Summary: Best Mars Hydro Models In Our Opinion
Eco Series 98, 600w
Reflector 96, 480w
If you are looking for LED grow lights, then the chances are that you have already heard a lot about Mars Hydro LED grow lights. They are one of the most popular LED brands available on the market at this point. Mars Hydro is among one of the top LED grow light producers, sharing the place among other manufacturers such as ViparSpectra, King Plus, PlatinumLED and now also the new-comers Meizhi. They are all competing to produce the best LED grow light for indoor growers by accommodating their light needs efficiently.
We have already covered which of these grow lights are best in another article. In this review we are solely focusing on Mars Hydro. We have searched the internet, and found their most popular releases and gathered them in one article to make a comparison to determine which Mars Hydro Led grow light Series is the Absolute best release from the Mars Hydro.
Use the table below to get an overview of the featured Mars Hydro grow light models along with their most important attributes.
|LED Series||Model||Max. Actual Watts||Max Coverage at 18''||HPS Replacement||Price|
|Mars Series||300w||132||4,5 x 3,8||150||Check Price|
|Marshydro Reflector Series||480w||207||3,5 x 5,5||250||Check Price|
|720w||317||2,5 x 4,5||350||Check Price|
|Mars II||400w||162||2,5 x 2,5||250||Check Price|
|900w||372||4,5 x 4,5||450||Check Price|
|1600w||645||5,5 x 5,5||1000||Check Price|
|Mars Eco Series||Eco 49, 300w||100||2 x 2||150||Check Price|
|Eco 98, 600w||192||2,5 x 3,5||250||Check Price|
|Mars Pro II Epistar Series||400w||170||1,5 x 1,5||250||Check Price|
|600w||260||1,8 x 2||300||Check Price|
|800w||366||2 x 3||400||Check Price|
|Mars Pro II Cree Series||600w||340||2,8 x 2,8||400||Check Price|
|1200w||680||3,5 x 3,5||800||Check Price|
|Mars COB||300w||110||2,5 x 2,5||250||Check Price|
In the following we will review each of the above mentioned grow lights based on criterias described below.
The LED grow light efficiency is measured by how much electricity you put in the light unit vs how much light you get out of it. Whichever grow light produce the most light while consuming the least power is efficient. To make this determination simple we measure grow light efficiency by looking at watt draw vs HPS replacement.
Related: Review of the most efficient LED grow light
The HPS grow lights tend to produce excessive heat. A significant drawback, since excessive heat, is harmful to plants. This problem was addressed by Led grow lights. So, running cooler is one of their main advantages, as they don’t add unnecessary heat in the grow room. it can cause the LEDs to burn out faster as well.
Light and Spectrum quality
An LED grow lights must produce and emit quality light. Different factors determine the quality of the light. We want the light to grow plants. So, The quality of light is determined by how well the LED light produces light that supports plant growth. Which is the light spectrum within 400-700 nm also known as the PAR-zone. Furthermore, we want to look at the colour of the light. As a baseline, we can say that we need a lot of blue light combined with portions of red light in plants early stages. A strong blue light tells the plant to grow up. When the plant has finished the veg stages and reached the optimal height, then we need a lot of red light to trigger the flowering stage.
So a quality Mars Hydro Led grow light addresses these plant needs. It provides a high concentration of blue light for vegging and a high concentration of red light for flowering. There is also the light spread. How much light does reach your plants? We determine this by looking at the PPFD graph provided for each grow light series. We use 500-1000 umols/sec/m2 as a baseline. Anything below is too low to support plant growth; anything above is too intense and might end up damaging the plants.
Some grow lights have amazing secondary features that make them more attractive as a purchasing product. These secondary features include things such as VEG/BLOOM switch secondary lenses, daisy chain for connectivity, warranty and so on. Although these features are not as important as the primary features such as efficiency, light quality and cooling, they do have a saying in determining the best Mars Hydro LED grow light. We note each model and assign a point for each secondary feature as well.
Mars Hydro Mars Series 300w Review
The Mars 300w grow light is one of the cheapest models available out there. Priced around $70 dollars it initially seems like a good entry-level LED for upcoming growers who want to try out indoor growing without spending a lot. But how good is the grow light. In the following, we will review the Mars 300w grow light from the quality criteria mentioned earlier.
