Since 2008 Hydro Grow has been the leading pioneer of LED Grow Light science, technology and development. Unlike competitors who claim to have developed technology they copied from Hydro Grow, we have a 10-year development history to show that we are truly the originals. In business longer than any other competitor, there's a reason customers keep coming back year after year for our latest products (because every generation we produce is better than our last). So take a walk with us back in time to see just how far we've come, and how we became the most feared competitor in the LED Grow Light industry.
In 2008 Hydro Grow was a manufacturer of Hydroponic Gardening Systems, and a medical marijuana dispensary with an extensive grower network. Several clients who contracted Hydro Grow to build their indoor gardens questioned us about alternative grow lights from the traditional HID. After enough requests our founders began researching new solutions.
Of all the available technologies (Sulfur Plasma, Induction, LED, HID, T5), LED seemed the most promising. The low heat plus targeted wavelengths seemed the best suited for a grow light. After learning extensively about photosynthesis, it was abundantly clear that none of the LED lights available at the time would perform as advertised. The reason? Chlorophyll A and B have 4 peak absorption wavelengths and the best lights offered you half, with only 1 red and 1 blue wavelength.
Realizing no other company was taking the science seriously, our founders took their knowledge and developed the world's first 5-band LED Grow Light based on the 90W UFO. The spectrum comprised of 440nm, 470nm, 612nm, 630nm and 660nm with 120° lenses.
After several months of testing their first prototype, while simultaneously researching the science of plant growth more in-depth, a second prototype was developed. This time it was based on a 120W rectangular LED, which was another popular Chinese design at the time.
The new prototype would be the world's first 6-band LED grow light, and the first to use a 60° lens. The 612nm wavelength was dropped due to poor performance causing undesirable stress changes to plants. It was replaced with a full-spectrum 2700K white LED and 740nm was added to stimulate the Emerson Enhancement Effect. Hydro Grow was the first company to incorporate 740nm into LED grow lights. The 120° lenses which spread light over far too large an area, were replaced with a custom 60° lens developed by Hydro Grow. This lens enabled higher PAR, 3X deeper light penetration and a much more concentrated coverage area.
Testing was phenomenal, with lettuce growing 3-4x faster under the 120W LED compared to a 250W metal halide. The only problem was the lack of coverage area due to the 60° lens.
To solve the coverage problem Hydro Grow went back to the drawing board. At the time all LED grow lights were packed from end to end with LEDs like our 90W & 120W prototypes. Our new light would be the first to change this.
Our founders calculated the ideal number of LEDs that could be used to create our 6-band spectrum and complex spectral ratios. The result is our iconic 21-LED light engine, the first of its kind.
Light engines were then distributed on larger circuit boards, leaving plenty of space between the clusters. This allowed for larger coverage areas of high intensity thanks to our 60° lens.
The Penetrator series was our first production line based on this new design. Penetrator was the first commercially available 6-band light, the first to use a 60° lens and the first to use a light engine design. It was the first truly unique product to hit the LED market, released in July 2009.
The 126W Penetrator was quickly put to the test against a competing 186W LED light from Haight Solid State, by 420 Magazine. Our smaller light produced 313g (2.6g/w) of bud, while our competitor yielded only 133g (0.72g/w), or 3.6X the yield per watt. From day one our dominance in the LED was established with more than 3X the yield per watt of a leading competitor. It was the beginning of our now decade-long undefeated streak.
Hydro Grow released the world's first square LED grow lights, the 205W and 345W Penetrator models. Prior to this all LED lights were either circular (UFO) or rectangular like our 126W Penetrator above, despite most grow tents/rooms being square. It was the first light truly designed around the actual use of the consumer.
With the release of our square models came a modification to our spectrum, which had already dominated numerous competitors. The number of white LEDs were reduced and changed in temperature from 3000k to 6500k. The result was a plant that grew with more dense internodal spacing at a marginally higher yield compared to our Generation 1 (G1) Spectrum.
Skeptic after skeptic from online forums put our G2 fixtures to the test against HPS and Metal Halide grow lights, only to find that regardless of who performed the test, our lights never did less than double the grams per watt of HID. This was no surprise considering our 345W Penetrator delivered the same blinding intensity as the sun, with deeper penetration than HID and a more precision-tuned spectrum to supercharge growth and yields.
The 504W Penetrator was the first "Vertical" LED to deliver 360 degrees of light for gardening systems like the Omega Garden. This light was discontinued in April 2012, but was re-born in future versions of our product as it evolved.
Newer versions like the 336XL Vertical remain the only vertical LED grow light in the world for vertical gardening systems, proving our commitment to providing a light for every grower
Hydro Grow released the PRO series of the Penetrator lineup, featuring 3W single-chip LEDs. The new models delivered nearly double the light from the same sized fixture as the standard Penetrator models, resulting in a more cost-effective solution for high power gardening.
The first world record for the highest yield ever recorded on a single autoflower cannabis plant, was achieved using the 345W Penetrator PRO. The Penetrator PRO series quickly became the new favorite of gardeners everywhere, growing everything from eggplants to tomatoes to cannabis in record time, with record results.
Hydro Grow became the first company in the world to use 525nm green in grow lights. Prior to this the scientific consensus was that green light was reflected (not absorbed) by plant tissues, and therefore it had no benefit for growth.
Through our partnership with the University of Washington, and with the assistance of an incredibly knowledgeable professor, we learned the importance of green light and the role it plays in the quantum efficiency of plants. We then took the research she provided and ran with it.
