Grow tents have become quite popular in the recent years, and for a good reason.
In the past, anyone wanting to grow indoors had to build a permanent structure. This meant having to drill holes in the walls and ceiling to attach lights, piping, and other heavy fixtures. Additionally, water leakage from hydroponic set-ups or watering accidents was a big problem, and floor damage was common. Also, portability was an issue whenever moving locations.
With grow tents, things are much easier. There are many varieties of grow tents on the market today, and they make indoor growing much more accessible and economical for hobbyists and professionals alike. Here are some of the main benefits of grow tents, and the things you should look for when choosing to buy one.
Most grow tents come with an instruction manual for easy setup. No carpentry knowledge or fancy tools required. In most cases, a person can do the setup alone (although some larger, commercial-size tents can benefit from having a friend help you out).
If mobility is important to your setup, grow tents are an ideal choice. They are lightweight and quick to take down and put back up, as compared to other types of structures.
Many of the grow tents available on the market today only require 10 minutes of setup time and are as easily assembled as a shelf from IKEA. While building your own structure took weeks, with a tent you can literally start growing the same day your equipment arrives. When buying a grow tent, make sure you get it from a good supplier that offers customer service, in case you can’t figure out where that extra spoke is supposed to go, or a piece of your package arrives damaged.
Generally speaking, grow tents are more economical than building your own grow room structure, both in terms of money and in terms of time (even if you calculate your labour at a very low hourly rate). Even then, some people prefer to shop around looking for the lowest price. Unfortunately, getting a cheap grow tent can actually cost you more in the long run. Wear and tear can affect some tents’ longevity more than others (especially if take-down and re-setup is required), and you might have to keep buying a new tent for almost every grow season. Additionally, some tents aren’t totally waterproof on the bottom, and can result in floor damage from water leaks. That is a feature to look for when shopping for your next tent. Getting a sturdy, well-built piece of equipment will always save you money, time, and headaches in the long run, and will last you many happy grow cycles.
Most quality grow tents are close to fully light proof. This means you can control how much light your plants are getting, which can affect plant health and yield. It also means no light leakage from within your grow tent into the outside world. If stealth is an issue, this is something you should be concerned with. When choosing a grow tent, make sure the brand you go with does a good job of eliminating light leaks, which often happen around the zippers and along the stitching in the thinner / cheaper tent varieties. Get a tent with thick fabric, adjustable pipe holes (with draw-string, elastic, or other closure), and zipper flaps when possible. This will help your tent contain light. Also, most grow tents come with reflective inner walls made from hammered mylar, which means your plants can get up to 30% more light compared to non-reflective walls (while using the same lamps). That results in faster growth and bigger yields!
Although standalone grow tents don’t offer odor control in and of themselves, they do come with holes for all your piping, so you can stick your air intake and outtake vents into the tent and pop a carbon filter in to get rid of the smell. If eliminating all odor is not a major issue in your growing situation, the tent itself does a pretty good job of containing most of the plant smell. But let’s face it, some plants like tomatoes do have a very strong smell, and you don’t necessarily want them stinking up your whole house. Some grow tents come with a kit (lights, hydroponic system, nutrients, etc) – if they do, make sure a carbon filter is included. If it isn’t, you will need to add one to your shopping list – just make sure it fits your vent!
Last but not least, we have to talk about durability. As mentioned before, tents do vary in how durable they are. Some can start falling apart as soon as they arrive in the mail, and others will last for years, through many growing cycles. Things to look for in a quality tent are thick fabric, sturdy support structure (preferably metal), good quality connectors (preferably not plastic), a waterproof bottom (to prevent leaks), fat zippers, adjustable pipe holes and enough of them (so you don’t have to cut your own and therefore damage your tent), and good stitching (so the seams stay together). Of course, having a warranty and customer support is a good idea too, in case something goes wrong.