2011 is over and what a long, strange trip -- well, you probably know how the rest of the song goes. Either way, it was a good year.
While outdoor growers usually measure the quality of the year in terms of weather and harvest size, the indoor grower can evaluate success in terms of how new technology and products speed up and simplify the time and labor it takes to bring a crop from seed to scale. Dozens of new products released in 2011 were definitely good for that.
To help sort through the clutter, we asked our BetterGrow Hydro sales and technical support staff to name the second annual Top 10 New Products of the Year.
10. Centurion PRO - Leaf Trimmer
Our last pick for best new item of the year happens to be last automated leaf trimmer a grower will ever need: The Centurion PRO, which has revolutionized the world of post-harvest processing. A new and improved version of the Centurion, the trimmer that started it all and gave rise to a number of imitators, the new Centurion PRO is designed to give the cleanest, closest cut in less time -- and for less money, since it is half the cost of competing trimmers. A D2 hardened steel blade that holds its edge 50 times longer than the competitor's blade is at the core of this machine, and the blade is held in place with a patent pending rare earth magnet system that makes adjustment and maintenance a simple task.
9. Hi-E Dry 195 - Commercial Dehumidifier
Most dehumidifiers can't handle the amount of moisture produced in a modern grow room. But the Hi-E Dry 195 can. Capable of removing 195 pints of water from the air per day, the Hi-E Dry 195 is also very efficient, drawing 12 amps while removing nearly 6 pints per kilowatt hour of electricity -- almost twice the industry standard rate. Plus, the Hi-E Dry also has a strong condensate pump capable of lifting condensate 17 feet from the unit.
8. Botanicare Low Tide Trays
Less is more, right? So why would you need a flood tray with 6" or 7" sides if you plan on using a drip or hand water system and only need the tray to catch runoff and return it to the reservoir or send it down the drain? Answer: You don't, especially since Botanicare's Low Tide Trays hit the market. With 3.5" sidewalls and sturdy construction, Low Tide Trays are perfect for drip systems or hand-watering, cost less than their taller counterparts and come in 3'x3', 4'x4', 2'x8' and 4'x8' sizes.
7. Can-Lite Carbon Filters
Carbon filters are the most reliable and effective way to remove grow room odors. But the weight of most larger filters makes it difficult to hang them near the top of the grow room or grow tent where heat builds up. It can also be costly to have larger, heavy filters shipped. But the new line of Can-Lite carbon filters, avaible in 6", 8", 10", 12" and 14" models, changed all that. Can-Lite filters weigh considerably less than standard carbon filters of the same size yet are just as effective at removing odors. Additionally, Can-Lite filters come with a built-in flange and last up to 2.5 years.
6. Dust Shroom 10" and 12"
Your garden is only as good as what you put into it, so why let your exhaust system bring in mold, insects, dirt, dust and other debris? Before the arrival of Horti-Control's Dust Shroom 10" and 12" models, growers wth large centrifugal fans relied on airflow-killing HEPA filters, pantyhose or worse to keep the dirt of the outside world from reaching their gardens and the insides of reflectors. But these larger Dust Shroom models give growers the ability to trap 99.9 percent of particles without any CFM loss, a combination that sets the Dust Shroom apart from other air filtration devices. The Dust Shroom, also available in 4", 6", and 8" models, is both washable and reusable to help keep your garden clean for years to come.
5. Evolution RO1000 - 1000 GPD Reverse Osmosis System
Of all the things a hydroponic or organic garden needs, an ample and steady source of clean water is probably the most important. Hydrologic's Evolution RO 1000 reverse osmosis system delivers that in spades, producing 1,000 gallons of low-TDS water per day. By itself, the Evolution RO 1000 and its KDF/Catalytic Carbon prefilter reduces total dissolved solids by 95 percent while conserving more water than comparable systems with its 2:1 waste-to-pure water rejection ratio. Pair the Evolution RO 1000 with the Pre-Evolution 1000, which adds two additional stages of KDF/carbon filtration, to remove even more contaminants and keep the system running cleaner and longer. The Pre-Evolution is recommended for anyone using upwards of 150 gallons of water per week.
4. APE 2.0 - Agricultural Pollen Extractor
As growers, we all try to get the most of our crop -- and now there is an 800-pound gorilla here to help us out. The APE 2.0 Agricultural Pollen Extractor makes it simple to harvest pollen from leftover plant material. Just load the 160-gram capacity quick-fill barrel with material, close the hood and let ‘er rip. Within seconds the pollen will start filtering through the 220-micron screen and begin collecting on the tempered glass catch tray below. A 180-micron screen is available for those seeking to collect highly refined pollen. Best of all, this heavyweight extractor only weighs in at only 21 pounds, making it easy to take it wherever it needs to be.
3. Gro-Smart Tray - 78 cell
Starting seeds and clones in rockwool got a whole lot easier in 2011 with the introduction of Grodan's 78-cell Gro-Smart Tray. With one side desgned with slots to fit Macroplugs and A-OK Starter Plugs and the other with mesh to hold Mini-Blocks and Gro-Blocks, the Gro-Smart Tray helps eliminate some of the common difficulties of propogating in rockwool, such as wet feet and inadequate air circulation, by slightly elevating the rockwool. The Gro-Smart Tray not only fits perfectly inside a seedling tray, but is also study enough to be reused many times and is even dishwasher safe.
2. Can MAX Fan 6" - 334 CFM w/ Speed Control
After what seemed like ages, someone finally figured out how to combine strength and silence in an inline fan. The result is the Can MAX Fan 6", perhaps the most advanced inline fan on the market. Boasting 334 CFM that can be dialed down to 264 CFM or 201 CFM using the built-in speed controller, the Can MAX Fan's Mixed Flow blade design is engineered to maintain high airflow when pushing or pulling through long and complicated duct runs. Lab tests show the Can MAX Fan 6" still generates 259 CFM even when attached to a filter and 25 feet of ducting. A winner in our customers' rankings of the best gardenng products, the Can MAX Fan 6" is also extremely energy efficient, consuming just 70 watts at its highest setting.
The 6" model is the newest addition to the MAX Fan line, which includes 8", 10", 12" and 14" MAX Fans. Additionally, Can MAX Fans paired with Can Filters deliver true CFM ratings that let growers know exactly how much air is moving through their exhaust or odor control system.
1. Power Cloner by Botanicare
Aeroponic cloners are among the fastest and easiest ways to root cuttings, and Botanicare upped the ante this past year with the redesign of the Power Cloner series. Featuring
- Low profile reservoirs with Water Volume Indicators
- Internally seated tray
- Drainage grid with a recessed pump
- Customizable points for installation of spouts and fittings
- Unique Cord Guide - For improved cord management
The Power Cloner lets growers quickly propagate a large number of plants in a small amount of space using a high-power submersible pump and microjet sprayers that promote rapid root development -- even with cuttings from trees. Plus, the entire Power Cloner line, comes with Botanicare's Power Clone Rooting Solution and AquaShield fermented compost solution to get the clone party started. Available in 45, 77, and 180 plant site configurations.
(Click here to learn more about aeroponic cloning and other propagation methods).
2011 was definitely a year of advances for grow room tools and technology. We hope to see even more innovation in 2012.