I have been asked several times on my opinion about certain grow lights and, those that know me know that I am not afraid to share it. Recently I have been hit with many inquiries about the 225 LED grow panels that are easily found on Ebay and Amazon and it is important that people realize what these grow lights are good for.
Check this out if you are looking for the best LED grow lights, otherwise, read on . . .
Why are 225 LED grow light panels a waste of time?
Stick with me for a minute and I will break down the myriad of reasons why buying one of these 225 led panels is not just a waste of time, but a waste of money. If you purchase one of these units, you will be greatly disappointed and, generally, left with no recourse as they usually come from some Chinese wholesaler with no return policy.
Here are some quick facts about these grow lights that should make you think twice about buying them.
They are horribly under powered
Anyone with experience growing knows that it takes at least some power to grow indoors. When you factor in your plant's stage of growth (seedling, vegetative, fruiting, flowering) with the overall height you wish to achieve, you will quickly find that these cheap grow panels have nowhere near the power needed.
These lights use only around 14 watts of power, which some might say is great because it will save you electricity. However, the problem is that to reach a total of 14 watts, each LED can only consume 0.06 watts of power (0.06 x 225 = approx. 14 watts). This means these lights do not have the ability to penetrate any leaf coverage which will result in thin, stringy plants that are week and will fail to produce flowers or fruit. Any serious grower needs to have an LED grow light where each bulb uses at least 1 watt of power to ensure canopy penetration and proper fruiting & flowering.
Very low coverage
A 14w 225 LED grow panel can cover, at most, 3 square feet. That is only 18 inches x 18 inches of coverage at a distance of less than 6 inches. Now, the LED light wholesaler may tout this as a great thing - the lack of heat generated means you don't have to worry about burning your plants if they are close to the light. Just do some math and you will see that you would need to buy quite a few of them to cover any ground. Lets assume you have a grow space of 4'x4' - 16 square feet. So you would end up wasting money on having to buy at least 4 of these cheap LED panels and they would still do a very poor job of growing anything.
So as long as you were growing a single plant with small leaves at no more than 6 inches tall, you would be all set.
They hit a limited light spectrum and the wrong wavelengths
If you do some quick research on Google, you'll see what I mean. These cheap LED grow lights are the reason that this entire industry got a bad rap when they first came out a few years back. Problem is that the manufacturers, in their haste to make a buck with a junk product, failed to do any real research to find out the appropriate light spectra to cover to maximize plant photosynthesis.
The basic idea is that red wavelengths are good for plants in the flowering and fruiting stage while blue wavelengths are for vegetative growth. The problem is that it takes a well-tuned LED grow light to emit light at a precise wavelength to get the most out of your plant and increase yield. Wholesalers of cheap LED grow lights really just take a shot in the dark because they do not put in the time and effort to fine-tune their lights to the correct wavelengths of blue, red, and orange.
The best LED grow lights have years of research and development behind them and are made with high quality components. Yes, this means you will pay a bit more up front for an individual grow light, however, you will get much better overall coverage, canopy penetration, vegetative growth, and yield by not going the cheap way out.