Smart pots vs Air pots?

Discussion in 'Indoor Growing' started by loquacious, Feb 19, 2011.


    wwfjdraw Active Member

    I am using smart pots, but after reading reviews, forums, and this article found here:

    it seems that the smart pots are the oldest and least satisfactory of it's inventors creations in the field of root pruning.

    So in the end if I had to choose between which ones to use for my next grow, I would choose the air pots over the smart pots possibly, however remember that I still never tried any form of air pruning other than one time experience with smart pots. And also continue to remember that the smart pots seem to be more reliable in regards to cutting down on mess, and in regards to RO. And finally smart pots are superior in regards to being able to get away with watering less often.

    So then why would I recommend Air Pots over Smart Pots? Because in comparison side by side after comparison the air pot seems to give better growing results and better root development.

    I would like to point something interesting out, and after pointing it out I would like to know what your opinions are.

    I would like to point out that it is very odd to me to see people comparing only two forms of air pruning when a couple more seem to have been invented and seem to be available. If you look at the article and the products in it it mentions 4 or more types of air pruning containers, meanwhile many people seem only discuss the two known as air pots and smart pots. Are we as consumers who visit these forums therefore to assume that these other pots do not matter? That these other pots are not good enough? Please someone share your knowledge or opinion after checking out all the products, because until proven or discussed about otherwise for all we all know we are sitting here in these forums discussing inferior pots when their could be similar and better ones that are written about and never widely talked about.

    And lastly my final question is this: If everyone seems to want the best air pruning which seems to be the air pot but at the same time everyone wants the smart pot convenience of less mess, less watering, watering through the bottom up and on the sides of the fabric with RO, and that didn't have to be made DIY, then instead of debating which pot to get can't we just get the pot that combines the too right here:

    According to the picture shown on the page from the link above, it seems that you get the best of both worlds, can have your cake and eat it too. It seems to be similar to the form of the air pot, and should be as good if not better, since the fabric part inside should do as it says in the description and that is provide shade to the roots as they grow and prune in to the hole.

    And since it has fabric even if it is an amazingly thin amount according to the perception the image seems to give, it seems that with it there the whole pot would need less watering, and would be able to do RO. And even if the fabric does something like tear it really wont be that big of a deal because some fabric is still at least very good in comparison to not any fabric, and even if all the fabric eventually wore off then you could still use it as an air pot right?

    Has anyone tried these other pots?
    loquacious likes this.

    loquacious Well-Known Member

    Just saw this thread pop back up and I must say that those airpots are awesome! I gave them to a friend of mine and then tried using smart pots and to be honest, there is no difference. The only thing is that you need to use less watering for each of them but, water more often. They do tend to dry out pretty fast. I cannot wait to start growing again one day and I am working on some hydro systems to be ready.

    loquacious Well-Known Member

    This guy has a point. I will definitely agree that smart pots are a lot cleaner as I found out. if you decide to use airpots, make sure and have them in some kind of catch tray.

    bulimic Well-Known Member

    I use 1 gallon airpots for veg and 3 gallon smartpots for flower. I seem to have a lot of success. Only thing is the airpots seem like bug heaven, but with proper control shouldn't be a problem.

    AltarNation Well-Known Member

    They each have their ups and downs... I will say, my 1 gal air pots take up the same amount of footprint as my 2 gal smart pots. Only a relevant factor for some, but a factor none the less...

    wwfjdraw Active Member

    I understand what your saying, but wouldn't the rootbuilder II fix any cons of either of them since it seems to be both fabric and with those plastic holes all in one.

    AltarNation Well-Known Member

    I took a look at the RBII real quick, it looks like the sides are still plastic, but they have downward angled spouts to reduce light leak and encourage root capture. They also appear to have a cloth layer across the bottom instead of just plastic grating to support like the airpots have.

    I'd say it's a reasonable compromise... but I don't think it has fabric all the way up the sides... hard to tell in the pics though, anyone have them?

    AltarNation Well-Known Member

    My biggest complaints about airpots are, by far,

    the watering issues where it tends to pour out the sides when you try to water the outer perimeter, (resulting in low root density near the edges, which stayed relatively dry, in my finding.)

    and, the extra inch added to each side to accommodate the eggshelling, which is only relevant to me because I work in tight spaces with short veg time and sometimes need to crowd pots as close together as possible.

    For whatever reason, smart pots simply take water near the edges better. Much less likely to pour out. Something about the difference in the way water responds to the consistent surface of the fabric versus the inconsistency of the plastic grating. If the soil isn't packed into the pots and filled down the sides well, sometimes there will be a little trouble, but if you got the top filled out to the edges it tends to send the water straight down.

    Main_Stream Member

    I'm planning on using 10 Gallon Smart pots so I'll definitely be looking at this thread for guidance.

    mtdisher Active Member

    I've never tried manufactured air pots, but I make them from used nursery pots(and other containers) and root pruning pots are amazing. I haven't seen a spun out root ball since the switch.

