Review of the Mars Hydro SP 150 LED Full-spectrum Grow Light - My View From The Woods

Review of the Mars Hydro SP 150 LED Full-spectrum Grow Light

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The Mars Hydro SP 150 LED Full-spectrum grow light is perfect for the person that wants to grow baby leaf lettuce or start garden sets in their home.

Mars Hydro sent me the SP 150 LED grow light for an honest review. The fact that the light was sent to me has no bearing on this review.

This article gets into the details of the SP 150, for a quicker review and to see how well the light performed, watch the video below.

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What We Want From A Grow Light

We mostly grow microgreens at home; however, during the late fall and winter months, we do plant trays of lettuce. Specifically, red leaf lettuce.

The lights we use for microgreens don't do a great job of turning the leafs red. This is why we want more powerful full-spectrum grow lights.

In the past, we've used grow lights from Happy Leaf and Active Grow to grow our lettuce. With some success, but not completely happy with the results.

The trays looked more striped with an intense red only where the lettuce was directly below the light. What we want is complete red leaves across the tray.

My View of the Mars Hydro SP 150 LED Grow Light

Below are my thoughts and opinions of the SP 150 LED full-spectrum grow light from delivery to its use.

Delivery of the Mars Hydro SP 150

Early in the fall of 2019, we were contacted to see if we wanted to test and review a Mars Hydro LED grow light. Obviously, we said yes.

The light was mailed directly from the US warehouse and arrived within two days. As you see below, the box arrived in great shape.

Mars Hydro packaging

How Well Was the Grow Light Packaged

What surprised me is the packaging. In the photo above, you can see that the top of the box covering the light and emitters was a piece of 1/4-inch plywood with hard foam glued to the upper portion for additional padding.

On the right side of the cover image of this article, you can also see a foam block. Two of these pre-formed, thick, hard foam blocks are placed on the bottom of the box, protecting the transformer and aluminum cooling fins on the light.

In short, the delivery and packaging of Mars Hydro's grow lights is top-notch.

What's Included With The SP 150 Grow Light

Power Cord

The light is a plug-n-play fixture. It comes with a 5 1/2-foot grounded plug. 

One disappointment is there isn't a switch on the light or power cord. Yes, we generally plug the light into a timer; in our case anyway, most of the timers we use are in a non-accessible location, like behind a rack or desk.

A switch would be an excellent addition to the light. Also, many LED grow lights include a separate timer. That would be an added bonus, in our opinion.

Light Hangers

Two metal hangers are included in the light kit. These hangers hook under the light cowling. They are easy to install and hold the light well. 

However, a couple of holes in the cowling would've made me a little more sure of where they go and their ability to hold the light. Nevertheless, my apprehension was unfounded as the hangers work well.

Light hangers and ratchets

Adjustable Ratchet Rope Clip Hangers

The light kit comes with two nylon rope, ratchet hangers with carabiners. 

I'm not sure how long the rope is, but they have to be near 10-feet long. So the light can be hung from about anywhere and be lowered over your plants. 

These ratchet clips are sturdy and have no problem holding the light. One Amazon reviewer complained that the carabiners were connected only with knots and not a mechanical fastener. 

In reality, the rope is double knotted and couldn't be pulled apart. We tried, it will hold. No worries.

This is the first time we used ratchet clips. They are fantastic and way better than the stupid homemade chain holder we used. Never will use chains again. If a light doesn't come with ratchet clips, we'll buy these

Installing the Mars Hydro SP 150 LED Grow Light

Since we already had hooks mounted for grow lights setting up the light was easy. You can watch the video to see how it is installed.

Mars Hydro SP 150 LED Grow Light Specifications

Unless you're really nerdy, all of this information most likely means nothing to you. We'll tell you what we were told the light would do and leave links to the specifications if you're interested in looking at them.

Marketing material on the SP 150 was all over the place. Between the website, Amazon, and the specifications in the light kit, the SP 150 will cover between a 2- by 2-foot area to a 2- by 4-foot area (talking about vegetative coverage not fruiting).

