Best Hydroponic System Kit
A hydroponic system allows you to start an indoor garden without soil and without so much effort. There are different types of hydroponic systems based on how they work. If you have never used one of these systems, you may find it challenging to choose one that meets your needs.
- AeroGarden – Best Hydroponic System for Vegetables
- TopoLite – Best Hydroponic Grow Room for Beginners
- DreamJoy – Best Ebb And Flow Hydroponic System
- PowerGrow – Best Hydroponic System for Tomatoes
- HTG – Best Indoor Hydroponic Grow System
When you have the right hydroponic system, it is easier for you to expand your indoor garden. The system will allow you to grow plants with relatively less water, less fertilizer, and less space.
However, hydroponic systems are not the same. You have to work to buy the best system for your home. In this guide, we explore some of the top systems you can have in your home.
Top rated Hydroponic System – Reviews
- AeroGarden Ultra 903100-1200; Number of plants: 7 small; Grow Light: 30 watt LED; Type: Aeroponic
- TopoLite Grow Tent; Number of plants: 4 small; Grow Light: 300W LED; Type: DWC
- DreamJoy Hydroponic Grow Kit; Number of plants: 90 medium; Grow Light: Not Available; Type: Ebb And Flow
- PowerGrow Deep Water Culture Hydroponic Bucket; Number of plants: 1 or 2 medium; Grow Light: Not Available; Type: DWC
- HTG Supply Bubble Brothers DWC Hydroponic; Number of plants: 6 medium plants; Grow Light: Not Available; Type: DWC
Best Hydroponic System for Vegetables
The Miracle-Gro AeroGarden is a small countertop hydroponic designed to grow vegetables, flowers, salad green, and fresh herbs. You only have to put water and nutrients into it and the plants will grow as they would in a natural habitat.
The unit accommodates up to seven plants. On top of the system is an LED lighting system that generates 30 watts of LED lighting. The light is energy-efficient, and it produces the spectrum of light that plants need for growth. This way, the plants maximize photosynthesis for rapid growth. It produces white LEDs for fast plant growth, red LEDs for flowering, and blue LEDs to increase the yield.
When you balance the lighting, the water, and the nutrients, the plant will grow up to five times faster than it would in a natural environment. There is a simple and interactive LCD panel with simple prompts that allows you to set up the garden. You will also get some gardening tips through the same display. The control panel turns the lights on and off automatically and even sends you a reminder to water the plants.
It only takes a few minutes to set up the garden without any tools. Just add your seeds, add water and nutrients, and let the plants grow. Once you do that, you can customize the settings to your preferences for the optimal growth of plants.
We recommend the Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Ultra for its simplicity, the fact that you can grow any small herb or small vegetable you want, and for its friendly reminders.
• Easy to setup
• Compact size to fit on a small countertop
• Has an interactive LCD display for settings
• Gives reminders for water and nutrient addition
• Can only accommodate seven pods
Best Hydroponic Grow Room for Beginners
The TopoLite Grow Tent offers a full spectrum LED light that allows you to grow plants in any growth cycle from germination to flowering. When set up, the tent measures 2×2 feet, and you can grow up to four small plants or two medium plants. This makes the unit ideal for beginner gardeners who have limited space. You can grow flowers or vegetables, and you can also use it to grow seedlings before you transfer them to a garden.
The unit features a 300-watt full spectrum LED light that produces the spectrums a plant needs in different growth cycles. This light doesn’t produce any heat even when you run it all day, making it highly energy-efficient. The manufacturer recommends that you keep the light on for between 10 and 16 hours every day.
Inside the unit is a highly reflective diamond Mylar that maximizes the light from the LED for better photosynthesis. Outside, the unit features a heavy-duty 600denier lightproof cloth. Its frame and connector materials are coated metal rods and sturdy plastic connectors to make the unit durable. Further, the unit has multiple vents for better ventilation.
To ensure that the hydroponic system smells fresh all the time, the manufacturer installed an inline fan with a carbon filter kit. The two increase the flow of air into the garden. Air goes through the carbon filter, which purifies it before sending it back to the tent.
You can choose between three types of setups for the fan and the filter. Both the fan and filter can be inside the tent; the fan can be inside and the filter outside; and the filter can be inside the fan outside.
We recommend the TopoLite Grow Tent for its easy set-up, energy-efficient lighting, and advanced air purification system.
• Easy to setup with no tools
• The fan and filter keeps the air fresh in the garden
• Its light is energy efficient
• It fits on small spaces
• Doesn’t give you reminders to water or add nutrients
Best Ebb And Flow Hydroponic System
If you want to grow more than a few plants indoors, you can go for the DreamJoy Hydroponic Grow Kit. It is a simple system made of food-grade PVC and pipes. These materials are light and do not corrode. When you water them, the pipes do not produce any resistance, and this makes it easy for water and nutrients to reach the plants. There are ten pipes in each kit, each with nine holes to grow a total of 90 plants. The pipes are in three layers.
