LED Grow Lights

As you’re no doubt aware, if there’s one thing that plants need to thrive, it’s light. So it’s of crucial importance that you pick the right lighting system when starting a grow set-up.

There are many different tried and tested lighting solutions out there, all produce some impressive results, but with the advancement in LED technology in recent years, more people are starting to realize the benefits of incorporating LED grow lights into their grow setups.

LED grow lights are still a long way off from overtaking the traditionally used lighting systems in terms of popularity and pricing for the home grower, but significant inroads have been made. It now seems it’s only a matter of time before LED grow lights becomes the standard for indoor growers worldwide.

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Written By Roy Stevens
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Quick Answer

“When it comes to efficient cannabis growing, nothing beats using LED grow lights. Weight, power output, adaptability, and decreased operating costs are all attributes of this cutting-edge technology. Just like growers using small spaces, hobbyist growers that would like to experiment with cannabis cultivation will also benefit from full spectrum LED grow lights because they incur small electricity bills, reduce the need for AC systems, and are far more eco-friendly.”

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Benefits of LED Grow Lights

The individuals that will benefit from owning LED grow lights are those that absolutely want to reduce their electricity bill. If you’ve grown cannabis with HID lighting, then you know how big of a surprise the electricity bill can be during the summer months.

HID lighting increases the heat in your room, so not only are you using an abundant amount of energy with the lights alone, but you also create the need to cool your room down with additional electricity through the use of an AC unit. This pairing puts stress on your electricity consumption, which eventually results in an eye-popping electricity bill.

Growers who are looking to become cost-effective will benefit from using LED grow lights because they emit far less heat, which decreases the strain on your AC unit. Another type of grower that will benefit from owning LED grow lights is one that is compelled to reduce his or her carbon footprint.

Each HID light provides a massive amount of lighting, but at an environmental cost. The more electricity that’s consumed is directly the result of power plants producing this energy. Growers who cultivate cannabis in small places are also a large contingent who’ll benefit from using LED grow lights. Smaller rooms require less intense lighting, and they become heat traps when a HID system is placed within.

There’s no reason why you’d place a 1,000-watt HPS light inside of a 2’x2’ grow tent as this would destroy your crop quickly unless you have an incredibly efficient AC system in place.

How Many Plants Will You Grow?

This is a fundamental question that you must ask yourself, regardless of the type of lighting system that you intend on using. The number of plants that you grow will directly affect the type of LED grow light that you should purchase. Most cannabis-friendly states allow residents to grow up to 6 mature cannabis plants, but this isn’t always the case. There are states that allow only 3, and others allow upwards of 9.

Some states allow you to act as a caregiver to others and increase your plant count. This issue is further complicated if you’re one of the lucky few to have received a cultivators’ license from your local jurisdiction. In general, 4 plants within a square meter will benefit from a 600-watt LED grow light. The higher you raise your lights to accommodate for more plants, the PAR (photosynthetic photon flux) value becomes increased.

When the light density for photosynthesis increases, the less light your plant receives. This is why it’s crucial for you to consider your plant count and plant size to make sure that your LED grow light is sufficient. If your LED grow light is too large for your space, you become inefficient. The same occurs if you buy a too small LED grow light, which leads to inefficiency. To realize the benefits of LED technology, you must find the ideal balance by accommodating the correct number of plants.

What’s Your Budget?

Unfortunately, LED grow lights still command a high price. These devices are cost-effective in the long run, so it’s essential that you understand that there will be a significant upfront cost when purchasing a new LED grow light. Similar to the solar industry, the upfront cost scares away many, but the long-term savings pay for the unit and then some in as little as a year of use.

If you’ve grown multiple cannabis crops in the past with a power-hungry HID (high-intensity discharge) light, you know how large your electricity bill can be at the end of the month.

When your plants are in the vegetative phase, the lights are left on for 18 hours out of 24. This stage of growth can last anywhere from one week to 6 weeks – depending on how large you’d like your plants to be. This accumulation of time significantly affects your cost of operations, since each minute of lighting is costing your a certain dollar value.

Once you’ve completed the vegetative phase, it’s time to move onto the flowering stage. Although this phase of growth requires less lighting (12-hours), it still aggregates over time because this process takes between 7-11-weeks to finish.

After considering that you’re looking at 8-17 weeks of lighting, which doesn’t include the lighting required for seed germination, clone propagation, mother maintenance, or the juvenile growth stage.

Another aspect that you’d need to take into consideration is how many HID lights are required to cover your given canopy space. Most of the time, 1 600-watt HPS light isn’t enough to cover a 4’x8’ grow tent. As you begin to place additional lights into your grow room, you exponentially increase the cost of electricity.

Once you switch over to a 1,000-watt LED grow light, you immediately reduce your energy consumption. Although LED companies label their lighting systems as 1,000-watt, they draw far less energy from the outlet. Typically, a 1,000-watt LED grow light will consume upwards of 400-watts of power; thus, consuming a fraction of energy compared to a 1,000-watt HID.

By slashing your power bill in half, you can spend these savings on additional tools, new cannabis genetics, or better yet, place them into your bank account. Although a full spectrum 1,000w LED grow light isn’t exactly equivalent to a 1,000w HPS, they offer additional benefits that outcompete traditional HIDs.

It goes without saying that a 1,000-watt LED grow light significantly reduces your electricity bill. Aside from your main electricity bill, there are many benefits associated with owning a 1,000-watt LED grow light.

Save Water

As the temperature within your grow room increases, the moisture within the medium begins to evaporate. Your cannabis crop will start to wilt, which is a clear sign of heat stress. This is a scenario that countless growers face when using HID lighting in an enclosed grow room without an effective ventilation system.

Most of us think that we can get away with a miniature AC system, but in reality, we’re trying to reduce our overall costs. Instead, you’re putting your plants into a precarious situation by forcing them to walk on a tightrope. Inadequate ventilation will leave your plants stressed while the intense heat from a 1,000-watt HPS is bearing down on them.

The main advantage of a LED grow light is that it reduces the heat in your grow room, which simultaneously decreases the plants’ water needs. If your room isn’t hot, then your plants intake water at a reasonable rate according to their size. The medium doesn’t lose moisture quickly when the temperature isn’t soaring into the triple digits.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Although most of us don’t think about it, we place a high amount of stress on the planet with our needs. It’s important to realize that the amount of energy that’s necessary to power multiple HID lighting systems is unsustainable.

Now that cannabis cultivation is legal in many states, the amount of growers is increasing. If every grower is compelled to use LED technology, we can reduce our overall power consumption and energy use. By reducing our energy use, we can sustainably grow cannabis. The more sustainable our cultivation practices, less stress is placed on the environment. Implementing LED technology will reduce our overall carbon footprint and improve our lives.

Save Money on Bulbs

You’ll no longer need to buy separate MH or HPS bulbs once you’ve switched over to an LED grow light. Most LED grow lights are customizable, meaning you can choose which color spectrum at any moment. This is done by the use of a remote controller or by buttons located on the LED grow light itself.

Reduce Your Weight

Traditional HID lighting requires heavy equipment to power each bulb. Magnetic and digital ballasts weigh roughly 30-40 pounds each. A power cord is attached to the ballast, which then joins the hood and bulb.

Most growers keep the ballast outside of the grow room because it generates heat while its in operation. Ballasts are generally fixed to walls or placed in a safe area on the ground. It’s challenging to put ballasts on a wall due to their weight, so it’s common to find these pieces of equipment on the ground.

Instead, a 1,000-watt LED grow light doesn’t require a ballast. This automatically reduces their weight, which makes them incredibly easy to hang within your garden.

Increase Your Safety

As stated previously, traditional HID lighting requires the use of a ballast. Once your room consists of more than one ballast, you may find yourself in a dangerous situation.

Many growers place their ballasts on the floor, with wires crisscrossing in all directions. This presents a specific fire risk, which does occur often. Ballasts are also prone to overheating or malfunctioning, which increases their overall safety concern.

LED grow lights reduce this concern significantly by not requiring a ballast for operation. These are solid state devices which have far fewer points of failure while in use, which makes them considerably safer to use compared to HID lighting.

Cannabis and LED Grow Lights

This is where many sceptics doubting LED grow lights. They claim that LED lights don’t produce large and resinous cannabis flowers. This myth has perpetuated through many growing circles, which has led to many avoiding this beneficial technology.

