Hydroponics Reviews

Best Hydroponic System Reviews: Complete Buyer’s Guide

Are you looking for the Best Hydroponic System on the market? Read on as we review all the top options with Pros & Cons.
Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Given all of the benefits that hydroponics provides, it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular method of growing plants. Various types of fruits, veggies, and herbs (both those that are used to season food and healing herbs, such as cannabis) can be grown using hydroponic systems.

If you’re thinking about giving it a try yourself, you’ll find that there are plenty of ready-made kits available. But with so many options to choose from, trying to narrow down the best hydroponic system for your specific needs can seem like an overwhelming task.

To help you on your quest for finding a hydroponic system that will yield large amounts of healthy plants, we’ve taken the liberty of doing the research for you. After spending hours researching and testing we’ve narrowed down the options to what we believe are the best.

Below, you’ll find reviews of our top picks, including the key features these systems offer, as well as the pros and cons of each one. We also provide a handy buyer’s guide that details the most important factors that you should take into consideration when you’re trying to decide which model to choose. Based on the information provided in this guide, you should be able to decide which hydroponic system will work best for your specific needs.

Our Top Picks

If you’re in a rush and don’t have a lot of time to read through detailed reviews, this section is for you. Here, you’ll find brief overview of our top picks for the best hydroponic systems .

Best Pick: iDOO 12 Pods Indoor Herb Garden Kit

iDOO Hydroponic Growing System, 12Pods Indoor Herb Garden with Grow Light, Germination Kit with Air System, Automatic Timer, Height Adjustable
  • Hydroponic Circulation System: Indoor garden germination kit is designed with a water-pump circulation system, plants growing faster than soil. You have total control over the weather all year round, no mess, no limitation. No seeds inside due to import restrictions.
  • Air Circulation System: Herb garden system comes with a fan on the light panel, helps to promote air flow and increase the success rate of pollination. Pump & Fan turns on/off automatically, super low noise. Also, you can turn it off for 10 hours and then go into a cycle of 30 mins on/30 mins off. Have a deep sleep even the garden kit in your bedroom.
  • High-Performance Grow Lights: The 23-Watt LED lights of hydroponics growing system simulate the sunlight spectrum, promoting plants' photosynthesis in any weather. the indoor gardening with plants can be placed in the kitchen, bedroom, or office.
  • 2 Smart Grow Modes for Veggies & Fruits: Turn on/off automatically. For leaf plants growing harvest leaves, choose Vegetables Mode which contains blue light. For fruit plants growing stronger, choose Flower&Fruits Mode which increases the red light.
  • Height-Adjustable Garden Kit: The height of the lighting part of the hydroponics growing system can be adjusted for plants at different growth stages. Grow 12 plants at a time, works up to 11.02 inches.

The iDOO 12 Pods Indoor Herb Garden Kit is our pick for the best overall ready-made hydroponic growing system. It features a water circulation system, 23 watt LED high-performance grow lights, and 2 smart grow modes – one for fruits and one for veggies – that turn on and off automatically. It also comes with an auto on/off pump and fan that generates low levels of noise. It’s also height-adjustable, as the lighting component of this garden kit can be easily adjusted to accommodate for different types of plants and different stages of growth. With enough space to grow up to 12 plants at once and a small footprint, you won’t need a lot of space to grow a robust indoor garden.

Premium Pick: Aerospring Indoor Hydroponic System

Aerospring 27-Plant Vertical Hydroponics Indoor Growing System - Patented Vertical Hydroponic Kit for Indoor Gardening - Grow Tent, LED Grow Lights & Fan - Grow Lettuce, Herbs, Veggies & Fruits
  • EASY TO USE AEROPONIC SYSTEM FOR YOUR HOME: Our systems are designed to deliver high productivity and ease of use, with a focus on functionality. The vertical systems use aeroponic technology, allowing for increased air and oxygen to the root zone, promoting greater growth. Grow 27 plants in a small space measuring just 34" from corner to corner; 74" tall including tent, wheelbase, bucket and tower. Well suited for beginners and advanced hydroponic growers
  • 2-IN-1 CONVERTIBLE SYSTEM, EASY SET-UP: The tent delivers 30% increased growth when zipped. Using a hexagonal design, the position of the 6 grow lights expose the plants to increased light for greater yield. Grow indoors all year round; remove the indoor kit and grow outdoors during warmer months with the 20' outdoor rated pump power cord. The system is delivered in one box measuring 20” x 24” x 27”; Detailed installation guide included; 2 hour assembly, no tools required; Seeds not included
  • GROW SMART & EAT HEALTHY: Hydroponic and aeroponic systems use a fraction of land and water compared to traditional gardening. Growing your own food at home is a sustainable food source, while also addressing food safety and security in today’s changing world. The 20 gallon water resevior, the largest in its class, requires less frequent refilling, while also allowing for better nutrient management and stability. The internal hose is easily detachable for draining and changing water
  • PREMIUM QUALITY & ENVIRONMENTALLY COMPLIANT: We make our systems with the highest quality components. The system Includes the Sicce Syncra Silent 1.5 pump, 6x23W foldable Tri-band LED bars, full spectrum lights covering 400-700nm, Oxford D600 tent material with highly reflective white interior panels, 200mm quiet exhaust fan and Smart WiFi Timer for light and irrigation automation. Aerospring are manufactured in Singapore and adheres to strict quality assurance and environmental standards
  • EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SUPPORT & COMMUNITY: We pride ourselves on our customer service and support. Aerospring owners get exclusive access to our online community, for growing tips, grow guides, troubleshooting and guidance

If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line hydroponic system that can grow a substantial amount of plants (and you have room in your budget), the Aerospring Indoor Hydroponic System is an excellent investment. This tower-style system grows plants vertically and offers enough space to nurture up to 27 plants. Measuring just 20.9 inches from end to end and standing at 72 inches tall, it doesn’t require a lot of space. A 2-in-1 convertible system can be used both indoors and outdoors. This system comes with everything you need to get started, including professional-grade LED grow lights, an airflow management system, and even features a mobile app that can be used to control lighting and irrigation. Easy to set up, portable, and compact, the Aerospring Indoor Hydroponic System is a highly efficient way to grow all types of healthy plants.

Budget Pick: Morinome Hydroponics Growing System

Hydroponics Growing System, Indoor Herb Garden Planter Starter Kit with Grow Light, LED Height Adjustable Smart Home Garden with Automatic Timer for Various Plants
  • 【HEALTHY & VERSATILE】Designed with no soil technology to cultivate the plants, equipped with 12 planting seed pods, which is safer and healthier. (Seeds and Nutrient solution not included). Allow you growing fresh herbs, vegetables, salad greens, flowers and more with the indoor gardening system.
  • 【SCIENTIFIC PLANT FILL LIGHT】Special designed full spectrum LED grow light can satisfy different growth stages of the plants and the lighting part can be adjusted in height in order to provide the right amount of luminosity for each plant and ensure your plant gets enough light.
  • 【SMART INDOOR GARDEN KIT】Constructed with an intelligent control panel with simple and convenient operation. LED indoor grow garden is automatically 18 hours on and 6 hours off. No worries for forgetting to turn the light off!
  • 【BULIT-IN FANS&WATER PUMP】Intelligent ventilation and water circulation system for planting to make sure that the plant roots get enough nutrients and helps the roots to breathe and grow even faster.
  • 【WATER LEVEL PERSPECTIVE WINDOW】Large water storage space, more convenient. Water level perspective window, no need to worry about not seeing the water level, let you know when and how much to water your indoor herbs and house plants.

