The COB LED Grow Light Explained and Reviewed

Ed Wike
Written by
Last update:

What is a COB LED?

A COB LED is an acronym for chip on board. This refers to and LED that has multiple chips on one printed circuit board. The chips may be arranged at different angles, so that they are optimized for different reaches in the light spectrum. COB LEDs are a new advancement in the realm of LEDs as they cram in more light per board, require lower power to operate, and last longer. However their popularity in the grow light community has been slow to catch on.

So why bother with chip on boards at all? Lower power can result in bigger savings for your grow light. Also, some strains are more sensitive to light than others. A 1W chip can be used effectively to light smaller plants, such as clones, and supplemented by a larger bulb. This way you save on energy expended and your nutrients are only used by the liveliest of your crop.

The SPYDRx SPYDRx-300 the flagship COB light in the SPYDRx line and it has a 300W spectrum that spans the wavelengths needed by your plants for a lush and healthy growth. You get all the benefits of LED grow lights packed into a 300W output that fits on a 4‛ by 5‛ sheet of aluminum.

Using COB LEDs as Grow Lights

When it comes to indoor growing, lights may be the most important component. With lights, you can have a good yield of healthy, succulent plants. You can get your hands on COB LEDs either in sprays at the garden department of a local hardware store or online at specialized stores as well.

The LED grow lamps are by far the most energy efficient and powerful type of grow lamp.

With a reasonable price on the market, you’ll find that it’s well worth the purchase. They are a bit pricey but they can provide you with the vigorous growth of your plants you are looking for.

These lights enable you to produce up to 30% more yield, while using less energy.

The look of the LED’s is what makes them so effective in growing your plants. The light they produce mimics full spectrum sunlight, and there is no bulky hardware to get in the way. Soon you will see the difference these LED bulbs can make for your plants.

Improved Electrical Efficiency

When it comes to installing LED lights for your hydroponics, or indoor gardening, grow area, you always have to consider the length of time the lights can run for. This is particularly true if you live in a region with long periods of darkness. Lifespan of your Indoor garden LED lights means that the light is designed to have a long life. If the light system is not properly working, it can easily burn out and become useless in a few months. Because of this, it is important to find lights that are engineered to run for over 50,000 hours. This is one of the positives of the CREE bulbs that are in the COB LED Grow light system, and allows you to reap the benefits of using the indoor garden LED grow lights for many years.

In addition to durability, as discussed above, the light LEDs are an energy saving option. The electrical input of the CREE COB LED light system means that the annual operating costs can be about half of what your standard lighting system would cost.

Variable optic lens and reflector options are offered as well, which allows the LED grow lights to be adjusted, and focused, to increase the amount of light to the specific plants in your indoor garden. The reflector is designed to provide full coverage, so the plants receive all of the light that is possible from the COB LED grow lights.

Improved Lifespan

The most useful attribute of COB LED lights, is that they have a longer lifespan than the conventional LED lights, and they are better at emitting the light in the wavelength your plants are more sensitive to.

If you would like your plants to live a long life, you need to have them grow as slow as possible, and this is only possible if your plants are getting all the nutrients they need at the right time.

The reason why the conventional lights don’t work very well is the wavelength, which is the property of all light that determines its color.

The plants absorb light with the wavelength they need for their plant cycle to grow.

And one of the most useful wavelengths for plant growth is the blue light, which is also the hardest one to produce.

The conventional LEDs produce a main beam of blue light, but they also produce a lot of light of the other colors as well.

So the plants absorb only a part of the blue light, and the rest is wasted.

The blue light is also the most powerful one, so using it more than necessary is a waste.

That’s why the lifespan and longevity of the COB LEDs is so important. The blue light is just what the plants need more than anything else, and these ones produce little light of different wavelengths.

Improved Spectrum

As you can see by the chart, COBs have a much better light spectrum and wavelength to spur plant growth. Most LED grow lights are made up of 3w LEDs with a different primary color, usually red, blue, or a royal blue. You combine all of these colors together to basically get an all-around spectrum.

The problem with this is that with high wattage and little distance between the LEDs, the blue is overheated and zaps the efficiency of the red and the royal blue. Therefore, many reputable companies make their crop lights in a series and each series utilizes a different spectrum. For example if you wanted to grow both tomatoes and lettuce, you would want a red, blue, and royal blue grow light.

