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LED Lights for Growing Plants Indoors

Different LEDs over different plants

Below I have rounded up what to look for when shopping for LED grow lights, followed by a list of what I believe to be the best LED grow lights available on the market today. The type of light you use has a monumental effect on your growing efforts. Many factors go into what LED light to use for growing plants indoors and is presented for you below

Are LEDs a Good Choice for Growing Plants Indoors?

LED lights are fairly new to the growing scene.  Today’s LED lights are much better for growing plants indoors than the ones available even a few years ago.

Many modern lamps are full spectrum or “wideband” spectrum (instead of only red and blue light diodes, which product a bluish purple light and are sometimes called “blurples”). Full spectrum light is easier on the eyes and adding at least some amount of green light to blurples typically results in healthier growth. Other spectrum colors like red, far red, and infrared are important for the budding/flowering stage of plants. LED manufacturers have developed specialized lenses to point light directly to the plants and increase penetration, resulting in bigger yields for the same amount of light compared to older models. There are also many different factors, with everything from the casing to the size of the diodes varying from model to model.

There are some clear advantages you should be aware of. LED lights are often power and energy and saving, which translates to dollar signs. You will feel less impact on your energy bill at the end of the month if you are using LED lighting.

Another great advantage is that LED lights can be chosen in different colors or adjusted to mimic the outdoor light your plants would be getting in each season. This boosts growth and success in your indoor garden.

LED lights are usually much smaller than traditional grow lights, meaning you won’t need a large dedicated space to set up your indoor garden. This is perfect for anyone who lives in a smaller space but still wants to take part in indoor gardening.

While LED lights might cost a little more initially, you can expect they will outlast traditional lighting since they tend to illuminate for many more hours per light. Over time this will translate to savings for you.

Different LEDs over different plants

However, many people still use the HID (High Intensity Discharge) Lights like Metal Halide (MH) or High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and for good reason.  Each type of light has its pros and cons and there really is no definitive answer.

Pros and cons of LEDs vs HIDs

How to Choose the Best LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

You may be thinking, “Aren’t all grow lights basically the same?” but this is not necessarily true. When you are purchasing grow lights for the first time, or even replacing old ones, you should look for these key features or characteristics when considering one light over another. These points will help you conclude which is right for your specific case.

Shape of the Light

LED grow lights are available in a variety of shapes from panels to saucer shape and even light bars. It is best to consider where you will be setting up your indoor growing space and this will assist in deciding which shape is suitable for you. Smaller lights are great for smaller space but also for setting up in scattered patterns, whereas a panel light covers longer stretches of space.

Hours of Burn Time

Not all LED lights burn at the same rate. You should always check to see what the estimated life expectancy of each light is prior to purchasing. A higher dollar amount does not necessarily mean you are getting the best value or the best quality LED grow light. Read the packaging to see how long you should expect to have this light before it needs replacing.  Also, check for those lights with longer warranties as these are usually built to last.

Excellent Quality Internal Chip

At the heart of every LED light is a chip which will convert your electricity into light. This chip must be of high quality to ensure there is enough powerful light to get your garden growing. A good rule of thumb is to find an LED light with a chip of at least 3 watts, so you can be sure it has enough luminosity to get the job done.

Lower Heat Generation

This is an important key feature for any LED grow light you purchase. Some LED lights will output higher heat and create a warmer environment in doing so. In turn, you would have to cool your space with fans to have the proper growing temperature for your plants. To save yourself having this set up, it is much simpler to purchase LED lights with a low heat output. Not only will they generate less atmospheric heat, they tend to last longer since they are not burning so hot at a constant rate.

Ease of Use

Even if you are not new to indoor gardening, your time is important. The last thing you want to be doing is tinkering with your LED grow lights for hours trying to get them adjusted just right. Choose an LED light which is simple and easy to use. This means you should be able to easily set the height and intensity without much fuss.

Light Spectrum

While plants can grow under most spectrums, to make the process efficient they need specific wavelengths throughout each growth stage. High quality LED lights provide the full spectrum of light, allowing you to select the best one for each growing stage. Plants naturally react and grow based on the spectrum of light they get outdoors. They will grow as long as they receive blue and red lights, though most good LED lights offer the full spectrum. The spectrum you use in different stages will affect the plant’s growing patterns.

