Among the many plant lights, LED grow light is one of them, and it is also one of the most used plant lights in recent years. Compared with other plant lights, LED grow lights have more advantages, such as less heat, occupying less space, low power consumption, etc.
With a deeper understanding of how LED grow lights work, you will understand how LED plant lights can have a great positive impact on indoor plants.
There are some clear data showing that LED plant lights have the effect of increasing yield and quantity, early market launch, and quality enhancement for crop replenishment. That’s why more and more people are choosing to use them.
Most horticulture lighting companies claim that their commercial LED grow lights have a unique construction, spectral design, or long warranty to provide the best grow light for plant growth. And they will confidently tell you, “We’ve cracked the code to get your plants to produce high quality!”
The problem is that no commercial LED grow lights manufacturer can actually guarantee that their product gives plants the best-growing light in every environment.
As we know, different type of plants needs different spectrums to thrive. Even different species of the same plant can respond differently to the spectrum.
However, at present, LED grow lights on the market are basically full spectrum lighting. The full spectrum is to simulate sunlight, which is suitable for all plants. If you need more refined planting, you can customize the spectrum for specific plants.
In this article, we’ll explore the types of commercial LED grow lights available and provide you with advice on the best ones to buy. We have some suggestions for your reference on how to choose the right LED grow lights and hope these tips can help you.
Different Types of LED Grow Light
If you are not familiar with the wonderful world of LED grow lights, you may be confused as to which is the right one you need. There are so many types of grow lights for indoor plants consumers are dazzled.
Before we introduce the performance of LED plant lights, let’s understand the different types of grow lights. Then, you can make a precise selection according to your target type again.
LED Grow Light Panel
Application: indoor farming, home growing, growing tents, and small greenhouses.
Ideal for growing cannabis, various fruits, and vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, strawberries, and flowers.
Commercial LED Grow Light
Application: large-scale planting rooms, hydroponic growing, commercial vertical farms, grow tents, and a greenhouse.
Most of the commercial types of plant lights are used for growing cannabis.
Because they can offer more flexibility and customization for cannabis growers by allowing them to adjust the light parameters according to the specific needs and preferences of different strains and stages of growth.
Brand and Model of LED Chips
When most people look for an LED plant grow light, they focus on the power of the light fixture. However, I want to tell you the fact that the LED chip itself is more important than the power of the plant grow light. The better the chip brand, the better its manufacturing process, efficiency, light output and reliability.
The mainstream LED grow light chips on the market today are Samsung and Osram.
Briefly tell you about Samsung’s 3030(LM301) LED LED series chips as an example. It includes models called LM301H, LM301B, LM301D and LM281.
- LM301H and LM301B are very high PPE LED chips, PPE can reach up to 2.7μmol/j or more.
- LM301D and LM281 offer slightly lower PPE.
- Samsung LM301H and LM301B are suitable for very high budgets and for large-scale commercial cultivation
- LM301D and LM281 are suitable for low budget, just for small-scale cultivation
LED grow light packaging technology is very mature, some Chinese packaging manufacturers can also make performance close to the LM301B and LM301D chips, but the cost is lower, such as the LEDSTAR 303H, and 302H.
The current of the Chip
LED beads must ensure excellent heat dissipation. Since heat is not good for LED chips, high temperatures can shorten the life of LED chips and cause light attenuation.
For most LED chips at 200 mA to 300 mA, the output PPF is 86% of 65 mA. That is, the smaller the current, the greater the output PPF.
High current leads to high heat, and high internal heat lead to lower chip efficiency. The spectral quality deteriorates and light decay occurs. At this moment, even though your light is still bright, its performance will be greatly affected. Therefore, you cannot use brightness or power to judge the merits of an LED grow light.
Uniformity of PPFD
What are PPF and PPFD?
The reason why lumens are not a good value is that they are purely a value for human eyes. And you do not worry about how many lumens to grow plants indoors.
We must clearly understand that grow lights are not for humans, but for growing plants, and their light is used for photosynthesis.
To measure the light used for plants, we need to calculate the number of photons per second that are radiated to the plant surface, called PPF (Photosynthetic Photon Flux), which is calculated in μmol/s.
To calculate the PPF, you first need to know the PPE (Photosynthetic Photon Efficacy) of the LED chip, which gives you a quick idea of the efficiency of the whole light. PPE 2.5 μmol/j means it is an efficient LED plant grow light.
The formula for calculating PPE and PPF is as follows: PPF = PPE x Power
For example, Auxgrow GT05 LED Grow Light, which can be a 1:1 Replacement for HPS Fixture, has a PPE of 2.45 μmol/J and a power of 800W, then its PPF = 2.45 x 800 = 1960 μmol/s.
By the way, on November 30, 2022, the DLC (DesignLights Consortium) released Plant Lighting Technical Requirements 3.0, a new version of the policy that will take effect on March 31, 2023. Version 3.0 increases the plant lighting effectiveness (PPE) threshold to a minimum of 2.30 μmol/J, a 21% increase over the PPE threshold of version 2.1.
This PPE threshold set for commercial grow lighting is a 35% improvement over the 1000W double-ended high-pressure sodium lamp PPE threshold.
Looking at the PPE value, Auxgrow GT05 LED Grow Light is compliant with DLC 3.0 certification requirements.
Next, we can get the PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density). PPFD measures the PPF density in square meters (m2). This means it can estimate the amount of light an area can receive, which is very useful for growers.
