Few decades ago, eating fresh homegrown tomatoes during the winter was impossible, but today, it’s not.
Thanks to modern technology, you can now grow your own tomatoes during any season of the year.
But to do that, you must choose a suitable grow light for your plants.
Not all grow lights are created equal, and searching for the best ones can be confusing.
In this article, we’ll show you three perfect grow lights for tomatoes (click here to jump directly to the list).
What Makes a Grow Light Suitable for Tomatoes?
You’ll find hundreds of grow lights on the market today, but few will work well for tomatoes.
There are two major features that make a grow light suitable for tomato plants:
1- An Optimized Light Spectrum
Plants use specific frequencies of light that can fuel photosynthesis. The combination of light that a plant needs will vary depending on the species, but most plants mainly need blue and red light, and tomatoes are no exception.
Blue light is important for the vegetative phase of your tomato plants, during which they grow their leaves and stems. It can also increase the vitamin C content of your tomatoes.
A new study published in 2019 discovered that blue light increases the mass and yield of tomato plants, but it also found that when the quantity of blue light increases above a certain limit it becomes counterproductive.
In fact, another study showed that tomato plants grown exclusively under blue light had a reduced rate of photosynthesis.
Blue light is necessary for the growth of your tomatoes, but in moderate quantities.
Tomatoes need red light in larger quantities than blue light.
Although it carries less energy than blue light, red light is used more efficiently by plants. So, all fruiting plants, including tomatoes, need an abundance of red light during their flowering phase. The quantity and quality of flowers largely depend on red light.
When you’re growing tomatoes, you need to make sure that the ratio of red to blue light is high.
Most grow lights made for flowering plants emit more quantities of red light than blue light. But they mostly emit low red light (below 700 nm on the spectrum) and little far-red light (above 700 to 750 nm).
Recent studies show that far-red light can enhance the yield of tomatoes, but unfortunately, you won’t find many grow lights that emit good amounts of far-red light.
Your tomato plants also need other light frequencies besides blue and red light.
Green light is not used efficiently by plants, but it still plays an important role in their development.
But, in large quantities, green light can have negative effects on growth. So, a good grow light for your tomatoes should emit moderate to small quantities of green light.
Your tomato plants need small amounts of ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) light as well.
UV light can improve that taste of tomato plants and make them more resistant to disease.
On the other hand, IR light can increase vitamin C and sugar levels. It’s also important for flower formation.
In summary, for the highest yield and quality of tomatoes, you will need a full-spectrum grow light that emits variable quantities of blue, red, green, UV and IR light.
2- High Intensity and Efficiency
Flowering and fruit formation are exhausting and energy-demanding processes for plants.
So during the flowering phase, you have to give your tomatoes high amounts of energy.
That’s what many indoor gardeners fail to achieve, why? Because they use low intensity grow lights. There are hundreds of those on Amazon, and they’re all useless for tomatoes.
Most low intensity grow lights are temptingly cheap, but they only work for low-light plants or as supplemental lighting.
Heavy-fruiting plants, such as tomatoes, need high-intensity grow lights. Those lights, especially efficient ones, make an excellent investment.
High efficiency is necessary when you’re growing tomatoes or else you’ll be wasting a good amount of money on energy.
So, the more efficient a grow light, the better, even if it will cost you more money.
Always remember that efficiency translates to cost-effectiveness, which is very important in indoor gardening.
Best Grow Lights for Tomatoes: Top Three List
Based on the above information, we found that the following grow lights are the best for tomato plants.
1- VIPARSPECTRA XS Series LED Grow Lights
Viparspectra XS Series LEDs have all the basic features required for growing tomatoes efficiently.
Above all, they’re among the most affordable high intensity grow lights on the market. One of lower models (XS1500) retails at around $160 and has a life span over 100,000 hours.
Viparspectra XS grow lights are made of top-notch Samsung diodes. Together, the diodes create a spectrum that is rich in blue, red, and green light.
The devices also contain few 730 nm diodes that emit far red to infrared light, which boosts flower formation in your tomatoes.
Viparspectra XS lights have a dimmer that will allow you to control the intensity.
You can use the dimmer to lower the intensity during the seedling and vegetative phase of your tomato plants and increase it to maximum during the flowering phase. Such a feature will allow you to save money on your energy bill.
If it’s your first time growing tomatoes indoors, start with a low model, such as Viparspectra XS1500.
Viparspectra XS1500 can cover a 2’ x 2’ (0.6 x 0.6 m) growing area during the flowering phase.
Buy your Viparspectra XS1500 here on Amazon.
2- Kind LED K3 XL300
Kind K3 XL300 LED is at least two-and-a-half times more expensive than Viparspectra XS1500, but it has a more optimized spectrum.
The high red to blue ratio of Kind K3 XL300 LED is perfect for tomato plants. Better still, this LED doesn’t emit large amounts of useless yellow light.
Kind K3 XL300 also puts out a significant quantity of far red and infrared light.
This light ticks all the boxes when it comes to light quality. So, Kind K3 XL300 can maximize the yield of your tomato plants.
Another outstanding feature about this light is that it’s equipped with secondary optical lenses that can boost light penetration.
High light penetration is important for your tomato plants because it can increase their photosynthetic activity, which will make them grow more tomatoes.
Kind LED K3 Xl300 is slightly less efficient than Viparspectra XS1500, but it has six cooling fans that will dissipate heat better.
Because of its high price (check its price here), we mostly recommend this light for professional growers who are looking for the best results.
3- Phlizon COB 2000W
COB lights are unique LEDs that has their diodes are packed together. This design has several advantages over standard LED lights, including improved light density, spectrum, light penetration.
There are several COB LEDs on the market, but some are wildly expensive.
One very affordable choice for tomato growers is Phlizon COB 2000W.
The device has a perfect spectrum for the entire life cycle of your tomato plants.
Phlizon COB 2000W is very bright and has a coverage area that is around 4ft x 4ft (1.2m x 1.2m), double that of Viparspectra XS1500.
The light is also very efficient considering the fact it uses cooling fans to dissipate heat.
Phlizon COB 2000W is more expensive than Viparspectra XS1500 but cheaper than Kind LED K3 XL300 (You can check its price here on Amazon).
Growing tomatoes indoors is very rewarding. Don’t hesitate to begin. Choose one of our recommended grow lights and start growing your own tomatoes at home.
Enjoy gardening indoors and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!