More growers are adopting LED grow lights as their go-to light source for their grow tents. These lights come in different sizes and models to meet the specific needs of growers. However, growers are often faced with the tricky decision of choosing the right LED grow lights that best meet the light requirements of their plants.
In this article, we look at how LED grow lights work, how they are rated, and how you can choose the best for your plants based on these ratings.
How do LED grow lights work?
Indoor plants do not have access to direct sunlight. Therefore, they require an artificial light source, which is where LED grow lights come in. LED grow lights are special devices powered by LED chips and electricity to produce light particles or photons. These light particles are made up of light energy of visible and invisible wavelengths, which are equivalent to the photons from the sun.
LED grow lights come in different color variations depending on the intended use. But a full spectrum LED grow light is one that produces light comprising of all the four wavebands – blue light (400-500 nm range), red light (600-700 nm range), green light (500-600 nm range), and ultraviolet (UV) light (280-400 nm range). Full spectrum grow lights are better stimulators of growth in plants.
How are LED grow lights rated?
Most of the growing community adopts the “watt per square feet (or square meter)” principle when rating grow lights. The watt/sq ft principle is often a reasonable means to assess the ability of a bub to light up a grow area. This principle is premised on Photosynthetic Photon Efficacy (PPE), which shows how efficiently a lamp or bulb converts electricity (watts) into light (photons). LED chips generally have higher PPEs, which is why they require fewer watts to emit higher amounts of light compared to other types of lamps or bulbs with lower PPEs.
How do you choose the right LED grow light with the right power?
We have explained how LED grow lights work and how they are rated. The next consideration is choosing the right LED grow light with the right power for your grow area. This process depends on three major factors – the growth phase of your plants , the total area of your grow tent, and the type of LED grow lights you employ.
1.Growth phase of your plants.
Each phase in the lifecycle of your plants requires a different amount of light. For instance, the seedling stage does not require high-intensity light to grow optimally, but the vegetative stage does, and the flowering stage thrives best with average light intensity.
2.Size of your grow area.
he wattage-surface area (watt/sq ft) principle of assessing grow lights factors in the amount of light the grow light can produce, and the size of your grow space. Therefore, the area of your grow space will determine the number of watts required and the number of LED units you need for complete and optimal illumination.
The standard rule of thumb for LED grow lights depends on the efficacy (PPE) of the LED lights:
-Low efficacy LED lights, including the generic lights, have a PPE of about 1.0 µmol/J and require 50-60 w/sq ft.
-Medium efficacy LED lights, including the housing-type lights, have a PPE of about 1.5 µmol/J and require 30-40 w/sq ft.
-High efficacy LED lights, including those with quality diodes or high-end drivers, have a PPE of about 2.5 µmol/J and require 25-30 w/sq ft.
So, for example, if you have a 4ft x 4ft grow area and plan to use high efficacy lights, you only need lights that provide between 400w (25w x 4ft x 4ft) and 480w (30w x 4ft x 4ft). You can get a single LED grow light or multiple lights. Similarly, if you are using low-efficacy lights, you only need lights that can provide between 800w (50w x 4ft x 4ft) and 960w (60w x 4ft x 4ft). In this case, you can buy a 1000-watt LED grow light.
It is advisable not to exceed a maximum of 50 watts per square foot in your grow area. Exceeding this amount can create an excessive light intensity, leading to stunted growth and poor overall development of your plants.
3.Types of LED grow lights.
Growers can access various LED unit options in the current market. For instance, there is the full cycle LED light, two-channel lights, programmable lights, and more. The chip size also contributes to the wattage per square foot you get from your LED grow lights. However, it is essential to note that the larger the size of the chip in most cases, the higher the amount of heat generated by the lights.
Efficient LED grow lights from Spider Farmer
Spider Farmer is a reputable manufacturer of different kinds of LED grow lights. The company has continuously rolled out cultivation illumination solutions that meet the needs of private marijuana farmers and industrial cultivators. Spider Farmer’s LED grow lights are powered by state-of-the-art chips, for example, Samsung IM301B, that deliver high-efficacy PPEs. They are also more efficient and easier to use, with adjustable brightness features and durable light switches.
Plants cannot survive without light. Outdoor plants obtain light from the sun, while indoor plants rely on artificial sources, including LED grow lights. LED grow lights offer more lighting options and capabilities and are cost-efficient over a long period. Once you have determined how many watts of LED light your grow area requires, you can buy a LED grow light, or a combination of LED grow lights that offer such an output.
Feel free to check out the Spider Farmer LED grow lights catalog to see which model works best based on your grow area specifications and needs.