January 28, 2018

The Best Grow Tent Guide Ever - Grow Tent Essentials

Congratulations, you just found the best grow tent guide on the internet. We'll be your friend on this journey of growth and discovery, and hopefully help reduce your growing mistakes and questions! Join us below for the essential grow tent info...

Grow Tent Buying Guide

When shopping for a grow tent, you have to keep in mind a few items. This first is your budget, the second is your height, and the third is your width. Your best bet is likely to figure out your size range, so how high can your grow tent go? The Gorilla Grow tents and a few other brands have height extensions to increase the height of tent for those taller plants. For the width, they have grow tents as small as 3 ft wide and large as 10 ft! Figure out which size ranges of grow tents can fit in your grow space, then figure out if your budget fits in with more lower quality grow tents like Idojan or if you can afford the top quality of Gorilla or Lighthouse.

Why spend more on a high end grow tent?

Well, it usually comes down to the thickness of the canvas used in the walls of the grow tent, the quality of the metal used in the poles (that will be holding your expensive light above your precious plants), and the care in the stiching of the zipper and canvas.

What size grow tent do I need?

Price is drastically impacted by size of your grow tent, from the largest grow tents, to the low height short grow tents. Measure your grow tent area before purchasing one, and ensure that you won't have a tent that is too large for your area (bad for ventilation), not large enough for our plants (unless you're doing a sea of green with autoflowers, caution on crowding plants!), or too tall for the ceiling of your grow tent room.

Can I build my own grow tent?

Yes you can! It kinda sucks, but if you're really good at stitching, and can build a dependable frame that won't drop your light and start a fire, then have at it!

What are the grow tent brands?

Here is a list of the largest grow tent brands in the world:

  1. Gorilla Grow
  2. Lighthouse
  3. Apollo Horticulture
  5. Vivosun
  6. Virtual Sun

Who is the best grow tent manufacturer?

That's a loaded question, and we're up for debate, but from pure quality of materials used, Gorilla Grow tents are the best. Lighthouse and Apollo are also rated high for lack of a better word, medium quality, but more affordable price than similar sized Gorilla grows tents.

So you bought your grow tent and your lights, and your nutes, and everything else, now let's put it all together!

What about a shopping list for all the grow tent accessories I will need?

Well, we recommend checking out the grow tents on Amazon, as well as the accessories found here.

Where can I buy a cheap grow tent kit?

Truthfully, you may not want a grow tent kit. But if you do, there are some kits available that are decent, including the Yield Lab Kit (will still need to buy a tent) or this 5 gallon hydro grow system kit.

Setting up your Grow Tent

Chances are your grow tent came with instructions, so read those! Most major brands do, and if you bought it used, or simply lost the instructions, we're here to help you get your tent setup, no problem.

Step 1 - Gather Needed Tools

You will need:

  • A friend (it's always nice to have someone's opinion and a helping hand)
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Tape measurer
  • Wire cutters
  • Scissors or a sharp knife

Step 2 - Read the Instructions

The first thing you'll need to do is assemble the tent itself. Use the instructions included or look online on the manufacturers video. Here is a collection of grow tent setup pictures that may help if you can't find the tent instructions.

Step 3 - Clean, Unbox, and Organize Everything

You should confirm that you have:

  • HPS, LEC, CMH, or LED Grow Light with Ballast or other accessories
  • Inline fan
  • Carbon filter w/ pre-filter
  • Ratchet light hangers (2 per system)
  • Duct clamps (x2)
  • Ducting
  • Timer

Step 4 - Determine Ventilation Setup

There are several common configurations but we recommend hanging the fan and filter inside the tent. For small to mid-sized carbon filters this is the best solution. It maximizes growing footprint and draws the air in through the filter allowing the air to move slower and increasing the overall effectiveness of odor removal as well as removing the hottest air from the top of the tent.

Where carbon filters are too large to hang from the ceiling of the tent, they should be placed on the floor inside the tent when possible. The only disadvantages here are that they may draw more warm air down to plants when they are active and they take up grow space.

Placing the filter and fan outside the tent is the least desired solution. It saves space but has two main drawbacks. It pushes air through the filter at higher speed reducing the effectiveness of the filter for odor control. The second drawback being that fan noise is increased since it is located outside the tent. This solution is only used with very large carbon filters and when grow space is at an absolute premium.

Step 5 - Prepare The Carbon Filter

Installing the air filtration/odor control system. First you will need to slide the pre-filter onto the carbon filter and secure it with the included bands. Depending on your setup choice from the previous step, follow the following steps for setup A, B or C below.

