Finnex Ray2 Vs Planted Plus – Which Is Better?

You’ve been doing your homework on the best-LED aquarium light options for your tank, and you’ve finally decided to invest in one of many Finnex models. Your plants would definitely benefit from the extra light, and you hope that your tank would also look better as a result.

After comparing the charts (and waiting for special Finnex sales), your decision comes down to the Finnex Ray2 Vs Planted Plus.  They are both produced by the same reputable company, and you’ve heard good things about both. But what are the key differences between the two models? And which one would work better for you and your tank?

What Are The Differences Between Finnex Planted+ 24/7 & Finnex Ray 2?

The Finnex Ray 2 is a slightly older light model compared to the Planted Plus, which is why the latter provides its users with more customizability options, stronger lighting, and a remote-controlled option. However, the Ray2 retains a stronghold in the aquascaping community due to its durable build, reliability, quality, and reasonable price point.

Well-lighted aquarium.

With the Planted+ 24/7, users are able to explore custom lighting features such as moonlighting, sunrise, and sunset. The lights are also spectrum-adjustable. Meanwhile, the Ray2 relies on its 7000K LED bulbs to provide strong and intense planted aquarium lighting. Though this can lead to algae growth and other problems, hobbyists who own high-tech tanks are typically able to address these issues by regulating carbon dioxide levels. 

In general, most individuals will find that the Ray2 is more than adequate for their needs. However, individuals who want full control over the spectrum, intensity, and penetrative strength of their lights should opt for the Planted+. This model is also very attractive to individuals who appreciate novel features in their gadgets.

The Comparison Chart

Before we delve into a detailed analysis of these options, let’s take a quick look at some of their main differences. Doing so will give you an idea of what to expect as we discuss these differences in a more-depth manner.

Factors

Finnex Ray2

Planted+ 24/7

Finnex Ray2 Aquarium LED Daylight
Finnex Planted+ 247 CRV Aquarium LED Light

Body

Aluminum shell

Plastic shell

Control Options

Buttons on side of light

Remote control

Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) Levels

Lower

Higher

Light Customizability

Lower

Higher

Programming Options

Limited

Unlimited and customizable

Price

$ 99.00

$ 129.00

Finnex Ray2

Finnex Ray2 Aquarium LED Daylight

Body

Aluminum shell

Control Options

Buttons on side of light

Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) Levels

Lower

Light Customizability

Lower

Programming Options

Limited

Price

$ 99.00

Planted+ 24/7

Finnex Planted+ 247 CRV Aquarium LED Light

Body

Plastic shell

Control Options

Remote control

Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) Levels

Higher

Light Customizability

Higher

Programming Options

Unlimited and customizable

Price

$ 129.00

The Hardware – What’s Inside?

The key difference between the two models is that the Planted+ 24/7 comes with an RJ45 connector going into the light itself to allow for remote control via a wired connection. The Planted+ 24/7 has a wireless remote while the Ray2 only has buttons on its body to cycle between channels.  If you need wireless control of your light, the former may be a better choice for you.

Although both have extendable brackets in order to mount them to your tank, they are slightly different. The extendable bracket on the Planted+ 24/7 is extendable by around 2 inches but is limited in its angles – you can tilt it up or down, but not left or right.

The extendable bracket on the Ray2 is extendable by around 2 inches as well but has the ability to extend up and down (up to 15 degrees) as well as left to right (about 30 degrees). The light itself also rotates around its base by about 90 degrees left or right to allow for better lighting angles.

  • Ray2: 4/5 stars
  • Planted Plus: 4/5 stars

Light Intensity, Spread, and Penetration

The biggest difference between these two lights is in the intensity of their individual LED lighting. Those who are fans of tall tanks or deeper tanks will likely favor the Planted+ 24/7 over the Ray2. This is because you can have higher PAR levels (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) on the former due to its more powerful LEDs.This factor might be important if you’re thinking of growing carpeting plants.

When it comes to spread, they both have a similar light spectrum coverage with 7000K output. However, only the Planted Plus is spectrum-adjustable. Given that blue light and red light are two different types of light plants enjoy (green plants absorb these colors and use them for growth), being able to adjust their respective intensities allows you to tailor your tank’s light settings according to plant color.

For example, if you have pigmented plants (such as red aquarium plants), you will want to increase the amount of blue light while keeping red light extremely low. On the other hand, if you have non-pigmented plants, you can probably increase the power of both red and blue light for optimal plant growth. The sky’s the limit when you have these features at your disposal!

  • Ray2: 3.5/5 stars
  • Planted Plus: 4.5/5 stars

White LEDs For Aquascaping Or Other Effects

Finnex Planted+Aquarium LED Light

Let’s be honest – aquarium lights aren’t just for plants anymore. A lot of people are using ambient lighting to enhance their decor or even create unique effects with ambient light animations.

When it comes to lighting effects, the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 is the clear winner. Not only is it designed for optimal plant growth, but it also has white LED’s to create ambient lighting effects. There are 3 channels dedicated entirely to white LEDs which you can use to set any color temperature or set them on a timer so they come on at night.

The Ray2 doesn’t have this option. Though this light has earned a reputation in the aquascaping community for being reliable and bright, the lights cannot be dimmed and can sometimes wash out the entire tank with their brightness. Of course, whether or not this lighting situation is ideal has a lot to do with individual preferences. 

  • Ray2: 3.5/5 stars
  • Planted Plus: 4/5 stars

Lighting Schedule And Programming Options

Both lights offer numerous options for programming your lighting schedule. The Finnex Planted+ 24/7 prides itself on being able to replicate the natural day and night cycle. Features such as sunset and thunderstorms are a ton of fun, though they do not contribute towards plant growth in any way.

Meanwhile, the Ray2 is good for those who can do without these extra frills. As previously mentioned, most lighting features are fun, but not necessary. If you simply need a light with timer functions, the Ray2 will more than suffice. 

When it comes to the basics, both models are more than satisfactory. However, where the Planted+24/7 shines is in their customizability options. For instance, it can be programmed to turn off after a certain period of time while having its red and blue channels set independently. This means that if your tank is not getting enough blue light, you can program your light so it will shut down at night while still providing the same amount of red light.

In addition, the Planted+ 24/7 allows you to set up your timer based upon wattage, giving you the option of adjusting the wattage setting before the light turns off. If you have a low-wattage LED fixture on your tank, this feature gives you more control over how long your lighting schedule lasts.

  • Ray2: 3/5 stars
  • Planted Plus: 4/5 stars

Durability And Lifespan

In general, both Finnex models are durable and well-built. Both models are mildly waterproof, and the Planted Plus even comes with a splash guard to put your mind at ease. However, the Ray2 has an aluminum shell while the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 has a durable plastic casing. This provides the Ray2 with a sturdier feel, though its plastic counterpart has also earned hundreds of reviews about its build quality. 

On the other hand, the Planted+ 24/7 edges the Ray2 out by having a removable LED board that can be replaced even after extensive use. If one LED goes out, you do not have to replace the entire light fixture – just buy a replacement LED board and pop it in. With that being said, the Ray2 is very unlikely to require frequent replacement of its LEDs because of its sturdy aluminum shell. Therefore, the fact that it is slightly more inconvenient to perform LED changes on the Ray2 isn’t something to lose sleepover.

These two models are neck-and-neck when it comes to durability. The Ray2 has a slight edge over the Planted+ with its aluminum shell, but the latter makes up for it by having a removable LED board. These mild differences shouldn’t make or break your decision but are worth taking into consideration if you have a specific preference.

