Continuous changes and improvements in the cannabis industry has paved the way for growers to choose the best options for their respective marijuana gardens. One of the more highly esteemed ways of growing your cannabis plants that has risen to fame in recent years is the use of LED grow lights. Now, many of you are familiar with the other different sets of grow lights that are available to cannabis cultivators.
Aside from LEDs, there are also fluorescent bulbs and HID grow lights to consider. But considering the price, efficiency and ability to sprout healthy weed buds, LED grow lights definitely take home the cake!
In this article, we are going to focus on what LED grow lights are and how they hold distinct advantages over other forms of light sources. If you are looking for a sign to switch to LEDs, then this is it right here!
What are LED Grow Lights?
LED grow lights, which is an acronym for Light-Emitting Diode, are a more advanced type of light source that. It is a type of grow light that uses electric currents. It passes through semiconductors which, in turn, produce light spectrums. In these conductors, the different electrons produce energy via the electric supplies and release bright rays all the while saving energy consumption.
A lot of people may be surprised to know this but LED grow lights are actually very old kinds of equipment. The concept of LED lights were first started in the year 1907 by the British engineer H.J. Round. During one of his studies regarding electroluminescence, he sought to create another form of lighting that could be powered through the use of electric currents. It was not until 20 years later when the first actual prototype of LEDs were created. However, they proved to be extremely cost-heavy and inefficient.
In the year 1955, American physicist Rubin Braunstein looked to input semiconductor alloys in order to make the LED lights work which, in fact, proved to be effective. The same concept for making LED lights still carries over to this day.
The rise of LED Grow Lights in the cannabis industry:
LED grow lights were available for many years now but that does NOT mean that growers wanted them. If you cultivated cannabis plants around seven to eight years ago, then chances are that you would rather opt for either fluorescent or HID bulbs instead!
However, around 2 to 3 years ago, the development that various LED systems received resulted in a significant spike in their quality! Today, it is actually considered as the most effective choice for an overall balanced growing area. And it is not only in the cannabis industry where they have started receiving high demands. LED systems have also emerged as top choices for cars, buildings, households, and even in industrial projects.
Advantages and Disadvantages of LED Grow Lights
Since their sudden rise to fame, most especially for cannabis growing, one cannot help but wonder what specific benefits these LED lighting systems hold over other premium light sources. But despite all the hype surrounding them, many others might find it impractical to use LED grow lights for their gardens. After all, it will all eventually boil down to the personal preferences of growers.
Listed below are the various advantages and disadvantages that LED grow lights bring to the table. However you will feel about this lighting system, make sure that you weigh your options based on these pros and cons!
- The most attractive benefit that LED grow lights bring is the way that it is able to save its energy. The high energy efficiency that using LED lights causes will definitely help you save up some big bucks in the long run. On average, an LED lighting system will use up to around 40% less energy than your HID setup.
- Despite being a lot more energy efficient than HID, they are almost as bright and vibrant as HID lights. In fact, a lot of the higher-end types of LED models are designed specifically to match the light spectrums that are emitted from other types of luminescence.
- The current technology embedded into LED lights also allows them to have longer lifespans as compared to old models of LEDs. Today, your LED lighting systems can last for a staggering 50,000 to 60,000 hours of on-time! For comparison, an HID light will typically last an average of 2,000 to 3,000 hours. Can you see the difference?
- LED lights are able to last much, much longer because they do not contain any fibers and chords to burn! As such, most of the models today have built-in cooling systems that allow the LED lights to emit much lesser levels of heat. Placing your hand on a bulb will not feel as hot as other kinds of bulbs. As such, LEDs have an extremely low chance of burning the leaves of your plants of starting fires due to their heat.
- You will notice that LED lights come in various forms. This makes them very flexible and capable of being placed in tight spaces without taking up much room.
- Because of the lack of mercury in the production of LED lights, they are a much safer alternative.
- Here’s a little bonus for all you aesthetic freaks out there: LED lights come in all kinds of colors, too! This definitely appeals to those who want a much cooler and outstanding look in their marijuana gardens.
- The spectrums of light from an LED setup will help the plant require less water and nutrients. The low heat levels help keep your growing medium moist for longer periods of time. Additionally, you will need lesser nutrients as the lights allow for a lower nutrient buildup that helps the plants feel full.
- Despite saving you money in the long run, purchasing LED light upfront might be a little hefty on the price. They are, in fact, quite expensive. If you are operating a bigger grow area, then you will need more LED lighting systems.
- Power management is essential in making sure that the LED light bulbs work to your satisfaction. Make sure that you have proper sockets and wattage before plugging in your LED lights. While not doing so won’t necessarily result in short circuits and burning wires, the LED lights won’t function properly. As such, the emitted lights won’t be as bright and won’t cover as large an area than it typically can.
- Many growers won’t want to shift from their HID setups mainly because they are known to produce the highest yields, even more so than LED lights. So if you are willing to stick with traditional methods, HID lights can definitely bring higher yields.
Different Forms of LED Grow Lights
The bulbs of an LED lighting setup might look different from one another. This is because, well….they are different. Let’s take a look at the different bulbs that LED lights can come in.
- Standard LED (Purple) – This is the most basic and original form of LED bulbs that they first came in. Units that contain this type of LED carry hundreds and hundreds of small or medium wattage bulbs (each one with around 3 to 5 watts per bulb). Standard LED grow lights often come in just the purple color, which is the direct result of the blue and red bulbs. This gives it a much cooler and low-contrast spectrum.
Because it is the lowest end type of LED, it is also the cheapest one! This, of course, directly leads to them being lower in terms of quality and life expectancy. Also, they aren’t exactly top tier when it comes to producing marijuana buds. But don’t be fooled! They can still perform nicely compared to other fluorescent and HID bulbs!
- COB (Chip on Board) LED – The COB LED type of lighting source is probably the middle child of LED bulbs. As its name suggests, it makes use of a single chip that will contain hundreds of tiny LED bulbs. This is in contrast with the Standard LED where bulbs are scattered all across the unit of light.
The COB LED is known primarily for producing strong and intense spectrums of light. This gives them the advantage of being able to penetrate even the most dense canopies of leaves in your cannabis garden. It is perhaps the LED form that comes the closest to the intensity of HID bulbs.
- Spread-Style LED – The Spread-Style LED is characterize by hundreds of small LED light bulbs attach to a panel. They also usually come in a rack of spider-style form. The Spread-Style LED setup is primarily for commercial growers who operate large gardens. Their size and coverage allows them to light up a wide area. In fact, one panel is enough for a moderate size garden.
Unsurprisingly, however, they are the most expensive type of LED setup. While they do give all the best and most appealing features of LED light bulbs such as the strong intensity, heat control, and energy efficiency, they can cost an insane price!
Conclusion: Are LED Lights the Best for me?
After panning through the different pros and cons of LED grow lights, you may already come to the conclusion that they are the best form of grow lights out there. Rightly so, these are the most advanced types of grow light and they do offer a lot of benefits not only to your plants but to your whole growing experience as well!
LEDs are primed to work greatly for those who are able to afford them. If you are willing to cough up a hefty price for your gardens, then we recommend LED lights! The safety and efficiency that they come with is something that is well worth the money.
However, there are other great light sources that can work brilliantly for growers who are on a budget. Standard LEDs will still work better than most fluorescent and HID grow lights out there!