9 Best PAR Meter Options For Your Indoor Garden

par meter

Are you a plant lover who wants to ensure they get the light they need? It can be hard to determine how much light output is falling on your plants without measuring. That’s why using a PAR meter is so important.

These meters measure photosynthetically active radiation, which helps tell you exactly how much light spectrum your plants are getting and if any adjustments need to be made for optimal growth.

Not only will this help ensure your plants get all the light they need, but it also ensures that no energy or resources go wasted due to over-or under-lightening of specific areas in a garden or greenhouse.

Plus, with reliable readings, you won’t have to worry about not being able to identify issues quickly enough and losing precious time trying to fix them before irreversible damage occurs!

Get started now by investing in one of these top-quality PAR meters today!

What is the best PAR(photosynthetically active radiation) meter?

When selecting a PAR meter for an indoor garden that includes both HPS and LED lighting, it is essential to consider several factors.

  • Firstly, the exactness of the readings when measuring par will ensure that your plants receive the correct amount of light from your grow light for optimal growth and flowering through all stages of development.

  • Secondly is the par meter’s ease of use. The device should be easy to understand and operate, with clearly marked buttons and settings, so that users can get precise measurements quickly and efficiently.

  • Thirdly, it is important to consider durability. In particular, look for meters made from high-quality materials such as aluminum or hardened plastic, which will withstand bumps and scratches over time.

  • Finally, cost should also be taken into consideration. There are many excellent models available at various price points, so finding one which fits within your budget should not be too tricky—make sure it offers all of the features you need in terms of precision, ease of use, and durability before making your purchase decision.

With these considerations in mind, you can find the best PAR meter for your unique needs while ensuring you receive the most value out of your investment!

MY BEST OVERALL PICK

The Apogee MQ-500 full-spectrum quantum is the industry standard for scientists and home growers, providing them with precise readings of PAR from any light source.

With its exceptional precision and proven effectiveness, it continues to be a top choice among leading experts in the field.

Apogee MQ-500

par meter

Apogee meters are precisely calibrated to measure the light intensity in µmol of LED, HPS, MH, sunlight, and other types of lights used for photosynthesis.

In contrast to typical LUX meters utilized for measuring human vision lighting levels, their devices feature a laboratory-grade “quantum” PPFD (photosynthetic photon flux density) optical detector constructed to measure par exclusively for your plants’ canopy.

Top Features

  • 4 Year Warranty

  • Includes Telescopic Wand

  • Accuracy Drift Rate Of Less Than 2% Per Year.

  • Quantum Head Is Machined Aluminum

Pricing

My Take

For growing indoors, a PAR meter is essential. In my experience, the Apogee MQ-500 is one of the best on the market to precisely measure the intensity of all photons between 400 and 700 nm.

As a grow light enthusiast, I find it highly accurate and stable, and it’s also effortless to use! What’s more – it’s designed right here in the USA so that you can rely on its craftsmanship.

I’ve been using this instrument for years, contributing to unbeatable results with my growing light needs.

Futurehorti FH-100

par meter

The Futurehorti FH-100 features a user-friendly app that can accurately test PPFD and calculate DLI (Daily Light Integral) if the PPFD is stable.

The app can easily monitor how much light your plant receives and ensure ideal growth conditions in your garden. 

Top Features

  • Easy To Carry

  • User-Friendly App

  • Can Be Mounted Onto A Drone

  • Affordable

Pricing

My Take

The drone option could be a great way to conduct light readings on your crop if you’re operating in a greenhouse. The Futurehorti FH-100 is incredibly easy to use, and the user-friendly app makes it a breeze to monitor PPFD.

Additionally, the price point is very affordable, making it an excellent option for anyone on a budget.

Vabira VBR-200

par meter

The Vabira VBR-200 offers precision and reliability for indoor growers. With an easy-to-use telescopic wand, it can accurately test PAR according to the McCree Curve and record DLI every second.

