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LED Grow Lights Reviews: The Best Out There Today

LEDGrowLights.com is your #1 resource for anything and everything revolved around LED Grow Lights, growing cannabis with LED Grow Lights, along with comprehensive reviews of the best LED Grow Lights for 2016 Black Dog LED.

2016 Top LED Grow Lights

LED Grow Lights
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PhytoMAX 1000 LED Grow Lights

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5.5’ x 5.5’ flowering footprint

8’ x 8’ veg footprint

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PhytoMAX 800 LED Grow Lights

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5’ x 5’ flowering footprint

7’ x 7’ veg footprint

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PhytoMAX 600 LED Grow Lights

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4.25’ x 4.25’ flowering footprint

6’ x 6’ veg footprint

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PhytoMAX 400 LED Grow Lights

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3.5’ x 3.5’ flowering footprint

5’ x 5’ veg footprint

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PhytoMAX 200 LED Grow Lights

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2.5’ x 2.5’ flowering footprint

3.5’ x 3.5’ veg footprint

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LED GROW LIGHTS

Table of Contents

  1. What are LED Grow Lights?
  2. How Do LED Grow Lights Work?
  3. A Brief History of LEDs
  4. How Different Color LEDs are Made
  5. “White”, “Full Spectrum” or “Broad Spectrum” LEDs
  6. Why Only Red and Blue LED Grow Lights Don’t Work Well
  7. Understanding the Ideal Spectrum for LED Grow Lights
  8. Full Spectrum LEDs vs. 3-Band, 5-Band, 8-Band or 13-Band LEDs
  9. Heat: Thermal Management of LED Grow Lights
  10. Why Should You Consider Buying LED Grow Lights?
  11. What Does the Wattage on your LED Grow Light Mean
  12. Light Cycles in Your Garden
  13. Vegetative Growth
  14. Flowering Your Plants
  15. Why use LED Grow Lights in your indoor garden?
  16. Automating your LED Grow Lights
  17. Why is it so Important find the Best LED Grow Lights?
  18. Best Priced LED Grow Lights for Quality
  19. Build Quality in LED Grow Lights
  20. Which are the most Advanced Grow Lights for Flowering Cannabis?
  21. Comparison of Grow Light Technologies
  22. LED Grow Lights vs. Fluorescent (T5)
  23. LED Grow Lights vs. Induction Grow Lights
  24. LED Grow Lights vs. High Intensity Discharge (HID) Grow Lights
  25. LED Grow Lights vs. High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Grow Lights
  26. LED Grow Lights vs. Metal Halide (MH) Grow Lights
  27. LED vs. Ceramic Discharge Metal Halide (CDM / CMH) Grow Lights
  28. LED vs. Dual Arc (combination HPS and MH) Grow Lights
  29. LED Grow Lights vs. Incandescent Grow Lights
  30. LED Grow Lights vs. Light Emitting Plasma (LEP) Grow Lights
  31. LED Growing Recommendations and Tips
  32. Before Buying LED Grow Lights – Looking for the Best
  33. Determining the Correct Wattage for your Garden’s Footprint
  34. LED Grow Lights Manufacturer Questions to Ask
  35. Black Dog LED Grow Lights Reviews

What are LED Grow Lights?

LED Grow Lights are becoming ubiquitous in the market when looking at options for growing plants without natural light or without enough natural light. If you go back even a couple years people never considered LED for growing plants either in their home or in a commercial grow environment.

LEDs started with a humble beginning in handheld games, indicator lights, holiday lighting, as well as many other common uses. While LEDs we useful for lighting the way for the human eye, the original LEDs were not nearly powerful enough to grow plants. With the creation of high power LEDs in specific colors, LEDs have now become a viable source of light for growing plants… Read More

 

How Do LED Grow Lights Work?

It is a good idea understand the most fundamental question when looking to buy an LED grow light; what is an LED? LEDs create light through a phenomenon called electroluminescence, where electricity passing through a silicon semiconductor junction results in the creation of photons. Unlike every other grow lighting technology, LEDs do not require heat and/or mercury to create light for use in an LED grow light or other applications such as headlights for your car.

