History dictates a lot of controversies around LED grow lights, especially when compared to high wattage HPS and metal halide lights. Early generations of LEDs, primarily from China were notoriously underpowered and over marketed. The first promises were not met, and the LED technology did not live up to the expectations, especially for flowering/bloom. Back then, most of the LED fixtures contained one, two or three-watt diodes. This meant that the light output of the fixture was very weak. However, a lot has changed since those early days. Today, a 5-watt diode LED can solely emit as much as 10 times the light of those early models of LEDs.
Advances in LED technology made it possible for LEDs to compare very favorably with HPS or MH lighting with the following important advantages.
Lower power consumption
LED is efficient to convert electricity into lighting than any other type of artificial lighting.
All LEDs direct the light towards the plant without the need of reflectors to bounce the light back towards the plants. Each time light bounces it loses intensity and power.
Because led are directional and efficient they produce less heat. Most of the heat generated is concentrated on the back part of the fixture, thus radiating much less heat towards the plants.
Better spectrum control
Because LEDs use specific parts of the spectrum rather than a broad-spectrum like traditional lights, such as HID, or fluorescent. It is possible to only focus the parts of the light spectrum that plants absorb at a higher rate. This eliminates unneeded parts of the light spectrum, reducing wasted energy while also increasing the quality and quantity of the final harvest.
No Bulbs to change
Most LEDs are rated to have a life span of at least 50 000 hours. This means you will never have to worry about changing the light bulbs in the light fixture during its lifetime. On the contrary, using HID, MH or fluorescent lighting systems bound to be replaced. This alone, makes LEDs much less expensive to operate over the long run.
No ballast, reflector hood, or ventilation needed
LED fixtures are self-contained, and do not require ballasts, venting or additional fans. You simply hang the light fixture over the foot area you wish to cover and plug it in the socket, and you are good to go. Not only does this reduce installation costs, it also makes it easier for you to relocate your indoor garden.
If you are looking for artificial lighting tailored for growing plants indoor, then it is definitely worth the investment to purchase an LED lighting system. Although the initial prices of LED grow light fixtures seem expensive, the features LED lighting offers will definitely save you money in the long run. Keep in mind that like any other purchases you have to think some things through first before you can purchase the right LED for your needs.
Keep in mind that like any other purchases you have to think some things through before you can determine the right LED for your needs. If you don’t already have a particular lighting system in mind, you may benefit from our buying guide to the best LED grow lights.