LED Grow Lights

by Corey Smith
(Salt Lake City)

I'm sure you have been asked this question before and I hope you can answer it. I have built your "most successful hydroponic system" and I am using 5- 14 watt 12" x 12" LED light panels. Have you had any experience with LED grow lights? and what are your insights on the matter? Thank you for your time, Corey.

Answer: Corey- most garden plants prefer "full sun"- these plants grow well when given around 40 watts of light per square foot of garden space. The system you refer to is a 4 x 8 foot system....or 32 sq.ft.. Lit at 40 watts per sq.ft., you will need around 1280 watts to properly light your garden area. Ideally, the garden would be lit by two 600 watt lights, but I have also seen it do well under one 1000 watt light on a short light mover.

Unfortunately, your 1 x 1 foot LED panels only emit 15 watts. Even placed side by side directly over the garden, you will only be able to light the garden with a maximum of 15 watts per sq.ft. (if using only the LED panels). And even at that, you will need 32 panels in order to light all 32 square feet of the garden. This will still be short of "ideal" unless you are growing lettuce only.

LED's claim to put out the same amount of light as HID lights. It may be true, but I do not believe LED grow lights have the "penetrating power" that the same size HID light would have. With a 600 watt HPS, you get a 24 inch effective light zone. With LED lights, the effective light zone is much closer to the bulbs....maybe 8 inches.

If LED lights had the penetrating intensity to sustain a wide (24+ inch) effective light zone, they would be instant and serious competitors to the HID lights for indoor gardening, but so far I have seen no proof of it yet. If they had, I believe LED's would be making a much bigger splash in the gardening market (in spite of their currently expensive prices).

The LED systems only seem more affordable until you consider how many of them you will need to bring a garden area up to 600 Watts or 1000 Watts. In exchange for the high price, they operate without producing nearly the amount of heat HID lights produce. They claim to do this while using less electricity than HID lights. They also last a lot longer than HID lights, supposedly without any loss in light output.

Less electric? Less heat? Less replacement? If you can deal with the higher initial cost, and if you don't mind the ongoing smaller yields, it could be a perfect lighting solution for someone. Happy Growing!

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Jan 11, 2014
I'm no authority but here are my thoughts
by: Bud-dy


Firstly, I was using 1-600 w HPS in a makeshift 4x4x8 setup in my basement. Veg growth was acceptable. As things progressed nicely, I decided to invest some more dough. I ordered a 4x4x8 Mylar tent and after much due diligence, a 1000w LED.
I'd like to add that the Mylar tent I purchased online for 100 bucks was money VERY well spent and I had it up in half an hour with 1 'smoke' break in-between. Compared to the 150 bucks and the full day I spent trying to make something 'fly' from Canadian Tire.
Being all high tech with my shiny, new tent I swapped out the 600 HPS and put in my shiny, new LED.
PROBLEM ...I now need to vent my closed environment and my ambient temp dropped to 55F !!!
As I was considering options to bring the temp back up I said to myself...
..." Self, why don't you throw that 600 back into the mix ? "
Talk about getting two birds stoned at once ;-).
I also bought a PH-moisture soil meter that has a funky little light meter on it. I never got into the problems, and the how's, and whys of how this light meter works but I do know that when I held it under the 600HPS the needle registered 3/4 but 'hit the stop' under the LED. As far as people yapping about 'Chinese junk'...everything we buy now is MADE IN CHINA
Just do your 'due diligence'. Like you would anytime your laying some dough down.
I'm gonna throw in a good healthy dose of C02 now and watch the race. I have the flow-meter but no solenoid. I'm thinking I might be able to get one from a washing machine. Any suggestions are welcome.

PS. Great site although very little on LED
I learned some good technical stuff along with some tips and tricks

Jun 05, 2013
led's rock

Well I guess you guys have not used an led recently. I have a few of them and they out perform other types of lighting easily. They can be compared to HID lighting (HPS/MH) and you get very similar results, some times better. I do have to say it's not ALL ABOUT THE LIGHT, IT'S ALSO THE GROWER. So untill you have direct experiance with the lights in question don't bash them.


Feb 12, 2010
LED Lights
by: Kev

A friend of mine bought a plant-specific UFO LED light for about £100 and has no success with it at all, beyond the seedling stage.

The UFO LED unit has just over 100 LEDs and has a mixture of 2:1 red/blue LEDs. You can visibly see the power of light diminish quickly, although I appreciate plants 'see' light differently. But it becomes clear that light cannot reach the bottom of the plant and the plant quickly suffers.

------I have not heard any better of LED lights myself. Just curious....how many watts in that UFO light?

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AffordableGarden Design&Setup

(10 week update below)

Find out the cheapest and easiest ways to garden productively in this article.

Hi everyone, Jason from Jason's Indoor Guide here. When I got started with hydroponic gardening more than 24 years ago, my first garden used rockwool cubes and B.C. Nutrients....and I remember thinking to myself yeah, sure, there may be a lot of advantages to gardening with hydroponics, for example there are very few pest problems, therefore very little pest control, no weeding, no plowing or tilling the soil, no soil testing or having to add things into the garden soil, no watering the garden....but for someone who just wants to grow their own vegetables and have more control over their food supply and the quality of the food that they eat, the cost of constantly having to buy grow media and hydroponic nutrients makes this an expensive hobby for most people...

Epic Nutrient Change

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As you browse through Jason's Indoor Guide, you will notice all of the systems that I use personally are homemade systems. As I got 3 or 4 years of experience under my belt, I quickly adopted a preference to standing water systems and systems that use expanded clay pellets or lava rock, because the media is re-usable and it eliminates a huge operating expense. So once a hydroponic system is built, garden maintenance is minimal- check and adjust the nutrient solution daily, and to change it completely every 2 weeks....and the biggest operating cost is the hydroponic nutrients. (and the electric bill, lol)...

Homemade Cloner

And, regarding the cost of the nutrients....I experimented for about 3 years with making different compost teas and nutrient teas, but there is still a lot of expense $$$ associated with making high quality nutrient teas....like kelp meal, liquid seaweed, rock dust, bat guano, un-Sulfured molasses, worm castings. You can eliminate a lot of this expense by becoming an expert at making high-quality colloidal humus compost, and use your properly made compost as the basis of your hydroponic nutrient solution.

Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 24 years and I have only just recently mastered this difficult skill....and even then, only because I happened to find a very easy to follow, high quality technique and decided to follow the instructions to the letter. I produced more high quality compost in just one week than I was able to use in a whole year! If you can master the technique, I highly recommend it. It is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase the productivity of your food production efforts, while at the same time decreasing the amount of effort required to grow all of your own food, and decreasing the total cost of operating your food production system.

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This solution is aquaponics. If you are serious about producing all of your own food and being self-sufficient, this is the ultimate solution for reducing expenses (as much as possible), reducing the total amount of work required, and maximizing the productivity of your gardening efforts. I have been gardening for over 24 years, and it is the perfect food production solution in my opinion.

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Besides mastering how to make high quality compost, learning aquaponics is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your garden productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work. The product that I learned from is called Aquaponics4you. With all of my hydroponic gardening experience, the first time I came across the Aquaponics4you product I knew immediately that it was something very special! Place an aquaponics system outdoors and use the sun instead of grow lights, and you have reduced every garden expense to nearly ZERO!

The Same System/ 10 Weeks Later!

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