 

A Brief History of LEDs

Electroluminescence was first discovered in 1907, but the first LED wasn’t created until 1927, although no practical use was found for it. It wasn’t until 1962 that the first visible light LEDs were created, glowing red. In the 70’s other colors of LEDs were discovered… Read More

 

How Different Color LEDs are Made

The electroluminescence phenomenon used in LEDs can create different colors using different semiconductor materials and slight impurities (called “doping agents”). For LED grow lights, the important colors are created with:

Color Wavelength (nm) Semiconductor material
Infrared λ > 760 Gallium arsenide (GaAs)
Aluminium gallium arsenide (AlGaAs)
Red 610 < λ < 760 Aluminium gallium arsenide (AlGaAs)
Gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP)
Aluminium gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP)
Gallium(III) phosphide (GaP)
Orange 590 < λ < 610 Gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP)
Aluminium gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP)
Gallium(III) phosphide (GaP)
Yellow 570 < λ < 590 Gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP)
Aluminium gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP)
Gallium(III) phosphide (GaP)
Green 500 < λ < 570 Traditional green:
Gallium(III) phosphide (GaP)
Aluminium gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP)
Aluminium gallium phosphide (AlGaP)
Pure green:
Indium gallium nitride (InGaN) / Gallium(III) nitride (GaN)
Blue 450 < λ < 500 Zinc selenide (ZnSe)
Indium gallium nitride (InGaN)
Silicon carbide (SiC) as substrate
Silicon (Si) as substrate—under development
Violet 400 < λ < 450 Indium gallium nitride (InGaN)
Purple Multiple types Dual blue/red LEDs,
blue with red phosphor,
or white with purple plastic
Ultraviolet λ < 400 Diamond (235 nm)
Boron nitride (215 nm)
Aluminium nitride (AlN) (210 nm)
Aluminium gallium nitride (AlGaN)
Aluminium gallium indium nitride (AlGaInN)—down to 210 nm
Pink Multiple types Blue with one or two phosphor layers:
yellow with red, orange or pink phosphor added afterwards,
or white phosphors with pink pigment or dye over top.
White Broad spectrum Blue/UV diode with yellow phosphor

*Table Reference Wikipedia

 

“White”, “Full Spectrum” or “Broad Spectrum” LEDs

There are many different names for the same thing: a blue (or very rarely UV) LED diode covered with a yellow phosphor will create what the human eye perceives to be white light. The invention of practical high-intensity blue LEDs earned a Nobel Prize in 2014 because coating them with a yellow phosphor allowed LEDs to replace all other lighting technologies for humans while significantly increasing lifespan and efficiency.

White LEDs work by covering a high-intensity blue LED and placing a phosphor “cap” on top, usually yellow. When a high-energy blue photon generated by a blue LED strikes one of the phosphor molecules, some of its energy is converted into heat and the rest is re-emitted as a different, lower-energy (redder) color of light. Some blue photons sneak through the phosphor layer, but most are converted to a yellow or red color. This allows highly-efficient blue LEDs to recreate most of the colors that our eyes can see at a significant energy savings compared to incandescent, fluorescent / induction, high pressure sodium and metal halide lights…. Read More

 

“Full Spectrum” LEDs vs. 3-Band, 5-Band, 8-Band or 13-Band LEDs

There are trade-offs between the so-called “full spectrum” phosphor-coated blue LEDs and utilizing multiple different colors or “bands” in LED grow lights.

“White” or “broad-spectrum” LEDs can provide for plants’ minimal needs for growth, and if they are based on UV LEDs (which almost none are) they can even provide all the colors of light plants need to grow ideally. However, they do not produce all of these colors in the ideal ratio for plants. Most “full spectrum” LEDs produce predominantly yellow light, which is absorbed by plants but is not directly usable. The yellow light heats up leaves more than is necessary for ideal plant growth in indoor gardens, requiring additional cooling to keep the plants from overheating… Read More

 

Why Only Red and Blue LED Grow Lights Don’t Work Well

Plants will grow with only red and blue light, but they will not achieve their full potential without at least some other colors of light.

 

Understanding the Ideal Spectrum for LED Grow Lights

While plants don’t use each color equally, they do prefer broad-spectrum light. From the lowest-wavelength (highest-energy) to the highest-wavelength (lowest-energy) these colors are:

Ultraviolet (UV) light causes many plants to develop thicker cell walls, pigments, vitamins and other substances in a process called photomorphogenesis. In plants that naturally develop red pigmentation in their leaves such as red-leaf lettuce, UV light is responsible for the pigment production; without it the plants will remain green. In Cannabis, UV light is responsible for increased THC, CBD and terpene production…. Read More

 

Heat: Thermal Management of LED Grow Lights

Like every lighting technology, LEDs degrade over time and put out less light- they just do it a lot slower than other types of lights, as long as the LEDs are properly cooled. Excess heat causes LEDs to lose brightness and fail faster than if they are properly cooled.

