Grow Lights are high powered sources of intense light energy providing the energy for plants to grow, fruit and flower. We attempt to mimic the sun and the energy it provides for plants. High Power can mean high energy usage, as in high electric bills. Traditional or conventional grow light technology use High Intensity Discharge (HID) light bulbs, driven by a high voltage power source (ballast) and require a reflector / socket to physically house and mount the bulb above the plants. The amount of electricity and heat produced by conventional grow lights can be huge.
Metal Halide (MH) Bulbs provide a heavy blue spectrum (color) for vegetative grow and to limit the stretching of the stems. High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Bulbs provide a broad spectrum of light energy, with heavy red and yellow to enhance flowering. Light Emitting Ceramic (LEC) and Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) Bulbs provide an intense blue white light and are great for vegetative growth and are slightly more efficient than MH and HPS lights.
LED Grow Lights started showing up around 2014 with red and blue LEDs producing a purplish pink light. Plants loved it – it drove growers mad with the color and the inability to see what the plants really looked like. Time and innovation rolled on and LED Grow Lights are common, many companies are producing and selling and they are constantly getting bigger, better and brighter.
In 2021 (I noticed) LEDs are coming of age. Manufacturers are providing REAL NUMBERS on the lights they sell. Number of Watts drawn at the plug, not the number of watts the marketing guy thought sounded good are showing up on all reputable commercial LED Grow Lights, as well as the amount of light energy they produce and the efficiency of the light. New LED Grow Lights provide a full spectrum of light for plant growth, both vegetative and flowering. LED Grow Lights are dimmable and many provide variable spectrum features. LED Grow Lights use 65% of the ENERGY conventional lights consume. LED Grow Lights produce only 34% of the HEAT (as in a smaller HVAC unit) conventional grow lights produce. Numbers vary slightly from light to light.