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LED lighting is the premier choice for indoor marijuana growers. This light helps to produce the same full spectrum of color as the sun. Because there are so many types and brands of LED lighting, it is vital that individuals learn as much as they can so they will be able to make the right purchase for their needs. With this guide, indoor growers will learn more about their options and why LED lights are considered superior to other types of lighting choices.
LED Grow Lights: A History
LED lights have been around since 1962, but they have only recently begun becoming a popular option in the last ten to fifteen years. In recent years, LED technology has been established in the marijuana growing industry.
Today’s LED lights can provide the full visual spectrum of light or they can be tailored to meet the unique needs of the plants being grown. Because marijuana responds well to both red and blue light, it is common to see these dominantly displayed. Marijuana needs blue light during the vegetative stage and prefers red light during the flowering phase.
Unfortunately, LED lights have gotten a bad rap over the years, primarily because early manufacturers touted claims that LED lights were more powerful than HID lights, and this was not the case. Unfortunately, this claim has caused many growers to the benefits of using LED lights for growing marijuana indoors.
One of the biggest reasons LED lights first failed in the cannabis growing industry was because the wattage supplied to each diode was too weak. When first introduced, the diodes’ capacities were as low as 1/3 watt. Today, there are three-watt and five-watt diodes available. There are also COB chips that run between 10 and 100 watts.
Another initial drawback of using LED grow lights was the expense. When they were first introduced, the LED lights were often costly, but prices are slowly going down. Today, LEDs are more affordable than ever before and can be found around the country, from Texas to North Dakota.
Why Choose LED Lights?
There are many reasons marijuana growers should consider using LED lights. If you are new to growing marijuana or have never used LED lights, it is crucial to understand why they are so beneficial.
- One of the most significant benefits of using LED lights for growing cannabis is their longevity. Because the diodes are highly efficient and use low amounts of energy, LED lights can last for many years, even up to eleven.
- LED lights emit a much lower level of heat than some other types of lights, like MH and HPS lights.
- Another reason marijuana growers choose LED lights is because of the energy savings. During the vegetative growth period, cannabis needs up to twenty-four hours of light a day. Burning a traditional bulb for this long can become costly. LED lights help you save money while still being able to provide the plants with all the light hours they require.
- LED lights are also easy to control, making them advantageous for indoor growers, whether they opt for regular or autoflowering seeds. LED light spectrums can be manipulated to control the type of light that is being produced. These lights can also be used with a timer and dimming controls, so the grower has full control over the amount of light their plants are exposed to throughout each growth cycle.
- LED lights are also an attractive option for indoor marijuana growers because they are much easier to install. There are no complicated light mounts to purchase. LED lights are sold as an all-in-one unit, so they simply need to be hung and plugged in.
- When growers use LED lights, the lack of heat they produce will help to cut down on air conditioner usage, which can dramatically lessen the costs of running your grow room.
- LEDs can be purchased as waterproof and dust-proof, making them ideal for the average indoor growing setup. With these lights in place, you will not have to worry about them coming into contact with water from the watering system.
- As a benefit to the environment, all LED lights are recyclable, and because they are long-lasting, fewer lights need to be purchased, which is much better for the environment.
How to Properly Calculate the Wattage Needed for LED Grow Lights
Cannabis seed growers have been accustomed to working out the wattage required by their operation based on classic grow lights. Calculating wattage became more complicated when LED lights arrived on the scene.
LED lights are much more efficient than incandescent bulbs, so you cannot measure them comparatively watt for watt. Instead, you must rely on another measurement based on photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). Basically, PAR is the brightness emitted by LED bulbs.
PAR provides the visible spectrum of light, measured between 400 – 700 nanometers (nm). Through photosynthesis, plants can utilize light wavelengths from 400 – 790nm in a biochemical process with water and carbon dioxide.
Another term you should be aware of regarding LED light is PPF. PPF stands for Photosynthetic Photon Flux. Although it sounds very complicated, PPF is essentially the amount of light produced per second.
As a grower, you should also know what PPFD stands for. This acronym means Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density. In simple terms, PPFD means the number of photons contacting your cannabis plants each second.
Now that you know about LEDs, PAR, PPF, and PPFD, it is time to put all this information together and determine what wattage is needed for growing cannabis successfully. Basically, you will need 32 watts for every square foot of grow room. So, if you have a 4 X 4 room, this means 128 watts are needed. For every additional square foot, add 32 watts.
LED Lights Offer a Full Spectrum of Light. What Does That Mean?
When it comes to purchasing LED lights, you are going to find a lot of talk about these bulbs offering a full spectrum of light. It is essential to know just exactly what this means and why it is crucial for cannabis growth.
The full spectrum of light, between 400 to 700nm, includes both infrared and ultraviolet. Cannabis, like other plants, needs a full spectrum of light to be able to convert light energy into simple sugars.
When purchasing LED lights, it is wise to consider the options carefully. Although all cannabis growers would love to be able to save money on their lights, buying the cheapest ones you can find could lead to lackluster results.
Some manufacturers promise their lights offer a full spectrum, but they lack the infrared chips that are necessary. Without infrared and ultraviolet light, your plants will not receive the entire spectrum they require for healthy growth. Although you do not necessarily need to purchase the most expensive lights, it is crucial to carry out careful research on brands.
For the best results growing our high THC and high CBD strains, you should use LED lights that offer the following colors.
- 460nm of blue
- 430nm of royal blue
- 630nm of red
- 660nm of deep red
- 610nm of orange
- 580nm of yellow
- 410nm of UV
- 730nm of IR
While you may be able to grow cannabis without a full spectrum of light, the plants are going to be more vulnerable to mold and diseases. You will also experience a diminished yield. Purchase the highest quality LED lights you can afford for the best results.
How to Disperse the Light
Knowing how to disperse the lights in your grow room properly is just as important as purchasing the right lights. Ensuring the right level of light is being absorbed by your plants will help to ensure healthy growth and a larger yield.
It is important to note that each LED light comes with a primary lens. This lens is responsible for directing light in a single beam. While some manufacturers include a secondary lens to add to the wideness of the beam of light, this does reduce the power of the light by up to 10%.
When it comes to dispersing light properly, smaller grow rooms are ideal. Because some of the light photons are going to try to escape, you must ensure the grow room walls are covered with mylar. Mylar is highly reflective and will bounce the escaping light back to your cannabis plants. Those growers living in states like Florida can harness the power of the sun with ease, but growing indoors requires additional know how!
What to Look for When Purchasing LED Lights
With so many manufacturers and types of LED lights, it can be somewhat overwhelming, attempting to make a purchase. Knowing what to look for in LED lights will help you to avoid buyer’s remorse. With the right lights, cannabis can be grown indoors, and you can experience a healthy yield.
First of all, there are three main types of LED lights for growing indoors. Having a full understanding of the types and when and why they are used will help you to plan your purchases accordingly.
Purple LED lights are considered standard in the cannabis growing industry. This type of light was one of the first introduced on the market. Purple LED lights are often available in compact fixtures that contain multiple, small diodes that average around 3 – 5 watts per light.
Purple lights get their color from a mixture of red and blue lights, causing them to emit a purple hue. One of the most significant benefits of purple lights is money savings. These are mass-produced and can be found just about anywhere. A drawback of these lights is they are often subpar, resulting in lower yields. When searching for purple lights, try to find ones that include COBs or UV lights.
COB stands for Chip On Board, and it contains many little diodes on a single chip instead of a single fixture. COB LEDs are much like the sun, producing a brilliant white light that deeply penetrates cannabis plants.
These lights are highly energy-efficient, and they produce a high yield. One of the most significant benefits of using COB LED lights is their full spectrum of light. They are also more energy-efficient than other types of lights, which will save you money. The main drawback of COB lights is their expense.
Spread Style Lights
Spread style lights are manufactured with panels that feature many LED lights that are spread out in a uniform pattern. This type of light is most often used in commercial grow setups, but some home growers also use them.
One of the main advantages of using spread style lights is they are one of the most energy-efficient lighting options on the market. A disadvantage of these lights is the high-quality ones, especially spider versions, can be very expensive.
Consider the following tips before purchasing any LED lights for your grow room.
- The light must be made with durable quality materials.
- Ensure the manufacturer is a trusted one.
- Choose LED lights with low heat output.
- Check the quality of the semiconductor chip.
- Consider the growing space to ensure you purchase enough light.
- Always choose full-spectrum LED lights.
- Check on any warranties offered and be sure of the return policy before making a purchase.
LEDs are Worth the Cost
Yes, LED lights are more expensive than some other types, but they are well worth the price. When you consider the longevity of LED lights, the price seems more reasonable.
LED lights can last up to 5.7 years with continued use. Not only do LED lights allow you to avoid purchasing new lights regularly, but they also help you to save money on operating costs.
It is easy to see that LED lights are beneficial for indoor cannabis growers of all levels of experience. If you are planning to grow marijuana indoors, using LED lights will give a higher and healthier yield when growing any of our 420 seeds or 710 seeds.
LED lights are one of the most effective for growing indoors because of their energy efficiency and long lifespan. When purchasing LED lights, refer to this guide to ensure you can make the right purchase. Regardless of if you live in Louisiana or Connecticut, starting with cannabis seeds from weed-seeds.com will set you up right before it is time for light!