The Best cheap LED Lamps to grow Cannabis
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The cheap LED lamps are the all-rounder in Cannabis lighting. They are cheap but work very well and use only a bit energy. Also, this type of lamps is very useful for growing cannabis in small spaces, as they can be kept closer to the plants. It is definitely the cheapest option for growing cannabis with LEDs.
In today’s article we will let you know everything about the cheap LED marijuana lights. It is an easy to use lighting system that promises great results if you follow a few steps that you can find in this guide on how to use cheap LED lights.
In the old days growing marijuana under cheap LEDs was pretty useless as they had a low quality and power. However, the new cheap LEDs cover the entire visible light spectrum, which has made them a viable alternative to HPS bulbs.
What Are Cheap LED Marijuana Lights?
As you probably know as an avid reader of cannabis blogs, there are many different types of light: LEC, LED, HPS… They all compete for a place in the grow room and each of them has an ace in the hole and a proper use.
Cheap LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. It is a type of lamp that takes advantage of light-emitting diode technology to make smaller lamps that can replace incandescent lamps with little change in the installation armature and with lower power consumption and heat.
Chances are you have already come across a few discussions on cannabis forums outlining the advantages and disadvantages of the cheap LED lights. Here we are going to make our own selection of pros and cons of this type of lighting.
First of all, a positive point about cheap LED lamps is that you can find them everywhere: LED lamps are available in every hardware and lighting shop. However, only at Experiencia Natural will you have access to a more specific catalogue of cheap LED lamps.
They are a cheaper type of lighting compared to other bulbs such as more expensive LEDs or LECs. They are also the ideal solution for growing Cannabis in a small space.
Finally, the fact that cheap LED lamps operate at considerably lower temperatures than traditional lamps, makes them considerably safer due to the lower risk of creating a fire. Therefore, also they do not need much external cooling to dissipate the heat.
Cheap LED lamps are not particularly the most powerful type of lighting available. In this respect, LEC or HPS lights can achieve much more power, nut in a less efficient way.
In Which Cases Should I Use Cheap LEDs for Marijuana?
First of all, people who want to grow one or two plants for personal use fit the average profile of a person who uses cheap LEDs for marijuana. In fact, this is one of the most common uses for this type of bulb.
Cheap LED lamps are great for the handyman. That is, people who have transformed everyday objects into small but very interesting grow rooms. For example, people who have converted their grandmother’s toilet into a personal grow room.
New growers who are learning and want to experiment without taking risks, will find cheap LED lamps are an economical option for gaining experience with growing. Also for those who want to try growing a plant but don’t want to spend a lot.
On the other hand, those looking for higher yields and a more automated grow setup are better off avoiding cheap LEDs. The general rule of thumb here is that when you need anything more than 250W of power, you’re better off with some other type of light. We have a whole specialised section for you to choose the cannabis lighting that best suits your needs.
How to Choose Cheap LED Marijuana Lights?
There are many variables to consider when choosing cheap LED grow lights. The science of grow lighting can be a little tricky at first, but here we will explain how to use the different types of cheap LED lamps properly.
Power and Kelvin Scale
The goal when buying cheap LED lamps should be to buy the highest wattage (W) possible for the growing space. Generally, more wattage means more power, which in turn means more light, and therefore more food for the plants. To do this, you should know and check the lumens (lm) and understand how they work.
Generally, each plant should be covered by at least 10,000 lumens. So if a standard cheap LED bulb emits 2,500 lumens, 4 or more such bulbs will be needed to grow it. Cheap LEDs come in 15, 26, 42, 65, 68, 85 and 105W versions, although larger models are available.
A cheap 42W LED lamp emits more or less 2700 lumens. Four cheap 42W LEDs use 168W and put out 10,800 lumens. The more powerful cheap LED lamps maintain a similar wattage to lumens ratio, so you get an idea of how to choose between the bulbs on the market.
It is generally advised to continue using cheap LEDs until you reach 250W of power, anything over this figure is not for the cheap LEDs and you should probably consider switching to a more high end LED or changing the lighting type to LEC or HPS.
But that’s not all, as the Kelvin scale also comes into play. This scale is used to measure the light colour temperature and therefore the different colour spectra.
Marijuana plants love red and blue light, so basically you need to look for bulbs that are as close to this spectrum as possible. Interestingly, HPS lamps emit light that is mostly in the yellow spectrum, which means that a lot of light is wasted.
This is where cheap LED lamps shine. In fact, although they are much efficient than HPS lights, wasting way less light. Mind you, different stages of growth require different light spectrums, so check the package for the Kelvin spectrum indicated and choose accordingly.
