Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights: Everything You Need to Know
Have you ever thought of growing plants with artificial lights? If not, it’s time to change the mindsets and embrace the power of technology.
Now, you can create your own garden easily in the basement. Don’t worry about the sunlight; full-spectrum LED grow lights are enough to fulfill the need for sunlight.
Our primary purpose is to produce awareness for those living in the areas where they can't do seasonal gardening.
This piece of content is full of interesting facts and information regarding LED grow lights and how you can benefit from them. So, don’t miss any bits of the article.
1. Full Spectrum LED Lights for Plants
Full-spectrum grow lights are very different than traditional LEDs. Don’t try to relate them to each other. Grow lights are specially designed for plants to get proper warmth compared to conventional bulbs. We will make a comparison later on, but first, let's settle down your thoughts.
Are full-spectrum LED lights good for growing plants?
Since full-spectrum LED grow lights are relatively new in this department, you may be wondering whether they are suitable for growing plants or not. In short, the answer is “YES.”
Full spectrum LED grow lights are perfect for growing indoor plants. Here’s the main reasons why: first of all, they are energy efficient and consume less electricity compared to other grow lights.
When discussing indoor gardening, we need to be careful about the heat intensity. Since grow lights are often used in artificial environments, plants can only withstand limited heat and humidity—any further excess in heat or humidity results in the demise of plants.
Full-spectrum LEDs produce less heat and maintain the balance between moisture and heat that the plants need.
Are full-spectrum grow lights best?
Full-spectrum grow lights provide the ideal light for photosynthesis, promoting healthy growth and flowering for indoor plants.
The lights emit a wide range of wavelengths between 400-700nm, mimic natural sunlight for optimal plant development.
Not only do they help plants grow better, but full-spectrum grow lights are also an energy-efficient and cost-effective solution for indoor gardening.
From seedling to harvest, you don’t need to change the lights for each stage of plants. Since full spectrum LED lights use all the color combinations for all stages of the plants, they almost mimic the natural sunlight.
By seeing the different color combinations and how they impact a plant’s growth, it’s easy to determine that full-spectrum LEDs are the best grow lights for plants.
What is the difference between a grow light and a full-spectrum light?
A typical LED grow light generally contains a mixture of red and blue (monochromatic) LED bulbs. You can quickly tell the difference by the pinkish and purple emissions of the traditional LED grow lights.
It’s due to the mixture of red and blue color bulbs. The reason grow lights uses this composition is that the plants need the photosynthesis process to grow green and healthy—red and blue lights do it perfectly.
You would be wondering if monochromatic LEDs are doing the job perfectly for photosynthesis, so why need full-spectrum LED grow lights?
Photosynthesis is not the only thing that plants need; they need other essentials to remain healthy and maintain stamina. Studies suggest that the plant grows healthy and vigorous under the balanced spectrum LED grow lights.
Full-spectrum LED uses phosphorus coating, which takes the light from a narrow wavelength and spreads it to a broader wavelength of light.
Another difference between full-spectrum LED light and traditional light is that it uses mixtures of other colors, i.e., green and yellow.
The mixtures and color combinations with phosphorus in full-spectrum LEDs at different wavelengths produce white light.
Most traditional LED grow lights also emit white rays, but that doesn’t mean they fall in the full-spectrum category.
Do full-spectrum LED grow lights have UV?
Well, some grow lights have UV wavelength emission, but that doesn’t mean every full-spectrum LED grow light emits UV.
Some growers think UV light is essential, and some believe ultraviolet rays are harmful to plants and human skin. It’s a long debate on whether it is good or bad; for now, let's focus on our topic.
The choice of having UV in grow lights is totally up to you. If you don’t want the installation of ultraviolet diodes (UVA) and other fluorescent tubes on the grow light, you can ask the manufacturer about it.
2. Choosing the Right Full-Spectrum Grow Lights
Plenty of full-spectrum grow lights are available in the market. The main question is how to choose the right full-spectrum LED lights that suit your surroundings.
You would get off track by seeing so many options available on the market. This section will cover everything on selecting the right grow light for your indoor garden.
What are the best full-spectrum grow light bulbs?
Finding the best full-spectrum grow LED lights is as complex as setting up a brand-new horticulture. For us, choosing the best one is the key that decides the future of the plant’s growth.
If you haven’t done proper research on grow lights, there is no point in starting indoor gardening—you won’t get any success.
Anyway, we've done the hard part, so you won't have to wander searching for the best grow lights.
