Black Dog LED Review (2022): How Do These Lights Perform?

Black Dog LED grow lights are extremely popular. They’re perfect for indoor gardeners with heavy-flowering and fruiting plants.

Does this grow light have what it takes to be the best led grow light on the market? Does it have enough features to compete with other LED bulb grow lights? Let’s find out in this Black Dog LED grow light showcase.

Black Dog is a national rarity. It is one of the few horticultural lighting brands that manufactures and assembles its grow lights in the United States.

So we were not surprised to see Black Dog PhytoMAX-2 LEDs are among the top-rated grow lights chosen on the market.

black dog led series

Yes, Black Dog has an excellent reputation. But it’s always a good idea for expert gardeners to examine the stats of a grow light before purchasing it.

We wrote this Black Dog LED review article to help you. We wanted present you with the information you need to know about this LED light.

Black Dog LED Design And Construction Review

In 2017, Black Dog upgraded their PhytoMAX LED series for the first time. The new PhyoMAX-2 grow lights have far better quality. They are also 60% more efficient than the old Black Dog lights.

There are five Black Dog LED models: PhytoMAX-2 200, 400, 600, 800, and 1000.

These models have the same basic LED design and construction. But there are variations depending on their light intensity.

Black Dog devices are heavy and durable. But the LED board is not covered with a glass plate. So, you must be careful not to put excessive force on the delicate diodes.

The Black Dog LED Diodes

The LEDs of Black Dog grow lights are 5W diodes. Osram makes the red LEDs, and Cree makes the blue ones. This strategy of choosing diodes from different manufacturers is highly beneficial. The method contributes to making the LED lighting spectrum more optimized for plants.

The brand uses 5W diodes instead of 3W diodes. Black Dog chooses the former over the latter because the 5W diodes provide the best balance between LED efficiency and intensity.

It is essential to note that 5W diodes emit more heat than 3W diodes. The developers have found a way to counter this. They now equip the LED grow light devices with 5W diodes and a powerful heat dissipation system. That helps deal with the heat issue.

The diodes are evenly dispersed over the board to provide uniform light coverage. So, the PPFD light readings will vary very little between the center and the sides of the coverage area.

Below you can see the diode count of each Black Dog LED model.

The diodes have a life span of 50,000 hours (almost five years of uninterrupted usage).

The Cooling Fans and Aluminum Heat Sinks

Grow lights need a heat dissipation system to keep the light cool. This can affect the device or even harm your plants if it produces too much heat.

Black Dog LED light’s superior cooling is possible because of its aluminum heat sinks and cooling fans.

Their aluminum heat sinks have the largest surface areas among commercial LED grow lights. The larger the surface of the aluminum heat sink, the faster it can absorb heat.

The fans rapidly dissipate all the heat absorbed by the aluminum heat sinks

Black Dog LEDs’ cooling fans are on opposite sides of the device. That positioning allows the air to flow across the aluminum heat sinks. They produce zero noise and have a life span of 70,000 hours.

Black Dog LED Performance Review

Spectrum

Black Dog LED light emits a blended full spectrum light. It’s primarily composed of blue, red, IR, and UV wavelengths with different intensities. They also emit a little bit of light in the green and yellow ranges.

The intensity of the light peaks at the wavelengths corresponding to blue and red light. These wavelengths drive photosynthesis in plants.

black dog led review

The red light’s peak is higher than the blue one. This discrepancy is because red light is more critical in the plant’s flowering and fruiting phases. Black Dog focuses on giving flowering plants the most light growing plants need. This also promotes vegetative growth.

The blue and red lights are often the recognizable stars of plant growth. But UV and IR make up the phyto-genesis spectrum. These are also necessary for proper plant growth. For instance, UV light increases the number of antioxidants in herbs. It also boosts the concentration of THC and CBD in cannabis plants.

There are two types of UV light: UVA and UVB. Black Dog grow lights emit UVA only with no UVB. This is great because UVB is responsible for causing sunburns and skin cancers.

Black Dog LEDs also emit some light in the green-yellow spectral range. That makes the light less dazzling. It also enables gardeners to watch the health of their growing plants. That way, you can enjoy superior yield, all thanks to Black Dog LED light.

Intensity and Coverage Area

The intensity of the light depends on the PhytoMAX-2 model you are using. Black Dog PhytoMAX-2 200 has the lowest light intensity. PhytoMAX-2 1000 has the highest one.

The best way to assess the light intensity of a grow light is to look at its PPF and PPFD measurements. You can do this by using a light meter. Here are the average PPF measurements of all PhytoMAX-2 models.

ppf measurements

You can easily compare different Black Dog PhytoMAX-2 models using the above measurements. You’ll need to know which one suits you the best. Check out the PPFD measurements of the light in relation to its coverage area and the hanging height or distance between the plants and the grow light.

Make sure to:

1) Learn about the PPFD (or DLI) requirements of your plants (Learn more about PPFD and DLI)

2) Measure the dimensions of your growing place and the hanging height of grow lights.

Black Dog has blessed their customers with a great chart of PPFD measurements. Their customers can use it to decide which model is the best for them. You can see the chart under the title, “Footprint Coverage for Average PPFD.”

How to use the chart?

Choose the column that corresponds to the PAR requirement of your plants. Search for area measurements almost equal to your growing space’s dimensions.

