Key Features to Look for in LED Grow Lights
LED grow lights contain many small bulbs, or light emitting diodes, in a single unit/lamp. To produce the full-spectrum light preferred by growers, diodes of various colors are used. LED grow lighting synthesizes sunlight for indoor growing. Many cultivators prefer LEDs because the setup is convenient, customizable, effective, and efficient.
LED lighting is revolutionizing the cannabis industry, allowing professional and hobbyist growers to attain optimal efficiency with little effort. The benefits of LEDs often include:
- Accelerated growth
- Wavelength adjustability
- Energy efficiency
- Small size
- Long life expectancy
- Altered dispersion angles
- The Emerson Effect
Selecting the wrong type of LED lighting can seriously affect your grow operation, so an educated decision is essential. There are numerous properties and factors to consider, but you’ll also need to assess your location, expected yield, and skill level. In this article, you’ll learn what to look for when choosing LED lights for your cannabis grow room.
This is one of the most crucial factors to consider when looking at a LED lighting setup for your grow room. The amount you can comfortably afford to spend will determine the type of light you can buy. You’ll need to ensure that you can fund the purchase and cover maintenance costs. Generally, a high-quality LED grow light will be a substantial investment, but low maintenance costs mitigate the financial hit in the long run.
Durable 10-year Lifetime
One of the biggest advantages of LED grow lighting is its durability. When made with quality materials, LEDs can last upwards of ten years. A decade is a long time, during which you’ll have to make many changes to your grow setup, so having a customizable LED system that can transform with your grow space is ideal. When shopping for grow lights, it’s good to purchase USA-made LEDs, because of their production standards, product quality, and easily accessed replacement parts.
The Brand’s Reputation in the Marketplace
There are numerous brands of LED lights on the market and every brand provides a slightly different product. This makes the selection process challenging for new growers.
If a beginning grower has been going back and forth between different brands, they may want to purchase the well-known brand name. A company with a long history, quality product, and good reputation is likely to stand behind the service they offer.
Power Consumption and Output
Your grow room’s lighting will be used for 10 to 11 hours per day, which will undoubtedly increase your utility bills. Fortunately, LEDs’ energy usage is decreased compared to other grow lights like HPS or MH because of different amounts of heat output from each. Making the right choice and carefully reading the product descriptions will prevent power usage complications later on. Therefore, it’s a good idea to determine how many lumens a single unit can provide. LED lamps typically utilize a minimum of 300 W and a maximum of 1000 W. Depending on the light dispersion angle, the quality and efficiency of the lamp, a single 300 W LED lamp provides approximately 27,000 lumens, which adequately illuminates approximately three square meters of grow space.
Reduced Heat Output
Temperature is another important factor to consider when choosing grow room LEDs, as temperature contributes to the cannabis plant’s rate of tissue growth. The lights are constantly close to your plants, and a low heat output will prevent damage while allowing you to keep your lamps at the proper distance from the crop. Lighting units like HPS and MH, with high heat outputs, can: burn plant leaves if too close to the canopy; burn out quickly, require replacement more often than LEDs. A well-balanced LED lamp with low heat output emits less heat energy and comes with aluminum heat sinks.
Getting Up to PAR
No, we’re not talking about golf. Here, PAR is an acronym for photosynthetically active radiation. Basically, PAR is the light-energy used by plants. Though most LED lamp manufacturers offer information on lumens (total amount of light produced) it’s more important for a cannabis grower to learn about PAR output. If your plants’ leaves aren’t absorbing PAR, the energy is wasted. PAR data from lighting manufacturers is often misleading, as the amount of PAR changes between the light beam’s central and peripheral points of coverage. In other words, the plants directly beneath the light’s central point will receive the most PAR, while peripheral plants will receive significantly less. LED lamps’ PAR is distributed across a wider surface area because of the use of multiple diodes, so the central point of light coverage is dispersed equally over a wider surface area. Compared to single unit MH or HPS bulbs, the wider central point of illumination provided by LED units offers a greater value of PAR for indoor cannabis crops.
Quality Semiconductor Chips
An LED light’s semiconductor chip is the core component that converts power (watts) into light (lumens), and the semiconductor chip also determines the type of wavelength(s) a single diode can emit. Moreover, a semiconductor chip determines: the wattage used and number of lumens emitted from a single diode; the type of wavelength (light color) emitted; and the resulting PAR. With LED lamps, the ratio of lumens (lm) per watt (W) is typically 90 lm:1 W. When growing cannabis, each plant requires approximately 3000 – 10,000 lm/m2. Depending on the number of semiconductor chips per diode in a single lamp, a grower will want a lamp to utilize at least 110 W.
