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Best LED Grow Lights Reviews & Buying Guide 2020

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Imagine fresh vegetables for your table in the dead of winter. Growing plants indoors is something that can now be done year-round, regardless of what the weather is doing outside. All it takes is a few simple tips and the best LED grow lights.

Why do you need a grow light?

Insufficient natural light

These grow lights are not only used in places where the availability of natural rays of light is scanty but they are also used when certain plants are grown indoors artificially due to unavailability of natural conditions like ideal soil, especially for off-season growths.

Off-season plant growth

For example, when a day is less during a particular season, plants may not get the proper amount of light. Deficiency in sunlight will lead to stunted growth of the plants. These panels provide the plant with a stimulus by exuding an electromagnetic spectrum to help them with the process of photosynthesis.

However, it is important to regulate the correct amount of sunlight and for that very reason, it is important to opt for the very best variety. Moreover, depending on the process through which the plants are cultivated, different variations of the panels are used.

The cultivation process might include soil or hydroponics as well and therefore the light intensity and spectrum may vary as well depending upon such conditions. Thus, going through LED Grow lights reviews can turn out to be extremely helpful in deciding on the type of grow light to be used for the cultivation method.

An ideal substitute for Sunlight

The LED grow lights create an array of the chromatic spectrum that is complementary to the rays of the sun from which the plants get the source of energy for creating their food.

Different levels of luminosity and temperature conditions are favorable for different levels of the generation of food for the plants. The spectrum, illuminating efficiency, color, and temperature are catered according to the parameters of the type of plant being produced, the phase of cultivation, and the plant’s photoperiod.

LED grow lamps are long perennial and produce light that is cognate to the temperature wanted by the plants for their food manufacturing processes. LED lights are a better option for growing plants indoors as they are not cumbersome and the production of heat is less than glowing lights.

As mentioned, the temperature is also one of the key features for growing plants indoors. Therefore, if the lamps used as an external light source create additional heat, then it might turn out to be unfavorable for the growth. Since the LED lights do not produce any additional external heat, they are highly favorable for growing plants in a temperature-controlled environment.

Various mechanisms are controlled in a shipshape way under LED lights. The transpiration in plants is less under these panels. This also means that the energy spent on maintaining water levels or the frequency of watering the plants is also reduced.

Whether you’re planning an indoor vegetable garden or just looking to spruce up your home with an array of gorgeous potted plants, you’ll need to decide which type of grow light will be best for your needs. It all comes down to the science of being a plant.

Plants need certain types of light to carry out photosynthesis, which if you’ll think back to your elementary school days, are the chemical reaction plants utilize to produce their food. The type of plant you’re growing determines the type of LED light you’ll be needing.

What type of light do your plants need?

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The LED light you’re using needs to match the type of plant you’re growing if you want the best possible results. Some plants need only light from the “blue” spectrum, while others may need light from the “red/orange” spectrum to carry out their photosynthesis.

If you’re using a light that emits the full spectrum, such as a full-spectrum fluorescent light, then you’re wasting much of that light.

The first thing you want to look for when deciding on a grow light system is the kind of light you need for the plants you’re growing. Your local garden center or co-op, or your favorite gardening website, should be able to help you determine what type of light your plants will be needing. Here’s an overview of the light spectrums that plants like:

Blue light

Known as “cool light,” light in this range of the spectrum is best for tall, leafy plants. It may need to be curtailed a bit during the flowering and budding phase, however, to avoid low bud production.

Red light

This is found on the opposite end of the spectrum from the blue light and is best for plants that bloom.

White light

Light in this spectrum is useful for human eyes only. If you’re using only red or blue LEDs in your growing area, it will be hard for you to spot any potential problems with your plants that may be cropping up.

Orange/Red light

Grow lights producing illumination in these spectrums generally produce a lot of heat, and this must be taken into account when selecting them.

Ultraviolet light

Growing lights that utilize this spectrum are generally used only in the growing of plants such as marijuana, as the use of ultraviolet light may increase THC production.

Things to Consider Before Choosing the Best LED Grow Light

Before you invest in an LED light, you need to give a little consideration to exactly what features you need in your LED system. All LED lights have a few things in common, such as lower overall power consumption, they deliver more of the type of light most useful to your plants, and LEDs give off less heat.

But not all grow lights are of equal quality so it is worth taking a look at a few LED grow lights reviews before making your LED purchase:

Look for heavy-duty construction

The importance of light’s construction cannot be overlooked. Lights built with inferior wiring and metals will not only perform at a substandard level but may also cause problems for your plants. Heat buildup around your plants can be devastating to your crop, your electric bill, and possibly your home itself.