This is where COBs shine. Most COBs are about the size of a quarter and are perfect for LED grow lights because they can put out a higher amount of light than usual.

Improved Light Quality

Whether your goal is to create growing conditions for fragile seedlings or to support generous vegetative growth, the Cob LED grow light is a good choice. Designed to deliver a light spectrum that is ideal for any indoor grow, this “full spectrum” light can be used to replace high-pressure sodium lighting. Plants that are used to being grown under HPS, and plants that are no longer being grown outdoors, will thrive under this light. Combined with the benefits of LED lights as a whole, this spectrum is a great way to improve plant growth in a new or existing facility.

There are two standard bulbs for the Cob LED. One is 1000 watts and delivers a full-spectrum light that is useful for growing in the vegetative stage. This light has an output of 130,000 lumens, and it can replace multiple lamps. It has an estimated lifespan of six months and it is the most affordable of all the bulbs. The second option is the Cob LED 1500, which is a 1500 watt light. This light can deliver a light spectrum that is ideal for high-yielding growth in the flowering stage. It pumps out 208,000 lumens, and it has an estimated lifespan of nine months. This is the bulb to buy for a facility that is investing in professional vegetative growth. If your purpose is to grow only for consumption, and you are just using the light for home use, then the 1000 watt option might be the one for you.

Allows replacement of HID bulbs without any loss of light intensity

High Technology: COB is a surface mounted white LED that is similar to the newest generation of white LED. This technology is perfect for producing the most light with the lowest energy consumption, allowing replacement of HID bulbs without any loss of light intensity.

Lower Heat Output: Compared to metal halide, COB can save a lot of power – 90% power compared to HID and cut off half of the light produced (energy consumption is 90% of halide and 60% of metal halide) without losing the light intensity.

Higher Uniformity: COB is more uniform light than HID. For example, HID 1000W an 400W bulb will produce 450W.

Efficient & Safe: COB-best Features include using an aluminum bracket and an aluminum heat sink, which can work in a wide area from 32° F to 104° F. All COB lights are CE and RoHS approved. They are also especially suitable for hydroponic and indoor gardening.

Better Light Distribution

They produce about 70% less heat than most regular HID lights, making them easier to install in a fully enclosed growing area. This is ideal if you live in a hot climate as well because there is less chance that your plants will be exposed to excessive heat. (Heat is a secondary light source that can hinder a plant's ability to grow).

COB LED grow lights are designed to produce more PAR (plant active radiation), which enables you to grow plants from seeds to flowering and fruiting stages faster than other light sources.

Longevity is one more major benefit of using COB LED grow lights. A standard COB LED light will typically last almost 50,000 hours (9-years on a daily cycle), and there are versions that can last as long as 100,000 hours (18 years on a daily cycle).

Longevity is ultimately a major benefit because the longer your light can last, the more money you can save over time. A single high-quality COB LED light can last as long as 18 years, and the right COB LED light can just one light can easily pay for itself throughout that period, which justifies the cost.

Superior Thermal Performance

The COB LED grow light was first invented in China, and is the most recent innovation in the world of horticulture. The advantages of this new light over other grow lights has convinced many horticulturists and farmers the world over, to make the switch. One of the most interesting advantages is the superior thermal performance, proven in independent studies, beat by none. How exactly does this light perform that well?

The COB LED brings together three distinctive characteristics for its superior thermal performance. The first is a much lower wattage vs. watt density than its competitors. This means that the heat points are evenly spread out over the footprint of the light, which waives the need for a cooling system, such as a fan or air conditioner, as the heat points are so uniformly spread out, the temperature stays almost the same, regardless of the number of watts being used.

The second advantage is that the light is distributed via a COB, or chip-on-board, which means the various parts of the light are arranged side by side in a single chip, rather than requiring individual chips to go and found their own space. This greater efficiency in arranging the chips means heat points are again, more evenly spread, and also less likely to overheat.

COB LEDs Compared to Other Types of Grow Lights

LEDs can be grouped into a few different categories based on their shape. There are your standard lights, which are usually rectangular-shaped or D-shaped. Then there are specialized lights, like HID (high-intensity discharge) lights, which are usually a long tube.

That brings us to the COB (chip-on-board) lights. COB stands for an LED array that’s mounted directly to a circuit board. LEDs in a COB are pretty small – usually between 5 and 10 um. This is why they are cheaper and more effective than your standard LED lights.

