For the newbie and even the experienced grower, it can be a bit intimidating when you are looking to buy LED grow lights for growing weed for the first time. LED lights are especially daunting as LED lighting technology has their own vocabulary: UV, PAR, light spectrum, IR, etc. As a result, I’ve decided to write this guide on what you need to look at when buying LED grow lights.
Without, further delay, here are the questions that you need to ask yourself when you are looking into buying indoor, LED grow light for growing weed.
Do I Need One, Two, Three Or Even More Grow Lights? This is the first question that you need to ask when you are wanting to buy LED grow lights as (obviously) the more lights needed, the more it will cost you. Paying an extra $100 for a LED grow light is not a big deal if you are going to buy only one light. However, the additional $100 will quickly add up if you are going to have to buy more than one light. Also, getting the correct number of lights is needed for you to make sure that your cannabis plants grow to their full potential. Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact formula to answer this question as the number of LED grow lights that you’ll need depends upon many factors, such as, how big your cannabis plants are, what marijuana strain you are using, and how many square feet is your grow space or grow tent. Trial and error is also used. However, the below methods are commonly used to help you decide the correct number of LED grow lights that you will need to buy.
A. Reference The Owners Manual: Most grow light manufacturers include a recommended coverage area for their lights. For example, the owners manual may say that the coverage area is “4×4,” which means that their LED grow light will cover around 16 square feet. This is a great start; however, many LED grow lights companies have a reputation for over-estimating this figure. As a result, the manufacturers recommended growing area should not be taken as gospel.
B. How Many Cannabis Plants Are You Growing? A rule of thumb is 50 watts per marijuana plant. Unless you have experience growing a particular marijuana strain, this method though is not recommended because the number of lights that are needed will vary based upon the size of your cannabis plants and the cannabis strain that you’re planting.
C. Per Square Feet (30 to 40 Watts)-This is the recommended way for you to find out the approximate number of grow lights that you will need. All it takes in elementary math. As an example:
Using 40 square feet,
“5’x 5’” grow tent covers 25 square feet.
25 Sq. Feet x 40=1,000 watts
If you use 30 as your guideline, you’ll need around 750 Watts
It needs to be emphasized that the above methods are just a starting point, and are especially useful for beginning cannabis growers. As a result, along with the above techniques, you will also need to use common sense and trial and error to help you determine whether or not you should buy more LED grow lights or fewer grow lights. As with most things in life, with experience, you will eventually be able to determine better the number of lights that are needed for your indoor growing operation.
How Far Do You Need To Place Your Grow Lights From Your Cannabis Plants? To find this out, you’ll need to know the exact height of your grow tent, grow box, or grow area. If your grow lights are placed too far from your cannabis plants your yield will be significantly reduced. And, even worse, if your LED grow lights are set to close to your plants, they may burn. The distance that you should use depends upon the grow light makers recommendations. So, look for the recommended distance in your grow light owner’s manual
Are Your Grow Lights Full Spectrum? Full spectrum, for beginners and most experienced growers, is the preferred choice for most cannabis growers. Full spectrum grow lights include every light color that is necessary for plant growth. Also, full spectrum lighting gives off sufficient lighting for both the veg and flower growth stages for cannabis.
Full spectrum grow lights are perfect for newbie cannabis growers as a full spectrum light makes it unnecessary for you to use specialized lighting for either the veg or flower marijuana growth stage.
Are The Semi-Conductors For Your Light Well Made? The semiconductor chip is a critical component of a LED light. The semiconductor chip converts electricity into light, which is used to make your marijuana plants grow. Cheap or weak semiconductor chips are analogous to an old computer. Poor quality or weak chips will result in your lamp being not as bright as it should be.
Are You Going To Be Planting Via Seed Or Clones? Full spectrum lights, for most growers, are sufficient. However, if you are going to be growing cannabis using clones, you may want to buy _ that work best in the flowering growth stage. As a workaround, many LED grow light manufacturers offer a sperate veg and flower switch that allows you to switch from red or blue lights. However, a few LED grow lights don’t have that option. So, if this is a concern, make sure that the grow light model you are considering has a Veg/Flower switch.
Does Your LED Grow Light Have a Daisy Chain? Daisy chain cords enable you to connect separate lights together, which makes expansion easier.
Can You Dim Your Grow Light? Surprisingly, not every LED grow light can be dimmed. So, before buying, you should at least check and see the grow light that you are considering to buy s dimmable.
Does Your Grow Light Have An On And Off Switch? Grow lights are designed to mimic the sun, which will result in your marijuana plants growing. In nature, the sun is not shining 24 hours, 7 days a week. Therefore, you are not going to want to keep your grow lights on all day and night. As a result, so you won’t have to turn off manually and on your grow lights, it is highly advisable to buy a grow light that has a timer or purchase one with your grow light.
Does Your Light Have UV Capabilities? A UV light is an invisible light, which causes sunburns. Some growers theorize that UV exposure results in marijuana plants THC count increasing. The theory is that when plants get a burn from the UV lights, they will react to the excessive UV light by manufacturing resin, which will result in a higher THC count.
UV causing higher THC for cannabis has not been proven to work. Also, grow lights with UV will likely cost more. So, my best advice is for you to do your research, and find out whether or not you feel it is worth the potential added expense to buy a grow light, which has UV capability.
Does The Grow Light Have a Warranty? The majority of grow light companies who sell grow lights have at least a two-year warranty. But, many warranties only allow a refund up to 30 days after purchase. Also, some warranties require you to pay shipping and handling 30 days after you bought the light. Also, if you buy directly from the factory, it can take one month or even longer for you to ship a defective grow light back to the manufacturer and longer for you to get a replacement or a repaired grow light back from the factory.
If you are growing cannabis as a hobby a month or more delay is annoying; but, not devastating. However, for commercial operation, a month or so delay would be be potentially disastrous. First of all, if you are growing commercially, buy a replacement LED grow light. Also, I would highly recommend that commercial cannabis growers buy a domestic grow light maker or purchase a grow light with a local headquarters that can quickly supply you with a replacement grow lamp.