In the early days of LED grow lighting, there were marketers out there who espoused the positives of the technology and offered it at an appealing price point. A number of growers tried these cheap LED grow lights, only come away discouraged by the results. This was due to the fact that the lighting that they purchased was simply not putting out enough wattage to provide effective growth, and that is why they seemed so inexpensive for such an appealing solution. Conversely, Advanced LED Grow Lights offers nothing less than top quality, potent 120 watt LED growing solutions, and we stand behind our products with an ironclad 90 day money back guarantee.
But despite the sophistication of LED grow lights and their great features many growers still get confused by the difference between LED and other types of grow lights such as HPS and MH ones. Let`s start off by explaining what makes them different.
First we need to talk about HID lights, standing for High Intensity Discharge, which is a type of lightbulb that looks like a tube. It is hermetically closed and full of gas. The process of creating light happens when the gas ignites, much like a standard lightbulb in a normal home.
HID bulbs are then categorized based on the gas that is used in them. The two main types used for growing are the abovementioned high pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide (MH) lights. The type of gas used in the bulb determines the color spectrum and wavelength, so if you need a different type of light you have to change the bulb itself. Typically HPS lights are more towards the red and orange hue, which are used during the flowering stages, whereas an MH bulb produces a blueish color, useful for the vegetating phase.
LED grow lights produce light differently. The core of an LED bulb consists of a chip that directly transforms electricity into light, yielding far better results. One of the main advantages of LED over HPS and MH lights is the adjustable light spectrum. With LEDs you don`t have to switch bulbs to produce light in a different spectrum as it features a fully adjustable color spectrum for each phase of the plant`s growth.
Types Of LED Grow Lights
LED grow lights differ in shape and size, presenting options that fit every grow space and circumstance. Most high-end models are shaped as panels, but there are also models shaped like saucers and bars.
Emitters are another aspect that varies across models. The most sophisticated ones feature ten emitter types at different frequencies, whereas lower end models just have two or three.
The chips also play a big part in distinguishing LED light types. The two main approaches are to either feature few but powerful broad spectrum based chips, ranging between 5 and 10 watts or to feature many single LEDs with each one shining at a different frequency.
Naturally LED lights also differ in terms of quality build, warranty and support, flexibility, luminosity and of course the spectrum that they cover.
Benefits Of LED Grow Lights Over HID Grow Lights
The old school HID grow lights for plants can get the job done, but they are very inefficient when compared to the state-of-the-art LED indoor grow lights.
- LED grow lights last six times as long!
- Eco-friendly LED grow lighting uses no toxic metals.
- Energy savings range from 50%-70% over HID lights.
- No cooling necessary; no plant burn and decreased risk of fires.
- LED directional lighting requires no reflectors.
- Maximum chlorophyll absorption and flower production.
- Less frequent watering.
- Discretion assured — no thermal footprint.
When it comes to growing plants indoors, the qualities inherent in the light matter a great deal. Brightness as perceived by the human eye is interpreted differently by plants. LED grow lights are directional, and they deliver light that is within the spectrum that is easily absorbed by plants, so there is no need for reflectors and none of the light is wasted. This results in maximum efficiency, optimal yield, discrete operation, and greatly reduced energy costs.
But this is just a surface preview of LEDs capabilities compared to HID lights. In order to fully grasp the possibilities one must go into a deeper understanding of what LEDs can and how that affects the process of growing plants and the yields.
HPS bulbs can reach 750 degrees on the surface, and if not controlled properly with expensive equipment, can lead to a host of issues including stunted plants, wispy flowers, and rapid drying of medium, which would result in root mass loss, nutrient deficiency or toxicity, and even entire crop failure. LED grow lights run cool, so cool in fact that no additional temperature control equipment is needed besides the internal circulation fans. Lower light temperatures lead to a much more easily maintained grow environment in which your plants can thrive. Cooler temperatures also save on water and expensive nutrients that evaporate in high-temperature rooms. Cooler root zones create larger, healthier root balls, which will ultimately lead to larger yields. In addition, oil production on plants is unharmed by lower temperatures, whereas high temperatures from HPS lighting degrade oils, sometimes stripping them completely from the tops of fruits and flowers. Keeping the plant’s natural flowering oils intact will lead to much better tasting and smelling fruits and flowers.
HID lights are notorious for how much heat they produce. In comparison, LEDs are very efficient in terms of heat management and can be placed much closer to the plants. This saves the grower any additional costs for a big and sophisticated ventilation system. Naturally, models that feature bigger panels or more diodes are bound to be warm but still not nearly as hot as HIDs, still touchable with a bare hand. To begin with, LEDs are superiorly engineered and feature built in cooling sinks and even fans in the more advanced models that prevent any heating issues.
Easy To Use
LED grow lights are plug-and-play which means you can simply hang up the lamp over your plants and plug it directly into any standard electrical socket. HID lights usually need a lot of adjustments and preparation in order to be placed well.
Customized Color Spectrum
It is known that the color spectrum of light affects how plants grow. Unlike other grow lights which are pretty set in their color spectrum, each LED diode can be configured to emit light of a very specific color spectrum chosen by the user. This means that LED grow light color spectrums can be adjusted and customized in a modular way that’s impossible to achieve with any other grow light.
LED lights are more energy efficient and need to be replaced a lot less often than HID lights. This results in saved money and efforts. Additionally, HIDs start losing their brightness as time passes and need to be replaced even before they`re completely done. LEDs on the other hand maintain a constant level of luminosity for as long as they`re functional. Based on AdvancedLED experience we can say that the diodes will be the last thing to break in a LED light.
A regular HID light has a lifespan of close to 10 000 hours, which might seem like an impressive number but in the long run LEDs are a better option. A good quality LED grow light can be perfectly functional from up to 50 000 to about 100 000 hours. With this data in mind it`s easy to deduce that LEDs are more worthwhile in the long run and would need to be replaced much less often. This means that you won`t have to worry about changing the lights for years to come.
Improvements to Light Science
Another major reason why LED growing lights are starting to take over the market is that they have drastically improved in quality since the early days. The argument for HPS has always been that HPS emits a much higher intensity light than LEDs, and therefore growers argued, there was much more potential for yield.
While this point was true for the LEDs of old, there are drastic differences between the high-quality LEDs today and those from the past. Innovations in LED technology have focused not so much on intensity (although this has improved) but on the light spectrum required during each stage of a plant’s growth cycle.
Historically HPS produced higher lumen output than most affordable LED models, but this is quickly changing. So too is our understanding of what types of light plants require through their growth cycle. High-pressure sodium lights emit on the orange, yellow, red light spectrum, and yet scientists have recently discovered plants require more blue, red, and UVA during the two most essential stages: the vegetative and flowering stages. This research has been incorporated into the newer models of LED lighting, which focus specifically on the light spectrum required for indoor gardening.
The pro-HPS arguments are quickly falling apart, as LED technology is evolving in smarter and smarter ways. Even beyond the brief arguments made here, there are further reasons why indoor growers are making the switch. Energy efficient lighting technology eliminates a significant burden on heat and dehumidifying systems, there are often government subsidies for implementing green tech, and LEDs are often one-piece fixtures making them much simpler technologies to install and manage. Experts predict LEDs will soon be shining on all the majority of indoor grow operations.