Choosing the Best LED Grow light for indoor growing
Our previous article gave you an idea of the different types of grow lights to consider for indoor growing. LED grow lights have certainly become one of the more popular choices amongst growers for their efficiency, longevity and inertness with regards to temperature within the growing area.
So what do you need to keep in mind when choosing the best LED grow light for your indoor growing needs?
Budget and Brand
The price range on LED grow lights is vast. You have the smaller and lower quality lights which most beginners may be inclined towards given that they come at a lower price. However, for optimum results, the higher quality lights are the way to go. They also offer great customer service, high quality and durable lights and most importantly higher PPFD (photosynthetic photon flux density).
Light Spectrum, PAR and PPFD
As we mentioned in our previous article PPF (Photosynthetic Photon Flux) is the key measure for grow lights as they measure the total amount of PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) that is produced by a lighting system each second. PAR light is the wavelengths of light within the visible range of 400 to 700 nanometers (nm) which drive photosynthesis. This is essentially the spectrum of light your plants actually use and need. Beware that if the LED light you are considering makes no mention of these anywhere then dig in a bit to understand whether their wattage actually caters to the spectrum your plants need. A lot of lights claim to be full spectrum, however, as we mentioned above, plants need a certain wavelength and this is critical for their growth and during vegetative and flowering stages. Make sure you find out what the PAR is for light you are evaluating and what the density of that PAR based on PPF values.
Area, space & light footprint
This is another very critical point to consider when evaluating your light. The footprint or the area that your light will cover will determine how many sets of light you need for your growing area. The lower cost lights tend to not have this information and a lot of beginners find mediocre results with their lights as a result. The footprint of the light is most often mentioned especially in the higher quality lights and gives you a good idea of the area or spread of the light based on the height it is placed. This also makes your PPF values differ and hence good lights and companies do tend to share all this necessary information. Make sure you know how much your growing area covers, and whether your light will be sufficient for it. So consider, light footprint as well as light PPFD for maximum results.
Wattage and efficiency
A key aspect of LED lights is their efficiency as compared to other lights. As your lights will be on for atleast 8 to 12 hours and in some phases most of the day, you need to ensure that your light is efficient. Higher wattage lights tend to cost more initially but work out more cost effective in the long run as they are far more efficient. Higher wattage generally means that your light does is powerful enough to give the adequate intensity and wavelength to your plant by using less energy. That automatically leads to lower energy costs. However, read enough reviews about the light your are considering to get an idea of what other users may have experienced.
RecommendationWhile there are several LED brands out there, here are a few that we highly recommend based on user feedback, service quality and product quality.
Check them out here:
Economy Grow Lights - Mars Hydro
High Performing Grow Lights - Black Dog LED
Commercial Grow Lights - California Lightworks