Aquarium Lighting Power Rankings

   

Aquarium Lighting Power Rankings. Lighting is a top priority on every aquarium, especially reef tanks. It’s funny saying that as if there’s even an alternative to it NOT being a priority. Over the last decade a lot of advances have occurred with aquarium lighting. Keep in mind we’re a store where back 10 years ago we still had rusted out halide pendants with no shields protecting the bulbs hanging over most our tanks. It was going to take a LOT to change our minds about any sort of new technology out there.

Enter LED Aquarium Lighting….

One thing we would like to start with is just about everything ends up costing the same in this addictive hobby over the course of a couple years; give or take a hundred dollars. After everything is factored in, such as energy costs, bulb replacement, maintenance, replacement lights, parts, after about 2 years most stuff is pretty much the same price.

To begin with you might notice we didn’t rate ReefBrite Halides or T5s, Hamilton Halides, or ATI T5s – we did rank the ATI LEDs. ALL THREE of these companies are amazing. They all have outstanding customer service, fantastic construction, and top of line performance. We didn’t rate them because of the fact they are either T5 or Metal Halide lighting and we only carry a couple of these lighting types.

Below you will find a list of the LED lighting we sell and our experiences with the manufacturers, as well as what we have heard from customers, and our own private testing. We rated all the lights based on performance, bang for your buck, ease of use, reef sustainability, construction and reliability, customer service, and warranties.

With every brand we carry we contacted these companies with some of our personal (or created) emails to see how they handled customers and how fast they responded. If the light you purchased should have an issue, we know it's of great importance to rectify that issue for the health of your tank. We both called and emailed them with multiple scenarios to see how knowledgeable they were with their own products, how fast they handled warranty issues, and how courteous they were to customers who may be new to the hobby. Was fun going "I can’t figure out how to turn the light on?" We also took into account dozens of customer reviews as we have sold a good amount of each brand we carry.

We put a tremendous amount of effort into testing lighting because to us it may be the most important component (well next to a heater). One reason is because if a light goes down it can cause a huge amount of tank issues. We’re broke and don’t really know anyone else who has time to wait for a replacement light to show up, or has unlimited funds to put credit cards on file with places until they get their new light and send back the old one. It is extremely important to us at Reef2Land that a company has both a phone number and an email to contact them. We know something as important as a light going down can be stressful, and people want responses fast.

If any manufacturer reads this section and disagrees with anything, these are simply the experiences we had after dealing with the companies as private individuals and not as a company. If you would like us to test another one your lights, feel free to let us know. We are not biased towards any brand. Almost all profit margins are the same when it comes to lighting.

#1 Kessil LED Lighting

  • Two (2) years on lights
  • Performance Level Rating: 10
  • Bang For Your Buck: 10
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reef Sustainability: 10
  • Construction and Reliability: 10
  • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 10

Kessil is the top light in the industry. We were halide fans for almost 3 decades. Then we started toying with Kessil lights, and the company completely altered our mindset towards aquarium lighting. They’re the first company that we even really tested and to this day our opinion of them being #1 hasn’t changed. We barely get any calls on their stuff when it comes to problems; can probably count the amount of calls in a year on one hand. They have an industry leading 2-year warranty, which shows how much a company believes in their own products. Even outside the warranty Kessil will still usually assist customers for a small fee. The design is very attractive, with outstanding performance, and user friendly operation. The two things we hear the most about is their customer service and people saying the Shimmer Effect is jaw-dropping.

That being said the only drawback of their lights is for really consistent operation between the lights you need to purchase their Spectral Controller. But, they are still extremely easy to adjust and set with the tuning knobs on the top of the a360 and a160 models. The AP700s are programmable via the app in the app market for both iOS and Android.

https://www.kessil.com

TEL (510) 620-5250

#2 Aqua Illumination AI LED Lighting

  • One (1) year on lights
  • Performance Level Rating: 8
  • Bang For Your Buck: 10
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reef Sustainability: 9
  • Construction and Reliability: 5
  • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 9

This was a tough call because we have heard the most of amount of negative feedback on AI (Aqua Illumination); and the reason is kind of funny. We have no idea why, but a lot of people think we’re the manufacturer and we’re not - we only sell them and can answer a good amount of technical issues on them though. We get between 10-15 calls a month where we redirect them to the AI website for Warranty Issues. It doesn’t matter which model. The older Vegas or the new HD models, people are pretty consistently calling with burnt out fans, power supplies, LED pucks, connectivity issues, etc. AI has an awesome concept, sleek design, and performs extremely well at first, so we really would like to see AI fix the issues with the lights that we hear about on almost a daily basis.