The Mars Hydro 300W LED grow light model has 60 small 5-watt Epistar LEDs. The fixture draws 135 watts to replace 150W HPS. These efficiency numbers speak for itself. As comparison, if we look at advanced LED 300w, which is widely acknowledged as one of the most efficient grow lights, it draws 180w and replaces 400w.
The fixture has an integrated fan and heat sink. The Cooling fan blows cold air on the heatsink to keep the diodes cool. The purpose of this is to assure longer lifespan and avoid excessive heat to reach the plants and grow area environment. The 5w LEDs are not drawn to max capacity. Which is good and bad. Good because it assures longer lifespan, bad because you don’t utilize the full potential of the 5w LEDs, so instead of emitting light corresponding to 60x5w it only emits 60x3w.
Light and Spectrum
MarsHydro Mars 300 offers a well-balanced spectrum that incorporates a broad range of the spectrum. The light fixtures emit blue light in the waves of 430~440nm, 450~475nm and red light at wavelengths of 620~630nm and 650~660nm. The Mars 300 grow light spectrum is within the PAR portion, which means the light promotes photosynthesis, making the fixture suitable for growth. The light spectrum is equally blue and red. Which affect the yield and growth of your plants because plants prefer a large portion of blue during early stages and a significant portion of red during bloom. Not both at the same time.
Light spread is not good either. The lights PAR-rating is about 450 umol/sec/m2 at the center point. Which is at the low end. PPFD should preferably be above 500, making this grow light barely ideal for a 1,5x 1,5 area hanging at an 18’’ height.
• 30 Days guarantee
Verdict: Mars Hydro Mars Series 300w
The grow light has a well-balanced red/blue spectrum, which makes the grow light not best for any phase in particular, but still applicable throughout the plant’s full lifecycle. You should not expect the most abundant yield with this grow light.
We do not recommend the Mars 300. Especially, if it is your first-time indoor growing project. The Mars 300 light spectrum will keep your plant supplied throughout its entire lifecycle, from seedling to grow. And because of its small footprint and size, you can also saddle with a small grow tent allowing you to save some bucks while you are still learning. Make sure to keep yourself updated with the prices maybe you catch an attractive discount.
Mars Hydro Reflector Series Review
The Mars Hydro Reflector series consists of four LED grow light models. Each has a different size and are designed to accommodate the needs of different grow room scales. The first model in the series is the reflector 48. Containing 48 x 5 watt LEDs (ergo the name 240w) it comes in a compact square-shaped LED panel. If you move on to the next models in the series, you will quickly notice that the subsequent models are made out of multiple Reflector 48. For example, the next model in the line, the Mars hydro Reflector 96 (720w) is made of two 48-panels combined together.
Each Reflector 48 is made to cover the light needs of one plant through its life stages. Should you wish to grow more plants, let us say 3, then naturally you would want to get yourself a Reflector 144, which is three times the size of Mars Hydro 48. This way you don’t have to change grow light models in case you, later on, decide to expand your grow project. But before making any purchase decisions, let us review the Reflector Series from the standpoint of the metrics mentioned earlier.
The Mars Hydro Reflector Series are LED grow lights designed small in size, without comprising coverage and efficiency. The 48-LED unit is approx. One square foot on the surface and only two inches thick. A single Mars Hydro 48 is designed to cover two square feet grow area, which is far higher than any HPS light of the same calibre. But how efficient is the light? Remember we said that to keep things simple, we will use the input watt vs HPS replacement as a metric to determine efficiency? Well, a single Marshydro 48 draw 105 watts while replacing 160w HPS. This is not as efficient as the Advanced LED Series, but hey, considering a price difference of approx. $300, between them, we would say that the efficiency rating is quite decent, and reflects the price category.
An excellent cooling system means that the electricity consumed and drawn by the fixture is used efficiently to produce light, rather than wasted as excessive heat that creates a lousy growth environment for your plants. The cooling system of Mars Hydro Reflector Series are made of a circuit board, heat sink and high-speed fans. These components together make up a cooling system to cool down the lights, dissipate excessive heat from plants and secure a lifespan of 50000-100000 hours, while at the same time maintaining a minimum noise level.
