Best Grow Lights For Pepper Plants – Indoor Grow Lights

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Pepper Geek takes part in various affiliate programs. This means that purchases through our links may result in a commission for us.

If you grow pepper plants from seed, you’ll most likely need to use a grow light to get the plants started. Grow lights have come a long way in recent years, from bulky and loud lights to slim, silent LED lights. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the very best grow lights for pepper plants.

While these lights were chosen with growing peppers in mind, they will also work well for growing almost any sunlight-loving plants. Think tomatoes, other veggies, herbs and even decorative shrubs and flowers.

We have experimented with several grow light setups and have chosen a variety of great options depending on your situation. We’ll cover cheap lighting for small setups, all the way to more powerful lights for growing many plants.

Pepper plants growing indoors under grow lights.
Pepper plants under grow lights.

LED Grow Lights For Peppers

There are a wide range of LED grow light options for growing peppers. This is our preferred type of grow light thanks to the cool running temperature, the slim designs, and the low maintenance.

LED lighting elements can last for thousands of hours, making them the perfect light source longevity. Considering your lights may run for 16 hours a day, all year long, having a long-lasting light is essential.

Here, we have rounded up some of our top LED grow lights for peppers. They range in price and light output, so you can pick one that fits your needs.

Window light vs grow light pepper plants
Window light (left) vs grow lights (right) – same variety planted on the same day!

Viparspectra LEDs (Excellent Value)

If you are looking for a good budget friendly option, the VisparSpectra Pro Series has great output and efficiency for the price point. Usually priced well below $100, the P1000 light is a good way to get the best bang for your buck in the LED world.

Pros:

  • Great price
  • Dimmable
  • Real heat sink for cooling
  • White & red LEDs

Cons:

  • Thicker with heat sink
  • Heavy
  • Non-name brand LEDs

Coverage Area:

  • Vegetative stage: 2.5’x2.5′
  • Flowering stage: 2’x2′
Viparspectra p1500 LED bulbs off
Our Viparspectra P1500 grow light.

* Use code: ‘peppergeek’ for a discount

More and more LED light brands are popping up, claiming to offer better and better grow lights for less money. While many budget options will offer a ‘get what you pay for’ situation, the Pro Series units deliver real results for a great price.

See our full review of the ViparSpectra P1500 here.

Viparspectra p1500 Dimmer Knob
ViparSpectra P1500 LED grow light.

ViparSpectra was known for ‘blurple’ grow lights when they were a more popular choice. They have now begun to sell quantum board lights with some handy features. Namely, this light is dimmable, and comes with a built-in heat sink. This allows the LEDs to run cooler, in theory slowing down the light decay over time.

While the quality of the LEDs and/or driver is potentially below average, if price is your main objective, this full spectrum LED might be a great start for growing your peppers.

For a slightly larger grow area, step up to the P1500 or the P2000 lights for additional power. These have the same features as the p1000, but with more coverage.

See all ViparSpectra P-series grow lights here.


Spider Farmer SF600 (Best For Seed Starting)

If seed starting is your main goal with your grow light, the Spider Farmer SF600 (and SF300) are great options. Both have a long, narrow coverage, perfect for lighting up your seed starting shelf.

Pros:

  • Rectangular coverage area
  • Excellent efficiency
  • Natural white light
  • Lightweight
  • Silent

Cons:

  • No dimmer knob
  • Hanging is slightly awkward
  • Somewhat expensive for output
  • Not water resistant

Coverage Area:

  • 2×4′ at about 1′ height
Spider Farmer SF600 Hanging Above Pepper Plants
Spider farmer SF600 LED light.

Spider Farmer is a well-known LED maker, using some of the world’s best quality components. Our SF600 has been perfect for our 2×4 foot area on our grow shelf.

There are a couple drawbacks, namely the lack of a dimmer knob, and the hanging hardware. The light essentially comes with two cables attached to either side, and two wing nuts to fasten the cable to something. This is versatile, but I wish it were a bit easier to hang and adjust the light’s height.

