**This post is outdated, published 3 years ago - please read comments, I no longer recommend this company. But this one is good** From my own experience with this website, I know that 90% of visitors here are looking for information and products to help them grow medical herbs. Many of the leading LED companies out there post pictures and videos of their lights growing herbs, lettuce, tomatoes and the like while only eluding to growing herb. I don't know about you but I don't know too many people that would spend good money to grow basil indoors. Then a reader of my site asked me about the 357 Magnum LED grow light - it seems to me that it is perfectly suited to growing larger flowering plants like tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers as well as - medicinal herbs.
357 Magnum LED Grow Light For Medicinal Herbs
One look at the technical specs on the light and I was impressed. The Magnum may be perfectly suited for growing the best medical herbs at home. So is this light worthy of that coveted spot in your grow room? NO
I think so - and here is why.
Background On The 357 Magnum
While the 357 Magnum LED grow light is new to the marketplace, I can tell you that the parent company is not new to the industry. This company has been around for over 4 years and they obviously know what they are doing, which is not indicative of some fly by night group out of China looking to make a buck. The owner has over 20 years of growing experience and it shows in the results from this LED grow light.
- 11 Light Bands - I have said on this site that there really is no need for anything over 5-7 bands in your grow light. It seemed to me that adding excess bands and light spectra (especially white light) is just a step backward in efficiency, like HID lighting. However, you just can't deny proof that these lights can grow big, dense bud. There are plenty of grow journals that document the results of these lights.
- Uses 3W/3 Chip Bridgelux Diodes - While you can find good LED grow lights that use Chinese made diodes, there are two brands of LEDs that are, undeniably, at the top: Bridgelux and Cree. It is widely accepted that Cree LEDs are the best in the business while Bridgelux are a close second. Why do they use the #2 brand? Simple - cost versus benefit. While the Cree LEDs may put out 8% more light per diode, they do so at an increased cost of nearly 400%! Save your money, buy LED grow lights using Bridgelux instead. While 1W LEDs work great for growing shorter plants like in a SOG/SCROG grow, a great benefit to having 3W LEDs in the light is increased penetration power which is key when growing taller plants.
- 357 Magnum Output - The Magnum light, built on 119 x 3W/3Chip Bridgelux diodes puts out around 180W of growing strength. This can be a bit confusing as it is marketed as a 357W light, however, due to diode efficiencies (read here), actual output is claimed to be 180W. That fact should not be taken as a negative, just a function of how diodes work.
- Focused Beam Technology - This is marketing lingo relating to the LED beam angle. The 357 Magnum utilizes a hybrid beam angle combining 60 and 90 degree diodes which, with 3W diodes, gives growers a one-two punch to ensure your light penetrates the canopy. Typical beam angles are 90 and 120 degrees which gives a larger grow area but does so at the cost of penetration - light is scattered more instead of delivered in an intense, laser-like beam. The benefit here can be more bud-producing colas and higher yield.
- Spectrol Spectrum Control - I used to think that features like spectrum control were just more marketing gimmicks, however, I have been shown the error of my ways. Spectrum control enables you to dial in the correct spectra of light corresponding to the plant's current stage of growth. For example, during veg, you want to kick up the blue wavelengths and reduce the red. To get the thickest, most dense bud and more yield during flowering, you need to go big on the red side of the spectrum. This light lets you do just that.
If you have ever bought a cheap LED grow light from a Chinese importer, you know first hand how poor the service can be. On top of that, if anything ever happens to your light, are you really going to spend a couple hundred to send it back to the manufacturer to get it fixed?
Lets face it, ANY product, no matter how well it is manufactured can develop an issue along the way. Anyone that has tried to repair LED grow lights from your everyday importer knows that it is usually impossible to fix because of the way they are built.
One of my favorite benefits of the 357 Magnum is that it uses customer serviceable parts. Nearly 90% of issues you run into with LED grow lights are due to a problem with the power supply. While the cheap imports are made to NOT be fixable by the customer, the 357 Magnum LED features easily replaceable discrete power supplies.
Even though the 357 Magnum light is built with high-quality components and repairs are rarely needed, it would help me sleep better at night knowing that IF something happens, fixing it is quick and easy. If it is determined that a power supply needs fixed, they can just send one out to you within a couple days. Otherwise (if you don't want to fix it yourself) you can send it back to British Columbia, Canada to get it fixed for you under their 3 year warranty.
357 Magnum LED Grow Light - Not For Everyone
This is one serious grow light. Because it is built with the best components, this is NOT a cheap LED grow light. The 357 Magnum sells for $650 which includes shipping and it is worth every penny. This light is designed to be a replacement for a 800W HID light for vegetative growth and up to 600W in flowering - power consumption, yield, potency, flavor, etc.