When it comes to indoor gardening using LED grow lights, the wattage is just one of the metrics that one should consider. The wattage of the light plays an essential role in determining the area of coverage for a given light.
Another metric used to measure the intensity of the light over a given area is the Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density, which is the PPFD. PPFD is the measure of different photons in the range of 400-700nm in the visible spectrum of light (the PAR, Photosynthetic Active Radiation) that hits the area of coverage per second. As you read through below, this post will guide you on the specific wattage your plants will need for growth.
The Recommended Wattage for Plants per Square Foot
When using LED grow lights, the wattage (power) per square foot of growing area should be at least 20 watts. Sometimes this can be more, but it all depends on the size of the growing area. Growers can increase the wattage to about 50 watts per square foot. Above this amount can be harmful to the plants because the light intensity will be too strong for them, resulting in stunted growth. When you buy a Dorm Grow LED, make sure to check the recommended coverage and distance for the particular G8 LED indoor grow light.
Consider this an example; if you choose the G8-900, the required area it will cover is about 6’ x 4’. This serves as a guideline to help you plan for the space requirements. Depending on the specifications or the demand of the indoor grow project, it is possible to increase or decrease the light in this given space.
Understanding the Wattage of LED Grow Lights
LEDs have a nominal wattage and the actual power draw (input) wattage. The nominal wattage is typically used in naming the light and is the summation of all the diodes. For example, a 600W light can be made of 200 x 3-watt diodes.
However, depending on the light wavelength emitted, each 3-watt diode chip can have a power draw (input) of 1.8 to 2.5 watts. The input wattage will always be less because a diode chip will never be operated at 100% capacity, to prevent thermal breakdown. Hence, a 600W of light will have an actual power draw of about 350-400 watts.
The Sizes of the Diode Chips
The chips of LEDs come in different sizes; from less than 1 watt to 10 watts and even more. The first-ever grow lights had diodes at 0.25watts. However, these original led grow lights were not effective options when it came to growing plants indoors. Although they had effects on just sprouts and grasses, they were not strong enough or suitable for more complex plants such as vegetables and cannabis. Later came the 1-watt lights, which were useful in growing complex types of plants. You should also know more about some of the myths about watts.
Even though these lights had the power to produce favorable results, what made them an unfavorable option was their reduced ability to penetrate the plant canopy further than a few feet. Then came G8LED, who engineered grow lights with higher wattage LED chips to mitigate this problem.
G8 LED grow lights are incorporate the 3-watt chip, which is the preferred choice of diodes because they create the right balance between the penetration of the canopy, the cost, and the emission of heat. The benefits of the 3-watt diode are that it offers better penetration into plant canopies, (about six feet deep) while maintaining a stable diodes chip, which is an issue with larger diode sizes. The 3-watt diodes are the ideal choice for growing plants indoors.
With larger diodes, the heat generation increases. Hence, it is important to space out the larger LEDs for safety reasons. Furthermore, the larger diodes require larger heat sink dimensions and power drivers. These negative features of 5watt and larger diodes result in heavier, bulkier lights, which are more expensive to manufacture and ship. The biggest drawback to the 5watt and larger diode chips is their inability to form a dense network of diodes, again due to excess heat. Since the larger diodes must be spaced out, the light intensity per square inch of grow coverage is reduced, compromising any gain that may come with the larger size.
Concerning growing plants indoors, ensure that you choose a 3-watt chip, which is the ideal option to grow plants to about six feet tall. They are also more affordable and cost less to operate.
When growing plants indoors, know that proper experimentation is the key to determine the best options for the plants. In case plants do not get sufficient light, their growth will slow down. Since plants will stretch to reach the source, the distance plays an important role. If you wish to learn more about how the wattage works, consult the LED grow light manufacturers.