Carbon Filters for Grow Rooms Explained
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The use of carbon filters in cannabis growing is a relatively new practice, especially here in Spain. I still remember going over to my friends’ place and finding out they didn’t have carbon filters in their grow tent – their entire neighborhood would stink. Thinking back on it, it was kind of crazy – but growing cannabis indoors was also still a relatively new idea at the time. Nowadays, pretty much anyone knows that you need a carbon filter for a grow room to stay discreet and operational.
Carbon Filter for Grow Room | Intro
Nowadays, odor filters are one of the most important parts of growing cannabis indoors – cannabis plants let off intense aromas, even when growing, and everyone knows what it smells like now. Once they begin to flower, they really begin stinking the place up – if you don’t have any way to mask the smell or filter it, you may end up having issues with your neighbors and even the authorities.
To stop this from happening we’re going to give you a run-down of some of the best ways to filter cannabis odors – active carbon filters. These filters are here to stay and are the most-used method to get rid of cannabis odors in indoor grows; they’re super easy to use and install. You’ll need to keep a few parameters in mind when installing your filter. Keep reading to find out how they work and what you need to know before getting one.
What’s a carbon filter?
It’s all in the name – odor filters essentially get rid of any odor or aroma that passes through them, although some types of filters can also get rid of toxic particles.
When we say filter, you might be thinking of a typical fish tank filter; an extractor fan with some sort of cover on one end of it such as a sponge or a simple cloth cover. Well, it’s a similar system; odor filters are usually made out of polyester or spongey fibers, as well as other types of porous materials, as well as activated carbon.
What’s activated carbon?
Carbon or charcoal is a naturally absorbent material thanks to how porous it is, even without being activated. When activated it is one of the most absorbent materials on earth, used to filter both air and water. It can absorb almost any type of material although it works best with natural or organic elements.
Activated carbon is made using various different types of wood and fruit casings like coconut. Shells or wood are first carbonized at temperatures over 400°C, they’re treated again at over 800°C while being treated with vapor to open up micro-pores and increase absorption rates.
Activated carbon can be found in various formats; powdered, in granules and in pellets. Depending on the format, it can be used to filter air, gas or water. Activated carbon (or charcoal) is also used in cosmetics, for food purposes and for treating cases of severe intoxication.
Activated carbon uses:
- Water purification (osmosis filters, fish tanks etc.)
- Air purification (vents, air conditioners etc.)
- Odor filters (extractor fans, filters for growing cannabis etc.)
- Gas filters (gas masks, polluted areas etc.)
- Cosmetics (cleansers, makeup removers etc.)
- Dietary supplement (although there are side effects)
- Can treat intoxication
Activated Carbon Filter for Grow Room
Activated carbon filters come in various different formats. For example, the filters used in cooked tend to be thick plaques that contain porous fabrics that have been enriched with activated carbon. When it comes to carbon filters for ventilation ducts, they come in boxes which have various strips of that same fabric and activated carbon. However, cannabis filters come in a tubular container and contain a special amount of activated carbon pellets or granules.
Activated carbon filters for cannabis are known for their cylindrical, tube shape as well as their double layering of activated carbon, designed to make any air that flows through it go through the activated carbon for the best possible filter. It has a large amount of holes on the outer layer that allows for maximum air flow.
Carbon filters for cannabis growers tend to come in a sort of sock which stops any dirt from getting in and obstructing the air flow, which would reduce the amount of odor filtered and could be incredibly damaging for your plants. This increases the lifespan of your filter, allowing it to stay functional until the last gram of carbon is used up.
How to correctly install a carbon filter for your grow room
It’s not that hard to set up an odor filter in a grow tent, although you’ll need to keep in mind the weight and size of the filter itself – it needs to be as high up as possible for the best results. Once you have your filter and a good friend to come help you set it up, it’s time to get started.
Step 1: If growing in an indoor tent, you can simply attach it to the aluminum or steel bars at the top of the tents’ structure, using the straps that the tent should already have to keep it steady. This can be done simply, without the help of anyone else.
If you’re working in an open room, you’ll need to put holes in the ceiling and use eyebolts (the size depends on how hefty a filter you have). You can use chains or super strong pulleys to hold it up. You will most definitely need help from a friend to set this up.
Step 2: The next step involves attaching your aluminum or soundproofed ducting to your filter – make sure to get the right sizes or you’ll be quite disappointed. The ducting then needs to go all the way to the air extraction system or to your cooltube and then your extraction fan if you’re using a cooled lighting system.
