How To Select A Good LED Grow Light

by Owner on September 30, 2010

The LED grow light is among the most sought after items in recent years when it comes to home gardening. These energy efficient fixtures have now become powerful enough to truly compete with the HID style of lighting. The savvy eco friendly  gardener knows that  a high quality, powerful LED grow light has many useful characteristics, not the least of which is the large power savings as compared to other alternatives.

Here is what to look for in a good light:

Proper wattage. The right wattage is important for best results. Don’t even bother with LED grow lights that have less than one watt of power. Usually it is best to purchase three-to-five watt LED lights. There are many brands of light you can find for this wattage category.

Long life span. Good, reputable, high-power LED grow lights will generally have a true operative lifespan of 50,000-100,000 hours of usage. This number can drop significantly if the temperature is not maintained, however.

Good heat management. It is important to have lights that include good heat sinks and cooling fans. An overheated LED bulb won’t last long. Anyone interested in purchasing a good LED grow light will need to purchase them with a MCPCB (metal-core printed circuit board.) With the light mounted on it the heat will travel away from the fixture, reducing excess temperature build up. Make sure that the MCPCB is mounted to a heat sink with a large number of fins and a high-quality cooling fan. Fins provide more overall surface area to draw out the heat away from the light, while the fans blow the heat away.

Proper power circuit. When it comes to powering an LED grow light it is important that it comes with a good constant-current driver circuit. This is roughly equivalent to the ballast found on other types of lights, and converts electricity from AC to DC. As its name implies, it offers constant electrical current despite changes in the LED light’s voltage over time and across various temperatures. If a driver isn’t constant-current, then the current to the light will vary in response to voltage increase or decrease, which can drastically cut the lifetime of the bulb. When purchasing your light, look for the term “constant current” in regards to the driver circuit. This will provide a non-fluctuating and appropriate power level for the lights amid changing temperatures and voltage needs.

The simple LED grow light is an awesome tool for the eco friendly house. Environmentally conscious people that enjoy growing plants indoors will find that doing so with these lights will provide ample extra lighting for a fraction of the energy cost. These types of lights do not need to be changed nearly as often as HID or HPS style lighting, as long as the overall temperature of the grow light does not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended specifications.

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