Hydro Grow LED 126W Penetrator Pro LED Grow Light Review

126W Penetrator Pro

** Check out this BRAND NEW review of the 126X-Pro Light Featuring X-Lens Technology **

In this review of the 126W Penetrator Pro from Hydro Grow LED, I will give you a run down of the important features and facts that makes this light one to consider for your indoor grow. Any regular readers of this site know that I don't promote any garbage and strive to give thorough and accurate information and this review will be no exception. Keep reading to find out why this company is on my short list of true competitors in the LED grow light market. Also - be sure to sign up for the newsletter so you can be notified as soon as I post my grow journal featuring the 126W Penetrator Pro right on this site.

126W Penetrator Pro - Design Update

When I first thought about reviewing the Penetrator a few months ago, I found out from other customers that the 345W lights were experiencing a pretty high failure rate - around 10-15% which is just crazy. Further research showed that the failure was due to overheating of the power supply, perhaps from an inefficient heat sink cooling design. Now, of course Hydro Grow gave appropriate support to any customer that had a failed light and replaced it as quickly as possible, however, at the time, I was unwilling to do a review of a light with such issues. Just imagine if you were part way through a grow and your light died . . . no matter how quickly a replacement would be sent to you, your plants would suffer.

I am happy to say that those issues are a thing of the past - Hydro Grow has met the challenge and passed by updating their design to alleviate those problems.

Is the Penetrator a UFO killer?

Noticeably absent from Hydro Grow's product line is the ubiquitous UFO LED grow light design. Not that I believe anything to be inherently wrong with that design but it was the cheap import UFOs of a couple years ago that gave LED grow lights a bad name . . . so it's not a bad thing to not use that design.

What I find interesting about Hydro Grow is their power ratings on the products - again, not the normal or expected 90W, 180W and so on. From a low end of 63W to the high powered 345W Penetrator Pro, Hydro Grow LED has an option for every type of grower.

The 126W Penetrator Pro is a solid grow light but, due to its unconventional power rating, it is tricky to compare to others. Having more power than a a more conventional 90W UFO but less than the 180W leaves me a bit unsure as to where to place it within the continuum of LED grow lights. Comparing it to either of the above lights would be akin to comparing apples and oranges. So that being said, the 126W Penetrator Pro is in a group by itself - a fact not lost on Hydro Grow LED.

126W Penetrator X-LensBreaking down the specs of the 126W Penetrator Pro

Right out of the box, the Penetrator Pro offers a significant power boost over the standard Penetrator which comes from the use of 3W diodes over 1W. Having more available power from the lights is what gives the Penetrator Pro an edge when it comes to getting down deep into the canopy of your plants to promote larger yields. The Pro model consumes about 200 watts . . . when you take into account the cooling fans, it leaves about 191 watts of LED power going directly from your plants from 126 3W LEDs. Some simple math will tell us that each of those LEDs are putting out an actual 1.5W which is right where you would want them to be. The reason is that, if you over power a diode, not only will you have a potential for overheating but you will also experience a shift in the wavelength of light that is emitted. LED manufacturers and growers have learned in the last couple of years that a shift by even just a few nanometers in the actual output of the LED can lead to really poor growing results.

Which brings me to the next topic - bandwidths. Also known as light spectrum and wavelengths . . . the Penetrator Pro emits light in 6 bandwidths: two red, two blue, green, and IR (far-red). These bandwidths have been proven to be highly beneficial in all manner of indoor gardening from simple herbs and lettuce to more complex grows of tomatoes and cannabis.

One thing I really can appreciate about this company is the realistic coverage area estimates. The Penetrator Pro is said to cover an 18'' x 30'' rectangle or approximately 3.75 square feet per light which would put it on par with 300-400W of HID lighting. On the surface, this may seem a bit low but then again, we as LED consumers are used to coverage areas that are blown way out of proportion to reality whereas this one seems to be dialed in just right.

One key factor that goes into coverage area for this light is the LED beam angle of 60 degrees. With lights in the industry varying wildly from a low of 60 degrees to as high as 150 degrees (90 degrees average), beam angle plays an important role not only in coverage area but penetration power - the power of light to push its way through leafy canopies to lower branches. The Penetrator Pro combines the punch from the 3W diodes with the laser-focused beam angle to squeeze out as much canopy penetration as possible. While this may reduce its effective footprint by a bit, I think it makes up for it by providing light support to lower nodes and branches which increases yield.

Using the 126W Penetrator Pro

So what is the practical application of the 126W Penetrator Pro?

The Penetrator has been around long enough to rack up many successful grows as evidenced by any number of grow journals on cannabis-friendly forums. This light has the chops to give big yields off of SOG and SCROG grows as well as more conventional, taller grows of up to about 4 feet tall. The Penetrator Pro is perfectly suited to smaller tent and closet style grows - providing in excess of 2g/watt depending on growing conditions and strain selection. Numbers like that point to its readiness for use in commercial growing operations - something I haven't seen from the Penetrator yet.

Plain and simple - this light delivers solid growth and dense bud and is worthy of consideration for your grow space! Keep an eye out on this site as I will soon begin posting my own grow journal featuring the 126W Penetrator Pro LED grow light.

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff April 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I just wanted to make a comment to any LED users out there, that these are the real deal! If you do your research, and get down to the technical data, you will find the right answers. I studied LED’s for almost a year, before getting involved in the market. I started with undestanding the spectrum produced by LED’s, and how the diodes work internally. When I got down to understanding exactly the nm’s were that I wanted, and how the light was delivered (diode angle), I began looking through the LED light providers to see who had it right, and who didn’t know at all. The answers to my questions led me to only one company, and that was Hydro Grow LED. It was this understanding (LED) knowledge that led HGL to patent the 60 degree angle (anyone notice that no one else uses a 60 degree diode), which is a huge part of the lights effectiveness. They were also not using the initial ploy, as so many others did, in trying to push 3W/3 chip diodes, as far superior to 1W. Anyone that knows anything about LED’s, would understand that there is no chance that a 3W/3C diode at 90/120 degrees, could touch a 1W 60 degree diode, run at an optimal wattage, for intensity and canopy coverage. Don’t be fooled by companies pushing more wavelengths (11+), with the theory that more is better. Those added nm’s usually add up to very little absorption by your plants. There is a current LED company out there using 11+ wavelengths (no names), that seems to really not know which nm to use, as they employ 4 different temps of white, to hopefully cover the whole spectrum (doesn’t that sound a bit like HID??). Rest assured, if 5 extra wavelengths are used as a guess to hopefully work, those nm’s are taking the place of the proper nm’s that are actually absorbed by your plants. Be aware of claims that boast the unit running at full power, consuming 100% of the full rating of the diode, as they are hugely inflated. It is not about can you do it, it is more about are you doing it. If these lights were run at full power, you would end up changing the nm’s of the diodes slightly, and be running high heat and power consumption for sure, with a marginal increase in output to the plants. More is not always better! Lastly, I noticed that the second picture of the 126W Penetrator, is of the new x-lens model. I have been lucky enough to see the testing and output data from these next gen lights, and they are outstanding! There will be nothing out there in the current LED world that will be able to hold a candle to the output intensity of these new lights. It would not surprise me to have all other companies attempt a copy-cat version, as when this light is available, there will be no reason to buy any other. The pricing will stay the same, making the other brands seem like they are expensive, low quality knock offs! I look forward to seeing some testing here in My hydroponic gardening, so everyone can see the actual results, instead of just taking my word for it!

Cheers to all the LED lovers and growers!

HydroMan April 20, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Jeff –

Excellent input here – I appreciate it! You are on point on pretty much everything . . .

One thing I would like to address is the issue of excessive spectra. I too have the understanding that more is not necessarily better when it comes to targeting spectra . . . that it seems like a step backwards towards HID lighting. When companies rely heavily on white LEDs in their panels, it can be a red flag. There is one company out there that I know uses a few white LEDs but their focus is on the reds and blues where it should be (Grow Perfect Technologies). I haven’t seen a real need for more than 5 or 6 spectra, however, the results of the Magnum speak for themselves.

Anyways – back to the Penetrator . . . yes, that is the new X-Lens model that isn’t yet released. I am running it through a bunch of tests and will be publishing the info in a few weeks. In the mean time, I can say that it is one impressive light!

Thanks for stopping by!
Hydroman

Rick May 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Have you had a chance to look at the full spectrum LED panel from ultraledlights.com/full_spectrum_grow_light.htm ? Just wondering. Not a lot of info on there specific product. More of a generic type of verbiage about LED and light spectrums. Really cheap panel with a very large coverage area. Please satisfy me and alleviate me of any fantasy of a super cheap and really good LED. I am into quality and pretty much know the answer to this question……..but would rather hear it from you. Thanks, Rick

HydroMan May 12, 2011 at 10:05 am

Hey Rick –

I have run into this product a few times now and you are right . . . they don’t have too many specifications listed on their site (red flag #1). Also, on the light you linked to, there is no mention of output power. After digging around, I found a power rating of their all white full spectrum light . . . 575 LEDs and a total output of 36W. I think it is safe to assume that the multi-colored full spectrum light is the same . . .

