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Do LED grow lights really work?

LED Grow Lights continue to divide opinion amongst hydroponic growers.

Some swear by them. Others don’t think they’re worth the investment.

Since emerging onto the market between 2010 and 2012, almost a decade of research has been carried out into their effectiveness.

Detailed investigations have been conducted by universities, NASA and several large-scale commercial growers – and the results are overwhelming:

Do LED grow lights work?

Yes, LED grow lights are proven to accelerate the growth of plants that are cultivated indoors.

In fact, they are so successful that the revolutionary Beeswax Dyson Farming site, near Boston in Lincolnshire, are using LED lights to grow strawberries inside a six hectare glasshouse built by CambridgeHOK.

But before rushing off to buy the latest LED grow lights, it may help to understand how LEDs work, the impact they have and how much they cost.

How do LED grow lights work?

Plants MUST have light to stimulate growth.

No matter what type you use, grow lights convert electron energy into light that plants can absorb and use to promote growth.

Poor-quality grow lights often generate excess heat – more than plants can use.

LED grow lights don’t do this because they create light in an energy efficient way. They can also be fine-tuned to emit different spectrums of light, depending on the type of plant and the levels it requires.

The 10 biggest LED grow light benefits

What are the advantages of using LED grow lights?

  • Adjustable light spectrum
  • Good for vegetative & flowering state
  • Highly energy efficient
  • Cheap to run
  • Long life span
  • Lower build-up of heat
  • Reduce energy bills
  • Ideal for small spaces
  • Ballast not required
  • Easy to use

Are LED grow lights any good? (vs HID & CFL)

Having been pioneered by NASA, LED grow light technology has now become commonplace in the global Vertical Farming industry.

It also continues to be one of the three main light sources for hydroponic growers:

Price wise, there’s no getting away from the fact that LED grow lights cost more to buy than the others on the market.

The durable and dimmable Lumatek Attis 200w led grow light (ideal for a 1m² grow area) are priced at £269.95 – providing good light penetration without hotspots or excessive heat.

For context, the Maxibright T5 high output fluorescent 4-tube 4FT grow light costs £143.95 – and is still capable of delivering massive amounts of light.

Are LED grow lights worth the extra money?

Before deciding whether to buy LED grow lights, you must consider their benefits, your usage levels and then factor in their higher upfront cost.

HID and CFL grow lights can still achieve wonderful plant growth – and they’re much cheaper to buy.

But you cannot ‘fine tune’ their light spectrums (like LEDs) and several bulbs are usually needed to meet your plant’s needs during the grow cycle.

If space is at a premium and money is not an issue, LED Grow Lights could be an ideal solution. The benefits will definitely be worth the cost.

But if your budget is tight and you want a large-scale grow, choosing a standard CFL or HID set-up may be the best option.

Ultimately, no matter what lighting set-up you choose, it is essential to follow the growing best practices (hang lights at the right height and allow plants to enjoy the right amount of rest) to achieve an optimal grow with maximum yield.

If you need any help or advice, call 01926 511151 and speak to our friendly grow shop experts!