As more people are leaning into a sustainable lifestyle that includes growing their own food year-round, household grow tents are becoming extremely popular. While grow tents are relatively easy to set up and use, it’s important to choose the proper size tent for your space and needs.
To choose the right size grow tent for your operation, consider where the tent will be placed and the space requirements of the plants that will be grown in them. While they require an electrical hookup indoors, grow tents can offer a sustainable year-long growing climate in various sizes for all kinds of household locations and planting plans.
In this article, you will learn about grow tents and how to choose the correct size for your gardening needs. Keep reading to learn more about how to choose the right size for your grow tent and how to get it set up correctly when you do.
Choosing the Right Size Grow Tent
When you choose to purchase a grow tent, the first and most important thing you need to consider is the size you will need. Grow tents come in a wide variety of sizes, materials, and price ranges. Figuring out what size grow tent you need will be the first step you take towards narrowing your choices down.
Planting and the Size of Your Grow Tent
The plants you are growing will determine the size of your tent. If you choose a small-scale plant operation or only intend to use the growing tent as a location to start seeds during the winter for outdoor planting in the spring, you will likely find a smaller tent that will fit your needs.
If the purpose of your tent is to sustain growing plants for harvesting throughout the year, you will likely want to look at a larger scale tent. These larger tents are geared more towards urban farming than seed-starting.
Most plants tend to grow up and out as they mature, so the maximum size of the plant should be considered when planning how many plants will fit in your tent.
Here are some other things you should consider about your plans for plants and the size of your grow tent:
- Spacing: Leave room in the tent for you to maneuver around your plants so that you can tend them without having to strain yourself to reach everything. You need to consider the size of your plants. You also need to consider pathways into the grow tent (if it’s a large enough size) and how far your plants are away from light sources.
- Number of plants: You need to plan to have a grow tent that can not only hold the size of the plants you want to grow but also the number of plants. For large harvests, you may need to utilize multiple grow tents to give all your plants the space they need.
- Plant size: There are many cultivars of plants available for gardeners, and when you’re planting in a grow tent, it’s a good idea to choose smaller cultivars or dwarf varieties wherever you can. This will allow you to maximize the space inside your grow tent no matter which size you end up going with.
Location and the Size of Your Grow Tent
The location you’re planning to use your grow tent in is an important consideration when choosing a grow tent size. You’ll need to look at how much space you have to work with to choose a small or a large tent, and you should also figure out whether your grow tent is staying indoors or whether you’ll be using it as a greenhouse outside.
Where Can You Put a Grow Tent?
Before you choose a grow tent, you should pick out the location where it’s going to go. This is where size becomes important. If you don’t correctly measure the location where you’re going to be growing, you could get a tent that doesn’t fit. Here are some of your choices for grow tent locations that may affect your size choice:
- Build a grow tent in the basement. The basement is a popular location for a growing tent. If you have enough space in an unfinished part of a basement, you may wish to install your grow tent there. However, you need to be aware of the ventilation your tent will require. Basements are large and out of the way, which makes them a good choice for larger grow tent operations.
To achieve proper ventilation in the basement, you will need to have a fresh air source. You can vent your growing tent into the same room, but you will still have the issue of providing enough fresh air for your plants to thrive. (Source: What for Me)
- Build a grow tent in the attic. The attic is another popular location for a growing tent. An attic will come with its own set of considerations for turning it into an ideal growing space. Even with the heat of the lights and enclosed tent, plants may not be a match for harsh winter temperatures. Attics are usually limited in space, too, so the size of your grow tent here may be small.
You also need to ensure that you can vent the tent properly. If you can meet all the needs of your grow tent and the plants being grown, it may be a good option. Keep in mind that some attics can also get extremely hot in the summer, which can interfere with growing operations (Source: Grow Well)
- Build a grow tent in the garage. A garage can also provide a nice space for a growing tent. When choosing to use a garage, you will face similar complications that you may face with an attic location. While they are both likely out of the way and great places for a grow tent, insulation may be problematic if you live in a cold climate.
