LED Grow Lights
2013, 2014 and 2015 LED Grow Light Review
There has been much recent controversy among cannabis growers about LED grow lights. Just a couple of years ago the thought of growing weed under LED lighting would have been laughable. However, recent advances in LED technology have led to more and more growers seeing success and LED lighting sources are fast growing in popularity. Like anything, improvements make leaps and bounds very quickly and these days LEDs are used in all kinds of lighting in your home, office and car including successful marijuana grows.
We are here to tell you that growing marijuana with LEDs works. The best models offer results better than HIDs together with huge electrical, management and heat savings. A number of our members in the HTG forum have shifted to growing under LED and are not going back to the old ways of burning electricity with HIDs.
- What LEDs are available?
- LEDs pros and cons
- Brief history of LEDs
- How are LED colors made?
- Full spectrum LEDs vs. 3 band, 5 band, 11 band
- How to make high intensity white LEDs (WLEDs)
- LED efficiency versus HID lamps
- High powered LEDs (HPLEDs) – 1W, 2W, 3W & 5W
- Difference between 1Watt and 3Watt LEDs then?
- IMPORTANT – Advertized Watts vs. actual Watts draw
- Heat – Thermal management of LED grow lights
- LED grow light lens – Boost light & direction
- 2013 & 2014 Full spectrum LED grow light review
- 2015 LED Grow Light Review
What LEDs are available?
Nearly all are produced in China even if they are designed in the USA. This is the broad concept though of the market.
Cheap – Poor spectrum, LEDs and build quality
UFO type LEDs from many online sources and of course eBay. They may quote all kinds of huge Watts or ‘full spectrum’ but when you see big red and big blue LEDs in a cheap looking plastic housing you know this is the bottom end of the market. You will not be getting top shelf LEDs and results / yield will be drastically affected. We just don’t recommend these products at all. You are far better off buying a HPS/MH system and deal with the added electricity costs and ventilation issues.
Mid price – Bands of spectrum, fans and reasonable quality
These usually look more the part with better housing, higher quality LEDs that may even include brands like Epistar and Bridgelux. In variably though these will not be full spectrum LED grow lights they will be 6, 8, 11 or 12 band models. These bands will cover sections (bands) of the whole PAR spectrum but will miss chunks here and there. The sun doesn’t miss any of the spectrum required to grow and flower plants correctly so why would your plants react to their full potential under them? They don’t. Mid price larger models will incorporate fans for cooling.
High end – Full spectrum, fan-less operation, excellent build quality
These are more often the full spectrum models that cover approximately 420 to 750 nanometres, the PAR range. They include expensive white LEDs and in photos you will see some LEDs look like they are ‘dead’ – not true these are emitting in the far-red portion of the spectrum which is 710 to 850 nanometres, dimly visible to some people eyes. Look for high end components such as brand name LEDs from Epistar, Bridgelux or Cree. Thermal engineering is a key to design with the best being fan-less. LED grow lights that are high Watt and fan-less are designed well because they have dissipated the heat created by the LEDs perfectly using rapid heat sink materials. Then there are self protecting power supplies, UV protected and angled TIR lenses and not to mention the warranty, two years is not enough. LED grow lights with these features offer excellent results with thick and juicy buds.
LEDs pros and cons
- LEDs have far lower energy consumption running at approximately 60% of an equivalent HID;
- There is no filament to burn so LEDs have longer bulb times of 50,000 to 60,000 hours versus HIDs which start dropping output considerable at 2,000 to 3,000 hours;
- LEDs are smaller and faster to emit light and are physically more robust so they relatively shock resistant being solid state components;
- LEDs’ offer far less heat output, in fact the good ones run pretty much ‘cold to touch’ while HIDs run very hot. LEDs reduce your fire risk considerably;
- LEDs can focus their light output with the use of lenses rather than disperse the light like HIDs that require reflectors;
- Precise current (power) management is required with LEDs when compared to HIDs. However, LEDs have the power management built in while the HID lamps rely on external ballasts which also add another 100 to 150 Watts of power consumption;
- LEDs are more expensive to start a grow with when compared to HID but they are cheaper over the long term;
- LEDs are instant on and instant off, they do not need to ‘warm up’ like HID lamps;
- LEDs can be dimmed also if required;
- LEDs are safe, classed as ‘Class 1 LED product’ as they do not contain mercury like compact fluorescents;
- LEDs powerful enough for lighting big areas like rooms or greenhouses require more precise current and heat management but are now used in some large areas over CFL and HID lighting.
Brief history of LEDs
How do they work? LED grow lights produce light by passing a current through a semiconductor material. The movement of electrons within the semiconductor releases energy in the form of photons, i.e. light.
LEDs once just came red in color, they were the little low lights in the corner of every TV. These days LEDs have advanced massively, they are now available across the spectrum from ultraviolet through the visible right into infrared wavelengths with very high light output.
The first observation of ‘electroluminescence’ was in 1907 by a British experimenter from Marconi Labs named H. J. Round. Then twenty years later, way back in 1927 a Russian named Oldeg Vladimirovich Losev created the first LED but no practical use for it was found. It took until 1955 for semiconductor alloys, namely gallium arsenide (GaAs), gallium antimonide (GaSb), indium phosphide (InP) and silicon-germanium (SiGe) to show infrared emissions at room temperature as firstly observed Rubin Braunstein working with RCA (Radio Corporation America) . Then in 1961 Texas Instruments patented the idea.
How are LED colors made?
The semiconductor material has a p-n junction which is the interface between the two types of semiconductor materials, n-type and p-type, known as ‘n’ and the ‘p’. This is the active site whereby the electronic action of the LED takes place. The color of the light emitted or its wavelength is dependent on the ‘band gap’ energy of the materials forming the p-n junction.
In 1962 -Nick Holonyak Jr., considered by some the father of LEDs, working within General Electric (GE) reported the first visible spectrum LED showing red color. Craford, then graduate student of Holonyak, created the first yellow LEDs and improved the overall brightness of his red and orange LEDs tenfold in 1972.
The Monsanto corporation, yes the seed guys who sued USA farmers, were the first to mass produce visible spectrum LEDs, firstly as indicators, in 1968.
We had the first high powered blue LED (not the first blue) created by Shuji Nakamura of the Nichia Corporation in 1994 which was based on the semiconductor alloy InGaN or Indium gallium nitrite, your new word for the day?
This quickly led to the development of the first white LED using Yttrium aluminium garnet or ‘YAG’, which is a phosphor coating to mix ‘down-converted’ yellow light with blue which produces a visible white light.
Moore’s law which saw the doubling of chip performance every 18 months to two years, applies similarly within the LED industry with a doubling in performance ever 36 months since the late 1960’s due to the improvements in semiconductor and optics.
Full spectrum LEDs vs. 3 band, 5 band, 11 band
As with many plant species, marijuana also has light-mediated development – photomorphogenesis. The blue spectrum stimulates vegetative growth and the yellows, ambers, reds and far-red spectrum stimulates pre-flowering and flowering (reproductive growth). Therefore, growing marijuana to maturity will use the light wavelengths from approximately 420 to 730 nanometres (nm), covering both chlorophyll A and chlorophyll B absorption peaks (Photosynthetically Active Radiation, or PAR for short).
We now know that LEDs are manufactured using different semiconductor materials – to create LEDs of different wavelengths.
What wavelength or spectrum your LED grow lights offer your marijuana is of paramount importance to your yield. The most expensive LEDs are white, offering a broad spectrum of light like the sun covering much of the visible light spectrum (PAR). You need white LEDs! If you see an LED grow light with just red and blue lights you are not going to achieve a high quality grow at all as the white LEDs are so much closer to mimicking the sun. The table below outlines the different LEDs versus the color and wavelength they produce.
