Grow Tents and Harvest Sizes

When you are setting up your indoor cannabis grow, one of the first questions is, "where will you grow your plants". To effectively grow cannabis indoors, you need to have a space where you can control the light, climate, and airflow. In this article, we review the different options for creating a grow space, discuss the advantages of using a grow tent for indoor cannabis grows, provide specific grow tent recommendations and we offer guidance on how much cannabis you can harvest in different size grow tents.

This article is part 1 of the Coco for Cannabis Grow Set-up Guide.

The Coco for Cannabis Grow Set-up Guide
  1. Grow Tents and Harvest Sizes
  2. How to Evaluate and Compare Grow Lights for Cannabis
  3. How Much Light (PPF) Do You Need for Indoor Cannabis?
  4. Grow Light Calculator
  5. Airflow, Ventilation and Exhaust Systems for Grow Tents (Coming Soon)
  6. Managing Heat and Humidity in your Grow Tent (Coming Soon)

Creating Your Indoor Cannabis Grow Space

To determine the best space to grow your cannabis, you will need to consider the amount of space that you plan to dedicate to growing, your harvest goals and your budget. There are two basic options to create a grow space: you can modify an existing space such as a closet or spare room, or you can use a grow tent. With a large budget and lofty goals your best plan may be to modify a room. However, for most home cannabis growers, the best option is using a grow tent.

Why Use A Grow Tent for Cannabis?

Grow tents offer numerous advantages for home growers in terms of light, climate control and cost. They make growing indoors easier, less disruptive, and more efficient. They are not very expensive. Indeed, buying a tent is usually far cheaper than adequately modifying an existing space. If you are setting up a cannabis home grow for the first time, we strongly recommend using a grow tent.

The Advantages of Using a Grow Tent

Climate Control

Effectively growing cannabis indoors requires careful control of climate variables like heat and humidity. The plants themselves produce a lot of humidity and the lights that we grow them under create a lot of heat. Regardless of the space that we grow in, these climate variables need to be managed.

A grow tent helps make managing heat, humidity and air flow easier for several reasons. For one, grow tents are relatively small spaces, which means there is less climate to manage. Grow tents are also designed to allow good airflow through the tent. The ports in the tents allow you to draw fresh air into the tent near the floor and to exhaust hot humid air near the top. Many growers are able to control the climate in their tents using a simple exhaust system. Be sure to read our guides, "Airflow and Exhaust Systems for Grow Tents" and "Managing Heat and Humidity in your Grow Tent" (Coming Soon).

Light Efficiency

In addition to helping to manage the climate, grow tents help to improve the efficiency of the light. The walls of grow tents are both reflective and close to the plants. This means that a larger percentage of the photons that we produce with our lights actually reach the plants. It may seem insignificant, but reflective walls can increase the efficiency of your grow lights by 20-40%. To determine how much light you need for your grow tent see our guide "How Much Light (PPF) Do You Need for Indoor Cannabis?".

Control of the Light Cycle and Creating Darkness

Most cannabis plants are photoperiod. As we explain in our article, "Cannabis Light Cycle Fundamentals", the photoperiod means that cannabis plants will only produce flowers when they are exposed to at least 12 hours of complete darkness every day. If light leaks into the grow space it can provoke revegetation (the plant stops flowering) or hermaphrodism (the plant produces pollen and then seeds).

Completely light sealing your grow space is critical when you grow photoperiod cannabis. This can present real challenges when using a closet or room in your house. In contrast, a grow tent easily allows you to create the complete darkness that is required by flowering cannabis plants, even in broad daylight.

Control over the darkness in the grow space allows you to set the light schedule for your grow in a way that is convenient for your schedule or to help manage climate. In warm climates, we recommend running the lights off period during the daytime hours because it helps moderate the climate in the grow space. This "flipped lighting schedule" is only possible in a completely light sealed space, like a grow tent.

Control over the darkness also may allow running two or more grows in the same room. Using multiple tents in one room allows you to set up a perpetual grow system where plants are vegetating in one tent and flowering in a different tent under a different light cycle. Without grow tents, perpetual grows would not be possible for most home growers.

