Indoor lights may not be a necessity for every houseplant parent. But if you live in a dark house like I do, they can help your plants thrive in less than ideal light situations. They’re also useful if you have a dark corner or north-facing window you want to fill with light-loving plants.
I’ve tried numerous different indoor lights over the years and surprisingly, the best ones I’ve found are some of the least expensive. I use two different kinds for my plants – one type that hangs above my plants in a shady window and one that sits near them on a table.
My Picks for Best Indoor Houseplant Lights
- Sondiko Grow Light, Full Spectrum with Timer and 10 Dimmable Levels – This is the one that I hang above my houseplants in the windowsill.
- Elaine LED Grow Light, Full Spectrum with Adjustable Gooseneck – This is the one that I have clipped on a table near my houseplants. It has two 45W LED lights on adjustable arms.
Why I Picked the Sondiko Grow Light
If you need an overhead light for your plants or lights for a small space (like a growing rack), this little Sondiko will work great for you. Here’s why I love it so much:
- Easy to Install – The unit comes with 3M adhesive strips and magnets for two different mounting options. You can also use a drill and some hooks if you want it to be a bit sturdier. Either way, it only took my husband a few minutes to mount it in our windowsill.
- Low Cost – This is also a good choice if you don’t have a lot of money for expensive grow lights, but you need something functional on a budget. This is the least expensive and best quality light we’ve tried. Check the current price on Amazon.
- Variety of Settings– The light has 10 dimmable modes and 3 spectrum modes (another word for light color) to give you ultimate control over the light your plants receive. You can adjust it to levels of 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100 percent light intensity. Plus, choose red, blue, or full spectrum light. For our low light plants, we set it to 60 percent light intensity.
- Two–Way Timer – My favorite feature is the timer. You can set this light to turn off and on by itself every day. My husband and I love to travel, and this feature allows me to relax. I don’t spend our entire trip worrying about my houseplants anymore. It’s also great if you often forget to turn the lights on or off.
Why I Picked the Elaine Grow Light
The Elaine a different kind of light, suitable for clipping on a flat surface near your plants – like a table, desk, plant stand, or large windowsill. Here’s why I love this one:
- Clip Design – This light comes with a sturdy little clip that attaches to the side of a table or other surface, allowing the light to shine down over your plants. You need absolutely no tools for installation. Just clip it onto the edge of the table, plug it in, and start growing.
- Adjustable Gooseneck – The neck on these lights swivels a full 360 degrees. You can adjust the angle and distance, which gives you complete control over where the light falls. I love this feature because you can use one light for two different plants by adjusting each one to different heights.
- Reasonably Priced – We looked at a lot of different lights in a similar price range before we settled on this one. Many similarly priced units do not have the same variety of features and often lack a timer (an essential feature for us). This light is a little more expensive than the Sondiko, but it’s also more flexible. Check the current price on Amazon.
- Variety of Settings – This light provides 5 dimmable brightness levels. Choose from 20, 40, 60, 80 or 100 percent brightness. It also allows independent control of the lights with 3 switch modes. This means you can have either light on by itself or both lights on at the same time. Choose between red, blue, and full spectrum light depending on your plant’s needs.
- Two–Way Timer – Just like the Sondiko, the Elaine also has a built-in two-way timer. You can set it to turn on and off every day by itself. And again, this is my favorite feature. Great for when you go on vacation or forget to turn your lights on or off.
What to Look for in Indoor Houseplant Lights
All lights are not created equal – especially in the lower price range. There are a few features I consider a necessity, no matter what brand you end up buying. Here’s what you should always have in a good quality light:
- Full Spectrum Light – Choose a light that can switch between red, blue, and full spectrum light. Blue light is ideal for vegetative growth, while red light promotes flowering and fruiting. Full spectrum (like sunlight) provides a balance of cool and warm light that all houseplants thrive under. A light that can switch between these works for all stages of houseplant growth.
- Dimmable Brightness – Look for a light that has at least a few different brightness settings. Low-light plants in particular don’t typically need 100 percent brightness. Most high-quality grow lights allow you to choose between 20 and 100 percent brightness for optimal efficiency.
- Two–Way Timer – The most important feature of a good indoor light, in my opinion, is an automatic two-way timer. Your plants will always get just the right amount of light without any extra effort on your part once you set it up. Plus, you can go on vacation and not have to worry that they’re getting enough light while you’re gone.
If you buy a light that has all three of these main features, you’re probably going to be okay. Look for other features to meet your needs such as hanging vs. clip-on lights, size, price, etc.
How to Get a Good Deal on Indoor Lights
We’ve found – as with most houseplant supplies and equipment these days – the best prices are often found online. Both our top picks were the least expensive on Amazon, but it never hurts to look around and compare prices before you buy.
You can always check eBay and sometimes you might get lucky and find a used model a bit cheaper, or try buying used from the Amazon marketplace. However, I recommend buying new online so you can get a warranty if the product has one available. We got a 12-month warranty on our Elaine model from Amazon.
Buying new also makes returns easier and decreases the chance that something might be wrong with the unit. When they’re low-cost to being with, you probably want to get as much life out of them as possible. If you’re looking for a very expensive model, then used might be a better option.