Cheap LEDs come in 2700K, 3000K, 4100K, 5100K and 6500K models. Figures at the lower end of the Kelvin scale, such as 2700K, are the type of cheap LED lamps best suited to the later stages of plant growth, while 6500K is best for vegetative growth.
Cheap indoor LED lamps are designed to mimic sunlight. In nature, the sun produces different rays in spring and summer (blue, vegetation) and different rays in autumn (red, flowering). The sun also produces green and orange rays, but cannabis plants do not use this part of the spectrum. Thus:
Warm white bulbs offer the red-yellow light spectrum are perfect for the flowering stage. Cheap LED bulbs that are bluer are called “cool white” or “daylight” with a Kelvin of 5000K / 6500K are optimal for vegetative growth.
How to Use Cheap LED Marijuana Lights?
Here is a very brief outline of how to grow a single plant under cheap LED lights. Indoor plants need three things to survive: light, water and nutrients. Marijuana plants go through three major stages of development that are universally recognised among cannabis growers: planting, vegetative grow and flowering.
To get the most out of LED marijuana lights and reduce light leakage, you should cover your grow space with a reflective material. This will distribute the light more evenly across the plant, ensuring that no corner is left in the dark. Even the best of grow lights cannot penetrate the entire plant on their own, so some reflection is needed.
A reinforced reflector with a firm structure around the lamp can be used to multiply the diffusion power of the lamp. It is also possible to install reflective sheeting to cover different surfaces inside the grow tent. Another option is to use white reflective plastics or, in the worst case, to paint the surfaces with matt white paint that reflects as much light as possible.
Finally, we need to determine how much power we need in cheap LED marijuana lights, this is where things get interesting. Assuming you are growing a single plant, you need at least 150W of cheap LED power. Although you can play around with the lighting, the optimal cheap LED arrangement would be: 2 x 40W 5000K-6000K bulbs + 2 x 40W 2700K bulbs.
The light penetration of the LEDs lamps is not very strong, so many small cheap LEDs can be more effective than a few large cheap LEDs. For example, using 4 x 40W cheap LED bulbs (160W) rather than a single 200W cheap LED bulb.
Cheap LED Lights for Marijuana at Different Stages
Below you will find some useful information about the use of cheap LED marijuana lights in the different stages of the marijuana life cycle. Pay attention, because these are very useful tips for success with this type of bulb:
Cheap LEDs for seedlings
First of all, seeds have to be germinated or clones have to be planted depending on the type of crop intended. At this stage, the plants should follow an 18/6 light cycle, which means 18 hours of light exposure, followed by 6 hours of darkness, every day. In this case, it is best to use a timer.
Water the plants adequately without over-watering and watch them mature. Cheap LEDs are great for the first few weeks of a crop’s life, especially for seedlings. Regardless of the light setup used later on, many experienced growers prefer to use cheap LEDs in the first few weeks, in order to get the maximum benefits from this type of lighting, saving costs and efficiency.
Cheap LEDs for Growth
At this point, plants need more daylight and therefore require bright white light LEDs, which operate at 5000-6500K on the colour temperature scale.
Water the plant regularly on demand, paying attention not to drown it and adjusting the power of the cheap LED lamps and the height so that they are about 10 cm away from the plants, having the cheap LED closer may end up burning the plant.
Use nutrients for growth, such as nitrogen, and if desired start training your plants to use as much space as possible.
Plants grow quickly at this stage, so give them some space so they do not grow directly around the lamps. A good solution for smaller spaces is to train them. Techniques such as LST can help to control the plant’s height.
Cheap LEDs for flowering
By changing the photoperiod from 18/6 to 12/12, the plant will go into the flowering stage, responding to the daylight hours reduction. This tells the plant that it is time to reproduce because it is going to die soon. At this point, a check should be made to ensure that absolutely no light enter on the grow room during the dark period.
At this point, the plant will require yellow/red light. These are often called “warm white” and are 2700K. These “low kelvin” bulbs are best suited for the flowering stage, as your plant is preparing to flower before the “winter” arrives.
At this stage you need the maximum possible light output, at least doubling the output used in the growth stage and correcting the spectrum towards reddish. LEDs can work wonders at this stage. Just keep them as close to the buds as possible (without burning them).
Keeping the temperature at appropriate levels, temperature control is one of the cornerstones of proper growth. However, the flowering stage requires a little more attention. In flowering it is necessary to have a powerful air renewal system, also if possible, have a small fan blowing gently over the plants.