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


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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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