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LED Grow Lights

LED Grow Lights

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 an bounds very quickly and these days LEDs are used in all kinds of lighting including successful marijuana grows.

We are here to tell you that growing marijuana with LEDs works well with the best models offering results better than HIDs and 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.

LED Topics Discussed

  • LED pros and cons
  • Brief history of LEDs
  • A brief history of LEDs
  • How are LED colors made?
  • You need white LEDs!
  • Full spectrum LEDs vs. 3 band, 5 band, 11 band etc
  • LED efficiency vs. HID lamps
  • High powered LEDs (HPLEDs) – 1W, 2W, 3W & 5W
  • Difference between 1Watt and 3Watt LEDs?
  • Advertized Watts vs. actual Watts drawn.
  • Heat – Thermal management of LED grow lights
  • LED grow light lens – Boost light & direction
  • 2013, 2014 Full spectrum LED grow lights compared
  • The Future


LED spectrum

LEDs pros and cons

  1. LEDs have far lower energy consumption running at approximately 60% of an equivalent HID;
  2. There is no filament to burn so LEDs have longer bulb times of 50,000 to 60,000 versus HIDs which start dropping output considerable at 2,000 to 3,000 hours;
  3. LEDs are smaller and faster to emit light and are physically more robust so they relatively shock resistant being solid state components;
  4. 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;
  5. LEDs can focus their light output with the use of lenses rather than disperse the light like HIDs that require reflectors;
  6. 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 150 Watts of power consumption;
  7. LEDs are more expensive to start a grow with when compared to HID but they are cheaper over the long term;
  8. LEDs are instant on and instant off, they do not need to ‘warm up’ like HID lamps;
  9. LEDs can be dimmed also if required;
  10. LEDs are safe, classed as ‘Class 1 LED product’ as they do not contain mercury like compact fluorescents.

Brief history of LEDs

How do they work? LED grow lights produce light by passing a current through a semiconductor material, this in turns moves electrons which creates 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, known collectively as GaAs such as gallium antimonide (GaSb), indium phosphide (InP) and silicon-germanium (SiGe) to show infrared emissions at room temperature found by Braunstein working with RCA) Radio Corporation America. Then in 1961 Texas Instruments patented the idea.

How are LED colors made?

The semiconducting material has a ‘p-n junction’ which is the section or boundary between the two types of semiconductor materials, known as ‘n’ and the ‘p’. This is the active zone whereby the electronic action of the site takes place. The color of the light emitted or its wavelength is dependent on the ‘band gap’ energy of the ‘p’ and ‘n’ materials. If you want more detail than that, first of all I am impressed secondly, please go ahead and hit Google, it goes deeper…

  • In 1962 the ‘grandfather’ of LEDs Mr Holonyak working within General Electric (GE) reported the first visible spectrum red LED. Holonyak then 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 sue USA farmers, were the first to mass produce visible spectrum LEDs and that began 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, It’s a similar game 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

Marijuana requires the blue spectrum for vegetative growth and the yellows, ambers, reds and far-red spectrum for pre-flowering and flowering. Growing marijuana to maturity will use the light wavelengths from approximately 420 through to 730 nanometres (nm) and everything in between. Lights that offer this wavelength range will also cover both the ‘chlorophyll A’ and ‘chlorophyll B’ absorption peaks, as well as additional photosynthesis production stages which are known as the Photosynthetically Active Range, or PAR for short.


Plant absorption peaks – Specifically chlorophyll A and chlorophyll b

We now know that LEDs are manufactured using different semiconductor materials known as ‘GaAs’ (gallium arsenide) 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 cover much of the visible light spectrum. 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 GaAs versus the color and wavelength they produce.


Methods of producing a high intensity white LEDs or WLEDs for short.

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. 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 is CRI and 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 PAR zone;
  • 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 named or marketed levels, usually at anything from between 50% to 65% of their potential. If you run a 1 Watt at 1Watt continuously or a 3W at 3W 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.


