In this article, we’ll be looking at what The Canna Dogg recommends, equipment-wise.
This article only covers tents, airflow, and lights. This means that it’s only covering the stuff you need to set everything up, but not enough to actually get you through the entire grow.
Normally, when you Google “How to grow cannabis”, “best equipment to grow weed” or any derivative thereof, you’ll be faced with a plethora of sites that claim to give you an unbiased opinion. Unfortunately, it’s very rare to come across one of those sites that aren’t just there to make money.
The Canna Dogg does not condone content marketing that is not clearly labeled as such. It’s just bad business to not label advertisements as what they are – advertisements. Do not mistake marketing for science – the terms cannot be used interchangeably! It’s important to note, that The Canna Dogg has nothing against affiliate marketing at all – as long as there is transparency! An example of that could be the article on how to choose the best cannabis strain for beginners.
This article is not meant to provide a thorough analysis of all the factors used to determine the optimal products. That’s covered in my book, if that sort of thing tickles your fancy. With my own promotion (hosting a site actually costs real money, so The Canna Dogg does need some kind of monetization to keep the site running, unfortunately) out of the way, let’s get started!
Support your local businesses
The Canna Dogg always recommends that you shop locally. There are a lot of small businesses that are severely impacted by all the crazy stuff happening in the world right now, and they could probably really use your business. And please do remember, you don’t need all this expensive equipment to get started, you can get started with just some soil, the sun, and a seed!
You should choose your grow tent based on its size, reflectivity, and stability. The former two can directly impact your yield, and the latter is for your own safety. Trust me, you do not want a tent collapsing after hanging up your lamp. Been there, done that, 0/10, The Canna Dogg does not recommend!
Does size matter?
So, what size do you need? It really depends. You don’t need a massive tent at all. You can grow weed in a PC-case, if you feel like it. Ever seen plants grow up through the tiniest crack in concrete or in the tiny gaps between stones on the pavement? Yup. Plants have been around for much much longer than humans have, and are generally pretty darn good at surviving (Note: if you for some reason doubt the validity of evolution, you’re probably not going to like a lot of The Canna Dogg content).
But the thing is, most new growers think that they’ll need a massive tent to even get started – you do not. You can grow weed successfully in any grow tent of any size! It becomes a bit more difficult the smaller your space is though, so you should generally go for the largest one that you feel comfortable with, but there’s no real answer to the much-asked question of “how large of a grow tent you need to grow weed”. It depends on your space, your budget, and your ambitions.
In my first ever grow, I grew weed in a kitchen cabinet lined with standard kitchen aluminum foil, under a cheap IKEA bedside lamp. This was 15 years ago, and I don’t recommend this approach, but it’s doable!
A long and ongoing story short, your plants need light to grow. Cannabis can be successfully grown under a lot of light, or under just a little light, but we’ll get to that. The reason that the interior walls of grow tents are either silver or white, is to reflect as much of the light that misses the plant back onto the plant. This makes intuitive sense, and the science checks out – some surfaces are more reflective than others.
Should you be worried about whether to go with a white, silver, mylar, or whatever interior lining? Absolutely not. Sure, there are differences in reflectivity, but for the average home grower, these differences are just not large enough to be worth stressing about. If the material on your walls is the main factor that decides whether or not you can grow a plant from seed to harvest, then you’re doing something very wrong!
Once you’ve successfully completed a few harvests and understood the basics, then sure, we can start whipping out our quantum sensor, and dive into the literature on Photosynthetically Active Radiation and Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density, but for now, the lining of your tent will only have a marginal difference, and it’s much more important to optimize other factors of your grow! Oh, and for those wondering, a white surface is actually better than a silver one.
Safety first – don’t ever get anything that requires duct tape to stay upright. The Canna Dogg loves duct tape, but just not as a central load-bearing component!
What to buy?
BudBox. They’re simply the best on the abovementioned factors. If you’re planning to do a few grows, I’d recommend their Pro series. They make some seriously good products, they test their products externally by a third-party, and they’ve been around for a long time. You can’t go wrong with them. They’re UK-based, but have a few suppliers in the US as well. I can’t vouch for their customer-service though, as I have attempted to get in contact with them several times, but to no avail, which is a shame.
And what about all the other brands out there? They’re probably fine too. I get a lot of messages on whether or not this one specific product/brand is good, and truth be told, I don’t know. They probably are! I’ve been growing for 15+ years, but I haven’t tried everything out there. I’ve tried quite a few of them though, and BudBox is simply my favorite, and the science checks out as well – they make awesome tents.
You should choose your fans based on the size of your tent and your budget. Simply put, the more airflow the better. I dare you to find me an example of anyone who’s managed to mess up their first grow because their fan was simply too good. You do, however, want to note that you’ll need a carbon filter to match your fan.
The deciding parameters for fans for The Canna Dogg are efficiency, automation, and noise.
The lazy Dogg approach
The Canna Dogg doesn’t like messing around with fans all the time. It’s been many years since I last had a grow where I didn’t automate the airflow – I just like giving my actual plants more attention during the grow, than their above-ground environment. I like the set-and-forget approach to all but my actual plants and their root-zone environments.