How to make high intensity white LEDs (WLEDs)
- Use a single LED that emits three primary colors of red, green and blue and mix the colors perfectly to form a white light. These are known as ‘multi-color white LEDs’ or ‘RGB LEDs’ and are more complex to manufacture than the phosphorus type explained below. Multi-color LEDs are at the forefront of LED development because with the right tweaking they can offer nearly any color light we want by mixing primary colors. These are the best type of white LEDs;
- Or use a phosphor based semiconductor material to convert a blue or even a UV light into the broad or full spectrum white light your plants require. These WLEDs are known as phosphors based white LEDs which are also the easiest to manufacture and therefore the cheapest to buy;
- There is a third method of making white LED grow lights using zinc selenide (ZnSE) but this is in its early stages.
The key difference between WLEDs is how solid their color stability, color rendering and luminous efficiency are key. Color rendering index, CRI, basically means how faithfully the color is produced, you may know the term from using Photoshop. While luminous efficiency is discussed later on. If your LED grow light is constructed using LEDs from brand name suppliers such as Cree or Bridgelux, then these issues will be minimized and cause little affect. It is far easier to get good solid color rendering and luminous efficiency with the multi-color or RGB white LEDs.
- There are many commercially available LED units that have spectra specifically balanced LEDs for the grow room. This is generally achieved by using a mix of red and blue then white, ambers and far-red ranges so that they cover the entire spectrum;
- When you see LED grow lights advertized as 3, 5, 6, 11 or 12 band LEDs this means they offer a spectrum with gaps, maybe something like this: 440nm, 470nm, 525nm, 640nm, 660nm, 740nm. So there will be peaks and troughs in the spectrum produced rather than one continuous full or broad spectrum. These ‘6, 11, 12 etc band’ products operate in some but not all of the spectrum required for a successful, fast, big yield crop. These are not full spectrum grow lights;
- Quite often LED grow light companies are reselling someone else’s product configuration and they simply don’t know what LEDs are mounted in the system;
Did you know that LEDs are now available is very short wavelengths with near UV 375-395 nanometres and more expensive models that achieve wavelengths closer to 240 nm. The absolute wavelength depths of LEDs are known as ‘deep UV’ with labs using diamond to produce 235 nm, boron nitride at 215 and aluminium nitride right down at 210 nm.
LED efficiency versus HID lamps
LEDs are ‘luminous efficient’, which means they produce visible light very efficiently from electricity. For example in 2002 Lumileds manufactured a 5W LED with a luminous efficacy of 18 – 22 lumens per Watt, compare that to the traditional incandescent bulb which at around 80 Watts offers 15 lumens per Watt (lm/Watt). Nichia released a white LED 140 lm/W in 2010. Since then Cree have increased that right up to 254 lumens per Watt at a color temperature of 4,408 K (Kelvin) using the Cree XLamp® which uses silicon carbide technology and runs at 350 mA. Note these figures are in controlled labs and are only the chip, so in real life after the LED has its plastic shell and is mounted these figures will be much lower but they are still better than the HPS lamps with standard HPS lamps running at approximately 100 lm/Watt.
These days, good LED grow lights will save a grower around 50% off their electrical bills. Growing with 2 x 250W (true Watts drawn not potential draw) equals a total power bill of 500 Watts per hour. This setup will offer better but comparable growing to a 1000 Watt HID (HPS or MH) which also requires a 150 Watt ballast. So when you include the ballast and potential ventilation system the savings are more like 60% or more.
High powered LEDs (HPLEDs) – 1W, 2W, 3W & 5W
Normal LEDs used in electronics consume a tiny 30-60 milliwatts (mW) of power at very low amperage; note the word ‘milli’ in there. However high power LEDs running at between 500 milliwatts to over 500 Watts (Yes! Think industrial lighting) are driven from 100’s of mA (milliamps) to over an Ampere. In 1993 the first highly bright blue LEDs were manufactured by the Nichia company and were based on silicon carbide. It wasn’t until 1999 that Philips Lumileds introduced the first 1 Watt LEDs to the market in far larger semiconductor die sizes.
So what is the difference between 1Watt and 3Watt LEDs then?
The 1W and the 3W can tolerate running at a range of power outputs up to and over there named Wattage. So a 3W LED can run at say 1W but it will also be able to run at say 4W too. Why? Well it’s because the names given to these LEDs (1W, 3W, 5W) are only ever a guide as to the power possibilities of the LED. However a 3W LED is built on a larger semiconductor die size when compared to a 1W LED so it is built to run at higher Watts, this why it is named a 3Watt LED.
IMPORTANT – Advertized Watts vs. actual Watts draw.
All LED grow lights run well below their potential Watts. If you have 100 X 3W LEDs the potential is 300 Watts but the actual draw will be closer to 150 Watts. LEDs are usually driven at anything from between 50% to 65% of their potential. If you run a 1 Watt at 1Watt continuously or a 3W at 3Watt you have a greater chance of color shift and will also cut its life (hours) down considerably, just as you would running a car at high revs all the time.
Let’s get this straight; don’t be fooled into thinking that just because your LED grow light has 150 x 1W LEDs it as an output of 150 Watts. No, it does not. Well, you hope it doesn’t as the bulb time will be severely limited if you power it at full capacity at all times. Your LED grow light will have an output closer to 55% to 65% of its full capacity; the same concept applies to all LED grow light diodes.
Again, if you see a light advertised as 450 Watts using 150 x 3W LEDs its actual draw will be more like 250 Watts. You can work out the actual output or draw of any LED grow light using the Volts, Amps Watts calculator. If the company selling the lights does not advertise the Volts and Amps then you have to wonder why and assume they are run at 60% of capacity. We have compared a couple of popular LED grow light models further down this page on their actual draw versus their advertised.
Heat – Thermal management of LED grow lights
Another happy result of LEDs having no filament is that they are far more efficient than other light sources and LEDs produce far less heat. With traditional HID’s, up to 95% of energy is wasted as heat or radiation, whereas LEDs run relatively cool they do still produce some heat. That heat difference means HIDs should be placed two or three feet above the plant canopy while LEDs can be placed extremely close, usually around 12-18 inches, helping prevent ‘stretch’ and directing the light exactly where it’s needed.
Even though LEDs are far more energy efficient and waste a lot less heat than HIDs there are still heat issues associated when running high powered LEDs. LEDs are cool to touch mainly because they do not produce heat in the form of infrared (IR) radiation. The higher the Watts the less energy efficient they become because they turn more and more electricity into heat which is wasteful and needs management.
Where does the heat come from? The heat originates at the semiconductors p-n junction due to its slight inefficiencies when electrical activity is not turned into light. The p–n junction in turn heats the soldering point and that heats the metal core printed circuit board (MCPCB) which then needs to be directed into a heat sink so it dissipates into the atmosphere.
The three areas focused on for heat transfer are convection; which uses a moving fluid such as water or air to cool the device, conduction; whereby heat is transferred from one solid to another until there is no more and the last is radiation but that isn’t used with LEDs.
The best LEDs use heat sinks to control heat. The heat sink medium provides a path from the LED to the medium which dissipates the heat. The best thermal management within high powered LEDs uses heat sinks that include materials such as aluminium, copper, thermoplastics and at the high end of the cost scale, graphite. The heat sink material needs to incorporate a large enough surface area to work so this is why you see the classic ‘fins’ shape layered next to each other to the top of some high end LED grow lights.
Thermal management of LEDs is a science in itself, there are a multitude of methods with the best not using fans (convection) at all. When you include a fan in an LED grow light to manage heat issues it introduces a moving part. Moving parts have a habit of breaking down long before your LEDs fade. However, if you must purchase a unit with fans in it, make sure the LED has a long warranty and the fans are rated for a lifetime that exceeds that of the LEDs.
LED grow light lens – Boost light & direction
LEDs only look like their finished product when the ‘die’ or ‘chip’ is set or encapsulated in a resin or plastic which is known as potting. This plastic shell helps out in many ways. It holds the very delicate system together, mounting the LED is made far easier in products and it acts as a lens or refractive intermediary to boost the light from the semiconductor. As you can imagine there are a lot of different methods of potting these chips to make LEDs – some cheap and some expensive which result in different light output.
Light extraction of grow light LEDs is just as important as the semiconductor materials being used. Most materials have very high refractive indices so that light is reflected back and out of the LED.
