When choosing an LED grow light, there are many things to consider. These factors can make or break your growing experience.
When comparing different LED grow lights, it’s important to understand the different metrics that measure their intensity. This includes wattage, color spectrum and coverage area.
An LED grow light is rated in watts (or watts per square foot), which can help you determine the approximate fixture size you need. However, wattage shouldn’t be the sole determinant of coverage area or light intensity and should only serve as a guide to determining your desired power output.
Many people assume a higher wattage LED will be brighter, but this is not always true. This is because the wattage is based on theoretical maximum power a LED can handle when perfectly cooled, but it doesn’t reflect actual light output in a real growing environment.
A high wattage LED will not be as efficient for your plants, because a majority of the wattage is unused and converted to heat. Plants also preferentially absorb red and blue LED wavelengths, and white LEDs are not a good choice for them because they contain a lot of color spectrums that plants don’t need. This is why we recommend using a mix of 2,700 and 6,500 Kelvin bulbs to ensure your plants receive optimal lighting.
Whether you’re growing indoors or in the field, plants require a balanced color spectrum. This helps ensure healthy plant growth and development, allowing for higher yields and better quality crops.
The color of light is determined by its wavelength, which ranges from 380nm-740nm. This range of colors is often referred to as the “visible spectrum” or “color spectrum.”
Blue light is important for vegetative and structural growth, red lights promote flowering and fruiting, and yellow lights encourage leaf and stem elongation. However, all grow lights do their part to improve plant health and growth.
LED grow lights typically use phosphors to convert a single narrow wavelength of blue light into longer wavelengths that are more beneficial for plant growth. This results in a mix of blue, red and yellow light that is ideal for your specific growing needs.
Regardless of whether you are growing cannabis or vegetables, the coverage area of your LED grow light is an important metric. It is the square footage of your plants that falls under a light’s beam, and it is crucial for determining how many lights you need and which ones to use.
This metric also helps you understand your light’s efficiency and whether it is a good fit for your growing facility. The more efficient an LED grow light is, the less watts it needs to produce the same amount of useful light intensity as a less-efficient one.
Your LED grow light’s PPFD metrics (photosynthetic photon flux density) tell you the number of PAR photons reaching your canopy per second. This metric is expressed in micromoles per square meter per second (umol/m2/s), and the better it is, the more useful your light is to your plants.
LED grow lights are expensive investments and you want to be sure they’ll last a long time. This is why it’s important to choose a grow light that has a warranty.
Most standard LED warranties last three to five years and cover replacement only. However, some manufacturers offer extended warranties for an additional cost.
To help you judge whether or not an LED grow light is worth the investment, look at its warranty and lifetime claims. These include PPFD, the amount of photosynthetic photon flux density measured at the beginning and over time.
A good PPFD number helps your plants to absorb the right amount of sunlight they need to grow properly. Several factors affect the PPFD of your grow light, including the number of LEDs used in each lamp.