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Kessil A80 vs AI Prime 16 HD

Kessil A80 vs AI Prime 16 HD

When you are trying to find a good comparison between the Kessil A80 and the AI Prime 16 HD, it all boils down to the overall coral growth that you’re getting from each of them. Placed in the same situation, with a similar size tank and a comparable amount of coral, does one outperform the other?

In a head-to-head match-up, the AI Prime shows more growth and color variations as the months roll on than the Kessil A80. In fact, the Prime often shows better coral growth over the Kessil 160. The AI Prime HD 16 has received a lot of love and it certainly shows with consumer and professional reviews.

That’s not to say that Kessil is useless here. Every time these two have a competition with each other, the AI Prime just seems to shine a little bit more. AI stands for Aqua Illumination and it matches its name very well as far as that is concerned. 

The Kessil A80 seems to put out an equivalent amount of light when the two are stacked, side by side, however, the results just aren’t the same. We’ll dig into exactly why that is farther down below. 

Kessil A80 and AI Prime 16 HD: Side-by-Side Comparison

The most significant factor that immediately pops up concerning these two (actually, there is more than one significant factor) is power level and the AI Prime 16 HD is hands and feet above the Kessil A80. The other factor is control. The AI has it and the Kessil lacks it.

 Kessil A80AI Prime 16 HD
Depth of ColorLacks deeper and more vibrant color productionDeeper blues and broader, more powerful color spectrums
Illumination powerSolid brightness level for smaller tanksBrighter and more penetrative 
Price$154.00$249.99
Aquarium SizeNo good for anything larger than 10 gallonsEffective for sizes larger than a 10-gallon tank, up to medium-size tanks
Control capabilityLimited to manual controlsManual, automated, and virtual controls via the app
User-friendlinessYesYes, with a few more complications with online controls
AccommodationsRequires a gooseneck attachment featureN/A

Control Capabilities

This is by far one of the largest separators between the Kessil A80 and the AI Prime 16 HD. One of Kessil’s biggest issues, that it didn’t solve until the inception of the 360W, is the lack of smart technology.

Normally, that wouldn’t be an issue, as a most aquarium LED lights have always been manually controlled and nothing else was ever needed. However, that began to change as companies introduced smart features and controls into their lighting systems. 

Kessil held out forever and when it comes to a head-to-head match-up with the AI Prime 16 HD, the Kessil A80 fails the new standards. The new standards, as they apply to the AI Prime, include full automations that are customized and adjustable by you, anytime and anywhere. 

That’s not to say that the manual controls on the A80 are bad because they are not. Kessil is an outstanding company with phenomenal innovations in this industry. Their manual controls are slick, easy to use, and long-lasting. 

However, AI Prime took these same “manual” tools and the ease of use that accommodates them and converted that into the same level of innovation and controls but in a virtual ecosphere otherwise known as the AI Prime App (Android or iOS). 

From the app, you can set up and monitor automated activity with your lights throughout both the day and the night. If your coral is getting a little too much, you can set the 2 pm to 5 pm brightness to a lower level. 

And, of course, you can do this across the board with all the features that the AI Prime 16 HD has to offer. Sadly, the Kessil A80 simply cannot match that level of innovation and control. There’s an app for everything now and thankfully, Kessil is starting to get on board. 

Power

You would have to jump up from the Kessil A80 to the Kessil A160 to take down the AI Prime 16 HD in terms of power. Comparing the two, the AI Prime is simply superior in terms of power and the levels of illumination it offers. 

The Kessil A80 is an outstanding LED lighting system for your coral tanks, so long as they are smaller than 10-gallons. The AI Prime can handle 10-gallon tanks as well, however, it can go a little higher than that, up to mid-size tanks before its efficacy begins to fall off. 

With comparable tank sizes, the level of light spread is matched between the Kessil A80 and the AI Prime, although the AIPrime’s illumination looks better, is deeper and richer in detail, and can be used in larger tanks if necessary.

Accessories

Both the Kessil and the AI Prime have to be mounted at the top of the tank for them to operate as they are supposed to. It’s a little aggravating to know that you have to use a separate accessory with the Kessil just to mount it to the tank. 

That separate accessory is called a gooseneck, and it connects to both the Kessil and the tank. However, when it comes to AI Prime, the most common complaints that are leveled against it involve the way that it mounts to the tank. 

Apparently, without some sort of accommodating support material or structure, the AI Prime 16 HD will slump rather quickly and not just over time. The gooseneck supporting clamp for the Kessil A80 snaps onto both the device and the tank without a problem, holding it steady and in place.

It may be worth considering before you purchase an AI Prime 16 HD since there are probably some options out there for ensuring a more solid foundation. 

Final Thoughts

The Kessil A80 is simply outclassed by AI’s Prime 16 HD in this case. It’s not that the Kessil is bad, because it certainly isn’t. It’s a lot cheaper for one thing and an effective piece of technology. However, the AI Prime 16 HD is a superior product, with far more technology and efficacy for a larger variety of tank sizes.

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