LED Grow Lights - horseshit or no horseshit?

by Dave
(IGLOO#7 North Pole --Lethbridge,Alberta,Canada.)

I am attempting to sort out the LED grow light question. With so much info on the web, it's hard to decide. What do you think of LED's? I have come across a few sites that appear to use sound science behind their lights. Price differences are astounding, with everyone bragging they have the best. I want to try growing poppies and some garden veggies indoors, but it would be nice to be able to make a prudent decision. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!! PS- YOUR SITE IS EXCELLENT. Thanks.

Answer: Dave- I know an awful lot of indoor gardeners, and if these LED grow lights worked as well as they claim, I would expect to know at least one person using them. Unfortunately, I do not. I have done a bit of research into them myself, and have even considered buying one just to test them for myself. In theory, having a multiple-point light source scientifically designed to deliver the exact light color spectrum needed by plants to grow....it all sounds great. Especially when you consider the claims that the lights produce very little heat, last almost forever, and cost much less to run.

But I am a man who likes to see the results, and so far I have only seen a bunch of claims. The research I have done may have uncovered the Achilles heal to the LED grow lights....poor penetration. Many of the forum posts I have come across, written by gardeners who claim to be using LED lights, indicate that the light produced is only effective within about 24 inches of the light. The actual effective distance of the light will vary, depending on the type of plants you are growing, their light requirements, and your use of reflective material to use the light efficiently as possible.

So, I think it is a split decision. The lights certainly do last for a very long time without the need for replacement. They also use less electricity than HID lights, and produce very little heat in confined spaces. On the other hand, the initial cost for the lights can be expensive, and you have to resign yourself to growing shorter plants in most circumstances. You will have to weigh the pluses and minuses and make this call for yourself, Dave.

When in doubt, I always prefer a 600 watt HPS grow light! You can find cheap ones....and also check out my grow light selector page for some other considerations when choosing your light. I hope this was some help, and Happy Growing!

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Jul 04, 2010
LED Growlight Experience
by: Kevin

Not only do I know someone who bought an LED "UFO" growlight, but I also saw its effects. They are a waste of money, time and effort. Tall plants grow spindly and weak with no flowering at all, and the LED unit was kept about 4-6" above the plant. We noticed that very low plants did just about alright. I'd suggest waiting until the 3rd or 4th generation of any product before sinking your money into it, unless you have an absolutely compelling reason to buy early. Additionally, LED units bought from Asia have had lots of reports of being inferior as older-generations LEDs are used whereas newer, higher wattage LEDs deliver more power, but the inverse law of light will always apply; our eyes will see tiny bits of light from a long way away, but for photosynthesis it's a different thing altogether. So it's a 400-600w HID for me all the way. I hope this helps.

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