
480
239
49%
No
BlackStar 180 watt LED Grow Light HO V2.0
180
125
69%
No
BlackStar 180 watt LED Grow Light UV V2.0
180
125
69%
No
BlackStar 240 watt LED Grow Light HO V2.0
240
132
55%
No
BlackStar 240 watt LED Grow Light UV V2.0
240
132
55%
No
Lighthouse Hydro ION 8 426w FSF LED Grow Light with UVB
426
170
39%
No
Lighthouse Hydro ION 8 1546w FSF LED Grow Light with UVB
1546
?
?
No
Unknown actual wattage
BlackStar Chrome 180w LED Grow Light FSF
180
?
?
No
BlackStar Chrome 270w LED Grow Light FSF
270
?
?
No
Unknown actual wattage
BlackStar Chrome 405w LED Grow Light FSF
405
?
?
No
Unknown actual wattage
BlackStar Chrome 720w LED Grow Light FSF
720
?
?
No
Unknown actual wattage
BlackStar 600 watt LED Grow Light UV
600
?
?
No
Unknown actual wattage
BlackStar 900 watt Commercial Grade LED Grow Light UV
900
?
?
No
Unknown actual wattage
LumiGrow Pro 650
650
605
93%
Yes
LumiGrow Pro 325
325
325
100%
Yes
DOMINATOR
435
435
100%
Yes
DOMINATOR XL
650
650
100%
Yes
DOMINATOR 2X
435
435
100%
Yes
DOMINATOR 2X XL
650
650
100%
Yes
Luminator
180
180
100%
Yes
Luminator 2X
180
180
100%
Yes
Vegetator
330
330
100%
Yes
Vegetator 2X
330
330
100%
Yes
Herbalvador
180
180
100%
Yes
Herbalvador 2X
180
180
100%
Yes
Mars II 400w LED Grow Light
400
185
46%
Yes
Mars II 700w LED Grow Light
700
310
44%
Yes
Mars II 900w LED Grow Light
900
405
45%
Yes
Mars II 1200w LED Grow Light
1200
540
45%
Yes
Mars II 1600w LED Grow Light
1600
720
45%
Yes
Reflector-48
95
95
100%
Yes
Reflector-96
200
200
100%
Yes
Reflector-144
310
310
100%
Yes
Reflector-192
390
390
100%
Yes
MarsPro 160LED Epistar-160
360
360
100%
Yes
MarsPro 320LED Epistar-320
700
700
100%
Yes
MarsPro Cree-128
325
325
100%
Yes
MarsPro Cree-256
650
650
100%
Yes
P150
100
87
87%
Yes
P300
185
180
97%
Yes
P450
274
255
93%
Yes
P600
368
345
93%
Yes
P900
557
515
92%
Yes
P1200
758
690
91%
Yes
P4-XML2
380
232
61%
Yes
P9-XML2
855
555
64%
Yes
MAX-600
125
104
83%
No
Unclear what actual wattage is
MAX-1200
250
250
100%
?
Illuminator 100W
100
100
100%
Yes
Illuminator Jumbo 200W
200
193
96%
Yes
Illuminator Commercial 400W
400
392
98%
Yes
Mother Keeper 100W
100
100
100%
Yes
300 Series 90° reflector
350
340
97%
Yes
300 Series 120° reflector
350
340
97%
Yes
400 Series 60° reflector
450
440
97%
Yes
400 Series 90° reflector
450
440
97%
Yes
400 Series 120° reflector
450
440
97%
Yes
400+ Series 60° reflector
450
440
97%
Yes
400+ Series 90° reflector
450
440
97%
Yes
400+ Series 120° reflector
450
440
97%
Yes
M6
450
150
33%
?
M9
675
?
?
No
M16
1200
714
59%
No

Comments

4 thoughts on “Wattage”

  1. I find the wattage figures on LED lights to be very frustrating, too. I run a website selling grow lights and make it a point to always include the actual wattage draw along with whatever claims the manufacturer makes. Finding out the actual draw can be quite time consuming, however. Hence the frustration.

    1. It’s even more annoying when companies give one number for “power”, another (smaller) number for “actual power draw”, and then the light pulls even less than that when plugged into a Kill-a-Watt!

  2. Wish I had found out this information prior to buying from Mars Hydro, 1600 , I stated using this for my new grow,.I started having problems with my plants, thought it was nutrients. So I moved half them to my 1000 hps.
    They really improved. Then I found a review on Amazon,in the Mars 1200 item, where he talks about his 1600 , Totally blew my mind. Wish I had done more research, but then you tube growers, like MedGrower and Mr Tight was pushing these. And they had rave reviews. No use in trying to get refunds. Go read his article. I’ll be posting my findings on my grow. With this light. I’ll probably sell on Ebay. I’m not making any negative post until I see more issues on my plants.
    People need to know the truth .
    I’m going to give Amazon a call and see what they say.
    Dennis

    1. Hello,

      You are not the first person to contact me about plants having problems growing under the Mars Hydro lights- but I have also seen grows with Mars Hydro lights where plants did OK, at least when the lights were new. I don't know if it is different growing styles causing the differences, or just incredible inconsistencies in the lights they are selling. Given their very short warranty that they can choose not to honor at any time, as well as the number of people I hear from saying these lights only last a few months, I would never recommend a Mars Hydro LED. But at the same time I am surprised that a brand-new, working light would cause problems with plants – unless perhaps the ratio of LED colors is wrong in the light you got, or the quality is even lower than the lights I have seen and the LEDs are dimming even more quickly. Without a spectrometer it is almost impossible to tell.

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