Best Grow Tents: A Buyer’s Guide for 2017

Last Updated: November 21, 2016

Hydroponic growing is attractive due to the level of control you can achieve over your growing environment. However, without a quality grow tent, there’s no way you can dial in your growing conditions.

A grow tent is just one of the pieces of a good hydroponic system. Grow lights, ventilation, a hydroponic system, and nutrients are also necessary. But a quality grow tent comes before them all — without it, nothing else matters.​

But what makes a grow tent good or bad? The answer to that question hinges on your budget, your growing needs, and the features that you’re looking for in a grow tent.​

In this article, we’ll dig into grow tents so deeply that you’ll walk away with enough information to start selling grow tents door to door. I’ve broken this article up into four sections:​

  1. What grow tents are and the main features to look for
  2. The most popular grow tent brands on the market
  3. The best grow tents, grouped by budget
  4. The best grow tents, grouped by size​

If you're just interested in the best grow tents, then take a look at the chart below. Otherwise, let's dig into grow tents!

What is a Grow Tent?

At their most basic, grow tents are fabric that is wrapped around a frame made of metal poles. The fabric is coated with a reflective material on the inside, so as much light as possible is used by your plants.

Grow tents differ from grow boxes in that they’re versatile and easy to transport, while grow boxes are often heavy, but less fragile. These days, almost everyone but serious commercial hydroponic growers use grow tents instead of custom grow boxes or grow rooms.​

Why Use a Grow Tent?​

Simply put, controlling your indoor growing environment is crucial to getting the yields that you want. The first line of defense in environmental control is containing your garden in a confined space - which is what a grow tent is for.​

After you have a grow tent, you can move on to other factors that influence your grow, like indoor grow lights, growing media, system, nutrients, and ventilation.​

Features to Look For in a Grow Tent​

The world of grow tents can be confusing if you’re just relying on an online shop or your local hydroponics store. These days there are hundreds of grow tent manufacturers, all with different features, sizes, and price points.

It’s hard to narrow down not only the best brands, but what all of the different features actually mean. Too often grow tent manufacturers make up fancy names for their features instead of just calling them by their standard names.

To make it easier, here are the features that you should be on the lookout for when choosing the best grow tent for your garden.​

Heat and Rip Resistance​

Hopefully you’ll never need your tent to hold up to extreme heat, but it is something to look for. After all, you’re dealing with hot lights that are hanging in an enclosed space, as well as other electrical parts that are close to water. Accidents can happen, and you want your grow tent to be able to hold up to them.​

Fabric Density and Strength​

An integral part of the rip resistance of your tent is how dense the fabric is. Fabric density is typically measured in “denier”, which means:​

a unit of weight by which the fineness of silk, rayon, or nylon yarn is measured, equal to the weight in grams of 9,000 meters of the yarn and often used to describe the thickness of hosiery.

The most dense grow tents are upwards of 1680D, while the average grow tent comes in anywhere from 120D - 600D. As a general rule, buy the strongest fabric that you can afford. It keeps noise and smell in your tent, and it keeps any airborne spores, pests, or diseases out of the tent. It’s also harder for light to leak through a denser fabric.

Quality Reflective Material

Diamond-patterned mylar.

Diamond-patterned mylar.

One of the biggest advantages to using a grow tent is the reflective properties of the interior walls. It ensures that you're getting the most out of your indoor grow lights. However, not all reflective material is created equally. You should look for tents that offer reflective mylar with as close to 100% reflectivity as possible. Some manufacturers also offer mylar with different patterns. Diamond patterned mylar seems to have the best reflective quality and some of the top grow tents offer it standard.

No Gapping in the Fabric​

One of the main reasons to buy a grow tent is to use your indoor grow lights effectively. The best tents are completely light-tight, meaning that when you have your system up and running, absolutely no light should escape. The features to look for here are overlapping velcro flaps to seal off corners and edges, along with zip-draws for any ventilation or cord ports.​

Zipper Durability

The zippers on your tent are usually the first point of failure. Because they’re used every single day, wear and tear can build up fast on poorly constructed zippers. They should be easy to zip up, with a large area for your hands for ease of use. The harder they are to zip, the more likely you’ll make a mistake and damage the zipper, letting light leak out of the tent.​

Corner Construction

Gorilla Grow Tent Poles

A close-up of a steel, interlocking frame. Sturdy!