Heat sink thermal management of high-powered LEDs

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 use heat sinks and they 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 its self, 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 indicies 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.


How are LEDs made?

2013 Full spectrum LED grow lights compared

There are numerous types of LED grow lights on the market with the vast majority coming out China. When you are looking to purchase your own set of grow lights there are three distinct markets to choose from:

a) Cheap – 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.

b) Mid price – 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.

c) Higher end – 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 peoples 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.

Full spectrum LEDs that operate throughout the 400-450 to 700-750 nm light spectrum are perfect to use from seed to harvest. They carry the blue light for vegging and the yellow, amber, orange and reds for flowering. You can replace a 1000 Watt HPS for around 500 Watts of LED (500W true power not claimed) 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 new 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. Some growers say all you need for a short season flowering crop is blue, red, plus small amount of UV and infra red. Others state that it’s best to mimic nature as closely as possible. It seems that the manufacturers are equally split into camps. Certainly, for a wide range of plants, a true full spectrum system is best.

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 questionable whether it has any real advantage 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 maximising 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.

2013 LED grow light conclusion

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 [1] $649 $1,149 $1,199 $899
Watts [2] 240 264 264 250
Cost per Watt [2] $2.70 $4.35 $4.54 $3.59
Dimensions 13.5”x13.5”x 4” 19″x13 x3″ 6”x 48″x3” 22”x14”x6
Lenses angled n/a 60 degrees Variable 90 degrees
Harvest area [3] 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 [4] 5 band [5] red, infra red, and blue full spectrum [6]
Warranty Unknown 3 years 3 years 5 years
  1. Advertised price as of August 2013. Shipping not included.
  2. 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.
  3. Harvest area for flowering plants. For young plants or leaf crops, harvest area may be 15 to 30% larger.
  4. 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.
  5. Actual wavelengths not stated.
  6. Full spectrum output is augmented by additional discrete LEDs to further enhance the chlorophyll red absorption peaks.

The Future

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.

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LED Grow Lights, 7.4 out of 10 based on 9 ratings

From the forum

How to Grow Marijuana Forum - Growing Marijuana Indoors & Hydroponics

78 thoughts on “LED Grow Lights

    • The Spectrum King from Supergrowled.com is the dogs bollocks. I’m pretty sure they ship to Europe.

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    • brian a light

      look for a company called sun engine by kl energy international it is made in usa in ohio

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  1. anyone help me out here ,from the second you put your feminised seed into soil how long before
    I put my MH on as I was told the MH is better for the plant until its time for flowering,thank all you good people out there ,yes its my first grow as you have guest already lol

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  2. Its just a lot of nonsense Blah-Blah.

    Give us Numbers. How many Lumen per Watts can this Lamps produce?

    I know why you dont say Numbers. Because Growing LED’s normally have aroud 60-80 lm/w when HPS-Lamps have something around 150 lm/w. Just a big LIE to say 200W LED are the same than 1000w HPS.. Its not even tecnically possible as theoretical lm/w for leds is around 260, but not reached yet.

    if you dont belive me open wikipedia and search for “luminous efficacy”

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    • Lmao, have you even used led? I have been using hps for near 17 years and this last year I have fully converted to led, hps is a joke compared to today’s tech. Led will abuse a hps in the right hands, I have done side by side comparisons with two identical tents and same strains, and found a 210 watt actual draw full spectrum led will have a 400 watt dual spectrum hps no probs. I have my room and my strains dialled in and I can achieve 1grm per watt per harvest under the 400watt quite easily, but with the 210watt led I have had upto 1.6-1.8 gram per what with same strains, so that’s near double the gram per watt for half the wattage!! To fully utilise and use the led to its full potential you will have to tweak your growing techniques a touch coming from hps! Once you got it nailed I promise you will not look at another hps again. Yes leds are expensive..but only if you buy expensive rebranded panels, go to the manufacturers yourself save £££’s. Everyone is scared to try new tech but yet still bash led panels just because some one didn’t know how to use them “properly” and gave them bad reviews because they’re yield was low. Most company’s offer 90day money back warranty so why not take advantage and try one out on an auto from seed to harvest and if your not happy simply return it.. Leds run cool so feeding, hanging the light at the right height and growing technique plays a big part in a successful led grow, get these things right and your onto a winner. Peace and stay high!