- There are many types of lenses and reflectors available to harness the LED’s output and direct it where it will do the grower the most good. A simple, well-designed reflector is usually suitable to do the job, but Total Internal Reflective (TIR) lenses more fully and accurately collect and guide the light;
- Make sure you choose a reflector or lens product with an output that meets your needs. An LED’s light output is usually a cone with a 160 degree angle. Some products have 120 degree lenses but we find a LED lens with an angle of 90 degrees is just about perfect at directing light deep into the plants. However, too wide a lens spreads the luminous intensity over too great an area, it wastes light, either providing too little power to your plants, too wide a coverage area or both. Some LED grow lights have no lenses and obviously, these are a waste of valuable light, and your money;
- Narrowing the lens or reflector increases the power delivered to your plants significantly, up to 400-500%, but narrows the effective coverage area. A good trade-off for both problems is to use a medium output angle, from 60-90 degrees. The grow light manufacturer should provide effective coverage charts for their products and some will even perform photometry evaluations for your specific grow area, telling you exactly where to place your light(s) for maximum effect.
Full spectrum lights carry the blue light for vegging and the yellow, amber, orange and reds for flowering and run between 420 to 750 nanometres.
You can replace a 1000 Watt HPS for around 500 Watts of LED (500W actual power) which would yield around 600 grams of dried buds.
Good fan-less LEDs run 1W or 3W LEDs and these lights can be situated mere inches above the canopy, however setting them at around 18 inches allows the lights to disperse the light over a larger area and gets better results.
The four LED grow light systems outlined below are all claimed to be full spectrum and are all around the 250W mark, taking into account the true Wattage rather than the total Wattage of the bulbs as explained earlier. Of the four, both the Black Dog BD-240-U and Super Grow’s Spectrum King™ (SK450) can claim to be truly full spectrum, while the Hydro Grow’s Penetrator 168X Pro and Prosource’s Illuminator Pro target specific wavelengths.
The main difference between the Black Dog and the other systems, which may explain the lower price, is that the LEDs don’t have lenses or reflectors to collect and guide the light – reducing concentrated over the plants with a strong percentage of the light missing its’ target. To compensate, the lights need to be placed closer to the plants, reducing the effective growing area.
The Penetrator 168X Pro uses lenses that provide a beam angle of 60 degrees, which creates a more intense light over a relatively small area. The manufacturers also claim that their X2 lens system further increases the intensity, so more light will reach the bottom of the plants. One feature unique to the Penetrator 168X Pro is the switchable power settings from 0.5W to 1W to 3W. This is slightly misleading, as the unit is only designed to deliver just over 1.5W per LED at full power. Hydro Grow attempts to provide PAR data for the Penetrator 168X but if you visit their website you’ll see that is a graphical form that’s very difficult to interpret.
ProSource have opted for variable angled beams. This means, for example, that some may be set at 60 degrees, some at 90 degrees, and others at 120 degrees. The claim here is that this produces more illumination to the tops and the bottoms of the plants. This might allow for a slightly wider growing area but it’s not been proven it has any real advantage over single fixed angle beam.
Super Grow have opted for 90 degree lenses on the Spectrum King™ (SK450) and this is perhaps the best compromise for maximizing the cropping area while maintaining a reasonably high light intensity. On a cost per sq ft of harvest area, the Spectrum King 450 works out best value of the four lighting systems. If you need a larger growing area and are after a slightly more intense light, two SK450s can be bolted together. Super Grow’s spectral distribution data for this twin light arrangement is a very close match to natural daylight.
Based on the specifications, the Super Grow Spectrum King™ (SK450) looks like the best value. It produces a continuous spectral distribution that is close to daylight, it uses name brand LEDs, does not require an internal fan due to the impressive thermal management design and comes with 90 degree TIR lenses to concentrate the light on the plants.
Where space is limited or if you only want to grow a few plants, The Black Dog BD-240-U is worth considering, with what looks like a good spectral distribution and plenty of light.
If all you have space for is a single row of plants, due to its long, narrow geometry, the Penetrator 168X could be the ideal solution, but you may find it hard to justify the high set up cost.
The Illuminator Pro Hybrid 350W appears expensive with nothing special to offer. It has a fairly limited spectral distribution and we were slightly put off by the manufacturer not being open about true wattage. The spectral distribution may also be a bit restrictive, depending on what you want to grow.
|Black Dog BD-240-U||Hydro Grow Penetrator 168x Pro||Prosource Illuminator Pro Hybrid 350W||Super Grow LED Spectrum King (SK450)|
|Cost per Watt||$2.70||$4.35||$4.54||$3.59|
|Lenses angled||n/a||60 degrees||Variable||90 degrees|
|Harvest area ||6.25 sq ft||7.5 sq ft||16 sq ft||16 sq ft|
|Setup cost per sq ft||$103.20||$153.20||$74.94||$56.18|
|Spectrum coverage||full spectrum ||5 band ||red, infra red, and blue||full spectrum |
|Warranty||Unknown||3 years||3 years||5 years|
- Advertised price as of August 2013. Shipping not included:
- Based on maximum input wattage, which may be less than the total wattage of the bulbs. For example, the Hydro Grow Penetrator 168X Pro has 168 x 3W bulbs but it is not possible for them all to run at full capacity;
- Harvest area for flowering plants. For young plants or leaf crops, harvest area may be 15 to 30% larger;
- Manufacturer claims that their Phyto-genesis Spectrum™ utilizes hundreds of beneficial light waves that include multiple wavelengths targeting crucial absorption peaks in the red, orange, violet, and blue spectrum, as well as IR and UV;
- Actual wavelengths not stated;
- Full spectrum output is augmented by additional discrete LEDs to further enhance the chlorophyll red absorption peaks.
Models: Diamond Series XML150 & XML350
The Diamond Series XML from Advanced Lights are one of the first LED grow light arrays to feature the 10W Cree XML LEDs; a breakthrough in LED technology that massively increases the power of LED grow lights. These LEDs deliver over 1,000 lumens each at full power and are run here in conjunction with Bridgelux 3W LEDs to make a very powerful grow light.
The ‘Diamond Series’ features two models
- The Diamond Series XML150
- The Diamond Series XML350
The difference in the two models is the size, with the larger unit (XML350) covering 4’6” squared as opposed to the 3’ squared of the smaller (XML150) unit.
- The XML150 has 4 X 10W Cree XML lights and 64 X 3W made up of 4 arrays of Bridgelux LEDs, each containing 16 LEDS. Total potential Watts = 40W + 192W = 232W
- The XML350 has 10 X 10W Cree XML lights and 144 X 3W made up of 9 arrays of Bridgelux LEDs, each containing 16 LEDS. Total potential Watts = 100W + 432W = 532W
Color select and dimmable controls are available for you to switch between different modes for different phases of growth. You can choose from clone/seedling mode, veg mode and flowering mode.
With dual heat sinks and fans the Diamond Series XML LEDs run cool and can lessen the need for heat ventilation in the growing area. You can also fit more of them into your grow room with the functionality that allows you to daisy chain up to 4 units from the same power supply.
If you are looking to totally maximize production from a limited space then this could be the light for you. The Diamond Series XML LEDs deliver more power than most of the competition with light across the spectrum to meet all your plants needs.
Each of the units emits light in 11 different wavelengths. This is not full spectrum but still good quality light.
- Diamond Series XML150 – 68 (4 x 10W and 64 X 3W)
- Diamond Series XML350 – 154 (10 x 10W and 144 X 3W)
Actual Draw or True Draw
Diamond Series XML150 – “Amps @ 110 Volts quoted at 1.6 and 220 volts @ 0.5.” Therefore @ 110 Volts, 1.6A = 176Watts or 76% of potential. Quite high, maybe their quoted amperage is incorrect.
Diamond Series XML350 – No Amps given. They claim 330 Watts which sounds about right = 330Watts or 62% of potential.
- Diamond Series XML150 – 4 X Cree 10W XML LEDs and 64 X Bridgelux Blue and White LEDS
- Diamond Series XML350 – 10 X Cree 10W XML LEDs and 144 X Bridgelux Blue and White LEDS
Advanced LED drivers
Precision 90 Degree XML Collimator Lenses
Dual heat sinks with fans and honeycomb fan covers with dust filters.
The Diamond Series XML lights look solid in metal housings with diamond vents for increased airflow.
- Diamond Series XML150 – 12.5” X 12.5” X 3” – weight: 9lb
- Diamond Series XML350 – 19” X 19” X 3” – weight: 14lb
- Diamond Series XML150 – 3’ X 3’
- Diamond Series XML350 – 4’6” X 4’6”
- Diamond Series XML150 – 2’6” X 2’6”
- Diamond Series XML350 – 4’ X 4’
Advanced Lights of USA
3 Year Warranty
Money Back Offer
90 Days No Hassle Money Back Guarantee
Area 51 LED
For those who prefer an all in one solution that best simulates natural sunlight Area 51 offer the XGS-190 LED grow light.
This switchable 100W/195W Cree XTE Warm White LED set comes with finned aluminum heat sinks plus two ball bearing fans and will operate on any voltage from 100 to 240 V without the need for providing any special drivers or cords to run on different voltages. These are the specific LEDs they use XTEAWT-02-0000-00000BFF6.
Unlike some LED units the Area 51 does not offer you the ability to switch between different modes that optimize the light frequency depending on your plants’ growth phase. It does however offer 2 power settings that allow you to choose from 100W actual draw and 195W actual draw to adapt the unit to your spatial needs. These two options can also be used to provide gentler lighting to young plants and then to ramp it up during flowering.
The Area 51 XGS-190 LED Grow Light is designed to allow you to daisy chain up to four lights from a single power source (check your circuit breaker) by simply connecting them in series.
Each Area 51 XGS-190 comes with adjustable ratchet hangers and provides high energy Warm White lighting that is suitable for growing plants throughout the grow cycle. It seems like a good option with a reasonable price for providing good quality light that your plants will surely like.
Only mentioned in terms of the LED “Cree 5w warm white 3700k” here is the datasheet from CREE. “The XT-E LED delivers up to 148 lumens and 148 lumens per watt in cool white (6000 K) or up to 114 lumens and 114 lumens per watt in warm white (3000 K), both at 350 mA, 85°C”.
72 LEDs x 5W = 360W potential
Switchable between 100W or 195W, as stated by Area51, these sound like reasonable actual Watts given a potential of 360W.
Cree XTE Warm White 3750k. See spectrum above.
Aluminum Heat Sinks with 2 X 120mm ball bearing fans. Each fan operates at 73cfm and makes an almost silent 10dB. Operating temperature: 77F – 86F / 25C – 30C (generally operates a few degrees higher than ambient temps) They recommend that you keep your grow room between 70°F and 77°F.
The Area 51 XGS-190 LED is robustly housed in a vented aluminum casing. It measures 12” X 18” X 2.75” (30cm X 45cm X 7cm).
The recommended growing area for the Area 51 XGS-190 LED is:
- Veg 100W – 24” X 30” (61cm X 76cm)
- Veg 195W – 39” X 39” (99cm X 99cm)
- Flowering 195W – 30” X 30” (76cm X 76cm)
Area 51 LED of USA
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Model: Dual Aurora Puck Kit
The Dual Aurora Puck Kit from Rapid LED is a self assembly LED array that allows you to build your LED lighting unit to your own exact requirements.
If you have some experience of Electronics, LEDs and series circuits then self assembly is a great way to save costs, building yourself a top of the range LED grow light without having to pay top dollar for pre-assembled units.
For simulating daylight the Dual Aurora Puck Kit (Dimmable) seems a good solution as it presents 4 channels of control and 7 colors of LEDs: 4 XP-G cool white; 4 XT-E royal blue; 4 XP-E blue; 4 Violet UV; 2 XP-E Green; 2 XP-E Red; and 1 XP-E Red-Orange. Apart from good mimicking of natural daylight, thus covering the photosynthetic spectrum, this set allows you to create different combinations of light colors which then can be used to stimulate marijuana’s vegetative or reproductive growth (flowering) requirements, depending on your interests.
The 4 channel arrangements are:
- Channel 1 (1000mA max) – 4 royal blue + 3 blue;
- Channel 2 (700mA max) – 2 green + 1 blue + 2 red + 1 red-orange;
- Channel 3 (1500mA max) – 4 cool white:
- Channel 4 (700mA max) – 4 Violet UV.
The Dual Aurora Puck Kit (Dimmable) comes with current and fan adapters and dimming accessories. There are also clear and thoroughly explained instructions which allow you to create, adapt and experiment on different environmental conditions.
We asked Rapid LED directly and they stated:
We emailed them about our review.
Thank you for thinking of us! The theoretical wattage draw of the Aurora Puck is about 65w. However, this is when running each channel at exactly the max current as specified on our site here: http://www.rapidled.com/aurora-puck/
That is correct, it’s just a calculator that multiples current (mA) times volts to find watts.
a) We provide a maximum current for each string here: http://www.rapidled.com/aurora-puck/
The actual current you’ll use is really up to you and your tank/needs, some people will run at 100% of our recommendations, most are at 70-90%, but I’ve seen some go as low as 30-40%.
b) The 110V isn’t the voltage you’re using to calculate wattage, that’s simply the input AC voltage to the driver. The driver then converts that to DC voltage (if you’re using a LDD driver the power supply would do the converting for you but it’s essentially the same thing). You’re going to look for the DC voltage draw of each LED, which will vary depending on the current. For example, here’s the datasheet for our XT-E royal blue LED:
Look at page 8 of the datasheet and you’ll see a chart showing you the relationship between current and voltage. For example, if you’re running the LED at 1000mA (the max we suggest for channel 1 on the puck) the LED will draw about 3.2V. Thus, you will multiple 3.2V x 1.0A to get 3.2 watts. This is the true wattage draw of the royal blue LED at 1000mA (1A). You simply add up the wattage draw of each LED on the puck to find the total draw for the puck.
c) Each LED will output a different wavelength. I don’t have a spectral graph of the output on the entire puck, but if you click on each LED’s product page (linked at the top of the puck product page) we’ll tell you the wavelength of each LED. For example, the royal blue is 450-465nm, the blue is 465-485nm, etc. The only one that won’t have a nm is the white LED as those are full spectrum and thus are always rated in Kelvin temperature (the higher the temperature the cooler the LED).
Hope that helps clear things up, if you have any other questions please feel free to let me know.
Thanks for your reply.
I am unsure of the draw and electronics so I need some help here as normally I would work out the true wattage when I have the Voltage and the Amps (current) using thishttp://www.supercircuits.com/resources/tools/volts-watts-amps-converter . Please assume I have just bought one of your kits, which comes with two pucks, what would the be the answers to the following assuming I am an average home grower?
a) What current/Amps should I use?
b) What would that current draw in Watts assuming 110 Volts for the entire kit combined, total of two pucks?
c) Also, what is the spectrum of the output in nanometres?
Thanks in advance for your time.
LED Brands and Spectrum
Cree LEDs. Rapid LED state: For full spectrum color lovers this is the ideal puck! You’ll get 4 channels of control and 7 colors of LEDs! All LEDs are from our regular stock and each puck contains 4 XP-G2 cool white, 4 XT-E royal blue, 4 XP-E blue, 4 Violet UV, 2 XP-E Green, 2 XP-E Red, and 1 XP-E Red-Orange.
Unit has 2 pucks (arrays). We believe this is correct. Each Puck contains:
- 4 XP-G cool white @ 5W – color temperature 5,000K-8,300K;
- 4 XT-E royal blue – Wavelength 450-465nm; Is this 1.8W?
- 4 XP-E blue @ 3W – Wavelength 465-485nm; Is this 1.2W?
- 4 Violet UV; Wavelength 410nm – 420nm Is this 0.84W?
- 2 XP-E Green @ 3W – Wavelength 520-535nm;
- 2 XP-E Red – Wavelength 620-630nm; Is this 0.84W?
- 1 XP-E Red-Orange – Wavelength 610-620nm. Is this 0.84W?