Blue and Red LEDs

These two light spectrums are the ones that plants rely on most to get them through their stages of growth. The best-LED systems deliver a consistent combination of blue and red lights to promote vegetative and flowering growth.

A cooling system capable of handling the load.

Although most LED lights generally operate at a cooler temperature than other types of lighting systems, it pays to give a bit of attention to the cooling system associated with a grow light setup. There should be a “heat sink” whose job it is to take the heat out of the LED and direct it away from the lighting system.

If the heat sink isn’t constructed of a metal-core printed circuit board with an attached panel of “fins,” then you might need to look for a different LED light system.

Is there a warranty?

In short, no warranty should mean no sale. The warranty should cover replacement parts and repairs for up to five years after purchase.

Your budget

The facts are these: if you want a top-rated LED to grow light, it may be expensive. Knowing what your budget will allow before you start shopping will help you make the best decision for your needs.

How much space do you have for growing?

You’ll need a light system that can cover the space that you plan to use for growing. Make sure you know the expected height of your plant selections and the footprint size of your growing space.

What LEDs are best suited for your style of growing?

The modern world of horticulture is varied in its styles. You need to make certain that your choice of LED lights has the best to offer for your grow style.

Grow Lights: How they Work?

Different wavelengths of light simulate different pigments of a plant and that too differs from the type of plant that is being cultivated. The lights react in various ways to the chlorophyll and carotenoids of the plant and overlapping the multifarious absorption peaks of the plants.

The modern development in the making of LED lights sets the blue and red power in frequency that is similar to the plant’s craved wavelengths favorable for their growth.

The wavelengths of the red and blue LEDs are different. The blue LEDs are proper for vegetative and structural escalation while the red LEDs for producing fruits or flowers.

The Preliminary stage of LED panels

In the preliminary stages of its growth LED lights were put into panels. By setting up many LEDs in panel form it becomes easier to simulate the intensity of the HPS lights thus ensuring proper growth for the plants without any kind of compromise. Up to-to-the-minute developments of panels use dazzling and compound watt LEDs that overpower the HPSs in vividness and production.

In comparison to other forms of intense light sources, the lights function in an enhanced process to give the tangible light energy that the plants cherish. Taking the PAR VALUE or the lumen yield of plants is appropriate as these panels can flaunt of competence. However, it is always better to go through user reviews to find the appropriate LED light source for a particular plant and the environment that is created for its growth.
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Advantages of Using LED Grow Lights

There are numerous benefits of opting for the best LED grow lights for indoor plant cultivation and some of them are as follows

  • They consume less energy in comparison to other conventional modes of artificial light sources
  • They do not produce any kind of substantial external heat which means that they are ideal for growing plants which are cultivated in a temperature-sensitive environment
  • LED lights do not include any obnoxious solids, liquids, or gases that are dangerous to the environment.
  • LED lights do not take up a lot of space for setup which makes them ideal for places where there is a space constraint
  • Easy to install and easier to maintain

Light Cycle

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The Light Cycle is one of the most important concepts when it comes to growing plants with the help of artificial light sources. Light Cycle in the growth of plants is dependent heavily on the right amount of daily light and darkness that is necessary during different phases of growth.

During the vegetative state, the plants require maximum light time in comparison to the daily dark period. Around 16 to 18 hours of light is necessary during the vegetative state and 6 to 8 hours of daily darkness. During the flowering cycle, this timeframe changes to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness daily.

The Light cycle is not only related to the number of hours a plant should receive light and darkness but it is also about the intensity of light as well. During the vegetative or growth phase, it is essential to ensure that the light intensity is not too high at all.

A very high-intensity light during this phase may stunt the growth of the plants and can even kill them. Therefore, when buying growth lights it is important to check out the intensity of the LED which is being used in these growth lights.

Another important aspect when it comes to light cycles is seasonal changes. As we all know, during some seasons the days are shorter than other seasons and therefore, it becomes important to provide an artificial light source for the plants to maintain their growth rate.

Therefore, the artificial growth lights are not only important for indoor cultivation but it is also important for cultivation done in other growth areas like greenhouses as well. Even if they grow room is receiving natural light, it is essential to opt for the best LED grow lights reviews to keep the grow room sufficiently lit during the seasons where daylight is scarce.

Also, different types of wavelengths are necessary for different growth phases of the plant and it is essential to provide these different wavelengths of light as part of a successful life cycle.

How to Install LED Grow Lights

Once the best LED grow lights for the cultivation are chosen it now becomes important to install them properly in the grow room. Certain important points must be considered for the installation process of the LED lights.

Choice of Grow Room

The choice of the grow room is one of the most important steps in the installation of the LED lights for cultivation. Usually, for individual growers, the grow room is usually the basement or the attic of the house.

