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Everything you need to know about buying LED Grow Lights
LED Grow lights have come a long way in a very short amount of time. The technology required to produce enough usable light wasn’t obtainable until just recently. Unfortunately for consumers, many LED companies toted their LED grow lights as more powerful than HID (High-Intensity Discharge) lights when they were not. These early misleading statements lead to a negative consumer sentiment that lasts to this day.
I’ve been growing with and testing LED grow lights for 4 years, I’ve tested many of the early LED grow lights that were more than disappointing and often catastrophic to the test plants being grown under them. In the past year or so there has been a significant change in the LED grow light technology available and this has opened the flood gates to high quality, high powered LED grow lights on the market.
You Can Replace Your Old-Fashioned HPS System
At this point LED grow light technology though more expensive than traditional HID (high-Intensity Discharge) lights, is now capable of replacing your current HID setup. There will be some skepticism to that statement, but I’ve had over 8 grows with current LED technology and have found that I have had no loss in crop yields, in fact, I’ve seen small increases in cannabis yields.
You don’t have to take my word that LED is as good as HID lighting, I’m going to explain the confusion over LED power output and you’ll see for yourself.
How to calculate LED wattage required to flower Cannabis plants
The traditional power measurement for grow lights has been Watts which has made things simple up until the development of LED. A Watt of power equals 1 Watt of power output of light. The confusion comes when you try to measure LED grow lights in Watts. In the case of LED, a Watt of power into the light isn’t a Watt of power out of the light. Since LEDs are much more efficient than incandescent bulbs we must use a different measurement to qualify the power being generated by the LED grow light.
The measurement “PAR” stands for photo-synthetically active radiation which is light emitted in the electromagnetic spectrum between 400 nm and 700 nm while humans only see light wavelengths between 500 nm and 600 nm. Plants can convert light wavelengths between 400 nm and 700 nm to energy via photosynthesis. This still doesn’t tell the whole picture, we haven’t talked about the light intensity.
This is where things start to get a little more complicated. The next term you will need to know is “PPF” or photosynthetic photon flux, sounds like a Star Trek reference I know but it just means the amount of light produced by a light source per second. This leads us right to another term, “PPFD” which stands for photosynthetic photon flux density. This is the measurement of how many photosynthetic photons fall on your plant’s surfaces per second.
Now that you have a foundation on LED grow lights check out this review of the best LED grow lights on the market.