Best Horticultural LED Grow Lights: Buying Guide
An LED grow light is a type of LED light that is designed to be conducive for the indoor growing of plants. Indoor growing requires artificial light. Fluorescent lights and High-Pressure Sodium lights have always been very popular and prevalent. Both of those work very well, overall. Today, though, LEDs are coming to the forefront.
Now, LEDs have been around for a very long time. And yet, it was only recently that we discovered just how effective LEDs could be when it comes to growing plants in an indoor environment.
There are some distinct advantages that LEDs bring to the table. For one thing, they don’t produce as much heat as, say, fluorescent lights. Another advantage is that they consume less electricity, overall.
In this quick buying guide, you’ll learn what it is that you need to look for when buying some good LEDs for your indoor growing.
What Do I Need To Know Before Reading This Buying Guide?
First off, for every plant that is “low light” – these are plants such as herbs and lettuce, to name two examples – you should have twenty-five watts of light. For high light plants – such as tomatoes and peppers – you should have fifty-watts of light.
Second, you are probably familiar with “Wattage Ratings.” If not, these ratings tell you how many watts of power you get for the money that you spend.
Therefore, it would seem that the LED lights that give you the most amount of watts, for the smallest amount of money, are the best…right?
Not exactly. More often than not, these numbers aren’t exactly accurate. Usually, these numbers only refer to the absolute maximum light output of the LEDs in a single light. But, the problem with that is that most of these lights can’t output that amount light.
For example, an LED that says it is five-watts, will probably only run at three-watts, or maybe four-watts. This is to prolong the life of that particular light, since running at the highest capacity is an easy way for the light to shorten its lifespan.
So, for the most part, the wattages you see on the package are more for marketing than anything else. This isn’t to say that they are entirely inaccurate, but it is best to pay less attention to that, and more attention to the features that we are going to describe now.
What Are The Key Features That I Need To Look For In A Good LED Light?
Featured Light Spectrum & Colors
You want an LED that can give you some flexibility and some choices when it comes to the kind of light you are using, as well as the colors.
UV and IR are the two most notable types of light on the spectrum. Because of this, it’s recommended that you find an LED that gives you the choice to use those, rather than just one.
Both UV and IR work best with different plans and for different purposes. It’s recommended that you get an LED light that can accommodate both. But, you may only need one, so if that’s the case, then make sure it does a good job with UV – or IR, whichever one you are purchasing.
The same thing goes for colors. You want an LED light that gives you at least three different choices for color. But, ideally, you’ll find an LED light that gives you, say, eight choices. Or even ten. But, make sure that there is a variety of colors available.
Flexibility is very important, especially if you are working with multiple plants, and intend to use these lights on different types of plants.
A Good Wattage Range
Once again, flexibility is important here. When you have a good wattage range – such as 200 watts to 800 watts – you can adjust your LED light to any particular plant.
If you intend to use your LED light for a long time, and you have this flexibility, then it makes growing other plants a lot easier. You don’t have to bother with purchasing yet another light. Instead, you can use the same light that you have, because this flexibility is built into the light.
Some of the best lights will have ranges from, say, 200 watts to 1000 watts. Depending on your needs and budget, if you have the option, then pick up an LED light with this wattage range.
Ultimately, this is a more “premium” feature that does cost a bit of extra money to obtain. But, it is a feature that has become more and more popular. So, it shouldn’t be too hard to find an affordable LED with a light timer.
Now, a light timer enables you to time the different color and spectrum you are using. For example, you can use amber and UV for six-hours in the day, and then it’ll go to IR and red.
It’s not an essential feature, but it is a very useful one. Especially if you intend to automate the process of indoor growing, making it easy and much more streamlined.
A Good Warranty
Finally, we come to the last consideration. A good warranty should not be underestimated. Sometimes, they can be a definite life-saver.
The warranty of the LED light that you buy should be at least – at the VERY least – one-year. Ideally, though, it will be more like three-years, or even five-years.
When you buy an LED light, you expect it to last for a long time. A few years, at the very least. Therefore, it is essential to have a good warranty to protect that investment of yours.
If anything comes up – and there is a good chance that something will, especially if you use your LED light for indoor growing – then you know that you can get it fixed and/or replaced, without having to make the initial investment again.