LED emitters are crucial for the proper functioning of lighting systems, but they are also extremely delicate components. These small electronic parts are highly susceptible to damage from dirt, debris, and liquids, and even a slight touch or accidental impact can harm them.

To ensure the longevity of your LED light sources, it is essential to provide adequate protection for the emitters. Most LED emitters require some form of physical barrier, which can be in the form of an external coating or a hard covering.

1.Conformal Coatings

Conformal coatings are the more affordable and easily accessible option, particularly suitable for new or hobbyist growers. These coatings consist of a thin polymeric film that can be applied to the printed circuit board of an LED light. Conformal coatings can be brushed, sprayed, or dipped onto the surface and conform to the system’s contours.

Conformal coatings effectively shield the emitters from dust, grime, and airborne debris. They also have a minimal impact on light transmission compared to other types of emitter protection. Additionally, they have superior heat dissipation properties when compared to hard coverings.

However, it is important to note that if the coating is too thick, it can alter the color output of the lights, which can affect plant health and the quality of the final yield. To achieve optimal results, it is advisable to consult professionals for guidance when selecting LED fixtures and their coatings. The protection of your emitters should not compromise the light output.

2.Hard Coverings

Hard coverings are the more expensive option typically used by larger commercial growers who require enhanced protection. The three most common choices for hard coverings are glass, plexiglass, and polycarbonate.

Glass Acrylic

Glass acrylic offers the advantage of allowing the highest light transmission compared to other options, typically ranging from 90% to 95%. Moreover, glass acrylic coverings are generally more cost-effective than plexiglass or polycarbonate.

However, glass acrylic coatings are heavier and more fragile, making installation cumbersome and increasing the risk of damage. They also provide less protection against impacts, making the emitters more susceptible to dislodgment or damage.


Plexiglass provides a light resistance rate of approximately 92%, comparable to glass coverings in quality. It is also lighter in weight, facilitating easier installation.

Plexiglass offers better protection against impacts than glass, although it provides less resistance against scratches.


Polycarbonate has a low light transmittance, averaging about 88%. However, it provides substantial protection against impact-related damage, making it a suitable choice for growers in earthquake-prone areas.

3.Which Option Is Right For Me?

As a general guideline, conformal coatings are usually sufficient for hobbyist growers, while commercial manufacturers should opt for hard coverings. However, specific circumstances and budgetary constraints must be taken into account. Conformal coatings are generally the most cost-effective option.

If you plan on pursuing serious cultivation, be aware that conformal coatings provide significantly less protection than hard coverings in critical aspects. Conformal coatings are prone to rubbing off when exposed to liquids, so caution must be exercised during watering or pesticide spraying.

Conformal coatings also offer no safeguard against impact-related damage. Emitters can easily be damaged, potentially leading to the destruction of the entire lighting system, in response to intense movement. Hobbyist growers operating in limited spaces where accidental equipment collisions are more likely should strongly consider investing in hard coverings if it is within their budget.

4.Always Exercise Caution Around LED Lights

Even with the best forms of protection, it is important to note that no method can guarantee 100% prevention of damage.

Therefore, it is crucial to handle LED lighting equipment with utmost care. Keep your fixtures away from liquids and take precautions to avoid accidental impacts.

While high-quality LED lights are designed to be durable, even the most well-made equipment can be damaged due to human error. To protect your LED emitters effectively, treat your lights gently and avoid any careless mistakes. A single mishap can result in a damaged emitter, which has the potential to render your entire lighting system unusable.

5.LED Emitters: The Bottom Line

LED emitters represent some of the most sensitive components in your light fixtures. For commercial growers, investing in high-quality protection is essential to ensure the longevity of LEDs. Several factors should be considered when selecting the appropriate type of covering or coating, but superior hard coverings are the optimal choice for long-term emitter protection.

At Recolux Lighting, we are dedicated to assisting growers of all levels in their journey. If you have any inquiries regarding emitters or any other LED-related matters, please feel free to reach out to us here.

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