For LED light bulbs used in houses, the small total wattage of the LEDs means that a simple, small “heat sink” can be used to get rid of the excess heat. When you put enough LEDs together to make a high-power grow light, more elaborate cooling is required to keep the LEDs running at peak efficiency for as long as possible. LED grow lights with inadequate cooling designs will dim quickly, even though the LEDs they are made from may be rated for a very long life, because this rating requires them to be properly cooled… Read More

 

Why Should You Consider Buying LED Grow Lights?

The benefits of using LED grow lights in your indoor grow are numerous and will be covered in detail below where we compare LED grow lights to the other older traditional lighting options. For now we can focus on the benefits of LEDs on their own.

Compact Design

Traditional HID lighting required large cumbersome reflectors along with fans and ducting to run properly. LED grow lights will allow you to simplify your indoor garden. The smaller size to watt ratio of LED grow lights can save a lot of valuable space in your grow, freeing up more space for plants and proper ventilation. The additional space you gain from not having as much cooling and equipment needs allows you to have a better space to work in where you can take better care of your plants thanks to better visibility and access.

Safe and Cool Running Temperatures

The management of the environment in your grow is key to success. High temperatures will cause heat stress at the very least and can cause the entire loss of a crop. To keep your environment at the proper temperature you need to use air conditioning with thermostatic controls. Traditional HID lighting adds huge amounts of heat to the environment since they run over 500 degrees. LED grow lights are only warm to the touch and do not put as much heat into the grow environment. This adds safety to your garden and saves money as well.

Power Efficiency

LED grow lights are much more efficient at producing the light that makes plants grow than traditional HID lighting or other technologies. HID lighting can produce a lot of light but it takes a lot of energy to create this light. Using the more efficient LED lighting will save you in power bills over the long run.

Bulb Lifespan

Replacing bulbs every 6 or 9 months is a thing of the past with LED grow lights. High quality LEDs can last 4 to 5 years without any maintenance or bulb changes. This saves money and time in your grow.

 

What Does the Wattage on your LED Grow Light Mean

Many LED grow light companies overstate the wattage their lights actually run at, instead using the theoretical limit of the LEDs in the light. If this much energy were run through the light it would likely cause permanent damage to the light and shorten the lifetime of the LEDs. Some other manufacturers will misleadingly name their LED grow lights with the wattage they claim it will replace, such as a 1000 watt HPS.

When buying LED grow lights you should always make sure the company is claiming the actual wattage the grow light will use in your garden. You are essentially paying mostly for wattage when you buy LED grow lights so if you are misled in the wattage you are not getting what you are paying for.

 

Light Cycles in Your Garden

Every garden has a light cycle. Depending on what stage your plants are in (flowering or vegetative) you will need to set up your lighting to turn on and off at the proper intervals. You need to understand how this works if you are going to succeed and get a solid harvest out of your garden.

In nature, outdoors, plants follow the seasons and while water and temperatures can play into this, the length of day also sends signals to the plant. As the summer turns into fall and fall turns into winter the days get shorter and the nights get longer. In your indoor garden you control the seasons by using a timer with your light to control the day and night length.

Some plants decide when to flower based on the length of the day / night cycle. Plants such as lettuce flower when the nights get short; plants like cucumbers will flower when they are large enough regardless of the length of the day or night.

Cannabis-Specific Light Cycle

Cannabis plants flower when the days get short and the night gets long. Cannabis determines this cycle based on the amount of dark time it receives every day… Read More

 

Vegetative Growth

Once a plant has left the seedling stage or the cloning stage, if coming from a clone instead of a seed, it will remain in the vegetative state until you are ready to flower the plant. During this stage you need to provide your plant with a longer time period of light from your LED grow light but the light can be less intense than during flower. Due to this lower requirement of power you can use less watts per square foot and save money on both the cost of the LED grow light as well as the savings from the more efficient LEDs.

During the vegetative period we recommend 16 or 18 hours of light per day. How long you remain in vegetative state before going into flower will depend on many things such as how large you want them to be at the end of flower, the particular genetics you are working with, and your style of growing (sea of green, screen of green, etc.). Other external forces can affect the duration of veg can be items such as a relatively short ceiling which can require you to keep plants smaller… Read More

 

Flowering Your Plants

To switch the light cycle on your LED grow lights to the 12/12 of light/dark for flower is often referred to as “flipping” the plants into flower. Once you make this change to 12 hours of darkness you need to be careful to ensure the dark period is uninterrupted with no light getting to the plants. If your plants are exposed to light during the dark period they will become stressed and your yields will be affected, or you will have none at all.

Once you flip into flower the plants will generally grow rapidly for a period of time dependent on the strain you are growing. This is called “stretching” and it will happen until the plant diverts all energy to growing flowers. The spectrum in well-designed LED grow lights will minimize this stretching by creating a hormonal response using specific wavelengths (colors) in specific ratios.