Here are the top 5 best full-spectrum grow light bulbs that benefit any plant and environment.
- Cultiuana CT-800 LED Grow Light
The first full-spectrum grow light bulb on our list is the Cultiuana LED grow light bulb.
If you’re planning to grow plants in your house/apartment, a cultiana LED would be the best choice. It consumes 800W and provides a full spectrum of wavelength, and it emits 2240 umol/s of light at 2.8 umol/J.
A complete package that fulfills the need for sunlight. Thanks to its curved shape, the lights cover the wider growing area 4X4ft and 5x5ft.
This is a 800W LED; if you think this isn’t enough for your plants, you can switch to CT-1000 1000 watt LED grow light.
- Kind LED X750
One of the top features of the Kind LED X750 is its dual dimmable spectrum. With a light output of 1814 umol/S and efficacy of 2.5 umol/J, this fixture draws 725 watts and provides excellent coverage for a 4'x4' area.
The main full spectrum spectrum and the Deep red, UV, and Far Red channels can be controlled separately with two knobs, allowing for customized lighting.
- Grower's Choice ROI-E720
With a power consumption of 780w at 120V, the ROI-E720 emits 1,870 umol/S of light at an efficiency of 2.6 umol/J.
Using the Grower's Choice controller as an optional add-on, you can enhance the light output to 2,080 umol/S while taking advantage of additional features such as scheduling, fine-tune dimming, and a sunrise/sunset function.
Mammoth 880 Watt LED Grow Light
The cutting-edge Mammoth Lighting Mint White Series 8 Bar 880W LED Grow Light features a plant-centric chip that promises revolutionary results. Designed exclusively for plant lighting, this LED chip has shown impressive results in larger and heavier growth trials. Plus, the shorter wavelength and increased blue spectrum help suppress microbial growth while promoting enhanced terpene and desired compound production.
Mars Hydro FC 8000
The Mars Hydro FC 8000-EVO LED Grow Light is ideal for commercial growers and indoor gardens of any size. With advanced Samsung LM301H EVO chips, it boasts high output and effective heat control, leading to cost savings for the end user.
What is the most powerful LED grow light on the market?
Keep that in mind: Powerful LED grow lights don't come cheap. Apart from the expensive, they do provide massive value to your environment. A single 1000W grow light can illuminate a vastly growing area. These LEDs are often referred to as commercial lights that are only used by experts on the retail level.
If you are looking for the most powerful LED grow light on the market, Cultiuana 1000 watt LED grow light is one giant present in today’s market. Despite the electricity it consumes, it’s still lightweight and easily hangable to the ceiling. It comes with a photon efficacy of 2.8 micromoles per joule, spreading the equally distributed light to a 6x6 area.
What is the best LED light to grow plants?
So many great LED grow lights are available, making it difficult to choose just one. However, we'll continue our journey to provide you with the best LED grow light for indoor growing. Here’s our best pick among other LEDs: Cultiuana CT-800 full spectrum LED Grow Light.
It's an affordable option that provides enormous value to indoor gardening. Cultiuana CT-800 LED Grow Light covers a 4x4 foot area for indoor plants. The best thing about this product is that the lights are suitable for personal growth without CO2;
What is the most efficient indoor grow light?
Which LED grow light should we call efficient? Obviously, the one that consumes less energy and provides maximum results. Cultiuana CAL-1000 adjustable spectrum LED grow light is highly efficient and has a full spectrum of lights.
It has three modes of light, i.e., red, blue, and full spectrum. You can also dim the lights at different levels (0 to 100%), providing a considerable alternative to sunlight. It has flexible arms attached to beads, allowing you to set the lights to any position.
What lights do professional growers use?
Professional growers don’t use particular lights during the growth phase. They use different LED grow lights that are required at each stage of the plant’s growth. The selection criteria for the LEDs depend upon the situation and other factors, including the types of plants they are growing and keeping the budget in check.
Professional growers mostly use the following grow lights:
- Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights
- Customize LED Lights (Mix Lights)
- Adjustable LED Grow Lights (Spectrum)
- Vertical LED Grow Lights
What LEDs do commercial growers use?
At the commercial level, growers use many expensive LED grow lights to cover a large area. Most commercial growers use full-spectrum LED grow lights because they maintain the balance between efficiency and power consumption.
Here are some LEDs mostly used by commercial growers:
- Cultiuana CT-1000
- HLG Scorpion
- Gavita Pro 1700e Gen2
- PhotonTek X 465W Pro,
What is the best brightness for grow lights?
