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 practical amount of electricity. With a high 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 ability, in addition to the quality of the lamp itself, but that's a good guideline for most models. For example, a 200W LED (200W true power draw, not an "equivalent" wattage) would yield around 100-200 grams on average, or 3.5 to 7 ounces.
Today's LED models are much better for growing cannabis than the ones available even a few years ago. Many modern lamps are full spectrum or "wideband" spectrum (instead of 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 usually leads to healthier growth. Other spectrum colors like red, far red, and infrared are important for the budding/flowering stage. LED producers have created customized lenses to aim light directly to the plants and enhance 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.
There are 3 major types of LEDs that are most often utilized for growing marijuana. Each type of model has its pros and cons, so there isn't yet a "best" LED type. Some are better for some situations than others.
1. Spread Style
Many smaller LEDs are spread out over a large space. Examples of this design include Quantum Boards, Rack and "Spider style" LED grow lights.
The name "Quantum Board LED grow light" emerged from Horticulture Lighting Group, though the term is now occasionally used for any LED in this design. They tend to have relatively low wattage diodes which are spread out over a large area on a board. These are becoming more popular lately, and seem to give particularly good results 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, but 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 generally have an incredibly high price, however growers that use them swear they get better outcomes than any other type 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 offered today are in this style. They are sort of halfway between a Quantum Board and a COB Style light, with a mix of components from both.
3. COB Style
These grow lights use huge COB (Chip on Board) LED "bulbs". Each COB is incredibly bright and intense because they contain several LED chips in a small area. COBs generate more powerful light than other types of LEDs, and each COB uses a significant amount of electricity.
Instead of having dozens of small diodes, COB style LED grow lights typically just have a handful of huge COBs, each with strong lenses to direct 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 area, one lamp at a time. Sometimes referred to as "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 customized spectrum for your plants by combining several AutoCOBs with each other. They are very configurable if you have an abnormally shaped grow area, or want to be able to accommodate various plants of different sizes at the same time.Some COB LED grow lights can be connected to normal light sockets.
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