This means that each LED offers a whopping 0.06W of “power” – about enough to grow an 8 inch tall basil plant. And the coverage area is a joke – 4 x 4 feet with 36W!? This is the kind of light that gives LED grow lights a bad name. It is really a big brother to the 225 LED Light Panel that sells for about $35 each. Which brings me to the price – $400 is absolutely INSANE!! That comes out to over $11 per watt.

To put this into perspective . . take a look at the following lights:

Isis FX1 – 120W actual consumption – $3.75 per watt
180W Illuminator Jumbo UFO – about 170W actual consumption – $3.52 per watt
126W Penetrator Pro – 200W actual consumption – $3.18 per watt

Sorry buddy – but fantasy this is. You may be able to grow a raft of lettuce or keep a plant from dying but that is about it.

Thanks!
Hydroman

Tasos June 6, 2011 at 7:27 am

which product is better???3w/3chips or 1w/1c penetrator x pro?? and tell me why please i want to know….

Andrew June 6, 2011 at 7:59 am

Hey!
I was just wondering if you have any results from those tests running the new generation x line? They look amazing.
Thanks

HydroMan June 6, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Tasos –

Very simple – Penetrator X Pro.

I have a prototype unit and can tell you that the light intensity of the X-Lens is astounding. This just means that there is more usable light intensity and penetration power at lower wattage than any LED grow light out there. What they have done is brought the discussion to a higher level . . . from it just being about power and diode wattage to actually using the available light to its highest potential.

Cheers!
Hydroman

HydroMan June 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Andrew –

I have some great results and will be putting up pics and info soon. Have tested an early prototype and will soon have a more production-ready prototype of the 126W X-Lens. Pics coming by next week I think.

Cheers!
Hydroman

potentgrower420 June 10, 2011 at 11:38 am

hey ,
i was wondering what company of led if better, the 357 mag. leds or hydro grow led.. i have a 8x8x6 tent and i was thinking of going with 8- 357 mag. leds or 4 hgl gen.336x pro … money is not the issus..just looking for the best led light for big buds and cover area..thank Hydroman

potentgrower420 June 10, 2011 at 11:40 am

sorry i forgot to add if there is a better company or light out there plz let me know.. thanks a million ..

HydroMan June 12, 2011 at 8:25 am

PotentGrower420 –

First – I have tested and own lights from both companies and know they work quite well!

The most innovative company out there right now is Hydro Grow LED. It seems like they are coming out with some new technology every 9-12 months that no doubt is copied by others within a couple months of release. Their new release, the Penetrator X-Lens will inspire new copy cats as well – and for good reason as this light puts out PAR readings well beyond what its power rating would indicate. I had an early prototype that was amazingly powerful – so powerful in fact that they had to dial it back in the public release version due out in August. Reason being was that even at 24 inches above the canopy, the intensity was so great that it was borderline overkill. The new model will have 90 degree beam angle instead of the 60 degree on the test version. While the current line of Penetrators have enjoyed a great deal of success, I can only imagine the X-Lens will take it to a new level.

That being said, the 357 Magnum has had some great successes as well. While not as innovative as HGL, Grow Perfect Technologies (creator of the Magnum and Isis) have found a solid combination of spectra, beam angle, and power that is helping growers reach their goals. Check out:

http://www.thcfarmer.com/forums/f137/357-magnum-led-purple-kush-35668/
http://www.rollitup.org/grow-journals/416863-9-purple-kush-under-360-a.html

Now with the Magnum - I would actually recommend using 10-12 for your 8×8 space as their footprint is a bit funky. I know they say 3×3 but I would keep it to a max of 2×3 for flowering and I have seen awesome results from about a 2×2 per light.

Using 4 of the 336x Pros would be right on – the coverage areas that HGL gives are not exaggerated at all.

Having tested an X-Lens, I know penetration will be better than the Magnum but its all relative to the height of your intended grow. The Magnum gets great penetration while the X-Lens is insane penetration. Also, the X Lens comes in cheaper . . .

Cheers!
Hydroman

potentgrower420 June 13, 2011 at 2:33 am

hey Hydroman ,

thanks alot for the advice and help on licking my leds.. so you say 4 336x 3w leds will be over kill for a 8×8 tent ..like the sound of that .. so hgl is the way to go you think ? i like the idea of having 4 light that are beast and not 12 lil ones..thanks for the info..

HydroMan June 13, 2011 at 9:36 am

Potent –

HGL has been tops in my testing with the Magnum coming in next. I have 3 more different brands on the way for more testing too . . . should be a fun summer!

Hydroman

Andrew June 20, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Do you have any pictures yet>

HydroMan June 20, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Andrew -

Tomorrow – I PROMISE!

