10 Best CMH/LEC Grow Light Kits and Bulbs of 2024

CMH/LEC lights serve to mimic natural sunlight and ensure the growth of indoor plants. CMH grow lights are popular due to their exceptional color rendition and broad spectrum. They also offer high PAR efficiency, producing more usable light for plants per watt of electricity consumed.

CMH lights are better than competitors (HID, HPS lights) in terms of performance. They provide a more balanced and intense light spectrum, are more energy-efficient, and have a longer lifespan. They also feature better construction quality, enhancing durability and heat management. CMH lights often come with excellent customer support and generous warranty terms, adding extra value for growers. The price is also attractive for customers. For instance, the digital Greenhouse and Eye Hortilux lights have the same wattage and spectrum, but the Greenhouse model is more affordable.

To choose the best CMH/LEC grow lights, consider factors such as wattage, color temperature, CRI (Color Rendering Index), PAR efficiency, dimmable feature, bulb lifespan, and price points. These factors influence the quality and performance of the best CMH lights, ensuring healthy vegetation growth.

1. Digital Greenhouse 315W Ceramic Metal Halide Dimmable CMH Fixture – Best for all growing stages 

The Digital Greenhouse 315W Ceramic Metal Halide Dimmable CMH Fixture is designed to provide high-intensity, full-spectrum light that closely mimics natural sunlight and covers all three stages of plant growth: seedlings, vegetative, and flower stage. 

The dimmable feature is another highlight of this CMH grow light. The benefit allows you to adjust the brightness to cater to different plant growth stages, reducing energy consumption and extending lamp life. You can set the brightness settings to 50%, 75%, 100%, and 110%. 

Its built-in ballast sets this CMH grow light fixture apart from others. The stable CMH grow light fixture means there’s no need for additional equipment, making setup straightforward.

The reflector hood design of this CMH grow light also ensures maximum light spread and penetration, enabling even growth across your garden.

The Digital Greenhouse CMH grow light operates well at 120-240V thanks to its multi-voltage design. 

However, the Digital Greenhouse fixture does run hot, which is a concern for indoor plant growers. They must manage the distance and height of the fixture to prevent plant overheating and burns. The indoor grow light also lacks a cooling fan, necessitating the purchase of additional ventilation equipment to ensure optimal operation. 

We rated the Digital Greenhouse CMH grow light at 5/5, mostly for the flexible design and ease of installation, and its price matches the quality.

Pros: solid and durable for longer working hours, easy to use  

Cons: no cooling fan requires extra ventilation and strong heat output, so it burns plants 

2. Eye Hortilux CMH 315 Grow Light System Ceramic Metal Halide LEC – Best value

The Eye Hortilux CMH 315 Grow Light System operates efficiently, minimizing energy consumption. It’s a good investment for long-term costs. 

With 120/240V capabilities, the Eye Hortilux grow light system offers flexibility for various electrical setups. In addition, the built-in ballast and reflector make its installation easy for beginners.

The CMH grow light technology provides a full spectrum of light that closely resembles natural sunlight, helping plants to grow healthy and robust. The Eye Hortilux CMH grow light system fully supports vegetative and flowering stages, ensuring optimal growth, sufficient energy for photosynthesis, and healthy reproduction. 

The Eye Hortilux CMH 315 grow light is on the higher end of the price range, which might deter some growers. Like many HID grow lights (, this system emits considerable heat, requiring additional ventilation or cooling systems.

The short and compact reflector design maximizes this CMH grow light kit with 8% more light hitting the canopy and ensures 30% uniform light for optimal output in the whole grow tent. 

This ceramic metal halide grow light is ideal for 3×3 ft grow tents. Its coverage area is 3 ft, and you should hang it 3 ft above the canopy. 

Overall, we rated this bulb at 5/5, but it has a higher price tag since you need extra costs for cooling systems. 

Pros: quality light to support growth, integrated design for durability 

Cons: stronger heat emission requires ventilation, high initial cost with added cost for cooling system

3. Grower’s Choice 630NS (630w CMH/Dual 315W Ceramic Metal Halide Bulbs) – Best technology

The Grower’s Choice 630NS is energy efficient with its dual 315W Ceramic Metal Halide Bulbs. Despite its high output, it consumes relatively less power, making it a cost-effective choice in the long run.

The Grower’s choice CMH grow light kit has a smart ignition control and soft start technology. The technology prevents burning plants and protects them from strong light output leading to plant death.

