Stealth Grow Boxes
For quite a lot of indoor growers, the issue of stealth is of the highest importance. We all like our privacy. Here we discuss the items you should consider before buying a stealth hydroponic grow kit. Odors. Light. Economy. Noise. Appearance.
It’s fair to say that most Grow Boxes have been designed with stealth in mind. They come with varying degrees of stealth security and – as normal – the price can be a good indicator of how effectively stealthy a Grow Box is. The name should help too, if a Grow Box has the word ‘stealth’ in the title, you can be sure that it has been designed with the stealth grower in mind.
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The main areas where attention to stealth is required are:
As we all know, the wonderfully pungent smell of ripe weed can be so strong that it is overpowering. Some seed strains in particular really do reek and this can be easily be noticed by those who don’t like the smell quite as much as marijuana gardeners do.
Luckily there are ways to combat this. Activated carbon filters can be very effective at controlling odor. Some of the Grow Box systems at the cheaper end of the market offer gels, which do work in small areas, but if you think you are going to be kicking up a stink and stealth is very important to you, you should be looking at carbon filtration for complete peace of mind.
Carbon filtration works by passing the outflow of air from your growing space through activated carbon granules. Activated carbon is charcoal that has been chemically treated to give it a very open structure. The result is a highly porous substance that has an incredibly large surface area, making lots of spaces to trap the tiny odor molecules. If you decide on getting a system with carbon filtration you will find that they are measured in either size or weight of carbon. Whichever, the larger size will be more effective.
You should be aware that the activated carbon in filters is a consumable and will need to be changed from time to time. Manufacturers give expected life spans but this is entirely dependent on how hard you work them. As a money saving measure you can consider removing the carbon filter whilst your plants are in the vegetative cycle, as they release very little odor at this time. Gels are also consumables that will need replacing. With both methods the best test of when to replace them is your nose, if you can smell weed outside of the box, then it’s time to change.
It is also worth mentioning that the big brand names do actually often give a better performance, so if a Grow Box system offers a carbon filter with a brand name it is usually of better quality. You can always check out the brand online and see what the reviews say.
Strange lights coming from cabinets, attics and spare rooms or tents can also be a tell tale sign that there’s a bit of indoor gardening going on. It is important that the light stays inside the cabinet.
A good Grow Box will be completely light tight and have light baffles fitted to keep the light in. Luckily most of them do, but check and be sure that the manufacturers declare that their box is light tight. More on marijuana grow lights.
Whilst heat signatures can be a problem for big grow ops, small localized heat signatures are unlikely to cause too much trouble. Problems also tend to arise more as a result of where you vent your warm output air rather than the heat given off by the cabinet itself. However, if the cabinet is going to be in a room in your house or apartment where other people sometimes go, it is best if it doesn’t sit there pumping out lots of heat.
Most boxes are lined with Mylar to reflect errant light back in to your growing space. This highly reflective panelling also helps to keep heat in the box and insulate it from the outside. Removable Mylar panels can be a real advantage as they allow for more effective cleaning of the box between grows and help to prevent against mold and other diseases.
The heat from a marijuana grow is almost entirely as a result of the lighting. Basically, the big HIDs will generate the most heat. (Whilst many of these are air cooled, that hot air is vented elsewhere so you should be aware of that if you are worried about the heat signature of your house). The larger HIDs, like a 1000W model, really do give off a lot of heat and are probably unsuitable if you feel that heat could be an issue for you. A 250W HID would be more suitable in this case. You might note that LED grow lights do not give out much heat at all when compared to HID grow lights.
Second in heat generation are CFL systems. CFL lighting may not be as effective as HIDs, but they are ideal for smaller spaces where controlling the heat inside the box can also be an issue. You can touch all but the largest CFLs with your hand as they give off little heat.
The Holy Grail of low heat marijuana growing is LED lighting. LEDs emit almost no heat whatsoever. The best LEDs are equal in performance to HIDs but, with no wasted heat energy, they are way more energy efficient. As a rule of thumb, the more info a manufacturer gives on their LED systems, the more faith you can have. If they give brand named models, check them out elsewhere and read the reviews. Read more about LED grow systems here.
While economy might not seem to be top of the list when considering stealth requirements, nobody wants unexpected spikes in their electricity bills. When thinking about making your grow stealthy it’s best to cover all bases.
Economy is fairly easy to consider as it goes pretty much hand in hand with the items mentioned above for heat. Hot systems are inefficient systems and cost more to run. Period. So the same thinking follows; HIDs will cost you the most to run, followed by CFLs, followed by LEDs.
Bear in mind that Grow Box kits will also have fans running and hydro systems will have air and/or water pumps running too. However electricity consumption of these components is negligible by comparison.
If you want to calculate the cost of running a piece of equipment you can carry out a simple calculation.
What does the lamp cost?
Most HPS/MH lamps are between 250 and 1000 Watts. Your electricity is charged by the kiloWatt hour, so it might be anywhere from 11 cents to 25 cents for 1000 Watts per hour.
Therefore a 400W bulb is 40% of a kiloWatt hour. Now find your latest utility bill. Somewhere on it will be marked the price that you pay per unit. It should be written down as a price per kW/h. Say for example it is 15 cents. Multiply the answer to the previous calculation by this figure.
