What to Look For When Buying LED Grow Lights – A Guide To 2021
Investing in the right equipment is an important part of any grow, and choosing the right lighting system is arguably the most important part of it. The first step in choosing growlights is choosing the right type for the crop, and many growers these days believe that an LED lighting system is the best way to go.
A big reason for this is that LED lights are very energy efficient, but more importantly, they are super efficient in terms of heat. Unlike HPS lighting, which gives off an insane amount of heat that can be difficult to control and can wreak havoc on room temperatures in the grow room, it’s very unlikely to be a problem with LED lighting.
Once you’ve decided that LED lights are the right choice, it’s time to buy the first LED grow light you come across … Wrong! There’s a lot more work to be done to find the perfect LED light for your indoor plants. Here are a few things to look out for.
The type of LED lighting
There are a few types of LED lights to choose from, so make sure you get the right type for an indoor grow room. It goes without saying that you won’t be using standard LED lights for your indoor harvest, but that still doesn’t explain what type of LED grow light is best.
While all types of LED grow lights use the same lighting technology, they do not all have the same design and style. There are differences in the distribution of the diodes (like spider distribution compared to traditional panels) and differences in the way the light is administered (like whether it is set for vegetables or flowers).
If you are new to this field, your best bet is to use a traditional LED panel. These type of lights are easy to use and most of the lights on the market today are traditional.
Look at the wattage
Regardless of which type of lighting you choose, you should always pay close attention to the wattage. While there are times when watts don’t matter, like with household lighting, wattage always does matter in the LED light you choose for your grow room.
To determine the wattage you need, you should first consider the area you want to cover. Most growers follow the rule of thumb that if you plan to use LEDs, you should aim for 35-50 watts per square foot. It may be a little lower if there is space for plants in the vegetables, but overall, try to follow this rule in your calculations.
Let’s say you are aiming for 50 watts per square foot. If you are using the standard 4 × 4 tent, which is 16 square meters, multiply 16 × 50 and get 800 watts. For better coverage, avoid using a single lamp with such a high wattage and instead use 2 400 watt lamps or 4 200 watt headlights.
The reviews of other breeders
Checking out posts like this one with LED grow light reviews before buying a light fixture may seem like a breeze. With that in mind, you’d be surprised how many breeders pull the trigger on a purchase before looking at other people’s opinions and experiences.
Try to avoid buying a fixture with no reviews and first look for fixtures from reputable brands that have made a name for themselves. A positive review speaks for itself, so hundreds of positive reviews say a lot, even if it is a little more expensive.
Durability & quality construction
LED lamps have a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours, so you should choose a system and light fixture that will last as long as the lamps. Look for one that is made with durable materials and components, and try to stay away from a cheap, China-made LED in whatever you do. These prices are cheap, but usually too good to be true.
Look at the PAR value
PAR stands for Photosynthetically Active Radiation and is important for several reasons. Light is necessary for photosynthesis, but some types of light are more useful for photosynthesis to occur than others. The PAR rating of light helps determine its value in photosynthesis, but higher doesn’t always mean better.
This is one aspect of LED light shopping that can be confusing for growers, especially those who don’t consider themselves scientific experts. For the sake of simplicity, it is important to ensure that the distribution of PAR is even.
If luminaires in the middle of a luminaire have a higher PAR value than the bulbs on the outer edges, the more distant plants suffer. With a luminaire that has the same PAR values for all light bulbs, all plants receive the same high-quality light regardless of their placement in the garden.
Look at the cooling system
Just because LED lighting runs cooler than hotter HP light bulbs doesn’t mean you can completely ignore the need for a cooling system. Like all lights, LED lights give off at least some heat (even if it may not be a lot), so cooling components are still required.
Depending on the stage of growing and the stage of plant development, your lamps can be lit for 18 hours a day. That is many hours, so you can definitely count on a certain heating output. With LEDs, heat tends to build up around the back of the lightbulb, so a heat sink should be there to dissipate some of it.
One final note on choosing the right LED grow lights
The main reason for choosing the right LED grow lights is not to be cheap. While you can certainly save on other aspects of a grow room, your lighting cannot. So look for a high quality LED light that is long lasting, has good reviews, and delivers the right wattage.