Part of moving to flower is increasing their feeding through nutrients and also changing the nutrients to be specific to the flowering cycle. Select a reputable nutrient company and follow their instructions before branching out and mixing and matching different nutrients. Some say that LED grow lights cause the plants to use less nutrients but this is not based in any science. In fact the nutrient needs can go up with LED grow lights if the temperatures are correct and the light is the proper power for the size of garden… Read More

 

Why use LEDs in your indoor garden?

While other lights such as HPS have been used for over 30 years in indoor gardens, they were created specifically for lighting with the human eye in mind. It was only later people realized they could be used for growing plants as well as lighting a ballpark or parking lot. LED grow lights can be tuned specifically for plants by selecting specific nanometers (colors) that are much more efficient for growing plants and waste less energy. Of course LEDs are inherently more efficient than other lighting technologies so they are particularly well adapted for use in grow lights.

If you care about the planet as well LEDs are a superior choice. All HID bulbs must contain toxic heavy metals such as mercury to work. Every time a bulb is replaced more heavy metals need to be disposed of.

When looking to buy grow lights the obvious choice has become LEDs thanks to the advances in technology and the proof offered for better yields with higher quality.

 

Automating your LED Grow Lights

LED grow lights are easier to turn on and off than traditional HID lighting since they do not require a cool-down period after turning them off. However, you should still automate the process of turning the lights on and off using a timer. A quality timer is recommended since the less expensive models may have a problem handling the power requirements of larger LED grow lights.

 

 

Why is it so Important find the Best LED Grow Lights?

There are many advantages of use LED grow lights in your grow instead of traditional HPS or other lighting. These advantages include but are not limited to lower power use per fixture, reduced cooling needs, increased quality, increased output per watt, fewer maintenance needs, etc. But once you come to the final conclusion that LED grow lights are the best way to go, why is it so important to buy the best LED grow lights, how do you know what the best lights are, and how do you find these lights?

In the past with indoor grow lights it was less important to completely understand the purchase you were making. A HPS bulb from one manufacturer was very similar to a HPS bulb from another manufacturer. Yes, there were some quality and longevity differences but since the core technology of how HPS works did not allow for too much variance between products. Today you often hear people say LEDs don’t work because they or someone they know tried some LEDs and they didn’t work as advertised. The problem with this conclusion is that they tried one brand of LEDs and failed. While there are LED grow light products being sold that do not work, there are ones that do. Trying one brand and concluding all LED grow lights do not work is just not an accurate assessment of the technology.

Avoiding this problem of buying LED grow lights brand that doesn’t perform is key to saving time and money. To avoid this you need to understand what makes LED grow lights so revolutionary for growing indoors and you need to ensure your selection has all of these advantages in place… Read More

 

Best Priced LED Grow Lights for Quality

If you compare LED grow light prices before buying them you will need to find a way to compare one brand of LED-grow-lights to another brand of LED grow lights. Older technologies such as High Pressure Sodium (HPS) have bulbs that are very similar in quality with only minor variations in longevity and spectral output due to the limitations of the technology. With LEDs the range of grow lights goes from lights that won’t even keep a plant alive to lights that will outperform any grow light in the world.

By dividing the cost of a light by the actual wattage of the light you can determine the cost per watt. You can use this cost per watt number to compare one LED grow light to another with equal quality and features. Just looking at cost will likely give you a light that will break quickly or won’t grow plants well, so it is critical to consider the lights’ features, warranty and build quality as well.

 

Build Quality in LED Grow Lights

Commercial grade, heavy duty equipment is required if you want your grow lights to last in the demanding environment of an indoor garden. Build quality includes things like a heavy-duty metal housing, use of quality components throughout the construction, and a full spectrum including UV and IR light. Low-end components can result in inferior quantity and quality yields, short lifespan for the light, as well as unsafe operating conditions. The main consideration when looking at build quality when buying LED grow lights is heat or thermal management for the LEDs. If heat is not removed from the LEDs properly, it will build up and cause the LEDs to degrade prematurely or even fail completely. The best way to remove heat quickly and effectively is to use active cooling with moving air. This is attained through the use of cooling fans and allows much more power to be run in a much smaller package safely and effectively.

 

 

 

Which are the most Advanced Grow Lights for Flowering Cannabis?

There has been talk for many years about whether or not LED grow lights work for flowering Cannabis. Not only do LED grow lights work for flowering Cannabis, but the most advanced LED grow lights are available to the home gardener or the commercial grower. These LED grow lights are not only more efficient at creating high quality yields, but also doing so while providing significant savings on air conditioning and cooling costs as well.

