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Can You Use Regular Led Lights For Grow Lights

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Grow lights are all the rage these days when it comes to indoor farming. Gone are the days of having to position your plants by the window and ending up with a plant that grows in only one direction, or having to be at the mercy of sunlight and weather.

These days, you can even plant in your basement during the dead of winter with the help of grow lights that mimic sunlight and provide your plants with much-needed light and heat. Grow lights are essentially the top necessity for indoor farming to be successful if you are seriously into it.

However, if you are new to indoor farming, you may be wondering “do I really need to grow lights when I already have a lot of light available in my house” or “aren’t they just the same thing with different labeling?” You may ask many variations of the question, but the bottom line really is can you use regular LED lights for grow lights?

For smaller planters or those who simply want a decent supply for personal consumption or for small-time selling, the three most common bulb types used are incandescent, fluorescent, and LED. During older times, incandescent bulbs were widely used, except that people realized that due to the limited light intensity and color spectrum available they did not give off very promising results.

Couple that characteristic with a high heat output and you get plants that are scorched –except of course when the added heat is called for. Also, these bulbs do not last that long.

Fluorescents are a bit cooler, last longer, and give off better light, so they soon replaced incandescent bulbs in planting just as they did in homes. Lately, the advent of LED lights has apparently arrived. They last a whole lot longer than the previous two, give off a good amount of light in the right spectrum, and give off the very least amount of heat. This puts LED grow lights on top of the grow light game and makes them the modern and more preferred choice of lighting for plating.
But the question still stands: can you use regular LED lights for grow lights?

To answer that, we could take a look at the construction of a LED grow light. LED grow lights, as you may notice, are rendered on a flattened surface and dotted symmetrically throughout this flattened surface so that they cover it evenly. You may also observe that once you turn them on, they are a groovy purple and that everything you put underneath it sort of turns purple as well, especially in the dark.
So, why are they purple?

When plants grow, they live off two main colors–red and blue. Red light is essential for photosynthesis and is responsible for controlling your plant’s height. This red light also lets your plant know that it has no competition in light absorption and it is free to fully grow and develop. Blue light is responsible for flowering, budding, and the expansion of leaves. The combination of these red and blue colors is the shade of purple which is clearly visible for many led grow lights.

Of course, introducing a controlled quantity of other light spectrum and some ultraviolet yields to better quality output, but these are usually a lot costlier to acquire. Those are why many popular LED grow lights you see in stores and online emit a purple light.
So, can you use regular LED lights for grow lights?

Well, if you look at the sun, the colorless rays can be quite difficult to totally match as it comes from a serious balance of wavelengths and all of the spectra that enables plants to naturally grow all over the planet. Regular LED lights that are used for household purposes may mimic this in a sense, but not truly.

Although there is very little known about household LED bulbs when it comes to their actual wavelength, intensity, and color spectrum, this can greatly vary from brand to brand, so you can never be sure except by trial and error.

LED grow lights, on the other hand, have measured and secured the right wavelength and spectra that are essential for plant growth, so no guesswork is involved. Although they may not be full spectrum, they provide the right wavelength that is sure to give you growth and yield.

How to Choose the Best Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

Indoor gardening has never been easier. Grow lights for indoor plants allow you to cultivate a wide variety of plants at any climate during any time of year. These growing lights are specially designed to substitute natural sunlight, stimulating photosynthesis and providing the right color spectrum where the plant can grow and flourish. With the right fixture or bulb, you can have delicious tomatoes in the dead of winter or award-winning violets year-round.

Care for plants in the comfort of your own home with grow lights.

There are a number of types of grow light types available, each with their own strengths and characteristics. Here’s a guide on how to choose the best growing lights for your situation, as well as how to properly set them up.

Choosing a Grow Light Type – Grow Bulbs vs. Lighting Fixtures

Should you swap out the bulbs in an existing light with special grow bulbs, or should you buy a brand new fixture with built-in lighting? It all depends on what you’re looking for – convenience and cost or specialized quality.

Grow light bulbs are the cheaper option. For most people, it’s easier to use as well. Just take an old lamp or ceiling light that needs bulb replacement, and pop in a specially-designed grow bulb.

Grow light fixtures are more expensive, but they offer a more holistic solution. A single fixture can provide the illumination for multiple plants, dispersing the lighting evenly throughout the space. Because these fixtures are specifically designed for grow light purposes, they tend to provide a fuller light spectrum range than cheaper light bulbs.

Should I Get an Incandescent Light, Fluorescent Light, or LED Light?

Incandescent grow lights are the least expensive technology, but they are also the least energy-efficient and have a relatively high heat output.

An incandescent grow light bulb. Although they are the least expensive option, their high heat output and low efficiency make them the weakest contender for grow light options.

Fluorescent lights have a low heat signature and produce a decent spectrum of light for growing. They generally come as tube lights or compact fluorescent (CFL) reflectors. Growing with fluorescent lights is a more energy-efficient option than growing with incandescent lights, but they tend to be a more expensive option.

An example of a CFL grow light bulb. CFL bulbs promote longer-lasting life hours and a better light spectrum for growing.

LED grow lights offer the latest technology on the market today. Extremely energy-efficient, they have an ultra-low heat output and offer an ideal light spectrum range. Offering low energy usage, low heat, and color optimized for growth, LED lights are the most efficient, effective, and customer-friendly way to grow plants at home than growing with fluorescent lights or incandescent lights.

An LED grow light array. This technology uses the least amount of heat output and offers more energy savings, making it a great choice for indoor plantings.

High-Intensity Discharge or HID bulbs produce light through an electric arc between tungsten electrodes inside a tube fused with alumina. These specialty bulbs have a very high light output level and are commonly used by commercial growers.

Metal Halide lights use mercury vapor mixed with metal salts to create a powerful light source. They use a special fixture and, like HIDs, are commonly used by commercial outfits.

What Color Light is Best for Plant Growth?

Violet-blue light in the 400 – 520 nanometer range encourages chlorophyll absorption, photosynthesis, and growth.

Red light in the 610 – 720 spectrum range promotes flowering and budding.

Grow lights should provide the proper spectrum of light for photosynthesis, which key to plant growth. Before purchasing a light, be sure to check out the provided color spectrum. Lights that can provide a full spectrum are the ideal choice for your growing space.

This is where LED lights come in handy. Most LED growing lights offer both types of color spectrum lighting, so you can get all the benefits.

TIP: Violet-blue light promotes plant growth and red light promotes plant budding. LED grow lights may look strange but they contain both types.

Setting Up an Indoor Plant Growing Area

How do you get sufficient light for houseplants and indoor garden areas? Here are 3 tips on how to best set up your space.

  • Consider your indoor garden plot. Whether it’s a single shelf, a basement area, or an entire room, look at how much space you have. Pot plants and beddings accordingly.
  • Depending on the type of plant, group the pots or trays 4 to 8 inches apart to allow for growth and easy access for pruning and care.
  • You’ll also want to make sure you purchase lights that will illuminate your entire plantings area. You may need more than one bulb or light source to fully cover your growing area. Depending on the size, you may only need to use only one light for houseplants, or you may need more.

Sprouts thrive under a nurturing lighted environment.

Grow Light Placement Tips

Hanging or placing lights over the plant beds or pots is the best arrangement, as it mimics natural sunlight from overhead and exposes all sides and leaves of a plant to the artificial light.

TIP: Place grow lights directly over plantings to mimic natural sunlight.

As a rough guide, incandescent grow light bulbs should be at least 24 inches over your plants. Fluorescent and LED lights have a lower heat signature, so they can be placed 12 and 6 inches over plants respectively.

Keep adjusting the placement of the grow light as your plants develop and mature to maintain the proper distance. Consult your particular model and type of design for exact specifics and directions.

And remember that the lighting level required for growth indoors depends upon the characteristics of the particular plant being grown. Depending on what you want to grow, you may need different lights set a different heights for specific plant areas.

TIP: LEDs have a low heat signature and can be placed very close to plantings.

How Long Should the Grow Light Be Left On?

Different types of plants need different amounts of light. As a general rule of thumb, most vegetables and flowering plants need 12 to 16 hours of light per day, with flowering plants at the top end of that range. Plan on giving most plants at least 8 hours of darkness per day.

Darkness is actually very important for the plant growth cycle. During the day, sunlight helps plants produce energy through photosynthesis. At night, however, plants break this energy down for growth and flowering in a process called “respiration”.

