To buy or not to buy?
That is the question
That’s the question we’re going to look at today. But first let’s define what one is, for anyone new to the idea. But in the end, it comes down to whether you are the DIY type, the how-do-it person and you are handy with tools.
Before we start, here is our article reviewing grow boxes, so if you are the cut to the chase person, check it out now.
What is a Marijuana Grow Box?
A marijuana grow box or grow cabinet is a self-contained growing space, usually light and odor proof, fitted with everything you need to grow your plants—grow lights, ventilation, hydroponics system, reflective lining, temperature, and humidity monitoring, etc. It’s generally intended for the home grower. However, unlike a grow tent, it is more of a permanent structure.
Often, it will look entirely innocuous from the outside, perhaps even being designed to look like, for example, a filing cabinet or mini-fridge. These stealth grow boxes are great options if you need to hide your growing for any reason. (We’ve covered stealth grow boxes and stealth growing in another article.)
As you can imagine, you can build your own from things like filing cabinets, closets, chests of drawers. Depending on what you have to hand in and how much growing space you have available in your home.
But you can also buy a ready-made marijuana grow box very easily. Many of these will contain a hydroponics system (although some also allow growing in soil). They come in all different sizes, for all different budgets, and incorporate various different levels of automation and technology.
At the top of the range, for instance, you’ll find complete done-for-you turnkey solutions, high-tech cabinets, and boxes where the growing is fully automated. These are about as simple as marijuana growing gets. But although they’ll save you money in the long term, the upfront cost isn’t for everyone.
Why Build Your Own Marijuana Grow Box?
While a pre-made high-tech marijuana grow box will get you up and growing as quickly and painlessly as possible, they’re not always cheap. But that’s not the only reason why you might go the DIY route. If you’re someone who likes to grow your own, there’s a good chance you also like to build your own.
Read on for some more reasons you might prefer to build your own marijuana grow box. Or buy one instead.
The Case for Building Your Own Marijuana Grow Box:
- You can build it to the exact dimensions of the growing space you have available.
- You have full control and choice over what components you add.
- Make it as expensive or as cheap as you like.
- Build from scratch or repurpose something you might otherwise have thrown away, like an old cabinet or chest of drawers.
- A simple, cheap DIY marijuana grow box can be great for a small grow.
- Can also be good for a beginner grower who wants to start small and get the hang of growing a single plant before committing time and money to larger growing projects.
Reasons to Buy a Marijuana Grow Box:
- If you buy a marijuana grow box you know the components will work well together. You won’t end up with a grow light that’s too powerful for the box, for instance.
- Less time spent on trial and error making sure everything works together properly.
- More likely to be properly light and odor-proof. You don’t want light leaking out and giving away what’s inside, nor leaking in when it’s supposed to be nighttime for your plants. And weed can get pretty pungent when it’s flowering.
- More expensive models almost entirely automate the growing process, making them the simplest and least time-consuming way to grow. Big yields with minimum effort. Automatic monitoring of your crop.
- If you’re not already good at building things, building your own marijuana grow box can take a long time and you might not be happy with the end results.
- Efficient use of space and power. A commercial marijuana grow box will provide the right amount of light for the space inside while not overheating your plants.
- The efficiency should save you money too over time.
- If stealth is a concern, most commercial grow boxes take this very seriously. Fans and pumps will be quiet, odor will be filtered, low heat, etc.
- No need to spend hours researching all the different components to make sure they’re all going to be suitable for your needs, fit the box correctly, etc.
Buying a Marijuana Grow Box or Cabinet
The key features to look out for when buying a marijuana grow box are:
- Odor control
- Wattage: How much electricity is it going to take to run it?
- Type of light: LED, fluorescent, High-Intensity Discharge (HID)
A quick note on light types:
- LED or fluorescent lights are ideal for confined spaces like a marijuana grow box, as they run cool, minimizing the need for additional cooling—which can also be noisy and increase your electricity bill.
- Of the two, LEDs tend to work out cheaper long term as they’re very efficient and long-lasting.
- However, fluorescent lights can often be hung very close to your plants, so work well if you need your grow box to be short.
- HID lights are excellent for growing cannabis, but create a lot of heat so aren’t ideal for grow boxes. You’ll have to replace bulbs every year or two too.
(For more details on grow light types, see this recent guide.)
Grow Boxes and Cabinets
If you Google “build your own grow cabinet” or something similar, you’ll soon find instructions for making your own. YouTube has some great videos of ingenious marijuana grow box creations, too.
MaryJane Farmer Wants Your Photos
A marijuana grow box is probably the easiest way to get started growing your own cannabis. It can also be the easiest, lowest-maintenance way period if you go for one of the automated options.
However, even a simpler, more affordable marijuana grow box can be an excellent way to just grow a personal supply in the limited space you have available.
The grow boxes we reviewed are great for small grows and beginners and if you’re thinking bigger check out our round-up of the best stealth grow boxes and cabinets.
And if you’re still thinking about building your own grow box, hopefully, we can help you with choosing some of the components, such as lighting, ventilation, hydroponics systems or temperature and humidity controllers.
Finally, if you build your own grow box (with or without your garden inside), MaryJane Farmer would love to get an electric missive from you with photos and maybe even plans. We will feature your grow box on 420Beginner and maybe even interview you on the electric box via Skype.