The rise of smart grow boxes (also referred to as “grow cabinets” or “grow closets” depending on the size and shape) is helping to change the way plants are grown, managed, and cultivated in the cannabis industry, with artificial intelligence and IoT tech that’s optimized every aspect of the process.
While smart grow boxes have received the most attention from home growers, they’re increasingly becoming a popular piece of equipment at the retail and industrial levels.
Dispensaries and retailers utilize smart grow boxes to facilitate more efficient and consistent operations, which can help explain their growing, industry-wide interest.
Consumers are using grow boxes to grow their own product how they want it. This is easier than ever today with a multitude of box manufacturers as well as quality seed distributors that have mind-boggling selections of different indica, sativa and hybrid strains.
Here’s everything you need to know about this must-know cannabis product.
What Makes a Smart Grow Box Well, Smart?
There’s nothing new about the concept of growing cannabis plants indoors. However, there are always challenges to mimicking ideal growing conditions in an indoor setting. After all, most plants are meant to be grown outside where they can receive natural sunlight.
Even those who can successfully grow cannabis plants inside often have to deal with trying to control the odor of the plants or keep their cannabis plants hidden.
But smart grow boxes can help reduce a lot of the hard work that often comes with growing cannabis in any setting – while also eliminating many of the issues that come with growing cannabis plants indoors. It’s literally an all-in-one solution for discreet indoor cannabis cultivation.
Most consumer-grade units have the appearance of a large box, but sometimes look closer to a small closet (that could easily fit in your closet in your home/apartment) or a cabinet.
“Smart grow boxes” recreate all of the features of a typical garden, including the light the plant needs to grow. Because the lights are usually wide-spectrum LEDs, in many cases, plants will grow faster inside the box than they would under normal conditions, which is always beneficial for those growing for commercial purposes.
The best part is that these boxes are largely automated and have all the features we’ve come to expect from AI and IoT technology, so if you’re a complete newb at cultivation don’t worry, the box will do the thinking for you!
Growers can customize settings to control the amount of light, water, and ventilation the plants inside the box receive. Essentially, users create ideal conditions for their plants to grow, and the box ensures conditions remain in uninterrupted, only changing when the user changes the settings.
Being self-contained eliminates all concerns about unexpected weather conditions having a negative impact on plant growth. Cool huh?
Everything, from the levels of nutrients to the pH of the soil inside the smart grow box to the air humidity, can be monitored from a platform compatible with your computer or mobile device. This helps ensure that cannabis plants have everything they need to grow as intended.
Essentially, you can program the grow box for the settings you want, and let it do the rest of the work until your cannabis plant is fully grown.
5 Key Benefits of Smart Grow Boxes for Beginners
There is no shortage of benefits to using smart grow boxes, regardless of whether you are growing cannabis for yourself or intending to sell it commercially.
1. Smart Boxes Run Themselves
As mentioned, all of the settings inside the box can be adjusted using a smart device so that the lighting, watering schedule, ventilation, and humidity are at the optimal levels.
Using a smart grow box is almost akin to hiring a full-time gardener to tend to your plants. The only difference is that a very small amount of labor is required while the plant is inside the box.
The whole process is automated, so once you input the right settings, the box does the rest with little to no effort from the grower (outside of occasional monitoring).
2. High Quality Yields
Most importantly, smart grow boxes yield fantastic results, with high-quality crops being easily produced due to the hyper-controlled environment.
The size of smart grow boxes is also advantageous for growers. Most grow boxes are just a few feet tall and take up a minimal amount of space compared to other methods of indoor cultivation.
3. Compact Form Factor
For commercial cannabis growers, available space is just as much a factor as time and money. If you’re looking to produce at scale then the SuperCloset brand has a wide variety of larger self-contained grow room systems (they have smaller individual-sized options too!)
Individual grow boxes won’t take up much room, leaving plenty of space for multiple boxes or other aspects of business operations. Grow boxes are also lightweight, easy to transport, and store well.
4. Prevent Pest Contamination
Further, when you use smart grow boxes, you don’t have to worry about pest problems the way you would when growing cannabis outside. While in use, the cabinet is locked up and sealed so no rodents or bugs can get inside and interrupt the growing process.
5. Control Smells
Meanwhile, carbon filters help to control the pungent odor. This makes it easier to set up your growing operations anywhere you have room – without worrying about bothering others or bringing attention to your cannabis plants.
What to Look for When Cross Shopping Smart Grow Boxes
Naturally, not every smart grow box is the same – and not every cannabis grower is looking for the same features in their grow box.
For dispensaries and retailers in particular, it’s important to find the right type of grow box that has can help you cultivate the type of cannabis plants you need to enhance your business.
As with most new hobbies and projects, it’s always best to start small, with individual use, so you can first learn how best to grow your green. Once you are confident you can move up in size.
When NOT to Buy a Smart Grow Box
If you are thinking of dispensary/retail purposes, we’d recommend a full greenhouse or large grow tent, something like what Gorilla Grow Tents offer because the tech-ladden smart boxes are usually quite compact and often only cultivate one single plant at a time.