Check your seed packaging or plant tags, or ask at the nursery for specific suggestions. And make sure you turn your grow lights off every once in a while. No one likes to work 24 hours a day – even plants!

TIP: Use light timers to automatically turn your grow lights on and off each day.

Have More Grow Light Questions?

We’re here to help! Visit one of our Lamps Plus store locations to get help purchasing the best grow lights for your home, or contact us to speak with one of our American Lighting Association trained Lighting Consultants.

Photography Credits: Photo 2 – Potted tomato plants (Wikipedia), Photo 7 – thanks to Claire Barnes, Photo 8 – Herbs beneath grow lights (Wikipedia)

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By conducting extensive research, NASA determined that LED lights are the best single source lights for growing plants on Earth as well as in space.

If you question whether LED grow lights truly offer advantages when compared to HID lights, then take some time to review a summary (PDF) of NASA’s research about different types of grow lights. According to NASA scientists, LED lights provide the best source of lighting for plants cultivated indoors. Some of the factors that led to the research team making this decision include:

  • LED lights do not require ballasts like fluorescent and other older lights do.
  • LED lighting offers the flexibility of opting for monochromatic lights or a mix of different wavelengths.
  • Since LEDs emit little to no heat, they can be mounted closer to plants than other lights, which makes LEDs the optimal choice for lighting in small contained places.

Once the NASA research scientists determined that LED lights offer the most optimal lighting for plants, they studied the effects of different light wavelengths on plant growth.

ТHE EFFECTS OF LED LIGHT COLORS ON PLANT GROWTH

Early research concerning the effects of different light spectra on plants found that red and blue lights offer the best support for photosynthesis, which is the process used by plants to transform light into the energy needed for growth and flowering. Further investigation pinpointed more specific effects of different light wavelengths on plants grown indoors. The findings of these study provide the basis of LED light recipes

Some examples of the NASA research findings include the following:

  • Red Light (630 -660 nm) is essential for the growth of stems, as well as the expansion of leaves. This wavelength also regulates flowering, dormancy periods, and seed germination.
  • Blue Light (400 -520 nm) needs to be carefully mixed with light in other spectra since overexposure to light in this wavelength may stunt the growth of certain plant species. Light in the blue range also affects the chlorophyll content present in the plant as well as leaf thickness.
  • Green Light (500 – 600 nm) was once thought not to be necessary for plants, but recent studies have discovered this wavelength penetrates through thick top canopies to support the leaves in the lower canopy.
  • Far Red Light (720 – 740 nm) also passes through dense upper canopies to support the growth of leaves located lower on the plants. In addition, exposure to IR light reduces the time a plant needs to flower. Another benefit of far red light is that plants exposed to this wavelength tend to produce larger leaves than those not exposed to light in this spectrum.

The scientists mentioned including white LED light mixes in arrays serve as a way to ensure plants cultivated indoors receive all the photosynthetically active radiation needed to optimize their health, growth, and yield.

The Results of using LED Grow Lights in Space

NASA uses LED lighting to grow a variety of plants on the International Space Station. Initially, experiments focused on cultivating green leafy vegetables, such as cabbage. Current studies involve growing flowering plants like zinnias. As you can see, the results are impressive.

The first zinnia blooms on the International Space Station.

Source: NASA

With NASA science backing the use of LED grow lights, don’t you think it is time to try them for your grow operations?

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are the hottest thing in interior grow lights for plants.

Well, maybe ‘coolest’ is a better term than ‘hottest.’ One of the main selling features of LED grow lights is that they run much cooler than the competition and are, therefore, more energy-efficient. But LED grow lights are also more costly than conventional grow lights, so the question that you need to ask yourself before purchasing them is ‘Are they really worth the extra money?’

A bit of science

Before one can make a decision on whether or not to install LED grow lights (or any other grow lights, for that matter) it helps to understand a bit about what they are and how they affect plant growth.

The scientific explanation of how LEDs work can be a bit headache-inducing at times. What works for me is to think of a single LED fixture as a structure that contains many small semiconductors (diodes) that restrict the flow of electrons whenever the fixture is plugged in and turned on. This restriction causes the diodes to emit lots of light, that plants can then absorb and use to convert water and carbon dioxide into sugars.

Other types of grow lights also convert electron energy into usable plant light, but they often aren’t as efficient as LEDs and create too much heat. Granted, heat energy is not a complete waste because plants need fairly warm temperatures to grow well, but poor-quality grow lights typically radiate far more heat than plants could ever use.

The other intriguing aspect of many LED grow lights is that designers have been able to ‘tune’ them so that they emit the best spectrum of light for plants. Blue and red light are the two colours that most plants prefer for optimum growth, so many of today’s LED grow lights have strong peaks in both of these colours.

In fact, some LEDs emit only red light or blue light, which makes the plants look pretty weird (and even a bit creepy). In one particular greenhouse I saw row upon row of tomato plants under a ‘sea’ of red grow lights, which gave the leaves an eerie crimson glow. I felt a bit like I had landed on Mars! Fortunately most of the LEDs for home use are white, thanks to the manufacturers adding other colours to the spectral mix.

What should you do?

LED grow lights are great because they are energy-efficient, durable, and have ‘tuned’ light spectrums to best meet the plant’s needs. However, there are still many excellent fluorescent grow lights that are much cheaper and still contribute to wonderful plant growth.

The common skinny T5 fluorescent grow light tubes — T means tube and ‘5’ refers to the tube being 5/16 inches in diameter — aren’t quite as energy-efficient as LEDs, but they still perform exceptionally well. Spiral fluorescent grow lights are comparable to T5 tubes with respect to light quality and quantity, but they are more compact and can be easily screwed into regular lamp receptacles.

Now, if you still have a few incandescent bulbs kicking around the garage don’t be tempted to use them as grow lights. They may illuminate a room rather well and provide a nice warm glow, but since they emit only a small portion of usable photosynthetic light they provide little energy for plant growth.

Perhaps you are thinking of skipping lights all together. Of course that is an option, but just remember that light, rather than fertilizer, is plant food. And with our very short winter days — thanks to our northerly latitude — many of our houseplants are pretty much on a starvation diet right now. Some plants can tough out the dark days of winter, but they often look sparse and rather sad for months.

So back to the question. Is it worth paying a premium for LED grow lights over conventional grow lights? Weighing all of the factors, I would say yes, LED lights grow lights are worth the cost. But I know that many people are quite content with their fluorescents, and that’s just fine. However, for others, the decision on whether or not to install LEDs might be all about their coolness factor — both figuratively and literally.

Jim Hole is the owner of Hole’s Greenhouses in St. Albert and a certified professional horticulturist with the American Society for Horticultural Science.

How To Use LED Grow Lights For Growing Plants – Special Tips

Before you start reading: Are you interested in LED Grow Lights? My favourite one is VIHIMAI 1500W LED Grow Light Full Spectrum (Check price on Amazon).

Being a gardener you may always be busy with your plants and looking after those. Well, it may be a great concern nowadays growing plants as climate is changing because of the effective light hour, heat intensity, moisture is being affected. And that’s why the photosynthetic activity of plants maybe not as expected.

So these are the reasons you should use LED grow lights. LED grow lights are environmentally friendly first of all and the foremost advantage. Quick start, low power, no flash are the advantages which save energy. So now energy is secured.

Again if using LED grow lights then the photosynthetic effect of plants will increase, the growth rate of plants will increase when regular lights can’t do that. For example, spinach and radishes’ growth will be increased as well as there will be the improvement of the morphological index.

These can save up to 73% of energy when parking lot lamps need to work long hours. Again if your country is in winter dominating region, then LED grow lights are very effective.

Obviously, there are many more advantages of using it. So here I am with you to discuss how to use LED grow lights and other various sides of it. Stay here with me if you are facing those problems or want to know about it.

We also recommend checking out our guides:

  • Best Led Grow Lights On The Market Reviews, Buyers Guide & Top 5 Picks
  • Best 1000 Watt LED Grow Light Reviews and Buyers Guide – Update 2019
  • Best LED Grow Light for the Money Reviews and Buyers Guide
  • Best LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants Reviews, Buyers Guide & Top 5 Best Picks

Table of Contents

What is LED Grow Lights?

Without knowing what LED grow light is, you can’t implement the idea of using it. So LED grow lights are the mass produced lamp. They are the power and space saving grow lights. LEDs have several applications. At first, these were used as indicator lights on the field of electronics but now they have a larger role in the world.