The major upside of AI Lighting is programmability ease due to the app in the app market. Power can actually be taken from one spectrum and transferred to another. This means that there’s no loss of power when taking away from one color, because you can add it to another. The sliders on the app to adjust the spectrums are very handy and hobbyist-friendly. We feel most lights will turn to this format in the future.

http://www.aquaillumination.com/

TEL: (515) 233-5105

#3 Ecotech Marine LED Lighting

  • One (1) year on lights
  • Performance Level Rating: 8
  • Bang For Your Buck: 7
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reef Sustainability: 9
  • Construction and Reliability: 8
  • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 7

Ecotech Marine is an outstanding company. When testing their lights we really didn’t see much of a difference between the Aqua Illumination LEDs and their LEDs. That’s probably because they merged or whatever and now Aqua Illumination lights are manufactured by Ecotech, or something. Yes that sounds like we have no idea because we couldn’t get consistent answers when we called to find out what the situation actually is. Ecotech is a great light, but we don't feel it justifies the price point when there's cheaper options that perform just as good with the same if not longer warranties. We did see a decent amount of growth in coral with the Radions, but it was still better with both Kessil and AI. That was pretty shocking because the AIs and Ecotechs both tested about the same when it came to light output.

Ecotech will always be a top company in the aquarium industry. However, we have had some customers say that Ecotech required a lot out of them when it came to warranty exchanges. As a company we get a chance to BS with a lot of customers on a daily basis to listen to issues they may have had with a company. That being said, they do respond to inquiries extremely fast via both phone and email. Their lights are still extremely easy to use and are packed with nice features as well as great performance. Good job Ecotech.

http://ecotechmarine.com/

TEL: (610) 954-8480

#4 ATI LED Lighting

  • One (1) year on lights
  • Performance Level Rating: 8
  • Bang For Your Buck: 5
  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Reef Sustainability: 9
  • Construction and Reliability: 8
  • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 9

ATI was another tough call because we love the light brand. There is numerous ways to get ahold of the company and they do a fantastic job when it comes to making sure customers are pleased with their lights. What we would consider T5 supplemented lighting doesn’t seem to have much of an upside over regular LED Lighting when it comes to reef growth from what we saw - ATI was pretty comparable to Ecotech and AI. The lights do a great job with coverage and light penetration. The size of the lighting unit is something that we at Reef2Land look at most of all. That and price point when it comes to performance for the money spent. The price tag on ATI LED lighting is what we could consider on the higher end. Stacking 3 Kessil a360s over a 48 inch tank would run about $1350 with mounts; while a 48” ATI Powermodule Hybrid would run almost $2000. Even brands like Ecotech are still around $500 cheaper for the same amount of coverage. They are still a PHENOMENAL company though if you can swing the price tag.

http://www.atinorthamerica.com 

TEL: (303) 459-2119

#5 Geisemann LED Lighting

  • One (1) year on lights
  • Performance Level Rating: 7
  • Bang For Your Buck: 7
  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Reef Sustainability: 8
  • Construction and Reliability: 7
  • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 7

Geisemann is a great lighting company or we wouldn’t carry them. The connectivity between lights is fairly impressive. These LEDs don’t really leave much to be desired. The were quiet, offered good coverage, we saw some decent coral growth, and any issues with the lights are addressed rather quick. It appears as if this industry is headed for more compact designs when it comes to LED Lighting though. The performance to us didn’t really justify the price point. We didn’t see a lot of coral growth like we did with the first 3 lights.

One of the major upsides of Geisemann lighting is the warranties are handled by CoralVue. Coralvue, as most people know, is one of the biggest names in the industry. They keep scooping up names to manufacture left and right because they’re a company that knows how to succeed. The diversity they show as a company proves they know how to treat their customers. They’re a manufacturer that will likely be around as long as the industry is.

http://www.coralvue.com/support/

TEL: (985) 781-9078

#6 ZETLight LED Lighting

  • One (1) Year Warranty
  • Performance Level Rating: 5
  • Bang For Your Buck: 7
  • Ease of Use: 5
  • Reef Sustainability: 7
  • Construction and Reliability: 5
  • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 7

Zetlight is still a good light or we would not carry them. One benefit is their UFO series lights actually come standard with a tank mount. One downside is the Wireless Control has to be added separately. At that point you’re already near the price of a Kessil or AI LED. We’ve heard from a number of people that the fans on these lights can run consistently on the louder side. They do get good feedback when it comes to coverage and light intensity. We personally didn't see coral growth that was even comparable to the first 3-4 LEDs. We couldn’t find much information about contacting the company. If you Google Zetlight we only came up with the first URL, which links back to their site in China. We’re pretty sure the distribution in the USA is Ming Trading though; so their information is listed below.

http://www.zetlight.com/

http://mingllc.com/contact/

TEL: (224) 442-0424

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