HLG Quantum Boards
Platinum LED Series
ViparSpectra Reflector Series
LED grow lights are the most important equipment for growing plants indoors, and therefore, you need the best LED grow light for the optimum growth of your plants.
Their life will depend on the grow lights you install. The performance of installed light fixtures will influence every aspect their growth and survival.
Obviously, you won’t like to compromise on the quality of your light fixtures, particularly if you are serious to indoor growing and love your plants.
We all know that LED grow lights are very efficient, produce very low amounts of heat, save money over time, and at the same time increase yield and product quality.
However, all these benefits may elude you unless you gain sufficient knowledge to discard misleading information and sneaky marketing tactics that manufacturers use to sell poor quality grow lights.
This guide is your navigator out of the jungle of misleading information. Once you thoroughly read it, you will no longer waste your money on poor quality light fixtures that do not perform as promised and simply marketed to burn a hole in your pocket.
The good news is that we have already compiled the necessary information in simple and easy to understand manner.
This information will navigate you and help you pick up the best led grow light for your specific requirements.
This buying guide includes an overview of the leading LED light fixtures by some of the popular LED grow light producers that dominate grow light market in 2019.
Overview: Best LED Grow Lights On The Market
|LED Series||Model||Actual Watts||Veg Area||Bloom Area|
Advanced Platinum Series
|P300||180||4,5 x 3,8||3 x 2|
|P600||345||6 x 3,7||5 x 2|
|P900||515||6 x 4||5 x 3|
|P1200||690||6 x 5,5||5 x 4|
ViparSpectra Reflector Series
|300w||130||2 x 2||1,5 x 1,5|
|450w||200||2,5 x 2,5||2 x 2|
|600w||260||3 x 3||2,5 x 2,5|
|900w||405||4 x 4||3 x 3|
|Marshydro Reflector Series||280w||105||3,5 x 3,5||2 x 2|
|480w||207||3,5 x 5,5||2 x 2|
|720w||317||2,5 x 4,5||2 x 4|
|960w||410||5 x 5,5||4 x 4|
King Plus LED
|600w||120||3,2 x 3,6||3,0 x 3,4|
|1000w||185||3,4 x 3,8||3,2 x 3,6|
|1500w||260||4 x 5||3,8 x 4,5|
|3000w||615||7,8 x 8||7 x 7,5|
|Horticulture Lighting Group Quantum Boards||HLG 550 V2||480||6,0 x 6||4,5 x 4,5|
In the following we will review each of the above mentioned grow lights from a standpoint of criterias described below.
The LED grow light efficiency is measured by how much electricity you put in the light unit vs how much light you get out of it.
Whichever grow light produce the most light while consuming the least power is efficient. To make this determination simple we measure grow light efficiency by looking at watt draw vs HPS replacement.
The HPS grow lights tend to produce excessive heat. A significant drawback, since excessive heat, is harmful to plants.
This problem was addressed by Led grow lights. So, running cooler is one of their main advantages, as they don’t add unnecessary heat in the grow room. it can cause the LEDs to burn out faster as well.
Light and Spectrum quality
An LED grow lights must produce and emit quality light. Different factors determine the quality of the light. We want the light to grow plants.
So, The quality of light is determined by how well the LED light produces light that supports plant growth. Which is the light spectrum within 400-700 nm also known as the PAR-zone. Furthermore, we want to look at the colour of the light.
As a baseline, we can say that we need a lot of blue light combined with portions of red light in plants early stages.
A strong blue light tells the plant to grow up. When the plant has finished the veg stages and reached the optimal height, then we need a lot of red light to trigger the flowering stage.
So a quality Mars Hydro Led grow light addresses these plant needs. It provides a high concentration of blue light for vegging and a high concentration of red light for flowering.
There is also the light spread. How much light does reach your plants? We determine this by looking at the PPFD graph provided for each grow light series.
We use 500-1000 umols/sec/m2 as a baseline. Anything below is too low to support plant growth; anything above is too intense and might end up damaging the plants.
How to choose the LED grow light for your needs?
Before you read in any reviews or ratings, we suggest that you should list the most important factors that you want in your grow light or likely to influence your choices.
Here are a few important factors to get you going: price, warranty, lifespan, efficiency, PAR value, spectrum, UV, size, material, etc.
There will a lot more such factors, but try to identify them all and list important factors as per your requirements, preferences, layouts and growing environment.
Once you have identified the important factors, proceed to the best LED grow lights that we have reviewed.
Now try to identify the LED grow light that includes the features or factors you consider to be more important as per your requirements and preferences.
If you do not want to go through any such hassles, you can simply pick any LED grow light listed in our reviews.
We have selected the best LED grow lights from different price segments.
These grow lights have all the features and important factors (such as longer lifespan, efficiency, higher PAR value, better spectrum, etc.) that are sufficient to make them quality LED grow lights.
Just follow our “Recommended For” section, and you will find it easier to pick up the right model for your specific requirements.
1. Advanced Platinum LED Series Review
Even during the conceptualization of this guide, we were aware that PlatinumLED products would definitely get featured in our reviews.
Advanced PlatinumLED is a company that makes grow lights for everyday growers but its fixtures have the highest level of efficiency and other features that are preferred by commercial growers.
PlatinumLED line is offering 6 models that cater to the needs and preferences of different growers regardless of their experience and expertise.
Their basic model (50 watts P300) is one of the most efficient grow lights on the market that are intended for smaller crops or fewer plants. This model is perfect to start as a beginner.
Once you are ready to expand, you can scale up to P1200 which will give incredible light output at 379 watts of power consumption. Their compact design and modular approach enable you to start with the basic unit and expand as and when required.
Regardless of the size or setup of your grow area, you will definitely find a suitable PlatinumLED model for your requirements or preferences.
PlatinumLED models and designed to last and perform flawlessly for several years. They offer the best performance and value for money.
We will discuss some key features and efficiency parameters of PlatinumLED grow lights that you may find at this price range.
As we all know, power is costly and it is the main cost that you will incur when growing indoors.
The power efficiency of grow lights is important because even small savings in your monthly bills will result in quite significant savings over the years.
LEDs consume low amounts and electricity and as a whole, LED grow lights are considered to be one of the most efficient forms of lighting.
But PlatinumLED lights have extended this efficiency norm to its extreme limits.
For example, the most power consuming largest model of PlatinumLED lights (P1200) consumes only 379 watts during vegetation while its total light output remains equivalent to massive 1400 watts HPS grow light.
In simple words, this top model is twice more efficient than most of the entry level LED grow lights. Not only this, PlatinumLED lights are rated to last up to 100,000 hours.
The initial cost of PlatinumLED lights may be slightly higher than other grow lights available in the market, but you will definitely recover your investment within a year and enjoy great savings over the years to come.
Low power consumption and long lifespan make it the most efficient and cost-effective grow light in the market.
LED lights run cooler in comparison to older technologies and this is one of the most important features of LED Grow lights.
The cooler they run, the more efficient they are. Preventing heat build-up makes them more efficient and they last longer. On the other hand, excess heat may reduce the life of LEDs and negatively affect your plant growth.
PlatinumLED models are equipped with an excellent cooling system that blows cool air over the LEDs and prevents the fixture from getting heated.
The hot air is exhausted through the top of the fixture so that no damage occurs to your plants from whatever little heat is produced in the process.
Light and Spectrum Quality
The quantity and quality of the light spectrum that we give to plants determine its growth.
In order to improve efficiency and cost effectiveness, grow light manufacturers have invested heavily in research, innovation, and optimization of their light fixtures.
Most of them are producing only those lights of the spectrum that are needed by plants in the photosynthesis process.
PlatinumLED has also developed its unique fixtures that provide a carefully selected spectrum of light. The PAR rating of its light fixtures is very impressive in comparison to most of the companies producing grow lights.
That’s the reason why PlatinumLED has made up to the top of our recommendations for LED grow lights.
The spread of light fixtures is also a very important aspect of grow lights. When you use a flashlight, you will notice that light is focused at the center and fades away to the outside.
Grow light manufacturers try to achieve a balanced spread but most of them have struggled with an uneven spread. Just like the flashlights, it is bright in the center and slowly fades outwards.
PlatinumLED have successfully resolved this issue and their light fixtures have a very balanced spread in comparison with other grow lights on the market. With even spread, you can grow more plants in dense vegetation.
Your plants will get sufficient volume of light even when they grow into larger plants. Even spread makes it perfect for the ScrOG technique. These features are essential for any light fixture if you want the best value for your money invested in grow lights.
PlatinumLED light fixtures are perfect for growers who want the best efficiency, value for money and growth of plants. You must check out this grow light yourself to believe us.
If you find it a bit costly, you should keep in mind that these light fixtures are not the most expensive ones on the market. Any premium amount that you pay for it will be quickly recovered in terms of savings and better yields from your plants.
We feel that PlatinumLED product line is perfectly balanced in terms of price and quality. The manufacturer has gone live on camera to test and review their options against some of the competitors. This real-time testing demonstrates their confidence in the product and its capabilities. If you are interested in PlatinumLED products, you can go on to read our detailed review.
2. ViparSpectra Reflector Series Review
Most of the LED Grow lights available in the market are a bit costly and this is the reason why many people look for other cost-effective options.
ViparSpectra has created ripples in the LED Grow lights market by launching its innovative low-cost reflector series.
If you are looking for a cost-effective option, ViparSpectra Reflector Series is one of the best options to get started.
Besides being cost effective, they offer a pretty decent fusion of innovative design and technology that you will find in rather more expensive LED Grow lights. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have included this series in our review.
For example, you can connect two or three lights through separate electrical outlets available in the series (for daisy-chaining lights together).
You don’t need a separate cord out of each light. Although separate circuits for each light is more suitable for large grows, daisy-chain lighting is the perfect solution for small growers with multiple plants. Let’s review other key features of ViparSpectra Reflector Series:
Operational efficiency is a very significant aspect of any grow light even if power is rather inexpensive in your region.
Inefficient grow lights can significantly increase the overall cost of your indoor growing operations.
You will be glad to know that ViparSpectra Reflector Series is not the only budget-friendly but also offer a more efficient LED grow light in comparison with HID/HPS grow lights.
Aluminum has been used for its outer frame, which is well known for its solid quality and heat dissipating properties.
You will love the elegant design of ViparSpectra Reflector series. This fusion of innovative design and technology is reflected in its advertised lifespan of at least 100,000 hours.
This means your ViparSpectra Reflector is expected to last for 22 years when used on a cycle of 12 hours.
You are also covered by a 3-year warranty against any unexpected failures or defaults.
The aluminum frame makes it compact and lightweight. You will face no problems in using your ViparSpectra Reflector or setting it up.
This grow light is designed to be used in even smaller rooms where you have to dissipate heat as far away from your plants as possible.
The entire frame is made from aluminum, which helps in dissipating the heat more effectively while making it a solid and durable grow light.
Light and Spectrum Quality
Recent studies have indicated that plants need a very specific spectrum of light to grow.
Although some researchers do not agree that plants can achieve their full growth potential on a very specific spectrum of light, many growers and botanical scientists believe that UV light holds the key to significantly improving the growth of your plants.
It has been observed that some plants and strains perform better in UV light. Cannabis is one such example, as it is native to regions with higher UV radiation. This UV theory may have some merits and if you want to try UV light on your plants, ViparSpectra is one of the best models as it has built-in UV-emitting diodes.
Viparspectra 300w is ideal grow light and recommended for small-scale growers with a limited budget.
This grow light is also suitable for beginners who are at the Veg stage, need to supply a small grow area or looking for a very cost-effective grow light. In fact, its light spectrum is the best for the Veg stage.
When you need a grow light for your small-scale operations, your power saving options are minimal unless you use a very efficient grow light.
ViparSpectra will provide more than enough power savings in comparison to HPS lights, without any compromise on the quality of light. If you want to know more about ViparSpectra Reflector Series, you can read our detailed review.
3. MarsHydro Reflector Series Review
Are you looking for a very cheap LED grow light? Are you a Beginner? If so, you are actually looking for MarsHydro Reflector Series.
No grow light series can beat MarsHydro Reflector in terms of value for money and being more affordable without compromising on the quality of the light spectrum.
You will definitely find even cheaper grow lights in the market, but we consider MarsHydro Reflector Series as the most affordable grow light because this series has met all our requirements without compromising on light or build quality.
MarsHydro Reflector Series has four models that have been designed and optimized for specific grow sizes. Reflector 48 is the entry-level model that contains 48 5w LED lights neatly arranged in a compact square-shaped panel.
If you see its higher models, you will find that its entry-level Reflector 48s have been effectively combined as one unit. So regardless of your grow size or cumbersome room, you can achieve full coverage by attaching MarsHydro units to make your lighting system.
This can be very convenient for expanding your grow area at a later stage. For example, if you want to grow three plants, you can buy its Reflector 144 model.
You can easily add another Reflector 48 panel to light the fourth plant at a later stage as each panel is designed to provide sufficient coverage that may be needed for a single plant.
You can easily start growing as a beginner and expand at a later stage as and when required. Now let’s explore some of the key features of MarsHydro Reflector Series in terms of light, efficiency, design, build quality, etc.
MarsHydro Reflector Series has been designed to be compact and provide sufficient coverage for a plant. Each Reflector 48 panel (48 LED units) is one square foot and only two inches thick.
Despite being a very small and compact unit, its coverage is really impressive, covering almost two square feet.
In terms of coverage volume, it is only a fraction of the space that an HPS light would cover but Marshydro 48 unit operates on only 105 watts in comparison the 160 watts HPS light.
MarsHydro LEDs are rated with an estimated lifespan of 50000-100000 hours, but some users have reported that its diodes wear off much earlier than the reported lifespan.
LEDs convert electricity into the light but in the process, some energy is wasted as heat. When light panels are cool, electricity is converted into the light without any significant energy loss as heat.
The cooling system reduces this wastage by making the LEDs more efficient. This cooling system consists of an integrated circuit board with heat sinks and high-speed fans that dissipate heat without making any significant noise.
Light & Spectrum Quality
All models of MarsHydro Reflector Series are made of a very efficient line of LEDs. Reflectors have been designed to produce a large amount of photosynthetically active light at very high efficiency.
The basic Reflector 48 unit is rated to a maximum of 224 watts but normally consume only 102 watts. Similarly, the maximum rating of its highest model is 960 watts but consumes only 415 watts.
MarsHydro Reflector units are cooled by fans mounted heat sinks that make this grow light more efficient.
MarsHydro grow light models give bright green lights that make plants look beautiful.
This unique modular bright green light consists of the photosynthetic spectrum that is perfectly and efficiently balanced between red and blue while giving a slight edge towards the red end, which is good for your plant growth.
We found a very high PAR reading of 1200umol at a height of 18 inches directly below the Reflector 192 model. You will definitely cherish your thriving plants under a MarsHydro Reflector.
MarsHydro Reflector is recommended for growers with a limited budget. If you are a beginner or just started with your indoor growing, MarsHydro Reflector Series offer a perfect grow light model for you.
In terms of power consumption, these models are about ten percent more efficient than an equivalent model of HPS light.
In terms of savings, MarsHydro Reflector Series offers a very cheap yet an efficient grow light.
If you go with an HPS model, it may sound like wasting your money. Staying with MarsHydro Reflector models will get you compact units that are more efficient, easy to use and equipped with a fan mounted cooling system.
That’s a good choice from our perspective. For more info, find out our detailed review of the MarsHydro Reflector series.
4. King Plus LED Series Review
LED Grow light market is full of high-quality products but most of them are expensive.
If you are looking for high-quality LED grow lights at a decent price, your options may be limited.
KING PLUS LED is one such company that is offering their high-quality line of grow lights at an affordable price.
The King Plus line has 6 models, which is designed for beginners as well as professional growers who need high-quality glow lights without burning a hole in their wallet.
If you don’t like the modular approach of MarsHydro models, you can still save some dollars by opting for the King Plus line.
KING line has specific models as per your requirements whether you want to grow one plant or tens of them.
The King Plus line is available at a very low price but KING LED has not compromised on light output, efficiency, power consumption or any other quality parameters. Here are some specific details of such parameters:
The King Plus line is offering pretty solid models ranging from 600 to 1600 watts power consumption.
So, whether you are looking for an entry-level model to grow a few plants or higher model to grow several plants, you will find the most suitable model as per your requirements or preferences.
These grow light models are equipped with two types of focusing lenses that operate at 60 or 120 degrees.
Focusing lenses are used for balancing the focus and spread to perfectly even out the lights and spread it over your plants.
The King Plus line comes with a life expectancy rating of 50,000 hours, which is significantly longer than other HID lights available on the market.
At this rating, you can expect a life span of about 10 years, which is much likely to be higher than many electrical devices lying here and there in your home.
KING LED lights are framed with plastic polymer instead of aluminum that is the case with other light fixtures.
Plastic polymers are less conductive than aluminum but they are still capable of transferring thermal energy to reduce the buildup of excessive heat in your growing space.
Depending on the model, King Plus line has 2-4 fans that are mounted appropriately to remove excess heat and keep the light fixture at its intended temperature. Unlike traditional HID lights, LEDs are very efficient and they produce very low amounts of heat.
The mounted fans are not very fast in comparison to other light fixtures that we have reviewed but they are capable of removing any heat buildup that is generated in the process.
However, the fans are super silent and you won’t notice any fan noise.
King Plus line uses double chip LEDs in its model. Double chip LEDs produce the same light output from relatively few LEDs and therefore, they generate low amounts of heat.
Despite using less conductive plastic polymer, cooling has been properly taken care of and KING LED lights produce less heat than other light fixtures.
Light & spectrum
Light and spectrum are quite good in all King Plus line models. The ratio of red to blue lights is greater which is good for your plant growth. Red light is proven to be more efficient for photosynthesis.
Blue light has also its benefits like inhibited auxin synthesis that improve the growth of bushier plants.
In fact, each type of light has its own functions and benefits for the plants. All these lights are present in the sunlight and therefore, it is very important that (to the extent possible) your grow light includes all lights of the sunlight spectrum.
To achieve this, KING LED has included some yellow and white LEDs to complete the entire visible spectrum of sunlight.
KING LED lights also have a UV and IR LEDs that we don’t appreciate very much.
KING LED lights are recommended for growers that want high-quality grow lights at an affordable price.
If you want to get started as a grower and need good quality grow lights on a budget, KING LED lights are definitely the best choice for you. King Plus line may not have a lot of setup choices but they are perfect for a simple grow.
A decent spectrum at a good price makes the KING PLUS LED lights to stand out from the other light fixtures. You can buy any model as per your requirements or preferences and still grow some beautiful and high yielding plants.
King Plus line models are also recommended for those who want to optimize their initial investment. For further information, you can check our detailed review of the KING LED grow light.
5. HLG Quantum Boards 550 V2 LED Grow Light Review
Horticulture Lighting Group released this Quantum Board mid 2018. Quantum boards is basically a board integrated with small LED diodes.
In the case of the QB 550 V2 the LEDs are top of the line Samsung LM 301b diodes. HLG is the first company who came up with this innovative LED grow light design.
But because the design is simple it is also easy to copy, so be aware of a lot of copy cat manufacturers out there. Quantum boards are great when it comes to light design and efficiency.
It is increasingly becoming the new rage among indoor growers, which is why we choose to review it.
The HLG 550 v2 replaces 1000w HPS while drawing only 480 watts at wall. The light fixture has an integrated driver at the back of the panel allowing you to decrease the light intensity down to 240w. This way you can adjust the light according to your plant stage and thus save electricity.
With the Quantum board it has never been easier to keep your grow space at a lower temperature. The QB LEDs rest on a aluminum heat sink panel that assures passive cooling.
This means that the led fixture mainly concentrates the energy on converting the consumed power into light, which initially is the whole purpose of LED grow lights.
Leaving out the fans as a part of the fixture also means low noise level. However, you may benefit from installing an external fan to get the excessive heat away from the plants.
Light & Spectrum
The QB 550 v2 consist of 1152 samsung diods divided over 4 quantum boards which means there are 288 on each qbs attached to the panel.
The fixture spectrum is white with 3000k and 4000k options. 3000k is the most popular option and ideal for seedling to harvest.
4000k is best for veg but can be used for the other plant life phases as well. 3000k is best for larger yield. While 4000k is best for increasing quality.
The white light spectrum assures a working environment where it is possible to see the plants natural color.
The spectrum contains a medium amount of blue peaking at around 455 nm while at the same time having a large bump at the orange spectrum peaking at around 605 nm.
The blue light spectrum is good for the veg stage as it keeps plants compact and helps them grow up instead of out.
The quantum board emits also a lot of green light to promote photosynthesis and canopy penetration. There is also some far red light present in the light for the same purpose.
We recommend the HLG quantum board 550 led grow light for indoor growers looking to cover a grow area of 6×6 during veg plant stage and 4×4 for plants in the flower stage.
The recommended height for this fixture is 18” for flower and 24” for veg. The grow light fixture is also certified for commercial growth. The quantum board is not recommended for beginners because they cost quite around 1k dollars at the time of writing.
Everything You Need to Know About LED Grow Lights
Why Indoor Growing Is Becoming More Popular?
Indoor growing has become more popular as cannabis is now legal in many states. People can grow cannabis for personal enjoyment as well as commercial purposes.
Indoor growing also helps people grow organic fruits and vegetables or pursue such hobbies. Now, if you want to grow plants or vegetation, you can either grow indoors or choose an outdoor garden.
Growing in an outdoor garden is easier as only a small investment is required in terms of equipment or startup costs. This is the reason why many beginners prefer an outdoor garden.
But experienced growers always prefer indoor grow and the experts have explained why it is always better to go for it.
First of all, the space for an outdoor garden may not be available to everyone living in the cities.
And even if you can manage an outdoor garden, it will give you very little control over the environmental factors.
You will be dependent on nature and thus, unable to control the growth of your plants. The environmental variables like the weather, sunlight, water, soil type, and nutrients can directly impact the growth of your plant.
It will be very discouraging to see your hard work and lovely plants being destroyed by one bad season or weather. Indoor growing gives you better control over these environmental factors.
A controlled environment is suitable for growing plants that are native to another region. For example, cannabis is native to North America and people in other regions can grow it only if they have a controlled environment.
The advanced strains and new genetic line of plants may not survive unless you provide the ideal growing environment.
We all know that good seeds and optimum heat, humidity, light, water, and nutrients are required for growing quality plants.
It is very difficult to achieve a fair control over these factors in an outdoor environment. Indoor growing is the best way to control these environmental factors and grow high-yielding quality plants.
Environmental Factors In A Grow Room
When you build a Grow Room and plant a seed, you desire perfect growth, flourishing plant, high-yield and best quality product.
This can be achieved only by controlling several factors that determine your plant’s growth. In a Grow Room, these factors can be controlled manually or using some innovative equipment designed and developed for the purpose.
Light is a very crucial factor as your plants need it to produce their food and grow. Plants are naturally adapted to absorb light more effectively and our simple household lighting system may not be sufficient regardless of how bright it appears to our eyes.
So, every indoor grow room must have at least one specialized grow light. Expert growers prefer using several grow lights to optimize the lighting in their grow room. Installing LED grow lights enables you to control light cycle, position, spectrum and dispersion of the light.
In simple words, you can determine how much light is available to your plants for their optimum growth. However, your ability to control these variables will depend on the grow light you install in your indoor grow room.
Temperature is another crucial factor. The optimum growth of many plants will depend on the temperature of your grow room. For example, cannabis will thrive in a fairly warm environment as it is a tropical plant.
You will have to maintain a temperature between 64 to 77 degrees to get the best quality buds. However, this is only a general guideline. You will have to maintain the temperature according to the specific strain of your plant.
Many strains will develop their signature qualities (i.e. unique smell of Sour Diesel) only when the required temperature is available. If the grow room temperature is too high or drops below, your plants may wither away or result in poor quality (i.e. at 67 degrees, some attributes of Kush genetics may not develop).
So, how can you control the heat in your grow room? Of course, your lighting system is the main source of heat in your grow room.
If you install HPS lighting, you will need a good cooling system as it generates huge amounts of heat. On the other hand, installing LED grow lights may eliminate your cooling expenses as it generates less heat as compared to HPS lighting.
Plants require water and humid environment at every stage of their development (from sprouting to flowering).
Depending on the plant and strains, they need large amounts of water at some stages. The wet soil and warm temperature of your grow room will result in a very humid environment.
However, you won’t need any humidity controlling equipment for most grows unless you are growing any fragile strain. But your other equipment in the grow room must be rated to withstand humid conditions.
It will be a good idea to ensure that your equipment is rated to be used in a grow room because unrated equipment may get damaged or create health hazards from electricity flows in humid condition.
Benefits of using LED grow Lights
If you’ve been shopping around, you probably know that LEDs aren’t your only option. There are many types of grow lights. HPS lights have been used for years, and are often quite effective.
But LEDs are the newest technology on the market, and they have several key benefits over HPS lights.
|Average Price per 500w||$500||$200||HPS 60% cheaper|
|Average Yield||1.25g/watt||0,5g/watt||LED increases yield by 250%|
|Space req. per 4 light||3.31 cubic feet||14 cubic feet||LED takes 77% less space|
|Light spread||3 feet/panel||5 feet/light||HPS covers 160% more|
|Heat generation watt/hr||3.4 BTUs||3.4 BTUs||Equal|
|PAR-light||95%||44%||LEDs produce the correct light spectrum|
|Lifespan in hrs||50-100k||10-15k||LEDS last 10x longer|
|Production cost*||$32000||$85000||LEDs cost 60% less|
Although there are some minor benefits to an HPS lighting system, LED is better in almost every respect. For most growers, LED is the obvious choice because of their compact design, low heat output, higher power efficiency, and superior lifespan.
How Many Watts Do You Need?
When deciding to install a grow light, this question may puzzle you. Before we answer this question, you must understand that optimum growth will depend on many factors and not only the amount of power you use in your grow room.
However, you can always make a rough estimate of your light requirement. This will help you narrow down your choices when installing your grow lights.
For example, if you are growing cannabis, one plant will occupy two square feet. As a general rule, you should use 50 watts of LED power for two square feet of space.
So, you will have to install at least 200 watts LED grow light for growing four cannabis plants. However, the layout and other factors are also important when calculating your light requirements.
The layout of your grow room is important. Some plants can still grow effectively when packed together while others may need more than two square feet of space.
If the space per plant doubles, your power requirement will also double and vice versa. Considering the general rule of thumb, if one plant is occupying four square feet of space, you will need 100 watts of LED power for each plant.
On the other hand, if you have a layout of one plant per square foot, you will need 25 watts of LED power per plant.
Now let’s talk about the power rating of your grow lights. The wattage rating on the LED fixtures indicates the maximum power consumption.
For example, 100 x 3 watts LED fixture will consume a maximum of 300 watts and rated as such. Similarly, 200 x 5 watts LED fixtures will have a maximum power rating of 1000 watts.
But you must understand that true wattage or actual power consumption of these LEDs may be less than the maximum power rating on the equipment. LED fixtures operate at less than their maximum power rating, and therefore, not necessarily converting its maximum wattage into the light.
This difference between rated and actual power consumption has two implications. Firstly, lower true wattage imparts better efficiency and this is the reason why LEDs are so efficient.
LEDs operate below their rated wattage, produce less heat and last longer. If they operate at maximum wattage, they will run brighter, produce more heat and burn out quickly. But this is not the case. LED fixtures operate way below their maximum wattage, and this makes them highly efficient. Secondly, they still produce a significant amount of light even when operating below the maximum wattage.
Due to higher efficiency, you can actually replace the higher rated HID light with LED fixtures running at a lower wattage.
Why is Light Spectrum important?
From a layman’s perspective, plants need light for better growth and so you can install any LED fixture to your grow room. Is it that simple and straightforward?
Unfortunately, it’s complicated. Plants need light for photosynthesis and some types of light are more suitable for plant growth while others don’t make any significant difference.
So, if you are lighting your grow room with the types of lights that are not very good at promoting photosynthesis, you are simply wasting your power. This is the reason why you must consider the light spectrum before installing LED grow lights to your grow room.
Photosynthetically Active Radiation or PAR values are used to measure the effectiveness of any light fixture in promoting plant growth.
PAR values allow us to compare the capability of one LED grow lights from another. All LED manufacturers do not provide this PAR data but we always try to get this rating and make it available when possible.
If you want to buy any high-end grow light, we highly recommend that you should read our articles on PAR values and related metrics.
You will learn how Photosynthetically Active Radiation is measured, what metrics are associated with it, and hopefully, understand the greenery of plants in its true context.
The Importance Of Coverage
The PAR values on any light fixture can be misleading, particularly when their coverage is not balanced.
This problem occurs because light may not be even in all areas. In most of the light fixtures, the light remains focused at the middle (very bright in the center) and gradually fades towards the end.
If the PAR is measured at the center of the light, it will have a higher value. This is the reason why many inexpensive grow lights have higher PAR ratings than the most expensive and reputed ones.
When coverage is not even, its PAR value will be higher in the middle and relatively poor towards the edges. The expensive and reputed light fixtures are likely to have even PAR values throughout the coverage. It’s a good idea to buy a light fixture with balanced coverage (even if its PAR rating is slightly lower) as you will be able to grow more plants in a denser growing environment.
The balanced spread is another important aspect of light coverage. Most of the grow lights have pre-installed focusing lenses to achieve a balanced focus and spread.
These lenses can be used to evenly spread the light over the covered area. However, the overall light output remains the same regardless whether you are covering a smaller or larger area.
If you are growing only one plant, it will be better to use a 60-degree lens and focus the entire light on one area. On the other hand, if you are growing many plants, 120- degree lens will be more useful to spread light on your plants from the powerful light fixture.
A balanced middle ground coverage can be achieved using a 90-degree lens. You can read our articles on lens angles to learn more about using lenses.
We hope that this guide will help you understand the basics of indoor growing and choose the right grow light as per your requirements and preferences.
Keep visiting our blog page to read other articles on indoor growing and learning more about growing with LED lights. We also invite you to share your views and growing experience through the contact form or comment section below this guide. Those who share also care about each other. We thank you for your support.
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