Growing plants indoors? LED grow lights are a top choice for many gardeners today. LEDs offer some great benefits for indoor plants compared to older lighting. This article explains what LED grow lights are. It covers why they are good for plants. And how to pick the right LED light for your needs.
We’ll look at important factors like the light color, brightness, and coverage area. You’ll see the pros and cons of different LED light types and brands. Our goal is to make choosing an LED grow light easy. We want to help you find the perfect LED setup. One that lets your plants thrive and saves you money. With the right LED grow light, you can grow healthy plants indoors year-round.
What are LED Grow Lights?
LED stands for light emitting diode. LED grow lights are special lights used for growing plants indoors. LED grow lights use LED technology. This is different from traditional grow lights. Traditional lights used high pressure sodium, metal halide, or incandescent bulbs. LED grow lights have LEDs inside. The LEDs give off light that plants can use to grow. LED grow lights also have fins and fans. This help keeps the lights cool.
LED grow lights are designed just for plants. The lights give off certain colors that plants need. This helps plants grow better indoors. LED grow lights are energy efficient. They last a long time – over 50,000 hours. They don’t get too hot either. This makes them safer than older grow lights.
Main Benefits of LED Grow Lights
There are several key reasons why LED grow lights are a great choice for indoor gardening and growing plants. Let’s look at some of the main benefits of using LED grow lights.
Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings
One of the biggest advantages of LED grow lights is that they use far less electricity than traditional lighting options like high intensity discharge (HID) lights. LEDs are able to convert energy into light very efficiently, using only a fraction of the power of a HID light to produce the same brightness and light intensity. This results in major energy savings and lower electricity bills for the grower. For example, a 300W LED grow light may provide the same brightness as a 600W HID light, cutting energy use in half.
In addition, LED grow lights have a very long lifespan of 50,000 hours or more before needing to be replaced. With traditional lights needing replacement every 1-2 years, LEDs save you money by not having to buy new bulbs constantly. The energy efficiency and longevity make LED grow lights a smart investment that pays off over time.
Customizable Light Spectrum
Unlike traditional grow lights that emit white light, LEDs can produce different wavelengths and colors of light. This allows LED grow lights to be customized and tailored to different growth stages of the plants.
During the seedling and vegetative stages, plants need more light of blue spectrum. Blue light promotes compact, leafy growth. When the plants begin flowering/fruiting, they benefit more from red spectrum light. Red light helps with bud and fruit production. Finding LED grow lights designed specifically for each stage helps maximize the quantity and quality of what you grow.
Low Heat Emission
Standard high intensity discharge (HID) grow lights generate a lot of heat. While plants do need warmth, too much heat can cause damage and stress. This is especially problematic in smaller indoor grow tents and spaces.
LED grow lights run much cooler, producing very little radiant heat. Not only are LEDs safer to use around plants, but they also lower fire risk compared to hotter HID lighting. The cooler operation prevents the need for high power ventilation systems too. For growers, it’s one less thing to worry about maintaining ideal temperatures.
The exceptionally long 50,000+ hour lifespan of LED grow lights makes them a sound long-term investment. Because they last for years longer than traditional sodium and metal halide bulbs, you won’t need to frequently replace LED grow lights. The maintenance savings here are remarkable compared to changing HID bulbs every 1-2 years when they burn out.
Types of LED Grow Lights
There are a few main types of LED grow lights to choose from. Each has pros and cons to consider.
LED Grow Light Panels
LED panels have lots of small LEDs spread across the panel. The LEDs are usually grouped by color/wavelength. Panels come in different sizes and power levels. They work well for small and large grow areas.
COB LED Grow Lights
COB stands for chip-on-board. These have clusters of high-power LEDs on a panel. COB LEDs are very intense and bright. They produce high light output from small fixtures. But they are less customizable than other LED types.
Quantum Board LEDs
Quantum boards use LEDs mounted to a PCB board. The LEDs are spread out for even lighting distribution. Quantum boards efficiently produce full spectrum light. They come in many sizes.
LED Grow Light Strips
These are flexible LED light strips. They are used mainly for supplemental or secondary lighting. Strips are easy to mount in tight spaces. But strips do not replace a main grow light.
Comparing LED Grow Light Types
Full spectrum LED panels give the most customization options. COB and quantum board LEDs excel at high intensity light for flowering/fruiting. LED strips supplement lighting from other sources. Consider your needs for intensity, adjustability, and coverage area when selecting LED grow lights.
Key Factors to Consider When Choosing LED Grow Lights
Picking the right LED grow light depends on a few key factors. Here are some things to consider for your needs:
Think about which growth stage you need to light. Seedlings and plant growth need blue/red light. Flowering/fruiting plants do best under red spectrum. Look for LEDs designed for each stage.
Grow Area Size
Consider the size of your grow space. Measure it to find the coverage you need from the LED lights. A light for a small tent won’t work for a large room.
Light intensity is measured in PAR – photosynthetically active radiation. You want a PAR output that’s ideal for the stage of plant growth. Higher PAR values work better for fruiting/flowering.
Pick lights with wavelengths suited to the plant growth stage. Blue/red for seedlings. More red light for flowering or fruit growth. Look for customizable or full spectrum LEDs.
LED grow lights range in price. More expensive lights often have higher PAR levels and more features. But you can find quality budget options too. Set a budget and look for best value.
To pick the right LED grow light, know what plant growth stage you need to light. Choose LEDs with the best light color and brightness for that stage. Also consider the size of your grow space. And your budget. Taking time to find the perfect LED will reward you with thriving indoor plants. We hope this guide gave you what you need to select LED grow lights that suit your needs.