Grower’s Choice - LED Grow Lights
LED grow lights are fairly new to the cannabis growing world, but they have become extremely popular over the last few years with their ability to produce excellent yields while staying cool and using a reasonable amount of electricity. With a high-quality LED grow light and an average-to-good grow, you can expect yields of around 0.5 to 1g/watt.
The final yield depends a lot on strain and growth skill, along with the quality of the lamp itself, but that's a good guideline for most models. For instance, a 200W LED (200W true power draw, not an "equivalent" wattage) would produce about 100-200 grams on average or 3.5 to 7 ounces.
Today's LED models are far better for growing marijuana than the ones available even a few years ago. Several modern lamps are full spectrum or "wideband" spectrum (as opposed to only red and blue light diodes, which generate a bluish-purple light and are occasionally called "blurples"). Full-spectrum light is easier on the eyes and including at least some amount of green light to blurples generally leads to healthier growth. Other spectrum colors like red, far-red, and infrared are important for the budding/flowering stage.
LED producers have developed customized lenses to aim the light directly to the plants and boost penetration, resulting in bigger yields for the same amount of light compared to older models. There are also various form factors, with everything from the casing to the size of the diodes varying from model to model.
3 Main Types of LED Grow Lights
There are 3 major kinds of LEDs that are most commonly utilized for growing marijuana. Each kind of model has its advantages and disadvantages, so there isn't yet an "ideal" LED type. Some are better for some situations than others.
1. Spread Style
Many smaller LEDs are spread out over a large area. Examples of this design include Quantum Boards, Rack, and "Spider style" LED grow lights.
The name "Quantum Board LED grow light" stemmed from Horticulture Lighting Group, though the term is currently sometimes used for any LED in this design. They tend to have relatively low wattage diodes which are spread out over a large area on aboard. These are getting more popular lately, and appear to give particularly good outcomes for the amount of wattage utilized.
The "spider style" LEDs are similar to Quantum Boards because the individual diodes are spread out and have a tendency to be on the smaller side, however, they are set on a panel with "arms" like a spider as opposed to a solid board. One very popular example is the SPYDRx line of LED lights. These usually have an incredibly high price, but growers that utilize them swear they get better outcomes than any other kind of LED to grow light.
2. Traditional Panel
The conventional panel LEDs have small to medium wattage diodes and the lamps have a tendency to be more compact. The majority of LED grow lights available today are in this design. They are sort of halfway between a Quantum Board and a COB Style light, with a mix of elements from both.
3. COB Style
These grow lights use huge COB (Chip on Board) LED "bulbs". Each COB is extremely bright and intense since they contain multiple LED chips in a small area. COBs produce more intense light than other kinds of LEDs, and each COB utilizes a considerable amount of electricity.
Instead of having dozens of small diodes, COB style LED grow lights usually just have a handful of huge COBs, each with strong lenses to direct the light down into the plant. These are rapidly gaining in popularity and are known for having deep penetration into the plant canopy.
It's also typical to see LED grow lights that just have one COB per lamp. These make it easy to spread out your light over a grow space, one lamp at a time. Occasionally called "AutoCOBs". Some LED grow lights have a single COB LED. Multiple units can be spread out as needed.
Each COB has its own spectrum, so you can make a custom spectrum for your plants by merging multiple AutoCOBs with each other. They are very configurable if you have an abnormally shaped grow area, or would like to be able to accommodate different plants of different sizes at the same time. Some COB LED grow lights can be plugged into standard light outlets.
Pick LED Grow Lights If:
You want to use the most innovative indoor marijuana grow lights with a tailored spectrum of light
You are willing to do some research to identify the right LED grow light for your area
You have some extra money to spend on your first setup (many of the best LED grow lights have a high initial cost).
You do not want to deal with an exhaust system or ducting and would prefer to just hang your grow light over your marijuana plants and let the lights cool themselves.
Quality (potency, smell, trichome development) and ease of use are important to you.