LED Models to look at
Viparspectra is quickly making itself a name as the home growers light of choice. You can nab a 300W LED by them for only $80 bucks. And it has a full-color spectrum available with diodes other than red and blue which may be good or bad depending on how you feel about carotenoids and their ability to capture light. Some growers have issues with the blue to red light ratio and feel these lights have an inadequate red light for the flowering stage.
One look at their spectrum chart shows an overwhelmingly high blue light compared to red. Blue light is great for veg because it grows plants that are short and bushy and personally, I would only use this light for veg, but a lot of growers like it for their entire grow.
Roledros have a “true full spectrum” and are equally great for veg and bloom and they come in slightly cheaper than the Viparspectra models. Them or Marshydro are probably my preferred “cheap” LEDs if I could only use one for the entire grow.
There are also LED light bulbs that screw into sockets like CFLs that you should look at.
Now, the best LED lights are COB (chips on board) LEDs, but they are rather expensive unless you want to make one yourself. Hopefully within the coming years, these will come down in price, and oh baby if when they do watch out!
No need to fear the future
These LED panels are quickly becoming the main lights your average home grower use and their ease of use (just plug in, no ballast needed), extremely low heat (less than CFLs), fantastic yields (they will soon probably match HIDs) are all reasons they are taking over grow rooms.
But the technology is new and learning about the diode color, lumens per watt, and analyzing PAR data can leave newcomers with their heads swimming. Plus, you cannot use the hand test to tell if they are too close to your plant and they will burn your plants even when the temperature is perfect.
My tip for all growers: You’ll want to eventually learn about LEDs as they almost undoubtedly will become the home growers choice of lights in the next years. Well, plasma may give it a run eventually.