Many beginner gardeners want to keep their first grow small and secure, which is why they start their search with grow cabinets and grow tents.
Each of these two options has pros and cons, and the decision you make can have a large effect on the maximum yield one can achieve with their equipment.
We will always recommend a grow tent over a grow cabinet if you have the room for it, as they are cheaper and larger. Every situation is different, however, so let's dive into the details to see why tents beat out cabinets for most beginner growers.
Grow Cabinets vs Grow Tents - Which Is Better For Beginners?
For those just starting out, you’re likely growing plants just for yourself. Don’t lose sight of that. Start small and smart. Purchasing a 10’ x 10’ grow tent or a custom-built grow cabinet for a few thousand dollars is probably not the wisest decision at this point.
Hydrobuilder offers three grow tent options for under $150. Each of these should be more than enough to get beginning growers off and running.
None of these grow tents are larger than 2’ x 4’, and the smallest is a space conscious 2’ x 2’. These tents can easily fit into a corner of the room or even a small closet.
Maybe just as important, each of these options is readily available, meaning you will be able to start your endeavor much sooner than you would if you were waiting for a grow cabinet to be built or building one yourself.
Each of these examples is larger and far less expensive than a comparable grow cabinet. That's a big factor when it comes to total yield potential. More grow area volume = more yield.
Even with the addition of a hydroponic system, a grow cabinet can only support small plants. For the price, that's a lot of dollars per cubic foot. No question about it, grow tents are cheaper in terms of grow area volume to cost.
If you do have more space and budget, larger tents are available in numerous sizes. Learn more about picking the right size grow tent here.
Stealth and security of your grow
The one major advantage grow cabinets have over grow tents are their ability to blend into their surroundings. They can also be secured in stronger methods.
Since cabinets are solid, and often provide hinged, locking doors, they keep out unwanted intruders far better than grow tents which just utilize simple zippers to close the doors and windows.
Many grow cabinets look just like standard metal storage cabinets, and will not stick out in a garage or storage room. They are also very light-tight, meaning no light will leak out and draw attention in the dark.
Some DIY grow cabinet makers get creative and hide their grows inside things like large stereo speakers, fish tanks, and wardrobes for even more stealth. This stealthiness comes at a cost, however, as rarely are these look-a-like objects very large in terms of total volume. This means your grow space will be very limited.
If you have a closet or room that you can keep secure, it's often a better solution use a tent that can fill a larger space. You can then lock this space if security is an essential factor for your grow.
Still, nothing beats the security of a locking grow cabinet, especially when children, parents, or landlords might turn up unannounced in the area where you keep your grow.
Score one for grow cabinets here.
Growing Up Quickly
Another big plus with grow tents is their affordability to upgrade and replace. If you find yourself wanting more space for your grow, a new tent is a quick and affordable solution.
Grow tents are very easy to assemble and go up in minutes, meaning you can double or quadruple your space with ease. This enables you to try your hand at perpetual growing. This is where you have two tents, one for each stage of growth (veg and flower).
Purchasing or building a new cabinet will take much longer, as most pre-made cabinets for sale are built to order and have long lead times. Some grow tents are height-adjustable, giving you the ability to add more space for very low cost.
Ventilation is another big difference between cabinets and tents. Tents can support much larger ventilation and odor control equipment. Most cabinets utilize small fans and filters, which are selected by their noise output.
A truly "stealth" cabinet will have a quiet fan that isn't noticeable when powered up. This is great for those who may want to keep their grow in their bedroom, for example.
However, as tents are much larger, their ventilation equipment must be as well, and with that comes more noise. Moving more air through the grow is a good thing, however and brings fresh CO2 which aids plant growth.
Unless carefully constructed, a cabinet may not provide ample ventilation, which could hinder growth.
The final verdict - Grow tents or cabinets?
Now that you've learned the benefits of tents over cabinets it's time to make a decision.
If you still aren't sure which option is best for you we are here to help at Hydrobuilder. We can walk through any questions or concerns you have.
We want you to be happy with your gardening tools and yields, and will help you select the best products for you! Call us today at 888-815-9763.