  • Ray2: 4/5 stars
  • Planted Plus: 4/5 stars

The Price Difference Between These Two Lights

Best price

Thus far, the Planted+ 24/7 has edged out the Ray2 in terms of lighting effects, PAR, and durability. However, the former still falls short of its competitor on price. And when you consider the fact that the Ray2 doesn’t fall too far behind in all these aspects, the difference in pricing has the potential to make a significant impact.

Price-wise, the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 costs about $30 more than the Finnex Ray2. If you’re looking for a simple light with timer functions to keep your tank attractive throughout each day, you may be better off purchasing the Finnex Ray2. If you’re looking to get a bit more out of your lights, the Planted+ 24/7 offers an attractive spectrum of lighting options that are sure to please the plants living in your tank.

The higher-end features of the Planted+ 24/7 can be considered both a blessing and a curse. It means that you’ll have to pay more for these features, but it also means that you’ll get access to them whenever you want. However, Ray2 remains the price champion for now, especially if you’re looking for a simple LED light to provide your plants with the light they need.

  • Ray2: 4/5 stars
  • Planted Plus: 3/5 stars

Breakdown By Star Rating

To help you with your decision, we’ve tabulated the scores from each assessment criteria:

Factors

Finnex Ray2

Planted+ 24/7

Hardware

4/5

4/5

Light Intensity, Spread, and Penetration

3.5/5

4.5/5

Lighting And Aquascaping Effects

3.5/5

4/5

Scheduling and Programming Options

3/5

4/5

Durability

4/5

4/5

Price Difference

4/5

3/5

Simple Average

3.83/5

3.92/5

Finnex Ray2

Hardware

4/5

Light Intensity, Spread, and Penetration

3.5/5

Lighting And Aquascaping Effects

3.5/5

Scheduling and Programming Options

3/5

Durability

4/5

Price Difference

4/5

Simple Average

3.83/5

Finnex Planted+24/7

Hardware

4/5

Light Intensity, Spread, and Penetration

4.5/5

Lighting And Aquascaping Effects

4/5

Scheduling and Programming Options

4/5

Durability

4/5

Price Difference

3/5

Simple Average

3.92/5

Based on this chart, the Planted Plus has a slightly higher overall score compared to the Ray2, and outperforms the latter in almost every category. However, simple averages do not tell the full story. Different hobbyists have different needs and preferences for their fish tank setup, so you should absolutely take a look at your own list of must-haves and good-to-haves before making a decision.

Notice that the difference in performance is marginal across the board. If you don’t require fancy features in your light, it might be a wise move to opt for the cheaper but still adequate Ray2. On the other hand, if you’re someone who doesn’t mind paying a $30 premium for customizable features, then opt for the Plant+ 24/7 by all means!

No matter which model you purchase, you can rest assured that you’ll be outfitting your tank with a sturdy, well-built light that will serve you for years to come. These models are equals on the hardware and durability front, with slight differences between the two that we have discussed extensively above. The best light is one that works best for your tank!

Conclusion

So there you have it! A thorough and complete comparison between the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 and Ray2. As we’ve discussed, the former wins out over the Finnex Ray2 in most categories.

However, these differences are tiny. If you aren’t looking for anything more than a basic LED light fixture, the Ray2 is still a great choice. Remember that both of these products deliver high-quality lighting effects and unique scheduling features to meet your plants’ lighting needs. 

Have you been using one of these lights, or are you considering getting one? Feel free to share your opinion on this battle in the comment section below! Which do you prefer? Do you think that one of these lights is better than the other? If so, which one and why? Comment below with your thoughts as we’d love to hear from you! And if you found this article helpful, don’t forget to share it with a friend!

See also: Difference Between Aquarium Light vs. Grow Light

Wanda is a second-generation aquarist from the sunny tropics of Malaysia. She has been helping her father with his freshwater tanks since she was a toddler, and has fallen in love with the hobby ever since. A perpetual nomad, Wanda does her best to integrate fish-keeping with her lifestyle, and has taken care of fish in three different continents. She loves how it provides a nice break from the hustle and bustle of life.

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