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What Lighting should you be using for your grow? LEC vs. HPS vs. LED

Written by Ron Johnson on Dec 02, 2019

What is the most efficient grow light?

I’ve spent hours talking to commercial growers. Some pride themselves on being god’s gift to growing cannabis. Some actually have the production to back it up. However when I asked which grow light would you recommend they all had different answers.

You would think there would be some uniformity when it pertains to grow lights. I mean the whole point is to mimic the sun and there isn’t 12 different types of suns we have to choose from. So why such variance in opinion when it comes to grows lights? Which one is truly the best in producing the potent, crystallized, dense, and heavy harvest we all love?

In this article I narrowed down the top 3 light systems growers mentioned and break down which is the most efficient.

  1. LEC 630w from Sun Micro System
  2. Spider X Fluence 635w
  3. Gavita DE 1000w. (all 240v)

LEC 630 are about $623 to purchase and have 92 Color Rendering Index (CRI). CRI is a metric used to determine the usability of the light spectrum emitted to the plant. Keep in mind the sun has a CRI of 100. The light system pulls 2.85 amps and has a 4×4 footprint.

  • Pros: Extremely high CRI and relatively low amp pull.
  • Cons: Result not very documented. Not highly reviewed.

The SpiderX 635 is a staggering $1500 to purchase and gives off a CRI of 85. The SpiderX amp pull is 2.9 and has a 4×4 footprint.

  • Pros: Maintenance is low. You never have to worry about getting new bulbs. Relatively high CRI. Ideal for close range vertical gardening practices.
  • Cons: Super expensive to acquire. Double and triple the cost of other lighting technologies.

The Gavita 1000 DE is only $249 brand new and has a CRI of 25. It pulls 4.4 amps and has the largest footprint at 6×6.

  • Pros: Less expensive to acquire. Strong reputation in the grow community. Larger footprints allows for less lights to cover canopy.
  • Cons: Very low CRI. High electrical draw and heat production.

I determined the first year Annual Total Cost of Ownership with the following equation;

Acquisition Cost + (Cost per Watt per Year) * Wattage Pull

These are the results;

  • LEC $1,312
  • SpiderX $2,195
  • Gavita $1,430

I made some assumptions but it still should be pretty accurate. If I had to pick I would choose LEC 630. The light spectrum and the total cost of ownership is substantially better than the others. Also mixing light spectrums can be a positive thing as well so you might not have to choose a single light type. At the end of the day only you know what’s best for your garden and genetics.

Just my 2 cents. Your comments and feedback are welcome at [email protected]

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