Black Dog LED Review [2022]: How Do these Lights Perform?

Black Dog LED grow lights are very popular among indoor gardeners who grow heavy-flowering and fruiting plants.

Does this grow light has what it takes to be the best led grow light in the market? Does it have enough features to compete with other LED bulb grow lights? Let us find out in this Black Dog LED grow light showcase.

Black Dog is one of the few horticultural lighting brands that manufactures and assembles its grow lights in the United States.

For that reason, it is not surprising to see that Black Dog PhytoMAX-2 LEDs are among the top-rated grow lights growers choose in the market.

black dog led series

Even though Black Dog has an excellent reputation, it is always important for an expert gardener to examine the specifications of a grow light before purchasing it.

We wrote this Black Dog LED review article to present to you all the crucial information you need to know about this LED light.

Black Dog LED Design And Construction Review

In 2017, Black Dog upgraded their PhytoMAX LED series for the first time. The new PhyoMAX-2 grow lights have far better quality and are 60% more efficient than the old Black Dog lights.

Currently, there are five different Black Dog LED models: PhytoMAX-2 200, 400, 600, 800, and 1000.

These models have the same basic LED design and construction, but they vary depending on their light intensity.

Black Dog devices are heavy and durable, but since the LED board is not covered with a glass plate, be careful not to put excessive force on the delicate diodes.

The Black Dog LED Diodes

The LEDs of Black Dog grow lights are 5 watt diodes. The red LEDs are made by Osram and the blue ones are made by Cree. This strategy of choosing diodes from different manufacturers contributes towards making the overall LED lighting spectrum more optimized for plants.

The brand uses 5 watt diodes instead of 3 watt diodes. Black Dog chooses the former over the latter because these diodes provide the best balance between LED efficiency and intensity.

It is important to note, however, that 5 watt diodes emit more heat than 3 watt diodes. To counter this, LED grow light devices using 5 watt diodes are equipped with a powerful heat dissipation system to deal with the heat issue.

The diodes are evenly dispersed over the board to provide uniform coverage of light. For this reason, the PPFD readings of the light will vary insignificantly between the center and the sides of the coverage area.

Below you can see the diode count of each Black Dog LED model.

The diodes have a life span of 50,000 hours (nearly 5 years of uninterrupted usage).

The Cooling Fans and Aluminum Heat Sinks

Grow lights need a heat dissipation system to keep the light cool. If it produces too much heat, it can affect the device or even harm your plants.

Black Dog LED light’s superior cooling is made possible with its aluminum heat sinks and cooling fans.

The aluminum heat sinks of Black Dog have the largest surface areas among commercial LED grow lights. The larger the surface of the aluminum heat sink, the faster it can absorb heat.

All the heat absorbed by the aluminum heat sinks is then rapidly dissipated by the fans.

The cooling fans of Black Dog LEDs are situated on opposite sides of the device to allow the air to flow across the aluminum heat sinks. They produce zero noise and have a life span of 70,000 hours.

Black Dog LED Performance Review


Black Dog LED light emits a blended full spectrum light mainly composed of blue, red, IR, and UV wavelengths with different intensities. They also slightly emit some light in the green and yellow range.

The intensity of the light peaks at the wavelengths corresponding to blue and red light, which drives photosynthesis in plants.

black dog led review

The red light’s peak is higher than the blue one because red light is more important in the flowering and fruiting phases of the plant. And Black Dog focuses on giving flowering plants the highest amount of light growing plants need and also promotes vegetative growth.

Besides the blue and red light, ultraviolet and infrared radiation (the phyto genesis spectrum) are also necessary for proper plant growth. For instance, UV light increases the number of antioxidants in herbs and boosts the concentration of THC and CBD in cannabis plants.

There are two types of UV light: UVA and UVB. Black Dog grow lights emit UVA only and not UVB. This is great because UVB is responsible for causing sunburns and skin cancers.

Black Dog LEDs also emit some light in the green-yellow spectral range to make the overall light less dazzling and enable gardeners to monitor the health of their growing plants and enjoy superior yield, all thanks to Black Dog LED light.

Intensity and Coverage Area

The intensity of the light depends on the PhytoMAX-2 model you are using. Black Dog PhytoMAX-2 200 has the lowest light intensity, while PhytoMAX-2 1000 has the highest one.

The best way to assess the light intensity of a grow light is to look at its PPF and PPFD measurements using a light meter. Here are the average PPF measurements of all PhytoMAX-2 models.

ppf measurements

You can easily compare different Black Dog PhytoMAX-2 models using the above measurements. But to know which one suits you the best, you need to look at the PPFD measurements of the light in relation to its coverage area and the hanging height or distance between the plants and the grow light.

Make sure to:

1) Learn about the PPFD (or DLI) requirements of your plants (Learn more about PPFD and DLI)

2) Measure the dimensions of your growing place and the hanging height of grow lights.

Black Dog has blessed their customers with a great chart of PPFD measurements that they can use to decide which model suits them the most. You can see the chart on this page under the title, “Footprint Coverage for Average PPFD”.

How to use the chart?

Choose the column that corresponds to the PAR requirement of your plants. In that column, search for area measurements that are almost equal to the dimensions of your growing space.

Black Dog also provides you with the minimum and maximum recommended coverage area and hanging height for each model on that same page under the title, “Recommendations for Proper Use”.