Many grow tents have a plastic, three-prong corner that accepts the framing poles. While these are OK, top of the line tents will have metal corner pieces. The absolute best tents will use corners that have an interlocking snap piece to secure the poles in place, ensuring they don’t wiggle out while moving the tent. This prevents a catastrophic frame failure.​

Frame and Pole Strength

Grow tents are almost always constructed by assembling interlocking poles. Some manufacturers offer tents with height-adjustable poles, meaning an extra set of 1’ or 2’ poles that can be attached the the vertical supports. These are a great choice if you’re growing plants that require a lot of vertical height.

The poles can be made of plastic, steel, or weaker metals. When in doubt, go metal over plastic, and steel over any other type of metal. Look for poles that have snapping mechanism to lock them in once you assemble them. The rotation of the poles over time can cause degradation and in the worst cases, a structural failure.​

Number of Ventilation, Exhaust, and Cord Ports

Gorilla Grow Tent Ports

Intelligently designed ports.

There are three types of ports on a grow tent: ventilation, exhaust, and cord ports.Ventilation ports are typically flaps secured by velcro that can be lifted to help vent out hot air. Make sure there is at least one of these on your tent.

Exhaust ports are for more heavy-duty ventilation, including ventilating your grow light. There is typically at least one intake and one outtake port, although larger tents will have more than one of these.

Finally, cord ports. It sounds like a small detail, but having well-placed cord ports is the difference between running extension cords and simply plugging in your growing gear.​

Extra Features To Look For

Flood Tray

Gorilla Grow Tent Flood Pool

A look at the design of the flood pool.

Flood trays are nice to have if you want an extra failsafe in case you spill water, nutrient solution, or your system fails in some way. It’s placed on the bottom of your grow tent, fastened to the poles, and can hold quite a bit of liquid.

Viewing Windows

Viewing ports are handy for crop observation.

Viewing ports are handy for crop observation.

These are fantastic if you want to check on the progress of your garden without disturbing your growing environment. They’re usually secured tightly with velcro to prevent light leakage when not in use. If you’re using additives like CO2 in your garden, viewing windows are a crucial way to prevent losing all of that precious CO2 buildup.

Tool Pockets

Gorilla Grow Tent Tool Pouch

An intelligently-placed tool pouch for easy access.

This seems like a small feature, but I can’t tell you how handy these are. When you keep misplacing your PPM, pH, temperature, and humidity meters around your garden like I do, you’ll be thankful to have a tool pouch inside your tent. You can also use them to hold your journal, clippers, nutrients, and other garden accessories.

Net Trellis

An example of a net trellis.

An example of a net trellis.

Some tent manufacturers include a net trellis in their tents as a bonus feature. These are handy if you are growing plants that need a lot of support, or you're growing in a method that requires a consistent-height canopy. It's not a make or break feature, but it's definitely nice to have.

Top Grow Tent Brands​

​Gorilla Grow Tents

These guys started their company in 2011 after becoming frustrated with the quality of the grow tents on the market back then. They wanted to create a tent that was thick, strong, and durable...but most importantly, one that was height-adjustable.

Because they are growers first, they set out to design their “dream” tent. I may be biased because I own one of their tents, but after having tried a few manufacturers, they have a big leg up in many ways.

You can find professional commercial growers using Gorilla products, and they are included in many popular “complete growing systems” that you can buy online.

Read More: Gorilla Grow Tent review

Secret Jardin

Secret Jardin has been around for a while and is recognized around the world. They offered the top tents on the market and were a favorite of commercial growers of all kinds. They're quite light-proof and offer 95% reflecting mylar, but have fallen out of favor amongst growers in recent years due to increased competition in the grow tent market.

Apollo Horticulture

Apollo Horticultures makes a wide range of hydroponic products, but recently they've found their footing in grow tents, offering some of the best tents for the money. Sure, they're not top of the line tents that have every feature you could possibly want. But they're good choices where it matters most: fabric, zippers, and frame. They recently upgraded to metal interlocking corners from plastic corners, which is a big durability upgrade.

Best Grow Tents by Size

Before we get into each specific size, here's an overall view of the best grow tents by size. For reference:

Best Overall: The absolute best tent that money can buy in the size range.

Best Value: The grow tent that gives you the "most tent" for a low price.

Scroll below this table if you want a detailed review of each grow tent!


Best 2x2 Grow Tents

Best Overall: Gorilla LITE 2' x 2.5' x 5'7"

Tent Details

 

Dimensions

2' x 2.5' x 5'7"

Weight

19lb

Frame

Steel interlocking poles and corners

Reflective Material

Diamond Mylar

Fabric Density

210D w/ PVE binding technique

Extra Features

Height adjustable, view ports, tool pocket

The Gorilla Grow Tent LITE 2 x 2.5 x 5'7

This is the cheapest grow tent that Gorilla offers, and it comes packed with a ton of features that you won't often find in grow tents at this price range. Although the fabric density is quite low, they use a PVE binding technique that increases durability. It's taller than most tents at this price range and can even be extended an extra foot with a height kit (not included with the tent).