- 2 x Mean Well ELN-60-48D and 2 x Mean Well ELN-60-27D or;
- 2 x Mean Well ELN-60-48P drivers and 2 x Mean Well ELN-60-27P or;
- 2 x LDD-700H drivers + 2 x LDD-1000H drivers + LDD-H-4 board + SE-350-48 power supply.
All LEDs come with appropriate lenses to suit.
Temperature is managed by black anodyzed heat sinks with fan. Choose from:
- 1 X 6” X 20” Heat Sink or;
- 2 X 6” X 10” Heat Sink.
Heat sinks have splash guards for aquarium use and come either drilled or not, depending on your choice.
Each Heatsink comes with 1 X 92mm Vantec Stealth Fan (model SF9225L).
- 80% quieter than standard case fans;
- Suitable for 1.4” or 6” heat sink;
- 92 x 92 x 25mm (3.62″ x 3.62″ x 1″);
- 12V DC power;
- Runs at 1750 RPM;
- Moves 28 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air;
- 20 dBA (equivalent to whispering);
The Dual Aurora Puck Kit is a self assemble kit that contains high quality products from leading brands.
The Dual Aurura Puck Kit is supplied by Rapid LED of Burlingame, California.
Rapid LED offers the following Return Policy:
If defective, replacement will be provided if we are notified within 14 days. Return shipping is the responsibility of the buyer. Replacement shipping is on us. Please note that once LEDs have been soldered, they are no longer under warranty. Due to the nature of DIY projects, we must be notified of any defective LEDs PRIOR to soldering or use of any kind.
For all other returns, product must be brand new and in original shipping box and sent back to us within 14 days. We’ll refund you back the cost of the order, minus what we paid to ship the order to you.
Black Diamond LED
Models: Black Diamond & Double Black Diamond
There are two size options in the Black Diamond range from Lil’Tomato Concepts.
- Black Diamond LED Light V2, and
- Double Black Diamond LED Light V2
Each offers high output LEDs that run at 5500/73 K/CRI. The smaller Black Diamond has 48 LEDs whereas the larger Double Black Diamond has 96.
Lil’ Tomato advertize their lights as operating at 115 W and 228 W potential.
As with XGS-190 LED Grow Light, both these Black Diamond LED Light V2 sets operate over a voltage range, here from 110 to 240 V. To work out the actual draw for you, use this handy calculator and enter your home voltage in the top box and either 0.89 (for the Black Diamond) or 1.89 (for the Double Black Diamond) in the bottom box. The answer in the middle box is your actual power draw.
Lil Tomato go on to suggest an input of 120 Volts at 0.89 Amps which equates to 107 Watts true draw. The Double @ 1.89 Amps and 120 Volts equates to 227W. This is because LEDs never run at maximum power all the time. This would be like always driving your car at full revs; it would soon wear out!
Overall, and understandably, these sets are a bit more expensive than the XGS-190 LED Grow Light set. However, Lil’Tomato Concepts come with proven experience in the field of agricultural lighting and offer you a 5 year warranty period.
- 5,500–6,000 K Vertical daylight is the concept there, they do not mention nanometers however this sounds like good white broad spectrum light.
- Black Diamond – 48 LEDs
- Double Black Diamond – 96 LEDs
Actual Draw in Watts
- Black Diamond – 107 Watts
- Double Black Diamond – 227 Watts
Total Lumen Output
- Black Diamond – 11810 lm
- Double Black Diamond – 21300 lm
Philips Lumileds – 5500/73 K/CRI
All LEDs come with 900 angle lenses.
The Black Diamond LED V2 units come on strips set in a robust metal housing. The spacious desing should help with heat management.
- Black Diamond – 17.5” X 17.3” X 5.13” – weight: 13lb
- Double Black Diamond – 17.5” X 37.03” X 5.13” – weight: 21lb
Optimal Growing Area
- Black Diamond – 48” X 48”
- Double Black Diamond – 48” X 72”
Lil’ Tomato Concepts (LTC) of Sun Valley, California, USA
Model: BD360-U LED
The Black Dog LED Universal Series is a solidly constructed LED grow light series that relies on proven 5W LED technology to deliver powerful PAR lighting to your plants.
This model, The BD360-U, is a mid range model that is suitable for home growers with a 4’ square growing area. It more than adequately replaces a 400W HID and features 140 5W single chip LEDS.
Black Dog Universal Series LEDs use the trademarked ‘Phyto-Genesis-Spectrum’. This is the result of extensive research and uses 15 different colored LEDs to create a spectrum that closely mimics the graph below which shows the rate of light absorption of different plant pigments.
The full spectrum created goes from UV to IR and covers crucial absorption peaks in the red, orange, violet, and blue spectrum. This represents optimum lighting for both flowering and veg. For vegetative growth the light covers a 4’ square and should be hung at 22” from the canopy. Lower the light to 16” for flowering to cover a 3’ square.
Having a square footprint is more efficient than some of the rectangular footprints available and can make for easier grow room planning.
The Black Dog BD360-U LED has a capacity of 700W but only actually draws 340W when running. This prolongs the life of the LEDs and keeps your energy bills low. Extra large heat sinks are used to keep operating temperatures low, allowing you to get your plants closer to the light source.
Black Dog LED lights enjoy an excellent reputation and the BD360-U is a great buy that comes with proven performance and productivity.
Black Dog claim: “BDL’s proprietary full-cycle Phyto-genesis Spectrum™, which eliminates the need for separate vegetative and flowering grow lights”. “Includes multiple wavelengths targeting crucial absorption peaks in the red, orange, violet, and blue spectrum, as well as IR and UV.”
We have not seen any tests outlining spectrum, PAR or nanometers.
140 X 5W = 700 Watts potential
Black Dog claim 340W actual draw which is 48% of potential, this is in the ball park of reality. We checked, given the amperage is 2.8-1.4A (@ 120/240v) this equates to 336 Watts true draw, so they are bang on correct.
5W High Output LEDs – no brand name given
Black Dog use some of the ‘largest heat sinks in the grow light industry’ to keep operating temperatures down. Operating temperature range of -20 to 40 °C. BTU of 1161.
The BD360-U comes in a sturdy black metal frame that is oversized to allow for extra heat dissipation. The side panels are designed with good venting and the unit comes with D rings and adjustable metal ratchet hangers. CE certified and ROHS compliant.
The recommended growing area for the BD360-U is:
- Veg 48” X 48” (121.9 X 121.9)
- Flowering 36” X 36” (91.4cm X 91.4cm)
Black Dog LED of Boulder, Colorado, USA
Limited Lifetime Warranty
BML Custom LED
BML offer an array of lights from the SPYDR 1000 and 600 Grow Max Spectrum models to the 600 Start-Max Spectrum.
You can even build your own spectrum lights, find a length from 7” through to 72” and the angle of the beam from 30 ° to 90 °.
To create the best LED combinations that mimic natural daylight for your plants and are suitable for the physical conditions that you have (i.e. space, temperature, humidity), BML offers you a most convenient custom LED tool you can create and see how your own custom made LED spectrum will work.
With reviews from PhD’s at Princeton it is seen as a quality light “In my opinion, BML Horticulture is an ambassador of the LED revolution and is a great partner for plant science!” Paul P. Gaulthier, PhD.
By selecting your preferred fixture length and creating a circuit board with any LEDs (up to 15) of your choice together with choosing the beam angle you want in your fixture, you will have the opportunity to evaluate, experiment and compare many different light conditions and scenarios that you can offer to your marijuana plants.
Depending on length, fixtures can have a different number of circuits. These custom made fixtures come with a three year unconditional warranty against defects in workmanship or materials. With the different set of LED colors offered BML you can build an enormous variety of spectrum ranges and built different sets of LEDs specific for different development stages of your plants, e.g. vegetative vs. reproductive growth, according to your own needs. In addition to this most helpful builder and to help you choosing the best LED combinations, BML, bmlcustom.com/custom-led-strip, also offers you a graphical tool where you can analyze and compare the different values of the physiological parameters that matter created by a given LED combination. For example, you can see the wavelength (color) predominance and the resulting PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) of a given LED combination and fixture that you chose. This way you can see which region of the light spectrum is most represented and evaluate which developmental stage of your plants are you favoring most, i.e. vegetative vs. reproductive growth.