Step 3: All you have left to do is connect your extraction fan to the outlet you previously made (in your room) or the extractor fan outlet in your grow tent. Now, all you have to do is turn your extraction fan on and make sure that there are no leaks – you’re ready to grow!
Lastly, you’ll also need to do regular maintenance on your filter system just to make sure that it’s working properly. You’ll need to periodically check the odor sock and the activated carbon inside. We recommend removing the sock every two months in order to wash it or simply replace it if it’s seen better days – make sure to check the carbon too, you don’t want it compacting inside. The best way to do this is placing it upwards on the ground and hitting it a couple of times lightly to make sure the carbon is moving around inside there.
Carbon filter troubleshooter
Carbon filters can cause a few issues when not used correctly, although some certain parameters and environmental conditions in your grow room can also affect them negatively. If your carbon filter starts acting up, you’ll know because of the smell. In order to avoid any issues, we recommend keeping the following information in mind:
- Carbon tends to become compact when relative humidity is high, around 75-80%, and once it begins to compact it’ll stop filtering correctly. It stops air from being able to pass through, which means any odors will be going straight back out into your grow room.
- When carbon compacts, it makes it incredibly hard for any air to pass through, which means that your extraction fan is probably going to have to work overtime and it may end up breaking due to overheating – this can also be dangerous when it comes to electrical installations, especially if they’re in any way faulty.
- Carbon compacting might also happen when you spray products with your extraction fan system turned on – whatever you spray ends up being pulled into the filter, which increases humidity and causes it to compact.
- Carbon filters also have a shelf-life – make sure to check with the manufacturer to see how long your filter will last. Once it’s used up, any odors coming from your grow will simply pass through, unfiltered.
- If you’re not planning on using your filter until your plants are in bloom or you’re simply done growing for now, you should clean the filter and the sock cover, then place the cover back on and cover it back up in its original packaging until you plan on using it again. If possible, pop in a couple of silicon sachets to keep humidity down. Keep it somewhere dry and dark and you should be able to keep it in perfect condition until you need it.
- When buying your carbon filter make sure that is 1/4 th stronger than your extractor in order to keep the air flow going perfectly; if not done right, you may end up slowing down the air flow in your extraction system which can cause some issues.
Using carbon filters is highly recommended when growing cannabis plants indoors. When installed properly they don’t tend to give many issues, but if you do run into a problem you can use this post to figure out what’s up. Get growing!
If you don't have a carbon filter for your grow room, after reading this article you'll want to get one ASAP! Discretion is just one step towards success!
Best Carbon Filter for Weed
We reviewed hundreds of carbon filters for growing weed a vailable on the market as of July 2020 and created a simple list to help you pick the best carbon filter for your cannabis grow tent setup. Each filter was evaluated across a variety of factors: cost, performance, replacement lifespan and more.
Have a question about a specific weed carbon filter? Ask us in the comments!
We compiled a list of the best LED grow lights on the market for the year of 2020 (the cheat sheet table is below with price ranges). Keep in mind, price can fluctuate depending on the manufacturer so we will try to update the prices as frequently as possible. Please refer to the product links in each of the sections to get the most up to date pricing information on Amazon.
Pro-tip: for best results, consider pairing one of these filters with one of our most recommended grow tent fans.
Best Carbon Filter Reviews
- 1 Led Grow Lights: Quick Product Comparison Chart
- 2 Things to consider before buying
- 3 Reviews of the Best LED Grow Lights of 2019
- 3.1 Editor’s Choice: iPower Air Carbon Filter
- 3.2 Runner Up: Vivosun 4 Inch Air Carbon Filter
- 3.3 CoolGrows 4 Inch Air Carbon Filter – Good For Beginners
- 3.3 Amagabeli 4 Inch Carbon Filter
- 3.5 VIVOSUN 6 Inch Filter + Kit – Most Trusted Brand
- 3.6 iPower 4 Inch Carbon Filter + Kit – Economical Choice
- 3.7 Growneer 4 Inch Carbon Filter – Low Budget Choice
- 3.8 Phresh Carbon Filter – Most Expensive
- 3.9 PrimeGarden Carbon Filter + Kit – Best Kit Value
- 3.10 VIVOSUN 6 Inch Carbon Filter – Best ROI For Small Grows
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Best Carbon Filters Of 2019
Things to consider before buying
There are a couple of things you absolutely need to consider before choosing the best LED grow light:
Reviews Of The Best Carbon Filters
Editor’s Choice: iPower Air Carbon Filter
Out of the hundreds of lights we’ve reviewed, the BESTVA 2000W definitely hits the sweet spot in terms of most bang for your buck. This light is priced modestly and runs very cool. It works great in different sized tents and the light spread is second to none.
