Growing cannabis is no easy feat considering how high-maintenance the process can be.
When growing cannabis indoors, one of the most important factors for cultivators to consider is lighting. However, lighting is known to be one of the greatest expenses associated with growing cannabis! A controlled environment with specific lighting requires a lot of energy, which can be costly, and grow lights can range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars. With so many lighting options, it can be hard to know what the best options are.
Types of Grow Lights
There are a wide variety of grow lights on the market ranging from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) lights to high-intensity discharge (HIDs) lights.
Here are a few of the most popular grow lights used in cannabis cultivation:
Fluorescent (CFL) Lights
HID (MH and HPS - Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium) Lights
LEDs vs. HIDs
For years, HID lights have competed with LED lights in the cannabis industry. HID lights have historically been more cost-efficient in getting the job done compared to LEDs.
However, there have recently been some significant advances in and improvements to LED lights. While they are still up to six times more expensive than HIDs, they're worth every penny.
Although they are expensive, LEDs are much more efficient at converting energy to light, thus emitting more light and less heat. HID lights emit more heat, meaning they require more energy to regulate the temperature to maintain a properly controlled environment for growing cannabis.
In contrast, LED lights are better for temperature control since cannabis that grows under LEDs prefers warmer temperatures. LEDs require less energy for temperature regulation than HID lights.
Recent LED lights also have proven to be quite sustainable, lasting for years, compared to other counterparts that are usually replaced on a regular basis.
While sustainable, LEDs are also better for the environment. HIDs are built using heavy and toxic metals like mercury. Each HID lightbulb contains around 30 mg of mercury that can be harmful to the environment when the bulbs are disposed of or even put the cannabis plants at risk if they break.
Overall, LED lighting systems are more beneficial than HID lights. Another point to consider is that LEDs tend to emit more accurate lighting levels that match the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) spectrum than HIDs.
Growing cannabis is highly dependent on the amount of PAR emitted and received by the plant, and LEDs have the ability to adjust to the amount of PAR needed.
Since LED lighting has proven to be more cost-efficient than HID lights in the long run, cultivators may now be looking for companies with the most efficient LED lighting systems.
Highest-Rated LED Lighting Manufactures in the Cannabis Industry
With BIOS, studies have shown that their LED lights use 40% less energy and generate up to 10% more crop yield, in addition to enjoying a long operational lifespan. This manufacturer saves people both money and product, benefitting cultivators with costs associated with growing cannabis and paying itself off in the long run.
As for Lumiglow, their LED light design has reduced canopy-shadowing, allowing the light to evenly disperse over the plants. Lumiglow uses less heat, reducing the energy required in temperature regulation, and offers the unique ability to control your lighting system from your own phone. With Lumiglow, cultivators can create lighting schedules with the click of a button, making maintaining a controlled environment easier than ever.
In comparison, Fluence's LED lights have patent-pending thermal management technology, resulting in up to 39% less heat than previous models. While energy-efficient, their lights also use LED technology from companies like Samsung and LG.
In 2016, Heliospectra was awarded Industry Leader in Lighting Technology at the Second Annual Cannabist Awards. Their LED light technology primarily focuses on plant health and performance, giving businesses a longer shelf life for cannabis products and giving cultivators an increased overall yield. For companies looking to reduce their energy consumption, Heliospectra takes the cake with the potential to decrease energy use by 50%.
With the advancements seen in the past few years in these companies, LED lighting technology has made huge strides in becoming more efficient.
Up until 2018, LED lighting models were lacking in efficiency and design amongst other things. Now, they are the most popular form of grow lights.