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Grower's Choice ROI-E680S Review and PAR Testing

Grower's Choice ROI-E680S Review and PAR Testing

The Grower's Choice ROI-E680S LED grow light was released in July 2021. This review will cover the light's specifications and show the PPFD in a 4x4 tent. Is this better than the previous ROI-E680? And should you buy this light or the ROI-E720? Read on to find out! 


Build

The E680S is a passively-cooled, bar-style, plug-and-play, commercial-grade LED grow light. The fixture is an updated version of the ROI-E680. The fixture design was modified, and it still looks different from the ROI-E200, ROI-E420, and ROI-E720, which all have a similar build. The updated E680S looks and feels sleeker and has a higher quality build than its predecessor. It also now includes a level so you can ensure the fixture is straight over your plants.

As a side note, bar-style fixtures are actually designed for vertical gardening, but home and commercial growers have been using them in tents and open rooms due to their uniformity and horizontal penetration. 

 

Specifications

The unit’s dimensions are 46.5” L x 42” W x 3.2” H and it weighs 29 lbs. The drivers are integrated into the fixture and are not removable. Previously, the drivers were located in the frame of the ROI-E680, but now Grower’s Choice has included them inline with the bars.

The total light output (PPF) of the fixture is reported by Grower’s Choice at 1,770 umol/S with a reported efficacy of 2.6 umol/J. This is not an improvement over the previous version of the ROI-E680, as the numbers have remained the same. The light output is a little higher than many other bar lights on the market, which are reported at a flat 1,700 umol/S.

A dimmer is now located on the inside of the frame, which allows dimming from 100%, down to 75%, 50%, 25%, and off. There is a control port to the left of the dimmer to hook up the Grower’s Choice controller to central dimming, scheduling, and timing control for one or more fixtures.

The E680S will flower a 4’x4’ at high intensity or 5’x5’ area at moderate intensity. Expect to use this light at a minimum of 6”, but up to 24 inches depending on the footprint you need to cover and light intensity you want to deliver to your plants during flowering. You can keep the light at the same distance for veg, but dim the light down to 50% or so.

The light draws around 680W and 6.1A at 120V, according to the manufacturer. When I measured this grow light’s wattage draw at the wall at 114V, I received a reading of 732W at an amperage of 6.4. More on this discrepancy below. Expect a heat output of 2,318 BTU/Hour from this fixture which is about 32% less heat and energy than an 1000W HPS. 

The fixture comes with a NEMA 6-15P 240v style plug. A NEMA 5-15P 120V plug adapter is included with the fixture. If you are in another country that does not use these North American plug types, you will need a plug adapter specific to your country. 

The E680S is IP65 wet-rated, CE certified, DLC Hort Listed, and ETL Listed. In essence, this means that the light is held to high safety and reliability standards, can be used in the EU, and is certified for commercial grows in states where an ETL Listing is required. The ROI-E680S now comes with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.

 

Diodes and Spectrum

Grower’s Choice uses their ‘GC-3K Full Phase’ in this grow light. It is full-spectrum and will take the plants from seed to harvest. 

There are two different diodes incorporated into the ROI-E680S - full spectrum white and 660nm deep red. Grower’s Choice uses a ‘house brand’ white diode. The deep red diodes are made by Osram. The deep red is ideal for speeding up photosynthesis, can assist in increasing yields, and helps boost the PAR efficacy of the fixture. There is not any UVA in the spectrum, but there is far red which is naturally present in the white light diodes. The spectrum is fixed and cannot be altered.

This E680S spectrum is the same as the ROI-E420 and ROI-E720. It is also similar to other high efficiency quality LED grow lights on the market, such as the Gavita Pro 1700e and the HLG Scorpion Diablo

Expect about 54,000 hours of use until the LEDs reach 90% of their original light output. 


PAR

The fixture was hung up in a 4’x4’ Gorilla Grow Tent. I took measurements a 4 different distances: 36”, 24”, 18” and 12”. The tent walls were closed completely when the readings were taken.

Keep in mind that the readings may be higher than if the readings were taken outside of a reflective tent or in a tent with a black floor. The PAR readings are listed below:


Summary

The ROI-E680 was released in 2019 at a price of $999. Since then Grower’s Choice has gotten the price down to $799 to be more competitive with other brands, while still providing a quality fixture. Furthermore, with the improvements of the E680S over the E680, the fixture looks and feels even better. The price is better than most other popular, bar style fixtures with similar light output. 

The ROI-E680s is fairly efficient, has excellent light output for a 4'x4' to up to a 5'x5' area, and will provide uniform, full-spectrum light to your plants. Compare the 1770 umol/s light output to other fixtures that are over $1000 and you will see that you are getting more light for your money with the ROI-E680S. It is a great bang for your buck from a trusted brand. 

It seems as though a dimmer is practically standard on an LED grow light these days. As mentioned, the E680S is dimmable, so it can be used through the entire grow - from seedlings, clones, and veg, all the way through a bountiful harvest. I like that the dimmer dial is now located on the inside of the fixture, so it doesn't bump the inside against the tent, or other fixtures if fixtures are placed close together in a larger tent or open room.

Hooking up the Grower’s Choice controller to this fixture might not be necessary when using one or two units, unless you really want that controllability. Several units would benefit from a controller since these lights become easier to manage and their full potential is utilized.

The first generation E680 was named Best Bar Light in our Best LED Grow Lights of 2021 video. I would now replace the first generation unit with this updated version since it is mostly the same light, but a bit better.

There were two downsides of this fixture. I noticed that the claimed wattage draw, amperage, is not accurate. Grower’s Choice claims this fixture draws 6.1A at 120V. If the unit draws 680W, as Grower's Choice claims, then at 120V, the amperage should be 5.6, not 6.1. In reality, the wattage draw should be listed at around 730W. This is the wattage draw at 120V and 6.1A (claimed) and 114.4V and 6.4A (measured). In sum, the wattage is higher than advertised at least on a 110-120V circuit. 

Secondly, I wasn’t a fan of the wire hanging system that came with the light. They were too spindly for my liking, so I just attached ratchet hangers at all 4 attachment points instead.

These few gripes are fairly small in my book and I don't think they really detract from the positives of this grow light.

Finally, should you choose the ROI-E680S or ROI-E720? Both are great lights, but the ROI-E680S is better for a 4'x4' tent since it fits better and doesn’t knock up against the side. The light output for the ROI-E720 might be too high in a 4'x4' area for some growers. Overall, if you are growing in an open space that is 4x4 or larger and want maximum yield, I would say that the ROI-E720 is the better option. But if you are in a 4'x4' tent, and/or power draw, amperage, and heat are a big factor in your grow, then the ROI-E680S would be your go to fixture. It is also less expensive than the ROI-E720, which at this time is $849. The ROI-E680 retails at only $749.

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Erik

Owner/Founder

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