 

Comparison of Grow Light Technologies

There are many different technologies for creating light, some of which can work for growing plants indoors. There are a lot of choices- here’s a basic summary table:

Grow Light Technology Comparison Table

Technology Ballast? Toxic Mercury? UV? Good for Taller Plants? Lifespan (hours) Optimized spectrum for plants
LED No No Yes (some) Yes (some) 50,000 – 100,000 Possible / Some
Fluorescent Yes Yes (some) No 4,000-10,000 No
Induction Yes Yes (some) No 25,000-100,000 No
Single-ended HPS Yes Yes No Yes 2,000-5,000 No
Double-Ended HPS Yes Yes No Yes 10,000-20,000 No
Metal Halide Yes Yes Yes Yes 2,000-5,000 No
Ceramic Metal Halide Yes Yes Yes Yes 2,000-5,000 No
Dual-Arc HPS/MH Yes Yes Yes Yes 2,000-5,000 No
Incandescent No No No No 1,000-2,000 No
Plasma No No (some) (some) 2,000-7,000 No

 

LED Grow Lights vs. Fluorescent (T5)

fluorescent grow lightsFluorescent lights work by passing electricity between two electrodes in a glass tube filled with a low-pressure mixture of gasses including xenon and mercury. When electricity excites a mercury atom, it gives off a photon of ultraviolet (UV) light, which is not visible to humans. To convert this UV light into visible light, the inside of the glass tube is covered with chemicals called phosphors. When a UV photon hits one of these phosphor molecules, some of its energy is converted into heat and the rest is re-emitted as a different color of light. Carefully selecting and mixing the phosphor chemicals creates several different colors of light, which the human eye perceives as white. Varying the proportions of the phosphors can create redder, “warm white” light, or bluer, “cool white” light… Read More

 

LED Grow Lights vs. Induction Grow Lights

Induction lights are basically fluorescent lights without electrodes. A magnetic field is used to induce an electric current in a glass or plastic tube filled with a low-pressure mixture of gasses including xenon and mercury. Just like fluorescent lights, when electricity excites a mercury atom, it gives off a photon of ultraviolet (UV) light invisible to humans. This UV light is converted into visible light by a phosphor coating inside of the tube, creating waste heat in the process. The colors of light induction bulbs can create are exactly the same as fluorescent tubes… Read More

 

LED Grow Lights vs. High Intensity Discharge (HID) Grow Lights

HID Grow LightsHID lights work by producing an electric arc between electrodes inside a translucent or transparent arc tube. Different chemicals inside the arc tube react to the electricity by producing different colors of light. A ballast is required to maintain the electric arc at the right current and voltage for all HID lights, otherwise the lamp will shut off or get too hot and fail. Using various chemicals, pressures and temperatures, several different kinds of HID grow lights are available, as described below.

 

LED Grow Lights vs. High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Grow Lights

HPS Grow LightsHPS lights use sodium and mercury in their HID arc tube to create mostly green, yellow, orange and a little bit of red light. They look yellow-white to humans.

There are two types of HPS bulbs: single-ended bulbs screw into a socket like a normal incandescent light bulb, while double-ended (DE HPS) bulbs have an electrical contact at either end of the bulb.

Intensity of HPS and Double Ended HPS vs. LED Grow Lights

Single-ended HPS lamps are very intense, producing a very bright light. Lower-wattage LEDs are not as intense, but 5W and lensed 3W LEDs can match the intensity of HPS.

DE HPS are even more intense than the single-ended bulbs, but again the 5W LEDs can match their intensity. Because of the amount of leaf-heating yellow and infrared light DE HPS fixtures put out, they must be kept 3 feet or even much higher above the plants to prevent leaves from burning; this can be a significant problem in indoor growing areas without high ceilings… Read More

 

LED Grow Lights vs. Metal Halide (MH) Grow Lights

MH grow lights are another variation of HID which use a mixture of different metal salts in the arc tube to create blue, green and yellow light, with a little bit of red. They look bluish-white to humans.

 Intensity of Metal Halide vs. LED Grow Lights

MH lights are not quite as intense as equal-wattage HPS lights, but they are still much brighter than fluorescent and induction lights. 1W and many 3W LEDs are not as intense as MH lights, but 5W and some lensed 3W LEDs match or beat metal halide lights for intensity.

Spectrum of Metal Halide vs. LED Grow Lights

MH lights produce a fair amount of the blue light, but little of the red light plants crave.   They tend to work well for plants in vegetative growth stages, but don’t perform as well for flowering or fruiting plants. Over 50% of the light created by metal halide bulbs is in green and yellow colors, which plants aren’t efficient at using.