As you can see from the picture above, a COB LED looks very different from your standard LED. Instead of having one long rectangular light, it’s a collection of tiny LED lights.

The COB also reduces heat. With conventional LEDs, a lot of heat is wasted. But since they’re so inexpensive to make, and they consume much less power, the COB LED is pretty efficient and generates little heat.

COB LEDS vs. HPS

Grow Lights: What Type of Grow Light Should You Use?

There are three main types of LED lights: COB LED, cluster LED, and full spectrum LED.

What is COB LED?

COB stands for “chip-on-board” and refers to the way that the diode is mounted inside the light fixture. COB LEDs are typically more powerful per watt than other LED options and have a wider beam angle. The heat is also well managed, especially compared to older-style SMD LED lights. The large size of the chips in COB lights makes them easy to cool and contribute to their superior efficiency.

If you're looking for bright, full-spectrum light that delivers superior yields, I recommend that you choose a COB LED light.

The run time with a COB LED is also longer than the other types of LED lights because of their uniform and wide-reaching light. This means you can expect to get more harvests throughout the year.

The more powerful COB LEDs are more expensive than the cluster LEDs and may also have more spikes in heat. As long as you have a proper enclosure with good ventilation and a good heat management system, this shouldn't be a concern.

What is a Cluster LED?

COB LEDS vs. MH

For the last few years, and for good reason, more and more growers have been switching to COB LED lights. They’re the most efficient type of grow light on the market today, and they emit almost zero heat, which means you can leave them on all the time.

LEDs are by far the most efficient type of grow light on the market; by ignoring the laws of physics, they allow you to get much more light per watt than with other grow lights.

LEDs are almost negligibly affected by how close they are to the vegetation; they’re not just less sensitive, they put out essentially the same amount of light no matter how close they are. The footprint of a LED grow light is very small, which means you get to fill your entire grow space with plants.

LEDs come in many different types, with each type bulking up its specific strengths. There’s the full range of colors for each type, which allows you to select red and/or blue lights for different functions.

Although, this principle doesn’t fully apply to cannabis growers; when growing cannabis, you want different Red, Green and Blue waves.

The best, most powerful LED grow lights have a spectrum similar to that of the sun, and they contain a healthy amount of UV and IR.

COB LEDS vs. CMH

What are COB LED grow lights?

LED stands for: "light emitting diode." This refers to the physical structure of the light source. Rather than a solid or gas emitting the light from within, it is a tiny diodes that are mounted the light. These diodes light up when electric current is provided.

When the word LED is used alone, it generally means a solid one diode light source. A COB LED is a connection of these small diodes, that results the appearance of a single large diode.

This mixture of diodes allows the flexibility needed to mimic several different types of lights. This is used in the solar market to provide a consistent, natural light, while using as little energy as possible.

COB LED's packages are available in several different configurations. They can include up to 40 diode in a single bulb, and variations in the way they are configured. Some COB packages are designed to mimic 400 watt light sources.

While their power varies, they offer a tremendous amount of light per watt. In many cases, the power consumption of a COB bulb is less than a traditional incandescent bulb, or an LED bulb. Depending on the application a 4-watt COB bulb can provide equal or better light than a 150-watt HID lamp.

COB LEDS vs. CFL

For the serious indoor gardener, nothing beats the intense light from a set of compact fluros (or compact fluorescents). Essentially, they are small bulbs with the same spectrum as sunlight. Unlike tungsten bulbs (incandescent), compact fluorescents can be used to grow plants indoors all year round, and the bills are comparable to running a ceiling fan (sometimes it's even less).

However, one slight downside to CFLs is that they take a second or two to reach full intensity. Unlike LEDs, which turn on instantly (as in, the nanosecond you flip the switch).

Obviously, one the benefits of fluorescent lights is their extremely long life and low power consumption. But guess what? LEDs have surpassed CFLs in both areas.

Where LED grow lights really shine, though, is their flexibility. LEDs are so small, that I've seen fixtures where the bulb and reflector CAN rotate and tilt independently of one another, so that you're able to manipulate the angle of light being emitted laterally.

COB LEDs vs. Other LEDs

An Explanation

Chips On Board LEDs (COB LEDs) are the most common style of LED in the market today. It is a solid-state LED PCB instead of a fragile light bulb. Each COB LED is separated by a small distance, which enables the COB LEDs to work together. When put side by side with a traditional light bulb, COB LEDs have a flatter and wider surface area.

