Are you looking for a thorough list of everything you’ll need to grow cannabis indoors? I compiled a full list for people on a tight budget, as well as a list for those with a more flexible budget.
A basic list of items you’ll need to start growing cannabis indoors includes seeds, soil, a grow light, grow bags, nutrients, a humidifier, a digital hygrometer, and an oscillating fan.
I estimate you can purchase the minimum necessary equipment and grow one cannabis plant for about $400, including electricity. That may sound like a lot, but when you compare it to purchasing from a dispensary, you’ll see it’s actually a fraction of what you’d spend at a dispensary.
Of course, if you have a more flexible budget, you can equip a larger space, use more efficient equipment, and grow as more than one cannabis plant indoors. Even when you purchase enough equipment for a larger space, the total cost is a fraction of what you’d spend buying that much cannabis from a dispensary.
3 Complete Lists (Different Budgets) of Everything You Need To Start Growing Cannabis Indoors:
Based on the prices for one ounce of weed in major US and Canadian cities, if you consume 1 ounce per month, you’d be spending $1320-$2520 per year on cannabis.
List #1: $420-$460 Budget Grow (No grow tent, 1-4 plants)
What might the total cost look like under a more flexible budget scenario where you want to grow an additional cannabis plant?
Let’s take a look:
List #2: ~$715 Hydroponic Setup (No grow tent, 2 plants)
For the first two cost estimates above, keep in mind you’ll need to maintain humidity at 50%. Since you’re growing without a grow tent, you may want to grow in a closed room where you can keep humidity levels around 50%.
List #3: 4x4ft Grow Tent & LED Grow Light (~$1,270)
Common Questions About Buying Indoor Cannabis Setups:
- How many watts do I need in a grow light?
A 150w-200w HPS grow light is sufficient for one plant. A 400w HPS grow light will be sufficient for a 4x4 grow space. The Mars Hydro TS-3000 LED grow light I recommended for the 4x4ft grow tent is the cheapest option for a 4x4ft space, and it consumes about 450 watts. I don’t recommend using HPS grow lights inside a tent, they get too hot.
2. How many plants fit in a grow tent?
A 2x4 foot tent will fit 2 adult cannabis plants. A 4x4 foot grow tent will fit up to 4 adult plants.
3. What Soil Should I Use?
I recommend using plain soil and adding your own NPK nutrients. Buying soil with NPK nutrients mixed in will make things more confusing and increase the risk of feeding too many nutrients. Organic soil with organic compounds like bat guano or fish meal is okay to use/mix with NPK nutrients. But don’t mix NPK soil with NPK nutrients.
4. Is a humidifier absolutely necessary?
I highly recommend one because dry low humidity conditions will stress your plants and you won’t want to be without one if you need it. Buy one that turns on/off at specified humidity levels.
5. Why do I need an oscillating fan?
Air flow is key to preventing mold and mildew! Oscillating fans serve a different purpose from inline fans. One maintains airflow inside the tent, one removes hot air from the tent. Buy both!
6. Should I buy a grow tent?
If you can afford one, I highly recommend it. It makes controlling the environment much easier, and a stable, proper environment is essential to growing successfully. If you’re on a tight budget you can get away without one but it may be tougher to control humidity, temperatures, or air flow.
7. What nutrients do you recommend?
General Hydroponics nutrients are a trusted brand that are simple and easy to use. If you have a little extra spending room consider Recharge soil microbes which are an inexpensive way to boost your yields. Soil microbes can be used in addition to nutrients.
8. Why do I need pH tester & adjuster?
Proper pH is essential to the growth of your plant’s ability to grow and absorb nutrients. Luckily the kits are inexpensive.
Why Grow Cannabis Indoors?
There are several reasons why you should consider growing cannabis at home instead of purchasing from a dispensary. If you’re already convinced, you can skip the next few sections, otherwise allow me to convince you!
