3 Watt Vs 5 Watt LEDs ?
There are several sizes of LED chips used in the manufacture of LED Grow lights and available for use in DIY LED grow light projects. 3 Watt Vs 5 Watt LEDs, which is the best size of LED chip light to use for your indoor garden?
While this is a fairly straightforward question there are several things to consider in making the best decision. First, does the chip size matter for light color, second how many lumens will each chip deliver and how many does your plant need, and third what are the cost considerations for each LED chip set size? To answer the first question we need a basic understanding of how LED lights work.
How LEDs Work
The term LED stands for “Light Emitting Diode”. When electrical current runs through the diode in an LED setup, the electrons in the current flow into a semiconductor material containing electron “holes”—spaces waiting to be filled with electrons. When the electrons fill those holes, energy is released as photons, or light that is emitted outward, turning the LED into a light source. The primary advantages of this LED setup is that the light is generated with less power usage, creates less heat, and can be developed in the color (spectrum) desired. When LEDs were first introduced they were in the small .3 – 1.3 watt range.
3 watt vs 5 watt leds
In 2009, many LED grow light manufacturers starting using 3 watt diodes in their grow lights. The 3 watt diode provided the ideal balance of canopy penetration without losing the advantages from low electrical usage and low heat source. With 3 watt diodes, a grow light was able to penetrate up to 5 feet past the plant’s canopy, which was the perfect design for the indoor growing market.
Not long after 3 watt diode lights were introduced, several companies started manufacturing and promoting indoor grow lights with 5 watt, 10 watt and even larger diodes. On the surface this seems to be the natural progression for grow light strength, but the LED grow lights with the larger diodes have some significant drawbacks.
First, as the diode size increases, so did the amount of heat that needs to be dissipated by the diode chip. Larger wattage diodes need larger heat sinks to dissipate the heat that they give off which results in heavier and bulkier lights.
The second issue is of chip density. Since the 5Watt and 10Watt diodes give off more heat, they must be spaced further apart to avoid thermal failure. They cannot be packed as densely as the 3 watt chips. The result is a less densely packed grow light that is heavier and bulkier.
The third drawback of the 5+ watt diodes is their price. Not only do they cost more overall, but they are also more expensive on a $/watt and $/ growing area covered basis. A quick analysis shows that it is not worth paying a premium to have larger diodes in LED grow lights. The added penetration is superfluous and unnecessary for indoor growers and it comes at a burdensome cost – increased price and less densely packed network of diodes.
Bigger is not always better. When it comes to the question of 3 watt vs 5 watt diodes for LED grow lights, lights built with the 3 watt diode are still a great choice for any indoor growing project, but 5 watt LEDs are becoming more and more popular as their production cost has decreased.