You must be able to provide a controlled environment for your growing tent to work properly. To ensure this happens, you need to make sure the temperature is not too cold or too hot. Either temperature extreme can cause your plants to fail. (Source: Amsterdam Seed Supply)
- Build a grow tent in your home. Grow tents can also be put in the main living area of your home. This option is not as popular because of the space needed by and unappealing aesthetics of a grow house in a communal space, not to mention the sound from the ventilation system.
If you place a grow tent into the main living area of your home, you need to be aware of the amount of natural light your plants will have and balance it out with the light source for your grow tent.
Once you figure out where your grow tent is going to go, then you can start to determine what size of grow tent will fit in that location.
Power and the Size of Your Grow Tent
The power source you are using for your tent will also be something to consider when looking at the best size of tent. If you have a small tent, a common outlet will likely suffice. However, as the tent size increases, the amount of amperage required to power the tent will also increase. If you try to use an inadequately sized power source, it can be a safety hazard.
What Light Source Will You Use?
Grow lights are a huge part of setting up a grow tent. You likely know the importance of plants having access to light throughout their life. Most plants that are grown for food, such as fruits and vegetables, need access to strong full-spectrum light to flower and produce fruit. This means that without artificial light, plants in an indoor grow tent are likely to fail.
When choosing a light source for your grow tent, you need to make sure it provides ample light for the number of plants you are growing.
Choosing a growing light is not as simple as buying any old light and plugging it in. Here are some of the things you need to consider when it comes to lighting and the size of your tent (Source: Grow Ace):
- What plants are you growing? The type of plants you grow doesn’t just affect the size of your grow tent; it also affects how strong your lightning needs to be. Some plants are more tolerant of weaker lighting than others.
- What size is your grow tent? Larger grow tents will need a stronger source of light since the lighting structures will usually be further away from the plants. Smaller grow tents may need to use a weaker grow light along with reflective material to accommodate a weaker energy source.
- How much money are you willing to spend? Larger sizes of grow tents will need stronger grow lights, and stronger grow lights are more expensive.
There are lots of considerations to go through when you’re choosing your grow lights, no matter what size of grow tent you end up using.
Grow Tent Lighting and Grow Tent Size
Light sources will depend on the size of your tent. The light you choose will determine how well your plants grow inside the grow tent. Remember, plants need light to complete the process of photosynthesis.
It is recommended that you provide 32 – 50 Watts of light per square foot of growing space in your tent (Source: California Light Works). For large tents, there is a significant amount of light that needs to be provided. You can choose free standing lamps or lamps that are suspended above the growing area.
The good news is that when you begin a grow tent for vegetables or an indoor garden, you do not need to break the bank with specialized lighting. Unlike some plants, vegetables can thrive under any light. You may want to find a broad-spectrum light option, which will help encourage a more rapid form of photosynthesis to occur, but it is not necessary.
Lights Create Heat in a Grow Tent
You must also be aware of the heat the lights will emit. If the grow tent gets too hot, it can damage your plants as well as your equipment.
If your grow tent is in a warm location, you may want to focus on low heat LED lights for your grow tent.
If you are growing small fruits and vegetables, you will not need to provide light 24 hours a day. These plants only require the amount of light they would receive if they were outside growing. Therefore, if your tent is in a darkened area, you will want to make sure the plants get the same amount of light they would if there were outside. (Source: Gardners)
Are Grow Tent Lights Expensive?
Light sources for growing tents can become quite costly, depending on the brand and style you choose to use. You need to look at the cost of replacement bulbs before you jump into committing to a specific light option. Sometimes bulbs can be expensive, so you don’t want a surprise bill when it comes time to replace the lights.
