What light is best for growing plants indoors

Finding the right grow lights for your own indoor plants can be overwhelming. From finding the right type of grow lights to finding the optimum distance away from the plants to position the lights to the duration you should leave the lights on for, there are a lot of different factors to consider.

What’s more, the expanding LED grow lights market is adding to this challenge. With a wealth of grow lights on the market, it is getting more difficult for growers to find the right grow lights at an affordable price.

In this blog, we’re going to save you time and effort by walking you through the steps to find the best LED grow light for your needs. After reading this blog, you will have a much better idea about what to choose for your home plants.

This guide covers:

1. What are LED Grow Lights?

2. Why are LED Grow Lights Better Than HPS Grow Lights/HID Grow Lights?

3. How do Grow Lights Work?

4. How to use LED Grow Light for Indoor Plants?

5. Which Type of Grow Light Should You Choose for Your Plants?

6. Other Tips on Using Grow Lights for Indoor Plants 

1. What are LED Grow Lights?

Light-emitting diode (LED) grow lights utilize of LED chips to convert electrical currents into the light. Its electronic-based systems give a controlled environment for different plant growth stages. LED grow lights allow growers to customize the spectrum of light, color temperature, and brightness.

2. Why are LED grow lights better than HPS/HID Grow Lights?

LED grow lights have multiple advantages over traditional HPS lights. Below are eight reasons why LED grow lights come in handy for most indoor plants.

Reason 1: Higher energy efficiency
LED grow lights only use half of the energy the HPS system consume as most of the energy is converted directly into light

Reason 2: Longer lifespan:
LED grow lights have a much longer lifespan than HPS lights because they use at least 75% less power than traditional bulbs

Reason 3: Higher crop growth rate
Multiple research experiments have shown that LED grow lights produce a higher plant growth rate than HPS lights

Reason 4: Better dimming performance
LED grow lights can be remotely controlled using an app or system, allowing for easier light planning for growers.

Reason 5: Better heat control system
LED lights are the only lights that have a heat control system to prevent overheating, which makes them safer to use. Additionally, HPS lights require an additional ventilation system which is usually costly.

Reason 6: Lower temperature
LED grow lights work with LED diodes which generate much less heat than HPS grow lights, decreasing the risk of overheating and damaging plants.

Reason 7: Higher final yield
Because LED grow lights have a better spectrum which is specifically designed for plants. Thus LED grow lights can always increase your final yield by 15% compared to normal HPS grow lights

Reason 8: More suitable with CO2 supplemented growth
A lot of growers like to add extra CO2 to their grow tent to increase the CO2 to yield conversion rate. This is better to be done with LED grow lights because LED grow lights have a much more gentle light distribution to your plants.

3. How do LED Grow Lights Work?

LED grow lights can stimulate plant growth and help plants photosynthesize by giving specific wavelengths of light to indoor plants. 

For example, the blue spectrum can promote vegetative or leaf growth, the red light spectrum helps stimulate flowering. They are the two main colors to be used interchangeably to support a full growth cycle. 

Purple light, which is a mix of blue and red lights, can also facilitate vegetation. White light is good for all developmental stages, but it is not as effective for photosynthesis as blue light. 

However, you should always match the type of light with a specific growth stage of your plants.

Full-spectrum LED grow lights

In the past, most LED grow lights only come with red and blue LED lights. But the grow light industry is now shifting towards full-spectrum LEDs, which provide wider spectra to promote plant growth and better support a full growth circle.

Full-spectrum LED grow lights come with a host of colors tuned perfectly for different growth stages from seed to bud with just one light. However, having a full-spectrum grow light doesn’t guarantee higher yields for your plants. 

Many other factors come into play, such as, the right proportion of light spectra, light intensity, and plant species. We will explain this further in the next section.

UV and IR color for plants growth

UV (Ultraviolet) and IR (​​Infrared) are two types of electromagnetic radiation, which also affect plant growth.

There has been a decade-long debate over the roles of UV and IR in grow lights among the grow light community. Some people think they are a waste of energy with little contribution to plant growth.

However, our lab results found that the growth rate can increase up to 15% with IR presenting in grow lights spectrum. A slightly added UV color can help maintain plant growth.

So, all our grow lights have added UV and IR to the light spectrum to ensure better growth of plants

4. How to Use LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants?

Now you know that LED grow lights are highly customizable in terms of the spectrum of lights, light intensity, and frequency of light. But how does one search for the right grow lights when there are so many options on the market?

Below we provide four important things to keep in mind before spending your hard-earned money!

  1. Choosing the grow lights that provide the light spectrum to your plant

    As explained in the last sections, full-spectrum LED grow lights are great at providing specific wavelengths for certain growing stages such as seedlings, vegetative and flowering stages. So make sure to choose the grow lights that provide you with the appropriate spectrum. 

    For example, red and blue spectra can help with flowering and vegetation so you may want a grow light such as:

Also, you need to take the light cycle timing of your plants into consideration. For instance, marijuana requires both day and night cycles to stimulate vegetative, flowering and clones.

  1. Get the relevant metrics including PAR, PPF, and PPFD to optimize the results

    Find the relevant metrics of the grow lights and see if they match your needs. In general, legit grow lights manufacturers should provide the metrics to the customers. To ensure optimal lighting results for your indoor plants, you should always check online tools to see how to evaluate these metrics.
  1. Type of LED grow lights

    LED grow lights have different types to provide particular lighting. Here we list three types that are the most common on the market.

Spread-style LED grow lights:
Spread-style grow lights consist of multiple diodes spreading out over a large area. Spider LED and Quantum Board are the two primary spread-style LED grow lights on the market.

Quantum board grow lights:
Quantum board grow lights are designed with many small LED grow lights spread out across the board. It usually comes with low wattage and full-spectrum white LED diodes. These features can protect the plants from being damaged by high heat.

Quantum board style LED grow light

Spider-style grow lights:
Spider-style grow lights have a similar structure as quantum boards. But the small LED lights are spread in an arm-like panel which makes it look like a spider. These typically are more pricey than Quantum boards.

Spider style LED grow light

Chip on Board (COB) grow lights
COB lights emit more intense and bright lighting when compared to spread-style grow lights. COB grow lights are designed with multiple small LEDs within a single chip. The intense light comes from the chips which use a high level of electricity, making COB light often more heated on the surface. 

COB LED grow light

COB grow lights usually contain a few large COBs to directly produce light to the plants. Since each COB has a different spectrum, growers can incorporate multiple COBs into their operations to optimize the results.

Traditional LEDs grow lights
Traditional LED grow lights are usually designed with medium to larger wattage lights, in between a Quantum Board and a COB-style light. They usually come with a small and compact design with intense and full-spectrum light coverage.

5. Which Type of Grow Light Should You Choose for Your Plants?

Here we have concluded a list of our picks that serve different needs and goals. We combined our customer’s feedback with our own experiments to handpick the best LED grow lights that serve the needs of our grower community.

Best overall: Scorpion 800w Boost spectrum
Best budget: Yield Booster 300W
Best for seedlings and clones: Scorpion 800W seedling spectrum
Best spread-style: No Noise 850W
Best full-spectrum: Scorpion 800W Boost spectrum
Best for beginner: Yield Booster 300W
Best eco-friendly: Eco master 750w

6. Other Tips on Using Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

  1. How Far Away Should LED Grow Lights Be From Plants

    The distance varies widely. You need to consider the growing stage, the wattage of your grow lights, and the type of plant you have.As a rule of thumb, the lower the wattage, the closer the distance.

    For wattage around 200:
    You can place the light approximately 30-50 cm from the top of the plant.

    For higher wattage that is higher than 1,000:
    You can place the light approximately 90-116 cm from the top of the plants.

    For the growing stage:
    The vegetative stage typically needs less intense light while flowing needs more intense light to boost photosynthesis. That means you should place around 30-76 cm away from the tops of plants during the vegetative stage. For the flowering stage, around 40-90 cm would be ideal.

    However, within these “safe zones”, you should always adjust and experiment with practice to see what works the best for your plant.
  1. What is the best light bulb for growing plants?

    To maximize photosynthesis and support the full growth cycle efficiently, a full-spectrum LED grow light is the best option. It provides a balance of warm and cool light to support different growth stages. It’s also more convenient in the long term as you can change the lights as your plants grow.
  1. What kind of indoor light grows plants?

    Any LED bulb can be used for indoor plants, provided that it emits sufficient light. But you need to consider the species of your plants and the spectrum of light. Plants need a multitude of light to be healthy at each growth stage. We suggest you start with a beginner-friendly grow light and experiment with it. Find our recommendations above.
  1. Can any LED light grow plants?

    LED grow lights are always the best option for your plants. Many plants need warm and cold colors in different growth phases. So it’s better to choose grow lights that can support a full growth cycle of our plants. Find more information about how to choose the right grow lights for indoor plants above.
  1. How long should grow lights be on?

    There are various factors to look at. For example, what growing phase is your plant is in, and what kind of light are you using. Below we provide three important tips to decide how long your should leave your grow lights on.

    Factor 1:
    The light intensity varies widely across different types of grow light. To ensure the accurate duration of light exposure to your plants, read the specific instructions provided by the grow lights manufacturers.

    Factor 2:
    Plant species also matter. How long you wish to leave your grow light on depends on how much light your plants need. For example, large plants and leafy plants tend to absorb more light (a minimum of 10 hours a day). In contrast, younger plants, will not need as much.

    Factor 3:
    A general rule for flowering plants: 16 hours of lighting every day for the vegetative stage and 12 hours lighting for the flowering stage.

Final Thoughts

That’s it! We hope you’ve walked away from this guide with some solid ideas to find the best LED grow lights for your indoor plants.

It is important to know that growing indoor plants is a process of trial and error. We and many growers in our community have been running years of experiments to find the proven methods to get the best crop yields. Join our community to learn more about grow lights.

Got any questions? Comment below and let us know or contact our LED grow lights expert to get professional free tips to improve your indoor grow room setup.

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