For growers who are on a budget and don’t want to spend a lot but still want to be sure that they receive a high-quality, reliable hydroponic system, the Morinome Hydroponics Growing System is a great choice. Outfitted with everything you need to successfully start a hydroponic garden, including 12 planting seed pods, height adjustable full-spectrum LED grow lights, a large water storage space, and an advanced ventilation and water circulation system, this ready-made hydroponic kit is easy to set up, easy to use, and won’t break the bank. Thanks to the small footprint, you don’t need a lot of space to grow a flourishing garden of herbs, fruits, or veggies.

Hydroponic System Reviews

Now that you’ve read through the quick reviews of our top picks for the best hydroponic systems, let’s dive in a little deeper. In this section, we provide more in-depth review of our top picks for the best ready-made hydroponic growing kits, including the three above-mentioned models, as well as a handful of other high-quality, reliable models. These reviews are lengthier and provide more detailed information about the key features each model offers. At the end of each review, we also include a list of pros and cons so that you can quickly assess the advantages and disadvantages of these systems to determine which one will best fit your gardening needs.

iDOO 12 Pods Indoor Herb Garden Kit

Our pick for the best overall hydroponic system is the iDOO 12 Pods Indoor Herb Garden Kit. We chose it as the best overall model because it’s smartly designed, has a small footprint, features state-of-the-art technologies, is durably constructed, and is easy to set up and use; and, of course, it quickly yields robust plants.

This system is designed with an advanced water circulation system that is specially designed to grow plants faster than soil. The water filtration system includes a pump and fan, both of which automatically turn on and off and produce a minimal amount of noise. If you prefer, you can opt to turn it off for 10 hours and set it for 30 minute on and 30 minute off grow systems for a “deep sleep”-style garden.

There’s a visual window, too, so you can easily see how much water is in the tank and add water and nutrients as-needed to ensure healthy plants. An independent water filling port and drainage ports allow you to easily ad or change out water and nutrition. The 12 smart soil sponge pods assist your plants with rooting and water absorption. High-performance, 23 watt LED grow lights simulate the spectrum of the sun and promote proper photosynthesis in all types of environments.

The lights feature two Smart Grow Modes: one for fruits and one for veggies. The veggie mode produces blue light that’s ideal for harvesting leafy plants, and the fruit mode generates red light that’s ideal for fruits and flowering plants. Both modes automatically turn on and off. Additionally, the height of the lights can be adjusted to accommodate the growth stages of all different types of plants.

With a small footprint, you don’t need a lot of space to create a healthy indoor garden that will quickly grow healthy plants; turn a countertop, table, desk, or any other surface into a mini-farm! In addition to all of these benefits, the iDOO 12 Pods Indoor Herb Garden Kit is constructed of durable materials, is easy to set up and use, and the price tag is quite affordable.

What We Liked
  • Advanced water circulation system, including a low-noise, auto on/off pump and fan
  • Height adjustable, high-performance, auto on/off 23 watt LED grow lights that mimic the spectrum of natural sunlight
  • Two Smart Grow Modes: one for fruits and one for veggies
  • Smart Soil Sponge Pods help plants take root and absorb water
  • Independent water filling and draining ports
  • Visual window makes adding or changing water and nutrients a cinch
  • Constructed of durable materials
  • Easy to set up and easy to use
  • Small footprint
  • Highly efficient; quickly yields robust, healthy plants
  • Affordably priced

View Details

Aerospring Indoor Hydroponic System

If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line ready-made hydroponic growing system, this option from Aerospring is an outstanding choice. It’s designed to grow plants vertically and offers enough space to grow up to 27 plants, yet the system measures just 20.9 inches from edge to edge and stands at 72 inches tall, so it only requires 10 square feet of space.

This 2-in-1 system can be used both indoors and outdoors; use it to grow larger plants outdoors from spring through autumn, and in the winter, add an indoor accessory kit to grow healthy plants during cold weather months.

With professional-grade LED grow lights that mimic the spectrum of natural sunlight, you can have confidence knowing that your plants will receive the light they need to thrive. A honeycomb-shaped grow tent and airflow management create the perfect climate for all types of plants to thrive in all kinds of environments.

