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Growing plants indoors is an excellent way to bring in an extra layer of decoration and elevate your home’s atmosphere to a whole new level. However, as fun as this hobby might sound – keeping plants alive and flourishing can be tricky. Other than taking care of basic elements like water and soil, you must pay attention to the amount of light that your plants are getting.
Of course, having a source like natural window light is ideal – but all homes are not created equal. With less-than-sufficient direct sunlight or very limited sunny time in a year, your best bet when it comes to growing plants inside is an LED grow light. And in order to help those in need, here is our guide to the best LED grow lights for indoor plants. Let’s get to it.
Although it is true that both LED and fluorescent units can do a good job of producing full-spectrum light and mimicking sunlight – LED grow lights have been proven to be more superior than their counterparts on every aspect:
For your indoor plants, advanced LED units are designed to meet their requirements for growth. With very little heat generated while providing more blue light that stimulates stronger roots and amplifies the photosynthesis process – they are guaranteed to help your plants reach peak growth.
For the environment, mercury-free LED grow lights are less likely to be disposed of in the rubbish dump – since they are not easily-shattered like glass.
For your money, although LED units seem to be more expensive upfront – keep in mind that they only consume half the electricity that fluorescent bulbs do while lasting 5 times longer. This makes your investment more cost-effective even though you might have to pay a little bit more at first.
Glow 'n Grow Tabletop
- Freestanding with casters
- Adjustable light deck (up to 20 inches)
- 4x standard-size seed trays and 4x LED tubes included
- Dimension: 49 x 23 x 28.5 inches
- Easy to maneuver
- Great adjustable lamp height
- Not flexible when expanding
2. Relassy 15000Lux
- 2x 18-inch adjustable aluminum goosenecks
- Replaceable LED bulbs
- Sturdy C-clamp system allows for secured attachment
- Dual switch for separate or together use
- Adjustable goosenecks
- Cool-temperature lighting
- Hard to use
3. Agrobrite 14 Watt
- Freestanding floor lamp with weighted base
- Flexible gooseneck
- Replaceable 5400K LED bulb
- Adjustable height (48-61 inch)
- Double purpose as reading lamp
- Flexible installation
- Not suitable for seedlings
4. Sunlite 3-Tier Garden
- Freestanding 3-tier aluminum frame with plastic shelf trays and casters
- Adjustable lights (up to 14 inches)
- 2 full-spectrum 6400K LED tubes on each tier
- Dimension: 51 x 14.75 x 68.5 inches
- Large growing capacity
- Easy-to-maneuver casters
- Adjustable lamps for different growth stages
- Not suitable for heavy potted plants
- Compromised coverage for seedlings in the outer parts of the trays
5. Low Bamboo Stacking Garden
- Freestanding stackable bamboo frame with 50-pound weight capability
- Fixed height (12 inches)
- 2x high output 6400K LED tubes
- Galvanized steel tray
- Dimension: 38 x 19 x 18.5 inches
- Attractive design
- Great expandability
- Good horizontal coverage and flare prevention
- Non-adjustable lamp height
Carefully considering these following factors will help you make the best choice when it comes to purchasing your LED grow light:
The types of plants: Different types of plants thrive in different conditions, and in order to provide the optimal circumstance for them to photosynthesize – you will need to do your own research to find this information. In your LED grow light, look for features that can enhance the plants’ life and cause good reactions out of them.
The surface area: Whether your indoor garden takes up a large space or not, you will need to know the surface area in order to figure out the amount of light needs to be provided. You won’t need to pay much attention to areas that are directly lit, but rather on those that are further away.
Durability: Other than just tough construction, your LED unit has to be stable and does not produce too much excessive heat. If it keeps flickering on and off or generating heat all the time – the lifespan of both your plants and your grow lights will undoubtedly be affected.
PAR value: In short, PAR is the beneficial light that can enhance the growth of your plants. The more evenly PAR is distributed, the better your LED grow light is – since it can reach the plants directly under and those further away with the same intensity.
Cooling system: Although LED units do not generate nearly as much heat as other types of grow lights, using them for extended periods of time can still lead to overheating. Models that have a heat sink at the back are much better at cooling the whole units and protecting the plants from excessive heat.
Customizability: Different LED grow lights from different manufacturers are equipped with various types of programmable modes – and one of these useful features might be beneficial to you. From setting the schedules of the light to changing the intensity to suit different types of plants – you can fully customize your LED unit’s operation to fit your needs.
Price and value: As mentioned before, incandescent or fluorescent units are more affordable options when compared to LED grow lights – but cost way more in use and maintenance. Good LED units do not come cheap, so when you are out looking for cheaper options – ask yourself if the difference in price will be worth it. Most of the time, less money on the price tag will result in more money spent on repairs or replacements – so make your decision wisely.
Q: How many plants can be grown under a LED unit?
A: Each LED grow light unit comes with a manual that specifies the number of flowering or vegetative footprint that can be fitted under it. This specific number is usually determined based on the size of the plants when you flip them into flowers – so it is a matter of how big you want your plants to be, rather than just a general standard.
Q: What is the optimal height to hang a LED grow light?
A: A general rule of thumb when it comes to setting up LED grow lights is leaving them about 18-36 inches above the canopy. 18 inches is the typical distance for flowers, while 24 inches and beyond is for vegetables.
However, the optimal distance may vary based on the specific brand, plan species, light shape, beam angle, coverage, … For more information, look for the recommendations on the manufacturer’s website and follow their instructions for the best result.
Q: Are protective sunglasses needed in the indoor gardening process?
A: LED grow lights are supposed to mimic the sunlight and emit a huge amount of lights while being switched on, and too much light can be harsh on the eyes. Therefore, we recommend the use of protective sunglasses (ones that have been color-corrected, ideally) for optimal results. These products can be purchased together with the LED grow lights directly from the places that sell those units.
Q: Do LED grow lights require slightly higher room temperature?
A: With less radiant heat coming from the light, LED units make the surface temperatures of the leaves under them a bit cooler than other types of grow lights do. This can have bad effects on the transpiration rates and metabolic processes of your plants, so make sure to raise the room temperature to about 82-85 degrees in order to compensate for this nature.
Q: Can CO2 tanks be used in conjunction with LED grow lights for better results?
A: A grow room with a temperature of about 82-85 degrees is considered to be the ideal environment for plants to thrive in. It will also speed up the CO2 assimilation process of your plants – so you can totally utilize your tank to full effects in your grow room with LED grow lights.
Indoor gardening should always be viewed as a stress-free hobby, rather than a burden. With the natural lighting situation being not so ideal, do not panic – you are not totally out of options. Getting an LED grow light is an excellent way to make growing plants indoors a lot easier – and choosing a model that fits your specific location and setting does not have to be that hard.
For the best LED grow lights for indoor plants, having an option like Glow 'n Grow Tabletop is tough to beat. However, if you want more flexibility out of your unit - Agrobrite 14 Watt or Relassy 15000Lux are certainly worth your consideration. Whatever your choice is, the first step is always to get educated first. Sooner than later, you can cultivate your plants in any conditions and enjoy watching them flourish under these magical glows.