LED grow lights are fairly new to the cannabis growing scene, but they have become wildly popular over the last few years with their ability to produce great yields while staying cool and using a reasonable amount of electricity. With a quality LED grow light and an average-to-good grow, you can expect yields of about 0.5 to 1g/watt.
The ultimate yield depends a lot on strain and grow skill, along with the quality of the lamp itself, but that's a good rule of thumb for most models. For instance, a 200W LED (200W true power draw, not an "equivalent" wattage) would produce around 100-200 grams on average, or 3.5 to 7 ounces.
Today's LED models are far better for growing cannabis than the ones available even a few years back. Several modern lamps are full spectrum or "wideband" spectrum (instead of just red and blue light diodes, which produce a bluish purple light and are sometimes called "blurples"). Full spectrum light is easier on the eyes and adding at least some amount of green light to blurples typically leads to healthier growth. Other spectrum colors like red, far red, and infrared are important for the budding/flowering stage. LED manufacturers have developed customized lenses to aim 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 many different form components, 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 main kinds of LEDs that are most frequently used for cultivating cannabis. Each type of model has its benefits and drawbacks, 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 style include Quantum Boards, Rack and "Spider style" LED grow lights.
The name "Quantum Board LED grow light" originated from Horticulture Lighting Group, though the term is currently sometimes used for any LED in this style. They tend to have relatively low wattage diodes which are spread out over a large area on a board. These are getting more popular lately, and appear to give particularly good outcomes for the amount of wattage used.
The "spider style" LEDs are similar to Quantum Boards in that the individual diodes are spread out and tend to be on the smaller side, yet they are set on a panel with "arms" like a spider rather than a solid board. One popular example is the SPYDRx line of LED lights. These typically have an incredibly high price, but growers who use them swear they get better outcomes than any other kind of LED 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. Most 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 very bright and intense since they have several LED chips in a small area. COBs produce more powerful light than other types of LEDs, and each COB uses a considerable amount of electricity.
Instead of having dozens of small diodes, COB style LED grow lights generally only have a handful of huge COBs, each with strong lenses to point the light down into the plant. These are quickly gaining in popularity and are known for having deep penetration into the plant canopy.
It's also common 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 create a tailored spectrum for your plants by combining several AutoCOBs with each other. They are very configurable if you have an abnormally shaped grow space, or want to be able to accommodate various plants of various sizes at the same time.Some COB LED grow lights can be plugged into standard light sockets.
Choose LED Grow Lights If: