The Best for Indoor Plants – LED’s, What to Look for

So you’re thinking of buying yourself a grow light.  Well, you are in the right place. I happen to have hands-on experience and I’ve done tons of research on LED’s, I know why they’re the best for indoor plants.

Where do I start?

The Best Grow Lights For Indoor PlantsFirst, how many plants are you planning on growing? If you are growing for the first time, I suggest you start small, 1-4 plants max. This will allow you focus on the individual needs of your particular plants as well as minimize potential losses. Once you’ve decided on what and how many plants you plan on growing, you can go ahead and buy your light which is the best for indoor plants that you are harvesting or growing.

What do I look for?

There are so many to choose and everywhere you look there’s a LED grow light sale. Well, there are many different options, so the decision can be tough but I will do my best to break it down for you and get you headed in the right direction.

Wattage

First off, you need to look at wattage. As I pointed out in another section, the optimum output for each plant is 50-watts. You can use less and sacrifice potential growth resulting in smaller yields but that’s not our goal here. If you are like me, the best for indoor plants is what you want, so 50 watts per plant is what we shoot for.

Light SpectrumThe Best Grow Lights For Indoor Plants

The second most important thing to take into consideration is the spectrum of light produced. To plants, the two most important colors of light in the spectrum are blue and red (The optimum frequency for blue light being around 470 nanometers or nm and red around 650nm). These colors are readily absorbed in the process of photosynthesis which controls the growth of your plant.

There are some uses for other colors in the spectrum, for instance, green is mostly reflected (which is where plants get their color), but what little is absorbed deeper in the leaf and aids in the plant’s architecture. IR light plays a role in the blooming of flowering plants and UV light helps get rid of certain bacteria. In short, make sure red and blue are your primary sources of light because those in combination are the best for indoor plants whether it be houseplant, herbs, vegetables, fruit or cannabis.

Build Quality

The third important factor to look at when buying a light is build quality. But how can you tell when you are buying online?……. Reviews! Take some time and read up on what you are going to buy. I promise there will be numerous people commenting on the particular grow lights integrity in both the reviews and/or questions sections.

LED TypeLED Grow Light Veg/Bloom

The fourth and the more confusing thing to look for is the LED type. They can be 3-watt to 10-watts and the higher the wattage, the more heat gets generated, which isn’t much of a problem for LED’s anyway.

You’ll notice the true wattage output is lower than the lights overall wattage potential as listed. Example: Light is advertised as a 300-watt light and the true wattage or power output is listed at 200-watts.

This simply means that each LED is not running at maximum capacity which is better because it increases the lights lifespan (100ea x 3-watt LED’s at max capacity is 300-watts of total power, 100ea x 3-watt at 66% capacity is 200-‘true’ watts).

You will see max wattage is also used as a point of comparison with Metal Halide (MH) and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights which are lights of the past but nonetheless, they get compared. LED’s are the best for indoor plants, no question about it.

Extra FeaturesLED Grow Light Cooling System

There are additional important features to look for like reflectors, daisy chain option, the number of fans, aluminum heat sinks, veg/bloom switches, and dimming features to name a few.

Reflectors redirect potentially lost light towards the plant. The daisy chain option allows two or more lights to be linked together with a power cord eliminating excess cordage.

The more fans the light has, the cooler it will run. The lower operating temperature, the longer the light will last. Aluminum heat sinks help dissipate the heat generated by the light, they are pretty standard in any light.

Veg/bloom switches allow the grower to change the light to more suit the particular growth cycle. Dimming features are similar to the veg/bloom switch by allowing the grower to differentiate light between cycles.

Please note that you may see references to PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) and lumens which are units of LED Grow Light Daisy Chainmeasure for visible light intensity. Lumens are not whats best for indoor plants because they are inaccurate when measuring the intensity of the LED light plants need. Lumen measures all visible light, even what plants don’t need and PAR measures the light that’s the best for indoor plants photosynthesis functions.

Warranty

Another important thing to look for isn’t for the benefit of the plant per se, it’s to our benefit. One word, warranty. I’m not implying your new light is going to go bad, I’m telling you a warranty will help if something happens. I’ve never had a light go bad so I’ve never needed to use a warranty but it’s best to be prepared for any situation.

Conclusion

So there you have it. Now you know what to look for, and how to look for it, right? Lesson learned? LED’s are the best for indoor plants! Good to hear, I’m glad I was able to help.  Please take a minute and leave a comment on your thoughts or if you have any questions, let me know, and feel free to move on to the next section where I explain what you need to start your grow project.