Air Quality and Smell

Grow tents help us to manage the quality of the air that enters the grow space and the smell of the air that escapes from it. Simple intake filters on a grow tent can help to prevent dust, pet hair, and pests from getting onto your cannabis plants. On the other side, adding a carbon filter to the exhaust system can reduce or largely eliminate the tell-tale odors of growing cannabis. For more details on managing air quality in your grow tent and filtering the exhaust, be sure to read our article, "Airflow, Ventilation and Exhaust Systems for Grow Tents" (Coming Soon).

Cost and Convenience

Perhaps the most compelling reason to use a grow tent is they are easy to set up and relatively cheap. Tents can be set-up in almost any room of your house, and they do not require making any physical modifications to the room. Grow tents provide the ideal conditions for efficient indoor growing and you can pack them up and return the room to normal after the grow.

Selecting a Grow Tent Size

There are three primary concerns when determining the proper size tent for your cannabis grow. You need to consider the space it will occupy, your harvest goals, and your budget.

The Space to Put Your Grow Tent

Before anything else, you will need a place to put your grow tent. You can set up your tent in almost any room that has space for it. If possible, it is best to put it in an insulated room that does not get too hot or too cold. In some climates you may be able to grow in sheds, attics, basements, or garages. However, those types of spaces may require more extensive efforts to control and condition the climate in the tent.

The other issue to consider is simply to make sure that the tent will actually fit! Grow tents are larger than you think they will be. A 4' x 4' tent sounds small, but when you set it up in a spare bedroom it seems gigantic. Before buying a tent, use a tape measure and make sure that you really have enough space for it.

Grow Tent Size and Harvest Goals

When you are considering the size of your tent you should consider the amount that you hope to harvest. There are many factors that influence the yield that you can expect to harvest from your cannabis grow. The lights that you use, the strains that you grow, and the style in which you grow them can all have a significant impact on final yield. However, the size of the grow space will ultimately limit the maximum potential harvest size. If you have specific harvest goals it is important to set up a grow tent that has adequate space for you to reach them. Having enough space will not ensure that you reach your harvest goals, but not having enough space will ensure that you do not reach them.

The Right Amount of Light for your Tent

Reaching the harvest estimates that we provide, requires adequate lighting. The size of your grow tent should determine the size of your grow light. We recommend lights that produce a total of 65µmol (Usable PPF) per square foot. To understand more about the amount of light that you need for your grow tent, see our guide "How Much Light (PPF) Do You Need for Indoor Cannabis?". It includes our Grow Space Calculator, which will tell you the optimal amount of light for any grow space.

Estimating Harvest Size from Grow Tent Size

When the lights are matched properly to the grow tent, we can use either space or light (PPF) to estimate harvest potential. When thinking about your grow tent, it makes sense to estimate harvest yield based on space.

Without supplemental carbon dioxide, the maximum yield cannabis plants can produce is about 1.25 - 1.75 ounces per square foot or about 13 -18 ounces per square meter. For new home growers with enough light, a reasonable target is 1.25 ounce per square foot. Many growers who follow our guides for growing in coco are able to top 1.5 ounces per square foot on their first grow. However, it may take several cycles before you dial in the production in your tent.

Reaching these estimates requires using adequate light and having full plant coverage. The number of plants is not as important as filling the tent. A grow tent can be filled with just a few large plants trained as mainlines (see our guide, "How to Mainline Cannabis Plants"), or with numerous smaller plants in a Sea of Green (see our guide, "How to Do a Sea of Green for Cannabis").

Grow Tent Size and Harvest Potential

In the table below we provide calculations for harvest potential for different size grow tents. These estimates are calculated based on the amount of light (Optimal True PPF) rather than the amount of space. This is a more precise way to estimate harvest sizes. However, when the lights are matched properly to the grow space, the 1.25 - 1.75 ounce per square foot rule is a close proxy. To learn more about how we estimate harvest size based on light and our "benchmark harvest" calculation, see our Grow Light Calculator.

Common Grow Tent Sizes


The harvest estimates above assume that you have the right amount of light. To determine how much light you need, see our guide, "How Much Light (PPF) Do You Need for Indoor Cannabis?".

Other ways to estimate Harvest Sizes

Our Grow Space Calculator will estimate the harvest potential of any grow space.

Our Grow Light Calculator will estimate the harvest potential of any grow light fixture.


The size of your tent determines the size and expense of many other things you will need for the grow set-up. Grow tents are the most efficient and easiest to manage when they are equipped with adequate lighting and proper airflow and ventilation. Larger tents require more lighting, larger exhaust systems, and just more of everything. Consider the total costs of the tent, lights and exhaust system and be sure that the full set-up falls within your budget.

Be sure to read our guides "How to Evaluate and Compare Grow Lights for Cannabis" and "Airflow and Exhaust Systems for Grow Tents" (Coming Soon).

Other Factors to Consider about Grow Tents

In addition to the three primary concerns of space, harvest yield, and budget, there are a few other factors to consider when selecting a grow tent for your cannabis grow.

Vertical Height

It is important to select a tent that has adequate vertical height. To judge the vertical height that you need it is important to consider several factors. On one side, you need to consider the height of the pots or containers that your plants will be grown in. On the other side, you need to consider the distance required between the light and the top of the tent and the light and the top of the plants. It is common for plants to sit more than a foot above the ground and for lights to require a total clearance of more than two feet. Thus, more than 3 feet (1 meter) of vertical space within the tent is not available for actually growing the plant.

A standard grow tent is about 6.5 feet or 2 meters tall. This is an adequate height for most home grow set-ups. However, there are short tents on the market that are only suitable for clones, seedlings, and very short plants. Tents that are less than 6' (1.8 meters) tall may present a challenge for growing cannabis. Unfortunately, most of the smallest tents in square footage are too short to grow a decent size plant. We only recommend tents that are at least 70" tall. As a result, the smallest tent that we recommend is 2' x 4'. If you choose a smaller tent, be aware that height will become an issue and you will have to grow shorter plants.

Doors, Ports and Windows

All tents come with doors for access and ports for ducting. You want to ensure that the ports in the tent are large enough for the ventilation ducting that you plan to run. You will want to exhaust the hot humid air in the tent out through a duct port near the top of the tent. Ports near the bottom of the tent can be used for active or passive intake. Be sure to read our guide, "Airflow and Exhaust Systems for Grow Tents" (Coming Soon).

Light Leaks in Grow Tents

Perhaps the biggest concern about specific tents is whether they have light leaks. There are some cheap tents on the market that really will cause problems. However, most decent tents, including the tents that we recommend should have very minimal light leaks.

There are two ways to test for light leaks once the tent is set up. The first option is to make it dark in the room and bright in the tent to see if any light leaks out. The second option is to climb into the dark tent and have a partner shine a light at the seams and zippers. In either case you should be able to notice if any light is leaking. When leaks are smaller than a pinhole they can often be ignored. Larger leaks can be patched with tape or sealant spray applied to the outside of the tent.

Grow Tent Recommendations

We recommend two brands of grow tents above others. The Vivosun tents are great quality grow tents at really great prices. They feature 600D canvas, metal poles, and quality zippers. Users report good experiences with them and few light leaks. We recommend Vivosun for tents sized 3' x 3', 4' x 4', and 5' x 5'. We do not recommend the Vivosun 4' x 2' tent because it is too short.

The Mars Hydro tents are an upgrade over the Vivosun and most other grow tents on the market. They feature 1680D canvas, sturdy metal poles, and quality zippers. We recommend the Mars Hydro tent as our pick for the 4' x 2' grow tent because it is taller than other similar tents. We recommend the Vivosun tents for the other sizes based on price and value. If you want to upgrade from the Vivosun tents, the Mars Hydro tents are a great option. The best deals on Mars Hydro Grow Tents are through their website (use discount code: CCFC).

The Next Steps: Selecting the Right Light for Your Grow Tent

Once you have determined the grow tent that is best for you, you need to select the lights that will work the best in your grow tent. The next article in our set-up guide is "How to Evaluate and Compare Grow Lights for Cannabis".

The Coco for Cannabis Grow Set-up Guide
  1. Grow Tents and Harvest Sizes
  2. How to Evaluate and Compare Grow Lights for Cannabis
  3. How Much Light (PPF) Do You Need for Indoor Cannabis?
  4. Grow Light Calculator
  5. Airflow, Ventilation and Exhaust Systems for Grow Tents (Coming Soon)
  6. Managing Heat and Humidity in your Grow Tent (Coming Soon)

Author: Dr Photon and Dr Coco

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