Before the advanced condition like now, LED lamps had only the application of supplementary lighting. A grower may use HID grow light but for more power, he or she needs to use LED grow lights if the plant needs extra light.

With the improvement of LED, larger LED panel can supply light to the entire grow room. When other lighting systems need large ballast as well as cooling system, LEDs are free of it. You can hang a panel of circular or square or any other shape above plants.

Features of LED Grow Lights

While you are using an LED grow light, you should know the features of it. So here are some of the important features of LED grow light for you:

  • Wavelength output

There was the claim that plants can’t grow in LED lights. But now this view has changed with the improvement in this field and with the discovery of blue LEDs.

For plants, there are particular wavelengths of lights which are necessary for photosynthesis and growth. Within the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) range some wavelength of lights raise the grow of the vegetation or flower, and some of those hinder the growth of some plants.

Scientific experiments determined that red and blue wavelengths are the most important one. Shop light or lamp of LED for human lighting don’t emphasize on blue and reds which are essential for growing plants. These have the particularity for human vision.

  • Understanding watts

Watts is the measure of the energy input that a light requires. The output of the LED light is not only the function of Watts but also the quality of other components and design. The components are may be:

  1. LED chip
  2. Chip density
  3. Optics used
  4. Heatsink
  5. The driver

The increase of wattage decreases LED efficiency because of the increase of the temperature in the electronic circuit board. So when the manufacturer of LED grow light claiming Watts as the measure of ability to grow plants then it’s suspicious. So you need to have much knowledge of Watts and PAR and must depend on manufacturers’ information.

  • Light intensity

You can take measurements of light sources from different distances if you could access in a light meter. Then you will find that with the increase of the distance between the light source and light meter, light intensity drops. You can understand the relationship between the physical law between light intensity and the distance from the source.

The manufacturer could set the position of the grow light high above the vegetation and lighting a large footprint, then the output will be greater than if the LED grows light is designed to put close to the plants. The light intensity will be lower at the edge.

Leaf tissue can touch well-designed LEDs because these run cool enough so no tissues don’t encounter any harm. Therefore you can keep these lights close to the plants. Although, the light intensity is has a limiting point because too much of it burns plant tissue.

  • LED chip quality

The diode should be manufactured with some specifications to emit actual wavelength. Reputable manufacturers use a sophisticated process that the diode they are producing will emit correct light wavelength. Besides, there are some other manufacturers who produce cheap LEDs to attract the shoppers who are budget conscious.

Cheap LEDs may not emit particular necessary wavelength for plants and also light intensity may be different. The customer should be aware of these facts.

  • LED lens

The quality of LEDs depends on the lens attached to it. The light lens affect footprint and outputs. If it does not provide wanted footprints and proper intensity then the plants’ health will be not up to the mark. And that’s how you measure the quality.

Why should you use LED Grow Lights?

Knowing the advantages of using something will inspire you why you will use that thing. Let’s take a look at the benefits of using LED grow lights:

  • Longer lifespan

It’s the major advantage of LED grow lights. These have extended lifetime of 50.000 to 100.000 hours which means the continuous use of five years or more. Before buying one check the specifications of that model and buy which has at least lifetime of 50.000 hours.

Energy use of these lights is low than the normal ones. Most unique about LED grow lights are they warning before losing power. At maximum lifespan, some chips will be dark and some will emit less bright light.

So you have time for the replacement. Some models are provided with the facility to change an individual chip.

  • Flexibility factor

You can use LED grow lights in any possible way for which you won’t stop applauding. You can utilize these lights. All the gardeners prefer LEDs for this reason. Place light bulbs and panels close to the plants that they can have maximum light.

  • Increased brightness

Normal plant light emits heat more than the light. Definitely, both are crucial for growing a plant but in a proportional limit. LED grow light provides you a balanced proportion of heat and light.

Because they are designed in such a way so that they can provide more light as well as less or optimum heat. In this regard, you should know that excess heat affects plant growth.

  • Great growth

Plants’ growth will be in speed when they are provided with optimum light. Adjusting the duration of daylight increases the growth even more. The results are remarkable in the field of horticulture.

  • No necessity of ballast and reflectors

As the LED grow lights don’t need ballast, this makes them lighter than the normal grow lighting system. You can fit these into normal light fittings and you won’t face any issues because of that. Since LEDs have their own reflectors so don’t need extra reflectors.

  • Targeted light frequencies

When you are growing plants in the home or outside following greenhouse technique then you need to check and control the conditions.

In research, we see that, when plants have specific wavelengths of light, they absorb maximum chlorophyll, 400-500 nm, and 600-700 nm is the range. And LED lights are capable of meeting the range.

Pro Advice: For getting best results, you can use LED grow light with one of our most suggested grow tent.

How to use LED Grow Lights?

The process of using LED grow lights are given here. Follow the steps:

Step 1:

  • Adjust the height of the light as they are hung above the plants.
  • Early vegetative stage – fit the light approximately 300mm above the plant. Thus it ensures the lowest inter-nodal length and provides inter-nodes.
  • Vegetative stage – now increases the distance between light and plants, that may be between 300-600 mm. plants which have a lot of leaves need the light to be lower so the light can reach the lower branches of those plants. Also if your plant needs higher light levels then keep the LEDs 300 mm above, and if need lower light levels then keep the LEDs 600 mm above.
  • Flowering, budding stage – here also you can maintain a height of 300-600 mm from the canopy. But 400 mm is the favorable height above the canopy.

Step 2:

  • Alter your watering. If you newly start with the LED then watering may cause some problem.
  • Watering guides mostly are based on HPS lighting. In this process, evaporation occurs, that’s why watering is necessary. But watering or feeding is not the issues when it comes to LED grow lights. So watering may cause danger to the plants.

Step 3:

  • Then feeding the plants is necessary. But it can’t be as you want. There has a specification of feeding in presence of LED grow lights.
  • You need to feed your plants 30% of HPS lighting feeding. Add Cal-Mag when your plants are growing under LED lighting.
  • In a hydroponic system, evaporation has reduced so you must provide less topping of the nutrient.

Step 4:

In winter, you need to supply additional heat in the room. It will boost the growth of the plants. Heat in the growing area is much less than that of HPS lighting. So in winter, this may cause some problem, so you should keep an eye on the plants if you are using LED grow lights.

Special tips

  • Install multiple units

LED grow lights can create targeted light output. It is possible by using optics. So you can spotlight a particular section of the grow and thus you can repeat for each section. Plants will be under conservation if you implement multiple sections. It will maximize light distribution and you can save money. A qualified light company can help you and if you ask they will plan everything.

  • Define light cycles

The life cycle is the crucial one for crop’s biological life. Growers can manipulate it by increasing or decreasing light hours. Greenhouse growers can do this by using blackout curtains and extra lighting. In vegetative stage, 18 hours daylight per day is necessary for flowers. Vegetative crops will grow well at 17-18 hours light per day.

  • Light

Sufficient light level for flowering is 400 and 700 uMoles/m-2s. The light should be distributed evenly over the canopy. As LED grow lights’ lighting is directional, so keep an eye on it. Light closer than 10” can cause bleaching.

SOG and SCROG techniques will help to develop flowering canopy depth between 12”-16” and light will reach to all the sites. Prune by the end of week two if any flower is lower than this level. By week four, remove all large fan leaves so light can reach. It is important to ensure that the light access consistent.

  • Temperature

78F is the most appreciated optimal temperature for any type of plant, then the carbon dioxide level should be 360 PPM. You should monitor root zone temperature. Air temperature higher than 85F needs cooler dark period air temperature.

  • Nutrients

As the temperature has become higher, nutrient concentration gets higher in the drier regions. It can create toxic levels at the root zone. So, reduce 25-30% nutrient concentration.

Also check: Best Hydroponic Nutrients Buyer Guide and Reviews

Safety measures

  • Wear eye protection when working with equipment in a greenhouse. Because some of those light can emit UV radiation.
  • Protect your skin when working in the LED grow light for any duration of time.
  • If the surface got too much hot then increase the distance between LED light and surface. For low wattage system, 2 to 3 feet difference between lights and top of the plants is alright. High wattage system needs 4 to 6 feet.
  • Keep cords and fixtures away from the irrigation system.
  • When you prefer to use fluorescent bulbs, select grow light bulbs which don’t have any toxic coatings. So chemical hazard will not happen because of the breakage.
  • Install the lights properly with the protective lens to minimize the danger of toxic material like mercury.

