Low Watt LEDs vs T5 Grow Lights: Seed Starting / Lettuce Test

Watch my more current follow up tests & experiments:
► Red vs Blue light & development:
► To avoid Idea Burn:
► Light Cycles & DLI:
► Expense Calculator:

LEDs that performed far better:
► Spider Farmer SF-1000:
► Spider Farmer SF-2000:
► Active LoPro Max
► LED T5 Replacement Tubes:
► Infinity Linear:

POINTERS: Preventing LED scammers:

Testing Date: 2015
in a little scale city garden does not require to be complicated. You don't require fancy lighting. But the LED light market has actually ended up being glutted with low end, low wattage lights. Sadly, not all LED lighting options have measured up to their claims. Some of them do not even deliver the quantity of wattage you would appropriately expect.

I decided to attempt checking a couple of entry level LED lights in the hopes that I could find something that would keep up with my T5 fluorescent light. T5 bulbs are effective. But simply as significantly, they are reliably efficient. The in advance expense is affordable. And the cost to run it is okay (altho I think LEDs are able to surpass this factor).

However which LEDs should you purchase? I wanted to test LEDs that can run within a confined vertical space. I was hoping to find a grow light that would operate in a rack system, just as fluorescent lights do. For this application, LED panel lights are very enticing. They evenly disperse light across the canopy. They're affordable, do not cost much to run & generate extremely little heat. However how well do low watt LED panels work for ?

This T5 shelf system is an example of what I'm opting for here:
( Amazon) I want to see a system like this that uses LEDs rather and works just as well. So prior to you provide me a thumbs down, keep in mind that I like LEDs & I'm truthfully searching for a product that fits the expense.

TEST BED (# CommissionsEarned):.

Top Rack – T5 Fluorescent/ 2ft x 4 bulbs (6500k) – 96w (86w actual – measured after making video).
Coverage location: 22.5" x 13.5" = 304 sq in.
Upfront Expense (Q1 2016) – $89.
Amazon Link:.

Bottom Rack Side 1 – LED Blue – 13.8 w (15w actual).
Protection location: 12" x 12" = 144 sq in.
Upfront Cost (Q1 2016) – $35.
Amazon Link:.

Bottom Rack Side 2 – LED Red + Blue – 45w (29w actual).
Protection area: 12" x 12" = 144 sq in.
Upfront Expense (Q1 2016) – $36.
Amazon Link:.

My PPFD Meter (Apogee Instruments):.

After acquiring my Apogee SQ-500 Quantum Light Sensing Unit, I had the ability to take some PAR readings as measured in PPFD. This is undoubtedly much more useful than a lux reading.

15w Blue LED: 29 PPFD @ 6 inches/ 60 PPFD @ 3".
15w (9w) Red/Blue LED: 120 PPFD @ 6".
45w (29w) Red/Blue LED: 320 PPFD @ 6".

Range: Lights were placed 6" from soil surface.

Initial Test: Numerous seed types grown in potting mix in flats & trays.

Final Test: Tom Thumb lettuce grown from seed in Kratky's hydroponic trays.
– Seeds from Botanical Interests:.


Utilizing 48w per , the T5 light created one of the most growth.

The "45w" Red/Blue LED light performed acceptably, however not rather as well. I want to evaluate it simply a little more.

The 15w Blue LED system was just not able to carry out. Plant growth was sluggish, weak and spindly. This was observed in the lettuce plant. But it was also clearly observed in a variety of other seedlings throughout my initial test.


I do not advise buying these 15w LED systems for anything other than an extra light. You require a very intense, bright window. The LED would require to be high enough up that it does not shade the plant from the natural light. Utilized in this way, the light would give a little boost to your plants.

For $35-$ 40 though, such systems are hardly worth the cash. They aren't even worth the 12" x 12" physical area that they use up. To keep up with a T5, I would search for a Red/Blue panel LED that takes in over 30w per square foot. It's possible that some models might be more efficient than other comparable LED panels. But they would need real screening to verify.

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Low Watt LEDs vs T5 Grow Lights: / Lettuce Test

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