The following is a list of PPFD estimates for home cannabis growers.
- Plant growth stage: 400-600 μmol/ m2s
- Flowering stage: 600-900 μmol/m2s
Commercial growers need a little more harvest.
- Plant growth stage: 800-1000 μmol/m2s
- Flowering stage: 1000-1200 μmol/m2
Why is the Uniformity of PPFD Important?
Uneven PPFD means that different parts of the plant receive different amounts of photons, which can lead to uneven plant growth as well. In the current market, LED Quantum Board grow lights do not have a uniform PPFD. You need to avoid using grow lights with high PPFD in the middle and low PPFD at the edges.
For this problem of uneven PPFD, plant growth light manufacturers focusing on R&D have designed new LED grow light panels. The design concept is to lay out the LED chips sparsely and the surrounding chips densely, thus ensuring that the PPFD is uniform throughout the light’s irradiation range.
Lighting Electricity Cost and Output Per Watt
After LED plant grow lights have replaced most HPS grow lights, many growers are still choosing lights based on wattage. Now we want growers to shift their focus from wattage to PPFD values. Because the PPFD value is a true measure of the amount of light absorbed by the plant, not the wattage.
For example, the 800W GT05 mentioned above, some people may think that it does not produce as much energy as a 1000W lamp. However, it can reach a PPFD value of 1444 μmol/m2s, which is almost equivalent to the PPFD value emitted by a 1000W HPS plant light.
Thus, although this 1000w HPS LED replacement has a lower wattage, it emits the same photon energy as a 1000w HPS grow light. This means that it produces an effect equivalent to 1000w HPS.
In the long run, investing in an 800W LED replacement for 1000w HPS will eventually pay for itself, while the 1000W system will end up costing more electricity costs. In view of the fact that a complete growth of an 800W system requires 880 kWh, while a 1000W system requires 1200 kWh per growth.
As revenue-conscious growers, why don’t you choose LED grow lights that cost less to run and produce the same growth results? And they have the advantage of long service life and cost savings on replacement lamps.
Do you want to learn more about LED grow light cost per month? Click and view details about LED grow light cost per month.
Convenience of Installation
LED grow lights are installed above the plant canopy and the installation height depends on the distance between your trellis roof and the plants. When shopping for LED plant lights, you need to make sure the grow lights can be easily installed and replaced. Read our post to learn How To Hang Indoor Grow Lights For Plants.
In greenhouses, most commercial grow lights for plants are mounted on posts that run through the top of the facility. In indoor grow rooms, it is common to use hangers, pulleys attached to posts, or attached to vertical plant stands.
If you are going to build a new planting shed, then consider the ease of maintenance, dimming, replacement and cleaning of the lamps. Want to replace your old HPS lights? Then consider whether the original HPS installation location can be directly installed with the new LED lights.
Convenience of Dimming
Most LED grow lights do not come with a dimmer switch or dimmer box. When you use it inside the tent, it is not a problem to turn it on or off. But if you have many lights to turn on and off at the same time, it will be a huge amount of work and time-wasting.
Our advice is to try to choose LED plant lights with a dimmer switch when choosing one. Not only will you be able to turn it on, increase its brightness and then lower it or turn it off according to the plant’s growth pattern. This process is like simulating the sunrise and sunset of the sun.
Auxgrow is developing an IoT-based LED grow light controller, which is adapted to the control box of all major brands of commercial LED grow lighting on the market. And it can connect with them through WiFi to control up to 200 plant lights on and off, adjusting the brightness.
If you turn on the timer function, then it will perform on and off and brightness adjustments every day according to the time you set. Whether you’re in the greenhouse or on vacation, you can easily control your LED commercial grow lights.
Brand of LED Driver
LED grow light system quality problems, one is the LED chip, the other is the LED driver.
More than 100W LED plant lights, all with an external driver. The main role of the driver is to convert 110V or 220V AC power to 50-60V DC power.
The well-known driver brands commonly used on commercial grow lights LED are Mean Well, Sosen, and INVENTRONICS, and there is no denying that even the big brands can have their pros and cons.
Mean Well does not have a special driver for plant lights. But its ELG and XLG series of drivers for commercial lighting, but also used by many LED grow light factories for plant lighting.
We recommend the ELG series driver. The biggest disadvantage of the XLG driver is that when the temperature reaches 40 degrees or more, it turns on self-protection and stops working. If in hot summer, you can’t use it properly at all.
Sosen is a professional LED driver company. It has LED grow light special driver products, power from 36W to 800W are available, stable performance, and reliable quality.
INVENTRONICS is also a professional LED driver electronics company, like Mean Well, there is no special LED driver. But its 600W and 800W high-power drivers can also be used in LED plant lights.
- From the perspective of cost and performance balance, Sosen is a good choice, many horticulture LED lights suppliers choose Sosen.
- If the budget is not much, you can consider other UL-certified drivers, such as JUSON, and Zhihe.
For home growers with low demand, I suggest you buy big brands like Spider Farmer, Gavita, LUXX, etc.
If you are a LED grow light distributor or retailer, then the 7 points above can help you pick the right LED grow lights very well.
Many professional LED grow light manufacturers support customization. You can send your requirements to Auxgrow and communicate with them effectively. They will produce according to the reasonable requirements you set. At the same time, they will also give you professional suggestions for your reference.