The Urban organic indoor grower usually faces a constraint in terms of space requirements. Moreover, the basement might require more lighting requirements than the attic since the attic might have a little access to natural light whereas the basement is completely devoid of it.

Many urban growers convert such spaces in their home permanently to grow rooms and therefore it becomes necessary to compute space requirements for proper installation of the LED lights.

Temperature

Extreme changes in temperature, too hot or too cold, can have adverse effects on the growth of the plants and can even kill them. Although plants are capable of handling a wide range of temperature it is still important to regulate the temperature in the grow room.

LED lights emit very less heat but the chips that control the functioning of the light require a proper heat sink to function properly. Confined spaces like attics or basements can quickly become warm. Therefore, monitoring the temperature of a grow room becomes essential for an urban grower to achieve perfect cultivation.

Humidity

Along with temperature, another important aspect of the grow room which requires strict monitoring is the humidity. Plants do require a certain level of humidity so that they can utilize the nutrients at a steady pace for their growth.

However, an increase in the humidity of the grow room beyond the permissible limit can harm the cultivation. High humidity allows unwanted mold and fungi to grow which are parasitic organisms.

These organisms are capable of utilizing the nutrients and the growing light for their growth thus depriving the plants of both the resources required for their proper growth.

Electrical Setup

While installing the LED lights for the cultivation in the grow room, it is essential to set up the correct electrical connectivity in the room.

LED lights have heat sinks and therefore it is important to keep in mind the additional power which these heatsinks will utilize. It is important to ensure that the electrical load is balanced properly in the establishment of the LED lights in the grow room to function properly.

Since these lights need to function at a certain wavelength and intensity, low voltage can lead to the low intensity which eventually has adverse effects on the growth of the plants.

Placement and Setup

Placing the growth lights at the correct angle is not enough. It is also essential to find the correct placement area in the room to cover the maximum surface area. Improper placement or mistake in understanding the layout of the grow room can lead to poor growth of the plants.

To place the LED lights efficiently the first important step is to find out the actual layout of the grow room and eventually setting up the lights so that all the plants receive equal intensity from the LED lights. This will help in an equivalent growth of the plants and proper cultivation.

Final Inspection

Once all the other points are taken into consideration and the number of LED lights required for the room is finalized it is now time for some final inspection before the installation of the best LED grow lights.

The light panels need to be in a perfect array and there should not be any loose wires or any other connectivity issues. Also, once the lights are installed in the panels and it must be ensured that human movement inside the grow room is not restricted. The wiring for the LED lights should not have any issues with the insulation of the grow room as well.

Common FAQ

Why use LED Lights instead of HPS Lights?

There are numerous benefits of using LED lights over HPS lights. One of the main benefits is the longevity of LED lights. In comparison, LED lasts much longer than HPS lights. Therefore, there is a cost-saving benefit present in choosing an LED over HPS.

Moreover, it is difficult to maintain the light intensity of the HPS lights and they may turn out to be too bright for the plants and their growth. LED lights have different intensity and wavelength in comparison to HPS lights.

How far should the LED Light array be from the plants?

This is one of the most common questions asked by urban growers. The answer to this lies with the brand of the LED light bought for the growth. Also, additional features like the shape of the LED light array, the wattage of the lights used the beam angle and coverage area of the lights play an important role in deciding the distance of setting up the light array from the plants.

The prices of LED lights are more in comparison to other conventional lights then how is it being cost-effective?

This is another question asked by many growers who are looking to switch from the conventional lighting system to LED or are starting as indoor growers. The initial cost of LED grows lights may be more in comparison to traditional artificial grow light sources. However, overall, in terms of power consumption, longevity, and reliability, LED lights outperforms all other traditional forms of artificial light sources for cultivation.

Can we customize the best LED Grow Lights?

The answer is yes. It is very easy to customize LED light arrays and therefore you can achieve any kind of shape which you may require for the ideal growth of the plants.

For growing lush plants, what is the ideal spectrum of light?

The Blue spectrum or 440-460 nanometer range is ideal for growing plants in the vegetation state. However, the red spectrum can also be used during this phase in a moderate fashion. In the flowering stage though, the red spectrum or 630 to 660-nanometer ranges is ideal for the growth of the plants. Other additional colors of light can be added for beer results as well.

How much and how often should the plants be watered?

When using the best LED grow lights for plant growth, one of the common mistakes done by growers is that they water the plants the same way when traditional light sources were used. This is incorrect since LED lights emit less heat which means that the water evaporates at a lesser rate. Therefore, it is important to regulate the watering of the plants when using LED lamps for growing.

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