Top 10 Questions About LED Grow Lights Answered

By Hydro Experts     15 October 2021 

Since LED grow lights have become more prevalent in recent years, many people have questions about their use and safety. If you’re thinking about purchasing an LED grow light, check out this list of 10 common questions about led grow lights answered to give you more information before making your purchase decision.

1. What do I need from my grow light? 

You'll find plenty of grow lights on your search for an indoor grow setup. But how do you know which are worth your time? Before you buy any light, it's essential to understand why you need one in the first place. If you're new to growing, then ask yourself these three questions: 

1) What kind of environment are my plants growing in? 
2) How much control over that environment do I have? 
3) What plants am I growing, and what is it sensitive to? 

Without clear answers to these questions, most lights just won't cut it. So before investing in any type of lighting for your indoor garden, make sure you've got all your information together with these three factors in mind. This will help ensure that you and your plants get what they need out of a grow light setup.

Having an idea about what kind of growth cycle or plant needs are important is vital when it comes to buying a new indoor grow light. Some Hydroponic Grow lIghts will be more beneficial during certain stages than others, so knowing which stage you're at will go a long way in making sure your money is well spent.

2. What is an LED Grow Light?

An LED grow light is a specially designed lighting system for growing plants indoors. LEDs are used to boost plant growth by providing specific wavelengths of light that stimulate photosynthesis. They are brighter, longer-lasting, more energy-efficient and customizable than other types of grow lights. 

However, they also tend to be pricier. In addition, there is an ongoing debate about whether or not LEDs can provide quality yields in terms of harvest weight compared with HID systems (e.g., high-pressure sodium lights) when measured at close distances—under two feet from a fixture—

Many growers say they get comparable results from one type versus another when comparing yields per watt or per dollar spent on electricity use.

3. Why Are LED Grow Lights So Popular?

Because they are so energy-efficient, long-lasting and available in different spectrum options, LED grow lights are considered ideal for indoor gardening. They work well with all stages of plant growth. 

Additionally, these types of lights provide cultivators with ways to modify light output according to specific needs. The versatility and unique benefits of LED grow lights have made them among one of the most popular choices in indoor growing applications today. 

4. What Makes An LED Grow Light Different From Other Types Of Lighting?

There are several different types of lighting solutions on the market, all designed for indoor gardeners in search of healthy plant growth. It's essential to know how each type differs, especially when trying to decide which one is right for your project. 

One significant difference between lighting solutions is what they produce in terms of the light spectrum, which will affect your plants' growth and yield. Make sure you're not giving your plants too much or too little light! As a general rule, fluorescent lights are ideal for smaller spaces or experimental setups with younger plants. 

Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) are excellent choices because they produce both cool and warm colour temperatures without using external ballasts. Still, they aren't very bright, so more extensive gardens may not benefit from them as much as some other lighting systems. Fluorescent tubes offer higher levels of intensity than CFLs and also provide additional grow space options thanks to their ability to be installed vertically along walls and ceilings. 

HID lamps like high-pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide (MH) grow lights provide intense levels of focused light that help foliage reach its peak at specific points during plant development. However, these powerful lamps also emit substantial amounts of heat; therefore, most HID models require cooling fans and strong ventilation if they’re going to be used indoors where it can get stuffy quickly. 

Because LED grow lights focus on providing specific wavelengths rather than blanket intensity like traditional HID lamp systems do, they generally use significantly less electricity per hour while also requiring less attention from growers. This makes them ideal for amateur gardeners looking to give plants exactly what they need without having to constantly monitor, change and adjust their light bulbs during production cycles. 

5. How Long Do LED grow lights Last?

A good quality light system will last for more than 5 years of continuous use however newer technology is coming out all the time, which means most LEDs are designed with at least 5+ years of continual operation in mind. 

Just as some plants need more light than others, some plants require less energy from their lighting systems. This means some LED lights can save you up to 70% on your power bills over HID and fluorescent grow lamps. Many factors contribute to how much electricity an individual grow light uses, including design, build quality and even its average lifespan. If you want to save as much on your electric bill as possible, then you should research various features before making a decision on which grow light is right for you. 

While there aren’t many alternatives to LED grow lights yet they do have one glaring disadvantage: LEDs tend to be slightly more expensive than other options such as high-pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs and metal halide (MH) bulbs at least when it comes to buying them new. However, because LEDs last so much longer, you should see an immediate return on your investment because you won’t need to replace them for quite some time. 

