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how to pick a best led grow light

How to Pick a BEST LED Grow Light as an Inexperienced Grower

If you're a lover of indoor gardening and still a newbie who don't understand how indoor gardening works, you first need to find different materials to learn from, right?

Well, during this learning process, you'll discover that indoor growth requires one piece of very essential equipment: LED grow light. Since these plants are grown in-house, they need a LED grow light that can mimic sunlight and drive photosynthesis.

You will see that many lights call themselves "best grow light," but there are actually four main types of these lights: Fluorescent grow lights, MH, HPS Bulbs, and LED lights.

If you read the Wikipedia article about grow lights, you'll find that LED lighting are by far the best ones. Needless to say, the first few traditional lamps have their own advantages; for example, they are cheap and can be bought just about anywhere. But their shortcomings are also obvious, like they emit too much heat, or the spectrum does not meet the needs of plants etc.

For some plants that require a lot of light to grow, those traditional lights can not compete with LED ones in some respects. In this blog we will list some basic knowledge on choosing a perfect LED plant-growth lighting.

8 Key Features You Should Know About LED Grow Lights

1. PAR

PAR stands for "photosynthetic active radiation".  It is a metric used for plants while lumens are for humans.  So plants don't care how bright your light fixture appears to you. PAR in lighting is the wavelength within the visible range of 400 to 700 nanometers (nm), and plants use this range to photosynthesise or grow. 

LED grow light PAR


2. PPF&PPFD

There are two phases related to photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). These are photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) and photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD).

PPF simply describes the number of photons that led grow lamp produces in the PAR wavelength range within one second.

PPF is measured in units called micromoles (umol). You can use PPF to determine whether your grow light is "powerful enough" for your plants.

PPFD is the number of photons that hit the plant canopy in a given second. This is measured in micromoles (umols). The bigger of this value, the better.

The difference between PPF and PPFD is that PPF is the intensity of light when measured at the light source, while PPFD is the light intensity when measured at the surface of the plant.

 

LED grow light PPF and PPFD



3. Photon Efficacy

Photon efficacy is the measure of how well a light source produces visible light. The unit for efficacy is Joule per second (J/s). If you know the PPF and the input wattage of a light, you can easily calculate photon efficacy. The higher this number is, the more efficient a grow light is at converting electricity into photons. So be sure to check this out with a lighting manufacturer.


4. LED Chips


Chips are the most necessary and basic aspect of an LED grow lighting. Therefore, the manufacturing of chips must keep durability and efficiency in mind.

The suitable LED chip will hardly show color inconsistency while maintaining voltage and intensity. A carefully crafted chip can produce effective and uniform LED lights that can support a variety of crops.

There are many LED chip brands you can pick from, such as Bridgelux, Philips, Epistar, CREE, or Osram. Among these, CREE and Osram are favored by many users due to their chip's durability and efficiency.


5. Spectrum

The spectrum refers to the electromagnetic wavelength of light generated by the light source to promote plant growth. In order to perform photosynthesis, plants use light in the PAR (photosynthesis active radiation) region, and the wavelength of this region (400nm-700nm) is measured in nanometers (nm).

LED grow light full spectrum

The LED lighting stimulates the colors of the sunlight range from red and yellow to blue and violet, and plants use this full spectrum to undergo the process of photosynthesis.

The red and blue lights are the most critical for plants. Blue is for the vegetative stage while red is for blooming.

Other wavelengths besides red and blue are also beneficial for certain phases of plant growth.

Ultraviolet helps protect the plants from insects and diseases, and a bit more infrared light than normal makes your plants think they are covered by something so they need to grow taller to get more light.

Green light can penetrate farther into plants leaves and farther below the canopy than other wavelengths.

The ideal spectrum can help accelerate vegetation, increase flowering, speed up growth, etc. Whether or not the light source is supplementary (as with a greenhouse) or the sole one will also affect which light spectrum should be used.

Therefore, getting an LED grow light with a full spectrum for your indoor plants means that it provides all the wavelengths present in natural light. All you need to do is switch the amount of light exposure the plants need during the different growth phases.

 

6. Heat Dissipation

Although LEDs emit less heat than other traditional grow lights, putting many LEDs together, they still need a heat dispassion system to keep the body cool at all times. Some best LED lights on the market have a heat sink to release extra heat. That means no noisy fans, and no wasted electricity by powering them.

LED grow light heat dissipation

7. Lighting Coverage

Each LED grow light you consider should have information regarding the lighting coverage. This refers to the coverage area, which is usually measured in square footage, of the light that falls onto the plants.

A good coverage area is essential, not only do the size and lenses of your LED grow light determine your coverage area, but so does hanging height. The further the distance between your lights and plants, the greater the footprint, but the lower the PPFD.

LED grow light coverage

Let's say you have a lamp hanging at a 12-foot distance from your canopy. Then, you increase the hanging height to a distance of 24 feet. You will now have a light intensity that is much less of what it was before. 

This is why it's very important to pay attention to hanging height and coverage area when selecting an LED light.

 

8. Wattage

When it comes to LED grow-light wattage, this metric refers to two things. A 550w LED light can either indicate that it can truly pull 550w energy from the wall or it can deliver an equivalent power in brightness to a 550wMH/HID grow light.

So pay attention to exactly what is meant by an LED grow light's stated wattage. Our LED grow light can actually deliver what it says online.


Conclusion

If you're on a tight budget, you will need to pay attention to 1, 2, and 3. But if you have extra cash to spend, you can choose the best metric from 1 to 8. For indoor plants, artificial lighting is crucial as they have no access to natural sunlight.

Good lighting is an important factor that determines the yield of your plants as well as other factors, such as the strains you use and your planting experience etc.

If you focus on the above factors when picking an LED grow light, you can definitely get the best LED grow light for your plants. A suitable LED grow light will get the most bang for your buck when it comes to minimizing electrical costs while maximizing plant health.