Between fluorescent lights, high-intensity discharge, and LEDs (light-emitting diodes), cannabis growers have many different lighting options to choose from, and it can be difficult to know which is the best fit for your operation.
Leafly, a leading online cannabis resource, recently worked with Cole Johnstone from Solid Apollo, a Seattle company that specializes in LED lighting, to help answer some questions and offer tips on grow lights. Here are a few key things Johnstone says you should know before you buy (hint: he prefers LEDs).
1. Pick Lights That Are Full Spectrum
Most plants can grow as long as they are exposed to some form of light, but they will grow much better when they have access to a wide spectrum of different wave lengths.
“Lighting is a big part of the equation, with LED lights adding a sigh of relief into any grow operation,” Johnstone says.
“A single LED can be fine-tuned to any wave length or in a spectrum. This means you can have coverage through infrared, ultraviolet, and visible light. An LED grow light, which has dozens of individual spectra, can provide the exact light a plant requires.”
2. Pick Lights That Use Less Energy
Grow lights will need to be on for up to 12 hours a day. This means your energy bills will skyrocket, but some of the costs can be lessened by picking the right lights.
“When used for 12 hours a day, 365 days a year, an LED chip can easily last for 10 years,” Johnstone says. “The chips we use in our lights, for example, are rated for 50,000 hours, and usually last longer than that. Even the best fluorescent tubes, which are also very efficient, only last up to 20,000 hours.
Johnstone estimates that LEDs are up to 70% more efficient than high-pressure sodium grow lights based on initial costs, lifespan, durability, and energy costs.
3. The Lower The Maintenance, The Happier You’ll Be
Not only do lights cost quite a bit of money, you’re also better off buying lights that you won’t have to fuss with every other week.
“The lights we manufacture are plug-n-play (plug it in and walk away) and require no maintenance other than ensuring they are mounted properly, and adjusting the height as your plants grow,” Johnstone says.
4. Ask Before You Buy
Before you buy, Johnstone says there are a few key questions you should be asking companies, regardless of which type of light you plan to purchase.
• What is the warranty on your lights?
• Do you offer a money-back guarantee?
• Are your lights full spectrum?
• How can I best configure your lights for my grow operation?
• Are you local so I can come to you with any concerns I may have?
For more information, check out the complete Leafly article.