4 min read

Choosing The Best Light For Commercial Cannabis

With so many types of horticultural lighting and even more manufacturers, choosing the right lighting fixture for your facility...


Now that we've gone over the pros and cons of the most popular types of lighting in our “4 Types of Cannabis Lights: Pros & Cons” blog, it shouldn't come as a surprise that we believe full spectrum LED grow lights are the best option available on the market today. While it may seem like the most optimal solution for cannabis cultivators, this was not the case just a few years ago. With extensive research and development from universities, experienced cultivators, and industry experts, LED lighting has become a real solution for commercial cultivation operations.


The State Of The Cannabis Industry 

As the cannabis industry emerges in states across the country, we see many start-up operations looking to get their slice of the pie. States like Oklahoma are seeing so many operations open up that the price per pound has significantly dropped over the last year or two. It's important to recognize this trend in other states as time passes, especially when cannabis becomes federally legal. Please don't take this the wrong way; we're not saying you shouldn't pursue your dream of opening a commercial facility or that money can't be made from an investment standpoint. We want to point out that not every operation will survive. The operations still standing when the dust settles will be the ones that were able to reduce their cost of production while continuing to improve yields and quality. Remember, there is more than one way to cook an egg, folks.


LED Grow Lights For Cannabis

The cannabis industry is changing every day, which is why it's crucial that grow facilities invest in the best grow lights for cultivation to keep them ahead of the curve. So how does highly efficient LED lighting fit into a streamlined cultivation operation? Though a much higher initial investment is required, the right LED fixture will indeed have a more significant ROI (return on investment). This means you'll make more money faster and for years to come. High-quality LED fixtures will offer comparable, if not higher yields, with exceptional quality. As mentioned, LED lighting can save up to 40% on energy costs, requiring a smaller investment in HVAC equipment and power delivery (amperage), creating greater scalability through multi-tier cultivation, and reducing material and labor costs by eliminating the need to change out expensive bulbs.


Grow Lights For Indoor Plants: Questions You Need To Ask Your Lighting Company

Assuming you've chosen to invest in LED lighting, there are still many things to consider when making your purchase. As we mentioned above, not every LED fixture is created equally, nor should they be, as they are all designed differently to accomplish unique goals. However, there's a clear difference between specifically designed and poorly designed. The effectiveness of an LED fixture can be identified by quite a few factors including Diode quality, diode spacing, spectrum, build materials, canopy penetration, light distribution, efficacy, thermal management, passive or active cooling (with or without fans), wattage/intensity, fixture dimensions/recommended footprint, dust/moisture resistance, UL/DLC certifications, warranty, and price, all contribute to the overall value of the fixture. When purchasing LED grow lights, you'll also want to factor in what you are receiving from the manufacturer and consider the following questions. 

  • How is their customer service? 
  • Do you reach a real person or an automated message? 
  • Are they just selling you lights, or are they invested in your success? 
  • Will they spend the extra time to make sure you are purchasing the right model?
  • Can they be used as a resource for cultivation advice? 
  • Will they work with your contractors and equipment installers to ensure an optimal environment? Do they have partners that can benefit you in other aspects of your operation? 


The answer to these questions can and should be the deciding factor once you've narrowed it down to a few lighting manufacturers.


LED Lighting Design

Now that you’ve asked yourself the important questions about LED lighting let's talk about design. You'll want to consider your cultivation methodology first to determine which features are most important in your chosen model. For instance, if you are only vegging with the light, you may want to look for a lower-wattage light that is relatively affordable and offers a spectrum that will be beneficial to the vegetative stage.  Suppose you are looking for a light for your bloom room. In that case, you'll want to spend a few more dollars on a fixture that offers more light intensity and a flowering spectrum with a more remarkable ability to distribute light and dissipate heat. If you tend to grow larger plants (4'-6'), you'll want a light that can cover a larger footprint and deliver more photons with greater canopy penetration. If you are growing smaller plants in a multi-tier setting, you'll want a light that is tailored to close proximity cultivation and a slim profile to create as much vertical space as possible. While it may seem like a no-brainer, many cultivation operations have not considered design when making their light purchase or have been misinformed by one of the many lackluster manufacturers in the lighting industry.


In Conclusion

As many of you know, though we now assist in many other aspects of commercial operations for indoor farming lights, we entered the cannabis market as a premium lighting solutions provider, which is still our main focus today. Our end-goal for these entries is to inform facility operators on the types of cannabis grow lights available and topics we feel need clarification and to help growers, owners, and operators gain a greater understanding of these topics. At the same time, we think making this information as direct and digestible as possible is essential. Please don't hesitate to reach out to a team member for more information on lighting, me, or any other topic we cover in the future. Agro Lighting is always looking to build relationships with people in the industry and is happy to help in any way we can. We hope you've found this helpful information and better understand how to decide which light is the best fit for your operation.