As far as bells and whistles, it comes with everything that makes Gorilla Grow Tents great - a tool pocket, flood mat, and high-quality construction.

Conclusion:All the features packed into a tent at this price point make it a no-brainer purchase if you're looking for a cheap grow tent that doesn't sacrifice on quality. Upgrade to the standard Gorilla 2x2 if you want the highest quality tent possible.

Best Value​: Quictent 2' x 2' x 4'7"

Tent Details

 

Dimensions

2' x 2' x 4'7"

Weight

11lb

Frame

Interlocking steel poles

Fabric

Oxford cloth

Fabric Density

600D

Extra Features

Flood tray, eco-friendly

The Quictent 2' x 4' x 4'7

​If you are looking for the best tent you can get for the least amount of money, Quictent is the go-to pick. It's not as solidly constructed as higher-end tents, but you get a LOT of value for your money, especially with the 600D fabric density.

It also has interlocking steel poles, which is unusual at this price point and makes the entire frame much more stable. The zippers can snag a bit, so be extra careful when zipping and unzipping this tent.

Conclusion: This is the best 2x2 tent you're going to find at this price point. If you value saving money over getting a ton of features, then go with Quictent.

Another Good Option: 247garden 2' x 2' x 4'


Best 2x4 Grow Tents

Best Overall: Gorilla 2' x 4' x 6'11"

Product Details

 

Dimensions

2' x 4' x 6'7"

Weight

26lb

Frame

Interlocking steel poles

Reflective Material

Diamond Mylar

Fabric Density

1680D

Extra Features

Tool pocket, flood tray, view ports, 1' height kit.

Gorilla Grow Tent makes the top of the line 2x4 grow tent right now.

The best tent in the 2x4 size range is still from Gorilla, but this time it's their standard line, not their LITE line. The key difference here is the increased height at 6'7" and the massively increased fabric density, from 210D to 1680D. This makes the fabric on Gorilla tents easily the most dense on the market.

It's height adjustable and comes with a 1' extension kit. You can purchase another and get up to 2' extra height for a total of 8'7", making it easily the tallest tent out there.

Conclusion: ​As usual, Gorilla puts out the highest-quality grow tents with the most features and flexibility. You do pay for this privilege, though — this is not the cheapest 2x4 tent on the market.

If you want to sacrifice some fabric density and height, but keep all of the extra features, you can go with the LITE LINE option.

Best Value​: Apollo Horticulture 2' x 4' x' 5

Product Details

 

Dimensions

2' x 4' x 5'

Weight

21lb

Frame

Interlocking steel poles

Fabric

Double-stitched

Fabric Density

400D

Extra Features

Flood tray

Apollo Horticulture makes a fantastic value 2' x 4' x 5' grow tent.

For the money, this is one of the best grow tents in the 2x4 category. Sure, you don't get a ton of extra features, but you get a somewhat dense fabric, a flood tray, and newly-upgraded steel interlocking poles and corners (Apollo used to use plastic corners).

Conclusion: ​This is one of the cheapest 2x4 tents on the market, and you still get pretty good value out of it. Great for a beginner setup.

Another Good Option: iPower 32" x 4' x 5' 


Best 3x3 Grow Tents

Best Overall​: Gorilla 3' x 3' x 6'11"

Product Details

 

Dimensions

3' x 3' x 6'11"

Weight

40lb

Frame

Interlocking steel poles

Reflective Material

Diamond Mylar

Fabric Density

1680D

Extra Features

Tool pocket, flood tray, view ports, height adjustable.

Gorilla has the best 3x3 grow tent on the market right now.

Once again, Gorilla has the most insane set of features and quality that I've seen in a grow tent. At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, it's just inarguable that they make the best 3x3 grow tent on the market. Of course, you're going to pay for the quality — it's nowhere near the cheapest.

It's height-adjustable and comes with a free 1' kit, the fabric is 1680D, and it comes with view ports, multiple ducts, a tool pocket, and a flood tray. On top of that, the zippers are well made, which is important. Zippers are usually the first part to fail on a grow tent.​

Conclusion: ​If you're serious about growing and want extreme flexibility, durability, and build quality, then the 3x3 Gorilla tent is the way to go.​  

Best Value: Apollo Horticulture 3' x 3' x 6'

Product Details

 

Dimensions

3' x 3' x 6'

Weight

23lb

Frame

Interlocking metal poles

Fabric

Double-stitched

Fabric Density

400D

Extra Features

Flood tray, filter straps

Apollo Horticulture has the best 3x3 grow tent on the market right now.