Light & Spectrum Quality
Mars Hydro Reflector grow lights produce light that is according to the plant needs for photosynthesis, also known as PAR-light. Because the Reflector panels apply several different coloured LED diodes, the light spectrum emitted becomes balanced enough to cover the bulk of the PAR wavelengths. The Mars Hydro Reflector units produce light ranging from 430 to 440nm, 450~475nm 620~630nm, 650~660nm, and of course white. The light peaks at both blue and red end of the PAR-spectrum, meaning it supports vegetative growth as well as flowering.
The distinctive bright green outer looks of the Mars Hydro lights are more than just a pretty package. The pretty package also supplies your grow room with life-giving light, as it outputs light covering the entire photosynthetic spectrum effectively. The PAR-rating measured from a center point of the canopy directly below the Reflector 192 (at a height of 18 inches) is a whopping 1200umol. Surely more than enough, considering the baseline of 500-1000 umols.
• 1-year warranty
• VEG/Bloom Switch
• Hanging kits
Verdict: Mars Hydro Reflector Series
We recommend the Mars Hydro Reflector Series if you’re working within a budget, or in case you are a beginner looking to start a new indoor project. Then this makes the perfect light for you. With the low price, you bargain in efficiency. This light is roughly only 10% more efficient than an equivalent HPS light. Which is not a lot to be fair. However, it is so cheap that you won’t save a lot even when buying an HPS-grow light. If you are interested in the reflector series, then you can find more information in our in-depth review, where we also compare the different Mars Hydro Reflector Serie models (240, 480, 720 & 960w), so you can find the one best suited for your needs. Read our full review on the Reflector Series
Mars II Series Review
The Mars Hydro Mars II Series is a descendant to the previous mentioned Mars 300. The Mars II has three grow light models, the 400w, 900w and 1600w. The models come in one design, meaning it looks the same and has the same features, but differs when it comes to size, as each model are aimed to supply different grow room scales. The 400w, which is the first model in the Mars II series, has 80 x 5 watt LEDs. The Mars II 900w has 180 x 5-watt LEDs while the 1600 has 320 pieces of 5w LED bulbs attached within the panel. To make room for the number of diodes these three models come in 3 different sizes. The 400w is 13,38 x 13,38 inches, the 900w is 17×17 inches, and the 1600w is 20×20 inches. One thing all the Mars II models have in common is the squared shape, material design and a thickness of 3,5 inches. Use these dimensions to find suitable grow room. Now let us review the Mars II grow lights using the usual important metrics.
The Mars II Series comes in a compact black coloured panel that is designed smoothly to hang above your plant canopy with adjustable height hangers. Using the same efficiency measurements as before, the mars II 400w model promises to replace 250w HPS while drawing 162 at the wall. The middle grow light model which is the 900w unit, draws 372 watts while replacing a 460 HPS. Last but not least, the largest Mars II model, the 1600w, consumes approx. 645w while to cover as much as a 1000w HPS light. This means that the efficiency rate for the Mars II 400, 900 & 1200 grow light models are around 60%.
You may know already that a good cooling system is an essential part of a high-quality LED grow light. The purpose of the cooling system is to maintain a balanced temperature within the panel efficiently, so it does not contribute to any excessive heat in the grow area environment. The Mars II grow light series has 2, 4 and 5 fans. You may already guess how the numbers are divided. The 400w has 2, the 900w has 4 and the 1600w has 5 fans. The fans blow into a heatsink which assures a regulated temperature within the LED diodes, securing a lifespan of 50k-100k hours.
Light & Spectrum Quality
Like many other grow lights out there, the Mars II series also produce light that is within the PAR-zone (400nm-700nm). Each grow light models are equipped with LEDs that cover the broad light spectrum within the PAR-zone ranging from blue, red and white which is a combination of all the colours. Additionally, the Mars II 400w, 900w, and 1600w comes also with a couple of IR diodes integrated within the panel lights to enhance plant growth during the flowering stage.
The Mars II series produce blue light ranging in the following wavelengths 440nm~460nm, and at the red end ranging between 630~740nm.
