Grow Tent vs. Grow Room: Pros and Cons


So you have decided to give indoor growing a shot but are not sure how much space to dedicate to your new hobby or business. Browsing through the Internet, you might have come across pictures of grow tents and grow rooms filled with all sorts of luscious plants. So how do you choose between a grow tent and a grow room?

A grow tent is a portable structure consisting of a frame covered in fabric or plastic, often equipped with vents, fans, and lights. It’s typically designed to create an optimal indoor growing environment. A grow room is an entire room set up specifically for indoor plant cultivation.

In the end, whether you choose a grow tent or a grow room will depend on three factors:

  • how much you are willing to spend
  • how much room you have
  • what your end goals are in terms of yields and crop diversity

Both grow tents and grow rooms have specific advantages and disadvantages that you will want to take into consideration when deciding what option to go with. In this article, we will discuss each option, giving you practical tips which will hopefully help you select the indoor growing system that best suits your needs.

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Photo of a grow tent with pepper plants inside
This is my grow tent, I’m growing Shishito, Jalapeno, and Carolina Reaper peppers. Photo by Spicy Trio.

Are Grow Tents and Grow Rooms the Same?

Grow tents and grow rooms are not the same. Despite serving the main purpose, i.e., allowing you to grow plants indoors, grow tents and grow rooms are two distinct indoor growing systems.

Let’s explore the differences a little further.

What is a Grow Tent?

Grow tents are portable, collapsible structures that you can set up anywhere in your home. The tents come in multiple sizes, shapes, and materials and can be more or less equipped, depending on how expensive they are.

A grow tent is ideal for beginners as well as for people who cannot or do not want to dedicate an entire room to indoor plant cultivation. It takes up less space but also generates fewer yields, whereas a grow room requires more space but can generate more yields.

A basic grow tent consists of a frame, usually made of metal, and a shell made of either a natural or synthetic material (e.g., cotton, polyester, etc.).

The inner layer of the shell is made of a highly reflective material (usually Mylar) that helps distribute the light emitted by grow lights inside the grow tent in an even manner.

Some grow tents have plenty of additional features, such as windows, removable floors, pre-installed grow lights and built-in ventilation systems. Some are made of slightly thicker, more resistant materials, which allow for better temperature control. There are also adjustable grow tents that can be extended to accommodate taller plants.

Cheaper grow tents tend to come with plastic frames, whereas higher-quality, more expensive ones usually come with solid metal frames.

Jalape_o_Pepper_Lines (4)
Jalape_o_Pepper_Lines (4)

At this point, you are probably wondering why you should spend more on a grow tent with a metal frame when a grow tent with a plastic frame would also get the job done. As it turns out, there is a reason why many people favor metal frames over plastic ones, and that reason is durability.

If you are thinking of trying indoor plant cultivation without making any long-term commitments, then there is no need for you to splurge on a high-quality grow tent.

However, if you are looking for something that will last you a long time, then you may want to purchase a more durable grow tent. This Gorilla Grow Tent Lite Line (available on Amazon.com), for instance, features 100% steel poles and is covered in highly durable canvas.

What is a Grow Room?

A grow room is a room that has been dedicated entirely to indoor plant cultivation. Like grow tents, grow rooms can be more or less “advanced,” depending on how much you spend on them and what your goals are.

Many people choose to set up grow rooms in their attic or garage, but any spare room will do. However, even the most basic grow room will take some time to design and set up. And because your plants will require water, light, and clean air to grow, you will need to ensure that:

  • Your grow room is equipped with enough sockets to power your grow lights
  • You have access to clean, filtered water (stay away from unfiltered rainwater)
  • You have everything you need to block off any natural light in the room.

If you are new to indoor plant cultivation, this last step might not make sense to you. After all, if you have a window in your grow room, shouldn’t that be a good thing? Well, not exactly.

While it is true that plants require natural light to grow tall and strong, the same logic does not apply to grow rooms. A grow room is a controlled environment designed specifically to grow multiple plants simultaneously.

While preferable to artificial light, sunlight is unpredictable and not always available. On a cloudy day, for instance, your plants would not get as much sunlight as they normally would.

If you feel that your plants need more or less light for a certain period of time, you have no control over the sun. With grow lights, however, you get to decide when and for how long your plants are exposed to light.

Remember, some plants require more light while others thrive in darker environments. Fortunately, with a grow room, you get to position your plants and grow lights in such a way that each plant gets the exact amount of light it requires. 

LED grow light hanging about a Carolina Reaper plant
Working around my grow lights, shown above, I make sure to take precautions like wearing long-sleeved shirts, protective glasses, and I have a fire extinguisher nearby. Photo by Spicy Trio

Pros and Cons of Grow Tents

A grow tent is an excellent choice if you are looking for an indoor growing system that is convenient, affordable, and one that does not take up too much space. To help you form a balanced opinion on the subject of grow tents vs. grow rooms, we will list the main pros and cons of both.

Pros of Grow Tents

Here are the upsides of grow tents:

  • Easy set-up: Grow tents are super easy to set up.
  • Price: Grow tents are cheaper than grow rooms.
  • Maintenance: Grow tents are easier and cheaper to maintain than grow rooms due to their reduced size.
  • Portability: Grow tents can be moved from one place to another pretty easily.
  • Size: Grow tents can be installed anywhere in your home and take up little space.
  • Energy efficiency: Grow tents are more energy efficient than grow rooms due to their reduced size.
  • Space maximization: Despite their reduced size, they are designed and configured in such a way to accommodate many plants.
  • Odor control: Any odor coming from your plants will remain inside your grow tent.
  • A tightly controlled growing environment: A smaller growing environment is easier to manage and control than a larger one as there are many variables that need to be monitored on a continuous basis (e.g., lighting, humidity, ventilation, temperature, etc.)
  • Pest control: Grow tents are protected environments, so the risk of pests reaching your plants is quite low.

Cons of Grow Tents

Here are some of the downsides of grow tents:

  • Upfront costs: Be ready to spend at least $100 for a small grow tent and over $300 for a larger one. Also, the equipment required to grow plants in a grow tent can be quite costly.
  • Lower yields: With grow tents, there are only so many plants that you can grow.
  • Malfunctions: Even with a quality grow tent, you may experience ripped seams and stuck zippers.
  • Limited access: With a grow tent, you may struggle to access your plants as there will not be much room for you to move around. 

Pros and Cons of Grow Rooms

Let us now review the main advantages and disadvantages of having a grow room.

Pros of Grow Rooms

Some of the upsides of grow rooms include:

  • Higher yields: Due to their larger size, grow rooms allow you to grow more plants, thus producing higher yields.
  • Flexibility and customizability: With a grow room, you can organize your growing environment as you see fit. Feel free to design and configure your grow room in any way you want.
  • Possibility to create different microclimates: If you are planning to grow plants with different needs, you can place multiple grow tents in your grow room, thus creating an optimal environment for each of your crops.
  • Accessibility: With a grow room, you will not have to worry about zippers or broken seams as you will be able to access your grow room through a door.
  • Ease of movement: A grow room allows you to move freely around your plants, making it easier to tend to them.
  • Different price points: Setting up a grow room does not have to cost a fortune. If you are on a tight budget, you will be pleased to know that you do not really need a lot of equipment to start growing plants indoors. If your grow room is on the smaller side, you may get away with a single, cheaper grow light and a basic air exchange system.
  • Resistance and durability: While most grow tents are covered in canvas, buildings are made of sturdy materials such as stone, metal, wood, and concrete. As a result, grow rooms are far more durable and resistant than grow tents.
  • A more professional set-up: The ceiling and walls of a grow room are sturdier than a grow tent’s panel. Therefore, you can mount as many lights, fans and gadgets as you want without having to worry about the walls collapsing (if you’re renting an apartment, however, this option may not be available to you!). This is extremely important if you plan to scale your operations over time.
  • Increased security: A grow room is preferable if you want to keep your plants secure. With a grow tent, it may be difficult to keep your children or pets from touching your plants. as there’s always a risk of someone unzipping the main door and forgetting to zip it back up. Also, if your seams come undone, pets and children may access your grow tent. With a grow room, all you have to do is lock the door. 
  • Ideal for professional growers: Grow tents are ideal for those growing as a hobby, whereas grow rooms are ideal for professional growers.

Cons of Grow Rooms

These are the downsides of having a grow room:

  • Cost: Setting up a grow room is going to require a substantial initial investment, especially if you are looking to grow a large number of plants. The more plants you grow, the more equipment you are going to need.
  • Less living space for you and your family: Not many people have a spare garage, shed, or attic that they can dedicate to indoor cultivation. Even if you do have a spare room in your house, converting it into a grow room means that you may not be able to use it for anything else.
  • Energy costs: Powering a grow room can be quite expensive as you will need multiple grow lights, a proper ventilation system, an air filtration system, and a humidifier. If you plan to grow plants that emit particularly strong odors, you may also need a carbon filter.
  • Excessive heat: Grow rooms tend to require more grow lights than grow tents, which can cause them to heat up very quickly.

Closing Thoughts

Both grow tents and grow rooms are extremely convenient indoor growing systems. However, if you are new to indoor cultivation, it may be too soon to commit to a fully-equipped grow room.

Thankfully, all is not lost because you can start with an inexpensive grow tent and see how it goes. Ultimately , your choice will mostly depend on how much you are willing to spend, how big your living space is, and what your goals are in terms of yields and crop diversity.  

Supriya

Hi! I'm Supriya. I'm a home cook, bulldog mom, spicy food lover, and founder of The Spicy Trio. I have been a home cook for about 15 years and have been growing plants for the past six years.

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