The Difference Between LED Lights and LED Grow Lights

If you’re here to understand the difference between LED lights and LED grow lights, we got you covered. 

Generally, light-emitting diodes and grow lights are lighting fixtures that produce light when current passes through a light-emitting diode. 

However, we employ LEDs for general illumination in commercial, residential, or industrial spaces. 

Conversely, grow lights are special LEDs tailored and customized to support indoor gardening. 

Therefore, these lights must provide wavelengths that support photosynthesis when required. 

Today’s article explores the differences between LEDs and grow lights. Let’s get rolling!

LED Lights

LED/light-emitting diode lights are a recent technology slowly replacing traditional incandescent and fluorescent lights.

 We can attribute its quick adoption to the light’s high energy efficiency, durability, and versatility. 

The LEDs produce light when holes and electrons recombine as long as a current flows through them. 

Moreover, LED lights are available in many colors and color temperatures, thus supporting multiple ambiance settings and applications. 

Manufacturers even go to the extent of designing LEDs that are resistant to temperature fluctuations, vibrations, and shock. 

Surprisingly, there is nowhere you can’t use LEDs and application range from residential to commercial use.

LED Grow Lights

(Plants growing under LED lights)

LED grow lights are special LED lights designed to provide specific wavelengths supporting plant growth and photosynthesis. 

Some specific light colors produced by grow lights that support plant growth are blue, red, far-red, and green. 

You can use grow lights to complement natural sunlight or in a situation without natural light.

 One reason we like LED grow lights is the ability to customize and tailor the light spectrum, photoperiod, and intensity to meet the specific needs of your plants. 

The customization helps promote specific growth phases like flowering, fruiting, and vegetation growth. 

Moreover, grow lights are far better than incandescent and fluorescent grow lights in almost every aspect, including energy efficiency, durability, and dimming capabilities. 

Do LED Lights Work The Same As Grow Lights?

Generally, LEDs and LED grow lights work under the same principle of producing photons/lights when current passes through a light-emitting diode. 

However, LEDs produce white-light illumination, while grow lights produce a large amount of red and blue wavelengths, which support photosynthesis in plants. 

Moreover, LEDs and grow lights are totally different from other lighting options especially owing to their high energy efficiency and outstanding durability.

Differences Between LED Lights and LED Grow Lights

Organic hydroponic vegetable grow LED light

(Organic hydroponic vegetable grow LED light)

As we’ll highlight below, these two lights have differences in purpose, design, and functionality.

Light Spectrum

First, LED lights support general illumination and produce a general light spectrum with many colors and color temperatures to serve different applications. Simply put, LED lights produce all visible wavelengths. 

Conversely, grow lights usually provide targetted light wavelengths required for plant growth. 

In most cases, LED grow light emits the blue and red light spectrums that support photosynthesis and other physiological processes. 

Coverage and Intensity

Since LED lights provide general illumination, they’re developed with much brightness to support a larger area. 

Additionally, their light intensity varies depending on the type of application, but they’re never optimized to support growth.

Conversely, grow lights usually offer a specific light intensity for plant growth.

 Furthermore, they’re powerful and focused with a higher photon flux density to guarantee increased light absorption by plants. 

Customization and Control

You’re sure to get LED lights with dimming capabilities and stand-on/off switches to adjust the light brightness. However, such features are highly limited in these lights.

 On the other hand, grow lights come with advanced features that offer the ability to customize the light photoperiod, intensity, and spectrum. 

This specialized customization allows you to create the perfect lighting conditions for the plant’s needs. 

Plant Specific Features

As mentioned, we use LEDs for general illumination purposes and they don’t have much for additional special features. 

However, LED grow lights come with extra features to enhance growth. 

For example, it’s common to come across LED grow lights with Infrared and ultraviolet diodes to stimulate plant responses. 

Energy Efficiency 

LED grow lights come with more energy efficiency to ensure optimum plant growth. Therefore, they have a higher wattage output per input energy. 


Generally, grow lights have special functionality and design, making them more expensive to manufacture and buy.

On the other hand, general LEDs have a wide price range, thus offering a cheaper alternative. 

Similarities Between LED and LED Grow Lights

Ripe tomato plant under LED grow

(Ripe tomato plant under LED grow)

Despite the differences we have explored above, LEDs and LED grow lights have many similarities worth our attention. 

LED technology: Both LEDs and grow lights produce light by allowing current through light-emitting diodes. 

Generally, LED technology is known for high durability and energy efficiency. 

Extended lifespan: If you expose your LED light/LED grow light to good use, the least you can get is 50,000 operation hours.

 This is much higher than other options, like incandescent lighting, which can only register about 2,000 hours. 

Environmental friendliness: Since the future is green, lighting solution manufacturers and designers are now shifting to LED solutions thanks to their environmental friendliness. 

Unlike traditional solutions, which have mercury or lead, LEDs don’t have any harmful emissions. 

Low heat emission: Since LEDs are energy efficient, they convert most of their input energy into useful light. Therefore, expect little energy wastage in the form of heat. 

The Best Color LED for Plants

A beautiful ceiling LED lighting

(A beautiful ceiling LED lighting)

White light: This is the most common lighting solution for indoor gardening, combining almost all colors that support plant growth. Therefore, white light is the best replacement for natural light. 

Red light: Red light stimulates hormone production and comes in handy during flowering and fruiting. 

Therefore, we recommend red light in your greenhouse or indoor garden during winter when there is little sunlight. 

Blue light: This light supports leafy vegetation growth by stimulating chlorophyll production. Therefore, by using blue light, expect robust foliage and stronger stems. 

Moreover, the light helps prevent foliar diseases like powdery mildew. 

UV-B/UV-A infrared lights: These lights offer additional health to your plants by preventing bacteria buildup and supporting photosynthesis in plants. 


Are grow lights better than LED lights?

Generally, grow lights and LED lights serve different functions, and it would be unfair to compare them. 

Moreover, light-emitting diodes grow lights are just a special type of LEDs that have been customized to support plant growth. 

light-emitting diode lights are the best options for general illumination, while grow lights offer the best solution for indoor gardening. 

Can you use any LED as grow light?

Absolutely yes! You can use light-emitting diode lights as grow lights, but they won’t have the same optimum results as LED grow lights. 

This is because grow lights are designed and customized to offer the perfect intensity, wavelength, and spectrum plants need for photosynthesis and growth. 

We only recommend grow lights if you already have LEDs but don’t have extra money to invest in grow lights. 

How do you determine if your plant is getting too much light? 

Supplying your plants with too much light can harm them in the following ways: 

  • First, the leaves might burn by developing brown, crispy spots. 
  • Secondly, the leaves become discolored by turning yellow or pale. 
  • Thirdly, your plant shows drooping and wilting signs even when you supply enough water. 
  • Furthermore, excessive light causes stunted growth. 
  • Lastly, the leaves fold inwards or become curly. 

Final Remarks

You won’t notice the differences between light-emitting diodes and light-emitting diodes grow lights by just looking at them.

 Generally, these lights have differences in functionality, design, and purpose, making them unique in their application. 

The common factor is that they both use LED technology which involves current going through light-emitting diodes to produce light. 

We hope we have highlighted the most critical differences between light-emitting diodes and grow lights.