FAQ

Q: Should you keep the lights ON all the time?

A: It depends on the growing stage. During the vegetative stage, 24 hours lighting won’t cause a problem. But during

flowering or fruiting stage, 12 hours of lighting will be fine.

Q: Will regular LED lights give the same results?

A: Yes, but it’s not a wise decision. After the good soil, the quality of lights will be the biggest investment.

Q: Could you invest in dimmable lights to adjust light spectrum?

A: Adjusting the height will not necessary in the case of dimmable lights which is the main purpose of using it. Veg dimmer and bloom dimmer are included in dimmable series.

Final thought

Growing plants are a great job nowadays when the climate is changing. So you can contribute to keeping the climate protected by keeping the environment greener. Therefore, knowing the overall about growing is so much necessary. Also, the light intensity may come to a change than before at a particular season.

So plants or crops you were producing before have to go through the change, and the production will hamper. Keeping all these in mind, LED grow light investing is the best option. Well, people may not use it wisely but surely in near future it will be the most used one.

If you go through the article then you know why that is. With so many advantages you won’t find another one. Using LEDs can save you money and strength. So if you are a grower then it is high time you invented on LED grow lights.

As a self-confessed science geek I am fascinated by technology. Yet in the world of gardening this is often synonymous with the gimmicky (fibreglass meerkat solar light, anyone?) or the hugely complex and costly – think hydroponic growers that require a degree in electrical engineering to install. So it was with trepidation that I started experimenting with LED grow lights last winter in my tiny flat.

Nine months down the line I am a total convert, eulogising about them to all my gardening mates. They are something I feel could be a gamechanger to many modern gardeners, if we could only get over our preconceptions. This is why…

Once upon a time grow lamps were massive, ungainly things – fluorescent tubes more than a metre long that required complex and hideous systems of stands, cables and reflectors. They were real power guzzlers, too, so not exactly great for the planet, or your wallet – which would already have taken a pretty eye-watering hit from the price of all the kit. They even kicked out quite a bit of heat, which apart from raising safety issues, could also damage the very plants you were trying to grow.

However, recent breakthroughs in LED technology have created a new generation of effective, cool-running grow lights that cost a fraction of the old-school behemoths both to buy and to run, consuming (according to some manufacturers) 90% less energy. Crucially, they have shrunk down enough to be easily incorporated into average living room decor, some seamlessly integrated into planter-cum-lamp designs.

Others are light and thin enough to be fixed pretty much invisibly into standard flat-pack shelves, turning existing pieces of furniture in my house into instant growing units. These LED lights are becoming increasingly widely available online and even at a certain Scandinavian home store.

But why bother in the first place? Surely part of the pleasure of getting out in the garden is to escape the relentless march of technology into every aspect of our lives. Well, here’s what my little experiment has done for me: I was able to grow houseplants in parts of my dark, urban flat that I never could before. This is a huge bonus to an obsessive plant collector like me, and could make an even more dramatic difference to houseplant lovers in basement or north-facing flats where lack of light is a serious issue.

Also, come spring seed sowing, I started off a good six weeks or so earlier and got zero etiolation on my baby plants. Stronger plants, much earlier, meant I got a bumper harvest of tomatoes and chillies weeks ahead of time. And all of this for the cost of a couple of desk lamps than run on minimal power. Brilliant!

Email James at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Botanygeek

How to Use LED Grow Lights 2019

The LED Grow Light must be used properly for optimum growth and yield. The most common mistakes with LEDs are not having enough light and not placing the light at the proper distance. If you do not provide enough light, your plants will not grow to their full potential. Similarly, incorrect light placement will also not allow plants to grow to their full potential. Placing a light too close will stunt growth, too far will cause stretching. Follow the recommended coverage areas listed on the Details Page of each light for optimal light penetration and coverage. Keep in mind that there are many variables to indoor growing with lighting being one of the most critical.

Keeping the proper distance between your LED grow lights and your plants is important for robust photosynthesis and growth. The G8LED grow lights provide a rich blend of light in the visible and invisible portions of the light spectrum. G8LEDs are formulated to maximize the photosynthetic activation radiation (PAR) wavelengths necessary for plant growth. Plants will reach for the much-coveted light source just like they grow towards the sun in outdoor conditions. Increase the distance between the top of the plants’ canopy and the light source as the wattage increases.

How Close Should LED Grow Lights Be to Plants?

Indoor grow lights of different power ratings will perform best at different distances. Which LED grow lights are the best for my space? The G8LED 240 Watt LED Grow Light is for 2-4 mature plants, with a distance of 12-24 inches from the top of the canopy. The larger G8LED 450 Watt LED Grow Light is for 4-8 mature plants, with a distance of 14-30 inches from the plant canopy. These lights also work well for mother plants and cloning. Higher wattage lights such as the G8LED 600 Watt LED Grow Light and the 900 Watt LED Grow Light have a distance range of 16-36 inches from the top of the canopy.

G8LED grow lights do not emit a great amount of heat like MH/HPS systems. G8LED lights allow for easier temperature control in the grow space and in the space immediately below the lights, eliminating the risk of burning plants with the lights. The ambient room temperature can be 82 degrees instead of the lower temperatures needed to avoid burning plants with HPS bulbs. Since the G8 lights save energy and do not emit excess heat, there will be less water evaporation from the leaves of the plant and the soil. The watering schedule should be adjusted with less frequent watering. Water when the top half inch of the soil is dry and use 30% fewer nutrients as compared with MH/HPS when growing with LEDs

Will LED Grow Lights Hurt Your Eyes?

Do not look directly into the LED grow light as it is very bright. Eye protection is recommended when working around any bright light source, including LED grow lights. Working around the plants when the lights are off is another good option.

Vegetative Growth with LED Grow Lights

The benefits of G8LED grow lights begin during the vegetative growth stage. During this period, the LED lights will save on electricity, and plants will begin a healthy growth cycle, developing a deep green color. The infrared (IR) diodes play a crucial role in the development of cells and stem strength during vegetative growth.

Vegetative growth is maintained with 16-18 hours of light per day. You can even keep the plants under 24 hours of light and they will continue to grow at this stage. However, the recommended growth cycle is 18 hours of light during the vegetative growth stage. This light cycle will create an environment that mimics the photoperiod of summertime with long days. It is during the vegetative growth stage that cloning, transplanting, pruning, and bending are all initiated.

After four to eight weeks of vegetative growth, the plants will start the flowering phase. Pre-flowers are the first indication that the plant is ready to move into the next stage of growth. The pre-flowers grow at branch internodes, behind the leaf spur. Pre-flowers are an indication that the plants are ready to go into the flowering stage. Continue to grow in the vegetative stage to get larger plants or switch to flowering at this point. The pre-flower looks like a regular female flower with white fuzzy pistils. The pre-flowering can take from one to two weeks. When ready for flowering, change the light cycle to 12 hours of light per day and add Flower Boosters.

Flowering with LED Grow Lights

Indoor grow lights can mimic the photoperiod of the seasons by how long they are on per day. For flowering, the light cycle will reduce from 18 hours to 12 hours per day. Increased light in the red and far-red spectra of the visible portion of light, at the correct density, will increase flowering size and yield. Add G8LED Flower Boosters at this stage for more robust flowering.

Flowering can last eight weeks or longer. During flowering, growth patterns and chemical changes in the plants become apparent. Stems elongate, leaves grow progressively fewer blades, and flower formation is rapid at first then slows. Phosphorus and potassium uptake increase to promote floral formation. Plant nutrients should have less nitrogen and more potassium and phosphorus during flowering. Avoid feeding too often as this can cause your plant to get nutrient burned. Use 30% fewer nutrients with LED flowering grow lights as compared to MH/HPS systems. Do not overwater the plants and do not harvest too early.

How to Clone with LED Grow Lights

Making clones or cuttings from a mother plant is an excellent way to propagate plants and ensure continuos growing. Any plant can be cloned, regardless of age or growth stage. However, female mother plants in the vegetative stage of growth are ideal for cloning. If the mother plant is in the flowering stage, the clones will require several weeks to revert to vegetative growth. Proper usage of LED grow lights will multiply the number of plants you have in a methodical and environmentally friendly way. Mother plants should be at least two months old and should get 18 hours of light per day. Clones can be grown with any G8LED Veg/Flower grow light for 18 hours per day. The G8-240 Watt and G8-450 Watt lights are excellent for growing clones. The cloned plants can be as close at 12-18 inches from these lights.