SPYDR 600 GROW-MAX Spectrum – They state it covers PAR >> “Spectrum is the perfect choice if you need to take young plants to maturity with maximum vegetative growth and flowering capacity.” “When the bars are centered in the fixture to achieve max PAR levels, you can expect PPFD readings of up to 2100 mmol/m2/s at a 12″ mounting height.”
(67%) 660nm Deep Red,
(13%) 625nm Red,
(13%) 6500K Cool White
(7%) 450nm Royal Blue
270 x 3W Osram LEDs. Total 810 Watts potential.
Input voltage 90-305 VAC. They state these are under driven, as they should be and 333 Watts actual draw.
Thermally protected MEAN WELL driver. The SPYDR is powered by a single, driver that consumes 333 watts.
U.S. made, industrial quality, fan-free LED fixture.
Top quality LEDs protected by heavy spray-proof aluminum case and tough, easy to clean polycarbonate cover.
Coverage over a 4’x4′ grow area
Fixture weight: 23 lbs / 10.4 kg. 36” x 36” x 4.5” thick
Built-to-Order in the USA
Three Year Limited Warranty. CE certified to Low Voltage and EMC safety directives. ROHS compliant.
Model: Cool Diamond & Diamond II
Cool Diamond LED Lights from Lil’Tomato Concepts are built on the same sturdy framework as their Black Diamond LED sets. As with Black Diamond they offer two different sizes.
- Cool Diamond LED Grow Light
- Cool Diamond LED Grow Light II
Although of the same size as the Black Diamond sets, Cool Diamond LEDs squeeze more power out of the same area, providing 64 and 128 LEDs respectively. More light energy into your system means more weed out! As with other LTC products, the Cool Diamond LED lights also operate over a voltage range, here from 110V to 240V.
The specs on the Cool Diamond show an actual draw of 147W and 300W respectively @ 120 Volts and 1.23 A and 2.5A respectively.
If your domestic voltage is 110V then this equates to an actual power draw of around 135W and 275W respectively. The reason for the difference in this is that the LEDs do not continually run at full capacity as that would drastically shorten their life time. What this means to you is even lower utility bills than expected.
If you live somewhere with voltage other than 110V then you can use this simple calculator to work out what the actual power draw of the Cool Diamond LED lights would be for you. Just enter your domestic power supply in the top box, then enter either 1.23 for the Cool Diamond, or 2.5 for the Cool Diamond II, in the bottom box. The result in the middle box will be your actual power draw.
The Cool Diamond LED lights are a step up from the Black Diamond sets in price, but they provide much more power to your grow, enabling you to increase output for the same sized growing area. Basically it means fatter buds and bigger yields.
5,500–6,000 K Vertical daylight is the concept there, they do not mention nanometers however this sounds like good white broad spectrum light.
- Cool Diamond – 64
- Cool Diamond II – 128
- Cool Diamond – 135W
- Cool Diamond II – 275W
Total Lumen Output
- Cool Diamond – 14821 lm
- Cool Diamond II – 29329 lm
- Cool Diamond – Philips Lumileds – 5500/74 K/CRI
- Cool Diamond II – Philips Lumileds – 5500/75 K/CRI
All LEDs come with 900 angle lenses.
The Black Diamond LED V2 units come on strips set in a robust metal housing. The spacious desing should help with heat management. Sizes are:
- Cool Diamond – 17.5” X 17.3” X 5.13” – weight: 14lb
- Cool Diamond II – 17.5” X 37.03” X 5.13” – weight: 23lb
- Cool Diamond – 48” X 48”
- Cool Diamond II – 148” X 72”
Lil’ Tomato Concepts (LTC) of Sun Valley, California, USA
Model: Apollo 240 X 3W
The Apollo 240 X 3W LED grow light, from Growblu of USA, is a high quality full spectrum grow light that is rated to replace a 1000W HID.
The Apollo 240X3W uses 240 3W LEDs clustered into 16 pods of 15 individual LEDs. This amounts to 720W of LED power, although Growblu state the actual power draw of this light is only around 500W.
We calculated the actual draw using this calculator and, using the 5.4 amps stated by Growblu, found the actual draw at 120V to be 648W.
Either way, it would lower the running costs of the 1000W HID it replaces, as well as significantly lowering the high operating temperatures that are associated with HIDs.
To keep operating temperatures down, the Apollo 240 X 3W grow light uses aluminum PCB modules and a 2 cm premium aluminum heat sink. For added cooling there are also 8, quiet, high output cooling fans. All of this keeps operating temperatures at the canopy (12” from lens) at just 79oF, creating minimal need for you to supply extra ventilation for cooling.
The Apollo 240X3W uses a selection of top quality 3W LED chips from Bridgelux and Epistar to create their own, proprietary full spectrum. The actual breakdown of the spectrum is not available. However it is suitable for all your plants’ needs from germination, thru veg, to harvest. Each LED is fitted with a primary 90o lens and a secondary 60o focus lens for maximum light penetration.
The Apollo has an independent on board monitoring system that keeps an eye on how the LED grow light is performing. Any malfunctions with the lights are indicated by flashing or extinguished lights on the side of the casing. This allows you to address any problems that may occur immediately.
The Apollo 240 X 3W is a powerful light. Growblu give the optimal footprint as 4’ X 4’. The long rectangular shape of the light might be awkward for some tents or smaller rooms. However for larger commercial grows, several of these side by side would supply excellent coverage.
The Apollo performs equally well at either110V or 240V. Growblu will even supply the unit with the correct plug for the country that you live in. We contacted them for information for this page and they responded quickly to all our questions
They state “Proprietary Groblu full spectrum” with no other details.
PAR-1300-1ft, 700-2ft, 430-3ft
Average LUX 70,000-1ft, 32,000-2ft, 18,000-3ft
240 X 3W = 720 LEDs within 16 arrays. Potential of 720 Watts
We understand it is around 500W. An emails from them stated “Amps drawn by a 240V is 5.4.”
Bridgelux and Epistar
90o Primary Lenses + 60o Focus Lenses
PCB modules 2cm aluminum heat sinks + 8 cooling fans. Average canopy temperature 79°F @ 1FT. Average lens temperature 88°F.
Good and solid. Hanging wires supplied.
37″ X 11.5″ X 3″ (94cm X 29.2cm X 7.6cm)
Optimal Growing Area – 4ft X 4ft. A larger area would be appropriate for seedlings or vegetative plants.
Recommended Grow Height
Growblu, California, USA
3 Year warranty on parts and repairs with one time free replacement
Money Back Offer
30 Days No Hassle Money Back Guarantee
Advanced LED Grow
Model: Grow Sun 320P
The Grow Sun 320P LED grow light is one of the 5g Grow Sun Series. It offers single 20W LEDs with 12 multi-chips emitting in 12 bandwidths of light to give you great spectrum coverage for your plants.
The Grow Sun 320P features 16 of these 20W LEDs and is shipped in directly from the manufacturers in China and available from Advanced LED Grow of USA. Chinese LEDs can sometimes get a bad rep but there are a number of online reviews backing up the efficacy of this unit.
The Grow Sun 320P is designed to be comparable with a 400W HID. Side by side tests show an increase in yield of around 20% and a corresponding drop in energy use of around 30% with the actual draw of the Grow Sun 320P being around 280W on full bloom.
Grow Sun state that their bandwidths run from 400nm to 760nm plus white. Optical lenses are used to blend the light into the full spectrum but Grow Sun do not stipulate the individual chip frequencies. An acrylic sheet with reflective covering makes best use of the light, focusing it directly onto the plant canopy.
The Grow Sun 320P comes with an advanced wireless remote control with timer and the choice of three channels to meet the requirements of different stages of plant growth; seedling, veg and flower. The intensity of light with each channel is also adjustable from 10% to 100%. Each 20W LED comes with a solder free design that makes changes individual chips easy.
A built in safety feature lowers the light intensity of the GS320P should overheating occur. A trip switch is also fitted to cut off power in the event of an accident.