The 3x3 tent from Apollo Horticulture is my best value pick. It's far cheaper than the Gorilla tent, and as you might expect you get a lot less for your money. But it's well-made in the three areas that count most: zippers, fabric density, and frame strength. It also does come with a flood tray, so there's at least one extra perk thrown in the mix.

Conclusion: ​If you're looking for a durable no-frills 3x3 grow tent, go with Apollo. You'll save money by not spending it on features that you may not need.


Best 4x4 Grow Tents

Best Overall: Gorilla 4' x 4' x 6'11"

Product Details

 

Dimensions

4' x 4' x 6'11"

Weight

53lb

Frame

Interlocking steel poles and corners

Reflective Material

Diamond Mylar

Fabric Density

1680D

Extra Features

Tool pocket, flood tray, view ports, height adjustable.

The Gorilla 4x4 grow tent is the highest quality in this size range.

Designed for professionals, with strong quality control and strong engineering. Velcro door holders, corner flaps, zip flaps, vents and ports for exhaust and electrical these are great tents. They offer the Grow Cube ‘Classic Range’, the Grow Cube Pro range and Loft Tent range.

Conclusion: ​This is the best 4x4 money can buy. It's better than other tents by a large margin, but also quite a bit more expensive. A great choice if you want the absolute best.

Best Value: Apollo 4' x 4' x 6'8"

Product Details

 

Dimensions

4' x 4' x 6'8"

Weight

32lb

Frame

Interlocking steel poles

Fabric

Double-stitched

Fabric Density

400D

Extra Features

Flood tray

The Apollo Horticulture 4x4 tent is the best tent for the money.

The 4x4 tent from Apollo is the pick for best value. They strip away all of the extra bells and whistles, but you get it for a price that more growers can afford. 

That said, it still comes with a flood tray and double-stitched fabric, though it's considerably less dense than Gorilla tents.​

Conclusion: ​If you want to get the most out of your grow tent for the lowest price possible, go with the Apollo 4x4.


Best 4x8 Grow Tents

Best Overall: Gorilla 4' x 8' x 6'11"

Product Details

 

Dimensions

4' x 8' x 6'11"

Weight

79lb

Frame

Interlocking steel poles

Reflective Material

Diamond Mylar

Fabric Density

1680

Extra Features

Tool pocket, flood tray, view ports, height adjustable.

The Gorilla 4x8 grow tent is the best quality on the market.

Now we're getting into grow tents used for full-scale growing operations. As usual, this tent comes with all of the features Gorilla bakes into every tent. The 4x8 has 3 doors, 8 ducting ports, and 5 electrical ports for ultimate flexibility in your setup.

Conclusion: ​Growers buying 4x8 tents are often professionals, so it makes sense to invest money in the best gear you can get. And Gorilla makes the best 4x8 tent.

Best Value: iPower 4' x 8' x 6'8"

Product Details

 

Dimensions

4' x 8' x 6'8"

Weight

39lb

Frame

Interlocking metal poles

Reflective Material

95% Mylar

Fabric Density

400D

Extra Features

Flood tray

The iPower 4x8 grow tent is the best value on the market.

It's hard to find a 4x8 tent that gives you a lot of features for a low price, but the iPower tent does a pretty good job. The only downsides here are the zipper quality and the propensity for small light leaks, which is hard to avoid for a low-priced 4x8 tent.

Conclusion: ​If money is a big concern but you still need a 4x8 tent, the iPower is the best you're going to find.


Best 5x5 Grow Tents

Best Overall: Gorilla 5' x 5' x 6'11"

Product Details

 

Dimensions

5' x 5' x 6'11"

Weight

62lb

Frame

Interlocking steel poles

Reflective Material

Diamond Mylar

Fabric Density

1680D

Extra Features

Tool pocket, flood tray, view ports, height adjustable.

The Gorilla 5x5 grow tent is the highest quality in this size range.

Although 5x5 tents are an odd size, Gorilla just released their take on the sizing. It's got everything you would associate with Gorilla tents - dense fabric, free height extension kit, tool pocket, viewing ports...the list goes on.

Conclusion: ​Yet again, Gorilla produces the best 5x5 tent on the market. But like always, you will be paying more for a tent of this quality.