Easy to set up , easy to use, easy to take down, and easy to transport, the Aerospring Hydroponic System is the ideal way to grow a healthy mini-farm right in the comfort of your own home. Lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, cucumbers, radishes, strawberries, grapes, and all types of melons; you’ll be able to grow virtually any type of crop for healthy, delicious eating.

What We Liked
  • Tower design grows plants vertically
  • Can comfortably accommodate up to 27 plants, yet only requires 10 square feet of space
  • 2-in-1 system can be used to grow healthy, robust plants both indoors and outdoors
  • Features an Aeroponic system, complete with professional LED grow lights that mimic the natural sun’s spectrum, advanced airflow management, and a honeycomb shaped grow tent
  • Constructed of durable materials
  • Easy to set up, take down, transport, and use
  • Can be used to grow all types of fruits, veggies, and herbs
  • Produces excellent results

View Details

Morinome Hydroponics Growing System

For budget-conscious gardeners who are looking for a high-quality, reliable, easy to use hydroponic system that won’t break the bank, the Marinome Hydroponics Growing System is definitely an option worth considering.

The no soil technology is designed to cultivate plants without soil and is equipped with 12 planting pods that encourage the root system to take and promote proper hydration. The advanced filtration system features a low-noise water pump and fan, both of which run and rest in 30 minute intervals.

The professional-grade LED grow lights mimic the full spectrum of the natural sun and automatically illuminate for up to 18 hours a day. The lights attached to a lightweight, yet durable aluminum expansion tube that can be easily adjusted to accommodate the height and grow cycles of different types of plants. A clear water level perspective window allows you to easily keep tabs on water levels in the large storage space so that you can easily add water as needed and ensure that your plants always receive the hydration they need to thrive.

Thanks to the compact size, you don’t need a lot of space to grow a healthy indoor garden of fresh herbs, fruits, and/or vegetables. With so many features, the Morinome Hydroponics Growing System is affordably priced, too, which is why it’s our pick for the best budget hydroponic system.

What We Liked
  • Features professional-grade full-spectrum LED grow lights that mimic natural sunlight
  • The height of the lights can be easily adjusted to accommodate the growth cycle of all types of plants
  • Outfitted with an advanced filtration system, including a pump and fan, both of which automatically cycle between 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off
  • A convenient water perspective window allows you to easily keep tabs on the water level and a large port allows you to easily change and add water and nutrients, as needed
  • Easy to set up and easy to use
  • Produces high-quality, reliable results
  • Compact size; doesn’t require a lot of space
  • Affordably priced

View Details

Opcom Farm Grow Wall

For those of you who are looking to grow large quantities of fruits, veggies, or herbs, the Opcom Farm Grow Wall is a fantastic option. This high-capacity hydroponic system features 75 growing pots on five different levels so that you can successfully yield a sizable amount of crops right in the comfort of your own home for either your own consumption or for commercial purposes.

While it certainly offers plenty of space to grow a healthy garden, this hydroponic system is compact in size, so you can easily find a spot for your garden indoors or outdoors without having to worry about taking up too much space. The patent-pending angle and height-adjustable 4 inch grow light are both perfectly optimized to allow for highly efficient plant growth, yet also makes for an eye-catching visual display; a functional, living work of art, so-to-speak.

Featuring Opcom’s advanced Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) hydroponics technology, this ready-made grow system is designed to feed your plants with a constant supply of the nutrients that they need to thrive via an Ebb and Flow hydroponic system.

The Smart Grow light system features a day/night light source control so that your crops will receive the ideal amount of light, and the energy saving time function allows you to better manage the light and water cycles, allowing for highly efficient growing. It even comes complete with a starter grow kit, which includes grow sponges that are equipped with seeds in a seedling kit, a pH adjuster, and nourishment packs for your fruits, veggies, and herbs.

It’s easy to set up and take apart, too, so you can start growing a robust garden as soon as you receive it.

What We Liked
  • 5-tier vertical grower that features 75 pots, so you can grow large quantities of plants for personal or commercial use
  • The patent-pending angle and 4 inch professional-grade height-adjustable grow lights are specially optimized for efficient plant growth
  • Comes complete with Opcom’s advanced NFT hydroponics technology that ensures plants are receiving optimal hydration and nutrition on a constant basis via an Ebb and Flow hydroponic system
  • Day/night light source control system, complete with an energy saving timer function, manages light and water cycles to ensure efficiency
  • Comes complete with everything you need to start farming, including grow sponges, a seedling kit with seeds, a pH adjuster, and nourishment packs
  • Easy to set up and easy to use
  • Doesn’t require a lot of space

View Details

AeroGarden Farm 24 Plus

The AeroGarden Farm 24 Plus is another high-quality, reliable, ready-made hydroponic system. AeroGarden is one of the most trusted manufactures of hydroponic systems on the market and has been providing safe food options for more than 15 years.

This vertical gardening system has a stackable, modular design that allows you to connect several gardens together to create a living wall that’s as aesthetically pleasing as it is delicious and nutritious.

This hydroponic planter features a premium-quality, innovative LED grow light system that offers a tailored spectrum of white, blue, and red LED light to ensure optimal plant growth. The dual 60 watt panels are independently adjustable and motorized to allow you to raise and lower the height with the push of a button.

The lighting is fully customizable, too, and features several modes, such as a sunrise/sunset auto dimming mode. It offers enough space to accommodate up to 24 plants that can reach up to 24 inches in height, allowing you to grow all types of fruits, veggies, and herbs.

The smart design functions as two individual gardens in one, as each side has their own completely customizable controls, motorized lights, and large grow bowls on each side. It’s also outfitted with the most advanced technologies; for example, you can use your Smart Device or the garden Control Panel, which delivers reminders to add water and nutrients, so that you can ensure a healthy harvest.

Lastly, this hydroponic system comes with everything you need to grow, including a 24 pod selection of heirloom greens, herbs, cherry tomatoes, and two 3 ounce bottles of the AeroGarden’s patented, all-natural, non-GMO Plant Nutrients.

What We Liked
  • The stackable modular design allows for vertical gardening and lets you connect several gardens together
  • Can be managed via your smart device or the touchscreen control panel on the system
  • Delivers reminders to add water and nutrients and provides access to helpful tips and one-touch customer support
  • Dual, fully customizable, full-spectrum 60 watt LED grow lights
  • The lights are motorized and the height can be independently adjusted to ensure your plants have ample space and receive the necessary light to maximize photosynthesis
  • Comes with everything needs to start growing, including 24 pods of produce and two bottles of the manufacturer’s patented, all-natural, non-GMO plant nutrients
  • Easy to set up and easy to use
  • Delivers highly efficient results