  • Blue lights (400nm – 500nm): Blue lights are often used in the vegetative stage of growth. That’s because this spectrum mimics the sunlight during summertime. Plants use this blue spectrum as a hint to spread its leaves in order to soak up as much sun as possible during the summer. It’s recommended to use blue light during the plant’s vegetative stage so it spreads and grows leafy. However, if you use blue light throughout growing you’ll get plants with short stems but with large healthy leaves.
  • Red lights (660nm – 730nm): Red or yellow lights are often used in the flowering stage of growth. This spectrum mimics the sunlight during the fall. This is when plants grow tall to prepare for the upcoming winter. Taller plants are in a better position to bud and pollinate via winter winds. Using more red light stimulates your plants to grow taller and flower (promoting bud growth).

Since you’re playing the role of the sun, you can choose the optimal spectrum of light for the strain of weed you’re growing. Most LED grow lights come with customized spectrums of light that are optimized for speedy growth. Manufacturers often state the PAR of their LED grow lights. Photosynthetically active radiation, or PAR, is the wavelengths of light between 400nm and 700nm. These wavelengths are the best for photosynthesis.

Amount of light

The more light your plants receive, the better they grow. So, how do you find an LED grow light that emits the highest quantity of light? For one, LED lights are already designed to directly aim at the plant. Panels that are 3W per bulb produce the highest yield without burning the plant. More panels help spread light over more area. It’s recommended to use an LED grow light with over 2 panels if you plan on having a large growing space.

Wattage per square foot and coverage area

Your grow lights will be running for long hours, so you’ll want to save electricity.You’ll want to check the electrical output of your light, which should optimally stay over 300W. If the wattage is too high, you can run the risk of burning your plants. The recommended amount for growing cannabis is 50-60 watts per square foot. You will also want to know how much area your lights can cover. Most lights we recommended today have a coverage area of 3 ft x 3 ft at the vegetative stage.

Quality of materials

LED lights can be an expensive investment and the quality of your light source highly affects the yield. You want an LED light that gives off 3W per bulb, meaning the semiconductor chip needs to be of high quality. You need to look for durability; very durable LED grow lights last for 50,000 hours plus. Look for manufacturers that state longer warranties (2 years plus). They are most likely using the highest quality materials. Most grow lights we suggested today come with a hanging hook and power cord.

Please note that this site is supported by affiliate marketing which means that a small portion will be paid to maintain this site from any purchases made through it. This in no way affects the price of the products on this page.

3 Main Types of LED Grow Lights

There are 3 main types of LEDs that are most commonly used for growing cannabis. Each type of model has its pros and cons, so there isn’t yet a “best” LED type. Some are better for some situations than other.

1) Spread Style

Many smaller LEDs are spread out over a large area. Examples of this style include Quantum Boards, Rack and “Spider style” LED grow lights.

Quantum BoardLED Quantum Board

The name “Quantum Board LED grow light” originated from Horticulture Lighting Group, though the term is now sometimes used for any LED in this style. They tend to have relatively low wattage diodes which are spread out over a large area on a board. These are becoming more popular lately, and seem to offer particularly good results for the amount of wattage used.

Spider LEDSpider LED

The “spider style” LEDs are similar to Quantum Boards in that the individual diodes are spread out and tend to be on the smaller side, but they are set on a panel with “arms” like a spider as opposed to a solid board. One very popular example is the SPYDRx line of LED lights. These typically have an extremely high price, but growers who use them swear they get better results than any other type of LED grow light.

Quantum board LED2) Traditional Panel

The standard panel LEDs have small to medium wattage diodes and the lamps tend to be more compact. Most LED grow lights available today are in this style. They are sort of halfway between a Quantum Board and a COB Style light, with a mix of features from both.COB Hybrid light

I’m also seeing lots of new “hybrid” LED grow lights appearing, that contain a mix of big and little LEDs, and unique form factors that mix and match between all the styles.

 

3) COB Style

COB LightThese grow lights use huge COB (Chip on Board) LED “bulbs”. Each COB is incredibly bright and intense because they contain multiple LED chips in a small area. COBs produce more intense light than other types of LEDs, and each COB uses a significant amount of electricity. Cree is most popular brand of COBs.

