LED technology is one of the fastest growing an most significant areas of innovation in the cannabis growers scene. LED lights allow growers to save money on electricity and increase yields in comparison to their costs. Typical hydroponic grow lights, Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium, are cheap to set up but cost a ton of money in electricity to run them for 12 to 16 hours a day. They produce a lot of excess heat, requiring high powered fans for ventilation as well as more spacious grow rooms in order to prevent burning your plants. These bulbs must be replaced yearly a well, or they lose significant amounts of power and efficiency. LED lights run cool, use less electricity, and last longer.
SMD, or Surface Mounted Diode, LED lights are one of the emerging technologies that are bringing LED grow lights into the hands of professional and novice growers alike. LEDs started out as the DIP style, which look like small bullets, are not very bright, and house one diode per chip. SMD LEDs contain three diodes (red, green, blue) in each housing and can be used for flexible applications such as strip lights and multi-color bulbs. SMD lights come in either SMD 5050 or 3528 sizes. These numbers refer to the dimensions of the chip in mm, with 5050 being larger. SMD LEDs are brighter and more durable than old-school DIP LEDs, and have some very interesting applications for hydroponic gardening.
Most often you will find SMD LEDs in smaller bulbs as well as grow light strip, but some larger-scale grow light manufacturers are catching on to this new tech as wells. Individual bulbs are perfect for clones, seedlings, or supplemental lighting in any dark spots you have in your grow room. Light strips are very flexible and are an inexpensive solution for growers who love to DIY their grow equipment. SMD lights are limited in their brightness by their design, which dictates that every diode requires its own circuit. Brighter LEDs such as COB require only one circuit no matter the number of diodes, so they can have two to three times the mount of diodes and therefore a much higher level of brightness. If you are shopping for lights for a large grow op, LED Light Strips would be your best bet for inexpensive SMD lights. Otherwise, COB LEDs are a great option, albeit more expensive.