View Details

Other best Selling Options

SaleBestseller No. 1
Hydroponics Growing System, EZORKAS 12 Pods Indoor Herb Garden Starter Kit with LED Grow Light, Smart Germination Kit Garden Planter for Family Home Kitchen with Cycle Timing Function
  • 12 pods and 21 inches growing height: The height of the lighting part of the hydroponics growing system can be adjusted for veggies at different growth stages, helping veggies absorb energy from LED lights and promoting growth. Control panel tells you when to add plant food solution.
  • Quiet Hydroponic Growing System: This indoor garden germination kit is designed with a water circulation system, increasing the oxygen in water. Press the pump to go into a cycle of 30 mins on/30 mins off with super low noise. Growing in the nutrient water faster than soil. You have total control over the weather all year round.
  • Veg & "Flower & Fruit" Modes: For vegetables, choose "Veg" Mode which contains all the light. For flowers and fruits, choose "Flower" Mode which contains more red light. We have designed smart modes with different red and blue spectrum and time.
  • 80 Leds Grow Light - High performance, full Spectrum 36 watt LED high efficiency grow lighting system in your herb garden is tuned to the specific needs of plants to maximize photosynthesis, resulting in rapid, natural growth and abundant harvests.
  • Great gift for children, friends, partners and elders: You can use it to grow fresh herbs, veggies and fruits. Watching plants grow is an interesting hobby.This growth system not only makes your life fun, but also makes your life healthier.
Bestseller No. 2
iDOO Hydroponic Growing System, 12Pods Indoor Herb Garden with Grow Light, Germination Kit with Air System, Automatic Timer, Height Adjustable
  • Hydroponic Circulation System: Indoor garden germination kit is designed with a water-pump circulation system, plants growing faster than soil. You have total control over the weather all year round, no mess, no limitation. No seeds inside due to import restrictions.
  • Air Circulation System: Herb garden system comes with a fan on the light panel, helps to promote air flow and increase the success rate of pollination. Pump & Fan turns on/off automatically, super low noise. Also, you can turn it off for 10 hours and then go into a cycle of 30 mins on/30 mins off. Have a deep sleep even the garden kit in your bedroom.
  • High-Performance Grow Lights: The 23-Watt LED lights of hydroponics growing system simulate the sunlight spectrum, promoting plants' photosynthesis in any weather. the indoor gardening with plants can be placed in the kitchen, bedroom, or office.
  • 2 Smart Grow Modes for Veggies & Fruits: Turn on/off automatically. For leaf plants growing harvest leaves, choose Vegetables Mode which contains blue light. For fruit plants growing stronger, choose Flower&Fruits Mode which increases the red light.
  • Height-Adjustable Garden Kit: The height of the lighting part of the hydroponics growing system can be adjusted for plants at different growth stages. Grow 12 plants at a time, works up to 11.02 inches.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Hydrofarm RS5GAL8SYS Root Spa 8, 5 Gallon Bucket System, Black
  • The Root Spa is a Deep Water Culture system. This 5 gallon bucket system is so simple yet grows large plants efficiently
  • After a very short time, you will realize the advantage of the simplicity of this uniquely easy-to-use, inexpensive, and forgiving system! Pumping raw air into the nutrient solution, without the need of expensive and often troublesome air stones is not only cost effective, but your plants will also thrive!
  • Water tight seal to guarantee no leaks
  • 8" bucket basket to hold your choice of growing medium
  • Multi-purpose air hose delivers air from the pump to the bottom of the bucket
SaleBestseller No. 4
iDOO Hydroponics Growing System, Indoor Garden Starter Kit with LED Grow Light, Automatic Timer Germination Kit, Height Adjustable (7 Pods)
  • Hydroponic Circulation System: This indoor garden germination kit is designed with a water circulation system, increasing the oxygen in water. Plants growing in the nutrient water faster than soil. You have total control over the weather all year round.
  • High-Performance Grow Lights: The 24-Watt LED lights of the hydroponics growing system simulate the sunlight spectrum, promoting veggies photosynthesis in any weather. the indoor gardening with veggies can be placed in the kitchen, bedroom or office. The indoor garden kit is an educational gift for children, helping them to observe the process of growth. Parents and grandparents will also love year-round fresh veggies.
  • 3 Smart Modes for Different Growth Stages: NORMAL MODE: 14h-on-and-10h-off-cycle, with red & blue & white LED lights, suitable for germination, bloom, viewing stage. GROW MODE: 16h-on-and-8h-off-cycle, with red & white LED lights, for germination and viewing stage. ENJOY MODE: 12h-on-and-12h-off-cycle, with 50% red & white LED lights, good for germination, bloom, viewing stage. Lights will be less noticeable in this mode.
  • 2 Water Pump Circulation Modes: In normal mode, the water pump works for 5 mins and pauses for 30 mins. Switch the water pump to sleep mode by long-pressing the “PUMP SWITCH” for 5 seconds. The water pump will turn off for 12 hours and will then return to the normal cycle. You can enjoy a deep sleep in the same room as your home garden.
  • Height-Adjustable Garden Kit: The height of the lighting part of the hydroponics growing system can be adjusted for veggies at different growth stages, helping veggies absorb energy from LED lights and promoting growth. And you can simultaneously grow as many as 7 plants up to 13.4 inches with the 7 included pods.
SaleBestseller No. 5
Hydroponics System Indoor Growing System with a Adjustable (5.9-12inchs) LED Grow Light Pole, Automatic Timer Hydrogarden for Home Kitchen
  • 🍅【Height-Adjustable (5.9-12inchs) Hydroponic Garden Kit】CRZDEAL indoor hydroponics growing System with a expandable light pole can be adjusted for veggies at different growth stages, helping veggies absorb energy from LED lights and promoting growth that will allow for plants up to 12inches tall. (As plants grow fast, no worry the lights start to burn the plant).
  • 🍒【Low Water Indicates】 It is a challenge to refill the water or know the water level once there are plants growing. There is a light of hydroponic gardening system that will flash if water level gets too low, it would help to avoid having the low-water level notification beep in the middle of the night.
  • 🍓【LED Grow Lights】The 20-Watt LED lights of the indoor garden germination kit simulate the sunlight spectrum, they allow you to control exactly how much light the plants receive and for how long, promoting plant photosynthesis in any weather.
  • 🍉【Special Circulating Water Pump Modes】When the power is turned on, the water pump disperses the water every 25 minutes automatically. Actually pumps the water through the top and onto the grow sponges, and others just pumps the water (moves it) without sending it through the top onto the grow sponges. The water pump is very quiet, it only sounds like water droplets (kind of relaxing like a spa!)
  • 🍇【Automatic Light Timing】Automatic control panel automatically to control ON/OFF of the LED grow light, 16h-on-and-8h-off-cycle, with red & white & blue LED lights, good for sprouts and growing plants. (Seeds not included)

