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What is the difference between Smart Pots and air pots?

Both Smart Pots and air pots are types of fabric containers used for growing plants. The main difference between them is the material they are made from.

What are Smart Pots made of?

Smart Pots are made from a porous, breathable fabric called Smart Fabric. This fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles and allows air to permeate through the sides of the container. The fabric keeps the roots cooler and provides the roots with lots of oxygen. It also helps prevent root circling.

Benefits of Smart Pots

  • Promotes air pruning of roots
  • Allows excellent aeration and drainage
  • Helps prevent overwatering
  • Reduces transplant shock
  • Lightweight and portable

What are air pots made of?

Air pots are made from a plastic fabric that contains lots of inward facing “cones” along the sides. This unique structure allows for plenty of air to reach the root zone, while also providing the roots with support and stability.

Benefits of air pots

  • Increased oxygen to roots
  • Encourages healthy root growth
  • Minimizes root circling and root binding
  • Improves drainage
  • Sturdy and rigid structure

Similarities between Smart Pots and air pots

Although they are made from different materials, Smart Pots and air pots provide many of the same benefits:

  • Fabric construction allows air flow to roots
  • Minimizes transplant shock
  • Prevents root circling and root binding
  • Encourages healthy root growth
  • Improves drainage and aeration

The porous nature of both Smart Pots and air pots allows for “air pruning” of the roots. As roots reach the sides, they are exposed to air which causes the roots to stop growing and branch off instead. This helps prevent root circling and keeps roots healthy.

Differences between Smart Pots and air pots

While Smart Pots and air pots are similar in function, there are some key differences between the two:

Smart Pots Air Pots
Made from fabric Made from plastic
More flexible More rigid structure
Need support structure Sturdy on their own
Roots may grow through fabric Roots air pruned by cones
Come in more sizes Fewer size options
Cheaper price point More expensive

While both provide excellent aeration, Smart Pots retain a bit more moisture while air pots provide superior drainage. Air pots also have a sturdier shape that doesn’t require staking like fabric pots often do.

Using Smart Pots vs. air pots

Here are some tips for using Smart Pots and air pots:

Smart Pots

  • May need support structure like a trellis
  • Water more frequently as they retain moisture
  • Lift up to check if plants need water
  • Find proper size to avoid root binding
  • Use saucers to hold excess water

Air Pots

  • Sturdy on their own, usually don’t need support
  • Let soil dry out between waterings
  • Perfect for drought resistant plants
  • Move up pot sizes gradually
  • Place on plant trays or saucers

Choosing between Smart Pots and air pots

When deciding between Smart Pots and air pots, consider these factors:

  • Plant type – Certain plants, like tomatoes, may need more moisture retention from Smart Pots. Succulents and cacti would thrive in fast-draining air pots.
  • Watering needs – Smart Pots require more frequent watering. Air pots allow you to water less often.
  • Space – Air pots take up more floor space. Smart Pots can be collapsed when not in use.
  • Budget – Smart Pots are generally more affordable than air pots.
  • Durability – Air pots will likely last longer than fabric Smart Pots.

When to choose Smart Pots

Smart Pots are ideal if you:

  • Need to water plants frequently
  • Have a smaller growing space
  • Want an inexpensive pot option
  • Plan to transplant plants seasons

When to choose air pots

Air pots are a great choice if you:

  • Prefer less frequent watering
  • Want to minimize transplant shock
  • Are growing drought resistant plants
  • Need sturdy free-standing pots
  • Don’t mind spending more for quality


Smart Pots and air pots both provide excellent aeration and prevent root circling. Smart Pots retain a bit more moisture while air pots excel at drainage. Smart Pots come in more sizes and are made from an affordable fabric. Air pots have a sturdy plastic construction but are more expensive. Consider your specific needs, plant types, watering schedule, and budget when deciding between these two effective fabric pot options.