The advantages of using LED grow lights for hydroponics is that the growers can precisely control the growth of their plants in the absence of sunlight. All plants require water, nutrients and warmth but crucially they require light and not just any type of light aids plant growth. All plants require a specific type of light that LED grow lights provide.
LED Grow Lights
For professionals and amateurs alike the answer is simple - the costs associated with growing plants using a standard electric lighting system is too high! 90% of the electric used to power a standard lighting system goes to waste! Most of the energy used on the hydroponics system is wasted as heat instead of light. The standard lighting system also requires expensive cooling devices to maintain the correct temperature. Also fluorescent and HID lights are noisy, they have very high voltage ballasts and require expensive mounting equipment compared to the robust LED grow board panels.
Light Intensity vs. Brightness
One of the main areas of confusion is that standard fluorescent and HID lights actually look brighter than LED lights. The term brightness is constantly used to describe how things 'appear' to us. The scientific definition of light intensity/ brightness is the number of photons that hit a given surface area over a period of time.
LED grow lights accurately target the wavelengths of plants to help them grow and flower at the optimum level. HID lights emit a lot of unnecessary green and yellow spectrum light that appears bright to the human eye but is unnecessary for optimum plant growth and flowering. High quality LED growing lights have a 95% efficiency rating, that means that nearly all the light emitted is absorbed by the growing plants for photosynthesis. Traditional lights have roughly a 5% efficiency rate.
LED Grow Lamp Options
There are numerous types and configurations of grow lamps. From the standard square grow board to the UFO Grow Light (thus named because of its resemblance to a UFO). It is always important to consider the balance between red and blue LED lights on the Grow lamp. The standard ratios are 4:1 and 8:1 Red:Blue. The wavelength of lights should be roughly 660nm for red lights and 460nm for blue lights. Blue LED's are used for growth and Red lights are used for flowering and ripening respectively. The ratio of lights you require on your lamp should be guided by the type of plants you are trying to grow.
Summary of the Benefits of LED Growing Light
1. Electricity is saved and costs are reduced.
2. Maintenance costs are lowered due to the fact that not much heat is given of from the LED's. Therefore users don't require hefty cooling systems
3. LED's last a very long time! The estimated life expectancy of a LED Grow board is 50,000. This roughly equates to 10 years of use