With hanging kit included, a one year full warranty, free tracked FEDEX shipping and the possibility of paying with Paypal, the GS 320P is worth a look at. We contacted Advanced LED Grow and found them very communicative and easy to deal with.
Check out this Youtube clip of the Grow Sun 320P grow light in action.
12 bans covering 400 – 760nm. We are sure there will be gaps in that spectrum but still 12 is a good number and close to full spectrum.
16 X 20W = 320 Watt potential. These are multi chip LEDs with multi spectra in them.
280W is what they quote, there is no discussion on Amps. We think that 280 is too high and not correct as that is 87% of potential, so either the LEDs will burn out (1 year warranty) or they are driving them at far less than this actual draw, maybe 160 to 180Watts.
Email from Advanced LED Grow “The actual power draw of the Grow Sun 320P is 280W. Attached is a brochure on the unit with a light source test report that shows the distribution of the LED light.”
Sunface Optical Lenses
Fan cooled by built in fans. Side vents only.
The Grow Sun 320P is an attractive unit with gold effect aluminum casing for those who like a bit of bling with their grow.
Grow Sun give us the levels of coverage for the 320P at varying heights above the canopy. Obviously you would lose a great deal of the intensity at the higher levels and only be able to flower effectively at the lower levels.
|Height from canopy||Footprint||Height from canopy||Footprint|
|8”||28” X 28”||20cm||70cm X 70m|
|20”||51” X 51”||50cm||130cm X 130cm|
|39”||90” X 90”||100cm||230cm X 230cm|
|59”||122” X 122”||150cm||310cm X 310cm|
|78”||165” X 165”||200cm||420cm X 420cm|
China via Advanced Lights of USA
1 Year Warranty
Model: Hans Panel 80 Watt
In the same line as Dual Aurora Puck Kit (Dimmable) and BML LED combinations, there is a brand new 80 Watt LED panel and upgraded version of the famous Hans-panel from Bonsai Hero.
Bonsai Hero offer the 65W and 80W models. We concentrate on the 80W model here.
Bonsai Hero’s Hans Panel combines 4 Cree XBD Royal Blue, 17 Cree XBD 701 Red, 2 Cree XBD White and 10 Osram LH-CPDP Deep Red Rebel LEDs. The difference and main advantage of the Hans Panel is that this LED panel is optimized for a higher current and delivers 15% more light than the standard 65 Watt Hans-panel. However, both versions are among the very best LED color combinations on the market today.
The Hans Panel allows you to optimize the spectrum and the amount of light you deliver at different developmental stages of your plants’ growth. This way you can provide optimum lighting conditions whether you are growing seedlings or cuttings, vegetative growth or flowering.
- Growth Phase – Seedlings and clones. Power draw = 38W
- Early Flowering – Mothers and first weeks of flowering. Power draw = 60W
- Full Flowering – Thru to harvest. Power draw = 80W
Hans Panels have no light losses caused by plastic covers or lenses in front of the LEDs. Patented reflectors are used instead.
The Hans Panel comes with an external, waterproof power supply that doesn’t add any heat to the array. The whole unit operates at a mere 45dB, this almost silent noise output is a must for stealth growers.
There is no mention of actual spectrum but they offer a good selection of LEDs. There are 3 selectable positions;
(1) Seedlings and cuttings;
(2) Mothers and Early weeks of flowering;
(3) Full flowering position. Easily selectable by switch.
Max 80 Watts quoted which sounds reasonable. No mention of Amps used.
CREE and Osram
- 4 Cree XBD Royal Blue
- 17 Cree XBD 701 Red
- 2 Cree XBD White
- 10 Osram LH-CPDP Deep Red Rebel LEDs
Not known. EU, USA or UK power supply included.
No plastic or glass lenses. System uses patented reflectors instead. Each LED has its own refelctor and measures eiither 106 or 123 degrees.
Metal core PCB for effective cooling. “Very quiet, only -45 dB at 60 cm, 24″.
The Hans Panel is ‘simple industrial design’ solid constructed and measures 15” X 10” X 1.6” (26cm X 38cm X 4cm).
The recommended growing area for the Hans Panel 80W LED is 24” X 28” (60cm X 80cm)
The Hans Panel 80W is made by Bonsai Hero of Amsterdam, Netherlands
2 Years Warranty
Hydro Grow LED
Model: SOL 6 300W and 600W
Hydro Grow LED from Monroeville, PA., have cemented an excellent reputation for themselves over the past few years for their LED grow lights.
Their SOL Series covers a wide range of needs, from the SOL 1 which is suitable for supplemental lighting or single plant grows, up to the SOL 9 which is equivalent to 750W of HID lighting.
The SOL Series is based around integrated LEDs that come in the choice of either 50W or 100W. The 50W LEDs contain 32 individual 3W chips whereas the 100W LEDs contain 64.
Here we take a look at the mid range SOL 6, a powerful grow light with 6 of the integrated LED units. You can choose the 300W model which operates with the 50W LEDs or the 600W model which runs the 100W LEDs.
Because LEDs don’t run at full power all of the time the actual power draw of these LEDs is not 300W or 600W respectively. The true actual draw can be calculated by using this handy calculator. Given the amperage supplied by the manufacturer we can calculate that the actual power draw of the SOL 6 is as follows.
|SOL 6 Model||110V – Actual draw||220V – Actual draw|
|SOL 6 300W||275W||286W|
|SOL 6 600W||539W||396W|
The LEDs used by Hydro Grow LED are Top BIN LEDs. Binning is a process that grades individual LEDs according to their brightness. Top BIN LEDs are the best quality LEDs available.
Hydro Grow LED use their own 3rd Generation light spectrum that emits light at 440nm, 470nm, 525nm, 640nm and 660nm. The spectrum breaks down to around 10% blue, 15% green and 75% red.
The SOL 6 is an elegantly designed unit with the 6 integrated LEDs mounted in Fusion reflectors. These Fusion reflectors are patent pending and focus all the light from the LEDs into a concentrated beam. No lenses are used.
The SOL 6 LED grow light has a future proof modular design that is easily upgradeable should the need arise. Extra units can be daisy chained to a maximum of 1200W. Units are available with 110V or 220V power supplies.
Each LED has a dedicated 80mm dual bearing fan and custom built thin finned heat sinks to keep operating temperatures low.
We contacted Hydro Grow LED for information and found them very helpful and quick to respond. Nice work guys.
They state “tested PAR output matching that of a 600W HPS!” But then mention that it is bands, “440, 470, 525, 640, 660”. So this is not full spectrum.
Email from HydroGrow: “Our 3rd Gen light spectrum was broken down into 10% blue, 15% green and 75% red based on lumen output. I cannot break down the individual wavelengths into their percentages.”
- SOL 6 300W – 6 X 50W = 300W potential (192 individual chips)
- SOL 6 600W – 6 X 100W = 600W potential (384 individual chips)
- SOL 6 300W – 275W – 2.5A @ 110V (1.3A @ 220V = 286W)
- SOL 6 600W – 539W – 4.9A @ 110V (1.8A @ 220V = 396W)
Email from HydroGrow “The 50W LED contains 32 chips in total, while the 100W contains 64. The chips we use are 3W, however it is rare for a colored 3W LED to consume more than 2W of actual power. Likewise we do not drive them at full power as this would create too much heat.”
They mention they use Philips LumiLEDs ‘top bin’. Model numbers. LXM2-PD01-0050 and LXM2-PD01-0040 on their website.
However the email response was different:
Email from HydroGrowLED: “We do not use any LEDs one might typically consider “brand name” such as Cree, Osram, Luxeon, Nichia, etc… The reason for this is that their LEDs test out to produce approximately 1/2 the PAR output per watt of those we use in our products.”
Generic, 85V – 480V and the email reply stated: “The drivers we use are generic. I believe the power factor is around 92.”
120° with no lenses, not glass or acrylic lenses, just the back reflector – pat pending Fusion reflector.
6 X 80mm dual bearing fans and custom, radial, thin finned heat sinks. SOL 6 300W 115° – 125° F and the SOL 6 600W 140° – 155° F. Also mentioned is a built in ‘ballast and fan’.