Instead of having dozens of small diodes, COB style LED grow lights typically only have a handful of huge COBs, each with strong lenses to direct the light down into the plant. These are rapidly gaining in popularity and are known for having deep penetration into the plant canopy.

AutoCOBsCree COB LED Light

It’s also common to see LED grow lights that only have one COB per lamp. These make it easy to spread out your light over a grow area, one lamp at a time. Sometimes known as “AutoCOBs”.

Each COB has its own spectrum, so you can create a custom spectrum for your plants by combining multiple AutoCOBs together. They are very configurable if you have an unusually shaped grow space, or want to be able to accommodate different plants of different sizes at the same time.

Best LED Lights for Growing Plants Indoors

My First Pick:  BESTVA 2000W

BWSTVA LED Light

Out of the hundreds of lights reviewed, the BESTVA 2000W definitely hits the sweet spot in terms of most bang for your buck. This light is priced modestly and runs very cool. It works great in different sized tents and the light spread is second to none.

These lights are made from China, but don’t let that fool you, they’re very powerful and work very well for any type of grow. The fans are extremely quiet. It’s recommended that during the flowering stage, you limit the use of this light to a 4×4 space in order to maximize for efficiency and light intensity. The design of this light allows for great light penetration and the set up is easy with minimal weight restrictions.

The new and improved Reflector Series model features a veg/flower switch, so it’s better than some of the cheaper LED grow lights on the market. This LED grow light definitely shone during the flowering stage.

Click HERE to read more.

Runner Up: King Plus 1200W Double Chips

King Plus LED

These lights have great design and also have high PAR value across your canopy. King Plus is a relatively new player in the market, but they have come out swinging with this light. Featuring 10W Double Chips, which are brighter more efficient than traditional 3W and 5W LEDs, this lamp is scientifically engineered to keep the balance of the PAR & lumen output and coverage. It gives BESTVA a run for it’s money, beating it on $ / watt, but keep in mind you typically get what you pay for and you can expect the BESTVA to last longer.

Great for grow tents, a room, and greenhouses. This is also a great product for you if you want something that’s easy to install as it comes with everything you need (hangers, cords, carabiners).

This light produces very high PAR at a very low wattage. Great for energy consumption and for the price, this light gets the job done.

Click HERE to read more.

Advanced Platinum Series P300 300W – Good For Beginners

Advanced Platinum Series LED

For those who love the P600 but don’t have quite that large of a budget, the Advanced Platinum Series P300 is a great runner-up. This is definitely a more affordable LED grow light that offers many of the same benefits as the P600, but at around half the price.

Its coverage is about 4.5 feet by 3.8 feet at an 18-inch height, perfect for compact grow areas, or when used in combination with additional lamps for larger areas. This light panel effectively replaces a 400W HPS light, while only actually using 180 watts of power – making it an energy efficient alternative to a traditional light. It’s just perfect for the small home grower. Just as the P600 represents the higher end of the market, this is still a serious piece of equipment–practically a steal for the amazing coverage you get.

This is a system that has a great high PAR per Lumen output of any other LED grow light panel I’ve seen. What does that mean? Well it means the panel gives off about 2 to 3 times the intensity of other grow lights.

More importantly, it has an 11 band spectrum that gives your plants the most nutritional value including those needed from UV and IR. The light chips are all 3W LEDs, and as I’ve mentioned before, the best 3-watt panels have an additional lens to focus the light a bit more. This panel comes with a 60-degree lens and secondary 90-degree focusing lens to give more intensity for plant growth.

The chips in this lamp are also replaceable and another reason for the slightly higher price tag. This means you can always keep that 400-watt output, even when a chip blows. Just order the one chip and replace it when it arrives from the manufacturer. With a 5-year guarantee, PlatinumLED offers security to their customers.

Click HERE to read more.

Morsen 2400W Full Spectrum Panel – Highest Wattage

Morsen LED light

Morsen is a top brand and you are looking for top quality. These lights typically run bigger and more powerful than most other LEDs. These lights have low energy consumption and really run great no matter what stage of plant growth you are in.

It’s a very high quality product and trusted brand for a very good price (especially when you compare to more expensive options out there like California Lightworks). Can be used in house garden, pot culture, sowing, a greenhouse + more. This particular product comes with a free power cord and free hanging hook. The lifespan for this light is particularly long and runs >50,000 hours and you should be good to go with the 3 year warranty in case anything breaks. This is a very safe option as it is also 3x to 5x the efficiency than HID & HPS lights.

