DIFFERENT TYPES OF LIGHT
Choosing a light is one of the most important aspects of your setup. You’ll need to think about the space the light is going to be illuminating, the output of the light and the power consumption.
The three most important lighting types to consider right now are:
- high pressure sodium (HPS)
- ceramic discharge metal halide (CDM)
- light emitting diode (LED)
Each of these has different characteristics that you’ll need to think about when choosing your ideal grow light.
HPS is still the most popular lighting type at the moment, with 600w set-ups being the most common. 600w HPS lights are perfect for illuminating 1.2m x 1.2m grow areas. There are also 400w and 1000w variants available which perform better in different spaces.
HPS lights are made up of 3 main components, a lamp (or bulb) which outputs the light, a reflector, which pushes all the lamps light down onto your plants and a ballast which regulates mains electric current and voltage into a form suitable to start up and drive your lamp.
The light output from HPS is super-intense, their powerful output will penetrate your canopy with ease. The better a lights penetration, the lower down your plant you will get developed fruits and ultimately an increased yield. It’s renowned for being particularly heavy in the red area of the spectrum. This helps plants to pile on tons of extra weight during the bloom stages.
It’s no wonder that HPS lights have built up such a solid reputation: they’re low priced (starting at only fifty quid for one of our budget kits) and they really do get the job done. That’s why they’ve been the industry standard for decades.
The biggest selling-point of CDM lighting is the fact that it delivers full-spectrum light that mimics the sun. Whereas HPS lighting is concentrated pretty much exclusively in the red areas, CDM lighting has high levels of light right the way across the spectrum. This has a massive overall impact on growth rates and vigour, increasing natural oil production for a superior tasting end-product.
They come with higher price tags than HPS systems, but they’re easily worth the trade-up. That’s because, according to customer feedback, a typical 315 watt HPS lamp can deliver results that are equal to around 500 watts of HPS, while also running cooler. And, because you’re adding less heat to your growroom, your environment is much easier to control.
As an added bonus, CDMs also produce low levels of UVA and UVB. In the short term, UV light actually has a damaging effect on plants. The good news is that plants’ solution to this problem is to produce even more essential oil to protect themselves, further improving aromas and flavours, while piling on additional weight! UV can also help to control pathogenic fungi like powdery mildew and botrytis, helping to prevent and control diseases that can cost you your entire crop.
The final type of grow light is the up and coming LED. LED technology has come on leaps and bounds in the past couple of years, and a lot of seasoned growers are making the switch. You may remember seeing LEDs from a few years back that put out light that looked pink to the naked eye. Well now, things have changed… The LEDs we’re stocking deliver full-spectrum light that’s up there with the likes of CDM lighting, but they come with their own benefits.
Lifespan, for instance, is a big plus point for LEDs. It’s not uncommon for LEDs to have useable lifespans of 85,000 hours. If your lighting is running on a 12 /12 cycle, that almost 20 years! This beats paying for new lamps every 3 months to a year, as is the case with HPS and CDM lighting. The outlay may seem high for LED grow lights initially, but when you factor this in, along with their highly economical use of power, you quickly realise that, in the long term, they usually work out as a much a better deal.
LEDs are also the coolest running lighting systems available, making them perfect for use in less than ideal conditions. Many growers switch from HPSs & CDMs to LEDs during the summertime to keep things running sweetly as temperatures creep up outside; and as time goes by, more and more of them are opting to stick with them all year round.
Every light has it’s own unique positives and negatives and it’s hard to sometimes choose a grow light, but if you want our recommendations, give us a call or pop in store and we’ll talk you through the options! If you’re looking to start growing, we also do full grow kits which include either a HPS, CDM or LED, so we’ve got something for everybody!
We’ll be releasing a blog featuring our Essentials Kit soon so watch this space! Happy Growing