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California Lightworks Solarstorm 440 Review

If you are considering becoming serious about an indoor garden, or are becoming a serious grower, you already are aware of how important an artificial light source is to your crop. California Lightworks, a US-based company that specializes in plant grow lights, has a whole line of products to help get your own home garden grow up and going.

One of their best selling products is the Solarstorm 440, an LED/UV-B light system that allows you to focus your light where you need it without it dispersing energy where you don’t. We’ve read up on this product, have found it quite impressive for both smaller and larger plant growing needs, and have compiled our review findings below.

What is The California Lightworks Solarstorm 440?

A little less than a decade a ago California Lightworks began to manufacture a series of quality LED panel lights for both wholesale and direct consumer sales. Created with the series grower in mind, their innovative approach to applying only specific spectral colors combined with UV-B supplemental lighting has made them popular within the plant growing industry. Large scale, as well as home gardens, have all benefited from the unique light arrangement and construction of their series of grow light fixtures.

Plants need light to grow, specifically those from blue and red spectrum during various stages of their growing and production. Whereas the sun produces a whole myriad of colors, you only need the specific few that support the chemical process of photosynthesis- which is what allows plants to produce food for their own well being.

The Solarstorm 440 was created as a slightly larger version of some of their smaller products to offer a perfect go to light for serious home growers who weren’t looking to cover too large a space, but didn’t want to utilize more than one light at a time. (although you can hang more than one of these if you wish). This product boasts 2 LED light panels that are cable of both red and blue light spectrum, as well as UV-B tubes to help boost late stage production.

Pros

  • Great customer support
  • Stays cool
  • Operates quietly
  • Plants don’t reach for the light

Cons

  • Does not come with ratchet hangers
  • Very concentrated light

Features and Benefits of The California Lightworks Sandstorm 440

Measuring only 15”L x 18”W x 5”H, and weighing a light 18 pounds, the Sandstorm 440 a perfect choice for quality coverage of your indoor garden. It may be quite compact in size, but it does pack a powerful punch with a hefty list of beneficial features.

144 OSRAM LEDs

OSRAM is a long standing company committed to producing lighting solutions in all stages of business and home. Their good name and long standing service has made them the ideal choice of the California Lightworks Company to utilize their lighting products to ensure you are getting some of the best products on the market. A total of 144 Light Emitting Diodes (LED) bulbs are placed within 2 high powered boards to customize your plants light exposure to only those spectrums needed for plant growth and production. LEDs are considered a cool light source and also efficient energy wise ensuring you aren’t racking up an additional energy bill through its use.
Since colored light is measured by the temperature they produce, growers can utilize the temperatures needed for each stage of growth to maximize their yield through the use of LEDs rather than having to purchase multiple wave spectrum lights. Red and blue spectrums are both utilized in early stage growth, although higher doses of blue light are utilized to leaf out into healthy, young plants. As plants reach a production stage they will need the cooler, longer wavelengths of light found within the red end of the color spectrum to provide the yield you desire.

80,000 Hour LED Lifespan

These OSRAM LED are more than capable of providing concentrated light waves form both the blue and red spectrums, and are guaranteed up to 80,000 hours of working time, with a 70% output still available at the 65,000 hour mark. This makes them a powerful, durable, and affordable choice since you will be most likely running them anywhere from 12 to 18 hours a day.

3x3 Foot Growth Coverage for Flowering

Flowering, or producing, plants need a bit more concentrated light and this system more than accomplishes that with a very specific 9 square foot area of growth. Light is centered downwards rather than wasted through outwards dispersal, making sure that your plants get every bit of light available to them.

6x6 Foot Growth Coverage for Non-Flowering

This is a fantastic feature that allows you to have even more versatility in getting into a pattern of snow clearing. Gone are the days that you can only clear snow in one direction to keep it blowing into the areas you’ve designated for snow piles. Now you can make even better time by being able to blow the snow in any direction with the 180 degree adjustable chute to ensure the snow gets to where you need it. This is also a great safety feature to help keep the snow from blowing in any direction that has the possibility of causing damage. Occasionally rocks, ice, or hard chunks of snow can be thrown by a blower, and this way you can keep it from hitting the side of a building or vehicle while you work to avoid problems.