Click HERE to read more.

Electric Sky LED grow lights – Best Customer Service

Electric Sky LED

This company makes “Quantum Board” or “Spread Style” LED grow lights. Normally I only recommend products that can be found consistently on Amazon.com but sometimes you need to order directly from their website. I only include them in this list because this particular company goes above and beyond as far as customer service, and will actually give you detailed instructions on how to use their LEDs to get the best yields and results. The company is also comfortable supporting cannabis/hemp growers and answering questions about plants.  These are extremely popular lights.

Cutting-edge LED technology gives you up to TWICE the growing power & efficiency with only HALF WATT power usage from the wall vs HPS & other LED systems.

Click HERE to read more.

Conclusion

Make sure you wear grow room glasses around these lights due to the UV rays!  I think we will be seeing more and more people using LED lights as they keep improving in canopy penetration and price.  The energy savings over HID is just incomparable.  What LEDs do you like?  Join the discussion and make sure to click follow!

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Darlene Thompson

After having lived in Canada's most northerly territory of Nunavut where outdoor gardening is nigh impossible, I started down my adventure of indoor gardening. I hope you find the various methods as exciting as I do!

42 Comments

  1. Thanks for the awesome post!  I have been trying to find the best type of lighting for my indoor plants!  I honestly did not expect LED lights to be the best option, but apparently I was wrong!  I don’t like that they can cost more up front, but with the extra burn time, I think it may be worth it.  I will also be looking for good warranties for longer lasting life!

    • Yes, using LEDs are far better than having to upgrade your electrical panel – LOL

  2. This is very interesting. I grow my plants outside, but this is still useful information for me. I never thought that plants could grow as well indoors with LED lights. I hadn’t considered many factors which you mentioned in your post, so it was an enlightening read for me. For example, I didn’t know that some LED lights have a lower heat generation than others, which affects the growing temperature for plants. 

    So, could you basically use your garage for this, have it set up as an indoor garden an grow vegetables under LED lights? This is certainly useful for hurricane season (I live in a hurricane prone area). 

    What are the best plants to grow indoors?

    • If you live in a temperate area and your garage stays at around room temperature then you could absolutely use it to grow ANY kind of plants that you could want.  If you have a look through the rest of my site it describes different hydroponic methods for growing all kinds of plants, indoors, all year around.  I wish you all the success, Christine!

  3. Hi Darlene, I really appreciate the info you have delivered on LED light for indoor growing. I have heard and been wondering so much abut this technology, and have struggled to get a clear answer in full. Your article here is very comprehensive and you given me everything I need to know to help me forward with making the switch with growing with LED lights. Brilliant Stuff. And FYI I like the BestVA model:) 3 stage grwing… Coool

    All the best Ropata

    • Thanks Ropata!  The Bestva has me totally drooling as well!  I’m glad you found this to be useful!

  4. Its very true that LED lights are now very advanced than some we used in years past.  I’ve been able to try some before I left my previous home where I practice indoor growing, I think it is a very good idea. About the lights, they have their advantages as well as their disadvantages, it’s always good to consult articles like this foe guide on which one is best and how to go about choosing it. Thanks for the help.

    • They sure have come a long way!  You really couldn’t go wrong with any of the one’s I’ve listed.

  5. This is really cool. I absolutely love gardening, I Have the biggest green thumb. I find it so relaxing planting new plants, herbs, and trees. Then coming back and reaping the benefits of what you harvest. I’m currently in the process of turning this extra room in my home into a green room so I can grow all my fruits and veggies and also teach my 12 year old daughter how to have a green thumb. SO I am glad I came across your article today because I didn’t know what lighting was best for plants to grow in. I am definitely going to check out some LED lights. Do you know the best place I can get them from? Great article, very helpful.

    • Thank you so much, Garrett, and I hope you and your family enjoy indoor gardening as much as I do.  The very best place to buy LED lights, in my opinion, is Amazon as they have the absolute best selection.