Spider Farmer SF600 LED Grow Light
Spider Farmer SF600.

The light is also not water resistant (the LEDs are not coated with a protective film like other lights). This can be a problem if you are misting your peppers regularly, but so far we have not had any issues.

Overall, the SF600 is a lightweight, low-profile LED that is efficient and silent. For seed starting, it’s hard to to imagine a better option for the price.


Vivosun VS Series

Vivosun recently sent us one of their latest grow lights to review and it is impressive. They also have a lineup of innovative indoor growing products so you can build a full setup from scratch.

Pros:

  • Full spectrum
  • Efficient & quiet
  • Robust build quality
  • Unique hanging hardware

Cons:

  • Dimming knob only has 5 settings

Coverage Area:

  • Vegetative stage: 3’x3′
  • Flowering stage: 2’x2′

If you are planning to grow your peppers indoors through to harvest, this LED is a great option, start to finish. The more powerful output is plenty to produce fruits.

Not only are LEDs quiet and slim, but they can be carefully tuned to produce a highly usable spectrum of light. Vivosun has dialed in all of the important light wavelengths for optimal plant growth.

Vivosun VS 1500 grow light turned on
Vivosun VS1500 grow light.

This unit is also silent, meaning no fan is necessary in most grow situations. However, if you are growing in an indoor tent, you may want to monitor the temperature, as the light does produce some warmth.

*Though most LED manufacturers tout long runtimes, output and efficiency does diminish over time. Expect an LED light to have approximately 80% of its original efficiency and output after about 25,000 hours of runtime.

Read more about our experience with the Vivosun VS1500 grow light here.


Fluorescent Lights For Peppers

Fluorescent lights offer a similar, cool running temperature at a lower price point. These lights tend to be a bit more bulky, but if budget is your main concern, they may be the right fit for your pepper grow light.

T5 Fluorescent Lamps

While LEDs have a lot to offer, the T5 fluorescent bulb has long been touted as one of the great grow light options. They offer low heat and high efficiency, but lack in the endurance category.

Pros:

  • Budget friendly
  • Runs cool
  • Efficient

Cons:

  • Not long lasting
  • Must be closer to plants

Coverage Area:

  • Variable (based on size & number of bulbs)

Fluorescent bulbs need to be placed closer to your plants since the light output scatters quickly as the distance from the light is increased. This can be viewed as a good or a bad thing, depending on your grow setup. With a dimmable LED, you can keep the light in a fixed position.

Tip: Try to find a light with multiple tube slots and use one warm tube (like this) and one cool tube (like this). This will offer a much better spectrum of light for your pepper plants to use.

If you can swing the price difference, we recommend going with an LED light for growing peppers over fluorescent bulbs. Replacement bulbs are not cheap, and many buyers complain of them burning out in less than 1 year of use.

While this will vary based on the quality of the light and the duration of daily use, we just prefer the sound of 25,000-50,000 hours of runtime!


More About Grow Lights

If you want a little more info about picking a grow light, here are a couple important topics.

Color Temperature

Color temperature determines the appearance of light from a grow light in the visual spectrum. In other words, does the light appear more red, or more blue?

Color temperature is measured in Kelvin, and ratings for grow lights typically range from 3000K-6500K. The lower the number, the more red-shifted the light will appear.

Color temperature is also associated with the wavelengths of light. This is measured in nanometers, and visible light ranges from about 400nm to 700nm.

If you want to use an LED grow light year-round, you might want to find a light that has some red (640-700nm), blue (450-500nm) and white LEDs. This will prevent the need to change the color of the light during different plant growth stages.

Other lights provide an option to change the color temperature at will. This usually means simply turning on or off some of the panel’s LEDs, either blue or red shifted diodes.

Why does it matter?

So why should this matter for growing plants? Many plants, including peppers, will change growth patterns based on the color temperature of light. Higher color temperature light promotes healthy leafy (vegetative) growth, while warmer temperature light will promote fruiting.

This means that, if you are just growing lettuce, you might want to look into lights in the 5000-6000K range. However, if your goal is to grow fruit-bearing plants (like peppers), you’ll need more red light during the fruiting stage.

Some grow lights will allow you to change the type of light that is emitted, so be sure to review a wavelength chart to see what the light emits.

PPF and PPFD

When looking at various grow lights, you will often see ratings for PPF and PPFD. These measure photosynthetic photon flux and photosynthetic photon flux density, respectively.

PPF measures the amount of photosynthetic active light that a light emits in all directions. This measurement only considers light in wavelengths between 400-700nm (the wavelengths used by plants to photosynthesize).

PPFD measures the amount of photosynthetic active light that reaches a surface. This is essentially a measure of how efficient the light is at providing usable light to your plants.

While most LEDs are highly efficient, they can still vary significantly. High-priced, professional lights are priced high for a reason, while lower cost options tend to scatter more light.


Indoor Grow Tents For Peppers

If you want to grow your peppers indoors over the winter, you might want to invest in a grow tent. These tents are fully enclosed, reflective zip-up tents in which you can grow plants. They usually contain holes for ventilation in order to provide fresh air to your plants.

While the setup is more complex than a simple seed starter tray, the benefit is that the light is enclosed. This means that you won’t have bright, glaring light in your home all year. It also offers a superior, reflective interior surface so that more of your light’s energy can reach the pepper plant’s foliage.

Grow tents:


I hope that this article gave you some insight into the best grow lights for pepper plants. It seems like LED lights are the future for high-endurance, reliable and efficient lighting. Good luck with your new pepper plant grow light!

Let us know how things are going with your indoor plants in the comments below.

Calvin Thumbnail

Calvin

One of the original Pepper Geeks! When Calvin isn’t gardening or learning more about peppers and botany, he might be traveling new places or playing some music.

Similar Posts

37 Comments

    1. This should work for growing seedlings, but probably not enough to get much of a harvest. It’s worth a shot if you don’t have the option to grow outdoors. If you can stretch the budget a bit, the Viparspectra P1000 is a much better option: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083JVXHF6 and can be used to grow plants through fruiting.

  1. I want to say your articles have saved my peppers. The aphids do multiply very fast and I couldn’t keep up to their reproduction. I am using the castle soap with peppermint mixture and keeping my eyes open for and stragglers. They are just flowering and I was sad to see the leaves eating. It broke my heart. Thanks again the the recipe.

  2. Thank you for the reviews and information. As a result, I just purchased the VS2000 from Amazon. I am excited to upgrade my current fluorescent grow lights to a solution that will provide better coverage, light source and ability to adjust as needed!

    1. It really depends on the spread of the LEDs, but I would guess around 12-18″. Try to find the owner’s manual to see if there are recommended hanging heights.

  3. Hi Calvin-

    I’m in Rockport MA and I started my seeds too later last season. I know you are in CT so when do you start your seeds. I appreciate everything about your site!

    Mark

    1. Hi Mark – we start the majority of our seeds around late March and early April. If you’re not using grow lights, maybe a week earlier. Hope you have a good season in 2024!

  4. I have lots of excellent lights, but never know how far to keep them from the plants. I do have a PAR meter but don’t know the recommended values for any of the veggies.

  5. Do you have any recommendations for a “bar” style grow light? I am looking to hang above my plant table by a window that doesn’t get much light. It is about 8ft long and I’d light to have a few lights above it to help supplement for my pepper plants in the winter 🙂 Thank you!!!