How to Take Care of LED Grow Lights

G8LED grow lights are a smart investment for commercial operations or hobbyist grows. The investment offsets other capital expenditures by eliminating the need for ballasts, reflectors, heat venting systems and air conditioning in addition to lowering operational costs by dramatically reducing the electricity consumption of your grow room. Keep your lights clean by keeping the grow space free of smoke, dust, and insects. LED lights can be cleaned by blowing compressed air through the vents when the lights are off. Smoke, dust and insect accumulation inside the lights will act as insulation on the heat sinks and diode boards. This layer of unwanted insulation will cause the light to run hotter and can lead to diode failure. To provide further protection, you can connect your LED grow light to a surge protected power strip or a power stabilizer. Doing so will regulate the voltage coming from your power outlet and eliminate any potential power fluctuations. If too many high wattage devices are connected to the same circuit there can be voltage fluctuations which damage power drivers inside the LED lights. This is especially true for growers who use solar energy to power their grow rooms since these systems tend to have power spikes and surges. Protect your LED Grow lights and Grow Green with G8LED technology!

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Using LED Grow Lights

For people who use cannabis derived products on a regular basis, it is very tempting to try growing the plant at home. The benefits are quite obvious: the cost is drastically lower and there aren’t any hassles related to the actual purchase of medical marijuana.

Many people all around the world grow cannabis at their homes, be it for recreational or medicinal purposes, and while some of them do quite well and manage to produce a good product, for others it doesn’t work so well – their plants wither quickly or produce insignificant yields.

These issues can be related to improper usage of lighting. (The same issues affect other types of plants as well.) Grow lights are a great tool for making the growing process more efficient, but they can also be harmful to the plant if not used correctly.

In this article, we’ll provide you with the 10 most common things you should pay attention to when using LED grow lights so you can grow healthy looking plants and avoid any unnecessary hassle. This information is extremely relevant to beginners.

Read: Grow Weed Indoors: A Guide for Beginners

Overheating the Plants

You will know the plant is taking too much heat if the leaves that are closest to the light start turning brownish. The first signs look like thin outlines on the outside of the leaves, so if you catch this quickly you will have a chance to avoid further damage. If some of the leaves start curling up, it might also be a sign that the plant is too close to the light. Good ventilation usually also helps with this issue.

Providing Insufficient Lighting

It is important to consider the scale of your operations. Think about how many plants you’re growing and how many LED lights you’ll need in order to illuminate them properly. You should also be aware of the luminosity of the lights you’re using. For example, a 200W LED light is said to be sufficient for a yield of about 100 grams. Make sure that you have enough lamps but still look for a good balance between providing sufficient lighting and not overdoing it.

Setting the Lamps at an Improper Distance

Overheating or insufficient lighting can result from having too many or not enough lights, but it can also result from placing the lights too close or too far from the plants. There is no universal rule for setting the distance but it’s recommended that LEDs are placed 12 to 18 inches away from the plants.

Using Inferior Products

Light is among the most vital factors to consider when growing plants because it triggers the photosynthesis process. If you’re using regular incandescent lights, you’re not very likely to grow strong and healthy plants. Therefore, for best results it is recommended that you use full spectrum LED grow lights. They are specifically designed for the purpose and have the feature to deliver light in the exact spectrum the plant needs.

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Selecting the Wrong Light Spectrum

In order to grow efficiently, plants need different types of light for each growth stage. With full-spectrum LED lights this is easily achievable, but if you select the wrong setting, the plant will not develop well. You should also take into consideration the conditions in the room where you’re doing the growing. For example, plants benefit most from light in the blue spectrum when they’re in the vegetative stage of growth. That means that if you set the light to emit light in the red spectrum, you will only be hindering the plant’s growth.

Using the Wrong Light Schedule

You should be careful not to leave the lights on all the time, or worse, the opposite – forget to turn them on. It might sound trivial but it’s quite easy to mess up the light schedule and even a minor change might have a negative impact the plant’s growth. Cannabis needs about 18-24 hours of light during the vegetative stage and 12 hours of light during the flowering stage.

Forgetting to Adjust the Lights

Many people forget to adjust the height of the lights as the plants grow bigger and end up with burnt leaves. Another important thing is to occasionally rotate the pots in order to prevent the plants from leaning towards the light too much.

Not Protecting and Maintaining the LED Lights

LED grow lights are your friend and an important investment, so you need to take proper care of them. They bring numerous benefits to the growing process and a little maintenance and preparation can save you a lot of trouble. It is recommended that you set up a power stabilizer and connect it to the lights in order to equalize the incoming voltage, thus protecting the chip inside the LEDs.

Overwatering When Switching from HIDs to LEDs

Regular HID lights produce a lot of heat and generate lots of infrared light. This dries out the plant and the soil and results in the need to water the plant more often. However, LED lights generate no infrared light and don’t emit nearly as much heat, so there is no need for abundant watering.

Not Considering the Other Factors

LED grow lights are a great aid when growing plants indoors but by themselves they cannot do much. In order to produce big and healthy yields there are a lot of factors that need to be considered – room temperature, airflow circulation, soil, nutrients, plant genetics, and many others things. Don’t just focus on a single part of the growing process. Instead, try to get an overall understanding of the whole chain and how everything is interconnected.

Grow lights are a vital piece of equipment that every aspiring grower should have. Although they are easy to use and set up, you should pay attention to this list of common mistakes and save yourself from headaches.

Which LED Grow Lights Work for Cannabis?

by Nebula Haze

Table of Contents

Introduction – LEDs on average yield 0.5 to 1g/watt (of actual power draw

3 Main Types of LEDs

  • Spread Style (Ex: Quantum Board, Rack, or Spider)
  • Traditional Panel
  • COB Style

Trusted LED Grow Light Companies for Growing Cannabis – These LED models have been tested and shown to work well for growing actual live marijuana plants

  • ViparSpectra – Recommended Panels
  • HLG (Horticulture Lighting Group) – Recommended Quantum Boards
  • Electric Sky (Green Sunshine Company) – Quantum board style
  • Advanced Platinum
  • Kind LEDs
  • Other brands

More About Growing with LEDs

  • LEDs vs Other Cannabis Grow Lights
  • How to Use LEDs
  • How to Avoid Problems with LEDs

Introduction: Are LEDs a Good Choice for Growing Cannabis?

LED grow lights are relatively new to the cannabis growing scene, but they have become wildly popular over the last few years with their ability to produce great yields while staying cool and using a reasonable amount of electricity.

Yields! With a quality LED grow light and an average-to-good grow, you can expect yields of about 0.5 to 1g/watt.

The final yield depends a lot on strain and grow skill, as well as the quality of the lamp itself, but that’s a good rule of thumb for most models. For example, a 200W LED (200W true power draw, not an “equivalent” wattage) would yield about 100-200 grams on average, or 3.5 to 7 ounces.

Today’s LED models are much better for growing cannabis than the ones available even a few years ago. Many modern lamps are full spectrum or “wideband” spectrum (instead of only red and blue light diodes, which product a bluish purple light and are sometimes called “blurples”). Full spectrum light is easier on the eyes and adding at least some amount of green light to blurples typically results in healthier growth. Other spectrum colors like red, far red, and infrared are important for the budding/flowering stage. LED manufacturers have developed specialized lenses to point light directly to the plants and increase penetration, resulting in bigger yields for the same amount of light compared to older models. There are also many different form factors, with everything from the casing to the size of the diodes varying from model to model.

Modern LED grow lights can produce impressive results. These cannabis plants were grown completely under LED grow lights from seed to harvest!


Pic by Joe “Nunyabiz” Nunya, an avid LED grower who uses ViparSpectra LEDs

3 Main Types of LED Grow Lights

There are 3 main types of LEDs that are most commonly used for growing cannabis. Each type of model has its pros and cons, so there isn’t yet a “best” LED type. Some are better for some situations than other.

1.) Spread Style

Many smaller LEDs are spread out over a large area. Examples of this style include Quantum Boards, Rack and “Spider style” LED grow lights.

Quantum Board

The name “Quantum Board LED grow light” originated from Horticulture Lighting Group, though the term is now sometimes used for any LED in this style. They tend to have relatively low wattage diodes which are spread out over a large area on a board. These are becoming more popular lately, and seem to offer particularly good results for the amount of wattage used.

Spider LED

The “spider style” LEDs are similar to Quantum Boards in that the individual diodes are spread out and tend to be on the smaller side, but they are set on a panel with “arms” like a spider as opposed to a solid board. One very popular example is the SPYDRx line of LED lights. These typically have an extremely high price, but growers who use them swear they get better results than any other type of LED grow light.

2.) Traditional Panel

The standard panel LEDs have small to medium wattage diodes and the lamps tend to be more compact. Most LED grow lights available today are in this style. They are sort of halfway between a Quantum Board and a COB Style light, with a mix of features from both.

I’m also seeing lots of new “hybrid” LED grow lights appearing, that contain a mix of big and little LEDs, and unique form factors that mix and match between all the styles.

3.) COB Style

These grow lights use huge COB (Chip on Board) LED “bulbs”. Each COB is incredibly bright and intense because they contain multiple LED chips in a small area. COBs produce more intense light than other types of LEDs, and each COB uses a significant amount of electricity. Cree is most popular brand of COBs.

Instead of having dozens of small diodes, COB style LED grow lights typically only have a handful of huge COBs, each with strong lenses to direct the light down into the plant. These are rapidly gaining in popularity and are known for having deep penetration into the plant canopy.

AutoCOBs

It’s also common to see LED grow lights that only have one COB per lamp. These make it easy to spread out your light over a grow area, one lamp at a time. Sometimes known as “AutoCOBs”.

Some LED grow lights have a single COB LED. Multiple units can be spread out as needed.

Each COB has its own spectrum, so you can create a custom spectrum for your plants by combining multiple AutoCOBs together. They are very configurable if you have an unusually shaped grow space, or want to be able to accommodate different plants of different sizes at the same time.

Some COB LED grow lights can be plugged into regular light sockets

Now that you have a basic understanding of the different types of LEDs, lets talk about using them for growing cannabis.

LEDs are often compared to HPS grow lights and each type of grow light has pros and cons for cannabis growers. Here’s the quick summary to help you decide whether LEDs are a good fit for you, and you can also read more deeply into the differences between LED and HPS here.

Choose LED grow lights if…

  • You want to use the most cutting-edge indoor cannabis grow lights with a customized spectrum of light

  • You are willing to do some research to determine the best LED grow light for your space (this article will help guide you)

  • You have some extra money to spend on your initial setup (some of the best LED grow lights have a high initial cost)

  • You don’t want to deal with an exhaust system or ducting, and would prefer to just hang your grow light over your cannabis plants and let the lights cool themselves
  • Quality (potency, smell, trichome development) and ease of use are important to you

Which LED grow light brands can be trusted?

This is a very short list, and is not in any way meant to be comprehensive. There are hundreds if not thousands of brands of LED grow lights, and a lot of them are great, but I’m only listing brands that I personally know for certain will work well for growing cannabis. These LED grow lights have actually been tested and given the seal of approval by real cannabis growers.

Get breakdowns of their best models for growing cannabis:

  • ViparSpectra – Recommended (Great LED for the Price)
  • HLG (Horticulture Lighting Group) – Recommended Quantum Board
  • Electric Sky (Green Sunshine Company) – Quantum board style
  • Advanced Platinum Grow Lights
  • Kind LED Grow Lights

ViparSpectra LED Grow Lights

In our growing forum, many members have experimented with different grow lights for growing cannabis. Over the last few months, it has become apparent that one of the most popular brands for LED grow lights is an emerging company known as “ViparSpectra.”

I hadn’t heard of them until relatively recently (it seemingly started becoming very popular around late 2016 or early 2017).

Since growers are getting such great results with these lights, and they come at surprisingly reasonable prices for LED grow lights, I knew I needed to highlight this company as our most recommended LED grow light!

Example of a Cannabis Cola Grown Under ViparSpectra LED Grow Lights from Seed to Harvest – Buds Are Dense, High Quality and Potent

I will be adding moe pictures of real cannabis plants growing under these lights soon, to help you know what to expect. Keep checking back!

Breakdown of Different ViparSpectra LED Models:

Here is a breakdown of their different models. This list doesn’t include all their models, just the ones that seem to be performing the best. We omitted a few that just don’t seem as good as the others for some reason (as one example, the pro version of the 1200W seems to be getting some bad reviews based on its light footprint, despite the fact that all the other models in the series perform very well).

Recommended ViparSpectra Models:

  • “450W” – 200W actual wattage
  • “450W” (pro series) – 210W actual wattage <– great choice for first-time growers!
  • “600W” – 274W actual wattage
  • “700W” (pro series) – 326W actual wattage <– good mid-size
  • “1200W” – 524W actual wattage<– for advanced growers only

Note: Unlike a lot of other brands, ViparSpectra LED grows lights have both a heatsink and built-in fans to help keep grow lights cool.


pic by Joe “Nunyabiz” Nunya, an avid LED grower who uses ViparSpectra LED

The following marijuana plants were grown under Vipar Spectra LED grow lights

Why are these buds purple?

Cola produced by ViparSpectra LEDs

ViparSpectra “450W”

  • Price: $120
  • Grow Space: 2.5×2.5’ coverage at 24” (suitable for vegetative stage) and 2×2’ coverage at 18” (suitable for flowering stage)

  • Actual Power Consumption: 200W

  • How Far to Keep from Plants: 24″ is the recommended starting distance from the plants.

  • Average Yields: 3.5-4+ ounces – keep in mind that the strain (genetics) and any plant training you do makes a huge difference in your final yields

ViparSpectra PAR450 (Dimmable, Pro Series)

  • Price: $180
  • Grow Space: 2.5×2.5’ coverage at 32” (suitable for vegetative stage) and 2×2’ coverage at 24” (suitable for flowering stage)

  • Actual Power Consumption: 202W

  • How Far to Keep from Plants: 32″ is the recommended starting distance from the plants.

  • Average Yields: 3.5-5+ ounces – keep in mind that the strain (genetics) and any plant training you do makes a huge difference in your final yields.

Examples of buds grown under the ViparSpectra PAR 450 by “M”

ViparSpectra PAR600

  • Price: $230
  • Grow Space: 2.5×2.5’ coverage at 34” (suitable for vegetative stage) and 2×2’ coverage at 26” (suitable for flowering stage)

  • Actual Power Consumption: 274W

  • How Far to Keep from Plants: 34″ is the recommended starting distance from the plants.

  • Average Yields: 4.5-6+ ounces – keep in mind that the strain (genetics) and any plant training you do makes a huge difference in your final yields.

This cola was produced under a ViparSpectra PAR600 LED grow light

These marijuana plants were grown under a ViparSpectra 600

ViparSpectra PAR700 (Dimmable, Pro Series)

  • Price: $300
  • Grow Space: 2.5×2.5’ coverage at 36” (suitable for vegetative stage) and 2×2’ coverage at 28” (suitable for flowering stage)

  • Actual Power Consumption: 328W

  • How Far to Keep from Plants: 36″ is the recommended starting distance from the plants.

  • Average Yields: 5.5-8+ ounces – keep in mind that the strain (genetics) and any plant training you do makes a huge difference in your final yields. Some growers are getting even better yields with this light, it seems to be performing very well in tests.

ViparSpectra 1200W

  • Price: $340
  • Grow Space: 4.5×4.5’ coverage at 32” (suitable for vegetative stage) and 3.5×3.5’ coverage at 24” (suitable for flowering stage)

  • Actual Power Consumption: 520W

  • How Far to Keep from Plants: 32″ is the recommended starting distance from the plants.

  • Average Yields: 9-14+ ounces – keep in mind that the strain (genetics) and any plant training you do makes a huge difference in your final yields.

Horticulture Lighting Group (HLG) LED Grow Lights

HLG first coined the term “Quantum Board” for an LED grow light with the diodes spread out over a large area (on a board). The board style LED grow lights have become very popular almost as soon as they appeared on the scene. Growers are reporting results that may beat even other LED grow lights when it comes to the amount of yields for the electricity used. We feel it’s too early to call a winner just yet, but it’s undeniable these are some of the best LED grow lights available today (with a price tag to match)!

