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Lighting How To Choose The Best Indoor Lights For Plants

Discussion in 'Indoor Growing' started by AZENTIVE, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. AZENTIVE

    AZENTIVE Freeman
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    Hey everyone! We recently wrote a blog that I think you'll find useful. Original content from: How to Choose the Best Indoor Grow Lights for Plants -

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    When looking for the right lighting system for your growing operation, it is easy to get bogged down with tables full of numbers and acronyms. What numbers should you be looking for when trying to decide on the best grow lights for plants?

    While all of these terms do relate to lighting, only a few offer meaningful insight into the quality of light that plants require to stay healthy, flourish through the whole growth cycle and to ultimately provide a great harvest.


    What you need to know before making a decision
    Don’t look for Lumens
    The lumen is a measure of how bright a light appears to the human eye. There is no correlation between our vision and photosynthetic growing rates, so don’t bother with this metric when looking for a horticulture lighting system.

    Don’t look for LUX
    LUX measures the intensity of light using lumens/m2 typically for residential and commercial applications, like buildings, parking lots, etc. Since this metric is based on lumens, it is not an applicable way to evaluate lighting for plants.

    Don’t look for Foot Candles
    Foot Candles are similar to LUX measurements, but based on feet instead of meters. As with LUX, this metric is based on lumens. Important for the human eye, but not for plants.

    Know the Watts
    Watts refer to the consumption of electricity of a particular light. Watts can help you understand the cost of running your lighting systems, but that measurement alone doesn’t tell you anything about the system’s ability to deliver light to the plants.

    Know the PAR
    PAR stands for Photosynthetically Active Radiation and it represents the range in the electromagnetic spectrum where photosynthesis is most efficient (400 to 700 nanometers (nm)). This is the light your plants love!

    PAR is not a unit of measurement (like feet, inches, or kilograms), so it is often misused in the description of lighting systems. PAR defines the spectrum of light and it is usually given as a percentage. About 50% of natural sunlight falls within PAR. Lamps that emit a high percentage of PAR light are more efficient, since more of it can be used by your plants.

    Know the PBAR
    PBAR stands for Photobiologically Active Radiation and it represents the spectral range that plants use to produce energy. It includes portions of the Ultraviolet (UV) and Infrared (IR) spectrums not visible to the human eye, but useful for plants.

    Like PAR, a percentage of PBAR describes the amount of light emitted that falls within the range that plants can use.

    Always check the PPF
    PPF stands for Photosynthetic Photon Flux, and is measured as the number of micromoles per second (μmoles/s). PPF measures the quantity of PAR at a specific location every second.

    Light is made of particles (photons) so think of a low PPF as a trickle of light hitting your plants, whereas a high PPF is more like a widespread rain storm.

    Always check the PPFD
    PPFD stands for Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density and is measured as μmoles/m2/s at some distance from the light source. PPFD measures the amount of PAR that actually arrives at the plant per second, in a specific area and at a specific distance from the light.

    This is the best metric to use when comparing lights, because it tells you exactly how much of the right kind of light your plants will receive. A high PPFD rating represents dense light which is also evenly distributed across the canopy.

    Sometimes lighting vendors will describe high PPFD measurements by measuring photons directly underneath the light instead of averaging an entire area at a reasonable distance from the light. Don’t forget to check the total area used to calculate the PPFD, as well as the distance from the lighting source.

    Always check the Spectrum
    While it is essential that your lighting system delivers the optimum photon light density (PPFD), the full spectrum of sunlight has the highest impact on the development, quality, and robustness of plants.

    The sun’s spectrum is critical for two plant processes: photosynthesis and photobiological reactions that regulate plant growth and medical compounds.

    How to choose the right lighting system
    To install the most efficient lighting system to meet cultivation and business goals, the PPF, PPFD and Spectrum measurements are a must. Once you have those measurements at hand, it becomes much easier to compare lighting systems and choose the best grow lights for your plants.

    If you have any questions about the metrics discussed in the article leaves us a comment below!
     
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  2. EmilyTaylor

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    Can you share your experience on choosing between different types of grow lights for indoor growing? Personally, do you prefer LED or MH? Right now I'm more into LED Grow Lights. Some LEDs that I'm considering to buy: https://lovebackyard.com/LED-grow-lights/.
     
    #2 EmilyTaylor, Oct 4, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017 at 11:16 PM
  3. Lymmie

    Lymmie Casual
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    I prefer LED's because they run cooler than an MH or HPS grow lights do. It seems for most its easier to get a larger yield with an HPS or MH. But with practice and skill you can pull good yields with LED too.
     
  4. EmilyTaylor

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    I heard some say LEDs can be expensive at first, but much cheaper in the long run. However, they leave serious effects on health. So do you think that's worth the money?
     
  5. Lymmie

    Lymmie Casual
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    What do you mean serious effects on health? It is just light photons. No different from the sun other than that many of the different wavelengths of light the sun gives would be missing. Perfectly harmless though.

    For the money, I think that COB LED's from vero, citizen, or cree are the best option if you need something that doesnt put out alot of heat. Ceramic metal halide is the other one that is becoming very popular. It outperforms LED's but its also the most expensive option. THey say that you dont have to change the bulbs as much as with HPS lighting and that they run cooler as well. But i only have experience with LED's personally so far. Hopefully Azentive chimes in soon. They are very knowledgeable.
     
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