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Best Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights

Finding the Best Full Spectrum LED Grow Light

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If you have been reading our site for any length of time, then you know that LED Full Spectrum grow lights are special light lamps that simulate the sun’s rays.  The best full spectrum light for an outdoor grower is obviously the sun.  But for an indoor grower, sunlight is sometimes not an option.  We think LED grow lights can help you grow marijuana faster than any other indoor lighting method. However, figuring out which LED lights work best for your situation can be a bit confusing because there are many lighting options to choose from.

Lights that are full-spectrum have recently become available at reasonable prices.  These lights mimic the sun’s light spectrum but often add some extra light in the ranges of wavelength that are important for growing marijuana. We have done the work to pick out the best Full Spectrum lights so we’ll help you to choose the best LED grow light for your needs.

Color is an Important Factor

Sunlight is not made up of just one color. Instead, it has a full spectrum of colors which is the reason we see rainbows when it rains and the sun peeks through (but that is a conversation for another day). At any rate, the colors range from red, yellow to blue and violet, and plants use this full spectrum to create the photosynthesis they need. The red and blue lights are the most critical for plants.  Some people argue that full-spectrum LED lights are better because they make sure that your plant gets all the wavelengths that are present in natural light. Other wavelengths besides red and blue, according to the argument, are also beneficial for certain aspects of plant growth.

Intensity also Plays a Factor

The intensity of the light that a plant receives is conventionally marked by the wattage of the bulbs, and by how close you place the lamp to the plant. Plants differ in their need for certain colors but also in their need for light intensity depending on their growth stage.  Unlike shade plants, marijuana plants require high levels of sunlight. Equally, when grown indoors, they need high-intensity LED lights.

However, these lighting needs will change over the lifespan of the plant. For example, early-stage germination of marijuana does not need light. However, once you have early-stage sprouts, you’ll need to start using the lamps for about 18 hours, whereas flowering stages only require 12 hours of lighting.  MaryJane Farmer has an article about the best light recipes for various stages of growth.

Once your plants hit the flowering stage, you can determine the sex of the plants and separate the males from the females. Remember, you cannot smoke males as these buds are only good for pollination.

How to Choose LED Lights

A good rule of thumb is to use 30-50 watts for each square foot of growing space, especially on cannabis plants that are flowering. So if you have a growing space of about 16 square ft you would want to purchase a grow light of about 550 Watts. That is if we assume that your plans are all in a single area. However, plants that are still in the vegetative state only need about half of this amount of light.

It is important to note that wattage is only a very rough measure of a light’s effectiveness.  The more important measure is PAR value and particularly the Daily Light Integral.  MaryJane Farmer explains what that means in this article, but suffice to say that you should never buy a light without looking at the chart of PAR values that the manufacturer should include in the product description.  Here is what a PAR value chart looks like.

mars hydro PAR chart

Deciding on the type of grow space lights can be a challenge, as there are so many types and kinds to choose from. That is why we list a few different LED light options to help you start your new project. While Viparspectra is becoming a well known name for cheap LED grow lights, the others featured below might not yet have caught your attention.

Affordable Full Spectrum Grow Lights

While starting a project of growing marijuana indoors doesn’t seem like too complicated a project, if you’re going to create nice-sized cannabis plants then you need a little beforehand preparation.

VIPARSPECTRA 1200W Full Spectrum LED Grow Light

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Okay, so you don’t need a lighting system with more than a thousand watts, which is what the Viparspectra has. It is a system that includes a full spectrum of lights for your cannabis plants, which means it provides light energy (wavelengths) for all growth stages of the plant. All you need to do is adjust the amount of light exposure the plants get during the different growth stages. In the end, this  LED light option improves on older types of lights like fluorescents and HID, as there is no need to change out LED lamps when the plants mature.

Unlike other systems, this LED light lamp offers a way of turning off certain spectrum colors at different growth stages, and it is this feature that allows you to better control the growth between vegetative and flowering stages. While the Viparspectra is rated at 1200W, that does not mean it draws this much energy from the electricity. It just means that this is the wattage of HID lamp it can replace. This system only consumes an average of about 500W of power but produces the same lighting for your plants as a 1200 watts HPS light.

The Viparspectra has an integrated cooling system that keeps the lamp cool at all times. There are six separate cooling fans built into the tray. This is a very impressive feature as most LED lamps come with less cooling power. For additional temperature control and LED chip longevity, we also see aluminum heat sinks, which further dissipate the heat produced by the lamp, affording a more durable LED lamp system. It is very versatile as it offers a much-needed feature that other lamps just don’t have, and is the reason for the upper range in price. Warranty Coverage is also excellent here as this LED lighting system offers a three-year warranty.

BESTVA 2000W Double Chips LED Grow Light Full Spectrum

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The Bestva system is a 2000 watt COB grow light. This high-tech innovation could make this one of the best LED light panels for growing cannabis. COB stands for Chip On Board, and it is the technology that keeps the LED panel cooler than in other lighting systems. The COB system on this lamp offers a large number of chips with well-placed soldered points which give the light durability but less heat. The more solder points on a lamp the hotter it will run.

This offers a full-spectrum LED lamp safe for all plant stages. It covers an area of about 4×4 and a height of about 6.5 feet. You can’t beat this LED light system for durability either as it comes with a lifetime use of about 50,000 hours which is about 5 years of 24-hour use and a substantial warranty of 3 years.

So if you have a mid-sized budget, and a smaller grow tent, the Bestva 2000 will do the trick. Again, although this system offers an output of 2,000 watts HID equivalent, it does not draw that much energy from the electricity. Amazingly, it only consumes about 390 watts.

Cheaper and Smaller

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This light is billed as being sufficient for a 2×2 space, but that that is probably an overstatement and you would would be safer using this for just one plant.  In any case, it’s very cheap for that purpose.

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This King  LED Full spectrum light has double LED chips which purportedly are more efficient than single chip LED.  It also has a cooling system that keeps it significantly cooler than other lights, again for greater efficiency and cost savings.  One drawback mentioned is that the light footprint on the edges is poorer than expected, although some users report good results in a 3’x3′ tent.

Things to Keep In Mind

With the average LED light, some people have said you can expect to get about .05g of pot bud per watt. However, your yield per watt is going to vary widely with changes in technique, different strains, and your experience.  So take that figure with a huge grain of salt (or pot, if you prefer.)

Modern LED panels have wide spectrums of light and make for healthier plants, and manufacturers have developed LED focal lenses that point as much light as possible at the plant and increase full spectrum light penetration.  However, be sure to look at the light footprint and the PAR value chart when comparing lights.

LED Lighting and Light Footprint

LEDs offer less energy consumption and give off less heat, so they won’t burn the plants when they are kept at appropriate heights. Unlike their similarly cool-running predecessor, the CFL light, LEDs are very intense so do need to be set at a higher level from the plants. But that makes these lamps a better option when you need more plant coverage.

A general rule of thumb is to keep LED grow lights about 12 to 18 inches from the tops of the cannabis plants. This height helps prevent burning but also spreads out the coverage.  As you will see from looking at PAR value, more spread out coverage means that you have less light energy at the edges of the light footprint, and thus plants on the periphery are likely to grow less strongly than plants directly under the light.

Last Word From MaryJane Farmer

I have several resources for growers, from beginners to experienced farmers.  Everything is listed and described in the Map of Everything here.  In addition, for beginners, I have a downloadable free ebook, which is available here.

Send me suggestions, questions or criticisms below in the comments.  I would love to hear from you.  And send your photos too.  MaryJane@420Beginner.com

Last update on 2023-02-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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