HLG 550 v2 RSPEC Review

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When searching for supplemental plant lighting, a wide variety of options are available including LED, CMH, SE or DE, or even Fluorescent options. We're breaking down a popular LED grow light option, the 550 RSpec from Horticulture Lighting Group.

The RSpec is a capable replacement for a 1000W HPS light system, when compared in a similar 5 x 5 area. By first looking at the specifications, you can clearly see its dominance in the scope of PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density). The RSpec will evenly distribute usable light to your plant canopy. HLG’s website does a great job of providing links to their PPFD 24 tests  or PPFD 18 tests of this fixture.

If you are running a multi-light setup, switching from HID to the RSpec is a no-brainer and could make a huge difference to any grower’s overhead. With a moderately higher initial price, there is some investment involved, however this is quickly recovered through the lower electric bills and a decrease in other inputs. Not only will you be using less electricity, but the plants will also typically use less fertilizer.

One difference you will notice after switching to the RSpec is no longer needing to purchase replacement bulbs. The maximum length of time an HPS bulb manufacturer recommends for optimal growth is only 10 months.  The warranty on the RSpec is 3 years and you should expect to receive constant and consistent light output for years after that. LED’s have shown to have life expectancies from anywhere between 50,000 to 100,000 hours. A typical HPS puts out optimal light for 3,000 to 4,000 hours on average.  

Another pro to the RSpec would be addition by subtraction. Without the heat from your 1000W HPS, you can likely do away with any cooling machinations you formerly employed. No more exhaust fans for cooling, mini-splits, or portable A/C’s. That also reduces your overall footprint by decreasing wattage consumption. By contrast, a con of the RSpec might be its low heat output. In certain situations (i.e. a basement in a cold weather climate) a grower may have to actually add some type of supplemental heat.

Overall, the 550 RSpec by HLG is a highly recommended purchase. In the never-ending race to find more efficient ways of replicating Mother Nature, the RSpec gives users a great option in their horticultural lighting. The singular negative against the RSpec (possible addition of supplemental heat), is far outweighed by its many beneficial additions (electrical efficiency, consumption footprint, PPFD, increased quality).

Photo courtesy of GrandMasterLevel