Breakdown of Different HLG LED Models:

HLG 300 Quantum Board (3000K spectrum recommended)

  • Price: $510
  • Grow Space: Up to 4′ x 4′ in the vegetative stage. Between 2.5′ x 2.5′ to 3′ x 3′ in the flowering stage

  • Actual Power Consumption: 285W at full power, and can be dimmed down to 120W for younger plants

  • How Far to Keep from Plants: 20-28″ for the vegetative stage. 18-20″ away in the flowering stage.

  • Average Yields: 5-10+ ounces – keep in mind that the strain (genetics) and any plant training you do makes a huge difference in your final yields

These cannabis plants were grown under an HLG300 LED grow light8 cannabis plants grown by PlatinumCultivation under a HLG 300 LED grow light (check out their Instagram profile for more!)Cannabis plants grown by depthchargeseeds under an HLG 300 Quantum Board LED grow light (check out their Instagram profile!)

HLG 550 Quantum Board (3000K spectrum recommended)

  • Price: $900
  • Grow Space: Up to 6′ x 6′ in the vegetative stage. Between 4′ x 4′ to 4.5′ x 4.5′ in the flowering stage.

  • Actual Power Consumption: 480W at full power, and can be dimmed down to 240W for younger plants

  • How Far to Keep from Plants: 20-28″ for the vegetative stage. 18-20″ away in the flowering stage.

  • Average Yields: 8-17+ ounces – keep in mind that the strain (genetics) and any plant training you do makes a huge difference in your final yields

Example of cannabis plants grown under the HLG550 LED Grow LightCannabis plants grown by cannabichiro under a HLG 550 LED grow light (check out their Instagram profile for more!)Cannabis plant in DWC grown by rumplenuggrower under a HLG 550 LED grow light (check out their Instagram profile for more!)

Electric Sky LED grow lights (The Green Sunshine Company)

This company makes “Quantum Board” or “Spread Style” LED grow lights. Normally I only recommend products that can be found consistently on Amazon.com, and sometimes these ones are available there, but typically you need to order directly from their website. I only include them in this list because this particular company goes above and beyond as far as customer service, and will actually give you detailed instructions on how to use their LEDs to get the best yields and results. The company is also comfortable supporting cannabis growers and answering questions about plants.

On my Instagram account and via our email list, I regularly ask growers what LEDs they’re using. These Electric Sky LEDs kept getting mentioned over and over. The Green Sunshine Company actually contacted me directly and asked if we wanted to try the ES300 models out. I have to admit, I’ve been blown away by them so far. I want to run a few more grows before I’m able to really get behind them, but I highly recommend them so far.

Our plants growing under two Electric Sky 300 LED grow lights

Breakdown of Different Electric Sky LED Models:

ES180 grow light

  • Price: $420
  • Grow Space: Between 1.5’x3′ to 2’x4′ grow space

  • Actual Power Consumption: 180W

  • How Far to Keep from Plants: 12-18″ away from tops of plants

  • Average Yields: 3-7+ ounces – keep in mind that the strain (genetics) and any plant training you do makes a huge difference in your final yields

ES180 found on Amazon (sometimes) or order directly The Green Sunshine Company website

ES300 grow light (Recommended)

  • Price: $700
  • Grow Space: Up to 3’x5′ in the vegetative stage, 2’x4′ in the flowering stage

  • Actual Power Consumption: 300W at full power, dimmable

  • How Far to Keep from Plants: 36” away in vegetative stage, 18″ away in flowering

  • Average Yields: 5-11+ ounces – keep in mind that the strain (genetics) and any plant training you do makes a huge difference in your final yields

ES300 found on Amazon (sometimes) or order directly The Green Sunshine Company website

Picture of ES300 when turned on (unique spectrum is efficient for plant growth)

Six plants in a 4’x4′ grow tent, grown under two ES300 lamps

Here are those same plants at week 6 of flowering under the ES300 LEDs

Advanced Platinum LED Grow Lights

A relatively new name on the scene, Advanced Platinum is selling professional LED grow lights for less money than many other LED lamps of the same quality. Despite the cheaper price tag, they have a wider light spectrum than most LEDs, which helps plants grow faster with fewer of the leaf problems and deficiencies than you see with LED models that only have red and blue diodes. They’re making a good name for themselves in the cannabis growing community because their LED models are getting really great results when it comes to both quality and yields.

This company is known for great customer service and a 5-year warranty on all their lights.

Breakdown of Different Advanced Platinum LED Models:

Advanced Platinum P300

  • Price: $370
  • Grow Space: 2’x2.5′ or 2.5’x3′

  • Actual Power Consumption: 93W in veg, 185W in flowering (this model has a separate vegetative and flowering mode)

  • How Far to Keep from Plants: 24-38″ is the standard starting distance for the vegetative stage. You can move it to 18-20″ away in the flowering stage, or possibly even a few inches closer for light-loving strains.

  • Average Yields: 3+ ounces – keep in mind that the strain (genetics) and any plant training you do makes a huge difference in your final yields

Advanced Platinum P450

  • Price: $540
  • Grow Space: 2’x3′ or 3’x3.5′

  • Actual Power Consumption: 137W in veg, 255W in flowering (this model has a separate vegetative and flowering mode)

  • How Far to Keep from Plants: 24-38″ is the standard starting distance for the vegetative stage. You can move it to 18-20″ away in the flowering stage, or possibly even a few inches closer for light-loving strains.

  • Average Yields: 4+ ounces – keep in mind that the strain (genetics) and any plant training you do makes a huge difference in your final yields

Advanced Platinum P600

  • Price: $660
  • Grow Space: 3’x4′ or 3’x5′

  • Actual Power Consumption: 184W in veg, 368W in flowering (this model has a separate vegetative and flowering mode)

  • How Far to Keep from Plants: 24-38″ is the standard starting distance for the vegetative stage. You can move it to 18-20″ away in the flowering stage, or possibly even a few inches closer for light-loving strains.

  • Average Yields: 6+ ounces – keep in mind that the strain (genetics) and any plant training you do makes a huge difference in your final yields

Kind LED Grow Lights

Kind LED panels have recently been becoming very popular on the cannabis growing scene and seem to be getting great results especially when it comes to yields. However, they are definitely pricey even for LEDs, so that is a big consideration!

View Kind K5 grow journal (multiple Kind lights) with a 1.3 lb (0.6 kg) harvest!

Breakdown of Different Kind LED Models:

While Kind LEDs offer several additional models of LED grow lights, because of the price tag on these lamps I’m only listing the ones I’ve seen used by actual cannabis growers, though I’m sure the other ones are likely just as good. That being said, the following models have been proven to work really well for growing cannabis!

Kind LED Grow Lights “K3 L450”

  • Price: $750
  • Grow Space: 2.5’x3.5’’

  • Actual Power Consumption: 270W

  • How Far to Keep from Plants: The manufacturers of this Kind LED grow light recommend that the lamp be kept at least 36″ from the tops of your plants for the best results. This model is very, very powerful and keeping it too close will give your plants light burn!

  • Average Yields: 4+ ounces – keep in mind that the strain (genetics) and any plant training you do makes a huge difference in your final yields

Cannabis plants grown under the L450 Kind LED grow light

Kind LED Grow Lights “K3 L600”

  • Price: $600
  • Grow Space: 3’x4′

  • Actual Power Consumption: 320W

  • How Far to Keep from Plants: The manufacturers of this Kind LED grow light recommend that the lamp be kept at least 36″ from the tops of your plants for the best results. This model is very, very powerful and keeping it too close will give your plants light burn!

  • Average Yields: 5+ ounces – keep in mind that the strain (genetics) and any plant training you do makes a huge difference in your final yields

Cannabis plants grown under the L600 Kind LED grow light

pics by the very talented LED grower Laughing Buddha!

Are there other LED grow lights that work for growing cannabis?

There are certainly more LED grow lights out there which will probably work great for growing marijuana! But so far these are the only ones I’ve seen getting good results after being extensively tested on real, live cannabis plants. If you’ve got an LED grow light and would like to share information and pics about your cannabis grow (including final yields!), we’d love to hear from you!

As more LED grow lights appear on the market, we are testing LEDs and looking for other cannabis LED testers so we can share our knowledge!

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5 Barriers to Total LED Grow Light Domination!

LEDs vs Other Popular Cannabis Grow Lights

LEDs vs CFLs

  • LEDs get better yields for the same amount of electricity than CFLs. This is because LEDs are more electrically efficient (produce more light for the same amount of electricity)

  • Unlike CFLs, LEDs don’t need to be adjusted almost daily

  • LEDs give off less heat than a CFL setup with the same amount of electricity, and LEDs also come with additional cooling options like heatsinks and sometimes even built-in fans, which pushes all the heat up and away from the plants, making it easier for growers to maintain comfortable temperatures.

  • LEDs need to be kept much further away from plants than CFLs, which means that CFLs are better suited to short grow spaces without a lot of available height. LED grow lights generally need to be kept 12-18+” away from the tops of plants, while CFLs can be kept just a few inches away.

LEDs vs MH/HPS

I’ve seen many growers choose to mix LEDs with their HPS bulbs. In fact, combining MH/HPS with a quality LED panel may be a great way to improve the quality of your harvested buds. There are lots of growers who claim that LEDs increase potency and density, as well as bring out the natural smell/taste of your strain. On the flip side, some growers believe that HPS tends to produce “prettier” buds.

  • If you’re most concerned with improving your yields/watt, skip the LEDs and get an HPS grow light for your flowering stage. Although LEDs are catching up and there are some really great LEDs out there that get comparable results, HPS still tends to give you bigger yields when it comes to how much electricity is being used.

  • LEDs can get pretty pricey, though not all brands! In fact, some great brands are actually some of the cheapest!

  • Several growers believe LEDs produce higher quality buds (more trichomes, higher potency, and bring out the natural taste and smell of buds). They also tend to bring out colors.

  • LED grow lights come with built-in cooling systems and heat sinks which vent air up and away from plants. This can make it so that you can hang the LED grow light in your tent and not necessarily need an exhaust system to control the temperature

  • LEDs are plug-and-play which means you can plug them directly into a wall without a ballast

What’s the difference between buds grown under LED grow lights compared to buds grown under an HPS grow light? Do the buds look/taste/smell different?

Although this is just one example, this is pretty typical of LED grow lights in that they tend to bring out colors. This Eldorado plant was bloomed under two light sources, an HPS on one side and an LED on the other. Nothing scientific, no partitions, so there was light overlap. At harvest the color difference was surprising (see below) and after curing 2 select pieces from each side of the plant, the aromas are slightly different as well.

View video of this Eldorado plant by Endive
(check out Endive’s website)

LED grow lights are a great choice for growers who are dealing with hot HPS lights and want to change to something that’s going to run cooler. Although LED grow lights do produce heat, the smaller models might not bring up the temperature of your grow space.

Even the more powerful models of LED grow lights that produce a lot of heat still have built-in cooling systems to help prevent the heat from beaming directly down onto your plants.

Which LED grow lights are best for growing cannabis? (get a short list of a few trusted brands)

How to Use LED Grow Lights for Growing Cannabis

With LED grow lights, you will generally get better results with many smaller LED panels, as opposed to a few big LED panels. For example, you will often get better results with 2 x 125W LEDs (total 250W) than you would with a single LED model that produces 250W. This is because more panels often make it easier for you to spread the light to where it’s needed.

When it comes to growing cannabis, LED models with 3W chipsets (each individual bulb is 3W) seem to get some of the best yields/watt of all LED models without a lot of worry about light-burning your plants.

With LEDs, always look at the “actual power draw” or “actual power consumption” which is the amount of electricity the LED panel actually pulls from the wall. When comparing different LED grow lights, this is the closest you get to a side-by-side comparison.

Generally, your goal with LED panels should be 50-60 watts per square foot of grow space to get the best results.

The most important thing to remember about choosing LED grow lights….

Do Your Research!

How to Avoid Problems with LEDs

The most important thing to learn about your new LED grow light is the proper distance to keep it from your growing cannabis plants. The recommended distance varies greatly from LED model to model, but getting it right will make a huge positive difference in your results! So many growers unintentionally hurt their plants by keeping their LED grow light too close.

Best Way to Avoid Problems with LED grow lights: Keep them the right distance away!

If kept too close, LEDs may cause cannabis leaves to look discolored similar to a nutrient deficiency, even if nutrient levels are fine.

This is especially common in the flowering/budding phase, especially towards the end of flowering when the same leaves have been directly under the LED for months. Discolored leaves don’t necessarily mean you’ve done anything wrong, especially if the LED grow light is being kept far enough away, but if you’re noticing it particularly near the lights, it’s a good indication it might be light burn. Most modern LED grow lights need to be kept at least 12-18″ away to prevent light burn.

These leaf symptoms are caused by light burn (grow light too close), not a nutrient deficiency

In addition to discolored leaves, too much light can also “bleach” the tops of buds

There’s no “set” distance LED lights should be from the tops of your plants, but a good rule of thumb is 12-18+ inches.

Each model is different based on the size of its bulbs and the lenses used to reflect light down. It’s important to ask the manufacturer how far to keep LEDs from your plants. Smaller LEDs with 1W chips almost always need to be kept at least 12″ away. However, most LEDs with 3W chips or bigger need to be kept 18″ away or more to get the best results and prevent light burn. Check with the manufacturer to figure out the right distance for your particular model of LED grow light. How can there be too much light if the heat is under control?

If just the tops of your plants are showing symptoms, chances are that your LED lights are too close.

Notice how the leaves closest to the light have turned completely yellow, while the leaves further down from the light are still green and healthy

This plant was green and healthy through the vegetative stage under an LED grow light, but the leaves started dying soon after flowering started. It ended up that the LED was too close.

These plants seem apparently healthy, but the top leaves keep getting lighter and lighter because the LED grow light was too close. If you don’t realize it’s light burn, the symptoms are inexplicable!

LED grow lights need to be used properly to get the results, but if you know what to expect they pay you back with built-in cooling that allows a grower to hang their lights directly over their plants without worrying about fans, ducting or ballasts. They are easy on the electricity bill and don’t cause a lot of heat problems.

Additionally, buds grown under LEDs are known for producing colorful, sticky, strong and smelly buds! And isn’t producing quality buds the reason we do it all?

Check out an LED grow journal where the grower harvested over a pound of bud!

Jump to…

Kind K5 XL1000 LED Grow Journal – 1.2 lb. Harvest!

7 Tips to Growing Top-Shelf Buds

Which Grow Light? | Cannabis Grow Light Guide

How to Remedy 99% of Cannabis Growing Problems

LED Grow Light Info: Should You Use LED Lights For Your Plants

We all know plants need light to grow and be healthy. Indoor plants often suffer from too little sun and can benefit from artificial light. Most lighting options today feature LEDs due to their long life and low energy use. But should you use LED lights to grow plants? The traditional grow lights were fluorescent or incandescent. Let’s see what the difference between LED lights and grow lights stacks up to and which is better. Keep reading for LED grow light info that will help you make an informed decision before you purchase plant lights.

What are LED Grow Lights For?

LED grow lights are a relatively new horticultural introduction, although NASA has been studying them for decades. Are LED lights better than traditional grow lights? That depends upon the crop on which they are used, as well as economic and energy expenditure factors.

Just like fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs produce light that is needed by plants. Most plants need light waves of red and blue. The chemicals that control plant growth respond to both colors differently.

Phytochromes drive leafy growth and are responsive to red light, while cryptochromes, which control plant light response, are sensitive to blue lights.

You can get good growth with just one or the other of the color waves, but utilizing both will result in bigger yields and healthier plants with quicker growth. LED lights can be customized to emit long or short light waves as well as certain levels of color to improve plant performance.

Are LED Lights Better?

There is not just one difference between LED lights and grow lights. While LED lights require more of a cash layout, they will last more than twice as long as other lights. Additionally, they require less energy, which saves money over time.

Additionally, there is no gas, mercury, lead, breakable filament and the bulbs are tougher and harder to break. As opposed to many other grow lights, LEDs are also cooler and can be situated closer to plants without a chance of burning leaves.

Should you use LED lights? The initial cost of your grow light set up and the duration of use can help answer that question.

Specific LED Grow Light Info

If you balk at the cost of using an LED system, consider that the bulbs are 80% efficient. That means they convert 80% of the energy they use into light. With good LED lights, they draw fewer watts (electric energy) while producing brighter light as compared to regular grow bulbs.

Modern LED lights are engineered to reduce the amount of heat given off, either by use of a heat sink or by diverting heat away from the diodes. All this points to a winning argument for LED lights, but if you are a new gardener or simply don’t want to sink a lot of money into your indoor growing system, traditional grow lights will work just fine. Just remember that the cost of replacement and energy will overall be fractionally higher as time goes by.

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