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LED Grow Light Battle: The Growers Choice ROI E-680

By Jessica McKeil September 04, 2019

The LED grow light industry has gotten to a point where it can finally deliver the same quality to the small scale grower as it can to large commercial operations. Most importantly, it can do so without breaking the bank.

As many will recall, it wasn't all that long ago that small to medium to sized growers were priced out of quality LED lighting options. Unless you had bottomless pockets, you couldn't afford to shop for LED grow fixtures.

It's not the case today, with a recent series of high powered LED lighting options targeting the small-time operation. Today, LED grow lights are well worth the investment.

These fixtures have come down in price, but crucially still deliver the high-quality performance expected from commercial installs. These options are an affordable and approachable fixture for even the home grower.

Here we will compare three notable options on the market today:

  1. Growers Choice ROI E-680
  2. Fluence SPYDRx PLUS
  3. Gavita 1650E

We'll break down the most critical specs of each light in a side-by-side comparison. Its an LED light battle for the small to medium-sized cultivator.

Spoiler Alert, Growers Choice ROI E-680 is Our Top Pick

For the home hobbyist or small scale craft cultivator, there are a few notable LED grow options now. Of particular note is the Growers Choice ROI E-680 fixture. It's a unique collaboration between two industry leaders (TSL Horti Tech and Grower's Choice), and one which dominates its competition.

Without getting ahead of ourselves, the ROI E-680 fixture is the best in the market today, in nearly every category worth comparing. It clearly meets or beats conventional lighting when it comes to performance, and as we'll see, the ROI E680 beats the LED options as well. 

In our experience, the price point, output, efficiency, and features of the Growers Choice fixture make it a clear choice for any operation.

But, don't take our word for it.

To highlight just how this affordable option compares to other LED grow lights within the same category, let's put it in a battle with the Gavita 1650E and the Fluence SPYDRx PLUS.

Price Point

As with all grow light comparisons, your decision comes down to budget restraints. What is the highest quality product, with the best output your budget can afford?

The Gavita 1650E fixture retails for around $1300 and is the first LED options designed by an HID industry leader. At the time of writing, it was only available for pre-orders and shipping on a first-come-first-served basis. There is no indication on shipping dates or order wait times.

But what about the SPYDRx PLUS? It's a comparable LED grow light to the Gavita, but it comes with a slightly higher price point. Most retailers sell the SPYDRx PLUS for $1500. 

Now, for our favorite: the Growers Choice ROI E-680. It is one of the most affordable LED grow lights on the market today.

At $999, its a fraction of the cost of its competitors, but it doesn't compromise on efficiency, performance, or specs. 

For literally hundreds of dollars less, you'll get the same performance and features (if not better) than either the Gavita 1650E or the SPYDRx PLUS. 

Output and Efficiency

With all the recent advances in LED grow light technology, it's come down to a game of numbers. Which brand can pump out the most intensity with the highest efficacy?

Why don't we let the numbers speak for themselves for each of the brands we are investigating.

At the bottom of the pack is the SPYDRx PLUS, which if you remember is also the most expensive on our list. Its output at 1530 umol/s, pales in comparison to the others. It has an industry-standard efficiency rating of 2.5 µmol/J

The Gavita 1650E fairs much better in terms of output. The fixture is rated with 1650 µmol/s and an efficiency of 2.6 µmol/j. Better than the SPYDRx PLUS, but still with a higher sticker price.

How does the Grower's Choice Fair? For a fraction of the price, the ROI E-680 beats out its competition for output and efficiency. It has the highest output of the bunch, 1700 μmol/s and an excellent system efficacy of 2.5 μmol/j. 

It's the clear winner, especially when you consider the fixtures affordability.

Coverage Area

The Gavita 1650E comes with a suggested coverage area of a small 4' x 4' plot. The SPYDRx PLUS, in ideal circumstances, will also cover a 4' x  4' canopy. The ROI E-680 fixture is similar, but in veg specific spaces - has much better coverage, lighting up a grow area of 5'x 5'. 

Clearly, the additional coverage means additional savings for your grow room set up. The Grower's Choice offers much better canopy coverage than either of the more expensive options listed here.

