Choosing the type of grow lights you use for your ACMPR grow op is a major decision. We can’t tell you which one to use, but we can tell you that LEDs have been steadily gaining popularity over the past decade or so (even though they’ve been around since the 60s).
So why have they become so popular? First off, LEDs are a lot more affordable than they were in the past. But more importantly, these are the most energy-efficient bulbs on the market. And on top of that, LEDs give off the full-color spectrum of light, which your plants will thank you for.
Not sure if LEDs are the right choice for you? Or maybe you already know that they are, but you can’t figure out which lighting system to buy. This guide to the best LED grow lights can help.
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How to Choose LED Grow Lights
The first step in choosing LED grow lights is to understand the different types – there are 3 of them. The first is spread style, which basically just means that lots of small LEDs are spread over a large area.
The second type is the traditional LED panel, which is the most common for growers in Canada. These have small to medium wattage diodes and compact lamps. The third style is the chip-on-board, or COB LED grow lights, which isn’t as common for grow room environments.
Things to Consider When Buying LED Grow Lights
So you’ve thought about the type of LED grow lights system you want, what’s next? There are a few more things to consider before investing in an entire light system and spending a big chunk of change. Here’s what you need to think about:
Size is an obvious consideration – you wouldn’t use the same LED lights for a 4×4 tent as you would for a warehouse grow. These lights vary in size, and the larger the size the greater the coverage area.
Just as they vary in size, LEDs also vary in wattage with the most common wattage ratings being 300, 400, 600, and 1000. Keep in mind that these lights will be running for an average of 12 hours per day, so the trick is to find the ideal amount of illumination without overdoing it on power.
Full-spectrum light helps plants to meet their full potential – it’s very similar to the natural light that is given off by the sun’s rays. But try to mainly focus on red and blue led grow lights that emit the UV through infrared spectrums, which are essential for plant growth.
Light control is a major aspect of your grow op, which is why you should try to find LEDs that are easy to install, use, and adjust. You’ll want to have complete control over the grow room light cycle, down to the last minute, and some lights make this easier than others.
LED grow lights that give off very little heat prevent the grow room temperatures from rising too high. High heat LEDs, on the other hand, will not only put your plants at risk, but they’ll require you to put more effort and resources into cooling the room.
Even though the growing demand for LEDs has brought down their cost over the years, LED grow lights don’t come cheap. Try to find something within your budget, but never, ever compromise on quality to save a few bucks.
Best Overall Full Spectrum LED Grow Light in Canada
More Canadians are taking up growing by the day, and the main piece of equipment that these Canadians are searching for? LEDs. If you’re one of these people and on the hunt for the best LED grow lights Canada has to offer, the Spider Farmer sets the bar pretty high.
Spider Farmer SF-2000 LED Grow Light
2000 watt LED grow lights aren’t for everyone since not every grower needs such a high wattage. But if you’re looking for professional LED grow lights for hundreds of plants, the Spider Farmer SF-2000 is a great choice.
This light has better canopy light penetration than any light on our list of best LED grow lights, and it has the highest light output of any LED on the market. The red/blue light spectrum has the potential for 40% greater yields.
Although the upfront cost of this light is a bit high, the amazing energy efficiency makes it completely worth it. There are a few different wattage options for the SF grow lights, including 1000 and 4000W.
Best 1000W, 1200W, and 4000W LED Grow Lights
Deciding on the ideal wattage for your grow room doesn’t have to feel like rocket science. Most LED manufacturers will market the coverage area along with the wattage. Here are three of the most common LED wattage values for ACMPR growers in Canada.
TS 1000W LED Grow Light MARS HYDRO
The Mars Hydro LED grow lights 1000W have a coverage footprint of 3×3 in veg and 2.5×2.5 in flower. We love everything about this light, including its reflective aluminum hood, lower power consumption, and potential for higher yield.
Growers say that the maximum yield is 2.5 grams per watt (that’s 2,500 grams!), while other LEDs generally fall around the 1 to 1.5 gram per watt range. It’s got a dimmer feature that can adjust the light intensity depending on the stage of the grow.