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      • what exact differences and adjustments , if you dont mind sharing, did you have to make in order to have a better yield using LED. this is my first time hearing such a successful story when converting from HID lighting and I am intrigued

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    • A 200watt “actual power draw” led panel will not out perform a 1000watt hps EVER!! So it is wrong to say it will, an actual 200watt led panel can replace a 400 watt hps. As for lumen output led vs hps hands down hps outputs higher lm/w,,,but with led lumen output is not where the led shines, it’s the par range and full use of the proper light spectrum for the plants. There’s a lot of false info on leds and that is where it fails amongst avid hps growers. I tend to look for panels with the actual wattage half of what hps light I will be replacing. I.e, a 200-250 led to replace a 400hps, a 300-350 led to replace a 600hps, and 500-600 to replace a 1000hps. But bare in mind it’s actual power draw that you should look at and not total power. I made a mistake first time round and brought a 90 watt led to replace a 250 hps and what a mistake,, the UFO with a killawatt meter rated 30-40watts! No way was that going to out perform a 200watt hps. So I replaced the UFO with a true 200 watt led and the led did INFACT out perform my 250watt hps and nearing the yields of something like a 400watt hps with half the power usage. This is when I knew that led was the way forward with cannabis growing. Savings of roughly half of what I would pay on a equivalent hps grow for a more potent and higher yield. It’s a no brainer. Having said that i will never pay 1000’s for a led panel like some do and find that their panel is actually a rebranded Chinese panel available for a quarter of the price. I myself use a mars II 700watt (370watt real power) and a mars II 900watt (440watt real power) and replaced my 600 watt hps and 1000 watt hps with these. I have done 6 runs now with the leds and I am very very pleased. I now have cooler rooms, healthier plants, less noise, and the biggest benefit is less electric usage! I practically watched my electricity usage drop to more than half of what I was using before and this was through my electricity suppliers usage graph. For me personally I will never use hps again, I am practically invisible to the police and electric companies as I have no large electricity spikes and also no heat signatures so I cannot be detected with any heat seeking/infrared technologies that the police/criminals are using. Be safe, keep electric usage down, use carbon filters when possible, keep grow rooms cool, use leds and most importantly keep your mouth shut!! Oh yes, the mars II panels I’m using are INFACT generic versions of the famous “black dog led” they just rebranded them and whacked on hefty price tag. Mars II leds are brilliant for the price and what I’ve witnessed them do was worth every penny. Give these a try before anything else as they are reasonably priced and do perform well. Good luck with the search for your led,

      I hope oneday everyone will convert and grow green, greener!!

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    • First off, some definitions.

      WATTS : tells you how much electricity a light is using, not if it is used efficiently to make a lot of light. It mostly tells you how much you will pay to run the thing.

      LUMENS: the LUMEN it is the SI unit used for the derived unit of luminous flux. This is (in normal english) a measure of the total “amount” of visible light emitted by a source. It tells you nothing about the spectrum other than it is visible light, and nothing about how much light falls in a given area either. Iy is mostly used to help light makers produce lights that human eyes can see by. Lumen #s are fairly useless for plants.

      LUX : lux is just lumens per square meter. More accurately, Lux is the “SI” unit for illuminance. “Illuminance” which is is a measure of how much luminous flux (lumens) is spread over a given area.


      PAR tells us how much light **that a plant can ACTUALLY use** comes from a given light source. However PAR does not tell you how much of each piece of ‘growth spectrum’ a given light produces. This is why good lights show a graph of their spectrum.


      Here is a graphs of the light spectrum that is used by “Chlorophyll A” and “Chlorophyll B” in photosynthesis.


      And here are the other compounds that can be involved


      Note the two types of Chlorophyll (expressed as two lines) in that first image. Note also that neither Chlorophyll uses green light worth crap!

