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How do I compare LED grow lights?

How do I compare LED grow lights?

There is quite a bit on the market when it comes to growing with LED. There are many grow lights out there, all claiming to give the best results and promise mountains of gold. This article will help you to easily make a choice between all those LED grow lights.

5 Golden Rules for Comparing LED Grow Lights

Many growers judge lamps on things that not at all be important . The following 5 rules are useful to remember:

  1. Do not use lumens to compare lamps, lumens do nothing for plants
  2. The consumption wattage is not an indicator of quality
  3. There are no lamps that promise absurd results by means of a magical LED spectrum
  4. It doesn't matter whether 3 watt, 5 watt or 1 watt LEDs are used, they can all work equally well or badly
  5. Do not look at a single PPFD measurement directly under the lamp, but judge the average

So if someone is talking about an LED grow light with the most lumens, gigantic consumption wattage or a magical spectrum, you better stay away. We now tell you a little more about each rule.

1. Do not use lumens to compare lamps

Lumen indicates the light intensity. The average E27 room lamp emits about 400 to 800 lumens. That is great light for the dining table, for example. LED Grow Lights reach lumens of up to 80,000 or 100,000, but this says nothing about how good the lamp is for your plants. Lumen is just light intensity and is meant for humans, not plants. Plants only use the right light to photosynthesize. That's why PAR is important, pay attention to the average par value is our advice.

2. The consumption wattage is not an indicator of quality

Of course, the wattage says something about how much power the lamp has. Obviously you will get more results with a 320 watt LED grow light than with a 50 watt LED grow light. Logical too, but the wattage says nothing about the quality of the LEDs or the grow lamp itself. Therefore, pay attention to the materials used (aluminium is preferred), the drivers and the brand of LEDs. (We recommend CREE, Osram and sometimes Bridgelux or SMD). The brand of the LED grow light often says something.

3. There are no lamps with absurd results using a magical LED spectrum

Have you found a Full Spectrum grow light that you would like to order? Very nice, but first consider what you want to use it for. If you only want to propagate or only stimulate the growth phase, we recommend a 4-band spectrum or only white and blue light (possibly 7-band). If you also want your plant to flower, you must have a Full Spectrum. Always ask which nanometers (colors) the spectrum is made up of. These must be included in any case: 410nm, 430nm, 460-470nm, 525nm, 585-590nm, 610nm, 620-630nm, 640-660nm, 730nm, 2700-3000K, 6000-6500K, 12000-140 00k (red, ver red, blue, UV, IR, green and white).

4. It doesn't matter whether 3 watt, 5 watt or 1 watt LEDs are used, all can be equally good or bad

Most LED grow lights use 3 watt LEDs, is this the best? Not necessarily! A 1 watt CREE can sometimes be more powerful than a 5 watt Chinese LED chip. We also know of some lamps (such as the GrowSun) that use COB (Chip On Board) technology with 20 watt LED chips. This grow lamp has certainly earned its spurs.
In the end, it's all about the overall performance of the lamp, not the wattage of the LEDs. After all, KIND and Mars-Hydro use a mix of 1, 3 and 5 watt LED chips in one lamp.

5. Do not look at a single PPFD measurement directly under the lamp, but judge the average

Are you already looking at PPFD and PAR? Good job, these are more important things. PPFD is measured in micromoles per square centimeter per second (µmol/m2/s). PPFD therefore indicates how much light arrives at a certain location on the plant. Yes, stay awake for a while!
It is a difficult quantity to measure, because an LED grow lamp, for example, naturally contains more μmol right under the lamp than on the sides. The average is calculated by measuring all amounts of PAR on a given surface. An average can then be drawn from this.

Conclusion

Judging a good LED grow light involves a combination of many factors. Of these, PAR (and PPFD) are the most important in terms of light. Also look at the use of the materials and read about the different brands of LED grow lights.

Bonus with heavy matter :)

If you really want to dive deep into the matter, we would like to ask you to read the exact science behind growing with LED. Then you will become very clear about PAR, PPF and PPFD, all important terms when it comes to the right LED grow light.