Without Light, there is no harvest. It is one of the Major components of growing, Indoors or Outdoors. Everything revolves around light; size, potency, development, maturation. Of all the expenditures, it should be near the top but most people, for some reason, they try to get away with lesser lights. Lights have become more specialized with spectrum coverage getting better and better (full, partial, proprietary ranges, etc.). There are lights today that you can change the spectrum to match the stage of life your plants are in. So what is the best for you? That is determined by your environment and what you desire your outcome to be, along with a budget. Usually the budget winds up being the controlling factor.
Many newbies start small and stay that way. They are satisfied to grow just a plant or two or become more and more involved and upgrade their equipment. Keep this in mind when you begin. There is nothing wrong with simple starter lights but better light means better bud. Consider modular lights. That just means they can be incorporated into a larger environment, or for greater production. Many of today’s LED lights can be “DASIY CHAINED” to each other or on some, you can add “BARS” and go from 4 to 5, 6 or 8 bars of light on a single or dual drivers. Drivers are what power lights.
Drivers generate heat…heat means changes in humidity and cooling needs. Some newer more high end LED structures have extensions (basically like an extension cord) so the driver can be mounted outside the tent / grow area to reduce heat in a confined space.
The MOST COMMON of basic decent starting units are: Viparspectra, Spider-Farmer, Mars Hydro, Gavita, Kind, Grower’s Choice, Californian Lightworks, and on and on and on….and on
A basic setup is usually a 1000-1500 w light using Samsung 301 b or h (h is for hydro but same effect) LEDs, and Cree…Some add IR (infrared) and UV (ultraviolet). They usually are FULL spectrum (from seed to harvest) and will basically grow you a couple plants.
The LIGHTING portion of growing can go from simple to very complicated as there are a few terms to understand that go with the product. We will not address them here but in the “DUNGEON”, there will more than likely be many conversations, recommendations, opinions, likes and dis-likes about lights.
The nomenclature for these terms are: umol/s -how much light does a fixture emit, PAR – the coverage area (how much light is needed to grow based on square feet of amount of light available and the strength at certain points directly under the lights. It is recommended that 32 watts per square foot of a grow space ( measured by the floor using a grid, that is where the PAR values come in to play) to get the best results.
Here are the recommended values for seeds through flower:
Seedling 200-500 ppfd 18/6
Veg 500-700 ppfd 18/6
Flower 700-900 ppfd 12/12
You also want to consider warranty and HOW LONG to get it fixed. If you lose you light for more than a day or 2, SOL…That becomes a major concern when you start with the upper echelon of fixtures, especially if you are buying from sources like China…I personally buy from there to get the best pricing and build to suit but I have backups because if a fixture is bad, you wait at least a month for the manufacturer to remedy it. Same thing with non-China manufacturers. Make sure they will handle any problem “TOOT SWEET”