Mid-tier LED for 3x3 tent

Looking to get some LED suggestions for a 3x3 grow tent. This is my first grow and i’m trying to purchase something I won’t need to replace for a good while. Assuming that i’m going to need about 450W true for my space and looking to get something that is full band including IR/UV. Trying to keep my budget between $300 and $500 if possible.

I’ve looked at VIPARSPECTRA, MarsHydro, and Advanced Platinum but was hoping to get some more suggestions. I’ve also seen a few COB light posts but the 450W true power lights look to be closer to $1000 and that’s out of my price range.

Appreciate any suggestions for something that I won’t have to replace after a single grow to produce a decent yield.

I have only done one grow, so I am far from an expert. I use 2 450w viparspectras in my 3x3. I do not know if they are the best, I do know they work for me and are a good fit for my tent…

I have only grown auto’s so far, but got about 7-1/2 oz from 4 auto flowers. I am not sure if that is good or not, but I was more than happy with the numbers. Going on month 5 of having them, no problems yet…

1 Like

If you want to check out a cob light within your budget, try tasety led. They have a 4 cob fixture that put up solid par numbers in a 3x3.

You may need to call and email them for a different driver configuration than what’s listed on the web page. I believe that light was purposely spec’d for a 2x2. They can easily get a little more wattage out of it within your budget. Look for something in the 3500k color temp for full cycle.

Also, try timber grow lights. The models listed as framework are complete lights. I think they had an option or 2 within your budget as well.

There are a few lights on amazon using discrete diodes that aren’t bad. But they could leave you wanting a little more later.

Here is what I have in my 3x3 tent. Its on sale right now on E-bay for less then $300. Cant post a e-bay link here. Sorry.


1 Like

Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve also started to nerd out a bit on maybe doing a DIY solution since looking at the parts it should be in my budget.


@dbrn32 This is a route i’m considering. Right now looking at specing out a vero29 setup.

1 Like

Nice! Let me know if you need help, I’ve done a couple with the vero’s

@dbrn32 Going with the following setup:

2 x Mean Well HLG-240H-C1400A
6 x 140mm Pin Heatsink
6 x Bridgelux VERO29 (3500K 80 CRI B)

Grand total for all of this was $378 with free shipping. After small parts (aluminum and labor I’m assuming i’ll be in the hole $400 which is pretty good for a 440W light.

Going to basically do 2 bars of 3 LEDs or some kinda grid. This weekend should be fun since i’m going to get some aluminum and start crafting the frames while I wait for the parts to arrive. Any suggestions on spacing for the lights would be appreciated.

Decided to go without reflectors or a dimmer since each of these setups should give me 220W which should be good for a 3’x3’ tent. Any experience with reflectors? Did I make a bad call?


Nope, you should be good right there.

The b type is 52v correct? So you’ll be looking at about 75 watts per cob? I’d look at putting them 12" on center, and you can probably plan on about the same spacing from each bar. You’ll probably be dimming them, a lot! You’ll have way more light than you need, which is never a bad thing.

The reflectors are used to create a smaller more intense footprint. Typically used when using a lot of cobs at low power. You won’t need them to make your canopy levels, I promise. Like I said earlier, you’ll have more than enough and probably be dimming them. Running without reflectors helps the light levels blend better too. At any rate, you could always add them later if you wanna tinker.

Here’s the 2 things that jump out as potential issue. That’s a rapid led setup right? There were some questions about the rapid 140mm heatsink holding up to 75 watts. I think @ktreez420 talked to them at some point, maybe he can shed some light. The other, if you plan on running them wide open you’ll probably want to add some co2 at some point. I literally see that kind of par out of 6 at 75 watts. You’d probably be good with 5 or even 4 cobs at that current.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t build it, because it will kick a$$. But without co2, I don’t see you reaching the potential of 6 at 75 watts. Make sure you’re good at 75 watts with that sink first though. I think they will hold up if air circulation is good personally. But if rapid or whoever isn’t sure, you may want to look at 6 cobs at 1050 each. If they are confident it will sufficiently cool them, you can probably drop a cob or 2 if you want to save a few bucks.

1 Like

Welcome to the forum if there’s anything we can help with please fill free to ask there is great people here to help

1 Like

@middlecoast did you already place your order?

Ya, its about 70W per COB according what i’ve read. Found this cool tool that helped me spec out my system @ COB LED Constant Current Driver Selection Tool - LED Gardener. Hope that’s OK to share since it’s a great tool to pick COB/drivers.

Had a lil buyers remorse and called them back to get the b model for my driver so that I can throw a dimmer on it.

Yes, I got the parts from rapid LED. I’m getting some good thermal compound and also have cleaning/buffing compound for when I build computers so i’m hoping those will help with any heat issues. Worst come to worse I just rig up a clip fan that blows across the pins. I also will have a 6" carbon filter pulling air through so not sure how that will impact heat yet.

In regards to CO2, what I learned is that to run without CO2 you need to have a PPFD between 1000-1150 (umols/s)/m2.

