The most important thing to remember about choosing LED grow lights….
There are 3 main types of LEDs that are most commonly used for growing cannabis. Each type of model has its pros and cons, so there isn’t yet a “best” LED type. Some are better for some situations than other.
You want to use the most cutting-edge indoor cannabis grow lights with a customized spectrum of light
You might be interested in…
Kind LED Grow Lights
LEDs can get pretty pricey, though not all brands! In fact, some great brands are actually some of the cheapest!
This company makes “Quantum Board” or “Spread Style” LED grow lights. Normally I only recommend products that can be found consistently on Amazon.com, and sometimes these ones are available there, but typically you need to order directly from their website. However, I still included them on this list because the results are impressive. This particular company goes above and beyond as far as customer service and gives you detailed instructions on how to use their LEDs to get the best yields and results. The company supports cannabis growers and will answer questions about plants. They are constantly testing their lights and the results show it. As a result, I highly recommend this company for anyone looking for a high-quality LED.
Example of cannabis plants grown under the HLG550 LED Grow Light
Introduction: Are LEDs a Good Choice for Growing Cannabis?
These plants seem apparently healthy, but the top leaves keep getting lighter and lighter because the LED grow light was too close. If you don’t realize it’s light burn, the symptoms are inexplicable!
Actual Power Consumption: 65W
When comparing both technologies, always compare light levels of the entire grow and not just fixture to fixture. I cannot stress enough that there is no such thing as a 1-for-1 replacement of HPS by LED! That simply does not exist in the marketplace. Yes, there are LED fixtures that exist when measured directly beneath the fixture. The output looks equal to or even greater than an HPS. But, when you move the PAR sensor any direction from centered beneath the LED the light level decreases much more under the LED than any HPS fixture!
LED technology has only been available on a commercial level in the horticultural industry for around three years. So realistically, they would only have had time to trial a limited number of spectrums that may yield good results for one or two strains/cultivars. We simply have not had the technology long enough to perform the testing needed!
When it comes to building an ROI comparing LED versus HPS be careful with results that are supplied by manufacturers of only one type of light source. I have seen manufacturers on both sides of the argument manipulate numbers to favor their specific light source. Below is an outline of things to look out for when receiving an ROI comparing lighting technologies:
ALWAYS ask for a light plan that shows an average light level in micromoles AND a uniformity average (hopefully above 90% uniformity). Most LEDs are a very directional source of lighting. If a crop is grown under lighting that is not uniform across your canopy but instead has “hot spots” and “dark spots” it will cause you trouble as the hot spots will use more water, evaporate water, absorb nutrients, etc. at a different rate of speed then the dark spots! To truly have an “apples to apples” comparison be sure to compare light plans with the same targeted light level in micromoles and close to the same average uniformity number. If a supplier cannot provide you with these numbers then it may not be someone you should be considering.
Does this article answer our very first question? Let’s break it down and see. Upon further investigation, the crops in question were grown entirely under each light source. Not in a veg room under one type of light and then moved to flower. For this reason, the HPS plants stretched in veg and were not off to a healthy start!
What about growing in a greenhouse? From our graph above showing the spectrum of sunlight compared to that used for photosynthesis is there any benefit for using a light source where you can dial in the spectrum to add more blue? The natural light received by your crop in a greenhouse will cover all of your light spectrum needs. So the big question for greenhouse grows should center more around the ROI comparisons between LED and HPS — not about light spectrum needs. This is not something you will hear from light manufacturers of LED lighting. Your LED-only supplier will have you believe you NEED their spectrum specifically!
It was only after companies like P.L. Light and Philips* introduced LED fixtures specifically engineered for truss mounting in a greenhouse, that growers really adopted this technology. These products enabled even the indoor grower to maintain some distance between the LED fixtures and the plant canopy, and resulted in production similar to growing under HPS. (*In the United States, Philips has taken the stance that they will not support sales into the cannabis industry as it is not recognized to be legal by the federal government)