So 400 ÷ 1000 = 0.4
0.4 x 15 cents = 6 cents per hour.
At a price of 15 cents per kW/h this 400 Watt bulb would cost 6 cents per hour to run. Now just multiply it up by the amount of hours you will be running it per month and you have the monthly cost.
Using this calculation will enable you to work out exactly how much your Grow Box will cost to run and what kind of difference it will make to your bills. You should do it, the answer is quite often a nice surprise as growing weed indoors doesn’t need to be as expensive as most people think.
Noise is an obvious cause for concern when thinking about stealth. Low hums and the noise of water trickling can seem almost inaudible during the daytime but sound deafening in the dead of night.
Luckily most of the stealth Grow Boxes use components that have been manufacture with stealth in mind. Read carefully what they say about noise and don’t be afraid to contact them and ask for more information. Most of them say something along the lines of ‘whisper quiet’. This means not silent, but around about as loud as the background noise in a quiet library. If your neighbours are behind walls, they will never hear it. If the people that you don’t want to hear the noise are in the same house, then you should opt for a system that claims to be completely silent.
The main sources of noise from a cabinet grow is from the fans. Again it is safe to say that the better quality fans will run the quietest. This is reflected in price so you will need to balance your need for stealth with your budget. If a Grow Box uses a branded fan, such as the Mortgage Lifter 3.0 which uses a Phresh fan, you can proceed with more confidence and check out the brand to see what others are saying about them.
The appearance of a Grow Box is key to stealthy growing. Think camouflage. If it is something that is going to be in an area of your home that has people passing through you will want something that does not look out of place.
The Locker type Grow Boxes, such as the Super Locker 3.0 look really like boring office furniture and allow the eye to slip over them without taking too much notice. For the maximum in stealth appearance you could consider a PC Grow Box. A PC tower humming away quietly to itself in the corner of a room is something that nobody would normally look twice at.
There are lots of different Grow Boxes available for you to choose. If stealth is important to you, give some thought to the above before choosing.
GOOD FOR: Large grows up to 32 plants; Full cycle rotation; Cloning
The Stealth Box Supreme is all about stealth. This large cabinet looks like any workshop locker, but inside is an array of high quality hydroponic growing equipment; powerful custom made LEDs and an very effective SuperPonics system. This double door, lockable cabinet contains a dual chamber system that enables you to create a full cycle rotation set up. With space for up to 32 plants, you will never have to buy weed again. Click here for more details and reviews of the Stealth Box Supreme Hydroponics Grow Box.
Grandma’s Secret Garden is a budget end grow box that takes stealth seriously. It might be short in size, but it is packed with stealth features that will help to put your mind at rest. Grandma’s Secret Garden grow box uses dual, high spec carbon filters to guarantee an odor free exhaust from your box. These filters use the same military technology found in gas masks and are more than capable of handling this small grow box.
With 360 Watts of CFL lighting there are plenty of lumens without all the heat that you get with HIDs. Two sets of bulbs are supplied, one set for vegetative growing and another for flowering.
All of the other components used in Grandma’s Secret Garden are high quality and selected for their quiet operating levels. Click here for more details and reviews of Grandma’s Secret Garden Grow box.
The MediCab Micro is a small grow box that is very big on features. Most notable is the Universal Hydro LED lighting panel which has been especially designed for small spaces. With this lighting panel you can achieve the same light output as a 125 CFL bulb, but with almost no heat at all. It is also cheaper than running a standard incandescent light bulb.
As well as the LED panel, the Medicab Micro also features an industrial grade carbon filter to keep dank odors in. The whole package is easy to use and comes as a plug and play cabinet that won’t look out of place in any room. Click here for more information and reviews about the Medicab Micro Grow Box
The Mortgage Lifter 3.0 is a large grow tent set up that can provide more than enough herbs for your own personal usage. This is a high end product with lots of high quality components and extras that can grow up to 26 large plants at a time.
Of course, the Mortgage Lifter 3.0 is packed with stealth features that are designed to keep your grow op low key and under the radar. Click here for more information and reviews of the Mortgage Lifter 3.0
The Cash Crop 2.7 Grow Box is a single compartment grow box that is ideal for those just starting out, or for those on a restricted budget. This is a no frills grow box that provides all the basics that you will need to grow up to six medium sized plants.
Even if your budget is restricted, stealth is still highly important, so the Cash Crop 2.7 has plenty of stealth features including low noise fans, low heat lighting and dual carbon filters. Click here for more information and reviews of the Cash Crop 2.7
This is one of our favorites. It might be small, but the PC grow box is the ultimate in stealth growing. Nobody would ever look twice at the PC tower in the corner of the room. Only you will know that instead of solid state electronics it is packed with growing equipment and lovely lovely plants. Click here for more information and reviews of the PC Grow Box.
GOOD FOR: Medium to large grows for soil; Full cycle rotation; Cloning
The Earth Cab Grow Box series is a range of soil based grow boxes for those who still like to gets their hands in the dirt. There are 4 different boxes in the range; 2 different sizes and the choice of with or without dual chambers. All of the boxes in the Earth Cab range take stealth very seriously. Each is equipped with an oversized activated carbon filter to totally eliminate the dankest of odors. Exhaust mufflers and super quiet components also add to the stealthiness of this great series. Click here for more information and reviews of the Earth Cab Grow Box series.