At its advent, few people would have thought of the LED lighting technology playing an essential role in farming (the growing of plants). The technology has made it possible for professional farmers and enthusiasts to create an optimal and efficient environment that facilitates the growth of plants.
The use of LED lights in plant growth has numerous advantages that include energy efficiency, durability, adjustable lighting wavelength, compactness, and stimulate plant growth. Despite these benefits, making the right choice is a challenge. This can be attributed to the many types of LED lights available in the market coupled with confusing statements and misleading product description from manufacturers and retailers.
For managed farming that looks to new technologies that enhance plant growth and yield production, making the right choices is paramount. As such, it is essential that the farmer picks the right set of LED lights right from the get-go, and that means making an informed choice. Some of the primary factors to consider include understanding the farming requirements of your location, your growing purposes, as well as other specifics as listed below:
1. Quality Build & Materials
Durability is among the many praises showed upon LED lighting technology. The lamps are built from quality material and can work for nearly ten years. That is a long period in which you do not have to worry about changing the bulbs or the lighting set up.
2. Brand Reputation
The market has different LED brands and each with products that are uniquely different from the that of fellow competitors. Such diversity in the products available in the market makes it hard to make a choice especially when you take into account the fact that every brand has a standard of quality that is different from the next. Conversely, the disparity in pricing and the array of designs do not make things any easier. As such, the best move is to take a closer look at the brand. If the company has a reputation of being a leader in innovative solutions while also providing durable, quality products, then their lights are more likely to be a worthwhile investment.
3. Power Consumption Vs. Output
The application of the LED grow lights is rather demanding. The bulbs are put to work for 10 to 11 straight hours daily. That running time means an increased power consumption that translates to an increase in the electricity bills. You, therefore, should take the time to read the product description so that you know more about what you are about to buy. It will help you avoid making the wrong choice. Check the bulbs output, and since you are looking into making an energy efficiency purchase, then consider anything that gives less than 1,000W but above 300W. Keep in mind that the high output will help offset for wattage loss.
4. Consider What You Are Growing
Pick LED lighting that meets the demands of the type of plants you plant to grow. And while all LED lamps can be effectively used for such a job, the specific plant needs of some breeds of crops demand that you consider what other additional elements that are beneficial for plant growth do some LED brand have to offer. For instance, you will need lighting options that help you to maximize plant growth if you are growing demanding crops such as tomatoes compared other crops such as cannabis. Keep in mind that plant growth will have different cycles, and thus you will need to consider lights for the vegetative cycle and different lights for the flowering period for crops with such a growth process.
5. Available Space For Planting
The size of the area designated for planting will influence the size and amount of LED bulbs to buy. Therefore, you should know the size of your garden and then consider the lighting coverage of the LED lamp you are considering so that you can know how many you will need to cover your entire garden. The general guideline that most growers follow is that of 32 watts per square foot for plants such as tomatoes that require a high amount of light. For the crops that demand low-light, such as lettuce, the guideline is 11 or 18 watts per square foot. If you are not sure have a look at this article.
6. Low Heat Output
LED lights have two distinct elements; they produce ample lighting but with low heat. If you take this into account, then you also need to consider essential factors, which are plant protection and durability. The bulbs should be installed close to the plant, and that proximity should be constant so that the low heat encourages plant growth. It also minimizes possible damage attributed to a high heat output that burns the plants and also causes the bulbs to burn out fast thus need replacement sooner than expected. The ideal LED grow lights have aluminum heat sinks that play a part in the production heat energy and minimizing heat loss.
7. Quality Semiconductor Chip
LED grow lights have a semiconductor chip installed at the core that converts electricity into light. It also a key component that helps to determine the wavelength of the light produced. The best LEDs to buy for plant growth are those with a chip that is at least 3 watts so that the bulb generates ample illumination.
8. Full Spectrum Lights
Even though plant can grow under any light, there should be different wavelengths of light for efficient photosynthesis to occur. Such a demand is factored into the technology behind LED grow lights to ensure that the best in the market can deliver a full spectrum. For instance, many plants require light in the red and blue spectrum for them to grow efficiently and have a substantial yield. They also need infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths, depending on their development stage. The best LED lamps for plant growth will have a powerful full spectrum that provides active radiation values needed for effective photosynthesis.
9. Flexibility and Ease of Use
At times, repositioning the LED bulbs is necessary, but this depends on the growth stage of your crop. You should consider this when buying what you need so that you can buy LEDs that will be easy to fine tune during placement. The same ease of readjustment should also apply to the light intensity and wavelength. Also, the lamps should be easy to set up and maintain.
10. Warranty and Return Policy
When used the right way, then the average LED bulbs should last three years. Do not buy any product that has a warranty that state a cover that is less than three years. Such a thing is a red flag; a sign that you are buying low or bad quality products. Most manufacturers offer a guarantee on parts of their LED lights along with a free return shipment policy. Moreover, the best LED lights have parts that function inter-independent. As such, they can still do the job even as you wait for a certain spare to arrive.
11. Bonus – Shipping !!!
Please don’t waste your time buying out of the United States. If you have any issues with the unit and have to send it back you might as well just go buy another one. The cost of shipping and exchange rate will soon at up. If you buy in Canada you can easily ship it back and get your money back or have it replaced.
The popularity of full spectrum LED growth lights can be attributed to their high efficiency and durability. But with the market saturated with various models from different brands, making the right selection can be a daunting task. Hopefully, the ten things mentioned about will help you make an informed choice.
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