Its system is easy to use and set up, so beginners can use it without issues, as the fixture fits standard sockets. 

 These CMH grow lights are also good for automatic frequency adjustment, full circuit protection, and RF Shielding to ensure longer use and prevent damage to the design. 

The dual bulbs offer uniform light distribution, ensuring that all plants receive adequate light regardless of their position. It also has a high PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) value, which means more usable light for your plants.

However, the Grower’s Choice 630NS is not without its drawbacks. The initial cost of the fixture is quite high, which might deter some hobbyists. Also, the unit generates significant heat, so additional ventilation or cooling is necessary in smaller grow spaces (2×2 grow tents). 

We rated this light bulb at 4.5/5 due to its quality. It costs more than other competitors. 

Pros: superior color quality for optimal growth, durable and sturdy 

Cons: additional costs in the long run 

4. iPower 1000 Watt HPS & MH Bulbs Digital Dimmable Ballast Grow Light System – Best safety features 

The iPower 1000 Watt HPS & MH Digital Dimmable Ballast Grow Light System offers the flexibility of High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) and Metal Halide (MH) bulbs, ensuring a comprehensive light spectrum for all stages of plant growth.

The iPower grow lights are ideal for various plants (cannabis, herbs, leafy greens, flowers), 2×2 and 4×4 tent sizes. Their red and blue colors are sufficient for photosynthesis and optimal growth of indoor plants. 

The digital dimmable ballast allows light intensity adjustments (50%, 75%, 100%), providing optimal illumination based on your plants’ needs. The dimmable function reduces light and heat, preventing plant burns and death. 

The system has built-in safety measures, such as overheating and short-circuit protection, adding an extra layer of security. 

With a 19-inch wing reflector and hanging hooks included, setting up this grow light system is straightforward.

Some users have reported that the ballast is noisy during operation, which could be a concern in quiet environments. As with many high-intensity grow lights such as HID, this grow light system produces considerable heat, requiring additional ventilation or cooling.

We rated the iPower 1000 Watt HPS & MH Digital Dimmable Ballast Grow Light System at 4.5/5, mostly for its ease of use and straightforward system. The average cost is affordable, but it costs more with extra cooling systems.

Pros: ease of use and installation, safe design for longer usage

Cons: expensive and requires extra money for the additional cooling systems 

5. Hydroplanet Hydroplanet™ Grow Light Fixture – Best versatility

The Hydroplanet™ Grow Light Fixture ensures enough energy and carbohydrates for plants to grow optimally and be healthy in all three stages: seedlings, vegetative, and flowering.

The grow light fixture is compatible with both High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) and Metal Halide (MH) bulbs, providing flexibility in choosing the light spectrum best suited for your plants. 

Despite its high performance, the grow light system is priced reasonably, making it an affordable option for many growers.

The German-made aluminum reflective hood ensures maximum light coverage, promoting even growth across your garden. 

The grow light package comes with a 15-foot power cord and hanging hooks, making setup straightforward even for newbies.

The fixture tends to generate a significant amount of heat, which requires additional ventilation or cooling systems. Growers must turn AC systems on to reduce temperature and prevent overheating and plant burns. 

The fixture does come with bulbs, but sometimes the package contains broken bulbs, so you must replace them and spend more money.  

Overall, the Hydroplanet™ Grow Light Fixture is a commendable product. Its versatility, affordability, and ease of installation make it an attractive option for indoor gardeners. It’s rated 4.5/5 by our reviewers due to its package issues and strong heat output. The price is also higher for the given quality.

Pros: light quality for plants, economical to reduce bills, easy installation for beginners

Cons: stronger heat output might burn plants, package issues require returns 

6. iPower 315W CMH Grow Light Bulb, High Efficiency Low Heat Ceramic Metal Halide Lamp – Best for low heat output 

The iPower 315W CMH Grow Lights are known for their exceptional light quality and energy efficiency to save costs for a long-term plan. 

However, the iPower CMH grow lights operate at 90% of high-lumen maintenance at 8,000 hours and 85% at 20,000 hours. 

These CMH grow lights include 33,000 lm of initial lumens and operate 110 lumens per watt, which is 540 μmol/s, with a color temperature of 4,000K. These grow lights are ideal for flowering stages. 

The grow light bulb operates at 315W, offering high-intensity light output while minimizing energy consumption. Unlike many grow lights, the iPower bulb produces lower heat, reducing the need for extensive cooling systems. 

With a life expectancy of 15,000 hours, these CMH lamps offer longevity, saving you from frequent replacements.

