Tips When Buying LED Grow Lights
One of the many advantages of growing indoors is the fact that you’re not at the mercy of the weather. Instead, you’re in control of every aspect of the growing environment, meaning that you can grow all year long, ensure that your plants stay healthy, and fine-tune the quality of your crop.
When setting up a grow room, you’ll need to provide a source of light for your plants to metabolize for food. Grow lights are arguably the most important component of any grow room, and there are many options to choose from. Recently, LED lights have surged in popularity thanks to technological advances that have significantly improved their energy efficiency and effectiveness.
Consequently, there are many LED grow lights on the market today, and it can be hard to find the right product if you don’t know what you’re looking for. If you’re considering LED grow lights for your indoor crop, read on to learn some tips for choosing the best lights for your needs.
Benefits Of LED Lights As Grow Lights
LED lights are more expensive than other types of grow lights, such as high-intensive discharge (HID) lights or fluorescent lights. However, for many growers, the benefits are worth the higher upfront cost. The following are some of the main benefits of using LED grow lights.
- Energy Efficiency. LED lights consume far less power than other types of lights, making them cheaper to use in the long run. For example, an HID light requires 62 watts of electricity for a single square foot of growing space, while an LED light draws about half that amount of power to cover the same amount of space.
- Low Heat. Because LED lights use less power, they also emit less heat. This is important because a hot lamp can damage tender leaves. A grow room needs to be kept at a friendly temperature and humidity level year-round. A hot lamp can cause plants to dry and wilt even when the ambient temperature is cooler.
- Assimilation of Light. Because LED grow lights closely mimic sunlight in providing the full spectrum of natural light, their light is easier for plants to absorb and assimilate than other types of light. The more light plants absorb, the less energy is wasted and the less excess heat is emitted.
- Long Lifespan. In addition, LED lights are long-lasting and outlive other types of lights. Most LED lights on the market promise anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 hours of use. Thus, growers can count on up to 10 years of use from high-end LED grow lights.
- Variety of Configurations. One more benefit of LED grow lights is the fact that they are available in such a wide variety of shapes and styles that there is a light for almost every growing situation. For example, bar lights can be hung either horizontally or vertically, and they can be placed as close to the plants as needed thanks to their low heat output.
These benefits make LED grow lights a sound investment that will pay off in lower energy costs over time and better control of the grow room conditions.
Consider Your Space When Choosing Lights
Before purchasing LED grow lights, you’ll need to consider the dimensions of your grow room. The two most important measures to know are the square footage of growing space and the height of the room. In terms of growing space, you will need grow lights that provide 32 watts per square foot. For a 10-square-foot room, for example, you would need 320 watts. For a 4’ by 4’ grow room, you would need an LED wattage of 512.
The height of the room is another consideration because it limits the distance of the light source from the plants. Since LED lights produce less heat, they can be placed closer to the plants than other types of lights. However, certain styles are better designed for close positioning than others, and beam width is an important feature to consider. Manufacturers use added lenses to increase or restrict the spread of light. If you have a low ceiling, look for grow lights with a wide beam angle. If you are planning to place lights well above your plants, a narrower beam of light is a better choice.
What To Look For When Choosing LED Grow Lights
While most LED grow lights are available in a range of sizes, they can differ from each other in many other respects. Besides choosing the right size and style of light for your space, look for the following qualities in LED lights for your grow room.
Full Spectrum Light
Natural sunlight contains many different wavelengths of light on the color spectrum, and plants need different colors of light at different times in their growing cycle. Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) refers to the range of light that plants need for photosynthesis, and it includes wavelengths from 400 to 700 nanometers.
Plants of all types need to receive light at various wavelengths, from infrared to ultraviolet. Not only do they need to metabolize light in order to grow, but the full spectrum of light also helps to ward off mold, mildew, and plant diseases. Ultraviolet light is especially important for keeping the grow room clean and sterile.
Thus, when choosing LED grow lights, it’s important to choose lamps that provide full-spectrum light with a high PAR rating (a measurement of the number of micromoles of light emitted per second per square meter).
Plants need different amounts and wavelengths of light at different stages of growth. For example, during their vegetative phase, plants need more hours of light per day, and they thrive under light at the blue end of the spectrum, which stimulates the growth of roots and leaves. During the flowering and fruiting stage, on the other hand, plants need fewer hours of light per day, and they need more light at the red end of the spectrum, which stimulates plants to produce flowers.
When choosing LED grow lights, look for lamps that can be programmed to dim or brighten and to change the spectrum for different growing stages. Some lights can be programmed with an app while others have their own control device. By setting automatic spectrum and dimming schedules, growers can save energy and ensure that their plants are getting the precise amount and type of light they need at all times.
Low Heat Output
As mentioned above, LED lights produce less heat than other types of bulbs. However, some LED grow lights put out more heat than others. This has to do with the quality of the diode crystal. The more imperfections there are in the crystal, the less efficiently it transforms energy into light, and any electricity that isn’t converted into light is emitted as heat. In addition, a heatsink can help to absorb excess energy and keep LED lights cool.
Temperature control is crucial to the plants’ development, and a too-high temperature, even for a short time, can damage the leaves and slow the growth of the plants. In a worst-case scenario, plants can die when the ambient heat is too intense. Thus, when choosing LED grow lights, it’s important to look for models that promise high efficiency and minimal heat output.
Easy Installation And Use
If you’re a new grower or if you simply want to save time when setting up a grow room, choose LED lights that can be installed straight out of the box. Look for modular systems that don’t require any assembly and that are easy to adjust to the proper height. Modular LED panels offer another advantage in that they are easy to get into if something breaks. Growers can simply remove a panel to access the individual components of the light fixture and either repair or remove any part that isn’t working. In addition, consider choosing programmable lights that can be controlled via smartphone app or another device in order to maximize your efficiency and control over the crops.
A 10-Year Warranty
A high-quality LED grow lamp should last for at least ten years of normal use. If the manufacturer’s warranty is for a shorter length of time, it might be a warning sign that the lights are not of the highest quality. A warranty should also cover the replacement of individual parts, such as lenses and fans. Fortunately, LED lights tend to be low maintenance, and the diodes themselves, unlike bulbs, never need to be replaced.
Whether you’re building your first grow room or looking for ways to improve your set-up and fine-tune your results, LED grow lights are a great option to consider. Your plants will love the full spectrum light, and your budget will benefit from the long-term energy savings. Since there are many different brands and styles of LED lights on the market, make sure to consider the needs of your plants and your space, and buy from a reputable dealer. You can find a wide range of top-quality LED lights at Agron.io.