Best Value: Apollo 5' x 5' x 6'8"

Product Details

 

Dimensions

5' x 5' x 6'8"

Weight

38lb

Frame

Interlocking metal poles

Fabric

Double-stitched

Fabric Density

400D

Extra Features

Flood tray

The Apollo 5x5 grow tent is the best value for the money.

Apollo wins for the best value 5x5 tent. This is a no-frills tent that has what matters most - good quality zippers, dense enough fabric, and a strong frame. It's shorter and has none of the extras of Gorilla tents, but it's great for the money.

Conclusion: ​For the price, you won't find a better-made 5x5 tent.

Grow Tent FAQ​

Of all of the features grow tents offer, which are the most important?

If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of features grow tents can have, then just look for tents with the highest quality

  • Zippers
  • Frame
  • Reflective material

Zippers are the first point of failure, then the frame itself, and then the reflective material and the fabric. Look for sturdy, steel poles with metal corner attachments. Ideally, you want these to lock together instead of simply slide together.

Tents with poor reflective material tend to crack and tear over time, especially when you bend the fabric. Look for reflective mylar that is well-bonded to the canvas fabric.

How tall of a tent should I buy?

The answer to this question depends on a few things: your lights, your plants, and your own height.

If you are growing with powerful, hot lights like HPS or MH, you’ll need to place them further from the plant canopy and will require more height. On the other hand, if you’re growing with LEDs or CFLs, you can place them closer and get away with a shorter tent.

Some plants also require more height. If height is an issue for you, you can either grow a dwarf variety of your plants, or simply spring for a taller tent to make sure they have enough room to grow.

Lastly, you will likely be inside your grow tent at one point or another. It’s nice to have a tent that you can comfortably fit in. Some of the shorter tents can be difficult to maneuver in.

How thick should my grow tent fabric be?

As mentioned above, the thicker the fabric, the better. Shoot for fabric that is 600D or greater. The lower the number, the more likely it will leak light, smells, rip, or have worse quality zippers.

What grow lights should I use in my grow tent?

As a general rule of thumb, you want to find a light that emits enough light to cover the footprint of your grow tent. If it emits a lot of heat as well, you’ll need to use some grow room ventilation techniques to bring the temperature down.

Read more: Indoor Grow Lights Guide

What kind of ventilation fan should I get?

If you have a small grow tent, you can actually get away with some very cheap fans (even a computer fan placed in your exhaust vent will do). However, for larger tents or more serious growing operations, you should go with a mixed flow fan due to its power and the fact that it puts out almost no noise.

Read more: Grow Room Ventilation 101

How powerful should my fan be?

As a general rule of thumb, your fans should completely change out the air in your grow tent every 2-4 minutes. Calculating this is simple:

Grow tent volume in cubic feet / 3 = Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM)

So if you are using a 2' x 2.5' x 5'7" tent, you have 121 cubic feet. Divided by 3 is ~40, so you should pick up a fan that is rated at 40 CFM or higher. There are two caveats:

  • If you have an air filter in your ventilation system​ double the required CFM (80 CFM in our example).
  • If you have a hot grow room, double the number again (160 CFM in our example). Some growers consider this overkill, but it's up to you.

Do I need an intake fan?

If you have an exhaust fan setup correctly, an intake fan is unnecessary. It would simply waste money and power. As your exhaust fan pulls air out of your grow tent, the intake vents or ventilation panels built into the tent will bring in fresh air.

How do I deal with odor?

If you are dealing with a smelly plant, there are generally two ways to combat this. One is with a filtration system like a carbon filter. The other is with deodorizing gel like Ona Gel

Final Thoughts: Deciding on a Grow Tent​

I hope this grow tent buyer’s guide has given you every bit of info you need to choose the right grow tent for your unique situation. You should have a good understanding of what makes a grow tent good or bad, know a bit about the popular brands, and understand what the best recommendations are based on the specific size grow tent that you need.​

The goal with this piece was to demystify the world of grow tents. There are so many different ways that they can be constructed and advertised, as well as a myriad of features.​

Here’s a good way to decide which grow tent is best for you:​

  1. Decide how large of a growing operation you are going for
  2. Decide which features matter the most to you
  3. Decide what you’re growing, the lights you’ll use, and how high your plants will grow
  4. Select the best tent you can afford that fits all of the above criteria​

If you want my personal opinion on the best grow tent to buy as a rule of thumb, I would go with Gorilla Grow Tents. I’ve tested most of the tents on this list and always come back to my trusty Gorilla tent.

No matter what you decide to grow or how you decide to grow it, a grow tent will make your life a whole lot easier — and you’ll have better yields as well! It takes a little bit of time to get used to growing indoors, but after you’re past the learning curve the rewards are too good to ignore.​