LED grow lights are great for indoor growers because you can get almost anything to blossom and grow in your closet or any room in your house. However, there are many myths surrounding these products. Some myths are about how the products function while others are about certain features you should consider that really aren’t that important. This will discuss the 12 biggest LED grow light myths and what the truth really is.
12 LED Grow Light Myths
Myth #1: Watts Equal Brightness
It’s understandable why this myth exists. If we were talking about any other type of light bulb, then watts equal brightness. A 100W incandescent bulb will be brighter than an 80W bulb, that’s just how it works. That’s not how things go in regards to LED grow lights.
Wattage is only a measurement of how much power the light is drawing from the outlet. While a higher wattage light will usually be bright, there are times when a lower wattage light will be brighter than a higher wattage one. Pay attention to lumens and the semiconductor chip, which tells you how much power each light uses and emits.
Myth #2: LEDs Don’t Create Heat
LED growth lights run at a lower temperate than other grow light technologies, but some people take this literally to mean that these lights are cold to the touch. That is absolutely not true. About 20% of the electricity pulled to power the unit is converted to heat. That might sound like a lot, but it’s really not. However, this does mean that the lights will feel warm when you touch them.
Usually the lights won’t be hot enough to burn you if you touch them, but larger units might produce enough heat to burn your hands if you’re not careful. Just be cautious about touching these lights if they’ve been running for a long time.
Myth #3: LEDs Turn All Electricity into Light
These lights are very good at converting electricity into light. However, they don’t turn all the electricity into light, that type of technology simply doesn’t exist yet. You shouldn’t feel dismayed over that fact, as LEDs are one of the most efficient in this regard.
In truth, they turn about 80% of the electricity into light. Currently, no other light type quite reaches this amount of efficiency, so there is little wasted power with these lights.
Myth #4: Higher Wattage Lights Are Always Better
This myth is partially true. As stated above, the semiconductor determines how many watts are pulled by each LED. The most common semiconductors you’ll find are 3W, 5W and 10W. In most cases, a 5W will be brighter than a 3W and a 10W will be brighter than a 5W. However, that’s not always the case.
This is why you have to check the lumens and ensure that you’re getting the most light possible. Some of the higher wattage LEDs run at lower efficiency so that they produce less heat. This means that you might be getting roughly the same amount of light as with a 3W LED, but you’re paying more for the unit. Check to ensure that you’re getting what you paid for.
Myth #5: Yellow and Green Light are Needed
This is due to human error. Plants have evolved with the sun and use the light to initiate photosynthesis. When we think of the sun, we think of yellow light because the sun is yellow to our eyes. While yellow light can help with photosynthesis a little, is quite ineffective and not worth using.
The truth is that plants need red and blue light the most. The majority LED lights have been built with this in mind, but some use the completely wrong colors. Be sure to either choose full-spectrum or dual-spectrum with red and blue.
Myth #6: White Lights Work Well
This is an LED grow light myth that some experienced indoor growers believe, and for understandable reasons. LED is fairly new technology and some experienced growers expect it to be just like HPS and other established lighting technologies. These types of lights often look bright white and slightly yellowish when they are on. However, LED grow lights rarely come in white.
This is because HPS uses a wide spectrum, where all the colors are included within the light. LEDs have a narrow spectrum of light, so if the light is red, then you’re only getting red light and nothing else. This might seem like a disadvantage, but it ensures that your plants are getting the right colors for growth.
Myth #7: Light Intensity Is Highest Near the Center
This is another myth that experienced indoor growers believe because of how other lighting technology works. Regarding HPS and most other lighting types, you have one bulb that does all the work. The light within the center is the most intense, while the light away from the center dims and becomes less effective for plant growth.
LED growth light arrays are composed of multiple tiny lights, so there’s no true center. Now, it is true that plants outside of the lighting area won’t grow effectively, but there’s no true center with this lighting technology. This means that all areas are lit equally.
Myth #8: LEDs Can’t Burn Crops
This goes along with the myth about LED grow lights not being hot. Many people believe that since LEDs are much cooler than other lights that they cannot burn plants. While it is true that the chances of LEDs burning plants are significantly lower than with other light types, they can still cause burns if you’re not careful.
You can usually avoid this by properly positioning the lights and ensuring that there’s at least a foot of distance between the light and the plants. If you’re careful, then you shouldn’t have to worry about burning.
Myth #9: Blue for Veg, Red for Flower
This is partially true, and it’s a myth that’s been around for other grow lights as well. The truth is that blue light really is better for the veg state and red is better for flowering. However, this myth would have you believe that the other light color is useless unless it’s used on the right growth phase. That’s simply not true.
For the best overall growth, plants need red and blue throughout their whole lifetime. This leads to the strongest, biggest growth and improves the plant’s overall health. While turning off one color or the other can save on power, it’s best to keep them both on if you want the best plants.
Myth #10: Regular LEDs Can be Used for Plant Growth
Some people believe that regular LEDs can be used for indoor growing and that you don’t need LED grow lights specifically made for plants. This is once again partially true. Regular LEDs can be used to help with plant growth. The issue is that the LEDs need to be the right color. LEDs use a narrow color spectrum, so the color you see is the wavelength that you get. Plants need red and blue light, so you can’t use a white LED and expect results.
If you can get the right colors, and you don’t mind grouping a bunch of LEDs together into a cohesive unit, then you can technically build your own grow light. However, these lights can heat up quickly unless you have a fan and heatsink (which comes standard with most grow lights), and the colors might be slightly off, leading to subpar growth.
This can help you save some money, but it’s hard to rival the growth and effectiveness of LED grow lights. It’s easier if you just buy the right grow light so that you don’t have to deal with setting up the array.
Myth #11: LEDs are Expensive
When compared to other lighting types, LED grow lights require a higher startup cost as the lights themselves are more expensive. However, you must understand that grow lights have high operating costs. For sufficient growth, the lights must be kept on at least 12 hours a day. This requires a lot of power and requires that the bulb be adequately durable for the consistent load.
LED grow lights are the cheapest in this regard. They require significantly less power than other lighting types, ensuring that they don’t increase your power bill by much. Not only that, but the LEDs themselves last an average of 50,000 hours. Compare that with the 20,000 hours of a fluorescent bulb.
Myth #12: LED Lights Use Hazardous Materials
There are always safety concerns about new technologies, and many people think LED grow lights have been made with mercury, lead and other hazardous materials. The truth is that there are safety standards in place to ensure that all lights produced are safe. You won’t have to worry about being exposed to any hazardous materials while using these lights.
These are the top 12 LED grow light myths and the reality surrounding them. Now that you have a better idea of how these lights work and function, it’s time to consider choosing the right one for your needs. These lights are among the best for indoor growing and require little care and maintenance compared to other types of lights.