Grow tents are an excellent solution for those wanting an indoor garden but don't want to devote an entire room or construct new walls to enclose a grow space. With a rigid tent frame and a fabric outer cover, a grow tent is easy to setup and will keep your garden contained enabling atmosphere and lighting control as well as a bit of privacy. Unlike grow cabinets however, tents are not completely secure or stealth as they use simple zippers to secure doors and windows vs locking handles on grow cabinets. You can learn more about the differences between grow cabinets and tents on our other post. Now lets take a look at the options we have on Hydrobuilder.com for grow tents:
Be sure to carefully measure the length, width and height of the space you intend to setup the grow tent in. The tent should be slightly smaller than the space to allow for easy setup and maintenance. You will also need to consider what your gardening goals are, and what size tent will allow you to achieve them.
The real question you need to be asking is how many plants do you want to grow and how big do you want those plants to be? The size of your plants greatly effects what tents you want to be looking at. Another consideration is if you want to start continuous harvesting or if you want to grow in distinct cycles. Usually continuous harvesters will often want one tent for vegging, another tent for flowering and possibly even a third tent for harvest curing and drying
Because plant strains and container sizes vary, the number of plants you can grow in each size of tent is subjective. Some growers like to grow a larger number of smaller plants and harvest them more frequently, auto-flowering strains are good for this. Others like to have a couple of plants and train them to grow very wide, this is known as the SCROG method. Finally others want to grow the largest plants possible and will have a smaller number of large plants. Therefore our recommendations on plant counts for each size of tents are just that, a recommendation. Your milage may vary.
Here is a quick guide of our most popular sizes:
- 2' x 2' Grow Tent - Great for mother plants (1-2 plants)
- 2' x 4' Grow Tent - Fits in most closets (2-4 plants)
- 3' x 3' Grow Tent - Ideal for people with a limited work area (2-4 plants)
- 4' x 4' Grow Tent - Perfect for the footprint of a 1000w HID or LED grow light (4-6 plants)
- 5' x 5' and 4’ x 8’ Grow Tents - Our most popular tent sizes (4-10 plants)
- 5’ x 9’ and 8' x 8' Grow Tent - Great for a spare bedroom, expect large harvests (9-16 plants)
- 10' x 10' Grow Tent - Another perfect size for a spare bedroom or in the garage. (12-18 plants)
- 8’ x 16’ and Larger Grow Tents - Requires large space and power amperage for lights (16-32 plants)
The height of the tent can dictate what lighting and growing system you can use. You want to ensure that the light and plants fit comfortably in your tent, and that the recommended distance the light should be installed from the plant canopy can be achieved all the way through the growth stages. The standard tent height is about 7’ and will fit in most residential 8’ ceilings well. Gorilla Grow Tents, a popular brand of tents, offer extension kits that provide various levels of extension and can be “stacked” as needed. Gorilla also offers the “Shorty Line” which is great for vegging plants, basements and smaller spaces, with a extendable height of 4’ 11”.
Short tents will need less intense lighting to avoid burning plant tops. Intense lighting like double-ended Gavitas need lots of space between plant canopy and the light fixture and should be used only in tall tents like the extendable Groilla Grow Tents. If you'd like to learn more about picking the best lighting for a particular tent size please see our other post.
Take a closer look at the shorty line in our video review:
Multiple Chambers vs Multiple Tents:
Lots of growers like to have two separate tents for vegging and flowering as we said earlier. But some tents offer multiple champers within a single tent for the same purpose. This helps to keep everything more organized, but most of these tents have limited vegging space so we still recommend going with two separate tents to enable growing larger plants for bigger yields.
Reflective Canvas Thickness:
What makes the thickness of the tent canvas important? The greater the thread count, the stronger it is. Durability can be important factor for long-term use, especially if the tent will be moved often where accidental scuffs, punctures and tears could occur. All grow tents are light-proof, but those made with thicker material will resist wear and be slightly more insulated for heat and noise. If your tent is in an indoor location you may not need as thick or rugged of walls as opposed to an outbuilding or shed. Tent thickness varies from 1680D canvas thread count on down to 210D (the D in those measurements stands for denier and is a measure of the linear mass density of fibers). The inner reflective of grow tents also varies by brand but the principle is the same for all of them, reflecting light off the interior tent walls helps to disperse light around the plant canopy.
Grow tent frames are typically constructed of snap-together steel tubing with various materials used for corners and connection pieces. Depending on the materials used for the poles and corner pieces a tent's weight limit may differ from another similarly sized tent. Be sure to check the weight rating of the tent to ensure it can properly hold all of the equipment you intend to use. If needed, additional support methods can be used if you are over the weight limit such as additional bars to spread weight out. If in doubt play it safe and look to alternative methods of hanging or mounting the equipment in a location outside of the tent if possible (such as installing your carbon filter outside of the tent or on the floor of the tent).
Ducting Ports, Cord Ports and Windows
All grow tents will have a number of different sized ports through which you can run ventilation ducting and electrical cords. The best tents will offer dual-cinching ports that allow you to completely block out any light coming through the port to ensure a light-proof tent. Some tents also offer various windows and other mesh vents which can be useful for most gardeners. Be sure to review the placement and size of the ports in each tent to ensure your equipment can be properly installed in the arrangement you have in mind. Mesh vents are commonly only used during the vegging stage of growth where light leaks are not a problem. When using a tent during the flowering stage a simple "u" bend in a section of ducting installed in a light-tight duct port can be used for an intake vent.
Many indoor gardeners have considered the option of purchasing a tent against a more solid and “stealthy” cabinet. Many grow cabinets are available that look just like a traditional storage or file cabinets and as a result are much less conspicuous. If discretion is an absolute requirement, it’s hard to beat a cleverly designed cabinet. However, most gardeners will benefit much more from the additional growth space offered by a grow tent and can find alternative ways of keeping the grow operation discrete. We highly recommend grow tents over cabinets whenever possible as most growers will be happier with the potential yields. Learn more about the difference between tents and cabinets.