The question of how good are LED Grow Lights has been around since the LED light hit the market. Here we take a look at what makes them so popular.
Let’s start with the techie bit…
Several years ago, NASA started experimenting with LED technology to help plants grow. This was born from the need to create a sustainable environment when living in space long term.
Plants provide food, clean water, and clean air, but they need light to grow which presents a problem for growing plants in space. This led to NASA developing methods to grow plants using artificial sources, the LED light, or to give it it’s technical name, Light Emitting Diode.
Read more about NASA’s LED research programme here.
Early LED grow lights weren’t actually that effective, however they have seen a rapid evolution and todays LEDs are better than ever.
But do LED Grow Lights actually work for growing?
LEDs are very popular with the indoor growing community, especially for starting seedlings. They are perhaps considered the most efficient and effective way to grow plants at home than fluorescent or incandescent light because they offer many benefits that other lights don’t including:
- Greater energy efficiency
- Low heat output
- Full spectrum of light
- Longer lifespan
Let’s take a closer look at each…
Many growers who use LEDs talk about the efficiency of these lighting systems, which can potentially lead to lower utility costs.
However, the efficiency depends on the quality of the LED and this can vary between manufacturers. It also depends on the light. A powerful LED still uses a lot of electricity but it uses considerably less than other forms of light that give the same output.
LEDs produce significantly less heat than HID (High Intensity Discharge) bulbs. HID generate lots of heat which can put crops at risk of heat damage and are generally better suited to large-scale operations. Switching to more efficient LEDs means growers can maintain a moderate temperature within the confinement of a grow tent or room.
The reduction in heat eliminates the need to install a cooling system in your growing area which translates into a reduction in cooling costs.
Full-spectrum of light
By using LEDs, you can tailor a system specifically to the type of crop you grow because of the huge spectrum of light they provide.
LED grow lights should provide colour as close to the spectra used by plants, that means there should be lots of red and blue, and some green and yellow.
LED lights have a lifespan of over 50,000 hours, which is much longer than other lighting systems.
They don’t require regular replacement and don’t burn out, but rather emit lower output levels over a prolonged period of time, leading to an exceptional lifespan.
The longer lifespan means you can grow crops for many years without needing to replace the lighting system.
Whilst LED lights offer some benefits, it’s important to remember that LED lighting is very customisable, therefore it’s important to consider the type of plant you are growing to ensure you purchase the bulb that produces the exact mix of red, blue and other wavelengths preferred by your plants.
If you are new to indoor growing, we recommend you seek professional advice before deciding if LED lighting is right for your plants. Our friendly team is always on-hand to offer expert advice. Whatever your question, you can get in touch here.
If you know what lighting you require, we have a range of options available to buy online or in store.