Using green with red and blue LEDs, the result was a new color temperature of white light. As a result white LEDs were discontinued for our G3 spectrum and replaced with green. The use of green sped up growth cycles on various crops by 1-2 weeks on average, with a subsequent 15% increase in yield compared to our G2 spectrum. It was obvious at that point we were on to something big!
Hydro Grow released the Generation-X prototype: the first LED grow light to utilize secondary lensing for 4x greater penetration than our Penetrator series. In fact the intensity was so astounding, we could no longer use our signature 60° lens as it was too powerful for plants.
The first prototype we tested delivered more than 4000 µmol at 12" from the fixture, which was enough to damage chloroplasts on any plant species. Knowing the highest intensity plants on earth saturate at approximately 1500 µmol, we opted for a 90° lens to increase our coverage and bring the intensity/penetration to a reasonable level.
The prototype was discontinued shortly after it's release due to countless failures of the LEDs and power supplies. The individual lenses over each LED also made the light incredibly arduous to repair, so this low-quality discard of Hydro Grow became the backbone of many of our competitors today such as Advanced LED, Kind LED, Platinum LED, etc... And yet when the Diamond Series from Advanced LED was tested against our own Generation X, we again delivered more than 3X the yield per watt! Even when our competitors copy our technology, they fail to deliver results anywhere near Hydro Grow.
June 1, 2011 Hydro Grow took over the majority share of the global LED grow light market with the announcement of Generation-X. Pre-sales of the product were unprecedented, leaving competitors to wonder where all their customers had gone. As of August when the product began shipping, it was the #1 selling LED grow light in the world.
Generation-X was the first grow light to feature a compound secondary lens system dubbed the "X-lens", invented and engineered by Hydro Grow. It was the first LED grow light ever made without glass as a protective layer between the LED and atmosphere, and the first ever built with a modular design where all the components operated independent of the rest, making repairs much easier and less costly. X1 was also the first light to ever use copper core heat sinks for enhanced cooling, longer life and brighter initial output of each LED.
The X1 lens system increased the output intensity and penetration by 429% over our original Penetrator PRO line. Because of its overwhelming popularity, the X1 platform quickly became the most counterfeited grow light in the world and remains this way today. But don't be fooled by the low-quality counterfeits. Just because they look like a Hydro Grow product, does not mean they perform like one (or we wouldn't still be doing 2-4x the yield per watt of competing LEDs).
The Extreme (X2) grow lights were created to improve the overall design and functionality of our product. The color was changed from red to gunmetal to differentiate between counterfeits and the real deal. The casings were shrunk to reduce wasted space, the logos and venting were changed, and the lens was re-designed to deliver a 569% increase of intensity over the standard LEDs beneath the lens. This made X2 25% more powerful than the X1 platform. The spectrum was also updated to be the first quantum-balanced for 10% blue, 15% green and 75% red.
The X1 and X2 platforms quickly earned their place in the history books, breaking the world record previously achieved with our Penetrator PRO product. This put Hydro Grow into a class all our own, that no one to this day has been able to beat. Later tests performed in 2015 showed the X2 series (336X-PRO) delivering 4x the yield per watt of a 1200W HID setup. No other competitor has come remotely close to these figures in an independent grow test.
Hydro Grow released SOL the world's first (patented) square reflector for LED lights (Patent #D690,875S). Unlike competitors who claim to have patented technology (when they do not), our patent is available for you to view to the right.
This reflector gave our newest product 27% more coverage area with a more even spread of intensity compared to LED lights using a round reflector/lens. SOL was the first LED grow light to deliver a true square coverage area. It was also the first light to not use glass or a lens over the LED, eliminating a 7-10% efficiency loss from light passing through these layers.
SOL uses a COB (chip on board) LED that allows for spectral blending at the LED level. To create our complex spectrum, custom LED chips had to be created in the 740nm wavelength to work with the COB layout. For this reason the first generation of SOL excluded 740nm and after it was developed, we were the first company to offer it in a COB LED.
SOL was created for the entry-level consumer who wanted Hydro Grow performance without the high cost of our X1 or X2 fixtures. The COB design saved a significant cost in manufacturing, making these lights much cheaper per watt than their "X" counterparts. The only downside is that when 64 LED chips are combined on a 1" x 1" LED surface, the heat causes them to deliver less light per watt compared to our X platform.
After several years of engineering, Hydro Grow announced the development of the SS in April 2016. SS is the first grow light platform wherein 3 different product lines (SOL, Alpha, X3) were all created using the same base, solid-state design. SS was officially released in February 2017.
SS is the first grow light where the heat sink doubles as the product casing, eliminating a major cost of manufacturing. This allows the price point to be lower than previous generations. SS uses the largest heat sink of any grow light in the world, with active and passive cooling for the highest efficiency and longest lifespan of any grow light.
SS is the first grow light to use a bracket system wherein the spacing between light bars can be adjusted, as well as the angle of the bars, offering more versatility to the end user than any other grow light. And because a bracket is all that's necessary to go from 3 to 4 light bars, SS is also the first "upgradable" LED light where you can add or subtract bars as your needs change.
Unlike previous versions of our product, SS is assembled in the USA at our own facility. Every part used in SS was also custom developed and engineered exclusively by and for Hydro Grow. SS boasts the longest warranty in the grow light industry at 5 years. It was designed to be the first and last light you will ever need, as parts can easily be changed out over time to make sure you always have the latest and most powerful technology.