Energy Use and Efficiency

Another outstanding thing about Black Dog is that they are honest with their labels. They have named each one of their models after its actual wattage.

For example, PhytoMax-2 200 consumes approximately 200 watts of power.

Most other grow light brands use misleading labels, such as 1000W and 3000W, that don’t reveal the actual energy usage of the device.

Here is a chart of the power consumption of all PhytoMAX-2 models.


Using these values, we can conclude that the efficiency of Black Dog LEDs is nearly 1.4 μmol/J. This is a good number but not as good compared to other modern grow lights in the market.

The low efficiency of these LED grow lights has to do with the fact that Black Dog uses 5 watt diodes, which seems to be less efficient, compared to grow lights using LED diodes with a lower wattage rating.

Yet, despite this, Black Dog still emits high-quality light suitable for indoor plant growth. If you are looking for more efficient grow lights, you should check out the Gavita 1700e LED.

The Case Against Black Dog: Is It Valid?

Nowadays, you will find many indoor gardeners who are critical of Black Dog LEDs because of their high prices.

If you compare the cost of Black Dog LEDs to other similarly performing grow lights, you will realize that they are a bit overpriced. Why is this so? Let me explain.

One of the main reasons behind Black Dog LEDs’ high cost is that they manufacture their products in the US. They have their own LED plant in the United States and build their own LED lights, instead of importing them from other countries.

Of course, that is an appealing feature for some customers around the world. US-manufactured products have a great reputation and are assumed to be of high quality, which is true most of the time.

But most professional indoor growers care mainly about performance. They are only searching for powerful and efficient grow lights that can boost higher yield and profit, so they aren’t likely to pay that few extra hundred dollars just to get a “US-made” grow lamp.

Many leading American and non-American horticultural lighting brands understand that, and for this reason, they sell their high-quality lights at low prices. Consequently, grow lights are becoming more affordable day after day.

Considering their relatively low efficiency, many growers are wondering why Black Dog LEDs are still very expensive.

The case against those lights is gaining prominence in the indoor growing community, but it’s not entirely valid.

Despite being outdated, Black Dog LEDs still maintain some superior features. This is why they’re still the favorite choice of many growers.

The canopy penetration, high-quality full light spectrum, and uniformity of Black Dog LEDs are supreme, and their heat dissipation system is unmatched.

The science and technology behind the production of these lights are highly advanced, which some of the cheaper grow light brands simply cannot match.

If you take a look at Black Dog’s website, you will be lost in the sheer amount of scientific information they post there.

As a commercial grower, you will highly appreciate a professional brand like Black Dog that will help you create a profitable growing setup.


Black Dog PhytoMAX-2 LED lights are high-priced LED grow light devices compared to other grow lamps in the market (check their price here). But taking into consideration all superb features and durable build, it is worth your money.

The lights are durable and powerful enough to grow any high light-demanding plants grown indoors. They are designed particularly for gardeners who want to grow enormous quantities of plants.

If you are looking forward to expanding your garden, we recommend the Black Dog PhytoMAX-2 grow lights for you.

But, if you are a beginner indoor gardener and still trying things out, then the Black Dog LED light might be too expensive for your budget. You might be better off with an affordable grow light that can still somehow match the superior features of Black Dog’s LED lights.

What do you think of Black Dog’s LED grow lights? Do you love the Black Dog PhytoMAX-2 or do you hate it? Are there other grow lights that can match or even perform better than Black Dog’s LED light? Share with us your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.

Blogger, Gardener | + posts

I'm Jad, a biologist, blogger, and experienced indoor gardener. I am knowledgeable in plant biology, particularly in plant cultivation and propagation. I founded in 2019 to share my knowledge in indoor gardening with passionate home growers.

2 thoughts on “Black Dog LED Review [2022]: How Do these Lights Perform?”

  1. We bought our first Black Dog , a 600 watt , over five years ago. It was before the PhytoMax2 so not full spectrum but man did it grow some amazing plants. Within 3 months we bought a 200 watt to use for seeds and clones. We have never looked back. These lights still do an amazing job today. About three months ago we decided to increase our grow space and purchased the big,bad boy, the PhytoMax2 1000. LOVE the full spectrum and how it’s no longer a purpler hue to the naked eye. We hung the light on a new LightRail to get even more coverage but something went horribly wrong and the motor somehow separated from the track and our BlackDog fell 9 plus feet from the ceiling. After composing myself I plugged it back in and to my surprise the light and fans came on and appeared to work amazing. Cosmetically, one corner was bent in pretty good and the power plug housing was broken. The LightRail motor no longer worked. I called LightRail3 and they outright denied that what DID happen could happen and refused to take any responsibility. My next call was to BlackDog and after explaining to them what had happened, they offered to send a loaner light for us to use while they had ours to examine it. Long story short…. after we got our light to them, they went through it, tested it thoroughly and the ONLY thing that was wrong after a nine foot fall was the plug housing and the cosmetic damage. A total cost to us of $40. When we got it back , they even threw in a new teeshirt for my wife and a couple of facemasks. People often comment on how expensive these lights are but we will ALWAYS stick with a company that has this kind of support and customer service. Not to mention the quality of these lights. ALL of our Blackdogs work amazing even after all this years. Love your review and just wanted to add a little input on what an awesome company they are as well. Vote with your money…….Thank you!

    • That’s simply amazing. Your story further proves that Black Dog is one of the best LED grow light brands.
      Thank you so much for the input!

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