How to: Tent Selection and Differences in Grow Tent Quality

Are all grow tents made the same? The simple answer is no.

As you are browsing the multitude of grow tents on the Internet and realize that there are a variety of options and prices you may be wondering what to choose. At Indo we were wondering the same thing when we started buying tents.  Over the years we have discovered that there are some key attributes that you will want to consider.

When considering different tents you may initially believe that choosing the right size tent may be your first concern, remember size isn’t the only important factor. The fabric used to construct the tent is often a significant factor of overall quality.

In general a grow tent is made by taking a heavy-duty canvas outer fabric, often nylon or polyester, and bonding it to a reflective inner layer, often made of Mylar. The outer fabric is strong and durable, while the inner fabric increases light efficiency by providing excellent reflectivity.

1.  Tent Fabric

Purchasing a grow tent made of a higher quality fabric is a good investment in a number of ways.

  • Structural Integrity: Since the fabric rests on a structure of supporting poles, after installation the roof seams sustain some of the tent’s weight.  Over time, this can stress seams and contribute to wear.
  • Wear and Tear Resistance: Wear and tear can also take a toll on the seams and fabric around zippers. Stronger fabric also reduces the risk of punctures and abrasions, which can be a problem when using gardening tools in an enclosed environment like a tent.
  • Better Containment: A thicker fabric can contribute to a more lightproof and odour-proof enclosure, where a thinner fabric (and liner) may permit gaps along seam lines to leak small amounts of light or odour. If the hole is large enough for light to escape, there’s a chance pests can get in the same way.
-  Exterior Material
The exterior of grow tents is typically a weaved Nylon or polyester material.  The thickness of a tent’s outer fabric shell is expressed using linear mass density, or denier, as a measurement.  That’s the D referenced next to the number, like 600D, in a tent’s fabric description. Denier refers to thread or yarn thickness, with one denier representing the base standard, the approximate thickness of a single strand of silk.
The higher the number, the stronger and denser the fabric will be. Grow tents are produced with exterior fabrics that can range anywhere from 200D to 1680D.
Indo only uses 1680D for grow tents
-  Interior Material
The interior of grow tents are best when they are highly reflective in order to prevent light and odour penetration (leaking outside).
The reflectivity of the interior material helps to ensure maximum the amount of light is provided to the plant. Efficient light reflection means less wasted energy, and energy cost savings over time.  The better the reflectivity means better light coverage for underlying foliage because light is being reflected from the sides as well as from the top of the tent where most primary light fixtures are located.
For these reasons Mylar is typically used Mylar, also known as BoPET (Biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate), which is a polyester film made from stretched polyethylene terephthalate (PET).  Mylar is used in various applications for its high tensile strength, chemical and dimensional stability, transparency, reflectivity, gas and aroma barrier properties, as well as electrical insulation.
Indo uses a diamond Mylar interior to provide the above benefits as well an even light dispersion.

    2.  Tent Frame

    The structure of a grow tent is made of a framework of supporting poles installed under the fabric shell described above. They provide stability and somewhat reinforce the shape of the exterior.

    In addition to creating the tent structure the frame is also designed to carry the weight of the mounted lights, ventilation system, and other components hanging in the tent.  Tent frames can be made of a number of materials however steel construction is common.  Steel frames are stronger and more rigid than other materials such as plastic and lighter weight aluminum.  In general, thicker poles with corresponding fittings will sustain more weight than thinner poles and produce a more rigid, stable frame.

    Indo grow tent poles, corners, and connectors use the thickest heavy-duty steel available for grow tents.  Other tents use weaker plastic, aluminum, or much thinner steel poles. Plastic corners and connectors frequently fail due to loads, heat, and light exposure in tents. 

    If using a non-LED lighting system (such as MH, or HPS)  NEVER USE A TENT WITH PLASTIC COMPONENTS as they can melt due to the heat from the lights and put your tent and plants at risk. 

    3.  Zippers

    Most grow tents employ large-gauge, heavy-duty plastic zippers, but constant use still makes the zipper area a prime candidate for mishaps. Torn stitching and broken zipper teeth can happen in even high-quality tents, but may be avoided with proper care.  

    Indo only uses heavy-duty zippers mounted in heavy-duty fabric for ultimate durability.

    4.   Seams

    Seam damage or tears around a zipper can be the result of pulling too hard, but may also result from regular wear when a low-denier fabric is used.

    To avoid tearing of the zipper’s seams, Indo Products double stitch our tent seams for added strength. It’s another feature that helps distinguish a quality tent.

    5.   Tent Size

    Last, but not least, is tent size.  

    The size of your tent will be one of the most important decisions you make.  The selection of tent size with depend on multiple factors.  

    1.    Space available

    This is the first consideration, you are limited primarily by your options for locating the tent.

    2.    Number of plants intending on growing

    This also depends on the type(s) of plants you want to grow but our recommended number of plants per tent is:

    • 24” x 24” up to 4 plants
    • 36” x 36” up to 6 plants
    • 48” x 48” up to 12 plants
    • 60” x 60” up to 20 plants

    3.    Type(s) of plants intending on growing

    Some plants just need more room to grow.
    4.    Grow equipment in tent
    You will want to consider the equipment that you would like to fit in the tent.
    Choosing a larger tent allows for more room to grow your plants and maneuver plants and grow equipment within the tent.  However buying tent that is too large you will be spending more money on the equipment to fill it, and on the electricity to power lights, fans, pumps, etc. Buying a tent that is too small will create a crowded and potentially unhealthy environment for your plants, where more attention will be needed in training or trellising, and pruning the plants.

    Another great article on purchasing a grow tent vs a grow box is on Omni Home Ideas, check it out here:

    Happy growing,

    The Indo Team

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