      They have a strong affinity for red and blue light (and even some orange). There are other compounds involved involved too and there is a lot of debate about them. They might help to govern plant growth stages. If you are eating your plants for cancer fighting you probably want to stimulate them too.

      Some light manufacturers believe that MJ does indeed need to be able to stimulate ALL of the possible the non-chlorophyll (carotenoid) related receptors that might exist in a plant. Other disagree as to this being important. Some folks say that plant growth stages are regulated by these other substances.

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  3. Hello have a room that is 117 cm wide long about 2 meters high, has 20 plants and 1600 w LED 3w how big the room should I have from the plants? hr one exrta lamp, will the necklace if I put it in with?

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  4. I am a firm believer in LEDs. First off Im a Legal med user/grower in WA State which also just made it legal for EVERYONE over 21 for recreational… anyways heres my set up:
    I have an 8x6x8 well insulated room. I use 6 x 90w UFO lights that I bought on ebay about 1 year ago. they were about $120.00 a piece. Im growing 12 plants in hydroponic 2 gallon ebb and flo systen. using advanced hydroponics nutrients. I keep my nutrients at : 1580 ppm, 6.2 ph 50-60 degree solution. Room Temp stays steady at 85 F, 40-60% humidity, I use 2 bags of CO2 mushrooms, 1 wall mount fan comes on/off at random cycles throught 24 hours, on 8 x 15 minute feed/flood cycles per day. I grow afghan kush ryder which is auto flowering, mazar kush and white indica which are both photo sensitive. 3 plants of afghan from seed crack to harvest 85 days. Plants grew to 3 feet tall and I topped them 2 times to make them bush up a bit. total yield 5.8 oz. REALLY NICE DENSE BUDS! Now I know some people are heavily invested in their hps/mh equipment, and people can say what they want about lower yields and less quality, but Im true believer!

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    • something I didnt mention… careful pruning is important to get good light penetration, I remove large fan leaves 3 times during life of plant. Plus it makes triming wicked easy. and while Im sure the argument that the plant needs those leaves can be made, I have found for my set up, I get the best yield, and most importantly to me QUALITY throughout the plant.

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  5. The Super Grow LED grow lights are well-suited to odd and smaller grow areas. The basic formula is 1 gram per watt used, assuming SOG or SCROG grow methods, but I know of several people that are accomplishing a bit more. Of course, you’ll need to use good nutes and adhere to a strict lighting schedule. Temps and water quality are always a factor, as well. So, to answer your question, I would use 2x SGL units and expect 50 grams of dried product, using 50 Watts of power. Add units (and plants) to increase yield. They also suggest pruning your crop to 16 flowering sites per plant for best performance. Good luck!

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  6. Due to having a second lousy summer on the trot, I have decided to try to cultivate a sea of green indoors.
    I have a grow area ready with a floor space of 1.2m x 90cm and need to buy a suitable led lamp to cover this area.
    Could you advise me which lamp would be suited to the task?

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  7. i’ve heard that u can possibly use christmas lights for growing if u have anough of them. Is this true?

    ED: You might need to ask Santa that one. We would guess that they would not have the right light spectrum.

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  8. just wondering if a 15w 225 leds (165pcs red LEDs + 60pcs blue LEDs)would grow one plant?

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    • Hello,
      of course.
      15W LED grow light can cover a small area,
      because the light light intensity is low,
      15W LED grow light is made of 0.05W LEDs,

      There are 1W, 2W, 3W , 5W LED chips on the market now.
      The 3W LEDs is popular now.

      If you want know more information, you can contact me.

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  10. Hi everyone
    I’ve always found the tech side of LEDs a bit confusing. And I’m sure that there are a few scoundrels around who exploit this by selling shit quality LED systems to growers who don’t know any better.
    Well, I’ve just found out that this site now has a resident cannabis LED expert who can answer all your LED questions. Check it out by following the link.
    Hope this helps guys.