The grow light bulb doesn’t have a ballast, meaning you’ll need to purchase one separately. 

Some users have reported compatibility issues with fixtures and ballasts. Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines in the user manual to check its compatibility. However, these CMH grow lights are compatible with parabolic and round reflectors with hooks and latches. 

We rated the iPOWER 315W CMH grow lights at 4/5 as they are unsuitable for all fixtures. They come with an affordable price tag. 

Pros: superior light spectrum, energy efficiency to reduce operating costs, low heat output prevents plant burns

Cons: hard to install and requires specific installation parts 

7. PROTOPIA CMH 315W 4000K Grow Light Bulb – Best control system 

The PROTOPIA CMH 315W 4000K Grow Light kit provides a balanced light spectrum, mimicking natural sunlight, which aids in robust plant growth. This CMH bulb light kit supports all three growing stages with a temperature of 4000K. 

With a power output of 315W, it’s energy-efficient compared to many other grow lights, such as HIDs or HPS lights. 

The PROTOPIA CMH grow light bulb boasts a long lifespan, requiring less frequent replacements and saving costs in the long run. 

This CMH grow light bulb emits increased levels of UV and IR light, improving plant quality and yield, and promoting healthy and strong growing stages of your indoor plants. 

Like all high-intensity discharge lamps, this CMH bulb can produce significant heat. Adequate ventilation and cooling systems are required to prevent overheating.

This CMH bulb requires a compatible ballast for operation, which might be an additional cost if not already owned. The PROPOTIPIA grow light bulb model has no dimming feature, limiting flexibility in controlling light intensity.

We rated the Protopia grow light bulb at 4/5 on the scale due to its additional costs for higher heat output. The lack of dimmable features also reduces its value compared to other competitors.

Pros: Promoting healthy plants, energy-efficient for lower energy consumption, enhanced UV and IR light, longevity 

Cons: It requires ballast, is not dimmable, and has a strong heat output.

8. Horticulture Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) – Best for a long lifespan

The Horticulture CMH grow lights operate at 315W, providing high-intensity light while conserving energy. 

As these CMH grow lights produce the spectrum of sunlight, they promote optimal growth in vegetative stages and encourage strong, healthy stems and leaves. 

The Horticulture ceramic metal halide light also has 96 CRI, which is excellent for healthy plant growth.

With an extended lifespan of over 8,000 hours, the bulb replacements are less frequent, saving you time and money. 

The grow light efficiency is 105lm per watt, and the lumen output is 33,000lm for 315 watts. 

The light-emitting ceramic MH bulb uses higher upfront costs when compared to traditional HID lights. However, the Horticulture grow light is offset by the long lifespan and energy efficiency, saving money on the lung run. 

There are compatibility issues with certain fixtures, requiring careful consideration before purchase. The light MH bulb is compatible with the Hydro Crunch 315-Watt CMH bulbs and Phantom II CMH 315W Ceramic Metal Halide Digital Ballast. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions in the manual to know what other types of fixtures these light kits are compatible with. 

We rated the Horticulture Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) 315W light at 4/5 due to compatibility issues and higher initial costs. The price is higher for the given quality. 

Pros: reduced grow cycles for faster results, long lifespan to reduce replacement costs, energy efficiency for lower consumption, sun-like spectrum for healthy plants

Cons: higher initial costs, complicated installation process 

9. Sun System Flower Power 315 Watt Grow Light – Best performance

The Sun System Flower Power 315 Watt Grow Light is compact, making it highly adaptable and fitting into smaller spaces. The grow light is ideal for 2×2 grow tents.

The lighting system provides optimal conditions for photosynthesis and full plant growth and reproduction. 

The all-in-one design, including built-in ballast and reflector, allows for hassle-free setup. The installation is stable and secure, without any hazards for plants. 

Despite its high output, the system operates efficiently, minimizing energy use and reducing your long-term costs. 

Like most grow lights, this CMH grow light also emits considerable heat,  requiring additional ventilation or cooling systems. Growers use AC systems to reduce temperature to prevent plant burns and overheating, causing plant death. 

The lack of a dimming option restricts flexibility in adjusting light intensity according to different growth stages, so it cannot fully prevent plant burns. 

However, the CMH grow light is rated safe for use by the United States Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which regulates Krypton-85, a nuclear radiational material incorporated in most CMH bulbs. So, the Sun System Flower Power is secure to humans and animals. 

The Sun System Flower Power 315 Watt Grow Light is a solid investment for indoor gardeners. It’s rated at 4/5 by our reviewers due to stronger heat output and lack of a dimming feature. It has a higher price tag than the competition. 

Pros: efficient performance, compact design, easy installation, energy-efficient

Cons: stronger heat output, lack of dimmable feature 

10. GRUOTVSZAK 590umol CMH 315W Ceramic Metal Halide 4200K CDM Full Spectrum Indoor Vegging Grow Light Bulb – Energy efficient 

The GRUOTVSZAK 590umol CMH 315W 4200K CDM Grow Light Bulb has a high PAR output. A photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) output of 590umol efficiently drives photosynthesis for vigorous plant growth.

The 4200K color temperature offers a balanced full-spectrum light, ideal for all stages of plant growth: seedlings, vegetative, and flowering.

Consuming only 315W power, it’s more energy-efficient, saving on electricity costs. 

The Guotvszak grow light has a longer lifespan of over 20,000 hours, reducing the need for frequent bulb replacements. 

As with most high-intensity discharge lamps, it generates significant heat, requiring good ventilation or cooling systems to prevent potential plant damage. The strong heat output burns plants, so ensure an optimal temperature range (75-85°F/23-29°C). 

This grow light bulb needs a compatible ballast for operation, which is an additional cost if not already owned. The Gruotsvazk grow light bulb does not offer a dimmable function, limiting flexibility in light intensity control.

We rated this ceramic metal halide at 3.5/5, as it requires an additional ventilation system to keep the plants optimal and prevent overheating. The average price range is cheap, but the price goes up due to the lack of grow light fixtures, and it’s not the best match for the additional costs. 

Pros: Full spectrum light for healthy plants, high PAR output for photosynthesis, energy-efficient, long lifespan

Cons: It requires a ballast for installation, needs additional cooling systems, and offers only average-quality 

How do you choose the best CMH grow light?

To choose the best CMH grow light, consider 7 crucial factors to ensure optimal and healthy growth for your indoor plants. These factors include: 

Wattage: Most CMH lamps come in two wattages: 315W and 630W. The higher the wattage, the more light the lamp produces and the larger the area it can cover. However, higher wattage also means more heat and energy consumption.

Color temperature: Color temperature, measured in Kelvin (K), determines the type of light spectrum the lamp emits. Lower color temperatures of CMH lights (around 3,000K) produce a red spectrum light suitable for flowering plants, while higher color temperatures (around 4,200K) produce a blue light ideal for vegetative growth.

CRI (Color Rendering Index): CRI refers to how accurately the light source reveals the colors of objects compared to natural light. A higher CRI (above 90) means the light is closer to natural sunlight, which is beneficial for the overall health and development of the plant.

PAR Efficiency: Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) efficiency measures how much usable light a plant can use for photosynthesis (400-700 nm). The higher the PAR efficiency, the better the light source is for plant growth.

Dimmable feature: CMH lights come with a dimmable feature that allows you to adjust the intensity of the light. The benefit is useful for different growth stages, as seedlings may require less light intensity than mature plants.

Bulb life: CMH bulbs generally last longer than other types, such as HPS or MH grow light bulbs. Look for bulbs with a rated life of at least 20,000 hours.

Price: While CMH lights are more expensive upfront, they often provide better efficiency and longer bulb life, saving you money in the long run.

7 factors to choose the best CMH grow lights

How far away do you keep LEC grow lights from your plants?

Keep your LEC grow lights 12-20 inches away from the top of the plants. Monitor your plants for signs of light stress. The lights are too close if your plants are wilting, yellowing, or showing signs of burn. On the other hand, if your plants are stretching or leaning towards the light, the light is too far away.

How often do change grow light bulbs?

Replace the bulbs after every two to three grow cycles (every ten to 14 months) to maintain efficiency. The MH bulbs require replacement every 6-10 months. If your bulbs are physically damaged or produce less light than their starting point, it’s time to replace them. 

Are CMH lights good for flowering?

Yes, CMH lights are good for flowering due to the color temperature. A CMH bulb can produce 3100k, ideal for the blooming phase, or 4200k for the vegetative stage. A combination of a 3100k and a 4200k bulb provides an optimal solution, catering to all your plants’ requirements throughout their various stages of growth.

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Ben Bareja

Ben Bareja, the owner-founder-webmaster of CropsReview.com. This website was conceptualized primarily to serve as an e-library for reference purposes on the principles and practices in crop science, including basic botany. Read more here

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