Plants most often use red and blue in the light spectrum to manufacture food through the process of photosynthesis. Most common grow lights use fluorescent or incandescent bulbs, which produce broad spectrums of light that include colors plants cannot use. LED grow lights primarily use red and blue and add other colors as needed for specific applications. LED grow lights are cost and energy efficient, as well as long-lasting.
Definition of LED Lights
LED--light emitting diodes--are very small conductor chips that produce light when electrified. Each diode has an internal reflector and creates a fairly small cone of light. LEDs are clustered together to so the cones of light overlap for complete coverage of the growing area.
The light produced by LED grow lights is relatively dim and does not create the white glare of other types of grow lights. LED grow lights are small and lightweight, making it easy to position them as needed. They can be used for regular growing areas and hydroponics.
LED grow lights produce only the colors in the light spectrum that are needed for healthy plants, mainly red and blue. Since the LEDs have internal reflectors, there is no need for external reflector shields above or around the planting area.
LED grow lights produce very little heat, so plants will not be scorched and soil will not dry out as quickly as when other types of grow lights are used. Also, additional venting and/or cooling are not needed to keep the plants at the optimum temperature.
Since LED grow lights use less energy than other type of grow light bulbs, you can save up to 70 or 80 percent on electric usage for your growing area. You can save on replacement costs of bulbs because LED grow lights last longer than other types of grow lights--as long as 7 to 18 years, depending on type and usage. You also save on the costs of venting and cooling equipment, as well as the cost of reflectors.
Traditional grow lights are made of fragile glass and often contain mercury or lead, which are hazardous materials. LED grow lights are an environmentally safe alternative, since they do not contain glass, mercury or lead. They require low voltage to operate and produce minimal heat, reducing the risk of shock or fire.
Although LED grow bulbs are not hot, they produce a high-intensity light. You should never look directly into the light, especially at close range or for a long period of time.