No Sunlight, No Problem: This Grow Light Keeps My Plants Alive in Any Room of the House
I used the new dimmable Mars Hydro TS1000 to illuminate my indoor plant collection in a dark basement for a month, and my plants couldn’t have been happier.
Insufficient light is one of the worst stressors for indoor plants. Poor plant lighting can cause stems to stretch or lean, leaves to become off-color or misshapen, or growth to stop altogether. The good news is that adding a grow light can help. A full-spectrum grow light replicates the quality of natural sunlight, giving indoor plants what they need to efficiently perform photosynthesis and feed themselves.
A few different types of lights can be used to make grow lights, but the most cost-effective models are made with light-emitting diodes or LEDs. Spread-style LED grow lights are the most popular configuration among professionals and serious indoor-plant enthusiasts. In these fixtures, hundreds of LEDs are mounted on a single panel that is edged with a reflective border to cast a broad, intense, and consistent light below. Anyone who needs to light up a growing space larger than about 1 square foot will want to consider this type of lighting.
Since 2009, Mars Hydro has been a leading supplier of grow lighting and indoor growing supplies. In addition to its lighting equipment, it offers a full range of grow tents, ventilation systems, drip kits, hydroponic systems, smart gardening technology, and more. I recently tested the Mars Hydro TS1000 LED grow light on my own houseplant collection.
For a month, the TS1000 served as the only light source for seven of my bright-light plants. In the review ahead, I’ll detail my experience using this pro-quality grow light. I’ll also share why I think it’s a good value for anyone starting seedlings for the garden, overwintering plants that spend the warmer months outdoors, growing hydroponic veggies, or simply caring for a few houseplants. In fact, it topped BobVila.com’s list of 10 of the best LED grow lights.
Mars Hydro TS1000 Dimmable 150W LED Grow Light: At a Glance
- Full-spectrum light supports plant health at every growth phase: germination, vegetative, flowering, and fruiting
- 354 LEDs on an adjustable-height fixture deliver intense, even light coverage
- Dimmable grow light with low power draw helps to conserve energy and save on costs
- Low heat production and internal heat dissipation system eliminate fan noise
- Industrial appearance is less compatible with the aesthetics of living spaces
- Requires 2 overhead anchor points for installation
Get the Mars Hydro LED grow light at:
What is the Mars Hydro LED grow light?
The Mars Hydro TS1000 is a spread-style LED grow light that can be set up almost anywhere. It comes equipped with 354 full-spectrum LEDs and an angled reflective housing. At a distance of 18 inches, it has a photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) rating of 743 micromoles/m2/s. Biologists often use PPFD to measure light intensity in terms of the light that indoor plants will actually absorb. PPFD measures the density of light distributed per square meter per second. The higher the PPFD, the more effective the light should be.
Light requirements change for different plant-life stages. Seedlings only need low-intensity light between 100 and 200 micromoles/m2/s, while plants in the vegetative growth stage need a PPFD range from 200 to 500. Flowering and fruiting plants require the most light, at least 500 to 600 for optimum performance. The high PPFD output and adjustability of the Mars Hydro grow light allows for a wide range of flexibility for growing all types and ages of plants.
Its brightness measured 6,528 foot candles at 18 inches. That’s enough light to cover 6.25 square feet for plants in the flowering and fruiting stage, or 9 square feet for vegetative growth. It also offers daisy-chain functionality, allowing users to power as many as 15 of the TS1000s with a single 15-amp electrical outlet.
This high-efficiency light draws just 150 watts of electricity and boasts a lifespan rating of 50,000 hours (11.4 years at 12 hours per day). An internal heat dissipation system eliminates the need for a cooling fan, so it operates silently. The TS1000 light panel measures 11 inches by 14 inches and weighs 4.9 pounds. It mounts overhead via two locking ratchet pulleys with 8 feet of paracord on each.
To give the Mars Hydro TS1000 grow light its chance to shine, I tested it in the darkest corner of my basement with a collection of cacti and succulents that have high light requirements. I hung the light from two nails driven into the exposed floor joists above, with a large plant stand below it to accommodate the nine 6-inch potted plants spaced about one per square foot. Once everything was set up, I plugged into a timer so the light would automatically run 12 hours a day, adjusted the height of the light to 12 inches above the foliage of my tallest plant, and set the dimmer at 80 percent.
How easy is the Mars Hydro TS1000 to set up?
I was able to hang the light by myself by laying it on the plant stand, adjusting the cords to their full length on the ratchet pulleys, and hooking the pulleys to the nails. Then I simply pulled the strings to elevate and level the light to the required height. The ratchet movement was a little rough, but with a slow, steady motion, one click at a time, it came out level. Then I plugged the timer into a standard wall outlet.
Raising the light was relatively easy, but adjusting the light height downward was more difficult. I had to climb the ladder and release the locking mechanism on each pulley with one hand while controlling the cord with the opposite hand. It’s possible to mount the system with the pulleys at the bottom, but upward adjustments would be more awkward in that configuration.
The on/off and dimmer controls were easy to reach and operate on top of the housing. Although I only tested a single light, shoppers interested in the daisy-chain function will want to take note that the whole daisy chain can be conveniently controlled using the dimmer on the first light in the chain.
Is the Mars Hydro TS1000 grow light good quality?
My plants in the dark basement thrived in the light of the TS1000. I started the test in late winter as the plants had completed a semi-dormant period and looked seasonally tired and off-color. Over the course of the test month, with a couple of applications of fertilizer, they perked up nicely.
As a comparison, I kept another group of cacti and succulents in my greenhouse with natural sunlight, and they transitioned very similarly. The foliage on both sets of plants became more vibrant and buds began to swell, indicating new growth on the way. The LEDs radiated a very consistent light intensity from edge to edge across the entire growing surface, which led to results comparable to what was achieved with natural sunlight.
Is the Mars Hydro TS1000 worth the money?
At a regular price ranging from about $130 to $150, the Mars Hydro TS1000 is a good buy. There are other full-spectrum LED grow lights on the market with similar output ratings at slightly lower prices, but they don’t offer as much in terms of convenience and quality. With the consistency of its light footprint from edge to edge, its dimmability and daisy-chain functionality, and overall ease of use taken into account, the TS1000 is definitely worth the money.
Is the Mars Hydro TS1000 LED grow light right for you?
Producing a wide footprint of consistently intense full-spectrum light, the Mars Hydro TS1000 is always a great choice for indoor plants, but it might not be right for every buyer. Since it requires overhead mounting points, users must commit to installing ceiling hooks or building some sort of framework from which to suspend the unit. For those who need a grow light that will look great in their living room, the industrial appearance of this one may not fit.
But in terms of a highly functional, budget-friendly, easy-to-use grow light for all kinds of indoor gardening, the TS1000 fits the bill. It delivers pro-quality dimmable lighting to support germination, vegetative growth, flowering, and fruiting, and it’s built to last for many years.
Where to Buy the Mars Hydro TS1000 LED Grow Light
Get the Mars Hydro TS1000 LED grow light at:
Meet the Tester
Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with a background in the nursery and landscaping industry. For more than 20 years he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn-care products, and other outdoor-living goods.