Kristina Etter   |   February 20, 2020

High-Tech Cannabis Grow Systems Simplify Growing At Home

High-tech grow systems take the guesswork out of growing quality cannabis at home.
Before becoming a freelance cannabis journalist, Kristina Etter spent 20 years in corporate IT with a niche in mobile technology. Today, she combines her love of technology with a passion for the cannabis industry as the Editorial Content…

Many states allowing legal cannabis also permit patients and residents to grow a certain number of plants for personal use. For many medical patients, producing their medicine at home dramatically reduces cost and increases their control over their own plants. However, learning how to grow a quality crop isn’t always as easy as it may seem.

Just as the refrigerator changed the way people shopped for food, and the microwave altered the way people cook, cannabis grow appliances could revolutionize the way people grow their plants at home. Several companies are at the helm of the home grow revolution, and CannabisTech has all the details you need to know below about the future of home-grown cannabis technology.

The Armoire by Green Goddess Supply

Price: $1,395+

The Armoire made by Green Goddess Supply has a furniture-inspired look and feel, in a unit that comes in two finishes. Resembling a traditional armoire, it’s an easy-to-use system that yields up to a quarter-pound of dry bud in a 60-day auto-flower harvest cycle. Growing cycles vary by species dominance, but the most popular are the 8 to 10-week strains (some strains can go as long as 12-14 weeks). The Armoire is ergonomically designed, lightweight, waterproof, and comes with everything you need except seeds, water, and soil mix (UV safety glasses, wi-fi camera, digital hygrometer [LCD temperature & humidity module] and moisture meter are just a few of accessories included with the system. The LED large footprint light is proprietary—designed down to the last nanometer— and uses an intuitive 4 winch pulley system for easy scaling as your plant grows. It’s also energy efficient — with a carbon footprint of approximately 150 watts. The system is user-serviceable and backed by a multi-component warranty. An industry first, a childproof magnetic lock is standard, which helps to ensure your plants aren't accessed by anyone but the grower. The exhaust fan is quiet and can be easily removed for cleaning, the no odor carbon “long life” scrubber uses high-grade Australian activated carbon. Also included: 4 LST “plant training” rods, 4 internal circulation fans with six vents and protection grills, 2 fine mesh passive air intake filters, timer, grounded surge protector with both AC and USB input receptacles, cloth 5-gallon grow pot, and large, rigid water collection saucer.

This indoor grow system includes everything you need to start growing, minus the seeds, soil, and water. The GGS team provides a vetted list of online seed and soil vendors, along with personalized Concierge Service, to ensure your first grow goes smoothly. The team’s mantra is, “if you can water a houseplant, you will have success with The Armoire.” Designed and promoted as a “nurturing system,” the philosophy and grow protocol is the result of over 40 years of indoor and outdoor grow experience, tips, and tricks—including Autoflower-specific LST (Low-Stress Training) on-hands training. Although minimal, the GGS team embraces interaction with your plant--albeit just a few minutes a day. The company believes this is the best insurance, best practices, results-driven approach that professional handcrafted cultivars’ employ--brought down to a single plant, personal use scale.

If you are looking for a stylish and discreet way to easily grow high yielding plants in your home or apartment, The Armoire is the perfect unit to blend right in. And compared to other indoor growing solutions that can be overly complicated, ugly, messy, and expensive, The Armoire is at a high price point… more costly than a DIY tent or vinyl box system and less expensive than so-called automated systems. Think about it; four ounces of top-shelf flower—including taxes (especially in metropolitan markets) equals the purchase price of The Armoire. It not only pays for itself with your first harvest, but you know—without a doubt that there are "no pesticides, no molds, and no chemical additives or nutrients." If you are looking for “love,” The patent-pending Armoire could be just what the doctor ordered.

Seedo by SeedoLab

Price: $2,499+

Seedo is a home growing device designed for efficient usage of space. It resembles a mini-fridge, but features an automated hydroponic system-based technology, with automated lighting, mineral system, and CO2 enhancement.

Its most significant benefit is the efficient size and automated growing process. It sports an app that allows you to control the growth process and receive alerts.

While the Seedo looks like the optimal sizing for apartments, the unit is a little on the small side, the price is a bit steep, and there isn’t any yield expectation or approximate yield guide. There are more ongoing costs for operation due to the consumables (nutrients, pH balancing, C02 cartridges, etc.) required for these systems, and hydroponic systems bring issues with either hard piping in plumbing or dealing with bacterial and/or algae-collecting reservoirs. The company claims up to 4-oz— from 4 plants, while The Armoire is a three to five-ounce solution— from a single plant! At $2,500- it will take several grows to get your money’s worth, and the actual wattage is over 250 watts (the LED alone is 144 watts, and that doesn’t include the refrigeration unit and fans. It looks like a white kitchen appliance, and without nurturing and/or training, yield and quality are truly unknown.