The only way to identify the brightness of grow lights is by measuring the color temperature in the Kelvin (K) scale. Color temperature ranges from 1000 to 10,000 Kelvin. The plants usually feed on red and blue light, and the range of the sunlight is between 2,700 to 7,000 K.
So, if your focus is only on the vegetative phase, set a light brightness to 5,000 K or 7000 K. Remember, plants need different Kelvin in every step to thrive, so it’s best to take some guidance from the expert before buying the grow lights.
How many lumens do I need for a grow light?
The purpose of grow lights is to mimic the sunlight, so to fulfill the need for sunlight for plants, you need a grow light that lumens like it. Grow lights come with different bulbs, and each bulb has separate lumens.
The brightness of the bulb gets higher if it consists of high lumens. The minimum lumens required for starter plants is between 2,000 and 3,000 lumens. As the plant growth increases, it requires more lumens. Plants need between 5000 and 10000 lumens at the flowering phase to thrive.
The lumens numbers are highly dependent on plants' stage and nature. The plant's flowering stage can be fulfilled with an average of 7000-7500 lumens of light.
What is the best wattage for grow lights?
A Watt is an electricity unit that measures the electrical units. While using LED grow lights, a general rule of thumb suggests you go with 35 to 50 Watts per (sq ft) of growing space.
How do you choose the best grow light?
While choosing the best grow lights, you have to think outside of the box because there are so many factors that need to be considered while choosing the best grow lights. Even experienced growers with deep understanding find it difficult sometimes. That’s why it’s mandatory to know everything about grow lights.
By considering the factors below, you can choose the best grow lights without asking else to help you: be independent and let the brain think.
Nature of your Growing:
Determining nature is the foremost thing you should do, e.g., what kind of plants you wish to grow before buying the grow lights for your start-up. Generally, many LED lights tend to work on any plant, from seed to flower—providing epic results.
Variety of Lights:
The grow lights come in different types, i.e., LED, HID, and Fluorescent. Each of them works perfectly in the way of their interest. The best one among professional growers is LED grow lights that generate higher in a shorter period of time. We know LEDs are way too expensive, but they cover the cost with longer runs. The lifespan of LEDs is way higher than that of high-intensity discharge (HIDs) and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs.)
Light Output Needed (PPF):
We all know plants need light to grow, and no plants can’t survive without absorbing the light. Light is the only way possible way to continue the photosynthesis process. However, some plants (tomatoes) require a high light intensity, and some are quite the opposite. That’s why you must be cautious while selecting the best grow lights for your growing space.
The term PPF, which stands for photosynthetic photon flux, is used to measure the light ranges that plants need to process photosynthesis—indicated as micromoles per second μmol/s. It doesn’t provide accurate results like how intensity will touch down to your plants. However, it will show you how effective the PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) is to your plants.
The recommended PPFD for plants are as follows:
- Low/Medium Light Plants: 100 to 250μmol/s
- High Light Intensity Plants: 250 to 450μmol/s
- Green Plants: 200μmol/s
- Vegetable Plants: 400 to 500μmol/s
- Vegetative Phase: 300 to 600μmol/s
- Flowering Phase: 900 to 1000+ μmol/s
- Light Spectrum:
Just as the intensity of light matters, the color of light they get is also important. Outdoor plants live under the sunlight and receive all the colors from the sunlight. You should also use the full-spectrum LED grow lights that mimic the natural sunlight. Each color in full-spectrum is in charge of different results on your plants. Blue and red light is responsible for structuring the plants in vegetative and flowering stages of plants. Whereas plants don’t absorb the green color easily, it helps them to infiltrate the plant’s canopy to make way for the light.
Size and Wattage According to Growing Area:
This is an important step in developing an indoor growing setup. All of your research and budget will be tested at this part. The size of your growing area will determine the number of grow lights that can cover the entire space. The use of wattage can vary according to the stage of your plants.
Generally, one square foot requires almost 40 watts for the real wattage. Increasing every square foot will double the watts of actual wattage. For example, 1 square foot needs 40 watts; if we replace 1 sq ft with two, the number of wattages will be 80 (40+40). You can add the number of watts from the previous one by increasing the per square foot and so on.
Full-Spectrum LED Light Usage
So far, we’ve discussed the different types and quality of LED grow lights. In this section, we will guide you on every bit of LED grow light usage:
How far should full-spectrum grow lights be from plants?