Metal halide does produce some UV light, which helps increase the quality of plants grown under it.

LED grow lights with plant-optimized spectrums including UV can provide all the benefits of the blue and UV light metal halide fixtures create, as well as the red light needed for good flowering and fruiting that MH bulbs lack… Read More

 

LED Grow Lights vs. Ceramic Discharge Metal Halide (CDM / CMH) Grow Lights

Ceramic Discharge Grow LightsSometimes also called Light Emitting Ceramic (LEC), these are a variation of metal halide (MH) lights which use a ceramic arc tube. This allows higher temperatures and better stability, which creates a more-even coverage of the light spectrum than regular MH lights. Because the ceramic tube can get over 1700 degrees Fahrenheit (920 degrees Celsius) it is difficult to make CMH lights in high wattage versions, so the largest bulbs typically run 300-400 watts.

 

Intensity of CDM / CMH vs. LED Grow Lights

Like all HID lights, ceramic metal halide lights are fairly bright and are certainly more intense than 1W or un-lensed 3W LEDs. 5W and some lensed 3W LEDs can be at least as intense as CMH… Read More

 

LED Grow Lights vs. Dual Arc (combination HPS and MH) Grow Lights

Dual Arc Grow Lights“Dual Arc” HID lights combine a high pressure sodium and a metal halide in a single HID bulb.

Intensity of Dual Arc vs. LED Grow Lights

Dual arc bulbs are intermediate in intensity between their HPS and MH components. They are certainly brighter than 1W LEDs but 5W and some lensed 3W LED grow lights have higher intensity.

Spectrum of Dual Arc vs. LED Grow Lights

Combining the spectrum of MH and HPS yields a bulb with the blue and red plants want, but also with a double-dose of the green and yellow light that plants can’t use efficiently. The MH portion of the bulb does add some UV to the mix to enhance the quality of plants.

Because LEDs allow complete tuning of the spectrum, well-designed LED grow lights can provide just the colors of light that plants want without any of the waste… Read More

 

LED Grow Lights vs. Incandescent Grow Lights

Incandescent Grow LightsIncandescent lights work by heating a wire filament until it glows. They are the least-efficient of all the types of grow lights compared here, and are being phased out across the globe for this reason.

Intensity of Incandescent vs. LED Grow Lights

Incandescent lights are very dim compared to any other technology; watt-for-watt LEDs are more than 10 times as intense.

Spectrum of Incandescent vs. LED Grow Lights

Incandescent light bulbs produce mostly red light, then orange, yellow, green and blue in decreasing amounts. Their ratio of red to blue light is not ideal for growing plants, so many incandescent bulbs sold as grow lights have a blue filter applied to block much of the excess red light, making them even less efficient. LED grow lights can have a vastly superior plant-growing spectrum when properly designed… Read More

 

LED Grow Lights vs. Light Emitting Plasma (LEP) Grow Lights

Plasma Grow LightsPlasma grow lights work by exciting a substance with microwaves, until it heats up enough that it turns into plasma and emits light. In school many of us learned of 3 phases of matter: solid, liquid and gas; plasma is another phase of matter even more energetic than gas.

Intensity of Plasma vs. LED Grow Lights

Like LEDs, plasma grow lights can come in a wide range of intensities. Some are bright enough to grow plants well, others aren’t.

Spectrum of Plasma vs. LED Grow Lights

Plasma systems create a fairly even spread of light across much of the visible spectrum, but no practical system can cover both the red and blue end of the spectrum equally. Plasma lights tend to either be more blue-weighted (like MH lights) or red-weighted (like HPS lights). Like dual-arc HID bulbs, some plasma lights combine both a blue and red bulb into one to cover both colors plants like. Just like dual-arc bulbs, this ends up doubling the amount of yellow light being created that plants cannot use efficiently.
LEDs allow a grow light to be created by cherry-picking just the colors plants want and leaving out the colors that are wasteful… Read More

 

LED Growing Recommendations and Tips

  1. Correct LED Grow Light Height is Critical – In the past with traditional grow lights the distance from the light to the plants was not as important. With LEDs the distance is critical and all of the recommendations should be followed.
  2. Have enough LED Power – Many companies claim growing areas for their lights that are exaggerated. The lights recommended on this site all have accurate footprints. Trying to grow too large an area with any light will result in poor quality yields.
  3. Grow Room Temperatures – The temperature of your grow room should be monitored and maintained to ensure the highest possible yields. This is one critical difference with traditional and other less efficient grow light technologies. The correct temperature for a garden LED grow lights is roughly 9 degrees warmer than the same garden using traditional grow lighting.
  4. Allow for Proper Evaporation – Since LED grow lights do not generate the same heat signature they do not dry out soil the same as PS lights. It is beneficial to use a felt pot when gardening in a soil medium to allow the plants to dry out quickly enough between watering.