In fact, LED grow lights have been studied to grow a wide variety of crops effectively. Most LED grow lights even come equipped with IR and UV, which adds a new component that’s natural to sunlight for increased plant growth.

Since LEDs are composed of diodes, each diode is capable of producing a particular color light. LED growers enjoy the benefits of being able to cycle between red and blue lights at a moments notice.

Power Output

Before making a substantial investment into a 1000 watt LED grow light, you want to make sure how much power it consumes.

In general, a 1 000 watt LED grow light will draw 400-500-watts of power. At this range, it’s producing an intense light that will adequately cover a 4’x4’ area. Some manufacturers produce 1,000-watt LED grow lights that are rated at far lower wattages.

Marketing schemes are abundant within the LED industry, so it’s crucial that you research how much power a given LED grow light draws.

Weight

Weight is another vital factor to consider before buying a 1000 watt LED grow light. Are you growing in a tent or room? If you’re growing in a tent, then you must obtain a LED grow light that weighs a modest amount.

This is because you won’t normally place just the LED light above the plants. Other tools, such as carbon filters, inline fans, and oscillating fans are hung from the roof as well; so it’s essential that your LED grow light doesn’t weigh too much.

Each manufacturer will always include the weight of their LED grow lights, so make sure that you understand this simple fact before making a purchase.

Quiet Fans

One of the main selling points of heavy-duty 1000 watt LED grow lights are their onboard fans. The fans are quiet and keep the entire system running cool.

If you’re hoping to build a discreet grow space, then a quiet built-in fan is a must when shopping for a 1,000w LED grow light. Traditional HID lighting also offers onboard ballast fans, but these are known to cause a large amount of noise. Even though these founds sound like they’re working on overdrive, the result is still an overly warm ballast.

LED Chips

LED chips come in a variety of wattages, with the most common for cannabis production being 3-watt, 5-watt, and 10-watt.

The higher the rating, the hotter the diode becomes during use. Although a 10-watt diode will produce a brighter light compared to a 3-watt diode, it emits over double the amount of heat. Therefore, it’s essential to know which diode a certain product contains.

Aside from the watt-rating, you should also understand which LED chip is used. Not all LED chips are created equal, and it’s best to find a LED grow light manufacturer that uses brand name LED chips.

Examples of name brand products are:

  • Cree
  • Nichia
  • Toyoda Gosei
  • Osram
  • Phillips Lumileds
  • LG Innotek
  • Edison Opto
  • Seoul Semiconductor

When you’re diving into the mechanics of your LED grow light, make sure that you see these brand names to ensure your diodes are made with high-quality materials.

Color Spectrum

Cannabis production requires specific wavelengths for the best results. The preferred wavelengths fall into the red/orange and white/blue range.

The reason behind this need for a specific color spectrum is due to the natural lifecycle of a cannabis plant. Cannabis is an annual plant, which means that it germinates, grows, flowers, and reproduces within a single year.

Cannabis plants are phototropic, which means they respond to certain levels of light. During their primary growing season, daylight hours are extended due to the summer months, and the natural color spectrum is blue/white. This is because the sun is high on the horizon.

As the daylight hours decrease and the summer season begins to transition towards fall, cannabis plants recognize the red/orange color spectrum that’s associated with a sun closer to the horizon. This phototropic stimulus drives them to switch to the flowering stage of their lifecycle.

This is why growers prefer to use the blue/white color range during the vegetative stage and the red/orange spectrum during the flowering stage. By mimicking the natural wavelengths found in nature, cultivators can give their crops the most ideal environment to grow in.

PAR Rating

Not all light is created equal. This is because plants interact with light in a range of usability. 1000 watts of any kind of light isn’t as efficient as 1000 watts of light fixed at a specific photosynthetic range.

LED lighting has a clear advantage over traditional HID lights because they’re built to operate within a range that’s ideal for photosynthesis.

As you may know, photosynthesis is the primary function for the majority of plants to produce energy. The ideal range for photosynthesis to occur is between 400-700nm. Many LED grow lights have a high PAR rating, but it’s imperative that you seek a product that caters to plants within this range.

