But LED grow lights using 1-watt bridgelux LEDs just don't have the power to penetrate deep into the plant canopy. They are OK for use in the vegging area, but absolutely NOT a good choice for flowering.
LED grow lights have come a long way since I first started using them. But LED lights are not created equal and it IS a bit of a minefield out there when you first start looking to buy one. I'm going to share with you what I've learned in the last couple years from using LED lighting myself, to help you steer clear of the SHYSTERS (scam artists).
The best units today are using high-output CREE bulbs (2 watt leds manufactured in the US by CREE) and 6-7 spectrums of light that hit the light bands that plants need for health, vegging, and flowering. Anything higher than a 6-7 band light has not been proven to benefit the plant at all. Going over a certain number of bands results in absorbtion points so close to each other that they create zero difference in plant development. Lights touted to have greater than 7 light spectrums are wasting your money and just a marketing ploy.
You'll find vendors selling lights they state are using 3 watt chips, but beware as 3-watt chips do not exist. And the latest sneaky trick to beware of are LED grow lights that use 5w and even 6w chips marketed for plant growth. Some of these units are being marketed with 5 year warranties, which is a 100% scam considering the capabilities of this technology. Units running 5 and 6 watt chipsets will be lucky to last 1-12 months before they fry internally because there's no way to effectively cool these chips. By the time this becomes an issue the seller is long gone.
And here is why I love the Pro Grow line of LED grow lights...
The Pro Grow LED line, besides passing the specs requirement as I've outlined above, is the only line of LED grow lights (to my knowledge) that includes switchable light spectrums as standard option. What that means is that a grower can switch between the vegetation spectrum, and the flowering spectrum, or use both spectrums together.
Left is a photo of me doing exactly that. I've run out of room in my germination and vegging areas, so I'm using this flower room for vegging plants that will then get put on 12/12 for flowering in this same room using this SAME light. How cool is that?
And this also saves lots of time and energy because there's no need for moving plants, or lights, or BOTH when going from vegetation phase to flower phase. I've got lots better things to do these days than schlep plants and lighting setups from room to room.
And this also allows me to utilize my growing area to the maximum efficiency - like now, when I needed more vegging area I was able to just set plants up in an unused flower room and use the Pro Grow LED grow light to take them completely through their journey. I'll be able to vegetate, take cuttings for clones, then all of the donor mothers ( started from regular seed) to 12/12 to verify their sex -- all in plenty of time to choose the best looking clones for the outdoor season from those verified females.
All in all, I'm sold on Hydroponic Hut's Pro Grow LED grow lights. I can also attest to their warranty and service after the sale... Remember the eight 90 watt UFO LED lights I mentioned earlier in this post?
Well, within the first year FIVE of them had 1/2 of the leds go out (a common problem with those 90 watt UFOs using 1watt chips, I found out) . I'd purchased two of those lights from Hydroponics Hut. I sent HH a support email and they replied back quickly with instructions to return the lights for repair. Even though they discontinued selling those models some time ago, Hydrponics Hut fixed them for me at no charge and Fed EXd them back. As far as those OTHER sellers' lights -- I was unable to get the vendors/sellers of the other 3 lights to even reply to my support emails. Lesson learned? Always check for a warranty and return policy. Amazing as it may be, most do not offer more than a 30-day warranty, if any warranty at all.
In case you're wondering...
I am not affiliated in ANY way with Hydroponics Hut. I'm not employed by them. I don't own stock in the company. I AM simply a customer who's purchased their products and am very satisfied with the performance and innovation of their grow lights and their customer support.
With all the hype and false claims so rampant among LED grow light vendors, I feel it's important to share my experiences and lessons learned. If it protects just one person from getting ripped off or making a bad purchasing decision, then it's been well worth my time to write this post about my experience with LED.
The Pro Grow line of LED grow lights come in three sizes. I have the 550 watt and the 180 watt, and there's a size in between. You can get more information and specs on all lights in the Pro Grow line directly from Hydroponics Hut.
You can see the 180 watt in action, as I have a grow journal underway with the 180 watt Pro Grow growing Onyx, an auto-flowering strain by breeder Short Stuff Seeds.