Best LED Grow Lights for Cannabis. 2018 buyers guide

LED grow illumination technology is comparatively new to the hobbyists as well as professional cultivators of cannabis, yet they rose in popularity fast; which can be attributed to their ability for producing high yields, generating an insignificant amount of heat, and utilizing a much more reasonable amount of power. The LEDs offer numerous advantages over standard lights, and the most significant ones are listed below.

  • Energy efficient
  • Long-lasting
  • Produces low heat
  • Compact
  • Stimulates plant growth
  • Wavelength is adjustable

With a good-to-average grow, and a branded LED grow light, one can anticipate yields of near about 0.5g per Watt. Though it is pretty much dependant on the strain, and experienced growers can obtain even more, but the previously stated amount can be considered a handy rule of thumb. For instance, a 200W (true power draw and NOT an equivalent) would yield 100g/3.5oz approximately on average.

Let's compare LED,s to Other popular grow lights

LEDs Vs. CFLs

LEDs produce comparatively better yields in comparison with CFLs for any given amount of electricity. In sharp contrast to CFLs, LEDs do not ask for adjustments on an almost daily basis.

LEDs are manufactured with advanced heat dissipation technologies like heat sinks and factory-fitted air-cooled systems (built-in fans), which helps the growers to maintain preferred temperature, and they also generate less heat when compared to the CFLs for any given amount of electricity.

LEDs are more suitable for large spaces and should maintain a distance of 1ft (+0.5ft or even more) from the topmost point of the plants, while CFLs are typically used in smaller areas and require barely a few inches of separation from the plants.

LEDs Vs. MH/HPS

  • HPS tend to increase the numerator part of the y/W ratio (yield/Watt) and produces bigger yields albeit at the cost of increased electricity consumption, though a few LEDs do produce comparable results.
  • LED is typically more expensive in comparison with the HPS, though some great exceptions do exist.
  • Many growers believe that LEDs help to produce superior quality buds (higher potency, more trichomes, natural aroma and flavor of buds) and bring out colors too.
  • As mentioned before, LEDs produce less heat, and hence; do not require an exhaust system for controlling the temperature.
  • LEDs do not require a ballast for installation, i.e., they are completely plug-and-play.

How to USE LEDs?

  • Use several small LED-panels instead of a couple of large LED-arrangements, as it will help you to distribute the light to all the nooks and corners where it is required, and to put things into perspective; a pair of 125W LEDs yield better results than one 250W LED.
  • 3W chipset LEDs (every bulb is 3W in the configuration matrix) seemingly produce best yields/Watt for a few strains when compared to all other LED models without the worry about lights frying the plants.
  • One should always look for APC/APD (actual power consumption or actual power draw), which is necessarily the amount of current the LED lights panel draws from the main/supply, and this is the most comparable factor when zeroing in on one from a number of brands.
  • As a rule of thumb, always try to accommodate 50 (+10) Watts for every 2 feet of cannabis grow space for producing the best yields.

Common Problems Associated with LEDs?

They alter the appearance of the plants: The plants may often appear discolored during their flowering stage, especially at the tail end of the budding phase, which could be mistaken by inexperienced growers for nutrient deficiencies.

The LEDs cause the discoloration of the leaves, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the plants, provided the following statements are valid.

  • The LEDs are placed far enough away
  • The leaves are not falling off
  • The health of the buds are same as before
  • Distances can vary.

The plants are beginning to look burnt on their top portion only.

Reposition the LEDs further away from the plants.

TIPS

  • As LEDs happen to be somewhat less standardized, which is not the case for other kinds of lights, it is vital to carefully go through the original instruction manual for deciding the sweet spot; and calculating the optimum/safe distance between the LEDs and the plants
  • This distance depends on the size of the bulb as well as the kind of lens also
  • 1W chipset-based smaller LEDs should be placed at least 1ft away from the plants
  • 3W (or even more) chipset-based LEDs, which are a majority in the market, should be placed a minimum of 1.5ft away from the plants

Top LED Grow Lights

  • ViparSpectra
  • Advanced Platinum
  • GlaxyHydro
  • Kind LEDs

The most recommended ViparSpectra models are as follows:

  • 450W
  • 450W (professional series), an excellent choice for novice and inexperienced growers
  • 600W
  • 700W (professional series), nice mid-sized LED panel
  • 1200W, for advanced growers

NOTES

In sharp contrast to many other brands, ViparSpectra LEDs are equipped with heat sink and also built-in fans for optimum heat dissipation and cooling. Final yield is significantly dependent on the genetics (strain) and plant training.

