LED grow lights are becoming the go-to for hobby hydroponic gardeners and for good reason. LED grow lights are overall more efficient and have a longer lifespan. There are now so many different grow lights to choose from. Here’s how to choose the right LED grow light for your hydroponic garden.
Determining How Much Light Coverage You Need
When searching for LED grow lights for your hobby hydroponic garden, you’ll notice they are grouped by wattage. LED grow lights typically range between 300 to 2000 watts.
Below is my recommended coverage of an LED grow lights by wattage. I would recommend that you give your plants 50 watts per square foot during the vegetative stage. Wattage per square foot increases during the blooming stage, I would recommend providing as much as 80 watts per square foot. Keep in mind the shape of the grow light can affect the coverage area and coverage dimensions.
|LED Wattage||Vegetative Coverage||Bloom Coverage|
As the technology advances and gets cheaper I’m sure LED grow lights for hobby growers will continue to grow in size.
Ability To Add Additional Grow Lights
If you plan on using multiple grow lights in your hydroponic garden then I would suggest purchasing lights with a daisy chain feature.
Daisy-chaining allows you to connect multiple lights together using the power cord. This reduces the number of outlets needed for grow lights, freeing them up for other system parts. You can only connect a few together at a time, make sure to check the manufactures recommendations as to how many they recommend.
LED Grow Light Lifespan
LED grow lights last a lot longer than other types of grow lighting. With that being said lifespan is not the same for all lights.
LED grow lights typically have a lifespan between 50,000 to 100,000 hours. While even on the low end 50,000 hours of use equates to about 8.5 years, but when the lifespan doubles to 100,000 hours that life span is now at a little over 17 years.
When researching different grow light option make sure to factor in how long the light is going to last.
Veg And Bloom Switch
Almost all LED grow lights are full-spectrum, meaning they will produce light needed for all stages of plant growth. Where some LED grow lights may differ though is how they offer that light.
Some grow lights have 1 switch turning the light on and off. Smaller lights are typically 1 switch. Larger lights usually have two switches. Two switch LED grow lights typically have 1 veg switch and 1 bloom switch.
Most manufacturers offer some sort of warranty or guarantee. When looking at warranties it’s good to note whats covered in addition to how long the warranty lasts.
When shopping for LED grow lights for your hydroponic system you’re going to find prices across the board. While the budget grow lights may not be 100% perfect for growing nop notch quality plants, for most hobby hydroponic gardeners it’s more than enough to grow great produce.
Don’t feel like you have to spend a top dollar to get a recognized “name brand”.
Check the Reviews
Before making the final decision I always check the reviews. There are a few things to consider when checking the reviews of items you’re considering for your hydroponic garden.
- Make look at how many reviews a product has. The more reviews, the more accurate of a conclusion you can probably make by looking at them as a whole.
- Bad reviews don’t necessarily mean a bad product. Sometimes after reading a negative review, it leads me to believe that the experience was more user error.
- Make sure to check out the pictures people include in their reviews. In addition to the light itself, check out how their garden looks. Keep in mind if something looks off it can be due to something other than the light, but a healthy-looking garden is always a good sign.
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