About Grow Lights
The best LED fixtures are able to deliver a high PPF light output (measured in µmol/s), operate with high efficiency (measured in µmol/J), and use high-quality chips and drivers backed by a warranty. Look for lights that are UL certified to ensure the product is safe to use. If the product is DLC listed, that means it has been independently tested and verified to meet the high efficiency requirements needed in order to be eligible for rebates from local utility companies.
The best LED grow light for growing plants is one that has a high PPF output (at least 2000 µmol/s) and high efficacy (at least 2.6 µmol/J) - meaning it creates enough light to support any crop and uses electricity efficiently. The best lights also produce a full spectrum light, which better replicates natural sunlight and has been shown to result in healthier plant growth.
Not all LED fixtures are suited for use as grow lights. First, it's important to understand how the light spectrum affects plant growth. The PAR range is the section of the light spectrum that plants are able to absorb and use for photosynthesis. Plants only use light produced within the 400nm-700nm range, and good grow lights will try to mimic the sun by producing bright white full spectrum light. Also, the LED must produce a large enough quantity of light in order to support the type of plant you are growing. The amount of light needed by different types of plants varies, but as an example, cannabis requires a PPFD of least 500 µmol/m2/s for its vegetative stage and >900 µmol/m2/s for flowering.
Wattage only indicates how much electricity the grow light will require to operate; it’s more important to look at light output, as measured by photosynthetic photon flux (PPF). Depending on the quality and efficiency of the LED chips, two lights using the number of watts can have very different light outputs. Greater light output means the grow light will be able to support a greater number of plants.
The size of the grow light you need depends on what you’re growing and the size of the plant canopy. For the flowering stage, most growers target a PPFD of 1000 µmol/s/m2. To achieve this light density, use at least one of our FL-1 Grow Lights or two of our VL-1 Grow Lights per 5’x5’ area. For plants in the vegetative stage, most growers target a PPFD of 500 µmol/s/m2. This would require one of our FL-1 grow lights per 6’x6’ area or one of our VL-1 grow lights per 4’x4’ area.
The amount will depend on the size of the canopy and what photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) you want to achieve, which depends on what you’re growing. For flowering, most cannabis growers target a PPFD of 1000 µmol/s/m2, which can be achieved using one FL-1 Grow Light or two VL-1 Grow Lights per 5’x5’ area. For the vegetative stage, the target PPFD is 500 µmol/s/m2, which would require one of our FL-1 lights per 6’x6’ area or one VL-1 grow lights per 4’x4’ area. If you are running a full-cycle grow, follow the flowering recommendations, then just dim the lights to a lower light output for the vegetative stage. See our PPFD maps on the FL-1 spec sheet and VL-1 spec sheet to see the light densities for the different size areas you choose to cover.
Full-spectrum white light is best for plant growth because it mimics the spectrum of the sun, which plants evolved to use. Plants can only absorb and utilize certain spectrums of light, and different wavelengths (colors) of light trigger different responses in the plant. For example, red light is effective for increasing the total size of a plant, but when used alone can result in “stretched” plants that are tall with thin leaves, and green light has been proven to create a healthier plant structure to increase yield. This is why it is important to not just have red and blue light, but a full spectrum of light for the plants to absorb for maximizing crop yield and quality.
When thinking about how to hang grow lights, understand that LED fixtures can be placed as close as 6 inches above the canopy of your plants. This is because one of the major advantages of LED grow lights is that they are much more energy efficient and produce far less heat than high-pressure sodium (HPS) or ceramic metal halide (CMH) grow lights. Avoid raising an LED grow light more than 12 inches above the canopy; as the height of a grow light increases, the light it produces will be spread over a larger area, reducing the light density. Also, some of the light will be absorbed by the air between the light and the plants.
When you shop for grow lights, it's important to understand efficacy, which defines a grow light’s ability to convert power (Watts) into photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) that can be used by crops. LED growlights produce much more light while using the same amount of energy as traditional grow lights that use high-pressure sodium (HPS) or ceramic metal halide (CMH) lamps. The exact cost of running an LED grow light will vary depending on your local utility company, but the average price per kWh in the U.S. is the 13.31 cents. At that average price per kWh and running every day for 12 hours, our FL-1 will cost $419.74 per year ($1.15 per day) and our VL-1 costs $256.51 per year ($0.70 per day) to operate.
LED growlights save you money because of their much lower operating costs compared to HPS or CMH lights. They use much less electricity and produce much less heat, which means less money needs to be spent on energy and cooling costs. Also, LEDs last 50,000 hours (nearly 10 years of use), compared to the bulbs in HPS fixtures that need to be replaced yearly. On top of that, our LED lights have a higher light density than most HPS lights, which leads to greater yields and profit per harvest. Lastly, states such as California are realizing how HPS grow facilities are straining the power grid; all large indoor growing facilities may be required to switch to LED fixtures in the coming years.
We estimate that you can save about $750 per light per year when switching from an HPS to LED grow light. With the higher light output from LEDs, you can yield around $500 more per light, save $170 on electricity and operating costs, and save $80 on the longer life span and less frequent bulb replacements.
They will last 50,000+ hours, which is more than five and a half years of the lights being on 24/7. That means they can last 10 years for a standard grow that runs the lights for about 12 hours each day. We also offer a 5-year warranty on VOLT Grow products.
The VL-1 and FL-1 can both be used for full-cycle growth. Both have built-in 0-10V dimming control so you can dial back the light output for the vegetative state and crank it up for flowering. We recommend the FL-1 if your goal is to maximize yield because of its extremely high light output for flowering. We recommend the VL-1 for small grow set-ups because of its compact size. If you want to have separate vegetative and flowering rooms, we recommend VL-1s for vegetative and FL-1s for flowering.
No. Although VOLT Grow products were designed specifically for maximizing cannabis growth, which requires extremely high light output, they can also be used for almost all indoor horticulture needs. This is because our dimming feature allows for lower light outputs, while still providing the ideal color spectrum that is tailored for maximizing plant growth. Specifically, the VL-1 is best suited for non-cannabis grows that do not require top-level light output or for when supplemental lighting is needed. The VL-1 can also be hung vertically to provide side lighting with adjustable angled light panels.
Yes. Although VOLT Grow products were designed specifically for complete indoor cannabis growth, they can be used as supplemental lighting in greenhouses. Their built-in 0-10V dimming controls are perfect to meet the varying light output needed for different plants. Specifically, the VL-1 is best suited for non-cannabis grows that do not require top-level light output or when just supplemental lighting is needed. The VL-1 can also be hung vertically to provide side lighting with adjustable angled light panels.
Yes, both the FL-1 and VL-1 have a built-in 0-10V dimming control knob that dims in 20% increments. It can also be connected to an external dimming control module. This means you can easily dial the light output back and forth depending on if the plants are in vegetative or flowering states.
The color temperature is about 4000K.
For the FL-1, the 3’x3’, 4’x4’, and 5’x5’ area are distanced at 6 inches. The 6’x6’ area is distanced at 12 inches. For the VL-1, the 3’x3’ and 4’x4’ area are distanced at 6 inches. The 5’x5’ area is distanced at 12 inches. The 6’x6’ area is distanced at 18 inches. See our PPFD maps on the FL-1 spec sheet and VL-1 spec sheet.
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