These lights are made from China, but don’t let that fool you, they’re very powerful and work very well for any type of grow. The fans are extremely quiet. It’s recommended that during the flowering stage, you limit the use of this light to a 4×4 space in order to maximize for efficiency and light intensity. The design of this light allows for great light penetration and the set up is easy with minimal weight restrictions.
The new and improved Reflector Series model features a veg/flower switch, so it’s better than some of the cheaper LED grow lights on the market. This LED grow light definitely shined during the flowering stage, the results that we saw were incredible. We were extremely impressed with this grow light, especially with the brightness (our plants were thriving).
Average Amazon Review: 4.8 stars
# of Amazon Reviews: 605 +
Runner Up: Vivosun 4 Inch Air Carbon Filter
These lights have great design and also have high PAR value across your canopy. King Plus is a relatively new player in the market, but they have come out swinging with this light. Featuring 10W Double Chips, which are brighter more efficient than traditional 3W and 5W LEDs, this lamp is scientifically engineered to keep the balance of the PAR & lumen output and coverage. It gives BESTVA a run for it’s money, beating it on $ / watt, but keep in mind you typically get what you pay for and you can expect the BESTVA to last longer.
Great for grow tents, a room, and greenhouses. This is also a great product for you if you want something that’s easy to install as it comes with everything you need (hangers, cords, carabiners).
Customers rave about how fast the plants grow and how potent they become. This light produces very high PAR at a very low wattage. Great for energy consumption and for the price, this light gets the job done.
Average Amazon Review: 4 stars
# of Amazon Reviews: 95+
CoolGrows 4 Inch Air Carbon Filter – Good For Beginners
For those who love the P600 but don’t have quite that large of a budget or size of a grow tent, the Advanced Platinum Series P300 is a great runner-up. This is definitely a more affordable LED grow light that offers many of the same benefits as the P600, but at around half the price.
Its coverage is about 4.5 feet by 3.8 feet at an 18-inch height, perfect for compact grow areas, or when used in combination with additional lamps for larger areas. This light panel effectively replaces a 400W HPS light, while only actually using 180 watts of power – making it an energy efficient alternative to a traditional light. It’s just perfect for the small home grower. Just as the P600 represents the higher end of the market, this is still a serious piece of equipment–practically a steal for the amazing coverage you get.
This is a system that has a great high PAR per Lumen output of any other LED grow light panel I’ve seen. What does that mean? Well it means the panel gives off about 2 to 3 times the intensity of other grow lights.
More importantly, it has an 11 band spectrum that gives your marijuana plants the most nutritional value including those needed from UV and IR. The light chips are all 3W LEDs, and as I’ve mentioned before, the best 3-watt panels have an additional lens to focus the light a bit more. This panel comes with a 60-degree lens and secondary 90-degree focusing lens to give more intensity for plant growth.
The chips in this lamp are also replaceable and another reason for the slightly higher price tag. This means you can always keep that 400-watt output, even when a chip blows. Just order the one chip and replace it when it arrives from the manufacturer. With a 5-year guarantee, PlatinumLED offers security to their customers.
Average Amazon Review: 4 stars
# of Amazon Reviews: 40+
Amagabeli 4 Inch Carbon Filter – Versatile
Morsen is a top brand and you are looking for top quality. These lights typically run bigger and more powerful than most other LEDs. These lights have low energy consumption and really run great no matter what stage of plant growth you are in.
It’s a very high quality product and trusted brand for a very good price (especially when you compare to more expensive options out there like California Lightworks). Can be used in house garden, pot culture, sowing, a greenhouse + more. This particular product comes with a free power cord and free hanging hook. The lifespan for this light is particularly long and runs >50,000 hours and you should be good to go with the 3 year warranty in case anything breaks. This is a very safe option as it is also 3x to 5x the efficiency than HID & HPS lights.
Average Amazon Review: 4.1 stars
# of Amazon Reviews: 59+
VIVOSUN 6 Inch Air Carbon Filter 8 Feet of Ducting – Most Trusted Brand
Everyone knows the Apollo brand. This LED light produces very little heat because of the compactness of the product.
The Apollo brands are typically lighter in weight and this light is easier to mount inside grow tents in particular. The price is very good for someone that isn’t looking to spend much but is looking for a recognized brand and quality.
This particular product has been known to provide great light no matter what stage you are in (veg or flower). The Apollo light will have enough lumens to do whatever your plant needs to do with little to no heat and easy installation steps for you to follow. Plants respond well and these lights consume less power with great durability.
