Why you should not pay attention to electrical watts when looking for LED grow lights
When people are looking for the best LED lighting fixtures to purchase, they often tend to use total electrical watts as a point of comparison between different LED systems. This is indeed a misunderstanding among consumers. The input wattage is not the right point of measure for such comparison. If a consumer applies this metric upon purchasing a new led fixture, he/she will most probably result in a poor grow and final yield. Why is that you may wonder? The answer is quite simple. Although the input watts say something about a units electricity consumption, it is a useless metric point because electricity doesn't grow plant. Light does.
There is something called radiometric efficiency. It describes a systems ability to produce light per watt. Considering the initial purpose of a LED grow light fixture, the radiometric efficiency attribute of a LED system should be studied closely while asking yourself how much light does the fixture emit.
But be aware that it is much easier said than done. A majority of lighting manufactures who have growers as a target group, do not advertise with this metric. But they will proudly brag about how much electrical watts the unit draws. Why? Because of following reasons:
- It is hard to design a fixture that delivers high light levels (measured in μmol/J)
- It is rather easy to build a lighting system that draws a lot of electricity
- High efficiency LED bulbs, power supplies and optics are more expensive
- Many manufacturers use inferior components so they can increase profit margins
As long as you remember that you are not buying watts, but that you are buying a light unit that provides life for your plants to grow, you are more likely to make a purchase that will ultimately result in a better.