The most shocking reason is the difference in cost compared to buying at a dispensary. The other reasons are developing a hobby, and guaranteeing you know the quality of your marijuana.
Growing Cannabis Indoors Doubles As A Hobby:
Among the other benefits to home growing, growing your plants at home can be a fulfilling hobby. Growing marijuana indoors is a bit more complicated than home grown vegetables or flowers, but totally worth it in the long run.
There’s a large community of growers on internet forums like GrassCity or THCtalk. People share everything about their home grows from pictures, tips, and detailed journals. Even if you don’t get involved in forums, it’s a great way to improve your home growing experience.
Once you’re all set up, tending to your plants won’t even take much time until harvest. The low time investment is another great benefit to growing marijuana at home if you’re a busy person.
You have total control over whether you want to spend a lot of time experimenting with different growing mediums, nutrients, and grow lights, or keep things simple with a basic setup and grow method.
Quality Control Is A Major Reason To Grow Cannabis Indoors:
Maybe one of the most important reasons to grow marijuana indoors instead of purchasing it at a dispensary, or worse, from a street dealer, is quality control.
Time and time again the public witnesses instances of businesses being negligent. While a majority of legally grown marijuana is totally fine, you’ll never really witness how the plant is handled from seedling to packaging unless you grow indoors. I’m talking about producers and dispensaries.
Two recent stories come to my mind but I know there are many more out there.
The first is the example of CannTrust growing cannabis in several unlicensed grow rooms at their facilities. Health Canada, Canada’s public health agency, came in and halted operations.²
Unlicensed grow operations are usually unlicensed because the producer can’t or doesn’t want to meet certain safety or health standards, like preventing mildew, mold, or insects in the grow operation.
The second example is Sundial Growers selling one half ton (1,000 pounds) of moldy marijuana containing bits of rubber glove and other non-cannabis material to Zenabis Global.³
Zenabis is a large marijuana products company in Canada, who presumably would’ve sold the cannabis to customers if the mold was not spotted.
These were problems at the producer level. In many cases your weed is then shipped to a dispensary, where it’s subject to further quality control issues.
Growing cannabis indoors means you control the quality of your buds from seed to flower. Combine that with the satisfaction you get from harvesting your home grown cannabis after all of the care and effort you put into it, and home growing becomes a very attractive option.
Lower Your Expenses By Growing Marijuana Indoors:
If the first two reasons for growing weed indoors didn’t convince you enough, maybe the cost savings will. At first look you may find the initial cost of growing cannabis at home to be prohibitive.
Growing cannabis indoors costs 60-80% less than regularly buying from a dispensary, according to my estimates.
The truth is, you can be a minimalist and still have your home grown cannabis pay for itself in a short period of time. Below I’ll lay out the details of how you can grow weed indoors on a low or high budget.
The first step is determining how much it would cost to buy cannabis from a dispensary, and compare that to your cost of growing weed indoors.
According to Budzu, the average cost of purchasing one ounce of marijuana from a dispensary in major US and Canadian cities (at the time of writing) is between $110 and $210, depending on quality.
How much bud can you get from one plant?
In comparison to the dispensary prices mentioned above, how much weed can you grow with one plant indoors? Does it cost less to grow than buying at a dispensary? This is a crucial part to understanding why growing cannabis at home is so much better financially.
The general rule of thumb is that you’ll be able to grow one gram of cannabis per true watt of light used, regardless of how many plants you have under the light.
So if you’re growing one plant under a true 400 watt grow light, you can reasonably expect 225 to 400 grams (~8oz – 14oz) of marijuana at harvest. Two plants under a true 400 watt grow light should also yield the same total of roughly 14oz.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t apply to autoflowering plants, which have smaller yields due to a shorter growth period.
Even though light is important, there are several factors that contribute to your harvest weight, so you can expect it to vary widely. Inexperienced growers may harvest a couple ounces, but studied cannabis growers can harvest many multiples of that.
