The Advantages of LED Lights

While there any many different types of lighting for hydroponics, LED grow lights seem to be taking a rise recently for indoor gardening lighting. As you may find with a lot of hydroponic products, finding which product is best for you can seem quite daunting – this is why we’ve put together a small guide that will hopefully give you all the inside information you need regarding LED lighting.

Although there are a lot of reasons as to why people prefer to use LED lights, the shortlist is:

  • Less energy (cheaper to run)
  • Last longer (no need to replace after a couple of uses)
  • Smaller
  • Solid-state (more durable)
  • Lower heat
  • Daisy chainable (only selected models)

Lower heat is the main reason people switch from HPS lights to LED lights. HPS lights emit a lot of infrared light which therefore creates radiant heat to warm plants and your grow room. Whereas LED emits much less infrared light which means minimal heat output and they also last a lot longer compared to HPS lights.

Technology has now moved on leaps and bounds and most LEDs on the market today provide high-quality full-spectrum lighting meaning, you don’t have to change the lights as your plants enter the flowering and fruiting stages.

LED’S aren’t measured in the same way as HPS lights, so rather than reading about lumen output or light spectrum, you will see measurements of PAR output and PPFD. PAR measures light spectrum in the range of 400nm to 700nm, PPFD measures the amount of light (intensity) so pay attention to these when deciding what LED model is for you. Also, make sure you pick quality over cost, as cheap and cheerful modules won’t have full-spectrum lighting and low-grade LED’s aren’t powerful enough to penetrate the full plant canopy.

Points to consider

Pros

  • Less heat – lower extraction requirements
  • Cheaper to run
  • Even light coverage
  • Easy to replace LEDs
  • No heavy/hot ballasts required

Cons

  • Winter temps may suffer so additional heating required
  • Revise/reduce winter extraction
  • Expensive initial outlay

Seeing as this is the year of the LED, these are our top picks:

 

Telos LED 0010

The cheapest of our recommendations coming in at £499.95 is the Telos LED 0010. The Telos series is a range of full-spectrum LED grow lights designed for growing taller plants in both harsh greenhouse conditions and indoor horticulture platforms.

The Telos 0010 LED is effective for approximately 80,000 – 85,000 hours and also has the daisy chain functionality meaning you can link up more than one. These lights use CREE’s latest LED transmitters, harnessing XP-G3 (photo-red) and X-E (white) LEDs to create full-spectrum lighting. The LED modules can be upgraded as CREE release new LED modules.

Warranty:  3-year manufacturer's warranty

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SANlight Q6W 205-WATT LED S2.1 Gen 2

The Sanlight Series 2 Q2 is one of the cheaper LED’s we recommend at £550 and is one of the highest efficient LED grow light system for indoor growing with maximum flexibility. The optimised heat sink cools down the LED chip to temperatures below 70°C and connects the light engine and power distribution. The Sanlight can also be daisy-chained to run from one power source and now with the option to purchase a dimmer separately, meaning you can dim down the LED by 25% at a time using a dimmer fob.

Warranty: 3-year manufacturer’s warranty

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Hacienda LED H16

 

The Hacienda H16 LED is one of our mid-range recommendations pricing at £699.95 - featuring the latest generation of multi-cob LED technology. It helps push plants, and harvests, to their optimum and beyond while only using a fraction of the power compared to equivalent HID grow lamps.

Warranty: 2-years manufacturer’s warranty

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Maxibright Daylight LED 660w

 

Maxibright Daylight LED, a more high-end LED pricing at £899.99 and is a full-Spectrum LED grow light that provides the full range of light wavelengths to give your plants everything they need from start to finish and give you a better yield. The Maxibright Daylight has adjustable lighting bars to tailor the light spread and angle as well as the possibility to reduce the number of bars of the lighting unit. With a built-in dimmer function - this helps to reduce the intensity for younger plants in the vegetative stage.

Warranty: 3-years manufacturer’s warranty

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Gavita LED 1700e

 

The Gavita Pro 1700e LED, the most expensive of our recommendations pricing at £1500 is a full-term light fixture that provides consistent, energy-efficient results. Dimmable controller functionality is sold separately but can also be connected to the new Gavita Controller as well as having the daisy chain function when connected to the Gavita controller.

Warranty: 5-years manufactures warranty

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Our 2020 one to watch out for:

 

The all-new Cropter LED pricing at £2399.95 is the first LED grow light with adjustable arms, while also being easily adjustable to your grow method and area. It provides 1.570 µmol/s @ 780 watts and is recommended for the illumination of up to 25 sq. ft.

With over 50,000 hours of lifespan it can be fully tailored to the individual plant's needs with a fully adjustable spectrum and intensity which can be customised however you want it. This is one of the most multi-functional LEDs on the market, designed for those who are interested in more sophisticated lighting recipes, monitoring functions and remote control. There is the option to control hundreds of Cropter units and extensions with the Control HUB.

Warranty: 5-years manufactures warranty

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LED language explained…

PAR Photosynthetically Active Radiation. A measurement of plant available light spectrum

PPF - Photosynthetic Photon Flux. Measures the amount of PAR per second or micromoles per second (umol/s)

PPFDPhotosynthetic Photon Flux Density. Measures the amount of PAR per square metre per second or micromoles per square mtr per second (umol/m2/s) and is the main measurement for measuring PAR intensity

LED – Light Emitting Diodes (light emitting device)

HEAT SINKS – provide a path for the heat to travel and disperse

ACTIVE HEAT SINK – heat sinks that included fans

COBS Chips On Board. COB LED’S tend to have more diodes per chip (up to 9 per chip)

HPS/HIDHigh Pressure Sodium/High Intensity Discharge. Old school grow room lighting

DAISY CHAIN – Ability to link multiple lights to one power source.