LED grow lights, have made indoor plant growing possible for everyone, regardless of where they live. Lighting is the most important aspect of plant development and that’s why in the last few years, manufacturers have focused on producing more efficient models for indoor gardens.
LED grow lights combine minimal design, durability and better performance while being more efficient and adjustable. However, buying one for the first time can be tricky, due to the complicated terminology that is used in the product descriptions. In this short guide, we’ll share some tips for you to choose your very first LED grow light!
Marketed v. Actual Output
There is no LED grow light in the market that functions at full power. That’s a physics fact. Nevertheless, many manufacturers advertise their models in their potential Watts instead of their actual output.
For example, if you have a 120x5W LED panel, chances are the manufacturer will market it at its potential power output, which is 600W. However, LED lights are designed to last longer when working between 55-70% of their full range. You could always run them to the max, but you’ll drastically reduce the lifespan of the bulbs.
So, unless stated by the manufacturer, always assume that the actual power output will be significantly less than the advertised number (a good rule of thumb is around 60%). If you don’t mind using a bit of math, you can work it out yourself, by using the Volts, Amps, and Watts, usually found in the spec sheet of every model.
Diode Build Quality
The chips and diodes are the building blocks of your LED light, so you need to make sure you get what you pay for. Aim for white LEDs with chips of at least 3W (although 5W is ideal). The semiconductor chip inside the LED is responsible for converting electricity to usable light. The better the quality, the brighter the panel!
One of the best features of LED grow lights is their efficiency. Contrary to HID lights that waste a significant amount of energy producing heat, LEDs run at relatively low temperatures. That means they can be hanged closer to the plants (30-50cm from canopy) without burning them.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t produce any heat! The cooling system is an important aspect of LED grow lights and especially stronger ones. Cheaper models utilize inline fans for cooling, which are not ideal. In many cases, fans are fragile and noisy. If you are getting a fan-cooled unit, check their build quality.
Top of the line grow lights use (mainly aluminum) heat sinks and no fans, while there are also models that use hybrid cooling systems. You will find that more powerful units use both fans and heatsinks to ensure proper airflow. No matter which one you choose, you should carefully inspect the quality of the materials.
As with every electronic device, you should always pay attention to the warranty of a product. Some manufacturers offer guarantees, while others offer full warranties for defective products. You can learn more about the differences here.
Our shop offers a 2-year warranty on all products so you can rest assured that we’ve got your back, no matter what happens! Put your new knowledge to the test by checking the specs of our LED grow lights!