Let’s say you’re growing three plants—given that some semiconductor chips only utilize three watts each, your LED lamp could contain roughly 36 three-watt chips powering a multitude of diodes in order to emit the adequate number of lumens to your three plants.
When you see LED grow lamps with listed wattage, it’s usually the same wattage you’d need in an HPS or HID light to achieve equivalent results. Therefore, a 400-watt LED grow lamp can be used in place of a 400-watt HPS or HID unit, but the LED’s actual wattage will be significantly less. That’s why LED lights are more energy efficient than HPS and HID setups. First-time growers typically assume that higher wattage grow lights are better, but that’s not always the case. A good rule to follow is to use LED lamps that utilize 30 – 110 W per square meter (or per plant).
The Cooling System
LED lights burn significantly cooler than their HPS and HID counterparts, but they still need high-quality cooling systems. The system’s heat sink should effectively dissipate created heat, moving it away from the lights and your cannabis crop.
Certain LED grow lamps come with the ability to adjust the dispersion angle. Setting it to a wider angle will allow you to cover more area, and choosing a narrow angle lets you focus the light on a smaller portion of the crop.
Suitability to Your Cannabis Crop
The lights you choose must be well-suited to the crops you’re growing. Though all LEDs will work to an extent, certain units are purpose-built to address cannabis plants’ full spectrum light requirements. Full spectrum requirements relate to the varying light wavelengths required at each stage of a cannabis plant’s growth. For example, during the vegetative phase a cannabis plant requires a greater amount of blue spectrum light whereas the flowering phase requires a greater amount of red spectrum light. Some grow lights even offer dual, or concurrent, deep red and far red spectrum exposure—a flower boosting technique known as the Emerson Effect.
One important question to ask yourself when considering the lighting requirements of your plants is: are you looking for lights to use during the vegetative cycle, the flowering stage, or the complete cycle of growth? Once you know the answer to those questions, determining the LED lamp suitable for your cannabis crop will become easier.
Compatibility With Your Grow Room
The availability of space is a crucial factor when buying grow lights as it largely determines the size and number of lights you’ll need. The first step is to measure your available floor space. Then, you’ll need to determine the wattage utilized by each LED lamp you’re looking at, the potential dispersion angles, and how many lumens those lamps provide. With that information, you’ll be able to decide how many LED units you need.
Helpful information: the general rule for cannabis growing operations (from seedling to mature plant) requires 30 – 110 W per m2, while a standard LED unit is typically powered by a minimum of 300W each.
Though it’s possible to grow cannabis under most types of light, different wavelengths are required for efficient photosynthesis. Some of the industry’s best LED lights will offer your plants the full light spectrum they need at each growth stage. For instance, to grow efficiently, your plants require light from the blue and red spectrums. A full-spectrum LED grow lamp makes it easier for a cannabis cultivator to cater to their plants’ special needs by providing the correct spectrum of light for each stage of growth.
Flexibility and Ease of Use
At some points, you may have to change your lamps’ positions based on your crop’s growth stage. The best LED lights are highly efficient, simple to use, and easily fine-tuned. Furthermore, it’s crucial to find lights with adjustable wavelengths (light colors) and dispersion angles. Choose products that are simple to maintain and ready to use right out of the box.
If you’re running a serious grow operation, you’ll likely want to automate the process to the extent possible. Automation doesn’t just lighten your workload; it also reduces the chances that you’ll make simple but detrimental mistakes. The cannabis industry’s best grow lights offer a range of programming options such as altering dispersion angles, setting lighting schedules, and altering light spectrums (colors) to suit the phase of growth.
A Good Return and Warranty Policy
LED grow lights should hold up for about a decade under normal conditions, so you should be skeptical of warranties that don’t last at least 5 years. A short warranty period typically indicates a low-quality product.
Most LED lighting manufacturers guarantee their lights have functioning components and offer free shipping return policies. Some LED light components work independently of one another, so, in some cases, if waiting for one replacement part to arrive, the lamp may continue an adequate level of function.
Several factors contribute to a successful cannabis grow operation, lighting being one of the most crucial. By referring to the information listed here, it’s our hope that you will achieve success growing with LED grow lights. Visit i49.net for more cannabis related information, including a catalogue of seeds!
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