Quantum Board Vs COB LED Grow Lights

by in Grow Light Advice February 27, 2018

When you walk into the grow lights industry, you come to see that initially, the COBs were ruling the light industry. Afterward, the quantum boards took the lead.

Does that mean that QBs are better? An improvement on COBs?

Not necessarily.

Both are great lights for plants and each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Well take a look at those pros and cons, and help you figure out which one is right for you.

What is a COB?

COB LED Grow Light

A COB is known as the Chip on Board appears to the scene when thousands of lumens are required from a single source. A COB led array involves multiple chips mounted on a single common board made up of sapphire or silicon carbide as compared to the multiple chip configuration. COB technology mounts several thousand LED chips within a single metal or ceramic-based board. This innovation allows you to have greater packaging densities of the LED array. Some other advantages of COB lights include low energy consumption, constant uniform light output, and minimal footprints. The COB lights arrangement comprises two contacts and only one circuit.

Advantages of a COB light

If you are looking for the COB light dominance, you can have a look at these listed points:

  • The size of a COB LED light is best for growing indoor plants.
  • The uniformity between the LED arrays performs well for close distance.
  • The arrangement of one circuit and two contacts makes the design easy.
  • By providing constant light output, less energy is consumed.

Disadvantages of a COB light

Some drawbacks of using COB lights are also mentioned here:

  • COB LED lights are more expensive and are smaller in size as compared to the quantum Board light.
  • These lights have a low bright spectrum as compared to the quantum Board light.
  • COB lights are not preferable when it comes to energy consumption.
    These LED lights are more technical and require high maintenance costs.

What is a Quantum Board?

100w quantum board grow lamp

A quantum board is a large circuit board that mounts several hundred mid-power LEDs. These LEDs are connected in series with each other to form an intelligent spectrum string. Later, these strings are connected in parallel to drive high voltage and current operations. These boards are an alternative to the COB led grow lights. Quantum boards use less power consumption and span a greater area to cover the cost of additional larger heat sinks.

Advantages of a Quantum Board

A benefit of Quantum board over the COB light is the simple thermal management.

  • Quantum board lights have light uniformity and a greater light spread.
  • Quantum board lights consume less energy. They consume 50 watts for 180+ lumens, while on the other hand, COB lights consume 50 watts for 160-170 lumens.

Disadvantages of a Quantum Board

Quantum board lights are not 100% efficient. Some downsides of using these lights are listed below:

  • You cannot create the quantum boards on your own. However, you can easily build COBs.
  • Usually, quantum board lights are out of stock.
  • Quantum board lights do not provide uniform light, hence some parts receive a low intensity of light.

Similarities Between COBs And Quantum Boards

There is a reason these two types of lighting both had a revolutionary impact on the industry. They have several similarities and they are exactly the things that make them so appealing to indoor cannabis growers.

Same Principle

The main similarity is that both essentially use the same principle. It is simply the scale that differs.

A COB is made up of many tiny LED diodes tightly packed onto a single chip to produce a single, powerful beam of light. A quantum board also has many LEDs on it, but those LEDs are more powerful and more spaced out. Essentially, a quantum board is simply a very large COB.

Same Spectrum

The other major similarity is the color spectrum. Both COBs and quantum boards use full-spectrum white LED diodes.

They are available in various different color temperatures, from warm 3000K light to cool 7000K light. The most common color temperatures are 3000K, 3500K, 5000K, and 6000K.

The warmer white light (3000K to 4000K) contains more red wavelength light, making it better for flowering, while the cooler light (5000K to 7000K) contains more blue and is thus better for vegging.

While blurple lights dominated in the past, the industry is coming to realize that white light is actually better for plants. That realization came about thanks to the popularity of COBs and quantum boards.

But it is true that plants especially like red light (and blue as well), so many quantum and COB LED fixtures now have supplementary diodes that add a bit of red, and sometimes UV, IR, or blue as well.

DIY Setups

Both quantum boards and COBs are great for building your own lighting system. Several manufacturers of each even offer DIY kits that include all the components you need. All you have to do is put it all together. Alternatively, you can save even more and do it completely on your own, without the use of a kit.

Differences Between COBs And Quantum Boards

As both COBs and quantum boards use LEDs but they both vary in the white color spectrum scale. Some other differences are as follows:

Coverage area

The first major difference is in the way the light fills the coverage area. A COB light has a single source of light, hence the light does not reach the outside area completely as compared to the middle section. On the other hand, a quantum board comprises diodes that cover the complete area uniformly. It does not cover the center part only. The result is a much more even light spread for quantum boards. COBs give you a ton of intensity in the middle of the coverage area, but it drops off more toward the outside than a quantum board light.

Penetration&Intensity of Light

This is the flip side of the previous difference. As COB has strong light emission, it penetrates deeply below the canopy, especially in the middle part. Toward the outside, that penetration power diminishes considerably. Quantum boards get great penetration, too, just not as good as a COB (in the middle anyway).

Heat Management

Because COBs are such a powerful source of light, with many tiny diodes crammed onto a small surface area, they naturally emit a lot of heat. Single COBs can be cooled by heat sinks alone, but fixtures with multiple COBs need to have fans.

Quantum boards are always passively cooled. Usually, this is done with a simple aluminum board, but sometimes a heatsink is used instead.

The fixtures as a whole still emit about the same amount of heat as other LED fixtures, including COBs, but because the individual diodes are spread out, passive cooling is enough to keep them from overheating.

Should I Get A COB Or A Quantum Board?

When it comes to COB Vs Quantum Board, you must review the above-stated factors. Quantum boards are highly recommended for grow lights. Quantum boards are the best option if you have limited space and require a greater light spread.

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