Led Watts vs True Watts – What is the Difference

(Last Updated On: November 15, 2021)

When shopping for LED grow lights, you need to know what your options are. Their power output will decide whether they’ll work for your project or not. There are different unit measurements in the LED grow light industry. The most popularly used ones are LED watts and true watts. While many people use these two terms interchangeably, they’re not the same at all.

LED watts are what you would call ‘theoretical watts.’ Yes, theoretically, your LED bulb can draw that kind of power, but that doesn’t happen in real life. Whereas true wattage is the amount of power the grow light actually draws from the supply.

Obviously, these couple of lines aren’t enough to clear up the colossal confusion, but it’s a start. Don’t worry. We’ll not leave you stranded with this bit of glimpse of the debate between LED watts and true watts. We’ll be going all in. Let’s go!

 Read More: How Many Watts Per Square Foot For LED Grow Lights

The Concept of Watts

Concept of Watts

Let’s get a bit scientific. Fret not, we’re all laymen here, and our discussion will be as such. To put it simply, a watt is a unit measure of power. As we said earlier, we’ll be discussing it as such so that anyone can understand.

There are different metrics you can use to measure electricity. These are current (I), voltage (V), and resistance (R).

Imagine a hose with water flowing through it. If the hose is too wide, the water can flow more freely and at larger volumes. But if the hose size shrinks down, the flow will be more restricted and have fewer volumes.

Now, think of the water as the current, the size of the hose, the resistance, and the voltage as the pressure of the water.

Put the two hoses side by side, one wide and one small. If you were to push down a gallon of water through these two hoses, they would flow differently. The smaller hose will flow the water with greater pressure and swiftly, whereas the larger hose will have a more gradual flow with lighter pressure.

But where’s watt in all that? Well, the watt is the quantity of the pressure of the water and the water itself. Watts doesn’t just measure the volume of the electricity. Rather, it measures the strain applied and the volume of electricity passing through the circuit.

 Read More: How many LED lumens Per Plant

What’s True Wattage?

To know which you need to refer to between true watt and LED watt, you must familiarize yourself with both the terms. Also known as Draw From the Wall, the term ‘True Wattage’ refers to the unit of measurement of the actual power usage of your LED grow light.

While true wattage tells you the actual power draw of your LED bulb, it doesn’t let you know about the actual light output of your bulb light. To understand the light output, you’ll need to consider some other factors aside from true wattage.

How to Calculate True Watt?

The companies don’t post light bulbs’ true wattage on their product. So, how can you find the actual wattage for each component?

Well, there’s an effortless way to know your LED grow light’s actual wattage using a simple formula. You have to multiply the number of amps with the volts, and voila! You have your LED light’s true wattage.

For example, at a voltage of 220V and a current of 5 amps (5A), you’ll have a true wattage of 220V x 5A= 1100 W. You can also refer to your true watt as volt-amps in this watts vs. power discussion.

What’s LED Wattage?

LED Wattage

The other party of the debate in question is the LED wattage part. It’s the theoretical part of the equation. LED wattage measures the maximum power that your grow light can theoretically handle.

While it’s mostly in theory, it’s fun to talk about LED wattage. It’s kind of like the question: what if the human brain used 100% of its potential? Similarly, what if our LED lights used 100% of their power? We have the answer!

The more power the bulb takes in, the brighter the glow, right? With a greater degree of brightness, your bulb will also start to produce a tremendous amount of heat. As a result, your LEDs will burn out more quickly, shortening their lifespan.

That’s why LED lights run at a lower power output. However, companies use LED wattage in their advertisements. After all, the advertised wattage just sounds better.

LED Wattage Calculator

You can easily calculate your lamp’s LED wattage by multiplying the lamp’s voltage by its current.

For example, if your lamp has a current of 20 amperes and a voltage of 10 V, it has a LED wattage of 200 W of power.

LED Watts Vs True Watts

After knowing about both the standards, you may have already gotten the hint that neither of them is universal. So, you need to know when to use which metric.

When to Use LED Watts

While it’s wise to invest in high-end LED lights, you won’t always have the opportunity to do so. So, when you’re buying a budget grow light, LED watts can help you estimate its lifespan.

For example, suppose you have two LED lights in front of you. One of them needs 350 watts to run, and the other needs 340 watts. However, the first one has a LED rated at 400 watts, and the other has a rating of 300 watts.

So, you can see that the second unit is already running at its maximum power. As a result, the second LED lighting system will burn out much more quickly than the first grow light.

When to Use True Watts

As we said earlier, your bulb’s true wattage refers to the actual draw from the supply. So, if you’re trying to determine how many watts your bulb’s going to draw, you need to refer to the true wattage of your LED grow light.

And as you can see in the earlier example, you also need to know the true wattage to estimate your bulb’s lifespan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many actual watts is a 1000 watt LED?

While many companies claim that their LEDs of a 1000 watt have an actual output of a thousand-watt, in reality, it is not. Most thousand-watt LED lights have an actual output that equals 900 watts of high-pressure Sodium Vapor (HPS) light.

 Read More: 1000w hps led equivalent

What LED wattage is equivalent to 60 watts?

Obviously, different LED bulbs have different efficiency and quality. But there’s a simple benchmark you can refer to to know what you need. As a general rule of thumb, a 6-watt LED bulb is equivalent to an incandescent light bulb of 60 wattages.

Are more watts better for LEDs?

There’s a common misconception that the higher the wattage, the brighter the bulb. However, that’s not the case at all. Wattage tells you your LED grow light’s power consumption, which has no relationship to how much light it produces at all.

In fact, you may find a low-wattage light with a higher lumen rating can outshine a high-wattage bulb with lower lumens. The latter bulb won’t produce as much light as the former one. So, higher wattage isn’t the standard you should base your decision on if you’re going for more light since it has no relation to the light produced.

How much power does a LED light use?

Over its lifespan of 15 thousand hours, an LED lamp uses 127.5 KWh on average, which is much longer than an incandescent lamp.

 Read More: 1000 Watt LED Grow Light Cost Per Month

Led Grow Lights – Led Wattage Explained

Final Words

Watts is a measure of power consumption. Both LED watts and true watts refer to the power draw of your LED bulb. While they’re pretty similar, you should have the general idea of differences between LED watts vs True watts.

To sum it up, LED watts are the theoretical power draw of your LED grow light, whereas true watts refer to the actual power draw of your LED bulb.  But that will conduct more heat if the lamps operate at a higher wattage. To ensure they don’t burn out, the manufacturers design them to run at an optimum level, the true wattage.

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