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  11. hey guys i’m wondering how muck light i’ll need for a 32x32x60 grow box, pref lights that wont rape my wallet..lol

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  12. Well my Budmaster led light is kicking ass with my Northern Lights clones at the moment.

    2 weeks left until harvest and its looking better than usual.

    I really rate led grow lights and have been growing with them for a year now, I had a dorm grow light last year and it was pretty good on my indicas, but they dont compare to these x lens lights for penetration.

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  13. SuperGrow Leds when used with an HPS make a brilliant hybrid system .. I’m using 4 LED with 600W gives me effectively 1000W.

    Advantages ..

    During first 2 weeks of Veg, the 4 LED’s will give more than enough for 4 plants in 40cm pots.

    After this, 400W or 600W HPS can be cut back by several hours (on 18hr, run for middle 10 .. on 12hr, start with 400W for middle 8-10 then 600W after 3 weeks ) The LED is on for the whole photo-period.

    NO low light areas .. because of the design of the Supergrow leds, you can mount 4 (just as they show on their site)and play with the angles until they give complete balanced light.

    You can tilt the LED and place it closer to the plant to give semi side light and greater penetration.

    Over a complete grow, you can get the results of 1000W for less than the running costs of 600W .. and more even quality of bud over a larger area. I’m averaging 4-6 oz per plant with this set-up over BlueBerry — and 3-4 oz per plant under just 600W HPS (identical strain, identical process, nutes and conditions)

    (However, I do grow my clones for 12 weeks under a single LED in small (12cm) pots in a DWC , tie down the laterals and trim heavily to shape them to give me a scrog .. result is 3 weeks only after transplanting before switching to bloom and a shorter bloom cycle)

    In other words, for the way I grow, the SuperGrow LED’s have worked for me with a number of benefits. They may not give the same results for others who do things differently.

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  14. Ghaige, you’re right. Hydroponics is just about the water/feed system. Light is light is light. LEDs will work equally well with soil as they do with hydro.

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  15. Just a quick question, I’ve been doing alot of research on this and I was wondering if LED grow lights were strictly for use for hydroponic setups. I don’t see how it should matter growing in soil vs. water, light is light after all, but any information would be appreciated.

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  16. If you read it again you’ll find the data for your math count…

    “8 X Super Grow LEDs (offer the same light as one 1,000 HPS)
    Total Watts 184 (23 Watts each)
    Total ~650 BTU’s of heat”

    So if you have a 400w HPS it’s needed 40% of 184 in LEDS = 73W… But I recommend you get 100W anymways. ;)

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  17. Craig you don’t need a ballast. That link to the LED grow light shows a 7 band light. Looks like it has gaps in the spectrum, i.e. it isn’t a broad spectrum LED grow light.

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  18. the supergrowled, advertising are half-truths. It only takes nominal 3w LEDs and a aluminum sheet plate or rail plus a pc power supply ballast makes.
    They -supergrowled- ,use a 24v power leds warm white 14 blue 8 and red 6. This is an average spectrum for flowering. But mature.
    Not suitable for growth. It needs more blue. Change warm white LEDs for cold blue.
    I use dimmers for the red channel, and blue, and add more red blue and UV LEDs very expensive, less white. So I control better the spectra. You can add interruptors alone or comibned with the dimmers to turn on led groups.

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  19. i am a first timer at this and need to know wat kind of lights i should use 4 my hydroponic system

