Sorting out the dizzying array of grow lighting that's available is a daunting task, especially if you’re new to hydroponics. Traditionally grow lights have been incandescent or fluorescent lamps, but in recent years, great strides have been made in LED (light-emitting diode) lamps. Even for seasoned indoor growers, the benefits and restrictions of using LED grow lights are not always clear. Today let's compare two of the most popular systems available today: LED grow lights vs fluorescent grow lights.
Incandescent and fluorescent lamps - the light produced from the lamp is essentially a by-product of a chemical reaction. In an incandescent bulb, this reaction is caused by electricity running through a filament; in a fluorescent tube, a gas is used instead. Either way, there are side effects to relying on this chemistry for your light. Much more energy has to be consumed by these lamps to actually generate that light. This contrasts with LED grow lights, which generate light directly as a result of an electrical current passing through them.
LED emits PAR light, i.e., photo synthetically active radiation, which offers greater efficiency and better results. When these lights are used for growing plants, they accelerate the growth because the wavelength of light that is emitted through them is exactly what the plants need. Plants have a specific requirement of wavelengths for conducting the process of photosynthesis. The traditional white light bulbs will not provide such wavelengths and thus hamper the growth. Not just that, the incandescent lamps and fluorescent lamps will interfere with the growth of plants. Incandescent lamps produce more than 80% heat when lighted and thus emit heat instead of light. This kind of heat can be harmful for the plants. LED grow lights will produce light in the right frequency and wavelength.
While fluorescent bulbs are now available that put out a variety of cool, warm, and full spectrum lighting, LED technology enables an unlimited variety of precision outputs ranging from broad-spectrum white light that’s remarkably close to sunlight to lighting that growers can use for intricately specific purposes.
Both fluorescent and LED grow lights come in warm and cool varieties; plants need both warm and cool light to grow appropriately. Installing only cool light results in tall, spindly plants, while installing only warm light results in a short, bushy plant with no blooms. Indoor gardeners have worked around this effect for years by fitting a two-tube fluorescent fixture with one cool bulb and one warm bulb, or you can opt for a full-spectrum fluorescent tube that emits both warm and cool light. LED manufacturers have sidestepped this problem by combining individual warm and cool LED diodes into a single bulb, which allows it to emit a beneficial light balance. These types of lights are sold as specialty grow lights, not regular indoor LED bulbs.
These LED grown lights do not produce any sounds and are absolutely noise free. Unlike the buzzing sound made by a fluorescent bulb, these LED lights are calm and quiet. They do not make any disturbing or annoying sounds.
These lights can help you save more than 75 % energy. This quality also helps in reducing the damage caused to the mother earth. If a light uses less power, it indirectly helps in saving the environment. The running cost of these lights is less than half of HID or other types of lighting systems. They use approximately 100 watts of power. Moreover, they have a long life and work up to 50 times longer than the traditional white light and lamps. The lifespan is as long as seven years. They can drastically reduce your energy consumption and help save our natural resources. Indeed, indoor LED grow lights are excellent for domestic purposes.
The chemical reaction that provides light in the older bulbs also generates a significant amount of heat. With the amount of light necessary to grow indoors, and the ideal proximity of that light to the plants, managing temperatures so as not to scorch the growing plants can be difficult. LED grow lights generate almost no heat at all, they will not scorch your tender plants and flowers. These lights are good for plants that have high humidity requirement. Moreover, since it produces less heat, the plants will not require frequent watering. Another advantage of this light is that it will not warm up the room. This means that you can save energy that will be used by cooling systems for reducing the room temperature.
The possibility of burn out is very less as compared to fluorescent lamps or HID lamps. The frequent on and off action, which is known as cycling can shorten the lifespan of a fluorescent or HID lamp. However, LED grow lights are ideal for objects and applications that require frequent on and off. Moreover, these lights will light up very quickly within microseconds. Moreover, it is not fragile like a fluorescent or HID lamp since it is of solid-state components. They are not subject to external damage and this is another reason for its long life. LED growing lights do not contain any toxic material like mercury, which is commonly used in fluorescent lamps.
Fluorescent grow lights are the cheaper option. LED grow lights are more expensive initially, but because they must be replaced less often, they may be less expensive over time. When choosing a grow light system, keep in mind that the fixture may be a onetime cost, but the price of the replacement bulbs affects you again and again. With a bit of research, an LED grow light can be simpler to maintain and a better light source for your plants than anything else this side of the sun!
After comparing the features of LED grow lights and fluorescent grow lights, obviously we know LED grow lights have more advantages. Although they are more expensive, still, with a bit of research, an LED grow light can be simpler to maintain and a better light source for your plants than anything else this side of the sun!