 

11 Comments

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  1. Linda

    This was a very interesting site as the need for proper lighting is essential for ideal growth. I sure didn’t realize just how technical it could get. Very well delivered and easy for a layperson to understand. Side Note…the medicinal use of marijuana is astounding and I do hope it becomes more widely understood soon.
    Thank so much!

    • Karl Hosch

      You are right, proper light is absolutely essential for growing plants to their full potential. And it’s not too technical, there is more to it than one would think though. Medical marijuana will become legal everywhere before long but no matter what it will always have some opponents because of the stereotypes that have been laid down for the past several decades. I am still going to support the cause because I’ve seen it work first hand. Anyways, thank you for your comment, come back soon! 

  2. Lyon Garage

    I have known people to try grow plants and failed and probably because they didn’t have the proper lighting as you stated on your page. I have a doctor that has asked me if I myself was interested in growing my own medicinal plants. I am still at a stand still on that one because I really don’t know the first thing on doing so. But you have shed some light on the best lighting and ways to get good results.

    • Karl Hosch

      It is true that it is a resilient weed but there are many reasons people fail from too much water or not enough, poor lighting, wrong soil, etc. But there are warning signs each plant gives to let you know what’s wrong. Brown bleached leaves means too much light intensity, long stalks means not enough light, spots can mean wrong soil nutrients. To be honest, most of the time, people either over do it or under do it. I’d suggest giving it a try, start with one plant so you can stay focused. You can either start with a seed or a clone which is a clipping from another plant that’s growing already (I suggest a clone because it’s easier) but it depends on what state you are in also. But you needn’t worry all the tools you’ll need come in discreet packaging for your privacy. If you do plan on growing G yourself, feel free to ask me any questions, I’d be happy to help. Thank you for stopping by and hopefully I will talk to you soon. 

  3. John

    Hi Karl,

    A very interesting and detailed review of the LED grow light. To tell you the truth, I know nothing about growing weed, or even the use of it, but I have a dear friend whose birthday is coming soon and I know that he would love to have something like what you are describing but he doesn’t much money to spare, so I would like to make it his birthday gift.

    I would also like to include a few plants to get him started. Now how and where can I get the plants? Could you also give me an idea (as I said I know nothing) of what could be the total cost of a complete starter kit with, say, 4 plants?

    I am looking forward to your response and guidance.

    Thanks,

    John

    • Karl Hosch

      If you are looking for cannabis, I will need to know your location so I can find a place that has clones available or you can even start from the beginning buy feminized seeds as well. If you have another type of plant in mind, I can find you a source for those too. A starter kit can be expensive but doable, I just need more information. Do you need an indoor grow room? How big of an area is available? Please let me know what I can work with so I can help you more. If you like, you can email me at Karl@ledgrowlightsformarijuana.org. I look forward to talking with you. 

  4. Hi Karl,

    A very interesting and detailed review of the LED grow light. To tell you the truth, I know nothing about growing weed, or even the use of it, but I have a dear friend whose birthday is coming soon and I know that he would love to have something like what you are describing but he doesn’t much money to spare, so I would like to make it his birthday gift.

    I would also like to include a few plants to get him started. Now how and where can I get the plants? Could you also give me an idea (as I said I know nothing) of what could be the total cost of a complete starter kit with, say, 4 plants?

    I am looking forward to your response and guidance.

    Thanks,

    John

  5. Israel

    Hey Karl!

    My father has lately been thinking about growing some weed in the garden. He lives in a 7th floor and gets a lot of sun everyday.

    But I was wondering if maybe it’s better to have the plants inside with a more controlled light.

    Is it better for the to get as much sun as possible, or it will be better to regulate the light they’re receiving with some led lights like the ones you recommend?

    Thanks for the review man, very helpful! 😉

    • Karl Hosch

      There are benefits to both light sources. You benefit from the sun and its the perfect light source period. However, you lose the control because the sun dictates the veg/bloom cycles. With LED lights indoors, you have all the control over both vegetative and flowering stages. You can run the LED’s for 18 hours during veg cycle to maximize growth then drop to 12 hours of light and 12 of complete darkness. If you grow indoors, make sure you use an enclosure or grow tent so that you can benefit the most. Make sure the light is constant and the dark is pitch black so that you don’t stress the plants. In short, I love to be in control. If I were you, LED’s would be used. The question I have is how many plants do you plan on growing and how much area do you have to grow in? That will tell you which light to use. There’s a grow method that’s relatively new that you may want to look into. It’s called screen of green or ‘scrog’ for short. Google it or visit the link on the right hand side of this page and thank me later. If you have any questions, I’m here to help. Thank you for visiting! 

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