The Par-rating of all three models is decent. Measuring ratings of 645, 1267 & 1732 umols/sec/m2 at hanging height of 18’’, the par ratings are all within the requirement of 500-1000 umols/sec/m2, and even above so you may adjust the lights a bit further away, which will also allow you to cover even more area.
• Three-year maintenance
• Veg/bloom switch
• Package is sent discreetly in marked plain brown boxes
Verdict: Mars II Series
The Mars hydro Mars II series is an excellent light for both small and intermediate growers. The unit is well built, rugged outer design while still user-friendly when it comes to mounting as well as operating. The fans run reportedly quiet and effective. Using Mars II grow light models, you will experience a drop in temperature by up to seven degrees compared to any HPS equivalent.
The 900w model is priced at around $340. With an efficiency rating of 60%, and large grow area coverage, we believe the price is reasonable. Read the full review of the Mars II series.
Mars Eco Series Review
The Mars Hydro Eco Series is one of the manufacturers newer releases. It has two grow light models within the series coming in two different sizes. The Eco 300w has 49 pieces of LEDs, and the 600w model that consists of 98 small LEDs. You can consider the 98 as the big brother to the 49 since it is larger. The 98 measures about 18 x 11 x 3 inches, whereas the 49 with the dimensions of 11.8 x 10.3 x 3 inches is smaller, therefore meant cost less but also covers a smaller area of grow. Other than these differences then both the Eco-models share features such as design, cooling system and type of light spectrum. Let us have a closer look at these.
The Eco 49 is not as robust as the eco 98, which is understandable considering the size of grow area each model is designed to cover. If we the apply the same measurement to determine the efficiency of the Mars Eco series, we can establish that the 300w Mars Hydro Eco 49 draws 110 watts at wall, while replacing 150w HPS. That is an efficiency rate of 25%. If we take at big brother, the 600w Eco 98, it draws roughly 192 at the wall while replacing 600hps, according to the manufacturer. So, with those number the 600w Eco gets a much higher efficiency rate of almost 70%.
The cooling system of Eco models are similarly made as to many other LED grow lights out there. The units have integrated heat sink combined with quality fans to maintain a decent temperature within the panel and limit the heat output in the grow room environment as well. The Eco 49 has 1 fan running while the Eco 98 uses two fans for cooling. Both fans run about 51 dB noise volume, which is relatively normal for LED lights of this calibre. The heatsink and fan combination secure the EPIstar LED diodes a lifeline of 50.000 to 100.000 hours.
Light & Spectrum Quality
Both of the grow light models within the ECO Series emits a similar type of light. Measuring between 400~450nm at the blue range of spectrum, 650~660 nm at the red end, and IR-light at 730~740 and white light at 2700-3000k, there is not much else you would want in terms of light spectrum and colour. The blue peak at the light spectrum is good for vegging, while the IR and red is useful to increase yield during flowering.
So is the light from the Eco Series also strong or intense enough to support the plants? To answer this, let us look at the PAR-rating values that is measured in umol/m2/sec. The Eco-49 has a par rating of 450 and the Eco-96 has a PAR-rating of 660 hanging at the height of 18’’. These ratings are within the recommended values of 500-1000, however, the Eco-49 is slightly below, and that is even at the centre point. This means that as you move outwards from the centre, the light spreads causing a decrease in intensity and PAR-rating. In other words, with the Eco-49 you may risk that a larger area of plant canopy received below the recommended portion of 500-1000 PPFD.
• Warranty: 3 years
• The Unit comes in a neutral looking cardboard box
• The Mars Hydro Eco Series are available in a kit model that includes, grow light unit, thermometer, humidity monitor, hangers etc.
• Normal package includes: hanging kits, power cord, warranty card, and instruction manual included
• Daisy chain connectivity
Verdict: Mars Hydro Eco Series
We recommend that you get the Eco-96 with the kit included. At a total price of around $185, we believe that the 600w MARS ECO 96 is as good as it gets when it comes to a quality grow light for covering a grow area of 2,5’ x 4’. It is efficient at converting electricity to PAR-light, which is why we believe it will be a good investment for your growing project.