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  20. Hey guy. I have been reading on here alot of questions about LED grow lights.
    I have been growing 10 plants with 2 180 watts jumbo illuminator for you that do not know abut this this is a patented product made by a company called prosource worldwide. I bought 1 light to start to first see if I received the product and to see if I liked the results. I was doing some searching and I found that this company do commercial grow sites for medical marijuana in the US and uses a triband systems which consists of 1 watt led and 3 watt led The results that I have received from my plants using these have been great.
    I started off growing a cheese strain we have in Spain I have to say never have cheese like it ! I must say it did take slightly longer to grow that your standard hps set up but the bills where cheaper ! I’m talking 100 s of euros in my case. Also I found the quality throught all the plants I have grown have been to a high standard in yield producing between 700-1000 gm on the critical I have grown for 2 cycles the resin on them is beastly ! If u can resist not smoking and save it all in a jar. Roll that in a blunt ! And take yourselves on our own pineapple express!
    Haha all joking aside I would strong recommend anyone looking in to LED grow lights to look in to this product ! Beware you will find other UFO lighting systems none compare to this the lighting and and the set up is only unique to this supplier. U won’t be disappointed .
    Also check them on on the web very good reviews as they offer 90 days money back and 3 year warranty. So ur always covered. If u need any help feel free reply here and I’ll help as much as I can. Peace !

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  21. There are all kinds of LEDs that cover either the vegging stage of the plant, blue light mainly and others that do well in the flowering, yellows, amber, red and further. Quite a bit here on led lights

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  22. I am trying to get my manufacture to make led lights specially for the growing of Cannabis so that I may import these lights,
    I would like to get more info from growers out there about the LED lights that they use and see how there production went.
    I do know that the LED light should be around 60 deg to 70deg and that the wider they are the less light the plant gets, this is specially after the transplant.
    I know that two much red from the light will make the stalk grow thicker and lose it on the leaves, I also know that the blue concentration is on the leaves to grow.
    what I do not know is what color concentration of lighting do you need to be compatible for the plant to grow at its best???
    I have read that a 90watt LED will be great to cover 2 square foot in growing which I considered this seems small,
    I am at a loss what to try to have made, my manufacture has informed me that they will make any thing I want, so the more info on specifications people tell me the more I can pass on.
    some people might say that this could not happen with manufactures bending over backwards to help, I will ease your mind and say this, this particular manufacture will do as i ask and has a proven track record with me for two years and also considers I am a good customer as my orders are normally by the container load.

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    • No problem for the led lights . we are manufacturer can do customized . we’d to communicate with you for the infornation of led growing.

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  23. Actually, that is a myth. A LED can indeed burn a plant if too close. However, to also answer what LED system to buy, I finally settled on the one from http://www.357magled.com and that is after doing over 6 months of researching and paying close attention to their reviews.
    There are many LED companies out there that claim their product is the best, but after compiling my own database on my computer the one that actually took the lead in the most positive reviews was actually designed by a medical marijuana grower that spent over 5 years of testing their LEDs and seeing what combination yields the best results.
    The only drawback that I could see was because this company is located outside of the United States some banks like to make this company look like they’re charging you a second time for roughly $23 to 36.00 on your account, when its actually your bank charging you for sending money outside of the US for the transaction. Most banks won’t refund the additional charge.
    My plants seem to love the LED system much better than the old school system that can leave quite the heat signature.

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  24. for new growers… when you have reached the germination process its time for you to start with your lighting periods, since there are many different periods i will not go into detail for i am not kidding myself or you on the fact that i dont know exactly what is best suited to you as different strains and genetics applie,
    however i know due to vigourus experiance that when dealing with lighting your living situation fully determains what lights and growth sytems are better for you, for first tiome growers i would advise you to stay away form indica and sativa strains and only try a autoflower to ensure that you can keep your shit on the down low, ensure smell and heat under controll before you jump into 10+ plants.
    autoflowering plans are “ruderalis” many strains now have sativa and indica run through the genetics which gives the best of both worlds, take into consideration that autoflowering plands only grow to approximatly 2-3ft at maximum (however strain type applies). always ensure that indoor growers use a carbon filter and ENSURE that your inflow of air is weaker that your extracing of air, this allows all of the air inside of your grow room to pass through the filter instead of being pushed out of the gaps! essential to urban farmers such as myself. peace to all of you and FREE THE WEED

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  25. I have limited space to grow so I am looking into LED’s for my plants light source because i know they can be very close to the plants without harming them due to their low heat. I am wondering if i need a ballast or just simply the LED panels. I am looking this model from http://www.htgsupply.com/Product-7-Band-240w-LED-Grow-Light.asp
    check it out

    so id love to hear from someone whos knows about LED’s

    THANKS !