  6. Hi Darlene. I really had a good time reading through this post about LED lights for growing plants indoors. It is so pleasing to see that Light Emitting Diodes (LED) unlike before that were used majorly for indicators, decoration etc has found a very wide usage in almost all fields. I never had an idea that they are used for growing plants. Amazing!

    • LOL – you’re right, Shifts, they ARE everywhere these days!  They are so inexpensive to run that indoor gardeners have been clammering for better and cheaper units and we are finally getting them

  7. Thanks for this wonderful  article  leds really helps and have a great impacts on plants so much and though I use old leds but now with your new recommendations and reviews am gonna try out this new leds I think they have alot of improvements  than the old leds thanks so much for this post it ll really help alot 

    • Thank you so much, Rose!  With the newer LEDs you will get more light per watt used – so your plants will get better spectrum light and cost you less on your electric bill.  Good luck!

  8. Hello. Very interesting website. For me is the 1’st time when i see this idea. In Romania we have a lot of indoor plant, especialy flowers and they are wonderful. They are part of our environement and give us a good sensation when we decorate our windows with them.  

    When i see plants and light my mind goes to oxygen. Now i want to propose you something. Did you know that 70% of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by marine plants ? What you think if you will put some marine plants in aquarium and use this kind of leds. Of cours, electrical leds cannot be use in this case. To be 100% ecological the solar leds can be the best. 

    Good luck ! We need this green place of your site in our life.

    • LEDs hung over an aquarium would be just fine for growing marine plants – and some of those plants are evn edible in addition to giving us oxygen!

  9. This has been a great post to read. Since I live in Michigan, I need to way to grow my plants indoors and I’ve always wondered if there was a better way then the old fashion light that I’ve been using. 

    Space is a small issue since I have a big family but I found a perfect closet in my office space to put the plants that I wish to grow. I do a lot of herb gardening for my cooking and I did find that your review on the BESTVA 2000W light was enticing and I’m going to look into buying it. I like the options and it seems that for the money it is the best way to go. I can use it at any stage of the plants growth and feel confident that it’s going to do to do the job. Thank you for introducing this light option to me, I look forward to giving it a try and reading some of your other posts.

    One quick question, do you think that LED lights will put out enough heat for my plants or is there a heat lamp option I should consider. Thanks ahead of time for your help.

    • Thank you Amelita.  If you are looking to grow in a closet, wouldn’t it be at the same temperature as the rest of your house?  If it is, then you should be fine.  Also, even though LEDs give off the least amount of heat, they DO give off some so in a confined space like a closet they may be enough.  If you aren’t sure, though, I would suggest investing in a cheap thermometer, setting things up and checking the closet temperature to make sure it is optimal.

  10.  My suggestion If you are serious about indoor growing then the first thing that you realize is that the crucial component of not only a plant’s growth but also its ability to flower is the quality of light.
    COB LED broad spectrum lighting offers amazingly high CRI (usually over 80) is superior to any other grow light. All COB manufacturers offer 70 CRI broad spectrum chips in their lighting thanks anyway for this it will be of great help n my pursit

    • COB lights are excellent but not for everybody.  For the average grower who doesn’t want to accidentally burn their plants, I would go for the ones shown.  However, for the advanced grower, yes, I would use COBs.

  11. LEDs are now tailoring the place of the sun. I know plants need chlorophyll in order to grow and not LEDs! 😄

    LEDs are very low energy consuming lights; they don’t use much energy and they use direct current to operate.

    I was wondering, will there not be a significant difference between a plant that was grown using LED and a plant that was grown using sunlight?

    • Actually most LEDs use alternating current to operate unless you live in a country where direct current is more common than in North America.  I would always say that plants grown under sunshine are the best but if you wish to grow all year around and live in a colder climate, LEDs do an excellent job of mimicking the sun.

  12. Wow, I am so impressed by all this information you gathered here… 

    I remember back in the day (probably around 2000), we wanted to have some plants inside, we bought a special light for that that was basically a super yellowish heater, it was so terrible. 

    Looking now your best pick – BESTVA 2000W, I am so impressed, I never really imagined this sort of technology existed, so I went to ask Google and was brought to your site! 

    I am saving it right now and I will take a look at all you have, I want to start growing my vegetables, but I live in an apartment, so I am searching for not so expensive equipment to do that. 

    Besides the lighting, do you have any recommendations? 

