In this review of the 126W Penetrator Pro from Hydro Grow LED, I will give you a run down of the important features and facts that makes this light one to consider for your indoor grow. Any regular readers of this site know that I don't promote any garbage and strive to give thorough and accurate information and this review will be no exception. Keep reading to find out why this company is on my short list of true competitors in the LED grow light market. Also - be sure to sign up for the newsletter so you can be notified as soon as I post my grow journal featuring the 126W Penetrator Pro right on this site.
126W Penetrator Pro - Design Update
When I first thought about reviewing the Penetrator a few months ago, I found out from other customers that the 345W lights were experiencing a pretty high failure rate - around 10-15% which is just crazy. Further research showed that the failure was due to overheating of the power supply, perhaps from an inefficient heat sink cooling design. Now, of course Hydro Grow gave appropriate support to any customer that had a failed light and replaced it as quickly as possible, however, at the time, I was unwilling to do a review of a light with such issues. Just imagine if you were part way through a grow and your light died . . . no matter how quickly a replacement would be sent to you, your plants would suffer.
I am happy to say that those issues are a thing of the past - Hydro Grow has met the challenge and passed by updating their design to alleviate those problems.
Is the Penetrator a UFO killer?
Noticeably absent from Hydro Grow's product line is the ubiquitous UFO LED grow light design. Not that I believe anything to be inherently wrong with that design but it was the cheap import UFOs of a couple years ago that gave LED grow lights a bad name . . . so it's not a bad thing to not use that design.
What I find interesting about Hydro Grow is their power ratings on the products - again, not the normal or expected 90W, 180W and so on. From a low end of 63W to the high powered 345W Penetrator Pro, Hydro Grow LED has an option for every type of grower.
The 126W Penetrator Pro is a solid grow light but, due to its unconventional power rating, it is tricky to compare to others. Having more power than a a more conventional 90W UFO but less than the 180W leaves me a bit unsure as to where to place it within the continuum of LED grow lights. Comparing it to either of the above lights would be akin to comparing apples and oranges. So that being said, the 126W Penetrator Pro is in a group by itself - a fact not lost on Hydro Grow LED.
Right out of the box, the Penetrator Pro offers a significant power boost over the standard Penetrator which comes from the use of 3W diodes over 1W. Having more available power from the lights is what gives the Penetrator Pro an edge when it comes to getting down deep into the canopy of your plants to promote larger yields. The Pro model consumes about 200 watts . . . when you take into account the cooling fans, it leaves about 191 watts of LED power going directly from your plants from 126 3W LEDs. Some simple math will tell us that each of those LEDs are putting out an actual 1.5W which is right where you would want them to be. The reason is that, if you over power a diode, not only will you have a potential for overheating but you will also experience a shift in the wavelength of light that is emitted. LED manufacturers and growers have learned in the last couple of years that a shift by even just a few nanometers in the actual output of the LED can lead to really poor growing results.
Which brings me to the next topic - bandwidths. Also known as light spectrum and wavelengths . . . the Penetrator Pro emits light in 6 bandwidths: two red, two blue, green, and IR (far-red). These bandwidths have been proven to be highly beneficial in all manner of indoor gardening from simple herbs and lettuce to more complex grows of tomatoes and cannabis.
One thing I really can appreciate about this company is the realistic coverage area estimates. The Penetrator Pro is said to cover an 18'' x 30'' rectangle or approximately 3.75 square feet per light which would put it on par with 300-400W of HID lighting. On the surface, this may seem a bit low but then again, we as LED consumers are used to coverage areas that are blown way out of proportion to reality whereas this one seems to be dialed in just right.
One key factor that goes into coverage area for this light is the LED beam angle of 60 degrees. With lights in the industry varying wildly from a low of 60 degrees to as high as 150 degrees (90 degrees average), beam angle plays an important role not only in coverage area but penetration power - the power of light to push its way through leafy canopies to lower branches. The Penetrator Pro combines the punch from the 3W diodes with the laser-focused beam angle to squeeze out as much canopy penetration as possible. While this may reduce its effective footprint by a bit, I think it makes up for it by providing light support to lower nodes and branches which increases yield.
Using the 126W Penetrator Pro
So what is the practical application of the 126W Penetrator Pro?
The Penetrator has been around long enough to rack up many successful grows as evidenced by any number of grow journals on cannabis-friendly forums. This light has the chops to give big yields off of SOG and SCROG grows as well as more conventional, taller grows of up to about 4 feet tall. The Penetrator Pro is perfectly suited to smaller tent and closet style grows - providing in excess of 2g/watt depending on growing conditions and strain selection. Numbers like that point to its readiness for use in commercial growing operations - something I haven't seen from the Penetrator yet.
Plain and simple - this light delivers solid growth and dense bud and is worthy of consideration for your grow space! Keep an eye out on this site as I will soon begin posting my own grow journal featuring the 126W Penetrator Pro LED grow light.