Thanks,
Hydroman

Bob June 26, 2011 at 6:49 am

Hey just wondering if you’ve ever used advanced led lights. And what you’ve got to say about them, they’re a BBB accredited business.
Thanks

HydroMan June 27, 2011 at 10:30 am

Hey Bob –

I have not yet used Advanced though plan to later this summer. I have heard mixed reviews about the lights and customer service though . . . will keep the site updated and let everyone know when I get one.

Thanks,
Hydroman

Jeff July 10, 2011 at 1:35 am

For the record Jeff (first poster) and Hydroman (webmaster), the first company to use a 60 degree lens was 357 magnum and the penetrator people dont have a patent on a 60 degree diode lens, that is pure horse S**t. This site is comission driven 110%, Hydroman is an affiliate of all of these companies… too bad cause this site looked like it was unbiased when I first came here but now I am convinced that its nothing more than a marketing website for penetrator. Why don’t you set up a side by side marijuana grow with the lights you supposedly reviewed and let the lights do the talking with results because personally I think this penetrator light is crap and that the penetrator company is run by some scammer. Hydroman, if you are truely unbiased then approve this post without editing it!!!

HydroMan July 10, 2011 at 9:04 am

Hey Jeff –

Now, I will have to wait till tomorrow to confirm this but the 357 Magnum did not even exist before late 2010 or early 2011 while the Penetrator lights have been around for a few years. You are right, the Penetrator people do NOT have a patent on the 60 degree lens, it is a Patent Pending.

I do not hide from the fact that I make money on this site. Check out Who Am I? There is NO ONE that would put the time and effort that that this site requires and expect to do it for free.

Due to the draconian laws of my state, I cannot do a medical grow, however I do have several grows going right now of various veggies and plants. It just takes time to get results and post them along the way . . .

Thank you for your input and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any more questions.

Hydroman

Nate August 24, 2011 at 9:08 am

Hey Hydroman,

Just wanted to say that I’m extremely grateful for your reviews. I’m working on my own LED review site (I figure the LED industry could use a few more of us) and I can sympathize with you about how extremely difficult it is to weed through all the information out there and write solid reviews. The sheer number of websites/companies providing LED grow lights is overwhelming!

I have to laugh at Jeff’s comments (the one who attacked you). On a review site, people insist that you give them your absolute favorite light (they demand it and won’t let you get away with saying you love all of them equally). You have always spoken very highly of the Magnum and have been very fair in my opinion. Just because you happen to like one light a little bit more doesn’t mean you are unbiased.

Also, the fact that you are getting paid (at least a little bit) to write these reviews makes me trust them even more. There is no way anyone would invest the time and effort you have if they weren’t being compensated in some way. I have read your affiliate disclosure information and you have been very open about it all.

All the best and thanks for a great site,

Nate

HydroMan September 1, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Thanks Nate –

Don’t worry – I don’t stress over the haters and ill-informed . . . just keep truckin’ along, doing my thing! Shot you an email by the way.

Later!
Hydroman

beginner-grower September 15, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Hey Hydroman,

Thx for great site, you´ve been really putting lot of time in to all this.

I am planning to get two growing closets, for vegetation and flowering to run before end of the month and I would like to hear what you think about my plans. After doing research I am very much confused about what´s going on in this market with led´s and would appreciate your advice highly.

Both closet are white from inside and their floor size is:
33″ x 21″ and height is 74″

Option 1:
vegetation closet: ProSource Illuminator UFO 90W + 90W Motherkeeper side to side.
flowering closet: ProSource Illuminator Jumbo UFO 180W

Option 2:
vegetation, same than option 1.

flowering:
HGL Penetrator 84-X-Pro with 3W leds OR
HGL Penetrator 126-X with 1W leds OR
HGL Penetrator PRO 126 with 3W leds, (non generation-X model)

Avarege height of the plants will be between 50″-65″ (from bottom of the container, actual plants would be about 34″ – 50″)
In flowering closet there would be 2 x 70 liter containers with 2-4 plants on each.
Growing in soil. Ventilation with 1 oscillating fan + opening the closet daily.

How all this sounds to you? Is UFO 90W + Motherkeeper 90W good combo for the space I have? Planning to keep seedlings, and one mother-plant there. What led to choose for flowering from these options?

Thank you very much in advance and keep up the great work!

HydroMan September 21, 2011 at 11:07 am

Beginner –

I think option 2 is a good idea for you. If your plants are going to be that tall, you need some extra power to let things really flesh out so the 3w 84x pro would be good but you would want to keep the coverage to about 2x2ft max. Otherwise, the 126x would better fill out the space coverage wise, but I would advise keeping the overall height to about 3ft.