 

Before Buying LED Grow Lights – Looking for the Best

Once you realize how well LED grow lights can work for your garden you need to understand how to tell quality LED grow lights from cheap versions that will not work. While LED grow lights produce less heat while putting out more light than traditional HID or fluorescent and T5 lighting, they still create heat. This heat is what causes the LED in the grow lights to degrade over time. There are many other things to consider when buying LED grow lights for your indoor gardening needs:

Power: In the past the problem with LED grow lights was that they did not have enough power. Originally LED grow lights used 1 watt LEDs. These LEDs provided barely enough power to keep a plant alive, much less actually grow the plant or flower anything. The development of 3 watt LEDs allowed the first LED lights to truly grow plants. The current standard for high power LED grow lights is the use of all 5 watt LED diodes. In addition to high power LED diodes for these LED grow lights to work they need to have enough power in terms of actual watts to grow even high light plants such as flowering Cannabis… Read More

 

Determining the Correct Wattage for your Garden’s Footprint

Every garden has a footprint. These are the dimensions of the area in an indoor garden that require light, so thing like work areas and paths used to access plants are not included. In an enclosed area such as a tent it is generally the entire dimension of the tent.

Selecting the correct size light in terms of power or wattage is critical to your success as an indoor gardener. If you size too small you will not have the yields or quality you desire. If you select too large of a light you will end up wasting energy and possibly have issues with keeping your environment cool… Read More

 

LED Grow Lights Manufacturer Questions to Ask

There are numerous LED grow light manufacturers you can consider when looking at LED grow lights. However if you look for a few key things you will quickly see the difference between the best company to buy your LED grow lights from and the rest. Some things to consider when reviewing companies are:

Time in Business: How long has the company been making and selling LED grow lights to buyers? Over the past 4-6 years an endless parade of new LED grow light manufacturers have tried their hand at selling LED grow lights. The majority of these companies just buy pre-made lights from overseas and never truly learn what it takes to make a quality, long-lasting and advanced LED grow light. All too often this results in growers having issues with lights and the company that sold them is gone and no longer supporting those products.

Proof: How much proof can you find that the lights do what you want in a garden? Can you find independent videos, images, grow journals, etc.? If a company has been around and sold lights for even a little while they should have documented successes with their lights and you should like what you see. If you cannot find any proof online or others using the lights in your local growing community, the lights may not live up to their promises… Read More

 

Black Dog LED Grow Lights Reviews

PhytoMAX 200 LED Grow Lights Review

Use Case: Small growing areas

Area: smaller grow space from cabinet to 2.5’ x 2.5’ (.75 meters x .75 meters)

Number of Plants: from 1 to 3 small to medium flowering cannabis plants

Desired Yield per Harvest per Fixture: 4 to 8 ounces

For the small growing area use case a smaller light is desirable to manage heat, not waste money on energy or on buying too large of a light. The perfect LED grow light for this size of grow is around 200 watts. A well-built 200 watt LED grow light will provide the light equivalent to a theoretical 275 watt HPS light.

It is always helpful to use reflective material for light containment when growing indoors. Using a white or other reflective surface to bounce light back towards the plants in your garden can significantly increase the effectiveness of your lights. This is particularly helpful in smaller gardens using smaller lights.

The PhytoMAX 200 is the perfect LED grow light for this type of situation. The PhytoMAX LED grow light is compact and easy to handle and install but it puts out a huge amount of light from the relatively small and light package. This is the smallest light on the market to include real UV LEDs for increased potency and quality in your harvests… Read More

PhytoMAX 400 LED Grow Lights Review

Use Case: Small to medium growing areas

Area: smaller grow space 3.5’ x 3.5’ (1.07 meters x 1.07 meters)

Number of Plants: 1 large or 4 small to medium flowering cannabis plants

Desired Yield per Harvest per Fixture: 10 to 16 ounces (1 lb.)

Once you get into the 3 foot and larger grow spaces things start to get serious. To grow in these spaces you need to start to look at some real power. For a grow space from 3 to 3.5 feet in width a 400 watt light is required for flowering.

With a garden of this size and a 400 watt LED grow light should produce over a half pound with no problem on every harvest. With an experienced grower and good genetics hitting a pound with this amount of wattage and a high quality LED grow light a pound per harvest is within reach.

The best LED grow light for this size garden is the PhytoMAX 400. At 425 watts this light is capable of flowering a good size area with flower density that will rival anything you have used in the past. The size and weight of this light make it easy to handle even in a cramped garden space while minimizing cooling needs… Read More

PhytoMAX 600 LED Grow Lights Review

Use Case: Medium sized growing areas

Area: medium grow space 4.0-4.25’ x 4.0-4.25’ (1.22 -1.3 meters x 1.22-1.3 meters)

Number of Plants: 1-3 large or 6-9 small to medium flowering cannabis plants

Desired Yield per Harvest per Fixture: 14 to 20 ounces

The standard for growing indoors in terms of spaces is a 4 foot by 4 foot growing space. This is primarily due to the maximum you could flower with a single 1000 watt HPS bulb was a 4X4 space. This is still the standard footprint found in many commercial growing environments. While you needed 1000 watts to flower this space with traditional lighting, with LED grow lights you can now flower this space with a 600 watt LED grow light.

In the past a 600 watt HPS could not adequately cover a 4X4 area and flower all the way out to the sides. With a high quality 600 watt LED fixture you can flower the entire area and expect better quality… Read More

PhytoMAX 800 LED Grow Lights Review

Use Case: Full size growing areas

Area: full size grow space 4.5-5.0’ x 4.5-5.0’ (1.37 -1.52 meters x 1.37-1.52 meters)

Number of Plants: 2-4 large or 9 small to medium flowering cannabis plants

Desired Yield per Harvest per Fixture: 16 to 30 ounces

Any garden roughly 4.25 feet square and above can accommodate a full 4’X4’ flood tray. A standard 4’X4’ flood tray will not fit into a 4’X4’ space since a standard flood tray is 4’X4’ at the bottom but flares up and is actually larger than that at the top. A 4’X4’ flood tray will allow the canopy to entirely fill a larger space such as a 5’X5’.

For this full size garden you will want an LED grow light that is equivalent or more powerful than a 1000 watt HPS. The PhytoMAX 800 meets this requirement and more. It has been proven at a commercial level to out-produce a 1000 watt HID lamp both grams per watt and in terms of overall yield. All while saving electricity and reducing cooling needs and eliminating bulb changes.

The PhytoMAX 800 is powerful enough to impress any indoor gardener and is designed to more than replace a 1000W HPS, the PhytoMAX 800 will provide larger yields than traditional HID lighting. Combined with much higher quality courtesy of the proprietary Phyto-Genesis Spectrum® with ultraviolet and infrared, 1000W HPS lights can’t touch the results provided by the PhytoMAX 800… Read More

PhytoMAX 1000 LED Grow Lights Review

Use Case: Large growing areas

Area: large grow space 5.0-5.5’ x 5.0-5.5’ (1.52-1.68 meters x 1.52-1.68 meters)

Number of Plants: 2-4 large or 9 medium flowering cannabis plants

Desired Yield per Harvest per Fixture: 24 to 40 ounces

If you are growing on a truly large scale the larger the light the better. This is due to the economies of scale of building large LED grow lights. You can pay less per watt for larger lights and attain the large yields required for commercial operations to be profitable.

Simply put the PhytoMAX 1000 is in a class by itself when it comes to power output. This light is 1015 watts of power which makes it hands-down the largest LED grow light in the world. This light is capable of producing more than any single bulb fixture in the world including 1200 watt+ DE HPS fixtures. If there was a competing HPS bulb it would need to be over 1300 watts to keep up with the PhytoMAX 1000.

Building on Black Dog LED’s extensive industry-leading experience designing and selling the best LED grow lights in the world since 2010, the PhytoMAX 1000 is the most powerful LED grow light available… Read More

PhytoMAX 1000 LED Grow Light
Use Coupon Code: TOPDOG for 5% OFF
5.5’ x 5.5’ flowering footprint
8’ x 8’ veg footprint
PhytoMAX 800 LED Grow Light
Use Coupon Code: TOPDOG for 5% OFF
5’ x 5’ flowering footprint
7’ x 7’ veg footprint
PhytoMAX 600 LED Grow Lights
Use Coupon Code: TOPDOG for 5% OFF
4.25’ x 4.25’ flowering footprint
6’ x 6’ veg footprint
PhytoMAX 400 LED Grow Lights
Use Coupon Code: TOPDOG for 5% OFF
3.5’ x 3.5’ flowering footprint
5’ x 5’ veg footprint
PhytoMAX 200 LED Grow Lights
Use Coupon Code: TOPDOG for 5% OFF
2.5’ x 2.5’ flowering footprint
3.5’ x 3.5’ veg footprint