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Why LED Grow Lights Are Ideal For Indoor Gardens

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led grow lightOne of the most important decisions faced by an indoor gardener is what type of grow light to use. Plants need specific types of light in order to photosynthesize. Leafy, green plants need light from a different spectrum than do seedlings and flowering or fruit-bearing plants. Metal Halide, High Pressure Sodium, Fluorescent and Incandescent are a few of the available options for grow lights. Some produce light on the ‘blue’ spectrum, while other produce light on the ‘red/orange’ spectrum. Full-spectrum Fluorescent lights are just that, but since plants do not use the full spectrum of light when they photosynthesize, much of that fluorescent light goes to waste.

Light Emitting Diode grow lights emit light in exactly the right spectrums needed by the plants. Not all LED grow lights are exactly the same, but many Incorporate both blue and red bulbs to nurture plants in all stages of development. Unlike most other bulbs, which produce light as a by-product of a chemical reaction, LED light is a direct result of electricity flowing through the diode. This means that LED grow bulbs waste very little energy and even less of their light. Only a portion of the light produced by HID, fluorescent and incandescent bulbs is actually used by the plant. Since LED grow lights directly emit light in a narrow band of the spectrum, almost none of that light is wasted. Thus, you get “more bang for your buck.”

Most grow lights emit a lot of extra heat, which is not entirely good for the plants. Just as outdoor plants can be burned by the sun, indoor plants can be scorched if their grow lights are too hot. The way to deal with this problem is to provide ventilation and cooling to the indoor garden. Fans, air condition systems and air-cooled light reflectors all add to the setup and operating costs of an indoor garden. LED grow lights produce almost no excess heat, both allowing the lights to be placed closer to plants, and reducing or even eliminating any need for a cooling system.

With the exception of fluorescent grow lights, most other grows bulbs also require external ballasts to regulate their energy intake. LED grow lights usually come complete with their own power source, reducing the amount of accessories you need to get started. Most other grow lights also need light reflectors to concentrate the light and make sure less of it is wasted. With LED grow lights, this step is also unnecessary. LED light is usually not as diffuse as other types of light, so it is already nicely concentrated where you point it.

LED grow lights consume far less energy than most of their counterparts, and have a much longer useful life. LED grow lights can be expected to consume up to 75% less electricity, and to last up to 20 times longer than an HPS light, for instance. Whether the indoor garden in question is hydroponic or soil-based, LED grow lights are an easier, more efficient option.

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12 Comments

  1. Make no mistake LEDs are actually better now with newer LED ratios coming out everyday, the difference though is that you still have to put in the same wattage to get the same out of them, the lumens will be lower but the light coverage will be deeper because of the spectrum, the major difference that I like is the heat, that’s a factor which you simply can’t get rid of cheaply with HPS/MH lights.

  2. Side by side it’s actually been shown that they do exactly the same and sometimes even worse for HPS/MH because like they said plants don’t need a full spectrum they only need certain parts of it, plus that excessive heat really does cripple your plants if not tended too, for indoor I recommend LED unless you have cool tubes and a massive grow going.

  3. Advantages of LED grow lights are obvious ?and the light from LED grow lights is better than sun light in theory . But the first cost is difficult to afford for many people . 

  4. OK so its not a side by side with clones (there are reasons why I have to stick to autos during winter): BUT I have just done a side by side using autoflowers in a standard small closet grow.
    I’ve got 14 years experience growing HPS and I got into this trial thing just because I couldnt find any real info as to whether or not LEDs really did work – or was it just that the guys that got good results also gave their plants all the extras (that your standard small time grower wouldn’t bother with).
    Even after the plants had smaller node space in veg under LED I still wasnt convinced.
    I guess you have to read here: http://www.growersguidetocannabis.com/blog/2012/02/01/drumroll-please-the-fero-led-hps-grow-down-is-over/ to find out what the results were!

    Obviously as the piece says, there are flaws in our trial methodology: we know we need to do clones, and we need to pit an LED against an HPS of bigger size (and thats next on the books) … but we have no professional relationship with any LED company and made it clear from the start we’d be honest about the results. So we have been.

    As to cost? Well I’d have to sit down with a calculator to work out cost benefit analysis … but right now I’m enjoying myself smoking the results of the trial and thats really too hard for me in this state of mind … :)

  5. Greetings, I have all, I use flouresents in my top seedling cabinette, and 5 led panels in my lower bigger cabinette for clones they grow great in Led, if you want them taller, then HPS 600w for the main flower section and also made a cabinette with the 6 mil and plastic shelfing at home depot for clones, got growing lights for the clones that came from walmart they are purple light, all in a 7by 8 ft shed, I use a 6mil white/black covering on the walls, and cover with clips the main 600 with it when light are out so the cabinette doen’t effect them, also where light excapes I blacked out with black silicon, and the cabinette with green masking tape cause green light doesn’t bother them. Anyway the LED are ok for growning but no to great at flower.

    Oh I got that duel 600w spectrum mh/hps duel arc and that thing flickered from the start, it’s new in the box, I heard it was discontinued.

    Happy Trails to you!

  6. LED are awesome, but if you want bigger buds, man up and get HPS. or go outdoors.

    show me a side-by-side of clones that do even or better than hps/mh and i’ll be convinced.

    maybe when they are cheaper it will be better investment?

  7. HID lights, specifically HPS lights are still the most efficient lights on the market, when you are talking lumens to power ratio. As an avid reader of High Times, I have never seen Danny Danko, or another HT writers dispute this fact. HID lights still have the best yield to kWh ratio.
    If your aim is simplicity and stealth, I would go with LED lights, a 420 grow system, a grow tent (for positive air flow), and a more than adequate carbon air scrubber. Keep your plants as close to the light as you can without burning them. Check your water level every 4 to 5 days. Also when using LEDs start your flower cycle sooner and use more indica dominant plants.

  8. Less are a real joke. Still a work in progress. Don’t mess around and waste your money. They have red and blue spectrum flouresents. Just get some of them if your worried about heat. They also have red and blue hps.This thread don’t make anything clear. Just opinion.