  6. Hey Calvin. Thanks for the info. I’ve been loving the taste and health benefits of cayenne for a long time. I’ve been growing them and dehydrating them for use over winter. I’ve decided to try and keep them available fresh year-round. Cuttin’ new road. Yeah! I bookmarked your site. Keep on truckin’ jj

  7. Howdy!

    I have a small indoor “garden” that I use the Unit Farm UFS3000 for. Any chance you have any information on that brand? So far it’s been entirely adequate for my plants (2 ghost pepper plants and some very short tomato and basil plants), but I’m curious if you have ever used anything of this brand or know how it compares to some of the other options you’ve listed.

    Thanks!

  8. Hello Calvin,
    Thank you for this and all of your content. I am a new pepper grower and I’m loving it so far. I’m going to be diving into indoor hydroponic growing in a 2×4 Spider Farmer Tent. The light I’ve just purchased is a Viparspectra P2500 based on your video and man that thing is a beast. I’m hoping it will be a big enough light for 4 pepper plants in 5 gallon DWC setups. Can you recommend light heights given your personal experience with Viparspectra?
    Thank you again for the work you do!

    1. Hey there, that sounds like a great setup for 4 plants for sure. We have the p1500, so the hanging height may differ for the larger unit. However, we usually start around 50% power at 15-18″ above the foliage when the plants are younger (1-4 weeks old or so). Then, as they grow, they naturally get closer and we can also gradually increase the intensity maybe 5% per week until they are growing vigorously. Just don’t make any major changes too quickly and the plants should acclimate and grow well. Good luck!

  9. So last year I just put my seedlings in the window for a while before going outside but this year things just don’t seem to be growing good enough and in fact seemed to have slowed down in the passed week. I’ve been wanting to buy a grow light but haven’t gotten around to it. Than I thought… hey I have a reef LED setup that I’m not using at the moment. I have really no way of telling what the spectrums are but I’m assuming the blue is in the 400nm range, the red in the 700nm range and the whites maybe 7000K-10,000K range. It’s probably closer to 10,000 but one channel seems a little more yellow than the other. I can also set the % of each channel. Would you know if this might work well and what percentage of each light type I should use?

  10. Hello, Thank you for the very informative article. I started around 100 seedling this year a variety of Superhots and more traditional peppers using mostly sunlight and grow T5’s. I quickly ran out of room after uppotting to 4 inch square pots so I purchased the Viparspectra 1000 LED you recommended its great, very bright. My question is can use the brighter light to play catch up with some of the smaller plants or would it be more beneficial to rotate all my pepper plants between the T5 fluorescents and the LED fixture?

    1. Young plants just don’t grow very fast. The biggest factor is duration of daily light. To get them to grow fastest, look at increasing daily light to around 16 hours. Too much light can burn the seedlings, so don’t go too bright/close!

  11. Hey there.

    I have this light https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07VKHQKWC?psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_dt_b_asin_title

    600w led.

    I have 6 jalapeno early plants in a tent. grown from seed. in roughly 3′ x 3′ I had it up full early on at around 12″ and all seemed fine until around the third set of leaves which curled. So I put the light higher (18″) and put the power down to 50 percent however I also had a bit of an infestation of fungus gnats which I seem to now have under control so not sure if the curl was from the light or the bugs. . I recently pruned above the third set of true leaves and I have some new growth from the nodes coming in.

    My question is.. is this light too powerful to crank up to full power? at 18″ should I keep it low?

    (growing medium potting soil, nutrients added with watering, I dont think they are overwatered)

    1. Hm, 600W is strong, but the PPFD rating for your light shows that at 14″ the max in the center is around 1000. For young plants, that is definitely too strong, but as the plants mature and grow stronger you can likely up the power gradually.

  12. Calvin, Thanks for the very informative article but I do have a question 🙂

    Are these lights suitable to ripen off some chillies after the growing season has come to an end? I have a Bhut Jolokia bush full of green peppers that probably won’t now ripen with the onset of Autumn.

    Thanks.