According to my understanding of the math and a growmau5 video I checked out about the vero29s here’s why I think I should be ok without CO2.

52V * 1.4A = 73W per COB Input power 437W.

According to a Light Labs Inc test on a PLC-6 the vero29s put out 1.91umols/J.

So now I take the 437W * 1.91 umols/J = 834.67 umols/s

Now take that over my area and I get…

834.67 umols/s / .84m^2 = 993 (umols/s)/m^2.

This should put me in the safe zone to not need CO2. Of course this all needs to be taken from the point of view that while i’m an engineer I’ve never explored my gardening abilities and could just be using math to justify something that I don’t understand. Anything off in my math or something i’m misunderstanding in regards to the CO2?

I’ve already placed the order so money has been spent. It was my first order through them though so I got 10% off which was about $42 the way i’m looking at it I got a buy 5 COB+heatsink get 1 COB+heatsink free.


Ah snap. I totally screwed up and forgot to mention that. You know you can dim the a models right? They have potentiometer built in, can go from 100% to 50%.

The b model has a cable for you to hook up external dimmer. So you can dim either way, b model you just have to wire in a potentiometer.

No sweat though, i think a 50k ohm pot with a 5k resistor will let you dim both lights from the same pot. And then they will dim equally at the same rate.

You will really love that light when you put it together. I glad to see more people take the DIY plunge. You will not regret it.

Start your lights off at a lower intensity and build up to the level you want to run them at. I shocked my plants by turning mine up full blast from the beginning.

AS for the CO2, I just bought an Exhale bag and put it over my light. Don’t see any real difference, but for $30 I didn’t think it would hurt :grinning:

Also adding CAL/MAG to your regular feeding helps to. Not sure why but people with high intensity lights see these deficiency a lot

Happy growing

1 Like

Oh by all means you did good! Rapid hooks it up with free shipping and 10% off first order.

Thank the engineering part of you for not working me too hard lol!

I haven’t seem that test on the plc-6, I’ll look for it. But here’s what I’m thinking…what was the area, and we’re reflective walls used? You will have this in your tent, and the reflection is always good for bonus par.

Next, the 1.91 ųmols per joule is a par vs energy consumption measure right? The plc-6 cobs are run at 100 watts, at 70ish watts your led efficiency will be higher, therefore you can’t make a linear comparison like that. The good news is, you underestimated. So your light should actually perform a little better than that. Because I suspect that test wasn’t done in a reflective environment, you’re actual readings are going to be quite a bit higher. I think anyway…

Again if you’re higher than expected, it’s not like you’re plants are gonna die. You will simply be at or possibly above the maximum amount of light the plants can use for photosynthesis based on ambient co2 levels. So to produce more, more co2 will be needed. Not a deal breaker, just the opposite of where most growers are.

1 Like

I can’t find the test data anywhere, but I seen gg has the plc-6 listed at 1.97 ųmol/j. I also didn’t take into account that it also uses a reflector and you won’t be. You’ll be good.

And, you picked a damn good light for the money to replicate!

So found it funny that I managed to post too many times as a new user and had a 1 hour wait time before i could say anything again…

To answer your comment about the dimmer… Ya I saw that you could dim the (a) models but from what I read it’s a screw and I didn’t want to be messing with that when I can just mount a knob that is easy to get to from my rails.

So the data was posted to instagram… here’s a link Greengenes Garden on Instagram: "Repost @pacificlightconcepts Sphere results from the PLC 6 are in. Confirming it as the most cost effective, high performance LED on the market. Amazing efficiency and output for an even more amazing price. There is not another LED in the world offering more more photons per dollar in any system. Our number one goal is to get highly efficient lighting systems into growers hands. With the PLC 6 lowering the upfront cost, we remove the biggest barrier to entry to LED grow lights. All while sticking to our roots of top of the class output and performance. *will be released late may #pacificlightconcepts #plc6 #bygrowersforgrowers #growlight #horticulture #trueoutput #ledgrown #spheretested #cobled #mccree #nohype #gamechanger #madeinamerica". According to my understanding the 1.91 umoles/J is a measure of efficacy. Yes, its not an apples to apples comparison since there are slight reflectors built into the PLC-6 but for my purposes I figured it was good enough since I was using the same LED. Here’s to hoping i’m right and if not, i’m sure i’ll still get a good yield and can mess with other elements of my light in future grows.

Appreciate the back and forth and i’ll likely start a grow journal once everything arrives and I get started.


Thanks, looking to use Fox Farms Big Bloom, Grow Big, Tiger Bloom for nutrients to my feeding. Assuming that’s what you mean for CAL/MAG right?

1 Like

You are right, right, and correct lol.

Yes the dimmer on a model is a screw located on driver, and you will probably be happy you went with remote option instead.

Yes the measure is similar to an efficacy measure, only using par instead of lumens. What I was pointing out is that the efficacy of your cob will be higher at lower drive current.

And yes, this light will absolutely kick butt when you get it together. You will probably want some of those led glasses, it will definitely snap your head back.

Please tag me when you get around to it! And if you need any help along the way, feel free.