Here are some grow tent light options that may interest you:
You can expect to spend between $30 – $300 for your light source. The larger the tent, the larger the light source needs to be. You will find a variety of grow lamps to choose from. When making your decision, you’ll need to decide what is best for your needs.
You also need to consider the reflective nature of your tent. If you have mylar coating the inside of the tent, your light source will be highly reflected around the tent, so you may need a lower power of light. The larger the tent, the more important reflectivity will be. This will help as you prepare to light the growing area. Higher reflectivity means fewer or less powerful lights will be required.
What Types of Grow Lights Are There?
Just like each part of the grow tent, there are many types of lights to choose from.
Here are the most common types of grow lights you will find:
- Incandescent bulbs
- LED lights
- Fluorescent Lights
- High-Intensity Lights
Do Grow Tents Require a Regular Outlet for Lighting?
There are many components to a grow tent, most of which are electrical. The good news is that if you are using a small scale grow tent, your typical home outlet voltage will likely sustain the lights and ventilation system.
However, when you begin looking at large scale grow tents, you may need to hire an electrician to upgrade your outlets to a higher voltage. Not only will this cause your grow tent not to work properly, but it will also ensure that you are keeping your home safe from the risk of fire. (Source: Advanced LED Lights).
One reason you should use a higher voltage outlet is the energy savings you could incur. If the outlet can provide a higher voltage to the tent, not as much power is being used to support the system. If you are trying to pull high amperage from a regular outlet, it will be working overtime.
Ventilation and the Size of Your Grow Tent
Ventilation is a priority when growing plants in a grow tent. The grow tent provides a safe and consistent location for your plants to flourish; however, ventilation is a key component of growing too. Plants are used to growing in the fresh air and use carbon dioxide exchange to grow and thrive.
If there is not enough ventilation to provide carbon dioxide to the plants, they will begin to die.
To help encourage ventilation, your grow tent should also have a fan the pulls the humid, stale air out of the tent, and replaces it with fresh air. This simple addition will provide your plants with the air they need to remain sustainable in the grow tent. (Source: Hydro-Builder)
What Type of Ventilation Should You Have?
The ventilation system is a critical component of any grow tent. It is important to factor in the size of your tent when choosing ventilation. If a proper ventilation system is not installed, your plants will fail to thrive and could end up costing you a lot of money in lost plants. The main components of a ventilation system are the fan and a filter.
It is recommended that air be replaced in the grow tent every five minutes, and more frequently if the light is on.
Thus, you need to make sure you are purchasing a quality ventilation system sized for your grow tent. Generally, you will use the dimensions of your grow tent divided by five to determine the proper size of your ventilation system.
When you prepare to install a ventilation system in your grow tent, you will likely find many complete systems with the fan, filter, and other necessary items included. The cost of your ventilation system can be quite high and will likely be more expensive than the tent itself.
Here are a few quality ventilation options:
You can expect to spend at least $200 for a small grow tent ventilation system and up to $1,000 for a large-scale system. The larger the tent, the larger the ventilation system you will need.
Safety and the Size of Your Grow Tent
Whenever you are using a product that has high voltage, constant light, and constant heat, there is a risk of fire. When choosing the size of your grow tent, you need to take this into careful consideration. If you are worried about flammability, a large tent may not be for you.
It is critical that you have a proper space and set-up for your grow tent to ensure you are protected from any mishaps. Using lights that aren’t meant for use with your size tent or using extension cords not meant for high voltage both pose risks.
When choosing the size of your tent, make sure you consider how comfortable you are with the high voltage needs of the tent as well as the amount of time you will have to check on the tent. If you are just starting out, a smaller tent is a much more feasible option.
Standard Sizes for Grow Tents
Once you have decided what you would like to grow in your tent and have an idea of the location, you are ready to determine the size of the tent required.
You should research the full-grown size of the plants you are hoping to house in the tent.
When researching the size of the plants, you want to consider both their height and the width of their spread at maturity. This will help you determine how many plants will safely fit inside the grow tent.
Typically, the rule of thumb is to plan for one square foot of growing space per plant.
You also need to decide if you want to walk into the tent or if you can easily care for and maintain the health of your plants by simply reaching in through the door. Small plants are conducive to reaching in for care, while larger plants will require you to enter the tent to maintain their health to reach every part of them. (Source: My Gardenings)
Grow Tent Recommendations
As you can imagine, it can be overwhelming when you begin to look at tents and the size options. Here is a breakdown of tent sizes you can expect to find when searching for a tent and some quality recommendations for each size.
Tents for Small Size Spaces and Plants: 2 x 2.5 and 3 x 3
Grow tents measuring 2 x 2.5 will be ideal for an individual interested in raising small plants, such as herbs, lettuce, or other vegetables that may not grow exceptionally large.
This size will also be best for plants that don’t require a lot of maintenance because you won’t be able to get into the growing tent. You will have to rely on your ability to reach into the tent to tend to the plants. When purchasing a 2 x 2.5 grow tent; you can expect to spend between $60 -$200.
Here are some grow tent recommendations in this size:
Grow tents measuring 3 x 3 will allow your plants a bit more room to grow, so you can choose plants that tend to get a bit larger. However, you want to make sure they have enough room to grow without running into the light or fan system. When purchasing a 3 x 3 grow tent, you can expect to spend between $90 – $150.
Here are some grow tent recommendations for this size:
Tents for Medium Size Spaces and Plants: 5 x 5
A 5 x 5 grow tent will offer more flexibility when it comes to indoor growing. These tents provide a nice area to grow tomato plants or other plants that need more space to grow vertically. You can purchase a grow tent with these dimensions for between $180 – $230.
Here are some grow tent recommendations for this size:
Tents for Large Size Spaces and Plants: 10 x 10
Large-scale grow tents measure 10 x 10 and will likely house all the plants you need for a personal indoor garden. This size grow tent also allows you to enter the growing area to tend to the plants inside. When purchasing a tent with these dimensions, you will likely spend between $200 – $400.
Here are some grow tent recommendations for this size:
As you can see, there are several grow tent sizes to choose from. Some things to remember:
- If you are in the market for something larger, you may have to look at a custom-made model or purchase multiple grow tents.
- When you purchase a grow tent, it does not include the light source or ventilation. You are simply purchasing a shell.
Tips for Using Your Grow Tent (No Matter What Size)
There are so many options when it comes to purchasing a growing tent. The tent’s size is a huge factor in what you will be able to do with the tent. In the situation of a growing tent, it is advised to start small. Give yourself time to grow into the craft of indoor gardening before you jump into a large-scale growing operation (or into buying any massive grow tents).
Here are some other tips for taking care of the plants in your grow tent:
- Take time to care for your plants. When plants are in a growing tent, it may be easy to forget about caring for them as often as you might outside. Ensure you are paying enough attention to their health and providing proper water and nutrients to the soil. This will ensure you have a flourishing crop.
- Rotate your plants if you have them on shelves. If you opt to place plants on shelves in the growing tent, you may need to rotate them to ensure they are getting an equal amount of light each day. This is particularly important if you have plants that are growing more widely on the top. They could potentially shadow the plants below.
- Have fun and enjoy farming indoors all year long. No matter what climate you live in, growing tents will provide you with the option of having fresh vegetables year-round. Take time to enjoy the process of growing and harvesting your one food year-round.
- Put the plants on an automatic timer for lighting. Putting your plants on a lighting timer can help keep the lighting in the grow tent consistent for flowering and can also prevent you from forgetting to turn the lights on.
Grow Tent Size Depends on Your Growing Operation
Finding the proper size grow tent can be a bit challenging and even overwhelming at times. However, if you take the time to measure your space, determine your needs, and figure out the money you are willing to spend, you can easily find the right tent for you!