As far as the 300w Eco-49 is concerned, we would say that if you have a smaller square feet area to cover, let us say around 2’ x 2’, then that is not a bad light fixture either. It is not as efficient as its bigger brother, meaning that even though the 600w Eco-model costs more, you are guaranteed to get a return on investment as well, because you can grow a larger area at a higher efficiency rate. Eco-Series Full Review
Mars Pro II Epistar Series Review
The Mars Pro II Epistar is an upgraded version of the previously mentioned Mars II Series. Mars Hydros Pro II Epistar Series covers three grow light models currently available for purchase on Amazon. These come in 400w that is measured at 11,4 x 11,4, a 600w model that is slightly larger, measuring 19,3 x 11,8 and their largest model, that is the Pro II Epistar 800w grow light, which measures 20,5 x 13,5. All three models measure 3,93 inches in width. The models use 5w EPistar LED diodes. The Pro II 400w has 80 pieces, 600w has 120, and the 800w has 160 of 5w Epistar LED bulbs.
Mars Pro II Epistar Series comes in a covered sheet with a colour of metal grey, designed with a rough a rugged looking surface that makes the outer shell of the unit. If we take a look at the efficiency ratios of the grow lights models within this Serie, we can admit that the numbers are rather disappointing, especially considering that it is supposed to be an upgrade to the previous Mars II Series. The 400w model draws 170w while replacing a 250 HPS, that gives us an efficiency rate of 32%, which is actually the highest ratio when you compare it to the larger model. The Mars Pro II 600w draws 260w and replaces a 300 HPS, while the largest grow light in the series takes 366w to replace a 400 HPS-system, that is an efficiently ratio of 13% for the 600w an 8% for the 800w, which is fairly low, and with those numbers, it is in no way an upgrade to the mars II grow lights that scored an average efficiency ratio of 60%.
The cooling system of this series is not something special to brag about either. Each model have a standard fan and heatsink system that is default for any LED grow lights by now. The 400w has 1, while the larger models have 2. The noise level of the 800w is ridiculously high measuring a 58 dB, which is 10 dB higher than the small 400w model. And 8 dB louder than the Eco-series.
Light & Spectrum Quality
The Mars Pro II Epistar 400w, 600w and 800w grow lights have one thing going for them at least when compared to ECO series. It is the switch button that regulates the light emitted according to the light needs of the plant in a particular stage. If you are in the veg stage, you can put the light on veg mode which produces a blue coloured spectrum peaking at 440~460 nm. Once your plants are ready to enter the flowering stage, you can then switch the light to a redder spectrum that peaks at 630~660 nm The Eco-series are also better than the Mars Pro II series. The 400w Pro II model has a PAR rating of 421, the 600w has a PAR-rating of 541 while the 800w has a Par-value of 1018 umol/m2/sec hanging at a 18’’ height. The 600w Marshydro grow light from the Eco series measure a Par-rating of 660 vs the 541 rating of the 600w from the mars Pro II series.
• Package includes power cord 6,6 ft
• Instruction manual
• 3-year warranty
• 30-day money back
Verdict: Mars Pro II Epistar Series Review
We can only recommend the small 400w, but only in case you are looking to supply a couple of plants during its entire life stage and your grow area doesn’t exceed 2’ x 2’ during the flowering and 3,5’ x 3,5’ during veg. The 400w is priced at $180, which is quite high so we do not recommend it for beginners either, however, if you are serious about your yield then the Mars Epistar Pro II 400w model will do a better job than for instance the Eco-49. We honestly don’t recommend the 600w, or 800w grow lights from the Mars Pro II Epistar series. They are loud; they don’t produce enough light considering their electricity draw, not to mention their just too expensive. Should you decide to get the 600w model, make sure to check the updated price at a link below, and use the following hanging distance. 12”-18’’ for flowering stage and 24” Seedling/veg stage. Epistar Series Full Review
Mars II Cree Series Review
Looking almost identical to the Pro II Epistar Series, the Mars hydro Mars II Cree Series have two models available. There is the 128, and 256 Cree grow light models. The first mentioned unit is a 600w that has 128 pieces of 5w Cree models attached within the panel construction. The larger model, which is a 1200w grow light consist of 256 smaller 5w Cree LEDs. The 600w unit measures 20’’ x 13’’ while the larger model is 23’’ x 21’’. Both units have a width of 5’’. The Mars II Cree grow lights are characterised by their odd-looking shape, that bends from the middle, as you can see at the picture above. With these facts being established, we can now review their most important features to determine whether or not the grow lights in the Cree series are among the best LED grow lights from Mars Hydro.
Both the 128 and 256 Cree models are integrated with a veg/bloom switch, which alters the spectrum and light output accordingly to the needs of the plant stage. But this shift in light output also comes at the expense of electricity. Switching from veg to bloom means that the unit has to produce more intense light, which means more electricity consumption.
The smaller Mars II 128 form the Cree Series draw 250 watts at the wall while on veg mode vs the bigger 256 model, which draws 340. The 600w Cree 128 draws 340w, while the 1200w Cree 256 draws a whopping 564 watts from the wall while on bloom mode. The models respectively replace a 400w and 800 watts, which means an efficiency rate of 37% & 30%. These efficiency rates suggest a much better grow light than their predecessors from Mars Pro II Epistar Series. But it comes with a price.
The Cree series are equipped with cooling fans and heatsink, the outer shell is also constructed with holes that direct heats out the panel cooling down the diodes. By doing so, the risk of errors is reduced, and a longer lifespan is secured. The Cree 128 Mars Hydro has 2, while the larger 256 has 4 cooling fans. The fans run at a noise level of 57 & 61 dB.
Light & Spectrum Quality
The Mars Pro II Cree Series emits very intense light. Maybe too intense if you ask me. The Par
Hanging at the height of 18’’ above the grow area the Pro Cree 128 produce a PAR-value of 1400/m2/sec. The light spectrum peaks at the blue and red end of PAR-light portion with wavelengths measuring between 440~460nm and 630nm~660 nm. The light has also portions of IR to increase yield during flowering stage along with white measuring at 2700k-3000k.
The PAR-rating is impressive when comparing to the 600w grow light model from the previous mentioned Eco-series. But it comes with a price obviously. But with the price you get something else additional functions as well, such as switch that regulates the light according to plant stage needs.
• 3-year warranty
• Discrete package
• Growth & bloom switch
• Angled lenses
Verdict: Mars II Cree Series Review
We do not recommend the 1200w Mars II Cree 256. It is simply too big, clumsy and loud for any beginner-intermediate growers, and if you are an expert grower, then there are definitely other better options available out there. It does cover a large area. However, if you are interested in a grow light from the Mars II series, we recommend that you go with the smaller 128 model. This LED fixture can adequately cover an area of 2,5 x 2,5 at 24’’ during vegging and 2 x 2 square feet during flowering hanging at the height of 18’’. Full Review on Cree 128 & 256
Mars Hydro COB Cree 3590
The chip-on-board (COB) has a big white Cree bulb in the middle that is surrounded by smaller LEDS coming in the colours of red and blue.
The Mars COB design has a rather neat design. It is beautiful to look at. But what does all the beauty do good for if it cannot serve any purpose? So, let us review what the Mars Cree COB can when it comes to converting electricity into usable life-giving light. The Cree 3590 Mars Hydro Draws 110w at the wall. It uses the 110 watts to convert it into a light that has the same ratio as a 250w HPS counterpart. This means that the Mars COB is 56% more efficient that an HPS-system.
The cob has no fan design. It is not necessary thanks to the integrated passive heating system that comes with the design. The panel that carries the light bulb has massive amounts of cooling fins are surrounding the outer shell, which diverts heat out of the LEDS. This secures a longer lifespan and avoids the occurrence of errors due to internal overheating.
Light & Spectrum Quality
The PAR-output of this fixture is not impressive at all. Measuring 170 umol/sec/m2, the amount is far from the recommended baseline of 500-1000. Because the light uses a white bulb, and smaller red and blue LEDS, the spectrum-output lacks rich blues during vegging and red intensity during the flowering stage.
• 1-year warranty
• VEG/Bloom Switch
• Hanging kits
Verdict: Mars Hydro COB Cree 3590
At the price rate of 250 dollars, we do not recommend this grow light. There are much better options out there. The light lacks on every important metrics that define quality when it comes to grow lights. Full Review on Mars COB