Grow Tent Buyer's Guide
Grow Tent Guide
Shopping for a grow tent can get a little overwhelming for a new grower these days. So many different brands, different quality lines, price levels, and features. Before you give up and just go buy one of those cheap eBay grow tent kits that you're just going to regret later when it falls onto your plants, we've got some great advice and info for you.
Pick your Grow Tent Size
The first step when shopping for a grow tent is to decide the size you want to go with. Figure out exactly where you are going to put the tent. In the location you will need to make sure there are nearby power outlets so don't forget to check that. Measure the length, width, and height of the area. If your ceiling is pitched make sure you measure that and go from the lowest point when selecting a tent. After you've measured, measure again, and again. The last thing you want have is incorrect measurements. When it comes time to buy a grow tent you'll want those measurements in hand since actual grow tent dimensions, especially height, can vary between brands and grow tent lines.
After you have your measurements you'll know the roughly the maximum grow tent size that you can fit into the area. So if your space measures 65"x65"x84" you'll know you can fit up to a 5x5 grow tent. If you have a larger area now is the time to decide how much of that space you want to dedicate to growing.
Pick your Grow Tent Quality Level
The next big decision after decided the rough size of your grow tent, say a 4'x4', is selecting the quality level. Grow tent quality can differ between brands and often those brands will have multiple lines with different quality levels. For example, Secret Jardin has at least 3 product lines in the U.S. The DarkStreet line is their economy line, their DarkRoom line is their mid-grade line, and their INTENSE line is their high-end line.
If you've got the money and know you'll be growing for a while, going with a top of the line tent is the best option. If you're strapped for cash or just don't care about the tent longevity an economy line may be the best option. Just keep in mind that lower end tents have some trade-offs. Of course if you just want a good tent but don't want to spend a lot, mid-grades are a great option. To help guide you through the quality levels and features we've put together a basic guide to some of the brands and lines we sell:
Grow tent comparison/quality recommendations
Economy Grow Tents -- Economy lines of grow tents are often a great choice for the grower just starting out with not much cash in their pocket. The trade-offs for economy tents is that some models may be shorter in in height, thinner fabric, less weight support, smaller/less duct and electrical ports, and fewer accessory features. OneDeal grow tents are an economy brand of grow tent. They aren't the cheapest tents out there, but are a good trade-off at being a great price while still offering a decent product. Secret Jardin's DarkStreet line is also an economy line, though a bit more of a higher-end economy line.
Mid-Grade Grow Tents -- Mid-grade grow tents offer the best of both worlds - good quality product with better quality, weight support and features at a good price. There are also some more specialty models and sizes of tents that are available in mid-grade lines that aren't available in economy lines. Our most popular mid-grade tent is the Secret Jardin DarkRoom line, though the Gorilla LITE Line grow tent is gaining popularity. The Gorilla LITE Line of grow tents is more of a higher-end mid-grade grow tent and supports more weight than the Secret Jardin DarkRoom line. Mid-grade tents are good for both beginners or experienced growers, just depends on your wants/needs.
Premium Grow Tents -- Premium grow tents offer the best that money can buy. Some of the tents that we offer in the premium line are Gorilla Grow Tents and the Secret Jardin INTENSE line. Gorilla grow tents are some of the best tents that money can buy, though the recently redone INTENSE line offers some really nice Orca film lined 8x16 and 10x20 grow tents with optional height extensions for the commercial grower. So we can't call it on the larger sizes since Gorilla doesn't have an orca tent yet, but for smaller sizes the standard Gorilla line is definitely the best you can buy.
Pick your Grow Lighting
After you pick you tent size the next step is to pick your lighting. To keep things simple we're just going to go with basic recommendation in HID lighting wattages. If you're using another lighting type just go with the equivalent size for the HID wattage. Recommendations are given for both open reflector grows and air cooled reflectors. If you are using a taller grow tent, like a Gorilla with height extension, you may be able to use a little larger of a light or use the air cooled recommendation. But keep in mind you may need to extract out that extra heat.
Grow Tent size to lighting wattage - open & air cooled ratings
2'x2' -- 250W (air cooled), 150W (open)
2'x4' -- 400W (air cooled), 250W (open)
3'x3' -- 400W (air cooled), 250W (open)
3'x5' -- 600W (air cooled), 400W (open)
4'x4' -- 600W (air cooled), 400W (open)
5'x5' -- 1000W (air cooled), 600W (open)
4'x8' -- 2x600W (air cooled), 2x400W (open)
5'x10' -- 2x1000W (air cooled), 2x600W (open)
8'x8' -- 4x600W (air cooled), 4x400W (open)
10'x10' -- 4x1000W (air cooled), 4x600W (open)
8'x16' -- 8x600W (air cooled), 8x400W (open)
10'x20' -- 8x1000W (air cooled), 8x600W (open)
Picking your Grow Tent Ventilation
Every grow tent should have good air circulation and ventilation. Ventilation is required to keep your growing environment suitable. Even if it isn't too hot you should still exchange out the air. If you don't exchange air out the humidity can build up causing condensation to build up, which can damage your tent as well as cause issues like mold and mildew. Below is a recommendation list for the minimum ventilation for each grow tent size. Keep in mind this just for exchanging air, this does not include any cfm requirement for cooling lights or powering carbon filters.
Ventilation recommendations are based on the minimum cfm required to exchange out the air for a specific size tent. For open reflectors the cfm recommendation is based on an air exchange every 30 seconds, and for air cooled every 1 minute. The difference is due to more air needed to vent out that hot air from open reflectors. Keep in mind this is just for exchanging out the air and does not include cfm requirements for filters or cooling of lights. We'll get into that more in our carbon filter and grow lighting guides.
2'x2' -- 21 cfm (air cooled), 45 cfm (open)
2'x4' -- 45 cfm (air cooled), 86 cfm (open)
3'x3' -- 54 cfm (air cooled), 107 cfm (open)
3'x5' -- 95 cfm (air cooled), 192 cfm (open)
4'x4' -- 104 cfm (air cooled), 204 cfm (open)
5'x5' -- 160 cfm (air cooled), 319 cfm (open)
4'x8' -- 204 cfm (air cooled), 408 cfm (open)
5'x10' -- 319 cfm (air cooled), 638 cfm (open)
8'x8' -- 408 cfm (air cooled), 815 cfm (open)
10'x10' -- 638 cfm (air cooled), 1275 cfm (open)
8'x16' -- 815 cfm (air cooled). 1629 cfm (open)
10'x20' -- 1275 cfm (air cooled), 2549 cfm (open)
Grow Light Cooling
For multi-light setups it is recommended to use approximately 100 cfm per fixture for air cooling, so an 8 light room would need at least 800 cfm. For a one grow light tent you can either use the smallest 6" (most air cooled reflectors only go down to 6" duct ports) inline fan, or you can also use a 4", like the 171 cfm DuraBreeze inline fan and use a 6"x4" reducer to connect 4" ducting to the reflector. If you are connecting a carbon filter you would need to factor in the extra 100 cfm when you pick your fan.
While there is more to know about growing in a controlled environment, the basics will get you through and give you an understanding of it. We'll discuss some of these topics in more detail in other guides.