Independent Controls for Growth and Bloom

As explained, different wavelengths of light are needed at different stages of plant growth. Even though the Solarstorm 440 offers both blue and red spectrum lights, they make it easy to target which is most beneficial during your plant’s life cycle. A simple toggle switch concentrates the lights for either growth (veg) or bloom to ensure you are providing exactly what your plants need when they need it. This is especially important for producing plants as their crop can be greatly affected by the amount, and type, of light they receive.

Built in Supplemental UV-B T8 Tubes

Unique to the Solarstorm products are the addition of UV-B Tubes. This is a fluorescent lighting capable of emitting UV-B, or ultraviolet B rays. These are a shorter light wavelength which is actually responsible for surface skin burns, so when working with these lights it is recommended that you wear sunscreen and sunglasses to avoid sensitive eyes to too long of an exposure. Just like with humans, over exposure to UV-B can cause surface tissue plant damage, so this is not a light addition to be used for regular growth, but rather for the very late stages of certain plants to produce higher potency production. It is important to follow the directions provided by the manufacturer. To see these specs in more detail, you can check out the company brochure as well here.

Switchable Spectrum Control

Since UVB wavelengths may not be desirable for all plants you may have growing, it is easy to either take advantage of, or ignore entirely, this unique addition. Plus, even if you are going to use UVB, you will only do so within a certain time frame towards the end of your growing season. A separate toggle switch allows you to include the UVB when you need it and for how long want it on. This provides you the peace of mind to determine what works best within your grow and to influence what benefits your plants may get from it.

Dual Fan System and Panel Heat Sinks

Each panel has its own heat sink, as well as a dual fan system that is vented out the sides. Even though LED and fluorescent lighting is considered a cooler light source, the energy being created does include a heat build up. The heat sinks allow the heat to be caught, rather than dispersed throughout the system which cold cause overheating- and the fans ensure proper continuous air flow through the venting system. These fans also help keep your growing space from getting too hot as well, as the venting is not only specific to just one side and is kept moving properly. This can be very important if you are working within an enclosed growing tent or other small space to keep the area from overheating. To see how all these features come together to make an excellent product, please watch the video below:

Safety Features

Not only do these product s comply with UL/ETL safety requirements, they also have a a list of safety features built in to provide you with peace of mind. First, they have a three ground wire, fused power input with an overvoltage (surge) protection to keep you from having to worry about what happens when you aren’t home. Also included is an over-temp thermal shut off if your venting become blocked for some reason, or the fans fail to work properly. This is an especially nice feature as smaller spaces can often become warm quickly, and you don’t want to have to worry about what might happen if the steps you have take to keep air flowing fail.

3 Year Warranty

A three year warranty protecting against material or construction defect also comes with each unit. Since each product is built right in the US, they have a local team of customer service representatives to help you with any problems or concerns as well, and are happy to answer any questions you may have in advance of your purchase. Their return and replacement policy.

Customer Reviews

The response to the California Lightworks products, and the Solarstorm 440 in particular, are overwhelmingly positive, earning them an excellent customer service award for reviews and product service. Customers are happy with how well the product works over a variety of different crops, the yield they have been able to produce, and the ease of use. It’s mentioned multiple times how cool, and how quiet, the entire system is as well. The only complaints, if they can be called that, are that although the hanging wires are included, hanging ratchets are not, meaning you do have to provide your own overhead hanging system.

Conclusion

If you have been on the hunt for a professional grow light, but aren’t looking for large area coverage, then the California Lightworks Solarstorm 440 may be the perfect product for you. Made for the serious grower, you can bring your vegetation from seed to fruition with maximum yields in no time, and if you are looking for a boost to your finishing stages of growth, the included UV-B system can provide everything your plants need. The complete control over LED spectrum light efficiency through a simple toggle system, and the dual fans keep this product running smoothly and cool to provide you peace of mind. If you have any questions or comments about this product, or have even tried it out yourself, we’d love to hear what you have to say below. And, as always, please share!

About The Author

Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod cuts a tragic figure in the High School English classroom teaching literature by day, and moonlighting as a writer and graphic artist by night. Published in a variety of travel magazines, and now a blog, Danielle enjoys coming up with home and garden projects to complete with her two young boys. A native of Michigan, she resides in Southeastern New Mexico with her variety of horses, poultry, and variable mix of rescue dogs (there’s a cat or two in there as well). In her free time she enjoys travel, art, photography, and a good book!

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