So, here we are. You have spent endless evenings researching the art of cannabis cultivation and had more barstool debates than are necessary on the ins and outs of different growing styles. But, finally, you have decided to take the plunge. It’s time to grab a grow tent and get cranking on that indoor garden that dreams are made of.
Great news my friend! There are very few things in this life more satisfying than growing your own weed. If you think you’ve had it lucky since the renaissance in cannabis legality in terms of the quality you can now find, think again. There is nothing quite like homegrown buds that have been perfectly dried and carefully cured – it beats the stuff on offer in your local dispensary, hands down!
Homegrown cannabis vs. dispensary
One thing that always baffles me about dispensaries is the fact that the buds are just there on display, under bright lighting, and with no environmental control. Who knows just how long they’ve been sitting there?
I mean, sure, it makes sense from a marketing standpoint. But cannabinoids and terpenes are light sensitive and will break down pretty quickly if left to bask under bright illumination for an extended period. And that’s not even taking the oxidation into account.
A little experiment I like to ask new growers to run is to get them to chuck a couple of grams of their freshly cured buds into a light-proofed and vacuum-sealed container and then put that container in the fridge. Once they are getting close to finishing the rest of the crop (or after a few months), I then get them to remove the refrigerated buds and test them, side by side, against the unrefrigerated buds from the same batch. The difference is mind-blowing, with the refrigerated deliciousness still holding onto the majority of its flavor and aroma compounds, while the other stuff has, well, not fared so well.
Anyway, we are getting sidetracked. Back to the question at hand.
With a quality grow tent and the right setup, you will be able to have control of your growing environment from the beginning and ensure the plants are getting just what they need to thrive… all in complete secrecy.
What is the number one grow tent currently on the market for novice growers, and how do you set the thing up? Let us find out.
What to look for in a good grow tent
There are a couple of non-negotiables that you should definitely keep in mind when trying to decide on the tent for your first grow.
- A high-quality tent frame that won’t collapse in on itself after a few months of use. Look for strong but lightweight options, like those made of steel or aluminum. The corner fittings are also pretty important and need to be solid if you want your tent last more than a few months. Remember that you are going to be hanging a decent amount of kit from this frame, so it needs to be able to support the weight.
- Robust zippers and clips are also essential for keeping the light out and ensuring your grow area stays as dark as it can be during the lights off hours – light leaks are the last thing you want. The zippers will also dictate whether any of those dank aromas can weasel their way out, which may not be the biggest issue if you live in a recreationally legal state or country, but is bad news for those looking for a discreet grow setup. You always want a tent that has thick zipper flaps with Velcro.
- Then there’s the material of the tent itself. Mylar-coated nylon is one option, but your best bet here is to go for a canvas covering. The fabric for most tents will come with a density score, with cheaper options sitting at around 200D to 400D. You should look for something more along the lines of 1500D or above.
- All tents will come with air exchange ports, but not all of these ports are created equally. Air exchange (and control over it) is one of the most important factors for environmental regulation, so getting a tent with good air vents is pretty vital. You want the vents to have thick flaps with Velcro.
- Then there are the ports for the electrical cords and the irrigation pipes, the floor mat, and viewing windows.
Choosing the right spot to set up your first grow tent
Before you even think about tent options, you’ll have to work out exactly where you want to put it up. This will help in decision-making in terms of size and shape, and may even rule out buying a tent at all. No use getting a tent if you don’t have a good spot for it.
The most important factor here is location, as you want to make sure the area is easily accessible and close enough to a power outlet. You also need to take into account ventilation, as you want to make sure the area is well-ventilated while still giving you enough control to avoid any smells getting out. The spot should also sit in the correct temperature range if at all possible (21 to 25 degrees Celsius)
When it comes to choosing the perfect spot to set up your cannabis grow tent, you want the space to be bigger than the tent by a fair bit. A good 50 cm or so of clearance around each side of the tent is the bare minimum, and the same goes for the above. More space is better, not just for setup but also for during the grow.
The best cannabis grow tents for beginner growers
Right, since grow tents come in all shapes and sizes, it makes picking the ‘best’ one a little tricky. There are so many options on the market, and it really comes down to the dimensions you are looking for, and how you want to use it. So, instead of just picking a few of the bestsellers, let’s have a look at the top choices in a range of setups and sizes.
One thing that I have seen time and time again is new growers getting a little ahead of themselves. Instead of starting with a simple setup that can easily be incorporated into a larger-scale indoor garden further down the road, they go out and buy a tent that’s bigger than one many long-time growers use, and want to instantly start with a bunch of different strains.
The more strains you grow at once, the more variation there will be. This means that the plants may need slightly different environmental conditions for optimal growth, and they will almost certainly need different nutrient levels. The nutrient levels part is fine if you are growing with soil, but as soon as you dive into hydro or coco cultivation you need to be much more aware of how to properly dose the nutrient solution, making the job of growing weed more complicated, and more involved.
For new growers, we suggest sticking with soil and coco mix. If you are super keen on hydro then start out with a coco heavy mix. Trust us, it’s just the better growing medium when you start out.
The best multi-chamber grow tent options for new growers
Mars Hydro have been around for a while now and has led the revolution in cheap but super-effective LED panels. And while they are much better known for their lighting options, the grow tents that they offer are also pretty good, especially for the price.
This 2-in-1 option is a great starting point for new growers and can make setting up a perpetual harvest system super easy – especially when paired with one more tent, which is almost an inevitability further down the line once you’ve caught the grower’s bug. The divider is also removable, making the tent a fair bit bigger if you just want a bigger main grow area.
It comes with MARS HYDRO 1680D canvas, double stitching, sturdy metal framing capable of holding up to 110 lbs., heavy-duty zippers, and a bunch of air vents. The overall quality is pretty surprising considering just how cheap this one is.
This one from AC infinity is quite a bit bigger than the MARS HYDRO option, but the price range is actually very similar. While it is missing zipper flaps, that’s the only real obvious drawback.
It comes with a rugged frame with 22mm poles that can hold up to 150 lbs., a canvas thickness rated at 2000D, pro-grade zippers, and lots of room to have seedlings, newly vegging plants, and your older flowering crop all running at the same time.
The best all-purpose, single-chamber grow tent options for new growers
Gorilla Grow Tents have been the number one choice for growers globally for over a decade, and thanks to the ‘Lite Line’, there are finally some truly budget choices in their range.
With the Gorilla Grow Tent Lite Line 2 x 2.5 x 5.7 you get enough room for 2 large plants, all steel powder coated poles, a fully interlocking frame, industrial grade zips, Velcro zip covers, 360-degree access, easy view windows – pretty much everything else you could hope for from a grow tent.
Another option is from AC Infinity, and again a little bigger but priced very similarly. There’s a lot to love about this option and very little to hate.
With higher density 2000D canvas which helps stop and light leaks, while the diamond mylar inner amplifies the light reflection, a sturdy and durable frame that uses 50% thicker steel poles and carries 2x more weight than standard grow tents, and the future-forward design featuring a controller mounting plate with passthrough for zero light-leak cable issues.
So, there we go. Our 4 top picks for tents should suit almost every single new grower out there. Are there bigger tents available? Sure, but remember, it is our strong recommendation that you start out smaller and work your way up. Besides the fact that bigger tents come with a bunch more work, they just cost more – as does the equipment to fill them. By starting out a little more modestly, you can make sure cannabis cultivation is for you before really jumping off the deep end.
Oh, and the winner? Go for a Gorilla Grow Tent, the quality is just superior.