ONEO LED Grow Light 1200W Full Spectrum Sunlight
1200 watt LED grow lights, like the ONEO full-spectrum light, can handle a 4×4 tent flawlessly. Unlike many other sunlight LED grow lights that claim to offer the full spectrum of light, this one actually does. The ONEO mimics sunlight and offers the real full spectrum that plants crave.
ONEO says that “blue and red grow lights for indoor plants is single spectrum just for VEG stage, what really helps you is our real full spectrum led grow light 1200w delivers a high PPFD uniform light for full growth cycle.” These white led grow lights can increase your yields by 50%.
Spider Farmer Grow Light SF-4000
You already know that Spider Farmer specializes in high end LED grow lights for cultivating dense nuggets and crystally buds. But did you know that the company’s 4000W light can handle 36 square feet in veg and 25 square feet in flower?
The SF-4000 red-blue LED grow lights are loads cheaper to run than other 4000W grow room bulbs. It features a simple plug-and-play design that requires no assembly whatsoever.
Best LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants in a Small Grow Tent
So far we’ve covered some high-end large LED grow lights that are perfect for high-grams-per-day ACMPR growers. But what about growers who have lower plant counts with 5, 10, or 15 grams per day licenses? Mini LED grow lights might be a better fit for you.
Lenofocus LED Grow Light
The Lenofocus is a full-spectrum growing lamp panel that’s the perfect size for seedlings and clones. It contains 672 small LED pieces that only consume 100W of power. Even with its low wattage, it’s large enough to handle 2.5’x2.5’ in veg and 2’x2’ in flower.
This light panel has improved full spectrum with the perfect balance of warm white, red, and infrared. You can use this light for cultivating in a grow tent, grow room, grow chamber, greenhouse, or hydroponics setting, and the best part is that it fits the bill for budget growers.
Best Budget LED Grow Lights
Speaking of growing on a budget, investing in an LED grow light system doesn’t need to break the bank. In the past, buying LEDs meant spending a big chunk of change, but the average price has been driven down by the high demand for energy efficiency.
This is even the case for high-wattage grow light systems like the HIGROW 1000W LED.
HIGROW 1000W Double Chips LED Grow Light
When it comes to inexpensive LED grow lights, the HIGROW has got it all figured out. This LED grow light system emits the full-color spectrum, including red, blue, white, orange, yellow, UV, and infrared. This provides plants with everything that they would get from natural sunlight.
The thing we love most about the HIGROW is that it offers better heat dissipation than other budget-friendly LEDs. This is thanks to the upgraded aluminum cooling heat sink that comes with built-in high-speed quiet fans. Even after 24 hours of continuous use, the temperature is well-maintained.
This specific model comes in several sizes, so no worries if 1000W doesn’t work for you. You can also buy the 600W, 1500W, and 2000W HIGROW systems, and each one of these will help you to stay within your grow room budget.
Best 600W LED Grow Lights
600W LED grow lights are a staple among medical growers with small and medium-sized ACMPR operations. Even with 600W lights, you can still get a pretty decent yield, especially with the Mars Hydro TS.
MARS HYDRO TS 600W LED Grow Lights
The 600W Mars Hydro is built with 225 small LED pieces that can handle a 2×2 space in veg and 1.5×1.5 space in flower. It simulates the sun’s full-spectrum light, getting the job done for every stage of indoor growing. The newer SMD LED technology is proven to have a 30% greater yield than older LED models.
The Mars Hydro is constructed with a reflective aluminum hood (read our article on reflector hoods here) that works to increase light intensity by 20%. But the best feature of all is the Mars Hydro’s energy savings; even while you pay less in energy bills, your plants won’t suffer.
VIPARSPECTRA UL Certified 600W LED Grow Light
Another top choice for 600W hydroponic LED grow lights is the Viparspectra UL lighting system. This company believes that safety is just as important as efficiency, which is why it meets the standards of rigorous UL testing for safe operation.
The reflectors are not only fire-resistant, but they also work to penetrate the plant canopy more effectively. You can rest easy knowing that your plants are getting the optimal color spectrum for each phase of the grow with the system’s “Veg” and “Bloom” switches.
