Facts About LED Grow Lights
Though there are still some potential drawbacks, LED grow lights are such an advance over other plant lighting technology and with some improvements, they could render other plant growth lighting obsolete. Here are a few facts about LED grow lights that you may not already know about this relatively new type of light technology.
Lifespan is where LED grow lights make their mark. Just for purposes of comparison, your standard 60-watt bulb will only last about 750 hours. Metal halide bulbs, another kind of grow light, only has about 18,000 hours of useful life. With foreseeable technological advances, though, LEDs could last for 100,000 hours–that’s over eleven years of continuous use. Currently the lifespan is about 50,000 hours.
Right now, a 120-watt LED grow light unit can cost about $300 – too much! But, aside from the longevity of the bulb, there are other reasons this might not be a deal-breaker: like any newer technology, prices are expected to come down in the near future, and there are other reasons LEDs might still be worth the money.
The Light Spectrum
Like a sound file compressor that eliminates the sounds that the human ear cannot perceive, LED grow lights can emit only that light that can be used by plants. This means that a bulb that may sound underpowered by conventional standards actually isn’t, so while a 1000-watt LED may be prohibitively expensive, it is likely also unnecessary.
Another way that LED grow lights are superior to normal bulbs is heat output. LEDs produce very little heat, but with other bulbs, particularly metal halide, the heat is so intense that it can melt acrylic or plastic shields and make handling your lights with your bare hands impossible. It also requires that fans and heat venting systems be used–not a problem with LEDs. They are about as unobtrusive as your average type of bathroom lighting.
LEDs also use much less power than other bulbs. For example, when you turn on a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb, about 53 watts of that power is used as heat. In this way an LED grow lights will also save you money on electric bills.
As their use continues to increase so too the initial purchase price will come down. At that point the cost savings will be the deciding factor for many growers, amateur and professional alike. LED grow lights are set to become the grow light of the not too distant future.