6. Are All LED Grow Lights Equally Efficient When It Comes To Growth And Yields?

If you’re new to using LED grow lights, you may be under the impression that all of them perform equally well and give about equal yields for indoor growing. Unfortunately, many people believe there is no difference between different types of grow lights and thus select one at random or based on their price. This is a big mistake. There are several key differences between different lights, and it’s essential to know which ones will work best for your operation. 

7. How much electricity does a LED grow light use?

This depends on how efficient your grow light is. A powerful grow light will use more energy than a less powerful one. 

For example, for an energy-efficient 660W grow light, using 15W per hour would be realistic. However, if you buy a cheap 600W unit that has poor efficiency, it may draw up to 200W of electricity! Generally speaking, it’s recommended to keep your input wattage below 100W per hour to stay efficient. 

That said, high-end HID lights can draw close to 500W during flowering. f you want to reduce your electricity usage while maintaining (or even increasing) your yields, switching from an HID setup to LED grow lights is a no-brainer. 

By using less electricity while also producing less heat, LEDs enable indoor farmers to get greater production density for each watt consumed. Moreover, since you’ll be able to run your grow lights 24/7 without having to worry about them overheating and burning out, your efficiency will improve even more than it would with HIDs. 

Although running any electrical device for 24 hours per day will result in higher energy usage than if you run it only a few hours a day or a few days per week, LEDs are still much more efficient in terms of output-to-input ratio when compared with HID lights of similar power output.

8. can you use regular led lights for grow lights?

There are many companies that make non-grow lights that may have large numbers of LEDs, but that doesn’t mean they are made to be used in an indoor garden. Instead, look for grow lights made specifically for horticulture. These will have different power supplies and cooling systems than the standard LED light bulbs. 

The ideal way to know if a product is suitable for growing plants is to read reviews from other growers who have tried it out. If you purchase a unit online without seeing it or trying it out first, you could end up with a lamp that is too weak or has a poor spectrum. It isn’t worth risking your investment by going with something less than perfect! 

Do not focus on how many watts each of these lights put out. What you should be paying attention to instead are light output in lumens and its wavelength range. Most LEDs used for horticulture are between 400-600 nanometers in wavelength, but others may include wavelengths even smaller than 400 nm. 

The light that comes from an LED is concentrated into a small space so that all your plants get optimal lighting without taking up too much room or energy. You can get really powerful grow lights that only use 200 watts of power, while still offering plenty of growing power! 

Just because it says grow doesn’t mean it will work well in an indoor garden. If you go cheap here you could end up with something cheap, lacking efficiency and may have dropped dead altogether after a few months.

9. How far away from my canopy should my led grow light be?

The sweet spot distance of LED grow lights is 18 to 24 inches. The ideal distance will depend on how many plants you are growing. If you are only growing one plant, it may be fine to hang your light directly above your plant, but if you are working with more than one plan then I would recommend hanging your lights at 24 inches for optimal results. You will still benefit from having them closer, but they won’t be as effective as they would be farther away.

Each manufacturer usually has charts that have recommended distances from your canopy top but you can use the above a general rule of thumb. Having it too close will cause light to be wasted where it’s not needed, and having it too far away could result in darker areas of your plants that are not conducive to growth. 

Different types of lights will vary greatly in how many lumens they emit per watt, so if you want to compare different lights then also take into account how many watts each light uses.

10. Are LED Grow Lights Safe for Pets?

Don’t laugh - we get asked this question ALOT...

Led grow lights are said to be safe for pets, but they still emit a certain amount of heat and UV radiation. However, it is not likely that your pet will get sick from led grow lights. 

The LED light is very much like sunlight in terms of its spectrum - visible light with high colour temperatures (4000-6500K), which provides high-quality photosynthesis for plants. This also means it has high amounts of blue & red colours which are necessary for plant growth during the veg & flowering stage, respectively. 

If your pet(s) spend a lot of time around your grow space, you should take some precautions, however slight they may be. There are many things you can do to prevent accidental exposure or injury from grow lights, even though these devices have been deemed safe by authorities all over the world. 

Therefore, if possible, remove any pets that spend a lot of time around your grow area before turning on your lights.