Choosing Your LED Grow Lights: Do You Need the Highest Possible Wattage?

When it comes to choosing the right LED grow lights for your indoor growing operation, sometimes less is more. Many first time growers or those new to LEDs believe that a higher wattage grow light is always the best choice. However, there are many reasons why this is not the case. Even when it comes to growing 'high light' plants like tomatoes, or growing in larger environments, it's often better to use lower wattage LEDs. Here are 3 reasons not to choose a 1000W light for your plants.

They Create Too Much Heat

One of the main advantages an LED lighting system has over a high intensity discharge (HID) or high pressure sodium (HPS) light system is that LED lights don't run hot. However, this benefit only applies to LEDs of a reasonable wattage. A high wattage LED will often product far too much heat. Heat extractors and cooling systems are costly and can be a nuisance to maintain, making your LED system somewhat pointless.

They Waste Too Much Money

Speaking of costly heat extraction, LEDs with unnecessarily high watt values waste a lot of money. Aside from cooling system costs, the high power usage is a big problem for high wattage LEDs. These LEDs are usually inefficient, and it's hard to get even distribution with a high wattage light. This means growers often have to use multiple high wattage LEDs to get sufficient, even lighting, when they could be using cheaper, lower wattage lights to get the same effect.

They Miss What's Important

One of the main issues with assuming high wattage lights are best is that electrical watts aren't important to growing. Plants use light to grow, not electricity, so the light emission of an LED is a far more important number than how many watts it uses. Though, when measuring light output, it's important to ignore lumens too -- lumens describe how much light is seen by the human eye, and plants 'view' light in a different way. They use Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR light) to grow. PAR is the section of the lighting spectrum that's useful for plants, which is slightly different to the wavelength that's strongest to humans. One of the most crucial figures to look out for is the Photosynthetic Photo Flux Density (PPFD), which measures how much light reaches the plants you're growing. The Daily Light Integral (DLI), which is how much light a plant will receive over the course of a day, is also important in determining the best choice of LED.

About Me

Garden supplies for schools

I volunteer at the local school showing kids some garden skills. It's quite easy to get started, and I think it's so good for kids to get out in the garden and get to witness how plants grow and develop and taste food that they have grown. So many of the kids are growing up in apartments and don't get to do gardening at home, so it's a good idea to do it at school where there is some space for them to use. This blog is all about the garden supplies that you need to start a school gardening program.