Although LED grow lights have gained tremendous popularity and replaced high-intensity discharge and fluorescent lights, finding affordable LED grow lights is still a major challenge.
Generally, to purchase a cost-effective grow light, you start by evaluating the growth area and the plant’s specific needs. You can then focus on LED grow lights that offer adjustable settings with a balanced spectrum.
And now that you have LED grow light specifications, compare the light prices from different manufacturers. Only buy a product that you find affordable, but ensure it has positive reviews and high energy efficiency ratings.
Today’s article focuses on affordable LED grow lights highlighting the costs, types, and considerations during selection. Let’s get rolling!
What Are LED Grow Lights
These are artificial lights with the relevant light spectrum/wavelengths to support indoor plant growth.
Generally, they employ light-emitting diodes to produce light as long as current flows through.
In most cases, indoor gardeners use these lights to replace or complement natural light.
The main wavelength you will get from LED grow lights are blue and red, which support photosynthesis and plant growth. Using these lights presents several benefits over conventional options, including high-energy efficiency.
This means they still manage a high light output and limited heat with small power consumption.
Moreover, LED grow lights have a long lifespan (at least 50,000 hours), reducing frequent replacement and maintenance rates. Furthermore, you can customize them to emit specific light wavelengths and intensity your plants require.
Types of LED Grow Lights
(A full spectrum LED grow light)
The market has LED grow lights with different features and benefits, as highlighted below.
Full Spectrum Lights
These LED grow lights provide almost all the wavelengths/spectrums required for optimum plant growth. They have the closest features to natural light and support most indoor plants through all phases, including flowering and fruiting.
Red/Blue Grow Lights
The red/blue grow lights produce blue and red wavelengths critical for photosynthesis. While the blue lights support vegetative growth, the red ones help fruiting and flowering.
Therefore, using them together will support the entire growth cycle without additional supply.
Dual Band Grow Lights
The dual-band grow lights combine two specific wavelengths especially red and blue, to support plant growth. Generally, these lights offer a cost-effective yet balanced light spectrum.
White Grow Light
(Vegetable growing under LED grow lights)
White LED grow light is a combination of all visible light spectrums. Therefore, this grow light also has similar features to natural light and supports all growth phases.
COB Grow Lights
The Chip-on-Board (COB) grow light contains several LED chips closely packed on one circuit board. Surprisingly, these lights offer intense illumination but with high energy efficiency and low heat dissipation.
Quantum Board Grow Lights
With quantum board grow lights, manufacturers install dense LED chips on large circuit boards.
Funny enough, most commercial farmers and indoor gardeners are shifting to this option for its top-level coverage, uniform distribution, and increased energy efficiency.
How Much Does Affordable LED Grow Lights Costs?
The cost of LED grow lights is not constant but a changing figure based on factors like LED quality, size, available features, and brand.
For example, you can get a small/less powerful grow light for as little as $50-$100. Such products can only serve a small indoor space and are designed for growers with a limited budget.
Also, we have medium-sized LED grow lights with decent intensity and coverage, which could cost about $100-$300. Luckily, medium-sized lights have more advanced options like dimming features and adjustable spectrums.
Moreover, manufacturers design larger, high-quality grow lights with higher wattage and coverage area for $300-$1000. Generally, these lights are designed with high-quality materials and are ideal for large commercial applications.
Factors Affecting LED Grow Light Costs
(Special LED grow light over lettuce)
Anytime you buy a brand new LED grow light, just know the following factors inform its cost.
Reputation and Brand
Since reputable and established brands deliver high-quality products, they charge high prices for LED grow lights.
Such companies spend more time and resources on customer support, research & development, and quality control. However, their LED grow lights have a reliable and high-quality performance.
Light Coverage and Output
If you buy LED, grow lights with high coverage and output, expect to pay expensively. Surprisingly, a high coverage output means high quality and many light-emitting diodes are used.
Funny enough, almost all modern LED grow lights come with adjustable settings. However, differences arise in the complexity and number of such adjustable present, including remote control, timers, and dimming options.
Generally, the high or more complex adjustable features are, the more expensive the grow light will cost.
We know that LED products, including LED, grow lights have a higher energy efficiency than all the other grow light options.
However, within the LED grow lights family, some products are more energy efficient than others, with the more energy efficient ones selling expensively.
However, buying highly rated energy-efficient products (micromoles per joule or lumens per watt) guarantees high performance and lower long-term costs.
We define the build quality by the materials and technology that go into the design of LED grow lights.
Generally, high-quality products are more expensive because they use high-quality materials and incorporate complex features like fans and heat sinks.
Such products have a long lifespan, and manufacturers might even offer a warranty due to the confidence they have in them.
Form Factor and Size
LED grow lights come in different form factors (bars, panels, and quantum boards) and sizes. Funny enough, most larger LED grow lights emit more light and are more expensive.
Specifications To Look for In Affordable LED Grow Lights
(A green seedling growing under LED light)
You don’t just buy an LED grow light because it is affordable. There are certain specifications you must follow, as we’ll highlight below:
- First, always choose an LED to grow light with a balanced spectrum to get all the wavelengths supporting plant growth.
- Secondly, check the wattage and coverage area on the affordable LED grow light and ensure it covers the whole garden.
- Thirdly, the best grow light should have a high energy efficiency for optimum growth and lower energy costs.
- Moreover, choosing highly durable products means the materials are high-quality, and you will experience reduced replacements.
- Focus on affordable products with adjustable settings to better control the light spectrum and intensity to meet your light requirement.
- Regardless of how affordable a product is, only buy it if it emits limited heat and has in-built heat management mechanisms like fans and heat sinks.
- Lastly, the online ratings/reviews and referrals/recommendations on the grow lights from friends should be positive.
Who can buy affordable LED grow lights?
Affordable LED grow lights are open to any indoor farmer wishing to complement or replace natural light for optimum plant growth.
Therefore, the first group who deserve affordable grow lights are hobbyist gardeners who wish to maximize indoor plant yields.
Moreover, urban farming initiatives, community gardens, and educational institutions can employ these lights to support their farming cost-effectively.
Are affordable LED grow lights worth it?
Yes! These lights are worth it, and using them will produce increased yields cost-effectively. What is the point of using expensive LED grow lights for your indoor garden if they produce the same results as an affordable yet energy-efficient option?
However, getting affordable but high-performance products is difficult and requires research and referrals.
Buying an affordable LED grow light isn’t easy and might sometime involve compromising on performance. However, an expensive grow light doesn’t represent high performance, and an affordable one doesn’t represent poor performance.
Therefore, check the brand reputation, adjustable settings, build quality, and energy efficiency for guaranteed affordable LED grow performance.