Step 5-A - Hanging Inside The Tent

  • Using one of the adjustable nylon straps included in the grow tent kit, hang the inline fan with the tapered end pointed towards the tent exhaust hole you want to use. Try to center the fan on the strap so it is balanced.
  • Using the remaining adjustable nylon strap from the grow tent kit, hang the carbon filter assembly with the flange pointed towards the inline fan. Try to center the fan on the strap so it is balanced.
  • Measure the distance from the beginning of the filter flange to the beginning of the inline fan flange. Cut that length of ducting using the box cutter and wire cutters.
  • Using the length of ducting you cut, secure one end to the fan flange using a ducting clamp. Secure the other end of the ducting to the carbon filter flange; no clamp is needed (this will be a tight fit).
  • Run the remaining length of ducting out of the exhaust hole of your choice, and secure the other end to the tapered end of the inline fan, using a duct clamp.
  • Run the fan power cord out of the nearest tent cord hole in the rear of the tent.

Step 5-B - Placing Inside The Grow Tent

  • Set carbon filter assembly on the tent floor in desired location.
  • Place the inline fan on top of the filter with the tapered end pointed up.
  • Ensure that the fan flange is inside of the filter flange and secure with 1-2 wraps of foil ducting tape (not included)
  • Attach ducting to fan flange and secure with a ducting clap.
  • Run the ducting out of the desired grow tent ventilation opening.
  • Run the fan cord out of the nearest cord hole in the rear of the tent.

Step 5-C - Placing Outside The Grow Tent

  • Set carbon filter assembly on the floor in the desired location outside of the grow tent.
  • Place the inline fan on top of the filter with the tapered end pointed down.
  • Secure the fan to the filter with 1-2 wraps of foil duct tape (not included).
  • Attach the ducting to the fan with a duct clamp.
  • Run the ducting into the tent ventilation hole of your choice.

Step 6 - Hang The Lighting System

  • Using two ratchet hangers per light, hook the crossbar at the top of the tent with the hooks that are attached to the ratchet assemblies of the hangers.
  • Set the hooks attached to the rope end of the ratchets to equal lengths.
  • Place a hook in each of the two hanger brackets on the lighting system.
  • Run the light system power cord out of the nearest tent cord hole in the rear of the tent.
  • You can now adjust the height of the light by simultaneously pulling the two ratchet hanger ropes. You can lower the lights by pressing the tab in the ratchet assembly of the hangers. Be sure to hold onto the ropes when lowering so you can control your descent.

Step 7 - Install The Grow Light/Fan Timer

  • Plug the light system cord into one side of the timer.
  • If you will be timing the fan as well, plug the fan power cord into the other side of the timer. Otherwise just plug it into a constant power source.
  • Plug the timer into a 120V wall socket, extension cord or power strip.
  • Follow the instructions included with the timer to set run times.

You’re ready to add your plants and get growing. Before turning everything on be sure to double-check your electrical connections and hanging straps and hooks.

Additional Grow Tent Information

Watering in a Grow Tent

This can be a huge pain in the ass. Especially if you're doing soil in your grow tent. If you're doing hydroponics like bubbleponics or similar, you won't have to worry so much about watering, as you will likely have it all piped via automated timers. But soil grows can be awfully messy with watering every couple of days in flower. I've seen grow tents that have gotten moldy from not being dried out properly after watering. Also I've seen plants dying of dehydration from lack of watering from the lack of humidity and watering on a preset schedule. Water your plants when your soil is dry up to the second crease of your finger. Basically you don't want to flood out your soil and keep it too wet, which can cause the plant to be "spoiled" to some degree.

Nutrients and Grow Tents

The nutrients you choose to use in your grow tent operation depend on a number of factors. Our best advice is the following, use a brand name nutrient, that you can trust and is widely reviewed on the internet (or if you know someone who successfully used a certain nutrient on their crop)

Getting Rid of Pests and Bugs in Your Grow Tent

States that have legalized, like Colorado, have started to publicize the pesticides that are allowed to be legally used in growing cannabis. You can find the legal pesticides for cannabis growing in CO here. One of the best ways to avoid pests in your grow tent is to keep it clean inside, and the surrounding area outside your tent too.

Lighting Tips for Grow Tents

  • Adjusting the height of your lighting as the plants grow is essential. Different lighting types (LED, HID, etc.), lighting wattage, and reflector types all have recommendations regarding distance from plant canopies. Be sure to check the recommendations for your light(s).
  • LEC and LED grow lights can
  • Be careful when installing bulbs and plugging in ballasts and light sockets. Damage to your lighting can occur if mistakes are made. 
  • Water and electronics don’t mix well. Avoid splashing water on your lighting equipment, including ballasts.
  • New HID bulbs should be run for at least 12 hours on their first start-up to ensure maximum bulb life.
  • When changing bulbs in HID lights, do not touch the glass with bare hands, oils from your hands can damage the bulb. Wear gloves to avoid this.

Cleaning Your Grow Tent

Clean your grow tent with diluted bleach or similar strong cleaner, you don't want mold, mildew, fungus, or bugs after each crop or accumulating during the grow. You can read an indepth article on cleaning your grow tent here.


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