Black Dog also provides you with the minimum and maximum recommended coverage areas and hanging heights for each model. They’re on that same page under the title, “Recommendations for Proper Use.”

Energy Use and Efficiency

Another impressive thing about Black Dog is they are honest with their labels. They have named each one of their models after its actual wattage.

For example, PhytoMax-2 200 consumes approximately 200W of power.

Most other grow light brands use misleading labels, such as 1000W and 3000W. They don’t reveal the actual energy usage of the device.

Here is a chart of the power consumption of all PhytoMAX-2 models.

wattage

Using these values, we can determine that the efficiency of Black Dog LEDs is nearly 1.4 μmol/J. This is a respectable number. But it’s not that good, compared to other modern grow lights on the market.

These LED grow lights’ low efficiency is because they use 5W diodes. They seem to be less efficient than grow lights using LEDs with a lower wattage rating.

Despite this, Black Dog still emits high-quality light suitable for indoor plant growth. If you are looking for more efficient grow lights, you should check out the Gavita 1700e LED.

The Case Against Black Dog: Is It Valid?

Nowadays, many indoor gardeners are critical of Black Dog LEDs. This criticism is due to their soaring prices.

Compare the cost of Black Dog LEDs to other similarly performing grow lights. You will realize that they are a bit overpriced. Why is this so? Let me explain.

One of the main reasons behind Black Dog LEDs’ high cost is that they manufacture their products in the US. They have their own LED plant in the United States. They build their own LED lights instead of importing them from other countries.

Of course, that is an appealing feature for some customers worldwide. Because US-manufactured products have an excellent reputation, people assume they are of high quality. That is true, most of the time.

But most professional indoor growers mainly care about performance. They only search for powerful and efficient grow lights to boost higher yield and profit. They aren’t likely to pay a few extra hundred dollars just to get a “US-made” grow lamp.

Many leading American and non-American horticultural lighting brands understand that. For this reason, they sell their high-quality lights at lower prices. As a result, grow lights are becoming more affordable day by day.

Given their relatively low efficiency, many growers wonder why Black Dog LEDs are still so expensive.

The case against those lights is gaining prominence in the indoor growing community. Even so, it’s not entirely valid.

Despite being outdated, Black Dog LEDs still maintain some superior features. These features are why they’re still the favorite choice of many growers.

The canopy penetration, high-quality full light spectrum, and uniformity of Black Dog LEDs are supreme. And there is no match for their heat dissipation system.

The science and technology behind the production of these lights are highly advanced. Some of the cheaper grow light brands cannot equal that level of ingenuity.

Looking at Black Dog’s website, you will be lost in the sheer amount of scientific information they post.

As a commercial grower, you will greatly appreciate a professional brand like Black Dog. They will help you create a profitable growing setup.

Conclusion

Black Dog PhytoMAX-2 LED lights are high-priced LED grow light devices. We’ve compared them to other grow lamps on the market (check their price here). But considering all its superb features and durable build, it is worth your money.

The lights are durable. They’re also powerful enough to grow any high light-demanding indoor plants. The engineers designed them specifically for gardeners who want to produce enormous quantities of plants.

If you look forward to expanding your garden, we recommend the Black Dog PhytoMAX-2 grow lights.

But you may still be a beginner indoor gardener trying things out. In that case, the Black Dog LED light might be too expensive for your budget. You could be better off with another grow light brand. There might be affordable grow lights that can still somehow match the superior features of Black Dog’s LED lights.

What do you think of Black Dog’s LED grow lights? Do you love the Black Dog PhytoMAX-2, or do you hate it? Are there other grow lights that can match or perform better than Black Dog’s LED light? Please share with us your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “Black Dog LED Review (2022): How Do These Lights Perform?”

  1. We bought our first Black Dog , a 600 watt , over five years ago. It was before the PhytoMax2 so not full spectrum but man did it grow some amazing plants. Within 3 months we bought a 200 watt to use for seeds and clones. We have never looked back. These lights still do an amazing job today. About three months ago we decided to increase our grow space and purchased the big,bad boy, the PhytoMax2 1000. LOVE the full spectrum and how it’s no longer a purpler hue to the naked eye. We hung the light on a new LightRail to get even more coverage but something went horribly wrong and the motor somehow separated from the track and our BlackDog fell 9 plus feet from the ceiling. After composing myself I plugged it back in and to my surprise the light and fans came on and appeared to work amazing. Cosmetically, one corner was bent in pretty good and the power plug housing was broken. The LightRail motor no longer worked. I called LightRail3 and they outright denied that what DID happen could happen and refused to take any responsibility. My next call was to BlackDog and after explaining to them what had happened, they offered to send a loaner light for us to use while they had ours to examine it. Long story short…. after we got our light to them, they went through it, tested it thoroughly and the ONLY thing that was wrong after a nine foot fall was the plug housing and the cosmetic damage. A total cost to us of $40. When we got it back , they even threw in a new teeshirt for my wife and a couple of facemasks. People often comment on how expensive these lights are but we will ALWAYS stick with a company that has this kind of support and customer service. Not to mention the quality of these lights. ALL of our Blackdogs work amazing even after all this years. Love your review and just wanted to add a little input on what an awesome company they are as well. Vote with your money…….Thank you!

    • That’s simply amazing. Your story further proves that Black Dog is one of the best LED grow light brands.
      Thank you so much for the input!

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