    • Check out the rest of my site and under hydroponics you will find the AeroGarden and the vertical ebb and flow system that take up very little space.  The vertical planter can grow a SERIOUS amount of food!  Best to you!

  13. I have heard about using LED lights to help my plants to grow. This is very good information, thank you for sharing! I think the advanced platinum series P300 is the best option for me since I’m just starting out and on a budget. I can always upgrade later to that more expensive panel right? Thanks again, I’ll be sure to share this with my friends as well! 

    • Thanks a lot, Travis!  Absolutely the Advanced Platinum will definitely pull its weight and be an excellent choice!  As you say, upgrade when you can but with that unit you probably won’t even have to.

  14. I love this topic, I love your website! It is full of information that is helpful to all sorts of people. People looking to save money, people looking to start indoor growing and especially people looking to learn! Living in Canada as well, our resources are limited when the cold hits and if you want good food year-round and like saving money LED lights are a must, lighting is a must and your website covers a vast variety of not only starting off but starting off good. 

  15. I always wanted to have my little garden, but the space and conditions in the city life have been a constant challenge. It was really impossible to be able to have plants all year round, even in winter.

    But LED lights have really improved the game in planting at home. The heat it provides make planting during winter ppssible. My only concerns is that I can only grow one or two plants because of the space. I wish to grow more plants, so will it be better to use LED lights ready set pot for planting or do my own set up? 

    Thanks

  16. Thanks for this great article about led lights for growing  to plants because all along have been wanting to start up indoor planting or growing plants indoor but I had little knowledge on how to maintain them in terms of light but by this article I have got to know which led lights are suitable thanks for opening my minds about this

    • LED lights are rather new but since they were used in the space station, they have been improving them for those of us on the earth as well so that they are becoming more affordable and the closest thing to actual sunshine!  Thanks, Magalu!

  17. Presently, I’m really into growing plants indoor and I make use of LED lights, my dad got them for me since he knows a lot about it than I do, and I also engage in container gardening. Having this light can be very helpful as it provides a sort of nutrient that helps the plant grow better and also rapidly. Different products are out there and it can get really messy choosing one, this is where your tips come to help. It’s a great opportunity that i came across this article, I’ve learned a lot.

    • Thank you so very much and I’m glad you found this helpful.  LEDs give the plants precisely what they need at a really good intensity that you will get larger and faster growing plants.

  18. Wow, I really didn’t have this much insight about LED lights for growing plants, I’m into gardening outside and it’s been really amazing and productive. I really need to ask a question and it is, what is the main reason or what are the reasons that prone the decision of indoor plant growing? Thank you a lot for this helpful information, I’m hoping to hear from you soon.

    • Hi there!  The main reason to grow inside is so that people in northern climes can grow food all year around.  For example, I live in an area where I can only grow outside for about half of the year.  So, in order to ensure fresh, wholesome food during the winter, I turn to indoor gardening!

  19. Thanks for this thorough explanation of the LED lights that are available these days for growing plants indoors. I have used the High-Intensity Discharge lights in the past with success, but it is good to see that the more energy-efficient LED lights have progressed to the point that they are now able to be used with success.

    After reading through your detailed explanation of the characteristics, I have to say I trust that you have also provided the best options to select for use. The BESTVA 2000W LED light looks perfect for what I am considering, and although the cost is higher than the lights I have used, I am willing to pay that. 

    The rest all seem to have their strong points to so I will have to see what is readily available here in Dubai. If I order these online, will they deliver to the villa here in Dubai where I live? You have provided a lot of good information and I appreciate it! 

    • I’m so glad that you liked the article!  Frankly, I have no idea if Amazon.com delivers to Dubai.  I would be interested to learn that myself!

  20. Though I have never for once thought of using led lights to grow my plants but now, more than ever, technology has gone beyond whatever we could make out of it and it is only normal for us to blend with it. Hence, getting a led light is a better option for most of us. These lights have undergone a lot of developments which makes them quality in service and excellent in performance. Thanks so much for this

  21. Great article and surely worthy of a read. I am a big fan of led lights right from time and I like the rate at which they help in plant growth but then, your take on this is also very wide and professionally written. I can only say thank you for sharing. For what is worth, these are worthy especially with the blend of developments to the newer lights. Great post! And I will try to check them out

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