When we tested this product ourselves, we did notice that the fan did error on the hot side (despite the fact that it has fans). This light does have a lifespan of
50,000 hours, but does lack a power switch – which can be an annoyance to some growers. What we have noticed is that this particular light is great for medium sized, simple set up.
Average Amazon Review: 4 stars
# of Amazon Reviews: 160+
iPower 4 Inch Carbon Filter + Kit – Economical Choice
The first thing comes to mind for this product is the price. For what it costs, you’re getting a great product that has high output and is durable.The intensity of the light is great especially considering it is very power efficient with great spectrum on the light. The fans on this light also help keep the temperature down dramatically and is great for a beginner indoor grower who wants to test a light at an affordable price.
The recommended height to plant distance is around 12”-50” depending on the growing stages. The item is light at around 5 pounds and is extremely bright given the size. This light may not speed up the growing pace for your plants like some of the more expensive options, but it’s perfectly serviceable.
Despite the fact that this light doesn’t offer the full spectrum setup, it is still great for growth (especially if you are a beginner doing a basic set up). You’ll need to purchase basic accessories that typically don’t come with the cheaper LED lights (timer).
Average Amazon Review: 3.5 stars
# of Amazon Reviews: 11+
Growneer 4 Inch Carbon Filter – Low Budget Choice
California Lightworks 440W LED Grow Light definitely falls under one of the more expensive lights on our list, but this is one situation where you get the results you pay for. This particular unit comes in a bright red color – a stark change from subtly-colored light panels from other manufacturers.
The light is a bit more intense than those with 3W chips, as this uses 5W LEDs instead – 88 of them. The optics are all jewel-quality glass focused at 90 degrees. In addition, it has two 15W UV-B tubes to enhance growth at the flowering stages. This panel runs cool and quiet with its built-in fans, and it comes with a 3-year warranty. California Lightworks is always a very well-recognized brand in the LED community, so you can’t go wrong here. It’s also one of the most popular lamps for producing flower for CBD oils and tinctures.
Average Amazon Review: 4.7 stars
# of Amazon Reviews: 16+
Phresh Filter – Most Expensive
This light does not get loud nor does it get loud. When we tried this light, it exceeded our expectations, especially for an “inexpensive” light.
The brand has been around for a while hence why they are able to make the installation easy for just about everyone (they’ve been in business for over 7 years and are a well-known brand in the industry). This light was definitely one of the more energy efficient compared to some of the other lights that we tested (especially the cheaper ones). We used ours in a 4×4 canopy and it worked great as the light was able to penetrate all open space.
This light does have the switch so you can toggle between veg/bloom mode, making this one of the premier lights for compact spaces. It can also be used for medium-sized spaces, so it’s an extremely versatile. It has the full spectrum of blue, red, and white for the veg and flowering stages.
Average Amazon Review: 4.2 stars
# of Amazon Reviews: 350+
PrimeGarden Carbon Filter + Kit – Best Kit Value
This is a very highly lauded grow light with some of the best longevity we have seen in the LED category. G8LED has had many iterations and has been producing LED grow lights for 8 years. Many bloggers and review sites describe this light as the cream of the crop, and it has been awarded some high accolades by major publications.
These lights are for both vegetative growth and flowering and provide intense lighting for 24 square feet of canopy. The light emits low heat and requires low electricity usage. If you want to graduate from a beginner set up to a professional production, this is the perfect light for you.
You may think it is a high price tag, but the money you save through electricity costs and the durability of this light will get you a long way.
Oh and by the way? High Times rated this the best LED light of 2016.
Average Amazon Review: 4 stars
# of Amazon Reviews: 32+
VIVOSUN 6 Inch Carbon Filter – Best ROI For Small Grows
This is great bang for your buck. One of the lowest priced option of the bunch and great energy savings. With only 269 watts pulled from the outlet, the light is able to still give high PAR value (equivalent to a 600W HPS/MH) which will allow for very valuable savings after a few months, so you should be able to get your $ back soon.
These lights deliver 12 bands including 2 IR and 2 UV through optical lens to maximize the PAR per watt. The VIPARSPECTRA lights are great for the veg cycle and you should see results quickly with the brightness of the light. The lights themselves are very powerful, but don’t give off the same kind of heat as some of the other more expensive brands/lights on this list.
We reviewed hundreds of carbon filters for growing weed available on the market as of July 2020 and created a simple list to help you pick the best carbon filter for your cannabis grow tent setup. Each filter was evaluated across a variety of factors: cost, performance, replacement lifespan and more. Have a question ab