Cheers,
Hydroman

hardy October 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm

What do you recomend for a 3.5 by 3.5 by 7 foot tent, about 9 plants, 3-4 foot tall, and any deals? Thanks.

hardy October 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm

What do you think about the 189X-pro?

HydroMan October 18, 2011 at 9:41 am

Hardy –

No known deals right now on the Penetrators. To fully cover your tent with plenty of power, check out the 336x Pro from HydroGrow.

Later!
Hydroman

HydroMan October 18, 2011 at 9:49 am

Hardy –

I have tested two of the Extreme series lights – the 126x Pro and the 84x Pro and both performed admirably. There is no reason to believe that the 189x Pro would not do the same! Keep your space to a 3×3 and be sure to have enough head room and you will do great.

Cheers!
Hydroman

Mishap November 3, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I just had a long conversation with a rep at Hydro Grow about their Penetrator lights and they recommended a 189X for my 2×2 grow tent. I plan on 3 plants in a soil grow at approximate 36″ in height. What’s your opinion on their recommendation? The 189x is a bit more than the 126 Pro. Just wondering if the 189X would be overkill or should I spend the extra. The specs for the 126Pro look right for my 2×2 area as does the 189x. Appreciate any insight you can provide.

HydroMan November 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Mishap –

Yes, the 189x would give a very solid grow in a 2×2 and offer better coverage as well. You just need to be sure that you have enough vertical space so you can keep your light high enough above the canopy. Too close and you can over -saturate your plants and stunt their growth.

Hydroman

Mishap November 4, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Thanks HydroMan. You had also responded to a post of mine on the 357 review and I appreciate all of the solid info you’ve provided. I decided on the Penetrator 189x. I’ll be using it in a Secret Jardin DR60. Cammie felt like the 189x would be excellent in this space so hopefully it will work out. Might have to do LST, SOG, SCROG to keep the height down. Never done any of this before so wish me luck!

Horny GF December 3, 2011 at 10:24 am

So since my BF has been researching the led lights and etc. I have not gotten a piece in about TOO DAMN LONG so can u tell him to pay a little attention to me sometimes thanks.

signed
Horny GF

HydroMan December 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Hahahahahah!

That’s hilarious –
Hydroman

Henry February 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I went to Hydro Grow about 6 months ago. Horrible experience to say the least. The women that runs it was very rude after making me wait 3 extra weeks, she then stated that it was going to be another 2 – 4 weeks until delivery of my 1,000.00 dollar machine arrived and I could keep waiting or take a refund. Then she proceeded to tell me how my one or 2 lights were nothing compared to other great customers she has, like my business really didn’t matter. So after almost 2 months of waiting and her poor attitude I cancelled my order. Best thing I’ve ever done. I found Advanced LED, an american made product for one and the prices are half of what Hydro Grow with the same coverage area. I have had my lights for 4 months with advanced led, let me tell you they are the best on the market with the Diamond Series they have. I purchased 2 DS200′s and they are much better than Hydro Grow’s prices. Lights and glamour for the site they have, compare the 2 for yourself and you’ll see. You talk to Kyle or anyone at Advanced LED and all your needs will be met, politely and with your needs in mind. Hydro Grow is about the money. Good luck, but I’m paying almost half what you are for the 3W LED Diamond Series compared to Hydro Grow. I own the lights, I’m telling you, BEST EVER FOLKS!

HydroMan March 13, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Henry –

Sorry to hear about the bad experience! I have heard similar stories from a couple people over the last couple years . . . seems to be the exception, not the rule. Good to hear you found a company you are comfortable with, however, Advanced LED’s lights are not made in America, they are made in China like 99% of the lights out there. The only one that I know of so far that has a good American made light is from CaliforniaLightWorks.com . . .

Later!
Hydroman

Ingrid April 19, 2012 at 10:53 am

I have had a horrible experience as well. I purchased 3 lights from Hydro Grow and after only 2 months 2 out of the 3 units had failed. The first one was not repairable and was replaced with another one in a decent amount of time, but the second one I am still waiting for a replacement after 1 month. Again the LED board is the cause, and I have had nothing but grief from the very rude and self centered Cammie Mckenzie. She frequently leaves me without email response for 2 to 3 days, and then tells me I am lucky she has been so good to me? I told her she is not being good to me by replacing broken lights. I think the lights are good when they are working, and I should clarify that I am using the older 345. But I can tell you if you do have a problem, watch out!! For this I would not recommend buying from her and I will certainly never deal with her again. If you want to take the risk your light will never have an issue then by all means.

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