"LED Grow Lights Useful Information Guide" is meant to inform you what some of the more popular misconceptions are in regards to LED Grow Lights and what is factual vs. what sounds good to the general public.
1) The LED wattage is of particular importance as many companies are using the 2W, 3W, 5W, 6W or even higher wattage LEDs and claiming that they are more powerful and thus creating a more productive flowering cycle. The truth is that there is no more efficient LED than the High-Intensity 1W 10mm Diode. The reason being is the input vs. output ratio drops off dramatically the higher wattage LED that is used, and the way you know this to be true is if you test your light with a voltage meter to see the actual power consumption of your light. Our 90W UFO with all 1W Diodes draws between 80-85 watts depending on temperature, where a 90W UFO led lights comprised of all 3W Diodes will draw between 55-60 watts of consumption power. The point is that it sounds good to hear a higher wattage LED being used, but the truth of the matter is that you are actually losing your overall power output by using these inefficient higher-wattage LEDs.
2) The Brand name of the LEDs being used in lights is a popular marketing tool to advertise such brand names as Cree or Bridgelux. The truth is that both Cree and Bridgelux both specialize in producing high Lumen LEDs that are used for commercial lighting like street lighting or commercial buildings. Horticulture lighting is a specialty field and very few manufacturers in the world that produce LEDs lights that are appropriate for horticultural purposes.
3) LED Lights that are significantly cheaper than other lights should raise a red flag right away. The truth is that to use a precision LED that is an authentic 10mm (High-Intensity) 1W Diode is expensive, and to get around this cost issue, some companies use the 5mm diodes, which are significantly less powerful than the 10mm diodes, thus resulting in a poor performance. There are a number of ways to skimp on the cost of manufacturing a quality LED Grow Light that produces results that are equivalent to HPS lighting, so beware of low-priced LED Lights that sound too good to be true.
4) The number of "Bands of Frequencies" used is of significant importance to photosynthetic activity. There are 3 photosynthetic processes that occur; Chlorophyll A, Chlorophyll B & Carotenoids. To address these processes you would need a minimum of 3 Bands, and to bring the full potential of your plants photosynthetic ability, you will need 2 of these Bands to be duplicated in more than on spectral output. This is why we use 5 Bands in our lights, any more would be redundant and done so with an off-peak frequency. Some companies advertise as much as 10 or 11 Bands, and although this sounds good in theory, in reality it is using the same principles that make an HPS light only capable of emitting 15% of absorbable light to your plants and this defeats the whole efficiency concept behind the use of LEDs.
5) Lastly, the choice of which company to purchase your LED Grow Light is ultimately up to you and we try to provide you with as much detailed information as we can to help you make a more informed decision. To better ensure you are getting what you pay for, make sure the company has been in business for several years and they offer a guarantee of performance and stand behind the product they are selling to the public. The best way to really determine if you're buying a quality light is to talk to the company and ask questions.
When it comes to purchasing LED grow lights, we at ALL LED LLC know you have a plethora of choices available from many different sellers, all of whom claim that their products are the best available. While LED grow lights are definitely more power-efficient than the old generation of High-Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide bulbs, and will considerably lower your electricity bill, all LED grow lamps are not standardized and do not represent equal performance. There are literally unlimited variables of wavelengths and ratios that can be employed into a light design, as well as the LEDs themselves and how they are powered.
ALL LED LLC wants you to know these facts before you decide:
Some manufacturers claim that their lamps are the brightest, and offer their specifications in lumens. A lumen, however, is a measure of light which is based upon human perception and not a true, accurate measure of the photosynthetic power of light at all. Indeed, while their light may appear to be bright to us, it might not be bright to plants at all; if the light does not consist of all the precision values (wavelengths) plants need to thrive. If a manufacturer advertises their light specifications in lumens, lux or candlepower, beware!
Plants also use many different bands of light for photosynthesis, and some bands of light which, while not photosynthetic to a plant, aid in healthy development, as well as flowering. Some of these photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic wavelengths are nearly outside the human range of perception, and do not seem as bright, even though they are nearly equal in power to the highly-visible bands. If these bands are neglected in favor of LEDs that appear bright to our eyes, plants will not develop correctly. This was a common complaint with early LED grow lamps that used only one or two different values of LEDs, but many manufacturers still design and produce lamps to these outdated specifications.
Oppositely, some manufacturers advertise a full-spectrum, and often include white, green, and yellow LEDs in their design. Many of these wavelengths, however, are inefficiently used by plants, if utilized at all. Plants have three main photosynthetic substances that react best at certain, precise wavelengths of light. When you look at plants in sunlight, most plants appear green, because the bluish-green through yellow-orange spectrum is the spectrum of light which most plants reflect. Reflected light is light which is not used by the plant! To address the use of white LEDs, almost all of them combine certain amounts of blue, red, and green light to produce what we see as white (visual purpose was the reason they were manufactured in the first place), but almost all of these white LEDs use wavelengths of these individual colors that are still nearly useless to plants. Full spectrum advertisements SOUND good, but they are wasteful of the light you NEED and the electricity you pay for!
LED precision is of the UTMOST importance! If an LED output is even a fraction off of the plants necessary peak value, it can be extremely inefficient for photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic processes. Some manufacturers use less-expensive LEDs that seem close enough to the numerical peak, when, in fact, their chosen values may need up to 10 times (or more) as many LEDs to do what ONE LED of peak-value efficiency will do! ALL LED LLC has scoured the globe to find the EXACT peak values that plants utilize. Only right on is close enough for us! (And it should be for you as well!)
As you shop, you will also notice that some manufacturers advertise that they are using 5 and 10 watt LEDs in their products. While these LEDs are certainly showy and brighter than their 1 and 3 watt counterparts, they are also very power-inefficient. Higher-wattage LEDs create more heat, so much of the electricity they consume goes toward the manufacture of that heat, and the sad truth is that they do not put out nearly the proportion of light to the power consumed as the 1 and 3 watt LEDs. Depending on LED manufacturing differences, some 5W LEDs put out LESS light than the best 3W LEDs! (Also, it should be noted that, for the wavelengths of light plants can best use, very few of these wavelengths are available in LEDs rated higher than 1 and 3 watts!) Ironically, products that use higher-wattage LEDs to produce the same amount of light as 1W and 3W-based units are also much more costly to manufacture, and that cost gets passed down to you as the consumer many times over: once at the time of purchase, and again, every time you pay your electricity bill!
Lastly, many knockoff imitators manufacture lamps that may look like ours, or might actually differ in case color, shape, or style. These sellers claim to be just as good or better, but they rely on cheap gimmicks in order to try to stand out from the rest. (One maker even offers a black case, and black ABSORBS light!) If you do your research, it will become very clear as to who is for real and those who are just reselling some cheap imported light to take advantage of a very promising industry.