    I simply punch holes in the sides all over, though I have found using my soldering iron to be a less painful process. I don't like lining them myself, but I install a wick or two in the bottom of the pot, and each girl has a constant source of water below to stay hydrated. The only top watering I do is when I use an AACT or other liquid organic fertilizer.

    rohis Active Member

    I prefer airpots to smart pots because
    -They are elevated off the ground. a cold floor can really screw things up
    -Can be washed in a dishwasher and reused for a looong time
    -Picking them up doesn't stress the outer roots
    -Roots don't try to grow through the bottom
    -Easier transplants

    and you guys should be buying your air pots from roguehydro. free shipping. lowest prices I've seen in the US, and they give you discounts after buying just 6 (as opposed to having to buy 50 to get a price break)

    Edit: i believe the promo code rollitup also give you a further discount
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
    AltarNation likes this.

    rohis Active Member

    also people, keep in mind what constant root growth means for your canopy size.

    For example,
    The first time I used a 1 gallon airpot, it grew to the same height as the other plants next to it in 5 gal buckets and had even more side branching. Had I planted it in a 3 gal air pot, it could have easily been too much growth to manage in a tent.

    I wouldn't advise using anything bigger than the green based 3 gal equivalent or the blue based 5 gal equivalent unless you're completely 'on top of your shit' and fully 'with the program'.

    BigRedKev Member

    i use airpots, and have noticed a decent difference in growtrh rates and my ability to feed and water the plants on a consistent basis, these pots changed the game for me in the grow room. although i purchased to small of a pot (2gal equivalent-need3 or 5)they work great and are out performing 7 gallon nursery pots in terms of growth rate. all same nutes, they also seem to aid in keeping my girls healthy by having so much 02, they cant be over watered at all if your not totally inept in the garden, and seem to resist any deficiencies based on the ability to feed one day, water the next and feed after that, boom boom boom, always drinking in these pots...
    Picnicbill and crawlintbss like this.

    GroErr Well-Known Member

    When I switched to fabric pots I had the same issue initially. The trick is to make sure there are no folds/pockets when you put your medium in. With the 50% soil/50% Pro-Mix medium I use, during a transplant I fill around the plant/roots, press the edges down to eliminate any folds/pockets around the edges, not enough to pack the medium much but enough to make sure the medium is even and fill any gaps/cracks. Then i top it up/even out the top layer. After doing that I haven't had any issues with water dripping out or straight through. Not a lot of thoughts on the smart pots as I only tried it once and parallel to fabric, I found the fabric root system to be better when I tried it and the cost is now next to nothing for the fabric pots, re-using them a couple of times the fabric pots perform well enough and root development/plant health is great, no plans to change for a while.
    Yodaweed and AltarNation like this.

    AltarNation Well-Known Member

    Actually, I was referring to the air pots... I do not have this problem with smart pots, which is why I prefer them, generally.

    However, the advice you gave still applies, and I do find that air pots are less finicky if I am very careful when packing down the sides. :)
    GroErr likes this.
    gk skunky

    gk skunky Well-Known Member

    I use two kinds of fabric bags(felt and these cheap ones I got off amazon that look almost like some type of fiberglass) and air pots. The air pots are more sturdy but the bags water more evenly much easier. For the price fabric is the way to go. The air pots are taller than wide so you could squeeze more in. Fabric or airpot, they both work great just depends on what you want. IMHO you can retain more media and more efficiently water with the fabric. But if durability is you're only concern go air pot. Can't really go wrong with either type honestly.
    Picnicbill and AltarNation like this.

    Picnicbill Well-Known Member

    I just switched to Air Pots when I went to 12/12. I learned that you just have to slow down when adding water, let the soil absorb and then add some more until you get the proper run off. My girls need watering every 3-4 days instead of every 6-7 days. That means more o2 in the soil which is a good thing! Mine at 6 weeks showing more mass than my previous grow in "growers pots".

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    BigRedKev Member

    the only problem with this method is that you do not get the smart pot version where there is not one single parallel surface inside the pot! this is the other main factor making these pots elite comparably because yes u get air pruning plus 02 for your root zone, you get rid of terrible root spiraling cause by using regular pots...terrible use of the media within a container garden. trust me spend the extra money for these smart pots airpots version... you wont need bigger than 5 gal equiv for soil and no bigger than 3 gal equiv for coco or other soiless mediums[/QUOTE]

    Lazerus00 Member

    I just read a lot about those rootbuilder 2's and side by side with air pot there isn't much to compare as far as quality..Air pot is the superior product and its greener being made from recycled plastic. The root builders are cut on the verticle where as the air pot is cut on the diagonal making the close that much better and also the root builders come with 1, 1time use ziptie to close them instead of the reusable closing system the air pot uses. I am using smartpots for the first time this year and have yet to use air pots bc I didn't learn about them until after I had already bought the smarties so I figured to stick with what I got for this grow and try air pot next grow and that way I'll have a real life example for which one suits me best. I can tell you this, I really like how the air pot sets its bottom off the ground bc I feel like I will ave to prop the smarties up so the do not sit in their own runoff, and as far as drying out faster I guess only time will tell which one I find to dry faster but I have read so many places that people say they dry out about the same. I also like how transplanting with air pots is a much quicker and overall less potentially dangerous to the roots...just how I feel but awesome thread guys! Good reads!

    EveryBlueMoon Active Member

    Amazon is the best bro.

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