Basics and Benefits of Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights

The full spectrum LED grow lights produces light that closely mimics the sunlight, even though not entirely.  These have a positive impact on the plants because they support better and healthier growth and productivity.

However, the full spectrum term is a general description of the characteristics of the light source but not purely scientific. Basically, this type of grow lights emits almost all the wavelengths in the visible light spectrum.

Why use the full spectrum LED grow lights

Although most indoor farmers rely on the regular LED grow lights, the full spectrum model can provide additional wavelengths that improve the well-being of the plants. However, these are more expensive. The crops often respond to a wider wavelength range than humans do. For example, the Marijuana plants usually detect and respond to light between the UV ranges and the far-red ranges.

While the humans see the green and yellow as the brightest colors, the plants see the red and blue. This is the region in which the greatest conversion of light to photosynthesis happens.

Although the red and blue are the most critical colors for plants, there are some other wavelengths that contribute to the growth, even though not mandatory. The usual LED grows lights produce the red and blue while the full spectrum emits all the colors ranging from red to violet as well as some wavelengths beyond the visible range.

What does the full spectrum LED grow light mean?

It should be noted that the full spectrum in this context is not the scientific term. It is a description that manufacturers use to help the buyers understand that the lamps provide a balanced light with no gaps in the bands. Instead, it provides a full spectrum band in the visible region. Most of the full spectrum LED lamps consists of between 7 and 10 bands.

For example, a typical 9 band LED light emits the following characteristics.

  • UV
  • Royal blue
  • Blue
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Red
  • Deep red
  • Infrared (IR)
  • White
9 band LED light
9 band LED light

The full spectrum is probably a more balanced light for the plant’s growth but not exactly the same as the natural daylight. Although the lights produce additional wavelengths, some of these are useful for the plants, while others fall outside the useful range and are either too weak or too powerful for the photosynthesis process.

For example, the infra-red is usually weak but causes heat which may damage the crops. On the other hand, the UV is destructive and does not support the proper growth.

Benefits of full spectrum grow lights

Just like the general LED grow lights, the full spectrum models are also energy efficient, emit less heat and are durable. The specific benefits of indoor farming include:

Better productivity

The full spectrum light bulbs have a more positive impact on the growth of the plants compared to the conventional LED grow lights. The indoor plants growing under the full spectrum lights are more productive, better growth and less depression.

Do not require reflectors and ballasts

The full spectrum LED grow lights do not require reflectors and ballasts. This reduces the cost as well as space the items occupy for the conventional lights.

Better light spectrum

They do not emit a lot of heat and the energy the full spectrum lamp consumes goes specifically to produce the wavelengths that a plant will absorb. The better light spectrum produces healthier plants.

Supports entire growth cycle

By emitting all the wavelengths, the full spectrum LED grow lights is suitable for the entire growth cycle of the plant, without requiring any supplementary light or affecting the quality.

Compact and long lasting

The full spectrum LED grow lights just like the other LED lights have long lifespan of about 50000 hours which is much longer compared to conventional lights. In addition, the fixtures are compact and require less space for installation, hence lower setup costs.

Disadvantages of full spectrum LED grow lights

  • Unlike the general LED grow lights, the full spectrum models consume more energy in order to produce the additional wavelengths. They are therefore less energy efficient and costs more to run compared to the other LED grow lights.
  • The full spectrum LED lights are very expensive. They cost more than the regular LED grow lights as well as HIDs, HPS, fluorescents and other conventional lights. In fact, these are the most expensive type of LED grow lights.
  • Despite the term full spectrum, they do not produce all the wavelengths like the sunlight.

What to consider when choosing full spectrum LED grow lights

  • Intended growth phases: If for full-growth cycle, the full spectrum is the best.
  • Size of the area to light
  • Enclosure type
  • Beam angle
  • Size
  • Heat
  • Cost

Enclosure type

A totally enclosed lamp prevents degradation or damage from insects, dust, debris or moisture. Although some lights come with cooling fans and cannot be enclosed completely, there are others that do not use the fans and instead uses better thermal management that does not require additional cooling. This is usually IP65 rated and completely sealed.

Physical size and output of full spectrum grow LED lights

The size of the grow light becomes an issue when space is limited. Since the LEDs are usually small in size, the full spectrum fixtures are smaller than the other types of grow lights such as the HPSs and fluorescents, hence able to fit in a wide variety of indoor spaces. In addition, everything is usually inbuilt inside a compact assembly, which is also lightweight and does not require heavy or strong mounting structures.

It is important to first evaluate the grow area and structure since they have a direct influence on the choice of the lamp. This dictates the physical dimensions, weight and amount of light output and other characteristics of the grow lamp.

Phase of growth

Some indoors farms are used for specific growth phases such as seedlings. If the plants will be transplanted in the outdoor environment, it may not be necessary to use the full spectrum LED grow lights. However, if the intention is to grow the plants entirely in the indoor environment, then the full spectrum lights are the best.


The full spectrum LED grow lights produces artificial light that closely emulates the natural sunlight. However, the lights are not exactly the same but ensure similar effects when used on plants. This type of lamps produces light that supports better growth in the indoor environments.

The benefits full spectrum LED grow lights include assisting in all the plant’s growth stages that leads to greater productivity. Also, the lights just like the regular LED grow lights require no ballasts, run cooler and are long lasting, do not flicker and are cheaper to run.