Regardless of how your first harvest ends up, when you’re talking 60-80% less cost for growing weed indoors, then it’s pretty easy to guarantee a lower expense compared to buying from a dispensary.
Light is the most important factor affecting indoor cannabis yields:
One point I need to stress is the direct correlation between the amount of light you provide and the amount of cannabis you’ll harvest. You don’t want to cheap out on a grow light.
Check out my home page for the best LED grow lights on the market, or if you’re interested in an HPS light, check out my article about the best double ended (DE) HPS grow lights. I guarantee the lights I researched for these articles won’t do you wrong.
Below I recommend grow lights pulling 400 watts from the outlet. Of course you can find a cheaper light, but you won’t get these same results. If you’re more interested in this topic, check out my article on the minimum amount of daily light your cannabis plant needs to maximize yield.
You can also check out my video explaining how to choose the best LED grow lights. I understand there are several factors that people aren’t expecting to encounter when shopping for a simple piece of equipment, so I try to take that complexity and simplify it all for you in my video:
Growing cannabis indoors costs 60-80% less than buying from a dispensary!
First of all, these are just estimates! I know people will claim they’ll spend a bit less or more for a similar result. The point is that growing cannabis indoors costs a fraction of the price of regularly going to a dispensary.
The upfront costs estimated above may be considerable, but the marijuana you grow will pay for itself after the first harvest.
I would say growing one cannabis plant at home is highly attainable for most people, and would definitely cover most people’s consumption habits. No matter which method or number of plants you choose to grow, the end result is always a fraction of the dispensary cost!
Do you like CBD or THC oil? Making your own oil at home can also save a lot of money! Read how to make your own CBD oil at home here.
Other factors that affect indoor cannabis yields:
Your exact yield can vary widely. If you follow provide enough light and nutrients you’re well on your way. But there are other factors affecting the yield of home grown cannabis.
Other factors include strain type, plant size, duration of vegetative and flowering growth phases, proper humidity, and whether you use a trellis and train the branches, or just let them fall all over the place.
A skilled grower with a few harvests under their belt should be able to reach the higher end of the 14oz per plant range. If it’s your first time around you could see closer to 8oz using a 400 watt grow light. If you use a different light wattage you’ll also see a different yield.
Is it better to grow cannabis indoors?
When growing cannabis indoors it’s much easier to control the environment, quality, and expenses compared to buying from a dispensary
What are the benefits of growing cannabis at home?
In addition to the lower cost, the other benefits are developing a fun hobby and being able to control the quality of your grow.
- Business, Cannabis. “Canntrust Shares Plunge After Health Canada Finds Violations At Second Cannabis Facility”. Financial Post, 2019, https://business.financialpost.com/cannabis/cannabis-business/canntrusts-vaughan-cannabis-facility-found-non-compliant-by-health-canada.
- Cherney, Max. “Wall Street’S Latest Billion-Dollar Pot Company Had A Half-Ton Of Bad Weed Returned As It Was Going Public”. Marketwatch, 2019, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/wall-streets-latest-billion-dollar-pot-company-had-a-half-ton-of-bad-weed-returned-as-it-was-going-public-2019-08-16?siteid=yhoof2&yptr=yahoo.
Chandra, Suman, Hemant Lata, Ikhlas Khan, and Mahmoud Elsohly. “Photosynthetic response of Cannabis sativa L. to variations in photosynthetic photon flux densities, temperature and CO2 conditions.” Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants 14.4 (2009): 299-306.
Backer Rachel, Schwinghamer Timothy, Rosenbaum Phillip, McCarty Vincent, Eichhorn Bilodeau Samuel, Lyu Dongmei, Ahmed Md Bulbul, Robinson George, Lefsrud Mark, Wilkins Olivia, Smith Donald L. (2019). “Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria for Cannabis Production: Yield, Cannabinoid Profile and Disease Resistance.” Frontiers in Plant Science 10. 10.3389/fpls.2019.00495