Advantages of LED Grow Lights

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Whether you’re new to indoor growing, or a serious grower with a sizable budget, you should probably be aware of the debate that is still raging across the community – are LED grow lights worth it?  – yes, they are. Granted, they do give your checkbook or wallet a decent jolt, but they pay for themselves in the long run, not only thanks to the increased yield, but also thanks to the reduced costs of production. Let’s actually see how LED grow lights are better than HID’s.

Cool as Fonzie

One, they run much cooler. LED’s are able to turn a far greater percentage of power that reaches them into light than other types of grow lights. In other words, they emit far less heat, which, in turn, means they’re less likely to cause burns in your plants. Still, you should make sure and keep them at least 12 inches away from your crops.

Additionally, not only do they emit less heat, but most of LED grow lights come with built-in cooling systems. In some cases, it will just comprise heat sinks, but a good portion of LED grow lights will have their own fans to help with cooling (on the flipside, cheaper options will make a lot of noise).

LED’s Are Green

Two, and tying into the previous point, LED grow lights are much more efficient. Studies have shown that using an LED will decrease the energy consumption by 40% per cent, compared to an HPS. On a large enough scale, the amount you’ll save on power alone should pay for the price of the light in a single harvest.

Still, even if you’re just tending to a walk-in closet garden, you will end up with a much smaller power bill. This degree of energy efficiency is beneficial not only to you, but also to the environment. In a way, you could say it’s “green” whichever way you look at it.

Talking ‘bout a Full Life

Three, LED grow lights, and LED lights in general are known to be longer lived than their various cousins. For example, while the higher-end HID’s can last up to 25,000 hours, LED’s only start at 20,000, and the average LED can live up to 50,000 hours. The higher-end ones can survive for up to double that, though they come with a matching price.

Moreover, when your HID dies, it does it abruptly, while an LED will have a long time of dimming and tapering out before it dies on you, giving you ample warning. Plus, LED’s warm up a hell-of-a-lot faster.

Lots of Options

Four, LED’s offer far more flexibility. In a bit more detail – LED’s can be customized to any color temperature for growing. While HPS’s are great for flowering, they suck for vegging, especially when compared with LED’s.

On that same note, LED grow lights allow you not only to change the colors to mimic the exact spectrum of light your crops need, but also to dim or brighten the emissions. A word to the wise, though – pushing too much juice through LED’s will (not “could” – “will”) shorten their lifespan. This, incidentally, makes a nice segue to the final point…

The Light of Day

Five, LED’s do a much better job of recreating daylight than any other light source we know of today. Granted, their lumen per watt efficiency (how well a light source produces light) is smaller than that of their HID counterparts, but the light they emit is much more natural. In a bit more technical terms, LED’s ability to produce more energy for photosynthesis trumps anything HID’s are able to give.

Pay for Play

It would be remiss not to mention the major drawbacks of LED’s, such as the high upfront costs.   Still, these problems are easily resolved, by waiting until it pays for itself with electricity saving etc. 

Now, do you think LED’s are worth it?

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  • Baiba Vitola
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