The waterproof PAR sensor allows you to track ideal growth conditions in many environments, even aquariums!

Top Features

  • Includes Telescopic Wand

  • Reads Temperature And Humidity

  • Moderately Priced

Pricing

My Take

The Vabira VBR-200 provides access to historical specifics on temperature, humidity, and PPFD values that can be tracked on your Windows computer. Unfortunately, it’s not fit for IOS.

But you can dim the power percentage of your LED grow light output or set a target PPFD value that’s automatically maintained, which is pretty cool.

PHOTOBIO Advanced Quantum

par meter

With the PHOTOBIO Advanced Quantum, plant-growing professionals can ensure the most efficient results for their indoor grow room.

This device measures PAR with improved accuracy and is optimized to measure light within the spectrum of 400 to 700nm – making it ideal for adjusting grow lights used in all types of photosynthesis-related activities.

Top Features

  • Simple And Easy To Use

  • Records Up To 99 Readings

  • Includes Short Coiled And Long Straight Connection Cables

  • Moderate Pricepoint

Pricing

My Take

Cost-effectiveness and ease of use are two of many advantages that the PHOTOBIO brings. It also includes a carrying case.

Hydrofarm Quantum

par meter

This fully portable handheld PAR meter features a highly accurate, integrated Quantum Sensor that measures PAR flux in wavelengths ranging from 400 to 700 nm. It measures up to 10,000 μmol/s.

Top Features

  • Low Power Consumption

  • Rechargeable

  • Battery Power Indicator

  • Data Logging Software

Pricing

My Take

The Hydrofarm Quantum is an excellent solution for your indoor plants, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg like other light testing units out there.

With this device, you can start to understand better where your light reaches at half the price, although the build quality is not as durable as other models.

Sun System

par meter

Maximize your grow lights and natural sunlight with Sun System’s PAR Meter. This straightforward, user-friendly tool accurately measures PAR in no time – indoors or outdoors! Get the most out of your lighting system without any effort.

Top Features

  • Compact Size

  • Simple And Easy To Use

Pricing

My Take

If you’re an indoor gardener who admires quality, this one is for you. It’s beneficial for checking the output of your HPS bulbs and determining whether or not it’s providing as much light energy as you expect it to be.

SpotOn

par meter

At a mere 2.6 ounces, SpotOn is the lightest and most compact PAR meter available in its class, perfect for growers who want exact data on their crops without having to lug around cumbersome equipment.

This pocket-sized powerhouse provides scientific precision in measuring PAR on crop canopies – enabling farmers with all the critical insights they need for sound decision-making!

Top Features

  • Built-In DLI Mode

  • Large Display

  • 2-Year Battery Life

  • Includes Integrated Stand

Pricing

My Take

I appreciate the built-in stand when measuring DLI from the ground. SpotOn’s 2-year battery life is also a great feature, making it an excellent choice for long-term monitoring tasks.

Apogee MQ-610

par meter

Apogee’s newest and most advanced ePAR Sensor was created in 2021 as a significant upgrade from their classic ePFD quantum sensors.

This device is specially designed to measure the 400-750 nm radiation range that scientific research has proven to be photosynthetically active – expanding beyond the traditional 400-700 nm boundary.

Top Features

  • Measures 400-750 nm range

  • Rugged Aluminum Housing

  • AM-310 Telescopic Wand Extends up to 33 inches

  • Neoprene Carrying Case

Pricing

My Take

Until recently, traditional 400-700 nm PAR meters could not detect the far-red grow light spectrum produced by next-generation LED fixtures containing red diodes.

However, thanks to technological advances, measuring these previously undetectable wavelengths is now possible.

Studies have demonstrated how useful it is to incorporate far-red LEDs into fixtures to combat numerous diseases, achieve intended photomorphogenic results, and even acquire more photosynthesis.

