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Tips When Buying LED Grow Lights

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Posted August 6, 2019

If you have a desire to grow plants but live in an area where natural light isn’t sufficient, you can opt to use LED grow lights. In some areas where there could be long winters, plants have difficulty growing because they can’t photosynthesize. Using LED grow lights is the next best thing, so if you plan to buy some, here are some tips for you:

Determine the Plants You Are Growing

Before buying indoor grow lights, you must know what you’ll use them for. Since their primary purpose is to provide the light that plants can use to photosynthesize, you need to know the kinds of plants you’ll be growing. You won’t be using it to provide bright lights to your home or anywhere else.

A panel of red LEDs used for illumination for a plant growth. Image credit: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center via Wikimedia, Public Domain

A panel of red LEDs used for illumination for a plant growth. Image credit: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center via Wikimedia, Public Domain

When you already know which plants you want to grow, do some research. Find out what kind of conditions they thrive in so you can provide their needs. LED grow lights can have different features that affect plant life, and different plants also react differently to various conditions.

Know the Surface Area

If you plan to grow plants inside your home, then you may not need plenty of LED grow lights. However, in the case of large greenhouses, you’ll need to have several units. You need to know the surface area so you can calculate how much light you should provide.

If the surface area is extensive, then consider getting several units so each plant can receive plenty of light. The ones directly under the lights won’t have problems photosynthesizing because they get sufficient light. However, those farther away from the single light may have difficulty growing healthy.

Find Durable LEDs

LED grow lights are a cutting-edge solution for today’s indoor plant growing, especially for biology greenhouses. So, when buying LED grow lights, you need to consider their durability. The construction should be of high quality. If not, then you’d just be wasting your hard-earned money.

Aside from price worthiness, you need to find units that don’t flicker or produce too much heat. For plants to thrive, they need sufficient light, so if your light keeps going on and off, then the plant won’t receive as much light as it needs. Excessive heat can also damage not just the unit but also the plant. Poor quality construction can cause overheating.

LED lights. Image credit: Clandestino via Pixabay (Free Pixabay licence)

LED lights. Image credit: Clandestino via Pixabay (Free Pixabay licence)

Consider the PAR

Photosynthetically Active Radiation or PAR is the light that is beneficial to the plants. It is the alternative to sunlight that plants use so they can photosynthesize. LED grow lights can have different PAR values depending on the manufacturer. With that said, a higher PAR value does not necessarily mean the bulb is better.

The PAR should be evenly distributed among the plants, which is the reason why you need to know the surface area of your garden because those that are directly under the light will receive more PAR while those further away won’t. The best LED grow lights you should consider are those that can evenly distribute PAR.

Ensure It Has a Proper Cooling System

The LED grow light can overheat, especially if you use it for at least 15 hours a day for sufficient light for the plants. As mentioned, excessive heat can be harmful to your plants and the unit itself. So, your LED grow lights should have an efficient cooling system.

The heat in LED bulbs happens at the back, so that area should have a heat sink. It moves the heat away, so it doesn’t overheat the units or the plants.

Look for Lights that Offer Programmability

Choosing what LED grow light is difficult since many different brands manufacture a wide range of variants. Each of the products will have various features that may or may not be beneficial to different users.

The best kind you may find are those that offer programmability. Programmable LED grow lights are efficient because you can adjust them according to what you need. You can set schedules of when the light should turn on and off, so you don’t have to do it manually. Some may even allow you to adjust the intensity of the light as well as the spectrum so it would be suitable for the kinds of plants you’re growing.

Don’t be Cheap

LED grow lights don’t come cheap. Regular LED bulbs for home lighting use are not as cheap as incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, so for LED grow lights that provide a life for plants, you can expect that these would cost a lot.

While you may find cheaper variants of LED grow lights, consider if it’s really worth it. Sometimes, cheap doesn’t always save money because of poor quality, which may even make you spend more on repairs or replacements. So, always choose the one that gives the best value.

Final Thoughts

LED grow lights is a revolutionary solution to plant growth. Relying on sunlight to grow your plants is not always enough, especially for places that experience long sunless winters. Now, you can grow plants even inside your home. So, if you plan to buy LED grow lights, make sure to consider the tips above so you get the best one for your plants.

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