Can you build a cheap grow light out of these LED strips that actually works? That is the question that many of you have had over the past few weeks since I released the initial grow light build video. I have been able to do some upgrades and testing and have some decent initial results to share.

I started 6 Roma tomato plants and planted them in similar pots all at the same time. I also planted another one and set it near a window. I set the three grow lights at the same height from the plants and all on the same timer. The details of the lights are as follows –

Grow light 1 – This is the light I built in the first video with one upgrade. I added a 6500k 7020 LED strip to this light to give it a bit more power. The two strips I used can be found here –

Toogod 5050 Grow light strip –
7020 bright white strip –

Grow light 2 – This is an all “Cool white light” grow light using 5630 LED strips. I used two of these 5m strips for this light

5630 Cool White LED strip –

Grow light 3 – This is my old tested FCL grow light it uses 8 cfl bulbs at 6500k/23watts each.
CFL bulbs –

Results –
Grow Light 1 – The growth from this light was mediocre at best. Although it was sufficient to keep my seedlings going without any trouble it did not perform better than the CFL light or my sunlight control.

Grow Light 2 – The worst growth of the three lights. This light did not have the power intensity or properly light spectrum to produce good growth. It did keep things rowing and alive but not very well at all.

Grow light 3 – This light performed above and beyond the other two and even had better growth than the plant I placed near the window. I couldn’t be happier with my old CFL lights and they have been running strong for over two years.

This was just an initial test to satisfy those who have been asking about them. I am going to build more LED light fixtures with different LED strips and then do a final test to see if I can get better growth from the LED strips for less power consumption and up front cost. If not, it will be back the CFLs!

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DIY LED Grow Light Follow Up – Low Power LED VS CFL

| Hydroponic Gardening | 20 Comments
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  • Ronald Everson

    I like the 6400k mixed with the 3200k
    That mix works really well!!!!!!
    Use the 630nm red and 430nm blue leds mix( the best spectrum of the LEDs) with the 6400k Cfls(in flower switch to 3200k-3000k) u will see crazy growth this combo works well with high power Ledz also(100-700w) mixed with HPS or HID(150-1000+w the combo make's a perfect sweet spot,, combining the lights u can create a bigger grow area with better growth then just using one plus a lower power consumption!!!! How could u ask for anything more)……….

  • gary hradek

    nice to see someone working hard to improve product development. Add a temperature gauge to each site to rule out temperature affects on growth


    For a real test I’d sprout 20 and pick out 4 that are as identical as possible after a few weeks growth and then put them under the test lights

  • BadouLaFole

    White led stripes cost qround 3.5 dollars for 5 meters on aliexpress
    And 6 dollars for the red and blue one (3red 4 blue)
    So your 35 dollars led grow light is more of a 10 dollars grow light

  • Lithuanian GLOCK31_NH420

    Why do you not use the same watt draw so its a real comparison… You cant just throw 250 watts of CFL against 32 watts of led..

    Cause my led will blow away all of your lights combines…

    Everyone but you kmows watt for watt led is hands down 2.5X better than the next best thing. Thats the facts. I bloom cannabis like a pro in an 8foot by 8 foot area with 1 800 watt led… I used to use 2 galaxy DE 1000 double ended 1150 watt hps grow fixtures.. Basically the big block of hps grow lights… With turbo too. I would dim those to 875 watts each to cover the 8×8 room. Not a sinlge DIY fixture does that work. A big slate heat sink with 6 HLG quantum v2 Samsung boards 1 620 watt driver and 1 260 watt driver… So just over 800 watts of real grow led outperforms 1750 watts of hps. And I'm sure 1200 watts of cree cbx3950s or Samsung 301 doids is most certainly going to out perform 2 1000 watt hps DE bulbs over driven at 1150 wattsX2. So 2350 watts of regular bulb… Amd you'll need 3000 watys of CFL to vover that same 8×8 area and make it flower properly…. Not sure CFL is even strong enuf to flower cannabis in a top quality way.

    I used to veg with giant 250 watt CFL lights and the plants could actually touch the bulb and not burn. Led and hid of any type so MH HPS LEC and CMH will catch the leaves on fire under the right conditions. Everyone in the world that gets paid to grow cannabis knows top bin led lights and top quality cobs are the worlds most efficient light sources other than the sun. Watt for watt. And watt for watt is the only true measure of a grow light.

  • John Vanetten

    1. Those leds are way to far away! And they will not burn the plants what so ever. 2. If your gonna compare different types of lighting, make sure everything’s the same wattage!

  • Rhodes68

    The plants tell the story, it aint the light spectrum here its light amount.
    Not enough light on those LEDs , I avoided these strips for that very reason, also they are too far away from the plants, Think 1 watt leds should be about 12" from plant tops. I just use the LED Daylight Bulbs (also 1 watt but far cheaper and far more light when combined ON A FLAT SURFACE (do not over think this) with defusers removed, lots of examples on YT. Works like a champ

  • Adam Nollmeyer

    I'd like to see the LED's placed very close to the plants, so that the measured light output is closer to those of the CFL. Since we know the lumen output is greater on one (CFL), it would be more fair to the comparison to put them closer, and possibly raise the CFL, so that the lumen at the plant is as close to identical as possible.

  • Nobunaga

    I think you may be reading those charts in reverse. You are saying the lights are mostly “red” or mostly “green” light… that is just how the spectrum is layered. If you go by the lx number you will see that the “front” color may show more color on the screen but it’s the dimmest spectrum. The chart is just stacked from least at the front to most at the back otherwise you would only see one color.

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