solar system 440 review

California Lightworks 440 Review

When choosing a light for your plants, you want to make sure it’s the best option for your budget, growing goals, and set-up space. A versatile light that covers all stages of your plant’s cycle is also more time and cost-efficient than having to install multiple different lights. One of California Lightworks’ powerful innovations that offer a solution for serious growers is the SolarStorm 440W LED Grow Light. 

To help you make the most informed decision before your purchase, here is a detailed California Lightworks 440 review. 

About the California Lightworks Brand

California Lightworks is dedicated to designing and manufacturing the best LED grow lights for hobby and commercial growers. They focus on researching state-of-the-art processes to produce high-performance lights, including applying the latest advances in high-efficiency technologies. 

The company is located in Canoga Park, California, and pride itself on working with US-based vendors and sourcing quality parts for their products. For example, in their SolarStorm series, they install OSRAM LED bulbs – one of the leading companies offering lighting solutions. They are also conscious of reporting the carbon emissions they reduce in their operations.

SolarStorm 440 LED Grow Light Product Information

A larger version of some of California Lightworks’ other products, the SolarStorm 400 is designed for serious home growers wanting one light to cover their indoor spaces. It comes with 3 LED light panels with OSRAM bulbs, ultraviolet-B (UVB) tubes, panel heat sinks, and a dual-fan system. The product guarantees an LED lifespan of 80,000 hours and a 70% output at the 65,000-hour mark with both blue and red spectrum lights. 

Although it produces powerful results, the SolarStorm 440 is compact enough to fit in standard grow tents or greenhouses and small cabinet grows. It is designed to save your power consumption by 50% compared to other grow lights. The price may not be on the cheapest range of grow lights, however, the overall features that come with this product make the price reasonable and lets the product pay for itself in the long run. 

Pros:

  • Versatile with independent controls for bloom and growth 
  • UVB on/off controls
  • Panel heat sinks
  • Dual fan system helps it stay cool
  • Operates quietly
  • Built-in safety features 
  • Durable and high-quality materials
  • Great customer service
  • It pays for itself over time

Cons:

  • Light gets very concentrated and requires adjusting
  • Ratchet hangers sold separately 
  • Can be an expensive initial investment for small-time growers

Warranty Information

The SolarStorm series is protected under a 3-year warranty from defects in material and workmanship. Since their products are built in the USA, they also have local customer service representatives to assist you with any problems or concerns.

Safety Features

California Lightworkss ensures their products comply with UL/ETL safety requirements and also have added safety features built-in. You can expect a fused power input with an overvoltage surge protection and three ground wire. There is also a thermal shut-off system to prevent over-heating if your vents become blocked or fans fail to work. These features help you rest assured nothing dangerous will occur when you aren’t monitoring your plants or away from home. 

Efficiency Levels

Since the LED bulbs aim the light directly down to your plants, this significantly improves the efficiency of the product for optimal light concentrations. You won’t need to purchase a light reflector to prevent light from getting lost upward or outward through reflections. Overall, the efficiency level of the SolarStorm 440 is estimated at 90% efficiency, meaning little light and no money is wasted with this product.

The total power consumption at each mode is:

  • Veg mode: 235 watts
  • Bloom mode: 320 watts
  • Bloom mode + UVB: 350 watts

Build Quality

The SolarStorm 440 is made from high-quality materials associated with California Lightworks products. You can expect a durable product comprised of sheet metal construction and:

  • Sealed electronics section
  • High-quality ceramic substrates
  • Jewel quality glass optics
  • Long-lasting aluminum 

The SolarStorm 440 doesn’t come with ratchet hangers, so you’ll need to purchase hangers separately for installation. 

When you are switching to the UVB mode, make sure to have the right protective add-ons, including UV safety glasses and high SPF sunscreen. This wavelength is shorter and more concentrated, meaning it can cause skin burns and make your eyes sensitive after long exposure. 

Specifications Overview

Operating Voltage90 to 277 VAC
Frequency50 or 60 Hz
Max Current at 90V input3.9 Amps
Max Power per LED5 W
Number of LED drivers4
Max Power per LED driver100 W
LED Lifespan80,000 hours
Number of LEDs88 in 3 panels
LED Board MaterialsAluminum
PAR Output (12in)2,570
PAR Output (18in)1,389
PAR Output (24in)832
Bloom Coverage Area3 x 3 feet
Veg Coverage Area6 x 6 feet
Operating PositionLight facing down
Operating Temperature5℉ to 104℉
Operating ModesVeg, Bloom, or Bloom + UVB
Product Dimensions15 x 18 x 5 inches
Weight18 pounds
Warranty3 years

How The SolarStorm 440 Helps Your Plants

LED lights such as the SolarStorm 440 offer a more energy-efficient light source that emits energy on the light spectrum that plants absorb the most. This product has both blue and red spectrum lights, so you can easily target the best light during your plant’s life cycle. Simply use the toggle switch to change from lights for growth (vegetations) to blooms. You can also control whether you want to use UVB light or not, depending on the stage of your plant.  

For the best growth environment, you’ll want:

  • Red and blue light: with a higher concentration of blue light at the early stages of growth to promote leafing out into healthy, young plants 
  • Red light: during the production stage to help your plants bloom with the longer, cooler wavelengths
  • UVB light: at the late stages for a higher potency production with the shorter light wavelengths

It is recommended you install your SolarStorm 440 between 16 to 24 inches away from plants during the bloom stage and up to 5 inches above the plants during the vegetation stage.

Conclusion

Now that you know the features of the SolarStorm 440 and read the pros and cons, you are equipped to decide if this is the right grow light for you. Overall, the product offers versatility for different plant stages, is designed for serious plant growers, and has minimal negatives that come with possible solutions. California Lightworks is also a reputable brand with great customer service and warranty.