The good folks over at BCBudDepot.com have opted to add the Growthstar COB LED grow lights.
Check out their progress report HERE (this will open a PDF doc)
Still not convinced? You will never know until you try.
Cost is usually one of the biggest factors when it comes to picking an LED grow light for both new and experienced growers.
COB (chip on board) is more advanced technology than 3W and 5W LED arrays. COB LED chips features higher heat dissipation, lower operating temperatures, and longer lifespan (50,000 hours on the Growthstar models), which equates to increased efficiency. Chip on board and multiple chip on board led grow lights have the lowest light loss which is one of the key reasons why those who have tried other grow lights about to give up on LED decide to stay once they try the Growthstar models. Over 95% of the light remains after one year!
Buying "cheaper" is a myth because most cheaper models will end up costing more when discovering that the power output has been reduced after some use. The major advantage of LED lights over HPS, CFL, HID, metal hallide, or other magical grow light terminology is that the return on investment doesn't happen until 6 months to a year of use. As LED evolves, we expect the ROI to be much less. If the grow light that you bought for a few hundred dollars is known to lose more than 10%-50% of its light output in a year then it would have been better to pay a bit more for a better light and also have reaped the additional features. These are things often overlooked when 'investing' in LED.
The problem with 3W and 5W LED chips featured on lower quality (cheaper to produce) grow lights is that they offer poor heat dissipation, have a higher working temperature, cause heavy wear and tear on the chips, and consequently have a shorter lifespan. The majority of 3W LED lights found on Amazon or Ebay will work as advertised for a short period and only face a light loss of 5-7% after one year for 3W. 5W LED chips on the other hand tend to suffer a much larger light loss (30% loss!) in 6 months and 50% after one year due to the heavy wear and tear! How come they don't advertise that fact?
COB chips (superior to the other two) offer a uniform spread of different spectrums. 3W chips will provide roughly 30% less of the 'full' spectrum that is offered by COB chips. 5W LEDs are generally regarded as the least efficient of the three with about 50% of the spectrum not being absorbed due to a poor blend of spectrums. We recommend chip on board LEDs for the best grow results and ROI and generally see 5W chips as having the worst grow results of the three. This doesn't mean you can't get results with 5W LED arrays - it just means you can switch to COB and see improvements in both the short-run and long-run.