It’s the fundamental question everybody asks for the first time. It depends on how high the watts of power that grow lights use and vice versa. The bigger the watts are, the more distance you have to keep from the plants. If you use 200 watts of LEDs, the lights should be placed 12-20 inches above the top of the plants.
How long to use full-spectrum grow lights?
Plants are also living organisms, and they also need to rest at night. During the dark hours, they focus on power and strength. The plants need at least 12 to 16 hours of full-spectrum lights to replicate the natural sunlight. Those light hours can vary according to the different stages of the plant’s growth. At the vegetative phase, plants need 18 hours of direct light and the remaining hours in the dark.
How many hours a day should you leave grow lights on?
Keeping the grow lights on stops your plant’s growth and consumes much electricity. There’s no doubt that if you run the grow lights all day long, it will be a disaster for your plants and yourself in the shape of an electricity bill. You should give your plants a minimum of 8 to 10 hours of light. Read the previous section on how to keep the light on for optimal results.
Comparison with Other Grow Lights:
Need a better comparison of full-spectrum lights with other grow lights? You will find out in this section it’s up to you to decide whether you want to go with full-spectrum LED grow lights or with others.
Are red-blue grow lights better than full-spectrum?
Full-spectrum grow lights also use red and blue lights because of the color mixtures and combinations at different wavelengths, which we see as white light. In reality, it’s quite the opposite; humans can’t see the infrared rays. Plus, full-spectrum lights are pretty popular among growers these days. However, that doesn’t mean red-blub fixtures are not efficient. Red and blue grow lights have the upper hand on consuming less power than full-spectrum LEDs.
Can plants get too much LED light?
Again, it depends on the nature of the plants that you grow. Most plants love to absorb heat, while others don't. If you keep the LED grow lights near your plants, you might witness the early signs of burned leaves and stunted growth. That’s why you should place your LEDs at an optimal height where the plants only feel the intensity of heat.
Can plants get too much grow light?
Plants don’t only light to thrive and stay healthy. They also need the darkness to focus on strength. If you keep the grow light on 24/7, your plant won’t be ready on time. Like LEDs, other traditional grow lights can damage or even result in the demise of your plant.
Is 100W LED grow light enough?
It’s entirely up to you how much growing space you will use. A 100W LED light can shield an area of 2-4 sq ft for vegetative growth. When the plants matured to the flowering stage, the area became more occupied due to the dense population. A 100W LED light covers 1-2 sq ft of space at that time.
Value and Efficiency of Full-Spectrum Lights
It's a fact that full-spectrum LED lights are the only alternative to sunlight. The efficiency rate of full-spectrum LED grow lights is quite promising; that’s why more growers are already using them. Here’s more on the value and efficiency of full-spectrum grow lights:
Are full-spectrum lights worth it?
We also have a question: if full-spectrum isn’t worth using, why does it keep trending? Obviously, it provides more benefits to growers; that’s why it’s one of the popular trends in the horticulture industry. The reason for being in the trend for so long is that it provides a viewing experience similar to real and natural light (sunlight.) It almost reflects the natural sunlight and color inside the growing space. Now, tell us. Is it worth it or not? Of course, it does.
What are the most effective grow lights?
LED grow bulbs are way more effective while consuming electricity. Plus, they are much more efficient in photosynthesis, and their lifespan is more extended than fluorescent bulbs.
Four things every grower should know about the full spectrum LED grow lights:
Growers have been using grow lights to ignite their indoor gardens. As the technology progressing, they are slowly making a move to full-spectrum LED grow lights as they are more efficient and provide value to plants. Moving to new technology would take time to adjust the psychology. You can adapt to new technology faster by following the four things about full-spectrum grow lights:
- Never try to set the full-spectrum lights close to your plants. However, they don’t emit high heat, but still pretty quick to react.
- You might risk overwatering your plants while using the full-spectrum lights. HIDs emit more heat than LEDs and quickly dry the soil.
- There are plenty of LED grow lights available in the market; if you don’t know about the full-spectrum lights, you may end up getting the wrong type of LEDs.
- Before making a purchase, calculate the watts correctly according to your growing space. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending your whole budget buying lights.
Will any full spectrum LED light be used as grow lights?
Full-spectrum LEDs use a good mix of different colors and wavelengths. A blend of the different wavelengths replicates the sunlight, which any plant in the world requires. Yes, you can use any full-spectrum (white LED) lights as grow lights.