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Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights Explained

September 08, 2016

Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights Explained

Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights Explained

What Is Spectrum

Spectrum refers to the wavelength of light either visible 400-700nm (Nanometers) or not visible; below 400nm Ultraviolet and above 700nm Infrared.  The sun naturally has an abundance of all these wavelengths and over millions of years’ plants have evolved to transform this energy to grow, a process called photosynthesis.

Why Spectrum Matters

Not all spectrums are used equally in photosynthesis as Dr. Keith McCree discovered while studying how plants absorb different wavelengths. However, as there are peaks in the blue and red spectrums the other in-between spectrums can also be absorbed in lesser amounts to create photosynthesis.  This is why the purple grow lights and the white grow light grow plants very well as long as the plant's basic spectral needs are met along with enough plant specific intensity. 

It’s also worth noting how UV and infrared light play a role in plant development. More grow light manufacturers are including these wavelengths in their lights or offering supplemental lighting with UV and IR wavelengths because of the beneficial reactions they cause for many plants.  UVA, UVB, and IR in measured amounts can encourage additional production of essential oils and terpenes increasing the potency and flavor of the harvest.

Types of Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights

  • Heavy blue and red full spectrum LED grow lights are very common these days and work very well as long as they are from reputable LED manufacturers that produce top quality products. Inexpensive products from China are usually of poor quality, can produce inferior results, and are more prone to failure.As a bonus, most of the major manufacturers include UV and IR spectrums which will increase the value and quality of the harvests. 
  • White full spectrum LED grow lights are gaining in popularity for their efficiency and no need for grow glasses to compensate for the purple light emitted by the heavy blue and red lights. These lights are made with COBs (chip on board) and are commonly referred to as LES or light emitting surface instead of LED. LES, COB or COB LEDs are really a collection of tiny blue LED emitters clustered together on a surface coated with phosphorus.  When current is put through this array an intense light is produced.  3500k (kelvin) is the most popular color temperature growers choose because it has enough red and blue spectrum to be used for vegetative and flowering stages of growth.
  • Combination full spectrum Led grow lights consist of COBs and various other diodes usually blue and red spectrums to re-create the sun's natural color or CRI (Color Rendering Index). Some of the top of the line manufacturers are including UV and IR diodes or bulbs to complete the spectrum. A brand new manufacturer is using mCOBs or multi COB technology. Instead of using separate COBs and diodes this manufacturer has put the different colored emitters on the same surface surrounding the white center cob creating an multi COB array.  Also included in the array is the addition of UV, and IR emitters. This is the latest LED grow light technology and it looks very promising.

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