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  26. hello there! i am new to this and hoping someone could help guide me to step by step instruction?
    cuz i have no idea wat kind of light stuff i need nd shyt.
    nd also i need to know what kind of soil i need nd where i can go out nd buy it?
    also where i can buy a dome container at?
    i have many questions and i would truly appreciate any help!

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  27. um, im kinda new to the whole planting business, so i really need some help, i just put my seed in a wet toilet paper stip and placed it in the dark, when i come to plant it in a vase INDOORS how long does the light need to reflect on it, and how many times a day should i water it, also how long will it take before i can bud it and smoke the buds?

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  28. I want to replace 2 1k light and LED what do you suggest? Also have you seen the kessil led light 350??

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  29. I’m trying to grow 2 indoor plants. & was wondering how many LED lights I would need, what wattage, && what color?? any help?

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  30. hi I am considering doing 4 plants in a grow tent any1 know which led light make, model would be best suited??

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  31. Hi
    If is good LED light 300W replace 1KW HID,
    Lot of chip Led light out om the market.
    Some is die 2 year or less.Many saler can.t find 3 month later.
    Or have to shipped back the light to China cost 120$ or more.
    I but my light from Growlightpro.com Is high end light USA designed.
    Have USA based shop for parts and repair.Like the new 7 band 300 watt
    have all the spectrum need my plant .Hope help you .

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  32. Hi all.Just setting up my first grow. Have just bought three seeds but intend to just grow the one plant to begin with. Am looking to set up indoors, have a suitable dark-room, am on a budget so have been scouring ebay for lights. Would the following be any good or am i wasting my time?

    45w Blue Spectrum 6400k CFL grow light lamp bulb
    65w Red Spectrum 2700k CFL grow light lamp bulb

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  33. If im looking to grow 10 plants what wattage should i be looking for and what color bulbs should i use.

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  34. Me and my room mate have the capability to grow 20 plants but we know nothing about growing. We have a few friends who do but none know nothing about led grow lights. Where is a reliable source for buyng these lights and how many would be recommended?

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  35. working in a 4x8x8 tent approx 6 plants what would you recomend for led lights needed for this project and is there a brand that is better than others I have been told Penetrator was a quality brand good warranty ? I also wondering the divverence of the smaller ufo type less $$ ? please help thx any tips would be great rickmotors@hotmail.com

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  36. in my opinion, LED or HPS is more better than CFL, MH.but HPS is not energy and money saving. so LED is the best choice for grow lighting. If someone know about more info about LED grow light, please send my E-mail: ct2@changtian.net

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  37. About LED grow light. you know, it is green product with energy saving, long lifespan.As far as i know, 90W or 120W led grow light can replace 150w HPS lamp, 150W LED can replace 400W HPS, 300W can replace 600W HPS, 600W LED can replace 1000W~1200W etc.

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  38. really confused about what kinds of lights to use. I have been told that I cant get good YEILDS if I dont use HID’s. Pease help! Thanks

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  39. i have a couple of seeds and im trying to make them count my room is a little big and now im trying to find the right things to get i really dont know where to start its a red diesel seed heavy sativa and it grows medium height what do i do?

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  40. okay i just found a plant growing outside of my apt so i brought iut inside and its in potting soil and i watered it…..now what do i do about lights????? please help

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  41. Hi. I have been looking at setting a grow room up for about 4 plants. i have an opportunity to get some 15 watt led panels. Would these work o.k?

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  42. alieneyecandy

    90w ufo led would do 1 plant very well, just make sure its at least triband and contains 660nm red.

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  43. I want to grow one plant indoors. What wattage should I be looking for and what color bulbs should I be looking for

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  44. What wattage of LED does one need to replace X wattage of HPS or MH. ie I have a 400 watt HPS I want to replace with LED, what wattage of LED do I need to buy to be equivilent?

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