Grow Room Size

We always mention grow room size because this is a critical factor that you’ll need to understand before making any kind of purchase. A 1000 watt LED grow light will optimally cover a 2’x2’ to 4’x4’ grow space, but what if your room is larger or smaller?

You’ll need to measure your available growing area before you make a substantial investment in a LED grow light. Although LED grow lights emit minimal heat, your efficiency may decrease if you place a 1,000w LED grow light in too small of an area. If you find yourself in a large room, then you’ll need to purchase multiple 1,000w LED grow lights to ensure a fully-covered canopy.

Advantages of LEDs Over Traditional HID Systems

LEDs are better than HID systems in many ways. Let’s take a look at how 1,000w LED grow lights out-compete 1,000w HPS and MH systems.

Long Lasting

1,000w full specrum LED grow lights are incredibly long-lasting. Their chips are generally rated for over 10,000 continuous hours of use.

Competition amongst LED manufacturers has skyrocketed in the last few years, which resulted in companies offering chips that last longer than 50,000 hours.

Traditional 1000 watt HPS or MH bulb are changed replaced after 2 grow cycles. HPS and MH bulbs aren’t cheap, and these replacements incur a significant cost throughout your career in cannabis cultivation.

Cycling

1,000w LED grow lights can be turned on and off without the risk of failure. In contrast to metal halide and high-pressure sodium systems, you won’t have to worry about destroying your light if you need to turn on your light suddenly.

When you turn off a HID system, the ballast needs time to cool down before it can turn back on. The process of turning on an HID system takes a large amount of power, and it’ not recommended that you cycle between the on and off state frequently.

Durable

We’ll be the first to admit that we’ve fumbled a brand new HPS light bulb as we took it out of its box. Seeing a $120 light bulb shatter before our eyes was soul-crushing.

Although we don’t recommend that you drop your new 1000 watt LED grow light onto the ground, they’re far more durable than traditional HID lights.

A 1000 watt LED grow light is a near solid-state device. All of its components are built within the system, and you won’t hear any of its mechanics jingling around as you transport it.

The body of LED grow lights are encased in rugged aluminum or a heavy-duty and heat-resistant plastic. Compare this durable design with a metal halide or high-pressure sodium bulb, which is made of delicate glass.

Quick Warm Up

When you switch on a 1000 watt HID system, do you note how long it takes for it to turn on completely? It takes roughly 1-minute to boot, which is a long time compared to that of a 1000 watt LED grow light system.

A 1000 watt LED grow light system turns on instantly. The moment the timer reaches the predetermined time, your LED grow light will emit its powerful rays upon your crop.

Customizable

Many 1000 watt LED grow light systems benefit from customization. It’s not uncommon to find systems that come equipped buttons that allow you to select your preferred color spectrum. Some 1000 watt LED grow lights even offer green color options so you can view your cannabis crop at night without stressing them.

Low Heat

This is the game changer. Low heat reduces water loss, decreases your electricity bill, and increase your overall efficiency. Your cannabis plants will thank you with an abundant harvest by providing them with an optimal grow room temperature.

Reduce Electricity Bills –
What will you do with the money you save from switching from a 1000 watt HID system to a 1000 watt LED grow light? As the threat of global warming looms across many states, electricity providers are continuously increasing power rates.

California, for example, charges 15.2 cents per kWh. Hawaii residents pay a sky-high rate of 33 cents per kWh. Each state varies, but one fact remains the same: electricity isn’t cheap.

This is why it’s crucial to begin your new cannabis endeavors with a power-efficient LED grow light system. A 1000 watt LED grow light is potentially the best bang for your buck, but ultimately, only you can decide if it is or not.

Are LED Grow Lights the Right Choice?

If you’re a commercial producer, then you can surely benefit from reducing your overall production costs. This is the goal in any industry, and improving your efficiency should be one of your primary aims.

As a hobbyist grower, the same desire for efficiency should be your primary goal. The more cannabis you produce at a lower cost will make growing marijuana a profitable business.

If it costs more to grow cannabis then buying it directly from a dispensary, then your effectiveness is low. This is why it makes the most sense to use a power-efficient 1000 watt LED grow light compared to any other lighting system on the market.

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