Mars Hydro grow lights contain the more powerful 5W LED bulbs, which tend to run hotter and have a shorter lifespan than their more common 3W brethren. However, the power consumption of a Mars Hydro light is much lower than the sum of the power ratings of the individual bulbs contained within it, so for instance, a ‘300W’ lamp containing 60 x 5W bulbs will only consume 129W of power. This is one way that Mars Hydro gets around the lifespan issue with the 5W bulbs. By running 5W bulbs at only partial power extends their working life to at least as long as the lifespan of 3W bulbs and maybe even longer. Running the bulbs at lower power also means that less cooling is required, which in turn means that fan power consumption can also be kept to a minimum.
Mars Hydro grow lights currently come in three different series. Firstly, you have the ‘Mars Hydro’ LED grow lights which have been sold by the company for a couple of years now and have proven to be quite popular with amateur growers. Then you have the newer ‘Mars II’ series which has some upgraded features and a wider range of lights to choose from. Finally, in more recent times, the company has released the Mars Hydro ECO series of grow lights which can be seen almost as a cross between the original Mars Hydro series and the Mars II series of grow lights as the new ECO lights have adopted characteristics from both older lineups.
Mars Hydro 300W & 600W LED grow light review
The oldest series, the Mars Hydro LED grow lights, consists of two lights, the 300W light fixture and the 600W lamp. The 300W lamp consumes 129W of power while the 600W lamp consumes 272W of power. The energy used is consumed mostly by the 5W LED bulbs of which there are 60 in the 300W lamp and 120 in the 600W lamp. The LED bulbs emit light that covers the blue and red parts of the visible light spectrum in the 430 - 475nm wavelength range for blue light and the 620 - 670nm range for red light. The lights also include LED bulbs that emit white light in order to ensure all parts of the photosynthetic light spectrum are catered for. The white light also has the advantage of making the light produced more aesthetically pleasing to the human eye as well as to allow for clearer plant inspections.
The 300W lamp physically occupies an area a bit bigger than an A4-sized piece of paper and is designed for light coverage of a growing area of about 2ft x 2ft, or approximately a small 'dining table'-sized area, while the 600W LED grow light best covers a grow area of 2.5ft x 3ft. One disadvantage with this Mars Hydro series of lights is that if you want to cover a larger growing area by using several of them side-by-side, then multiple power sockets are needed to power each individual light separately.
Overall, the Mars Hydro series of LED grow lights today is considered a little dated now but the lights have proven their worth over time and are especially good for the household gardener on a budget who only has a handful of plants to grow indoors.
The Mars Hydro LED Grow Lights in the UK
Mars II 400W, 700W & 900W, 1600W LED grow light review
The Mars II series from Mars Hydro was released just over a year ago and although several lights were initially launched, today not all Mars II units are so readily available. As with the earlier series of lights from the company, the Mars II series makes use of 5W Epistar LED bulbs that primarily cover the red and blue parts of the light spectrum together with some white LED bulbs thrown in for good measure. However, the lights within the series do not necessarily make use of the same bulb types, so for example, while the 400W Mars II light fixture has LED bulbs that cover the 440-460nm wavelength range of blue light, the larger 900W and 1600W Mars II light fixtures from Mars Hydro have a wider range of blue light wavelengths starting at 400nm, which is almost in the UV part of the light spectrum. Another difference between the lights is the incorporation of far-red LED bulbs, emitting light in the 730-740nm range, which are present in the larger lights but not so in the smaller 400W unit. Meanwhile, the red light wavelength range of 630-660nm is the same for all lights.
As for coverage, the Mars II lights in the series can individually cover an ideal grow area of at least 3ft x 3ft right up to 5ft x 5ft for the biggest 1600W lamp. However, several lights can be used side-by-side to cover an even larger area and one of the key advantages that Mars II lights have over the older Mars Hydro series is the incorporation of an extra power socket on the back of the lights. This allows individual lights to be daisy-chained together so that only one of the lights needs to be connected to a power outlet.
Currently, the Mars II lights are our preferred series of Mars Hydro grow lights as they incorporate many of the technical specifications desired in a grow light. In addition, the Mars II lights come in a sufficiently wide range of sizes to cater to a wide range of home indoor gardening needs from a few potted plants right up to small grow room-sized areas, and also have the ability to be daisy-chained together to cover the even larger grow rooms out there.
The Mars II LED Grow Lights in the UK
Mars Hydro ECO 300W & 600W LED grow light review
The latest series of LED Grow lights from Mars Hydro is the ECO series which incorporates characteristics from the previous two series that the company sells. Size-wise, the Mars Hydro ECO lights are of a similar size to equivalent lights from the older Mars Hydro series and they are designed to cover similar-sized growing areas. However, a key difference between the older series and these newer lights is that the ECO lights use significantly less energy than their predecessors with the 300W ECO light consuming only 99W and the larger 600W light requiring about 191W of power. Unfortunately however, although the lower power consumption is great for helping to keep electricity bills under control, it comes at the expense of light output from the ECO lights with them emitting reduced amounts of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR).
The technical specifications of the ECO lights, on the other hand, are more similar to the specifications of lights found in the Mars II series. As with the bigger lights from the Mars II series, the ECO lights cover the wider range of blue wavelengths starting from 400nm and going up to 460nm, while the red light is in the 630-660nm wavelength range. In addition, like the Mars II lights, the new ECO lights also incorporate LED bulbs that emit in the 730-740nm far-red wavelength range along with white LEDs that have a colour temperature of 2700K to 3000K. Like the Mars II series, the ECO series can also be daisy-chained together when larger grow areas need to be covered and as a consequence do not require multiple electrical outlets to power each light.
Overall, the Mars Hydro ECO lights are a reasonable set of grow lights that are best used when power usage needs to be kept to a minimum. However, the lower power consumption of the lights does come at a light output cost which does not seem to be such a great trade off unless you are growing plants that do not need the higher light levels of Mars Hydro’s earlier generations of LED grow lights.