Apogee PQ-612

par meter

The PQ-612 Package is a promotional package that includes an ePAR sensor(400-750 nm) with a 6-foot cable, a microCache Bluetooth micro-logger, and an Apogee PVC Sensor Platform.

Combined, these two devices are a powerful method for precisely tracking the sum of photon flux intensity to ensure optimal specimen growth with research-grade precision.

Top Features

  • 4-Year Warranty

  • Rugged Housing

  • 1 Extra microCache Battery

  • MicroCache Bluetooth Micro-Logger

  • Neoprene Case

Pricing

My Take

The innovative AT-100 microCache (µCache) logger can store up to 400,000 data points and is an independent, battery-operated device. Moreover, it links your sensors with either Android or iOS devices via the free ApogeeConnect app for seamless connectivity.

With this app, you can make real-time calculations, log data at intervals that suit your needs best, keep an eye on light integrals every single day, and ensure appropriate photoperiods.

The PQ-612 is the Rolls Royce of PAR meters!

What is a par meter?

A par light meter is a device used to measure the amount of light with a spectral range of 400-700nm emitted from a source.

light wavelength chart
Image sourced from cerescann.com

It can measure the brightness of natural and artificial sources, such as sunlight, HPS lamps, and full spectrum LED lighting systems.

It will typically provide measurements in PPFD(Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density). These units are measured in micromoles per square meter per second or µmol/m²/s.

Par light meters are commonly used in research facilities, commercial greenhouses, indoor cultivation facilities, and other areas where precise light levels need to be measured.

Why lumens and lux aren’t the best way to measure light

Although lumens and lux were traditionally used to gauge the light intensity on plants, we now understand that it does not accurately measure how well a plant will grow under certain lighting levels.

Lumens measure how much light is produced within the visible light range that can be detected, but it isn’t sufficient to gauge the impact this illumination has on plants.

These guidelines become particularly relevant when sunlight hits the far ends of the visual light range, such as ultraviolet and infrared rays.

Although the wavelength cannot be measured with either lux meters or lumen meters, it is an essential factor in plant growth. The two meters are similar and can often relate to one another spectrally.

Occasionally it may result in under-reading the lighting at several colors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a PAR meter?

Here are some valid points from PHOTONE to consider.

Without a PAR meter:

  • You can’t properly set the placement of your light

  • You can’t properly set the height of your light above the canopy

  • You can’t properly adjust the dimming of your light

  • You can’t tell if your lights are aging or need cleaning

What is a good PAR reading for growing plants?

  • PAR values of 100 – 300 PPFD are great for seedlings and clones. These younger plants are more sensitive, so extending beyond this range would stress them.

  • PAR values of 250 – 600 are optimal for a grow room containing plants in vegetative growth, such as mother plants.

  • PAR values of 600 – 1200 are needed for plants in their bloom or generative phase. This value is determined by the chosen genetic that is being grown as well as the type of grow lights being used.

Can a phone measure PAR?

Although multiple smartphone apps promise to measure PAR, they vary greatly!

A minor misstep is standard since no light meter can provide the exact same reading; however, any discrepancy surpassing 10% becomes concerning, and errors of 30% or more are particularly risky.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the type of PAR meter you choose for your indoor garden will directly impact your plants’ health and growth.

There are many choices out there; however, the nine we discussed today showcase some of the best ones on the market.

These PAR meters offer accuracy, durability, and ease of use; three essential qualities to look for when making a purchase.

Ultimately, utilizing accurate measurements from one of these meters will allow you to get the best results from your grow light setup. Investing in a PAR meter is an essential step for any serious indoor gardener, and with these nine options before you, why not pick up one today?

You won’t be sorry – now start growing those fantastic plants!

Jesh

Jesh is the founder of jeshuascheumack.com. He was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and raised in the American South and the foothills of Northern California. He loves to grow all things, including as much of his own food as possible. He also loves to read and geek out on board games.

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