Solid with modular design for easy maintenance
- SOL 6 300W – 3′ x 4′ (92cm x 122cm)
- SOL 6 600W – 4′ x 5′ (122cm x 152cm)
- SOL 6 300W – 12′ x 15′ (3.7m x 4.6m)
- SOL 6 600W – 15′ x 18′ (4.6m x 5.5m)
*primary coverage based on 12-18″ hanging height above canopy, supplemental coverage based on 6-10′ above canopy.
Hydro Grow LED., PA., USA
2 Year Warranty
Money Back Offer
90 Days No Hassle Money Back Guarantee
Model: Solid Core Titan LED 370W
The Titan 370W LED grow light is the biggest light in the Solar Core line from Solid Apollo of Washington State, USA. It has been designed with the larger scale grower in mind and has a core coverage of 27ft2.
Solid Apollo also offer the Ares LED Grow Light @ 120W and the Midas @280W. We review the Titan @ 370 Watt.
The Titan 370W is a good looking, sturdily built, modular high tech light that comes with all the confidence of a 120 day money back offer or 5 year warranty.
The driving force behind the Titan 370W LED comes from the 10 X Full PAR spectrum LED grow lights from the industry renowned Bridgelux. These LEDs are combined with 120o polycarbonate lenses to ensure effective coverage of the whole growing area. Each of the ten light ‘cores’ contains 15 individual 3W Bridgelux LEDs. This makes a total of 150 individual diodes in the following light spectrum:
- 10x Infrared 730nm,
- 10x Deep Red 660-670nm
- 60x Red 640-660nm
- 10x Orange-Red 620-630
- 20x Red 630-640nm
- 10x Blue 460nm
- 10x Cobalt blue 430-440nm
- 10x Violet 410-420nm
- 10x Warm White full spectrum 3000K
This creates a full light spectrum with extra oomph at the red end, ensuring good coverage of the chlorophyll A and B peaks, the most essential wavelengths for your marijuana plants’ growth.
This Titan 370W LED is designed to replace 800W of HID lighting power and can easily grow up to 15, medium sized marijuana plants. 150 X 3W LEDs actually equals a maximum power of 450W. However, LEDs are never run at maximum capacity as this would just burn them out too quickly. You can calculate the actual power draw of the Titan for yourself by using this calculator. The input current is 2.5amps. At 120V, the actual power draw is 300W. This low power consumption can help you to slash the considerable energy costs of your grow.
Heat management in the Titan 370W comes via 6 whisper quiet 90mm fans and effective side venting. These Bridgelux LEDs are 98% efficient at creating light meaning that the heat created is kept to a minimum anyway.
The Solar Core Titan 370W LED comes with a sophisticated on board LED diagnostics system (LDS). This system constantly monitors your grow light and provides you with an up to date status. Any faults or problems with the system are notified by a flashing light to indicate which individual LED is giving you trouble. Although, with an expected lifespan of 50,000 hours on the LEDs, you shouldn’t be seeing too much of this.
We contacted Solid Apollo whilst gathering information for this article and found them quick to respond and helpful with providing information.
See information above and note the bands here:
- Last is ‘white with temperature of 3000K
10 Solar Cores with 15 X 3W LEDs =150 Total LEDs
120o polycarbonate polished lenses
6 X 90mm built in fans and venting. Working temperature 32-140F.
Sturdily built with modular design for easy maintenance. IP55 rating. CE, RoHs.
24” X 11.14” X 3.4” (60.9cm X 28.3cm X 8.6cm)
Optimal growing area – 27ft2
Solid Apollo, Washington, USA
5 Year Warranty
Money Back Offer
120 Days no hassle money back guarantee
Super Grow LED
Model: Spectrum King™ + Halo™
Known as one of the Rolls Royce LED grow lights on the market. Super Grow LED offers two models. Our people use them. So do a number of the big Dutch seed companies.
- SuperGrow LED Halo™
- SuperGrow LED Spectrum King™
The Halo™ is the smaller of the two and great for small grows and supplemental lighting. The Halo has 28 X 3W LEDs with an actual draw of approximately 25 Watts.
The Spectrum King™ is the larger of the two lights and has 150 X 3W LEDs to offer a 450W capacity light with an actual power draw of approximately 250 Watts.
The concept with the Spectrum King™ is that two units, total draw of 500 Watts, would replace your 1,000 Watt HID unit. In the process you would save at least 50% in electricity compared to an HID unit, more if you consider there is no ballast needed and a reduction in HVAC requirements.
Both the Halo™ and the Spectrum King™ offer a full spectrum from 420nm through to 750nm with no gaps or bands missing. Other features include high end heat sinks which require no fans, eliminating noise and further lowering energy bills. The solid state construction is extremely durable and SuperGrow LED back this up with a 5 year warranty.
Both lights have top of the range 45mm (not the cheaper 39mm) Bridgelux and Epistar LEDs with 90° and 120° beam angle PMMS lenses for greater photon delivery. Optimum photon delivery is at 12” and has been measured at 1000μmol.
Both the Spectrum King™ (SK450) and the Halo™ (SGL6) come fitted with US plugs but will work worldwide on different power supplies in different countries. There is no need for transformers, simply buy an international plug adapter and you can use them anywhere in thw world.
The Spectrum King™ and Halo™ from Super Grow LED are high quality grow lights with a great track record. Whether you want some small supplemental lighting or a replacement for your HIDs, SuperGrow LED can supply you with cutting edge LED lighting technology to suit your needs.
True full spectrum no gaps, no bands, 420 nm through to 750 nm right into IR.
- Spectrum King™ – 150 X 3W LEDs = 450W potential
- Halo™ – 28 LEDs X 3W LEDs = 84W potential
- Spectrum King™ – 250 Watts (250W / 120VAC @ 2.1A)
- Halo™ – 25 Watts (25W / 110VAC @ 0.23A)
Bridgelux and Epistar
- Spectrum King™ – 6th generation Spectrum II™ LEDs using 100 ‘white LEDs’. Individual ‘white’ LEDs are a mix of RGB to supply you with high end color rendering and a full spectrum. The remaining 50 LEDs are a mixture of ‘reds’ for extra power during flowering.
- Halo™ – 6th generation Spectrum II™ LEDs using ‘white LEDs’. Individual LEDs are a mix of the primary colors RGB to supply you with high end color rendering and full spectrum ‘white’ light.
Mean Well – Self-protecting constant current power supply,
- Spectrum King™ – PMMS 900 Lenses
- Halo™ – Precision 900 and 1200 Lenses
Totally fanless heat sinks, thermal bonds and quality metal clad printed circuit boards (MCPCB) keep operating temperatures down. Dead quiet, the ultimate in stealth.
Both models are brilliantly made and well presented.
- Spectrum King™ – 22” X 14” X 7” Weight – 23lb
- Halo™ – 9” X 7” X 6” Weight – 4.5lb
Veg – Optimum
- Spectrum King™ – 30 sq ft
- Halo™ – 5 sq ft
Flowering – Optimum
- Spectrum King™ – 16 sq ft
- Halo™ – 3 sq ft
SuperGrow LED, USA
5 Year Warranty
The Future of LED Grow Lights
The commercial sector is really leading the way with LED grow lighting, making available a huge selection of lighting units. Although this is to be welcomed, the down side of it is that there are also many substandard products available that are not up to scratch and that will not produce the plentiful yields growers have become accustomed to with HIDs. They give the good LED grow lights a bad name.
If you do decide to invest in some LED grow lights it is important that you buy from a reputable source and be sure it’s somewhere that you can ask questions about the spectrum and light intensity of the unit. We can highly recommend working with Super Grow LED, they offer the best full spectrum LED grow lights we have seen anywhere. They are not just resellers, they are the manufacturers, they don’t sell junk, and they designed their products with the benefit of decades of LED lighting experience.
Big yields are obtainable using good LED grow lights noted by some of the leading Dutch growers who have already moved away from HID to purely LED based systems. One thing is for sure though, the technology is here right now and in a world where energy efficiency, heat reduction, space saving and sustainability is vital, LED grow light systems have a bright future for indoor marijuana cultivation.