How To Choose The Right LED Grow Lights ?
In the market for an indoor LED Grow Light? It doesn’t take long at all to search the internet for an LED grow light nz and land on a page selling you a 3000watt indoor Grow Light.
Reading a number like that will make any keen indoor growing enthusiast interested to take the bait and give it go, because surely 3000watts will translate into a high performance and grow your monsterra’s and hoya’s beyond your wildest dreams. At least you would expect results far above what your traditional 600w HPS Grow Light has to offer, right?
When LED grow light technology was first introduced, it became common place for overseas manufacturers to rate their panels with fictitious numbers to seemingly offer better equipment over their competitors at the same or lower prices. This competitive nature has led to all kinds of claims on “output wattages” and unrealistic coverages for your grow space.
When some of these suppliers have been questioned on these output wattages it was told the number reflects the comparable incandescent light bulb in terms of lumen output… not actual wattage or anything to do with Photosynthetic Active Radiation.
Which features are the most important for decision making on LED grow light?
Input wattage is what really defines the power use of the LED growing light you are looking at, reading the fine print on the product specifications should show the actual wattage of the fixture.
You might in fact find the wattage is somewhere of a fraction of the claimed power of the unit, resulting in disappointment and resentment for LED grow lights NZ when the “3000 watts” of growing potential doesn’t add up to a good result. This has caused many sour experiences around the world and has certainly made people second guess what an LED grow lights has to offer.
The efficiency of the LED indoor grow light is really what translates that input wattage into photons for your plants, while a higher efficiency number is a good thing it certainly doesn’t mean this panel would perform better than another with a slightly lower claimed efficiency for the same wattage. Spectrum, spread and the plants you are growing are all important parts of the formula that must be compatible to achieve the best results.
Red blue and white light
You might come across a panel with what we call “blurple” LED diodes ( some call will claim this as full spectrum), simply red and blue diodes that combine to offer a migraine inducing colour scheme that your plants will generally find lacking in other parts of the spectrum resulting in lackluster plant performance. For arguments sake we can compare this against an LED offering just white light LEDs at the same wattage with a lower efficiency, (less photons for the same wattage).
You would be surprised to find the plants grow significantly better under the white light simply due to the white light containing a much broader offering of wavelengths to the plants, fulfilling its needs dramatically better. The topic of spectrum and the effects it has on different plants is still being researched and studied to this day. As more is understood of a (specific) plants requirements and preferences the LED Grow Lights will develop to suit these specific needs.
The next thing to mention is claimed coverage, it is just as easy for a manufacturer to claim outrageous wattage as it is to claim coverage. Ideally, you want an LED Grow Light that can provide high output across your entire grow space without tapering off the intensity too much around the corners of the grow space. Taking a close look at the PPFD map is the best way to have an insight into how the LED Grow Light performs. You just need to know how much PPFD your plants require to be satisfied (too much intensity is definitely a possibility).
Most high demand plants will expect anything above 600PPF when on a short day flowering light cycle, this can be easily overlooked when the PPFD map shows claims flowering coverage reaching further out than any other LED Grow Light and yet it will have numbers as low as 100PPF anywhere that is not near the LED fixture. Claiming that it can “flower” these great distances when in reality it will struggle to do keep the plants awake on the outer edges. Assuming their testing equipment has made an accurate map in a realistic environment.
While it is certainly ideal to have an LED that reaches the four-corners of your grow room with high intensity, in reality these units can ask a pretty high investment cost that can be just too hard to justify. This is the case for many and it is worth noting that while you might have a grow space of 1.2m x 1.2m, it is best practice not to grow plants right out to edges.
When the plants start touching the walls of the Grow Room, humidity and moisture can settle in places that the airflow can no longer reach, resulting in the nasty mold starting to take a hold of your precious plants. We find it best to suggest aiming for an example of 1mx1m coverage for the LED Grow Light and putting more focus into the plants within that coverage, ensuring higher quality plant growth and performance.
COB vs LED
LED growing technology is primarily split between two distinct methods of emitting light, COBs and single diode arrays commonly known as Quantum Boards
The COB (Chip-On-Board) appears as a single LED chip, however, there are multiple single diodes stitched into the chip to meet a specific wattage and light output.
The quality and efficiency of the COB depends on the number of diodes and the wattage of the individual diodes. The phosphor coating over the diodes has an influence on the efficiency of the COB as the coating is what filters the emitted light into the desired spectrum/Colour Temperature.
Quantum Board the term has been adopted as common place for an array of individual diodes spread across a board. The diodes can be from any brand or manufacturer or of any spectrum and colour temperature. Most commonly, the boards are comprised of Samsung diodes (specifically LM301b/LM301H series) in a wide range of colour temperatures as they offer the highest efficiency on the market.
How to hang LED Grow Lights?
To make it easier to understand we have made a short video below on how to install your LED Grow Light NZ: