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.
Active Cooling System: High wattage grow lights, even with LED, create heat while creating light. This heat is the main cause of wear-and-tear on the LEDs in high power grow lights. To remove this heat active cooling has been proven to keep up even in the warm and sometimes damp environments of indoor gardens, including medical marijuana (MMJ) operations. Active cooling consists of the same cooling fins or heat sink you would find on a non-active cooled lower power LED grow light, but also includes fans that actively blow air over the heat sinks that remove heat from the LEDs. This active cooling allows more power to be put over the plant area while keeping the LEDs cool which helps ensure long life of the LED grow lights with kind yields that will rival even the new double ended HPS bulbs.
Spectrum: The first LED grow lights used simple red and blue diodes to create their spectrum. One of the greatest advantages of using LEDs to create grow lights is the ability to select different color LEDs which emit different specific nanometers. By creating a truly full spectrum LED grow light, photosynthesis can be efficiently stimulated without wasting energy on wavelengths of light that do not directly contribute to photosynthesis. When buying a full spectrum LED grow light you should look for a high number of individual discrete colors ranging from Ultra Violet (UV) to Infra-Red (IR).
Warranty: LED diodes last longer than any other grow light technology you can buy for your indoor garden. So why do you need a warranty? LED grow lights are based complex and cutting edge technology with complex circuit boards, high power LED diodes, active cooling fans, power converting drivers, and other parts. These parts can fail over time especially in demanding environments such as an indoor garden. If a LED grow light company has been around only for less time than the warranty they offer, they may not even know if their lights will really live that long!
Commercial Heavy Duty Construction: The indoor garden is a rough environment for any equipment but for complex electrical equipment such as LED grow lights it can be extremely tough. When designing the grow light the best materials and heavy duty construction should be used to ensure long operating life and efficiency of the LED grow lights. This includes things such as:
- Heavy duty wiring to help reduce internal heat
- High quality fans for active cooling
- Large heat sinks for removing heat from the LEDs
- Sturdy construction to ensure long life of the housing
- Standard power cords and connectors such as IEC C13 to ensure easy setup
- Inclusion of commercial-grade hanging system
- Instructions that provide tips for using LED grow lights properly