ViparSpectra 450W

  • Grow space: 6.25in2 core coverage, however, some light will spread as much as 12.25in2 and will reach even the farthest of edges
  • Actual power draw: 200W
  • Optimum distance from the plants: 2ft is the suggested starting distance
  • Average yields: 3.5oz (+0.5oz or even more)
  • ViparSpectra 450W (professional series, dimmable)
  • Grow space: 7.5in2 core coverage, however, some light will spread as much as 10.5in2 and will reach even the farthest of edges
  • Actual Power draw: 210W
  • Optimum distance from the plants: Same as ViparSpectra 450W
  • Average Yields: 3.5oz (+1.5oz or even more)

ViparSpectra 600W

  • Grow space: 9in2 core coverage, however, some light will spread as much as 16in2 and will reach even the farthest of edges
  • Actual power draw: 276W
  • Optimum distance from the plants: 2ft is the recommended starting distance
  • Average yields: 4.5oz (+1.5oz or even more)
  • ViparSpectra 700W (professional series, dimmable)
  • Grow space: 12in2 core coverage, however, some light will spread as much as 20in2 and will reach even the farthest of edges
  • Actual power draw: 326W
  • Optimum distance from the plants: 2ft is the suggested starting distance
  • Average yields: 5.5oz (+2.5oz or even more)

ViparSpectra 1200W

  • Grow space: 16in2 core coverage, however, some light will spread as much as 25in2 and will reach even the farthest of edges
  • Actual power draw: 524W
  • Optimum distance from the plants: 2ft is the suggested starting distance
  • Average yields: 9oz (+5oz or even more)
  • The most recommended Advanced Platinum models are as follows:
  • Advanced Platinum P150
  • Advanced Platinum P300
  • Advanced Platinum P450
  • Advanced Platinum P600

Advanced Platinum P150

  • Grow space: 3in2/5in2
  • Actual power draw:
  • 50W in vegetative mode
  • 87W in flowering mode
  • Optimum distance from the plants:
  • 1.83 (+1.17) ft is the suggested starting distance in the vegetative stage
  • 1.5ft is the suggested starting distance in the flowering stage, or perhaps, even a tad closer for those strains that are fond of light. Average yields: Over 1oz

Advanced Platinum P300

  • Grow space: 5in2/7.5in2
  • Actual Power draw:
  • 93W in vegetative mode
  • 185W in flowering mode
  • Optimum distance from the plants:
  • 2 (+1.17) ft is the suggested starting distance in the vegetative stage
  • 1.5 (+0.17) ft is the suggested starting distance in the flowering stage, or perhaps, even a tad closer for those strains that are fond of light
  • Average yields: More than 3oz

Advanced Platinum P450

  • Grow space: 6in2/10.5in2
  • Actual power draw:
  • 137W in vegetative mode
  • 255W in flowering mode
  • Optimum distance from the plants:
  • 2 (+1.67) ft is the suggested starting distance in the vegetative stage
  • 1.5 (+0.17) ft is the suggested starting distance in the flowering stage, or perhaps, even a tad closer for those strains that are fond of light
  • Average yields: Over 4oz

Advanced Platinum P600

  • Grow space: 12in2/15in2
  • Actual power draw:
  • 184W in vegetative mode
  • 368W in flowering mode
  • Optimum distance from the plants: Same as Advanced Platinum P450
  • Average yields: More than 6oz

The most recommended GalaxyHydro models are as follows.

  • GalaxyHydro 270W LED full-spectrum grow light
  • GalaxyHydro 300W LED full-spectrum grow light
  • GalaxyHydro 270W LED full-spectrum grow light
  • Grow space: 4in2/9in2
  • Actual power draw: 95W
  • Optimum distance from the plants: 1.5+ ft is the suggested starting distance
  • Average yields: 1.5 (+0.5) oz

GalaxyHydro 300W LED full-spectrum grow light

  • Grow space: 4in2/9in2
  • Actual power draw: 135W

Optimum distance from the plants: 1.5+ ft is the suggested starting distance from the topmost point of the plants

  • Average yields: Over 2oz

The most recommended Kind LEDs models are as follows.

  • Kind K3 L450
  • Kind K3 L600
  • Kind K5 XL1000
  • Kind K3 L450
  • Grow space: 14.7in2
  • Actual power draw: 270W
  • Optimum distance from the plants: At least 3ft from the topmost point of the plants
  • Average yields: More than 4oz

Kind K3 L600

  • Grow space: 12in2
  • Actual power draw: 320W
  • Optimum distance from the plants: Same as Kind K3 450
  • Average yields: Over 5oz

Kind K5 XL1000

  • Grow space: 25in2
  • Actual power draw: 650W
  • Optimum distance from the plants: A minimum of 4ft from the topmost point of the plants
  • ¬†Average yields: More than 11oz