LED Grow Lights – Do they actually work?

LED Grow Lights – Do they actually work?

Keith
Keith
23 Jul 2012

Update (Feb 2018)

The wait is over - LED lights have taken a leap since we wrote this article in 2012! The GN Telos 0008 is awesome! And we sell it! 


LED Grow Lights – Do They Actually Work? (July 2012)

About a decade ago, interest in LED lights reached an all time high!

We've got NASA to thank. Their scientists did loads of research into LED's, hoping they could be used to grow plants in space.

For indoor gardeners, the potential is enormous.

Now, in 2012, and you can get a 'decent' LED for £90.

But are they any good? We decided to do our own tests:

NASA's Tests

So, NASA did lots of research on LED lights. You'd expect there to be plenty of test results out there.

Nope. Far from it.

The only results NASA shared on their site were from a study into how LED lights healed human skin. 

Not much help.

Other Tests

Most of the evidence we found online came from LED light manufacturers.

Funny that. Hardly unbias.

Other articles got basic facts wrong (like the wavelengths of light needed). How were we meant to trust sources like that?

The most convincing evidence came from a grow diary! They had a $1,200 LED setup. A few lines into the article, and the company reported they couldn't even grow full sized tomatoes.

If they couldn't do it on $1,2000, what chance did a £90 LED have?

Their findings definitely explain the lack of legitimate research. 

LED light LED light

The Claims

We have come across some anecdotal claims. Some are really bold:  

  • LED lights claim to outperform a 400W light system
  • A 90W LED can replace a 600W HPS
  • G3 LEDs are nearly 100% efficient at plant growth (10 x that of an HID light)
  • High efficiency, using 85% less power

We'll leave it there...anyone else hear alarm bells?

Most of these claims seems unlikely. How could you possibly get more PAR light from a 90W light than from a 600W?

The Tests

Call us sceptics, but we weren't convinced LED's were as magical as made out to be. 

We decided to carry out our own tests:

Research (July 2012): This article
Test 1 (Aug 2012): A small Matter of Survival
Test 2 (Sept 2012): Rooting Clones
Test 3 (Oct 2012): Transplanting & Veg Growth

Don't forget, this research was carried out in 2012! Since then, LED's have taken a leap. Don't forget to check out our most recent articles.

LED LED
Keith
Keith
About the author

Keith looks after our stock and staff. He's a bit of a hippie and has the hots for chillies. If you want to grow them, ask Keith how it's done.

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