Because COB LEDs are on a flat surface and emits light from the same direction, we get the ultimate lighting experience. LED bulbs are usually bulky and emit light from just one direction, which causes unbalance lighting. With COB LEDs on board technology, the light is distributed in a highly efficient manner.

Best COB LEDs to Buy

Many online e-commerce companies are starting to see an increase in demand for COB (Chip On Board) LED lights. Asking around the office, it seemed that knowing just what COB LEDs are and if they will be beneficial for you becomes your first question.

I would like to try to answer that question and tell you exactly why COB LED lights are worth looking into for your specific growing needs.

What is a COB LED?

A COB LED is a chip that is mounted onto a board. This particular type of chip is very small – tiny. These smallest of LED chip sizes are commonly referred to as 5mm, 3mm, 1.8mm and 1mm. Because they are so small; they are generally not bright enough to be mounted in thousands on a board.

Colors and the brightness of the LEDs are controlled, in part, by the color of the board on which the chip is mounted.

The average board size for a COB LED is 3mm by 5mm in diameter. These types of lights can produce impressive and bright grow light coverage. So long as the LED chips that are mounted on the board are of good quality and are mounted well, you can expect these lights to match and exceed your expectations.

Best Overall

For those interested in growing indoors but want to avoid many of the problems associated with high-wattage lighting, LEDs may be the perfect option. LED lights tend to be more efficient than other forms of lighting, and they are very bright. They also don’t create as much heat like other options, which is a plus for indoor growers.

Anyone who knows about what makes an indoor grow room successful knows that one of the most important aspects is the amount of light that the plants receive. Growing plants depends on high-quality, powerful lighting options. Some LEDs are more successful at meeting the needs of those who grow specific plants and may struggle with others, something that takes time to narrow down.

COB LED lights are among those which are best suited to the needs of indoor gardeners. These lights allow the plants to have what they need and to grow in the best conditions with an ideal spectrum. These lights are at the top of the list for many indoor gardeners. They are easy to assemble and easy to use, and since they don’t use the highest wattage, they don’t create a great deal of heat. This is important because any heat that is created in the grow room is energy that is being wasted. The heat will also dry out the plants much faster than normal, and this is something that is very bad for them in the early stages.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Current USA CLU048 120v LED Grow Light

The Current USA CLU048 is a 120-volt LED grow light panel that offers the best value available for seedlings or small plants of less than two feet tall.

The light is designed similar to the popular Current USA CL-096, but has fewer LEDs and costs less. With all the same features of the CL-096 for about half the price, that's a two-fer.

The Current Grow Light CLU048 draws just 2.5 watts per hour, so monthly energy costs can be kept relatively low.

Each panel is rated to provide some 45 watts of light with a 4:1 ratio of red/blue spectrums.

The unit offers a generous 150-degree light spread, which is on the wider end when we measure the light coverage in footfalls per square foot. The 2.5-inch unit is easy to mount and opens up the opportunity for creative light-mounting options.

Spectrum

The Current USA CLU048 has a spectrum that's about 20% more in the red spectrum, which is great for growing leafy greens while coaxing plants to flower.

The high-level of red spectrum makes the Current USA CLU048 a nice fit for flower-producing plants. For growing cannabis, the Current USA CLU048 will make an excellent seedling and vegetative lighting panel.

Do It Yourself

It Is Best for Your Health

There are a bunch of factors that you should take into account when you buy your own grow light. Let’s start with the total power output first. The best way to determine the number of watts a grow light needs is the size of the area you want to illuminate. If you are growing cannabis in your closet (as most of us do), you obviously want to minimize the amount of space you have to devote for your cultivation.

The second most important factors are the intensity and spectrum. A light’s intensity should be proportional to the light-hungry cannabis plant’s requirements. You also need a light that covers the whole light spectrum from UV to infrared spectrum.

It is also important to take into account the intensity of lamps. As a rule of thumb, you should have one watt per plant. This is a rough estimation because it can be exceeded for a period of time. It is better to have a stronger lamp so your plants are receiving too less power than too much. You could arrange the plants to make them stretch to get as much light as possible, but the energy consumption would make you bankrupt.

The best option if you are looking for the power of the lamp that would suit all you cannabis needs is having a COB LED Grow Light. These lights are smaller, cheaper, and consume less energy than other ones.