Brands like SuperCloset are some of the most well-respected OG grow tent companies, but they are more for serious cultivars who want to have complete control over their lighting, air flow, humidity, and nutrient delivery systems.
The home-grow solutions outlined in this article are all self-contained and designed more for the hobbyist grower or someone who is looking to just grow a few plants for home recreational or medical use.
One of the first things to look for in a smart grow box is the size of the box itself. While most smart grow boxes are small and mobile, some are a little more compact than others.
If space is limited, a stealthier grow box may be needed. Of course, the obvious drawback is that smaller boxes can limit the number of individual plants you can grow at one time.
It’s also worth noting that different types of lights are used in different varieties of grow boxes. LEDs are often considered the best for plant growth, although they are usually the most expensive option. T5 and CFLs are cheaper alternatives to use inside a grow box.
Smart grow boxes are best for beginners who know next to nothing about cultivating cannabis and just want an easy hands-off solution to fresh bud.
If you are more interested in learning the nuances of cultivation and want the ability to fine-tune your soil, light, humidity, and nutrients then going the grow tent route is probably smarter since you’ll get to choose every element listed above.
Keep in mind though that grow tents lack the “stealth” factor of grow boxes and as such you’ll need to be sure you’re in the clear legally with where you are cultivating as it’s hard to hide a 10×12 grow tent operation.
It’s also worth noting that you can get a small grow tent setup going for a slightly lower cost than a smart box, although not by as much as you might assume as the lights, fans, and nutrients won’t come cheap if choosing to do it all yourself.
Top Smart Grow Boxes on the Market 2023
As the cannabis industry continues to grow, so too does the number of smart grow boxes on the market.
For those who haven’t been introduced to grow boxes firsthand, it can be difficult to decipher one option from another.
To give you a better idea of what’s available, let’s take a closer look at a few of the best-selling and highest rated smart grow boxes available:
Grobo: For When You Want to Flex
The Grobo automated grow box is geared toward those who don’t have much experience or expertise growing plants.
This is a tall and sleek, white box that looks great in any setting but also comes with a steel security lock. It’s four feet in height and weighs 80 pounds.
The company encourages users to pick a recipe from the Grobo app, which makes it easy to customize the schedule and settings. Like most grow boxes, there is a carbon filter to help reduce odor.
It also uses an LED lighting system and dual intake fans to help cultivate growth, with three ounces being the expected yield.
Cost: Around $2,000 and up.
Seedo: The All-In-One Automated Solution
The Seedo grow box is a little more compact than the Grobo. It weighs just 55 pounds and is only three feet and four inches tall. However, it’s about 10 inches wider and deeper than the Grobo.
Seedo is a great option for those who are tight on space and are only looking to grow for individual use as the total yield is limited by the smart box form factor.
On the upside, Seedo is the MOST connected device here, complete with an in-box camera so you can check on your babies anywhere, anytime from your phone.
It also utilizes LED lighting but comes with a few more sensors than the Grobo box, including both water and air temperature, as well as CO2 levels.
The lighting also has a second purpose as a party trick because when you open the door to your grow box, the LEDs and wafting marijuana smells will make your house party one your guests will surely remember.
Seedo also launched a partnership with Snoop Dogg, so their street-cred in the cannabis cultivation sphere just went up a couple of points.
For those interested, there is also a video camera that allows growers to look inside the grow box, which also sets Seedo apart from most of its competition.
Cost: Around $2,400 and up.
BC Northern Lights: Low Profile & High-Grade Quality
BC Northern Lights offers three different grow boxes of various sizes. The build and shape are more conducive to cultivators with a bit more experience.
While Seedo and Grobo tend to focus on smaller individual-use solutions, companies like BC Northern Lights, SuperCloset and Gorilla Tents require a little more knowledge to run properly but at the same time offer more higher-yield solutions.
The biggest is the BloomBox, followed by the Producer, with the Roommate being the smallest. They can be used separately or together for large-scale operations.
Other than size, there are small differences among the three models, but all three BC Northern Lights products come with most of the bells and whistles of high-quality grow boxes, including air-cooled lighting systems, carbon filters, industrial locks, a computer control system, and more.
Cost: Pricing is not listed and requires the visitor to request a quote.
Herb CEO Summary
Home growing can be one of the most satisfying hobbies for any cannabis lover to pick up, whether or not they were a “green thumb” before they developed their love of marijuana.
If you are looking to get started on this journey we have a great roundup of the best educational resources for learning how to grow this magnificent plant.
When looking to grow at home you can let your intended use and experience level guide you in your purchasing.
If you are only growing for yourself or maybe two people at the most, then smaller more compact options like Seedo and Grobo with smaller total yield limits make for an easy learning experience.
If you have some experience growing and don’t need as much assistance with setting up, monitoring, fertilizing and maintaining your plants, then larger options like BC Northern Lights, SuperCloset, and Gorilla Grow Tents might be more up your alley, although if you are concerned about smell/odors, only the BC Northern Lights grow solutions are completely self-contained.