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Best T5 and T8 LED Grow Lights
T8 and T5 LED grow lights are a great lighting solution for small spaces, especially for growers who are short on ceiling height. They’re not typically very powerful, though, so try to only use these in the early seedling and cloning stages. The other perk of using T5s and T8s is their affordable price tag, which you’ll see from both of these LED grow lights.
Monios-L T5 LED Grow Light
The Monios-L T5 LED grow light comes in two sizes, 2’ and 4’, but both are ideal for budget growers who need a lighting system for seeds and clones. Unlike traditional fluorescent T5, this one gives off the full spectrum of light between 300 and 800nm.
Another thing we appreciate about this T5 LED is its excellent heat dissipation, so you should be able to get years of harvesting out of these lights. The light efficiency of the Monios-L can be increased by 17 to 20% with the reflector, and the plug-and-play design is easy to install and operate.
Brillihood LED T8 Integrated Single Fixture
Similar to T5s, T8 LED grow lights aren’t the ideal choice for flowering, but they’re a great addition to any mother or seedling room. However, the Brillihood T8s emit intense, reliable light that is 3x brighter than other types of LEDs, so you could potentially use these for flowering.
Comparing LEDs to Other Bulb Types
Even if you’ve got high energy efficiency on your grow room agenda, LEDs aren’t the optimal choice for everyone. Sure, LED grow lights yield well and they conserve power, but before deciding that LEDs are for you, it’s important to also consider other bulb types.
When you compare HPS vs LED grow lights, HPS bulbs tend to produce more intense light per watt (this is why it’s considered a high-intensity bulb). The downside is that they also use a lot of energy and produce a high heat output.
But, when used properly, HPS (short for high-pressure sodium) bulbs often produce a higher yield than high intensity led grow lights. You just need to be aware that there’s a greater risk of overheating with HPS (and CMH) bulbs.
The other common comparison is between CFL vs LED grow lights. CFL (short for compact fluorescent lamp) is a great choice for the early stages of the grow op, but they can’t handle flowering the same way that LEDs can.
How many watts are needed per plant with LED lights?
Figuring out the ideal wattage can be tricky since your plants require different amounts of light at different phases of the grow. They require the most amount of light while flowering, and a standard LED should use at least 32 watts for each square foot of your grow room.
This is the bare minimum, but the more ideal amount of light is between 50 and 80 watts per square foot. Here’s a quick rundown of minimum wattage based on grow room size:
- 1’ x 1’ – 32 watts
- 2’ x 2’ – 128 watts
- 3’ x 3’ – 288 watts
- 4’ x 4’ – 512 watts
- 6’ x 6’ – 1152 watts
What size LED grow light do you need?
This depends on the coverage area. Growing a few plants might only require one medium-sized light, but this definitely won’t be the case for growing in an entire basement.
Each light can handle a different coverage area, so it’s important to look at the wattage. For example, a 4×4 tent will need 500 watts at the very least, so you could invest in one 500W light or two or three 200-watt LED grow lights – it’s up to you.
How close should LED grow lights be to plants?
The placement of your grow lights depends entirely on the type of bulb, so even if you know all about HPS or MH placement, the rules for LEDs are completely different. So when learning how to use LED grow lights, pay close attention to the number of inches from the plant canopy.
When comparing HID vs LED grow lights, LEDs have a much lower heat output than high-intensity bulbs. This means that they can be placed closer to the plant canopy without risking plant scorch or overheating.
And remember, the higher the wattage, the higher you should hang your lights. When using the best LED grow lights for indoor plants, follow these basic tips for placement:
- 240-400W LEDs: 16-24”
- 450-550W LEDs: 20-30”
- 600-850W LEDs: 24-26”
- 900W+ LEDs: 26-42”
Each of these LED grow lights are capable of producing beefy plants and high yields, all while maximizing energy efficiency. But don’t just take our word for it.
After figuring out your ideal wattage based on grow room coverage area, start using one of these LED light systems and let us know how it goes!