However, this doesn’t mean that it’s the same for you. Any fan will do. Seriously. But the more airflow, the better. You’ll probably benefit from an oscillating fan as well, but the extractor fan is the most important airflow parameter in your tent. Now, I’ve actually already covered this in my beginner’s guide, but I’ll just quickly go through it again.
The airflow decides your temperature and humidity. Actually also the CO2-levels, but don’t worry about all that stuff right now. Without going too much into thermodynamics, all you really need to know here is that warm air rises. Generally speaking, your lamp tends to get warm. So it makes sense to have a fan above your lamp, sucking out all that warm air. But, if the fan is sucking out too much warm air, and your light is super efficient and therefore doesn’t produce much heat, it might suck out too much, and then you might run into issues about your tent being too cool. But it’s rare. The vast majority of you are going to have issues with keeping the tent cool, not warm.
So, if you can afford it, go for an automated extractor fan. It’s a one-off purchase, and you’ll be extremely happy you did. But – you don’t NEED to. You just need some way of moving air into, and out of your tent. The automation should be in relation to the temperature first and humidity second in your tent.
What to buy?
If you have the budget for it, go for either an AC Infinity Cloudline T6, with an AC Infinity Carbon Filter to match. Their products are the best on the market. Sometimes you can get lucky and find a good sale on a package deal, but otherwise, they’re quite the investment.
Otherwise, as mentioned in the beginner’s guide:
If not AC Infinity, then go for anything where you can control the speed of the fan. The fans that’ll keep you happiest over the course of a grow, are the ones with automatic speed control. You set the temperature and sometimes the desired humidity level as well, and the fan will do the hard work for you. The Canna Dogg fully recommends saving up for a fan with this feature, it will increase your quality of life significantly! For a carbon filter, just go with something that fits your fan. See if you can’t find a package deal that comes with ducting and mounts as well. Go for at least a 6 inch fan. If stealth is of concern, find a fan that’s branded on being silent. They’re much louder than you’d think, and even though The Canna Dogg loves the sound of white noise, ventilators really get annoying the long run.
Oh boy. If there’s a market that’s interesting, then it’s the grow lights market. Unfortunately, it’s also filled with marketing disguised as science, and it’s a jungle out there for anyone trying to figure out what the best grow lights for cannabis are.
But, it’s important to note that figuring out what lights will be the best for your specific needs is relative to the rest of your setup. I’ve written a tiny book that covers some of the science involved, but basically, if you’re just starting out, the wattage will be your determining factor.
You can absolutely start learning all there is to learn about light, and its effect on yield, but you don’t need to. At all. And sure, wavelength does affect your plant’s growth in veg, but don’t start worrying about any of that yet, just get one high-quality light, with the highest wattage you can afford. Don’t get separate lamps for veg and flower. Just don’t, it will not be worth it for you right now.
What to buy?
The Canna Dogg recommends Black Dog LED and MIGRO. Not one over the other, and that doesn’t mean that you can’t grow fine weed with another brand. They’re not necessarily the best in marketing, however, which might be why you haven’t heard of them, but they both take a science-first approach to their production, which is really what you’ll want to be looking for. MIGRO even runs a youtube channel where they openly compare and recommend some of their competitors’ products, as well as talk about the science behind it all in general. And that’s pretty cool if you ask me!
But what about Spider Farmer? Mars Hydro? G-Tools? Prism? California Light Works? BIOS? HLG? Mammoth? Lumatek? etc. etc.
I don’t know. Or well, I did grow with Mars Hydros first-generation LEDs with great success back in the day, but I have not tested their newer lines.
It is seriously difficult to distinguish real reviews from marketing, even for me. The other day, I went through a lot of the cannabis subreddits, and cross-referenced their list of moderators with other popular weed subreddits, and found that there’s a lot of crossovers, and some of the moderators are also affiliated with brand names, but that’s never really mentioned anywhere. So even there, I’d be critical of when a post is advertising, and when it’s not.
I also started investigating the company structures of some of the light manufacturers, and it was interesting to see how some of the companies have parent companies that also own or are affiliated with other equipment companies, review sites, or other media. It’s also a nice pass-time to start figuring out which companies actually produce their own lights, and which companies simply slap their brand name onto someone else’s lights.
I don’t want to go full-on tin-foil hat on you, but just keep being critical – you can’t trust everything you read online.
When you first start out, you’re not going to go wrong with any of the brands mentioned above. It’s not like you can’t grow weed with Mars Hydro, Spider Farmer, or any of the others. Quite on the contrary! So choose your lights based on your budget, size of your grow, and specific needs. Not on the fanciest brand or their marketing efforts!
The fine folks over at Coco for Cannabis have made an excellent tool to help you out though, which I highly recommend that you check out!
It’s hard to find the “best” equipment when you’re first starting out. Especially as you’ll need to buy everything for the first time. But don’t worry. It gets easier. After you have your first grow done, you’ll become much more aware of which factors are actually important to you. As mentioned, for instance, I used to run fans that didn’t automatically adjust, relative to the temperature/humidity in the tent, and I just learned over the years, that that didn’t work for me, but others might have completely different priorities!
The most important thing is to start somewhere. You can always go bigger and better for your next grow. If you need help with anything specific, please join us over at the Canna Dogg subreddit, where we’ll be more than happy to assist you with pretty much any grow related problems. We have a very strict “there’s no such thing as a stupid question” policy!