Light Spectrum 

Scientists have known for some time how the light spectrum is just as crucial to prolific harvests as light intensity. We go into full detail here, but the key takeaway from this article is how cannabis requires different spectrums of light during various stages of growth. Vegetative stage thrives with 400 to 500 nm (e.g., blues, violets, etc.) and flowering requires 600 to 730 nm (e.g., reds, infrareds, etc.).

Out of all three LED grow lights in our side-by-side comparison, Growers Choice pumps out the broadest spectrum of light with the most intensity. According to expert analysis, the ROI E-680 generates a high output between 400 to 750 nm, easily satisfying the requirements of each stage of a plant's growth cycle. 

The Growers Choice ROI E-680 fixture contains three specific diodes which spit out this large spectrum: warm white, cool white, and 660-nanometer (deep red). This full-spectrum allows your operation to thrive from vegetative, through flower and into the harvest.

How do the other options compare in this category? Both the Gavita 1650E and the SPYDRx PLUS perform better than any HID variety but do not stack up against the spectrum of the ROI E-680. The SPYDRx PLUS has decent coverage between 500 to 680 nm, but it has only spotty performance below 500 nm, and low performance above 680 nm.

The Gavita 1650E covers a similar span on the spectral power distribution charge graph. It does really well in a small section between 480 to 680 nm, but only spotty performance in the deep blues and reds required for peak production.l

Remember, cannabis thrives under 400 to 500 nm during the vegetative stage, and loves deep reds during the flowering stage. To get the most out of your grow, you'll likely need a few supplemental light additions with a SPYDRx PLUS or a Gavita 1650E.

A Grower's Choice fixture needs no additional lighting to make your crop happy.

Space Considerations

All three LED grow lights on this list are passively cooled LED light bars. This means, based on the fixture design of long bars attached to an open metal frame, the heat considerations are minimal. They have no reflectors and have a significantly lower profile than traditional lighting options.

Additionally, this means no monstrous HVAC and cooling systems to keep the environment stable and safe — instant space savings on this point.

The ROI E-680 fixture requires at most 12" between the canopy and the fixture. Some growers report as little as 6", however, that may depend on perfecting all other environmental conditions.  The SPYDRx PLUS seems comparable, with similar height suggestions to the ROI E-680.

A Gavita 1650E, at full intensity, will require up to 48" of headspace during vegetative stages. During flower, set at a lower intensity, it still needs much more space than the Grower's Choice. According to some suggestions, that's roughly 18" above the canopy.

As an aside, one reviewer also noted the Gavita 1650E LED light bars got quite hot after 30 minutes of use. This could mean you'll need a proper cooling system, depending on set up. If you have tight space restrictions, are cultivating in a grow tent, the Gavita is not nearly as suitable as either the ROI E-680 or the SPYDRx PLUS.

A Few Other Highlights to Note

Unlike the other options in our LED light battle, the ROI E-680 is dimmable without purchasing an additional control panel. Both the more expensive SPYDRx PLUS and Gavita 1650 E have dimmer options, but they are sold separately. 

As an upfront bonus, the ROI E-680 is folded for cheaper shipping. No massive boxes housing entire light fixtures and reflectors. The simple design means affordable shipping, yet easy set upon arrival.

If you enjoy having full control over growing conditions, you'll want to add The Grower's Choice Master Lighting controller to your order. Take control over many essential aspects, including HID Dimming, LED dimming, Light Cycle, Temperature, and Sunrise/Sunset modes. All in a control system with a simple user interface.

A Clear Winner - the Grower's Choice ROI E-680

For most cultivators, three categories make an LED grow light feasible: output, efficiency, and price. Other features and specs are helpful but don't ultimately sway the final purchasing decision.

It's in these three categories that the ROI E-680 shows up. It's the best bang per buck, with the highest output, industry-standard efficacy, and all for the lowest price point. Furthermore, it's affordability still comes with many (if not more) of the additional features you love to see in a grow light Including dimmers, uniformity of PAR, and the option of advanced controls.

The team behind the 'Grower's Choice ROI E-680 has figured out how to finally make a great product, at a reasonable price point. Growers buy based off results, and this fixture delivers far above its competition.

Click here to see more pictures, information, and to purchase the ROI-E680. Use coupon code LEARN for $100 off.


 


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