GroBox by Cloudponics

Price: $2,690+

GroBox is a fully automated grow device that’s completely synced with an app (IOS or Android), where you can watch and monitor the progress of your plant(s). The primary benefit of this product is the software system that makes every aspect of the growing process automated. The app includes humidity control, watering frequency, pH buffering processes, temperature regulation, LED grow light scheduling, and auto-off. This makes it as close to a “set it and forget it” unit as possible.

The dimensions are 69.75" x 29.50" x 30.75", making this a sizable unit for growing indoors. You will need to plan your growing location accordingly.

It’s priced at the top of the market, but it does produce a substantial yield, up to one pound in 3 months. However, customers have repeatedly vented their frustrations -- they just don’t seem to work right. Hardwood floors and/or carpeting can be ruined if water sensors fail. They tend to weigh a lot, consume a lot of power and can be overly complicated. Recently, it has been reported that the company is pivoting away from selling the units outright and starting to use them in conjunction with consulting services instead because of all the issues reported.

LEAF by Get Leaf

Price: $2,690+

The LEAF grow unit is another automated grow system, which utilizes an app to control and automate the growing process. The unit itself includes a carbon filter, HD camera, toolbox, LED lighting, water sensing, and exchanging cartridges and air control/ nutrient system.

The typical grow for this unit is 3-4 months long and yields about 4 ounces. The unit is a decent size at 62” x 27” x 25”. The LEAF unit will use about $15-50 a month in electricity and uses around 5 gallons a week of water. The LEAF unit is very versatile in that you can add water manually, or you can hook it up directly to water plumbing, therefore never having to worry about changing the water. It looks like an industrial refrigerator, and word is that they were still not shipping after 3 years of pre-orders. (This may or may not have changed by the time of this printing). This unit also uses consumables -- purchased from the company -- to run efficiently. Also, like the Seedo, it has an industrial look and feel.

Grobo by Grobo

Price: $2,199+

Grobo is a sleek-designed, narrow growing unit made to fit in tight spaces. After adding water and seeds, the growing process is automated within the unit. Each yield can bring up to 3 oz, and the unit is reported to pay for itself in 18 months.

Aside from the process being automated, Grobo’s unit is somewhat compact at 48” x 14” x 14” and has a window that allows you to watch your grow when the lights are on in the unit. Even with the Grobo, automation comes at a price above $2,000-

SuperStar Smart Grow Box by SuperCloset

Price: $1,384+

The SuperStar Smart Grow Box is a hydroponic system that combines top feed watering and bottom feed oxygenation. Designed like a locker, built sturdy, and with a door locking mechanism, this system can be modulated to grow clones or traditional cannabis plants. The unit’s dimensions are 24” wide, 24” deep, and 60” high. The SuperStar Smart Grow Box features include a Kind LED K3 Series 2 XL300 light, dual activated carbon scrubbers, digital hygrometer and thermometer, and an adjustable internal circulation fan. Wattage is quite high, and prior grow experience is recommended.

Home Built Grow Tent

Another option for some is to individually purchase all the equipment necessary to build your own grow box/tent or convert a space in your home to a grow room. While it can be more of a process, this allows home growers to fine-tune the setup to their individual needs.

The advantages of setting up your own “Auto” or “Photo” tent are mostly in the price. You can find lights, tents, pots, and nutrients all online. This is good for those who aspire to become a professional cannabis grower. Individual component warranties vary from none to “some”... If you are on a tight budget, know what you are doing and only care about price (not safety or manufacturer's liability), this is a workable, albeit high learning curve alternative. Choosing what kind of lights you feel would best suit the size and number of plants you are looking to grow, hydro or soil, child safety, and other considerations must be part of the pros and cons of building such a system.

Not always, but often one gets what they pay for. Home grow tents can have more kinks in how they operate and be less seamless than automated systems. Another disadvantage of a DIY home grow tent is you must possess the knowledge of each facet of the grow. It can be hard for the casual grower to know what pots, lights, tent, nutrients, temperature, humidity air circulation, acceptable noise levels, and the watering system is best for them and their situation. In addition, pests such as spider mites can be the norm if set up in a garage or basement.

 

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