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, know that they will also work well for growing almost any sunlight-loving plants. Think tomatoes and 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 larger lights for growing lots of plants.
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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 for growing. 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.
HLG 100 3000K/4000K (Best Overall)
This is the light that we are currently using for our pepper growing setup. This LED quantum board grow light is a show-stopper in terms of light output and quality for the price.
- Full spectrum
- Efficient & quiet
- Excellent PPFD (usable light for photosynthesis)
- High quality build
- Hanging wire is not adjustable
- Not dimmable
- No red LEDs
- Vegetative stage: 3’x3′
- Flowering stage: 2’x2′
Tip: If you are planning to grow your peppers indoors through to harvest, get the 3000K version LED panel for better harvests.
As the name suggests, this light from Horticulture Lighting Group is a full spectrum 3000K or 4000K color temperature LED grow light. I know that is a mouthful, but basically what it means is that this light panel is made to be a great year round grow light.
We like our HLG 100 LED grow light for peppers specifically because we have the option to use the light to grow plants from seedling all the way through to harvest. The 4000K spectrum requires no adjustment in wavelength when the plants begin to flower (though we typically use it just for starting plants).
The price is somewhat high, but we have heard complaints from other pepper growers when using cheap units with similar output claims. Cheap units are typically poorly built, leading to shorter lifespans. The HLG is designed for long-term use and should last upwards of 50,000 hours of runtime*.
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 it does get warm.
When compared to HID lights or even other LED boards, this light runs cool. This is thanks to the aluminum board which dissipates heat quickly.
*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.
Mars Hydro TS 1000W (Alternate Option)
Mars Hydro has a surprisingly effective lineup of LED grow lights perfect for growing peppers. Many of them sport a reflective shield surrounding the LED panel, offering slightly more concentrated light output below the light.
- More affordable
- Reflective shield for more focused light
- Easy to adjust height
- White & red LEDs
- Less coverage
- Less light intensity than other options
- Vegetative stage: 2.5’x2.5′
- Flowering stage: 2’x2′
While Mars Hydro lights may appear a bit tacky with the large, colorful logo across the light, they are surprisingly efficient and well priced. They offer a range of lights, from the smaller TS 600W budget friendly option, all the way to the 2000W panel.
The Mars Hydro lineup of LEDs also come with adjustable hanging ropes, great for a quick install. Having the ability to move the light up as your pepper plants grow can be pretty important, depending on how you are hanging them.
While the coverage area is slightly smaller than the HLG, this light can still manage to cover a good area, up to 3’x3′ according to the manufacturer. This light is a great option for seed starting indoors, or grows within a small grow tent.
These lights are a great option for the first-time indoor pepper grower, just looking for a simple light to get things started.
Viparspectra P1000 LED (Budget Option)
If you are looking for a good budget friendly option, the Visparspectra P1000 has great output and efficiency for the price point. At under $100, this light is a good way to get the best bang for your buck in the LED world.
- Great price
- White & red LEDs
- Reliability is questionable
- Vegetative stage: 2.5’x2.5′
- Flowering stage: 2’x2′
More and more LED light brands are popping up, selling similar grow lights. While many budget options will offer a ‘get what you pay for’ situation, this unit seems to offer real results for a great price.
Viparspectra was known for blurple lights when they were more popular. 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.
While the quality is potentially below average, if price is your main objective, this full spectrum LED might be perfect for growing your peppers.
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.
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.
- Budget friendly
- Runs cool
- Not long lasting
- Must be closer to plants
- Variable (based on size & number of bulbs)
Fluorescent bulbs usually need to be placed closer to your plants since the light output is not as strong as LEDs. 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.
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 like the sound of 25,000-50,000 hours of runtime!
More About Grow Lights
If you want a little more info about grow lights, here are a couple important topics.
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 700 nm.
If you want to use an LED grow light year-round, you want to find a light that has some red (640-700nm), blue (450-500) and white LEDs. This will prevent the need to change the color of the light during different growth stages.
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 will usually promote leafy growth, while warmer temperature light will promote fruiting.
Some grow lights will allow you to change the type of light that is emitted, so be sure to check which wavelengths 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, these can still vary significantly. High-priced, professional lights are typically the best, while lower cost options will scatter more light.
Indoor Grow Tents For Peppers
If you want to grow your peppers indoors over the winter, you will likely 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 airflow fans due to heat buildup.
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.
Here are a couple good options for reasonably priced grow tents on Amazon:
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.