A representative of Mars Hydro said that the SP-150 will most likely cover and be effective over a 2- by 3-foot area. Since we trusted the representative more than market material, that is what we tested.

LED Emitters

Interestingly, we counted about 128 emitters. The LED emitters are manufactured by Epistar. Looking up information on that company, we trust the LED emitters are dependable.

The marketing material says there are over 300 emitters. Not knowing if each emitter chip has more than one emitter, we'll have to take their word on it.

Again, we aren't testing the specifications of the light. Instead, we are checking to see if it does what we want. And that is to turn our lettuce red!

LED emitters on Mars Hydro SP 150

Here are the stats on the emitter spectrum: 380~410nm, 3000~3200K. 650~665nm, 6000~6500K. A full-spectrum light.

The angle of light from the emitters is 120-degrees. There's no glass covering the emitters allowing more of the light to reach the target area.

Below are the PAR values of the Mars Hydro SP 150 at 24- and 18-inches off the foliage (click to expand). For a review of PAR, PPF, and PFFD, see this article

PAR value of the Sp 150

Visit the Mars Hydro Website and use the code microgreens at check out for a discount!

Setting Up The Light

Setup is easy, as mentioned previously, the light is ready to be plugged in out of the box.

The hangers clip on to the light cowling, and the ratchets connect to the hangers to the anchors placed either in the ceiling, wall (with plant hangers), or on some sort of stand that allows the light to hang over the planting area.

Operation

The Marsh Hydro SP 150 has been running at least 180 days, plugged into a timer that is set to be on for 15-hours a day. 

We've had no problems. As far as electric use, that will depend on your electric rate. The power draw is a little over half-an-amp at 139 watts.

A small price to pay for up to four trays of fresh, tender, baby leaf lettuce every 28-days or so.

How Well Did the Mars Hydro SP 150 Perform?

You can watch the video to see the setup we used. But to summarize, we placed three trays of seeded lettuce (one Freckles Romaine and two Red Leaf Lettuce) on a 2- by 4-foot table.

The trays took up about a 20- by 36-inch area to begin, but as they grew, the whole two by four-foot area was covered in foliage.

The test is to see how red the SP 150 could make the lettuce over that area.

Below is a screen capture from the video 20-days after the light was placed over the seeded trays of lettuce.

red leaf lettuce grown under LED lights

As you can see, the middle tray is completely red across the 20 plus inches it covers. The outer two trays, the Freckles Romaine on the left and the other red leaf on the right, are mostly colored. 

The outer three to four inches on the leaf lettuce has less redness for sure, and the added height is most likely caused by the lettuce stretching for more of the light. 

The middle tray is dense because its light requirements are met.

With some tray rotation, the color of the lettuce would be perfect over the 2- by 4-foot area.

From this test, we say the ideal PAR coverage for red leaf lettuce under a Mars Hydro SP 150 LED grow light is 24-inches plus at the midpoint of the light and extends out in an oval to about 38- to 40-inches along the length of the light. 

The light covers a slightly larger area than the Mars Hydro representative suggested. 

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

 We are pleased with the Mars Hydro SP 150 LED grow light. It's dependable, the light has the power to grow red leaf lettuce to full color.

It's working well with the garden sets we have growing beneath it now. 

We've had no issues with the light whatsoever. The SP 150 does a better job coloring up plants and keeping them dense than two other similarly priced LED grow lights we purchased.

In fact, we are talking about adding an SP 250 to this area and placing the SP 150 over the top of our grow racks. 

We highly recommend the Mars Hydro SP 150 to anyone growing fruiting vegetables, red-colored plants, or garden sets to keep them from getting leggy.

Click on the button below to visit the Mars Hydro website and use the code microgreens and receive a discount off your total order!

If you have any questions about the Mars Hydro SP 150, send me an email, leave a comment, or contact me and I'll do my best to answer your question.

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