A Guide to Purchasing LED Grow Lights in NZ
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Intro – When you’re purchasing grow lights for the first time, you’ll likely find that there’s an abundance of information on the internet about what you should buy, what you shouldn’t buy, and what will be better for your unique needs.
This information can be quite overwhelming, especially when you’re just looking for straightforward information to highlight the most important facts. For a no-fuss, hassle-free approach to purchasing LED grow lights in NZ, consider these points below.
What are LED Grow Lights?
- Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are a type of light source that uses solid-state semiconductor chips to produce light when an electric current flows through them. This allows them to produce more photons (light) while using less electricity than older HID technologies, such as high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights or ceramic metal-halide (CMH) lights. LED light sources have been found in commercial products for nearly half a century, but they have only recently begun to see use in indoor horticulture.
- In recent years, advancements in the color and intensity of light created by LEDs have allowed for the creation of powerful full-spectrum LED grow lighting hat can match or exceed the yields of traditional lights. This has led to the rapid adoption of LED technology for indoor grow lights as cultivators recognized their unique advantages over traditional lighting technologies.
Benefits of LED Grow Lights
- Use less energy
- Produce less heat
- Hang closer to your plants canopy due to less heat
- Full-spectrum light output
- Longer lifespan
Look At Light Intensity
- You want the right amount of light intensity for the plant’s growth stage and for the size of your grow space. It is possible to have too much light on your plants however, most growers are concerned with the opposite—not having enough light.
- When talking about light intensity, this is nothow intense it appears to the human eye, but instead the quantity of photons that plants can use for growth and flowering.
- Look at the footprint recommended by the manufacturer
- Consider the PPF reading - Sometimes, coverage areas can be a little subjective. Therefore, use the PPF reading to determine how much light the fixture emits. PPF stands for Photosynthetic Photon Flux and is the total light output of the lamp in umol/s. This is measured in an integrating sphere. In general, if the PPF is above 1100 umol/s or so, it will cover a 4’ x 4’ area. About 1500 umol/s is the top of the range for a light that covers a 4’ x 4’ area. PPF is an important measurement because it is an official measurement for light output andit creates a baseline for light output measurements across manufacturers.
Think About Spectrum
- There are two different types of spectrums on the market - targeted and broad.
- A targetedspectrum uses specific wavelengths of diodes to match the photosynthetic peaks of chlorophyll absorption. Some brands will also target UVA, green, and Far Red. These ‘mono’, or narrowband wavelength, diodes were the first types of LEDs to hit the market and many brands still use this approach. The theory is that these wavelengths provide the optimal spectrum for plant growth. This approach is considered photosynthetically efficient.
- The other type of spectrum is abroad, white-light spectrum. This approach uses white COBs or lower-powered white diodes, sometimes enhanced with other diodes (i.e. UV), to round out the spectrum. The idea here is that the white diode provides all or most of the essential wavelengths that the plants and for growth and flowering. This type of spectrum has more green light in it, contributed by the white diode, so the spectrum is more natural looking and the plant’s leaves appear normal, as opposed to pink or purple like a targeted spectrum approach would provide.
Look At Wattage Draw
- Plants that require a lot of light such as herbs and vegetables will need between 20 and 60 watts of light per square foot of growing space.
- 1000 watt - 4 to 5 feet (1.3 to 1.5 meters), 600 watt - 3.5 feet (1 to 1.2 meters), 400 watt - 2.5 to 3 feet (0.8 to 0.9 meters), 250 watt - 2 feet (0.6 to 0.7 meters)
- Grow space sizes vary so knowing the exact dimensions of your space is important so you can choose a fixture that covers the area entirely. Common sized grow areas for hobbyists include 4’ x 4’, 3’ x 3’, and 2’ x 2’ spaces and also sets of these dimensions such as 4’ x 8’, 8’ x 8’, 3’ x 6’, 2’ x 4’, etc. Some people grow in a 5’ x 5’ area, while other’s might have a commercial grow that is several hundred sq ft or thousands of sq ft.
- Most large powerful lights will cover a 4’ x 4’ for flower, with the biggest ones covering about a 5’ x 5’ area. It is nearly impossible to find lights that will cover a footprint larger than this because the edges and corners of the light footprint start to diminish in intensity. At this point, it is better to use several small lights to cover a larger area since this will allow the more uniform light intensity over the canopy.
- The cost of an LED grow light is a big consideration for most people. This is because LED grow lights can be expensive. However, the cost of LED lighting is coming down and efficiency and light output is going up.
- A grow light can range from below $100 all the way to over $2000. The fixture’s size, light output, and quality of parts tend to drive these price discrepancies.
- While LEDs are more expensive than a traditional HID setup, the LEDs themselves will last 50,000-100,000 hours. Assuming the diodes are driven by quality power supplies, your LED grow light will last you 10 years or more.
Purchase Grow Lights With Confidence
Purchasing LED grow lights for your indoor horticultural setup can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With the help of experts like Indoor Grow and considering these points above, you may be armed with a killer setup in no time.
How do I choose the right wattage for my LED grow lights?
To choose the right wattage for LED grow-lights, consider the size of your grow space and the type of plants you're growing, aiming for a minimum of 30 watts per square foot.
What are LED grow lights, and how do they work?
LED grow lights are artificial lights designed specifically for plant growth, combining blue and red wavelengths to stimulate photosynthesis and promote plant growth.