  13. Are Carolina Reapers photo or auto? Do they need the light cycle to be 12/12 like cannabis in order to flower?

  14. Calvin,

    I have been struggling with seed starting for my outdoor garden with T12 fluorescents for years. I invested in the Spider Farmer SF-1000 to hopefully see an improvement in the quality of plants going into the ground/containers. While the user manual specifies the distance and timing suggestions, I have been unable to find any information regarding the light intensity settings. The dimmer ranges from 0-100 and I just wanted to see if you had any general recommendations for the various stages of growth, from seedling emergence to hardening off for peppers and tomatoes? Thanks for all you do!

    1. Hi Mike,

      Great, that is certainly an upgrade! As for the intensity, we only recently got a dimmable light (120W max), and I have it set to around 60% intensity at 18″. I’d recommend starting somewhere similar for seedlings, and adjust the intensity up around 5% per week as the plants grow and become stronger. Keep an eye for any strain (curling or reaching) to determine if it is too intense or not strong enough. Happy growing!

  15. Hi, Calvin!
    Thank you for putting in the time to help us newbies into growing our own peppers indoors.

    Could you please let me know what you think of our setup?

    We’ve got some pretty basic red : blue (3:1) LED strips, from some china brand called Tesfish. Our grow tent is a really basic metal cage with a thin plastic cover- it’s really not fancy whatsoever. It’s got 3 shelves, & the distance between the shelves is about 12 inches.
    We plan to grow just your basic peppers, capsicum annuum, and I’ve also got some habanero seeds set aside from store-bought peppers. What do you think, are we headed towards certain doom, or is there hope yet?

    Thank you!

    1. Haha, thanks for sharing the setup. It sounds like enough to get the plants off to a good start! I would not expect to grow the plants to the fruiting stage indoors though. Hopefully you have a nice spot outside to transition the plants to once they have outgrown the indoor space. Best of luck!

      -Calvin

  16. How many can a mars hydro ts1000 make strong chili pepper fruits in growtelt?
    And which is better Mars Hydro ts1000 or spider farmer sf1000?

    1. Depending on the size of the chili pepper plants, you might by able to fruit 3-4 plants with good harvests. If you are growing HUGE plants (chinense varieties in large pots) you may want to reduce to 1-2 plants.

      The Mars Hydro is a slightly better bang for your buck, but uses less high-quality hardware. If you can swing it, I would recommend spider farmer.

  17. Love the website. First time poster. I have 2 TS1000 in a tent for 6 plants. The plants were fine outside this summer in Vancouver BC. When the fall came and I move them inside I’ve tried to re-create the conditions in the tent. 23° 55% humidity but the plants seem to be struggling with yellowing leaves dropping off. I’m wondering if you’ve ever used these lights and can recommend height and % of intensity that I should dial it in at? Currently at 2 feet and 75% because plants weren’t looking to well. Should I go back up to 100%?

    1. Hi Chris,

      Sounds like the plants may have nutrient uptake issues rather than lighting. Mars Hydro is a good brand for lights, so it won’t be an issue of lighting.

      Are you feeding on a regular schedule? Have the plants been in the same soil since spring? Sometimes it can help to refresh some or all of the soil. Also, remember to keep the plants evenly watered (not too much, not too little). They may not drink as much water under grow lights as they do in the sun. Airflow is another component to think about – we run a small fan blowing on our indoor plants to help with transpiration.

      Hope this helps you figure out the issue!
      -Calvin

  18. Hi,

    How many lux or PPF (PPFD) do you recommend to use the light on the pepper plant?
    I got a new growth light, and turned it to 100 % the first day. It make all the leaves curling. That is not good right?

    1. Hey Jonathan,

      You may just need to move up the light away from your plants. Our LED is usually about 15-18 inches above the leaves. Our light is rated around 420 PPFD at 18 inches, directly in the center.

      If leaves are curling, try dimming the light slightly, and/or moving the light higher up.

      Best,
      -Calvin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *