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Choosing the right LEDs for Growing

Choosing the right LEDs for Growing
Mar 3, 2020
Types of Lights

How to Choose the Right LED Lights for A Growing Environment

LED lights have changed the cannabis cultivation industry forever. Because of the innovative technology used in these lights, it’s simpler and faster than ever before to create the controlled environment necessary for a successful cannabis crop. There are numerous options on the market, ranging from budget-friendly setups to commercial-grade lighting systems.

Before ordering grow lights, however, you’ll need to consider some crucial factors to ensure an informed, value-conscious purchase. In this guide, growers will learn how to select the right LEDs for a grow room.

Consider the System’s Power Consumption and Electricity Output

For the best results, grow lights should be run for 10-12 hours per day. Even with the most efficient lighting on the market, the costs add up quickly. To offset those expenditures, choose lights with lower wattage and reasonable output. This ensures that the plants get the light they need to thrive while reducing the everyday cost of powering a grow room.

Look for Low-Heat LED Grow Lights

When purchasing LED grow lights, it’s crucial to note that some lights create more heat than others do. Generally, it’s best to choose LEDs with a lower output. This prevents delicate young cannabis plants from burning and suffering other damage. Low-heat LEDs will bring long-term savings, as lights with increased heat outputs must be replaced sooner than those with lower outputs.

Consider the Cannabis Crop

When outfitting a grow room with LED lights, it’s important to consider the plants’ needs through their various stages of growth. The seedling, vegetative, and flowering stages all require different intensities and durations of light. Cannabis plants develop well when exposed to various wavelength intervals from the visible light spectrum between 400 – 700 nanometers (nm). Essentially, the full spectrum of visible light is critical to the entire cycle of a plant’s photosynthesis and growth.

Determine the Size of the Grow Room Before Shopping

LED lights are available in numerous sizes and shapes, and the most important step to take before ordering seeds is to measure the grow room’s floor space. How much room is available, and is it enough for the plants and grow setup? Knowing the floor’s surface area makes it easier to choose LED lights that supply adequate light.

Decide Whether to Buy Full-Spectrum Lights

Cannabis plants have unique lighting requirements that change during the plants’ seedling, vegetative, and flowering stages of growth. The full spectrum is needed, as in blue (~400 nm) for vegetative, to red (~700 nm) for flowering.  With some grow lights providing only part of the light spectrum, LEDs stand out as robust, single units with full spectrum light capacity, customizability, and program features that provide optimal lighting conditions that contribute to a booming cannabis crop.

Ask About the Lights’ Warranty Period

One of the easiest ways to determine the quality of LED grow lights is to determine the length of the company’s warranty. Most grow lights last about a decade, and if the warranty is much shorter, it may indicate that the lights’ quality isn’t up to par. It’s recommended to be careful before buying grow lights with warranties less than five years long.

Note: one common side-effect of purchasing and operating low-quality LEDs is the inevitable, recurrent rate of replacing individual diodes.

Ask If the Ballast Comes With the Lights Before Buying

When selecting LED lighting for a cannabis grow room, growers might notice that some LED setups come with a ballast. This is the part that controls the current flowing through the light. While some lights have the ballast included, others just come with bulbs. Before buying a set of LED grow lights, it’s important to find out if the ballast is integrated or if you’ll have to buy the parts separately. Buying the ballast separately will significantly increase the cost of the lighting system and it may require changes to the room’s light setup. Therefore, growers are advised to review the product’s entire contents before ordering.

Learn How to Adjust the Controls

The best cannabis grow lights are the ones that allow users to maintain full control over dispersion angles, heat output, light intensity, color spectrums, and light/dark schedules. Before buying an LED unit, determine how adjustable, programmable, and customizable it is. LED setups without customization capacities might constrain the plant’s lighting needs during a cannabis grow operation.

Determine the Semiconductor Chip’s Wattage

The semiconductor chip converts power (W) into light (lumens), while also playing a role in the wavelength (color) omitted by an LED. Ideally, a grower would have LED lamps containing semiconductor chips of three watts or more. Theoretically, some units could contain 40 three-watt chips to provide the minimum requirement of 10,800 lumens to one cannabis plant or square meter of floor space, but each unit having fewer semiconductor chips each with greater wattage capacities is a more likely design.

Stick with a Reputable Brand

LED lamps vary in quality. Not all units are the same, so when outfitting a grow room for the first time one might wish to consider purchasing from a well-known company. Well-known LEDs typically have 5-year warranties, robust and waterproof hardware, ample user reviews, and consistent customer support.

If you can’t decide between a few LED systems that are similar in price and appearance, pay attention to which brand has the longest history or most active customer base. A company with a reputation for quality and skill is more likely to offer a durable product in their industry.

Decide Between Multi-Band and White LEDs

As far as full-spectrum LEDs are concerned, there are two choices: white and multicolor bands. Some growers prefer white lights because they closely mimic natural sunlight, while others like multicolor LEDs because they’re more efficient. Which should you choose? For most cannabis growers, multicolor full-spectrum lights are an ideal choice because they have white LEDs as well as two additional spectrum bands that can produce the Emerson Effect. The next best option would be white, full-spectrum LED lights.

Assess the Room’s Cooling Needs

The highest-quality LED lights are built on a heat-dissipating substrate, which cools the lights down during use. This prevents overheating and ensures a consistent temperature, which extends the lights’ lifespan.

LED grow-lights without built-in cooling features must be externally cooled with fans. Cooling fans add cost (and noise) to a grow operation, so keep this factor in mind when choosing LED grow-lights.

Know the Setup’s Logistics to Select the Right Style of LED Grow Lights

LED grow-lights come in various shapes, from overhead leads to conventional-looking desk lamps with flexible necks. You’ll need to know the grow room’s logistics before buying lights so it’s easier to choose lights that meet the operation’s needs.

Set a Budget and Stick to It

LED grow lights are available at various price points, and it’s best to set a budget before placing an order. Creating a budget will prevent the excited growers from purchasing expensive LEDs when there are less expensive ones that will fit the job. If the grow operation is working on a tight budget, the operator will have to be somewhat flexible about the overall grow plan. For instance, if a grower can only afford a few high-quality LED lights, it may be wise to keep the size of the operation small to ensure each plant receives adequate light.

Be Sure the Lights are Height-Adjustable

The spacing between the cannabis plants and grow lights is crucial to the stability and success of the harvest. When choosing lights, you’ll need to learn whether they’re adjustable, and how far those adjustments go. Adjusting the distance between the plant canopy and the lights is an ongoing process as the plants need lights that can adjust to the plant’s size and pace of growth.

Look at Light Coverage

It’s difficult to translate coverage into a number, simply because coverage depends on the distance between the light and the top of the plants. Increasing coverage by elevating the LEDs will reduce canopy penetration while widely dispersing photosynthetically active radiation (PAR).

Because coverage can be adjusted by moving the lights further from or closer to the plants, every manufacturer’s coverage value is a little different. Despite some companies’ claims, the most powerful LED units typically offer four-square-feet of coverage. Because PAR values are highest directly below the lights, it’s important to rotate the plants periodically to ensure that they all get the same intensity of light (regularly moving the peripheral plants to the center of the space). This step ensures the size and quality of each plant is equal.

Get Up To PAR

We’re not talking about golf here. PAR is an acronym for photosynthetically active radiation, and it’s a measurement of usable light. PAR shouldn’t be confused with lumens, which is a measurement of the amount of visible light.

Like coverage, PAR figures may be a bit misleading, which leads some manufacturers to avoid listing the information on their packaging. Typically, the best LED grow lights have low listed PAR values because the manufacturers consider the total coverage of PAR rather than the central point of coverage.

Read User Reviews

Finally, start reading user reviews once you’ve found a few LED grow lights worth considering. Unbiased reviews from other cannabis growers are an easy way to learn about the quality of grow lights. Other users will explain how well the grow lights work, whether they function as intended, and they’ll offer other information that helps buyers make an informed decision.

In Conclusion

Cannabis growers have numerous decisions to make, and LED grow light selection is one of the most important choices. When building a grow room and considering purchasing LED lights, consider the limitations of your space and other factors covered in this article to help you make the right choice. By choosing the right LED grow lights, a grower will find it easier to ensure the stability, quality, and consistency of the cannabis crop.

LED lights are certainly desired by most growers. The cost can be a lot up front but the savings over time will balance the budget in the long term. Another important step in the process of growing is purchasing high-quality seeds. Check out the sales and clearance seeds at as you consider your budget and growing goals.

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