Just as with any other technology the lighting use to grow plants has advanced. One of the biggest hurdle for any indoor gardener is getting proper lighting for your plants. Lighting is also one of the more complicated aspects. Of course you can throw any light on over your plants but there are so many considerations that need to be accounted for. If you are going to take the time and effort needed to start your own indoor garden, than you would most likely want the best yields for your efforts. LED's will help you create the best growing environment with ease. The more advanced LED grow lights will not only cover the entire spectrum, but will also control the dispersion of light.
Cheap led grow lights are nothing more than a waste of cash. Low quality lighting has lead to confusion. If you have grown with cheap, or low quality lights chances are you haven’t seen much of an advantage over other lighting. But you can as anyone who has used better quality lighting and they will tell you that there are no other options. You may have noticed a trend in the cultivation industry. Most existing large scale grower have switched to, and all most all of the new growers use commercial led grow lights. This trend on its own illustrates the effectiveness of LED.
If you can remember a few years back. Hydroponics hadn’t really taken off. Although it was not a new idea, the concept and technique took some getting used to. Compare it to present day indoor farming, almost no one uses soil. The rate of growth and the yield when harvested do not even come close. Hydroponics has completely altered the face of our industry forever. Hydroponics is the same type of advancement. Now that the price of LED lighting has dropped to modest rates, there is no turning back. Its way to efficient to ignore. Check out my new 2015 Cheap LED Grow Lights Review!
hps spectrum gap inefficiencyHPS grow lights are obsolete, inefficient and unreliable in comparison
If you are about to start your own garden don’t take this too lightly. The upfront cost of HID grow lighting may be a little less, but consider operation costs and yield for your efforts. The initial price of LED’s might be a turn off. Especially if you compare them to an HID system a Chinese manufacturer. The Price of HID have dropped drastically. It wasn’t that long ago they were in the same ballpark as LED’s. At that time there were no real alternatives for serious growing. Now there is, so lets compare prices.
Your average 400w-600w HID system will run you around $150-$250, and that is for a near complete light set-up. That is Ballast, Bulb, cooling tube, hangers and reflective hood. Not bad at all, Lets look further into the costs. HID bulbs have a generally short life span. They tend to blow out fairly often. Its always a good idea to purchase 2-3 at a time. Never just buy one, or go without a back up, that is how unpredictable they are. Average life span can be anywhere from a few hours to the length of one crop. It is also recommended to change the bulb after harvest, if they last that long. Do to the high output and heat generated by HID’s. They lose effectiveness and your crops will pay the price. Its a noticeable difference, you can see. If you where to power a bulb that has a few hours on it next to a new bulb you’ll see what I mean.
The ballast today are way better than they once were. That’s a huge plus on the side of HID’s. In the past they were as reliable as the bulbs. Power consumption, a big negative on the side of HID grow lighting. The energy to light ratio is incredible. They consume tons of power don’t give you much for it. If you have any experience with HID’s, or know anyone who has used one. You may have notices that a large chunk of energy is lost a heat. HID’s emit a lot of heat!, almost more heat than light. As a matter of fact you will waste power cooling the bulbs as well as powering them. They will cost hundreds over LED’s per grow!
High Times takes a look at current LED technology. This is one of the most convincing reviews I have seen. LED operation at Rocky Mountain High dispensary in Denver, CO has made been able to increase their yield by 15% or more.
Lets look into the initial cost of LED grow lights. A modest decent power grow light for a small grow space will cost $250 – $350. Although you can find a system for around $100, most of them are not going to have the capability of a better system and are usually not worth the $100. Life span of an average LED grow light is about 60,000 hours. Lasting longer than that is normal. Unlike HID’s, they don’t lose effective output. They turn on or they don’t, no in between. Heat emitted is a fraction compared to HID’s. This is due to low power consumption. As an example, a 1000w HID can pump out over 3000 BTU’s , The comparable LED would only produce a few hundred BTU’s. Operating expense for a moderate grow, seedling to harvest, with an LED will save you hundreds. Take a look at this chart from Howard Lighing
The light emitted from a 1000w HID is equal to 600 watt led grow lights. When comparing effective lumen’s per wattage used, LED has the advantage of saving over 50% energy usage.
So the biggest key factor when deciding what lighting system to use is price. If you plan to harvest more than 2 crop growing with led grow lights is the most cost efficient. If you don’t expect to farm more than 2 times, save with HIDs. Ok, we have came to the conclusion that LED’s are superior to HID in operational costs. That includes maintenance. Here will will go into the other advantages. Link to Header
A great indoor grow area replicates nature as best as it can. Just as the light spectrum and amount of lighting changes as do the seasons, so should your lighting. Note: This is not the case with autoflowers The change in light spectrum and timing triggers budding. So your once your plants detect a move into the red spectrum, it will start the budding phase. In order to give your plants the right lighting per phase, you will need to change bulbs or light source. This is not the case with a good LED set-up. Some can feed a constant wide spectrum or can be adjusted.
Blue led grow lights can mimic natural daylight. This spectrum is naturally produce during the long summer days. Encouraging vegetation and growth. Its important to allow your crops to grow strong and fast. The larger the plants get during vegetation, the better chance you have for bigger buds. White led grow lights are the in between point. This spectrum can be represented through out. It does not trigger any phase. The white spectrum 4,000k – 4,500k leans towards the blue spectrum. Red led grow lights will reach into the low spectrum. As per the graph, this will be what your plants need to bud. During this cycle your plants will switch and stop growing.
Growing MarijuanaAs mentioned before, the biggest advantage, besides energy savings, is the ability to provide the entire spectrum. You don’t need to change lighting. They are a complete lighting system. Remember Indoor LED grow lights are not all built the same. The cheapest led grow lights on the market will not cover a wide spectrum, they may not even do a good job with white light. We have done some research, sorted through a lot of reviews and test results.
Most of us closet cultivators interested in building an effective All-in-one hydroponic grow systems that won’t break the bank. Wasting time, money and resources on the cheapest thing you can find won’t help either. You need the best quality for your money and I think we found it!
Still a Sceptical? Let’s have a quick look at the overview
At this point you should see, LED lights are way more advanced and efficient than standard lighting. Here is a quick Pro’s and Con’s: Pros: Long Life – They generally last for 60,000 hours or more Maintenance – No need to replace during grow Energy – On average, $100-$400 in electrical savings per grow Spectrum – LED’s can represent a wide spectrum, no need to change lighting from vegetation to budding(flowering) Cool Temps – They emit very little heat. Less Complicated – LED’s are self contained units. HID’s required added components. A reflective top hood, Ballast, etc. Cons: Cost : 10x the initial cost of HID’s
There are a lot to choose from, plenty of grow companies have jumped on the LED band wagon. Luckily this has helped bring down the process. A lighting system that would have cost you $2,000 a few years ago would only run for $900 today. Because the need for high output led grow lights has expanded so rapidly. The technology has advance and production has become more efficient. The market is flooded with led grow lights for sale. Amongst all the sales noise there are a few known brands that commercial growers prefer. The best bet is to stick with a good quality made product. The better brand offer a warranty that may cover 1 -3 years. Just like any other purchase you make, quality counts. You don’t want to spend a few hundred on some deal and dash foreign wholesaler.
KindLed Besides producing the most advanced system out. They come with a 90 day 100% money back guarantee, free shipping and a 3 year warranty. An impeccable record and more yield produced when compared to other systems.Rated the best By SuperCloset. The top led grow lights manufacturers put their system to the test. KIND took home the trophy, hands down.
Top rated led grow lights:
Before we can just go and say who’s the best, lets look into the methods for rating. Unfortunately you can’t just eye-ball it. Although may appear that one light is brighter than another, it doesn’t mean its more effective for growing. Remember that a wide range of light spectrum is needed. It is not possible for the human eye to see every spectrum. Two tools are used when testing and measuring lighting. when used together they collect enough data to compare lighting systems. This is the only way to get an accurate comparison for LEDs’, HID’s and fluorescents.
The Photosynthetic Active Radiation meter or PAR for short. Basically takes a reading of light emission. The emission measured is within the photosynthetic range of 400-700nm. Or simply the range used by plants for photosynthesis, growing. The PAR can track the amount of light particles (micromoles) that pass within a square meter every second.
The other tool is a Spectrometer. The PAR works great within it spectrum, but plant also absorb a smaller green green range of the spectrum at 560nm. In Order to test out the best possible lighting for indoor gardens we need to get the 560nm measurement. So the two together collect all the info we need. When comparing systems your self, its important to get the model technical spec’s from the manufacturer. It is usually on their website. A grow lighting system that can perform effectively under both testers will produce great growth and harvest.
The 5 were tested the same exact way. A HPS was also included for additional comparative purposes. All the lighting systems were tested at 3 different heights. First at 12” then 24” and finally at 36”, this way intensity can be checked at different lengths. Many believe LED’s aren’t able to produce penetrating luminance after a certain distance. Or that they lose effectiveness compared to HIDs. A 4’x4’ radius was marked off and the tests started. The light meter or Spectrometer was placed in 7 different spots and reading were taken. The PAR readings were recorded in 3 different points within the circle. It took a total of 2 days to collect all the information needed for this test. The 7 points for each system were averaged. The average is used as a total score of light intensity. While the 3 PAR averaged for a total PAR. The combination of the two were used as total score per lighting system.
The KIND LED took the win for first place. The big surprise was that it even beat out the HPS
Finding high quality lighting is hard enough. Here’s some help when considering LED wattage
As mentioned before, there are plenty of manufacturers out there, with more jumping into the business. As the legalization of cannabis spreads throughout the Us, growing marijuana at home is becoming more popular. Established commercial led grow light producers are slowly switching direction into residential cannabis cultivators. The mind set might be correct, but the product is not completely the same. A commercial grower has more space and resources available. While you may be interested in large scale crops, you might only have closet or small room to grow in. Current commercial lighting may not take that into consideration. A smaller group of manufacturers produce LED lighting specifically for closet cultivation. They are HydroGrow, UFO Grow Lights, Procyon, LumiGrow and KIND. A Few others do exist but they haven’t made any innovations worth mentioning. Complete Light Spectrum
Light Spectrum And Bulb For Vegitation to Budding (Flowering ) PhaseThe light spectrum should be the first consideration. An inadequate spectrum will give you smaller crops and lame buds. It is also possible to damage or kill your plants by using a bad lighting system. Some cheaper systems emit an imbalanced spectrum. Which is harmless in most cases but can sometimes cause LED light burn or LED bleaching. Both of these can kill cannabis or stunt growth. Over saturation or distance from plants is usually blamed for light burn and bleaching. Over half the cases are actually caused by cheap poorly made lighting. Adding additional light sources and increasing the distance from the plants can help. The best way to avoid this is by investing in the right cannabis grow lights to start with. Marijuana just as any plant need a color spectrum from 400nm to 700nm. Its is required for photosynthesis. Plants do the best they can to survive and if possible will make due with a lesser spectrum, resulting in poor growth and buds. This is why so many manufacturers are able to get away with selling poor products. Your plants may still grow, just not to their potential. The worst thing is that you may never know the difference. Blaming the strain, soil, hydroponic system, etc. Even a couple of the companies noted above only use 2-3 of the primary colors for growth. A grow source that covers the 12-band light spectrum will provide your plants with all the aspects of lighting they need from seedling to harvest.
Systems like the UFO work great for very small grows, 1 to 2 plants in a very small space. Although they claim to have be capable or more. They just don’t produce enough lumen’s per money spent. A single watt LED will not be effective, it will do an OK job for seedlings but as the plants foliage grows, it won’t be enough power to penetrate. On the flip side of that a 10 watt diode may not be the right chose either. They are know to be a bit unstable, with a spectrum that’s week on one end while too intense on the other. Causing light burn and bleaching as mentioned previously.
The over driven diodes also tend to produce a lot of heat. Which can result in other issues. Unless your are looking into producing in a very large room I would Avoid them. 5w LED grow lights may seem like a common ground. While they do produce a spectrum that is stable and suitable for growth, 5w’s are not without flaws. Heat dissipation is still a problem. They cost more increasing the cost of the LED panel by %30 -%50. 3 watt LED grow lights work best with most applications. If you are looking to grow in a small closet to average size room.
Even large scale commercial growers have benefited from 3w lighting. They have enough power to emit lumen’s through thick foliage canopies without causing burn issues. Some lights will incorporate a 3w and 5w system. This is a good way to lower the costs and get the extra lumen’s. Check reviews before investing in a mixed array fixture. Better made fixtures are dimmable with a good 3w to 5w ratio. The low wattage saves energy and produces very little heat. Because of this they can be driven at higher power levels without the risk of degrading the chips. Although the usual lifespan of an LED is about 60,000 hours. 1w-3w systems usually last for 100,000 hours or more without degradation.
Growing cannabis indoors should be enjoyable. Using right wattage Led can make a huge difference. You can have constant healthy crops without the problems associated with bad grow lighting.