Hydroponic Systems Buyer’s Guide

Field farming has sustained humans for thousands of years, and while it’s still popular today and certainly offers advantages, there’s a different type of farming that has soared in popularity in recent years: hydroponics. In the most basic terms, hydroponics refers to the process of farming without soil. While there are several different types of hydroponic systems, each one involves the same core elements:

  • Fresh water (filtered with a pH level of about 6 to 6.5 yields the best results)
  • Oxygen (to avoid drowning the plants)
  • Root support (such as peat moss, perlites, rockwool, or vermiculite to support the root system)
  • Nutrients (phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, and other types of vital nutrients; just like field-grown plants)
  • Light (either natural sun, or if you’re growing indoors, a special lighting system that mimics the sun)

While this type of growing has really just come into the mainstream over the past few decades, hydroponics is actually a centuries-old method of farming. In fact, it’s the oldest form of growing plant matter; the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which dates back to approximately 600 BC, is the first known example of growing plants without soil.

What are the benefits of farming hydroponically?

There are actually several advantages, the most notable of which include:

  • Space-saving. Plants that grow in the soil require a good bit of room, as their roots need to branch out in order to find the water and nutrients they need to thrive. With hydroponics, the roods don’t have to spread out because the water and nutrients they require are delivered directly to them. As such, you can grow significantly more plants in the same amount of space as you could in soil farming.
  • Water-saving. Field farming requires significant water use, as a large percentage of the water that is becomes lost as a result of evaporation, run-off, and pooling (puddles). Hydroponics significantly reduces water consumption; in fact, it uses an estimated 10 times less water than field farming. That’s because water is delivered directly to the plants in a controlled method, thus, none is lost.
  • Fewer chemicals. Hydroponic plants are less likely to be targeted by pests than field-grown plants. Thus, far fewer chemicals (pesticides and herbicides) are needed.
  • Nutrient control. You can better control the amount and what type of nutrients your plants will absorb.
  • Faster growth. On average, hydroponic plants grow up to 50% faster than soil-grown plants. That’s because they receive the appropriate amount of water and nutrients, and they are exposed to far fewer pests and aren’t subjected to weather extremes.
  • Healthier plants and larger yields. Not only do plants grow faster, but they’re also healthier and produce larger yields when they’re grown in hydroponic systems as compared to soil-based farming.

Now that you’ve read through the reviews of our top picks for the best hydroponic systems, you’re probably wondering which one will work best for you. While each option does offer definite benefits, the one that you should choose depends on your specific needs. By taking the following factors into consideration, you’ll be able to narrow down the options and find the right hydroponic system for your growing needs.

AeroGarden Reviews
Best AeroGarden Reviews: Complete Buyer’s Guide

What You Want to Grow

First and foremost, you should consider what it is that you want to grow in your hydroponic growing system. Why? Because some plants grow better using certain types of hydroponics, and obviously, you want to choose the system that will best accommodate your crops and will yield the highest quality, most fruitful yields.

Type of Hydroponic System

Once you know what types of plants you want to grow, you can then determine what type of hydroponic system you should choose. There are six main types of hydroponic systems, including:

  • Nutrient Film Technique (NFT). With this type of hydroponic system, the nutrient solution is pumped direction into the channels. The channels have a slight slope, which ensures that the nutrients flow through the channels, over the roots of the plants, and back into the reservoir. Because of the size of the channels, an NFT is usually ideal for plants that have a smaller root system, such as lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens.
  • Wick. This type of system is the most simplistic, as it doesn’t require any electricity, pumps, or aerators, making it the only passive hydroponic system. In the majority of wick systems, the pants are put in an absorbent grow medium, such as perlite, coco coir, or vermiculite, and there’s a nylon wick that runs from the plants into the nutrient solution reservoir.
  • Deep water culture (DWC). With this kind of system, the roots of the plants are suspended in a solution of nutrient-dense, oxygenated water. It’s also known as “deep flow technique” (DFT), floating raft technology (FRT), or raceway hydroponics. A hydroponic bucket (also referred to as a “bubble bucket”) is a perfect example of a DWC hydroponic system.
  • Ebb and flow. Also known as a flood and drain system, with ebb and flow hydroponics, the plants are placed into grow beds that are filled with a growing substrate. The bed is then flooded with a nutrient-rich solution and a drain allows water to only reach a few inches below the top of the grow medium to prevent overflow. A pump is controlled with a timer; it automatically shuts off after it runs for a certain amount of time, allowing the water to run back down through the pump until the grow bed is completely drained, and then the pump kicks back on and the process starts again.

How Much You Want to Grow

It’s also important to consider the amount you want to harvest, as this will determine the size of the hydroponic system you’ll need. It goes without saying that if you want to harvest a lot, you’ll need a larger system; however, some larger systems are smartly designed so that they have a small footprint and don’t take up a lot of space. If you only want to grow a few crops, then a smaller ready-made hydroponic system would likely do the trick.

Ease of Use

Some hydroponic systems are super easy to set up, use, and take apart, while others require more effort and a bit more experience to use. Consider the ease of use of the hydroponic system so that you can be sure that you choose a model that will suit your skill level. The last thing you want to do is choose a system that is hard to use, as you’ll more than likely end up getting frustrated.

Your Budget

Lastly, you’re going to want to take your budget into consideration. As you can see from our list of reviews, hydroponic systems vary widely in prices. Generally speaking, systems that features more advanced technologies and are larger in size have higher price tags.

Consider your budget before you start shopping and pay attention to the prices while you’re shopping so that you can avoid choosing a model that costs more than you want to spend.

Summing It Up

Hydroponics is the oldest form of farming in the world. It’s highly efficiently, extremely effective, very versatile, and can yield high-quality, nutrient-rich crops in short periods of time – both indoors and outdoors. If you’re interested in giving hydroponics a try, with the information presented in this guide, you should have no trouble choosing the right option to suit your specific needs.

1,830 views

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at hollie@gardenbeast.com or follow on twitter https://twitter.com/greenholliec

Write A Comment