Each of the pipes and their joints come separate. You have to assemble them together to get started. The manufacturer offers you simple instructions to follow when assembling the unit. After assembly, place your seeds in the sponge provided and allow them to sprout. You can then transplant them after 3-10 days when they fully sprout. The plants will be ready in 30 days, but some can take longer.
You can use the unit to grow leafy vegetables such as lettuce, celery, herbs, and cabbages among others. The system acts as a hybrid model with a drain-lever design, making it a model between a recirculating deep water and ebb and flow setup.
The holds of the unit are large enough to accommodate medium plants and large vegetables. Each hole is about 3.2 cm in diameter, but the overall setup is only 22 pounds heavy.
If you want to grow large and medium sized vegetables and herbs indoors, we recommend this system. It accommodates a high number of plants, and it is also easy to use, making it ideal for beginners.
• Unit features all food-grade materials
• Simple to assemble with easy-to-follow instructions
• Accommodates up to 90 plants
• Has separate sponges for the seedlings
• Doesn’t offer a light system for faster growth
Best Hydroponic System for Tomatoes
Growing plants in this system are the same as growing them in a bucket but without soil. The bucket has a large opening, allowing you to grow medium and large vegetables, herbs, and flowers. It is an inexpensive hydroponic system that doesn’t require an involving setup. The unit comes as a simple five-gallon HDPE bucket with its lid.
This being a deep water culture, the roots of plants are immersed in a water reservoir infused with oxygen and has nutrients. The oxygen and nutrient-rich culture facilitates the fast growth of plants and is more efficient than growing plants on the soil.
There is a blue water level indicator that helps you monitor the level of water in the system and add accordingly. It also features a drain that allows you to remove water from the bucket when need be. To infuse air into the bucket, the manufacturer offers a powerful 44 gph air pump and tubing for easy pumping.
There are simple-to-follow instructions offered with the kit, allowing you to start with ease. However, you have to buy the nutrient and pH test kit separately. With each kit, you get a one-year warranty.
The PowerGrow Deep Water Culture Hydroponic Bucket is simple to use and can accommodate large plants. It has advanced simple features that make it affordable and effective at growing plants. We recommend it for beginner and veteran indoor gardeners. All you need is to add water, add nutrients, and then monitor the pH of the water.
• Easy to use
• Accommodates medium and large plants
• Has a pump system that keeps the water aerated
• It works well for beginners
• Doesn’t have a lighting system
Best Indoor Hydroponic Grow System
HTG Supply Bubble Brothers is a six-site system that allows you to grow medium and large sized vegetables, herbs, and flowers. This being a DWC system, it is easy to operate, and you can operate it economically.
The Bubble Brothers DWC hydroponic system includes a commercial pump that sends air into the buckets so the plants grow fast. With increased oxygenation and the nutrients you provide, the plant will grow faster. Unlike other DWC systems, Bubble Brothers use a RhizoCore bucket lid that provides a super aerated system.
You can plant six medium sizes plants or plant 12 small plants, two in each bucket. There are high-quality grow pebbles that provide a medium. The pump is 20 watts, making it energy-efficient so that you can use it all day.
Each bucket holds 3.5 gallons, and they are low-profile, so they fit in small spaces. When you need to water the plants, you need to push them to one side and fill the buckets.
If you need to grow up to six medium plants, this system will meet your needs. It is simple to use, and you can place the buckets on small spaces.
• Accommodates medium sized plants
• Comes with grow medium for fast plant growth
• Affordable DWC system
• There is no system to check the water level
Hydroponic System – Buyer’s Guide
Things to Consider When Buying a Hydroponic System
When shopping for a hydroponic system, consider your gardening needs. Once you know what you want and your budget, you can consider the factors below to pick the right unit.
A hydroponic system installs permanently or semi-permanently in your living space. As such, you need to consider the size of the system. Manufacturers will include the exact product dimensions, and you can compare these against the space you have in your home. Consider the floor footprint and the height of the system. In the case of expandable hydroponics, consider the extended height too.
Number of Plants Grown
The plant holding capacity of a hydroponic system should meet your growing needs. Some systems support less than ten plants while others support 100 or more plants. Think of the number of plants you want to grow and then start shopping for a system that meets your needs. When considering the plant capacity, remember that the plants will need a space above them, especially if the unit has an overhead LED lamp.
It is okay to start with a small hydroponic system if you are just learning the rope of gardening. However, as your skills improve, you may want a bigger system that will accommodate more plants or bigger plants. If that is you, pick a unit that you can expand instead of buying a new unit.
Most modern hydroponic systems will automatically control the water pump and the LED lighting system. With automation, you can sit back and allow the plants to grow uninterrupted. For some, you have to be there and monitor the condition every day. If you love getting more involved in the gardening, a simpler system is better. However, if your interest is more on the harvest, you can pick a fully automatic system.
Before you pick one system, you need to consider the cost of acquisition and the cost of running the system. These systems need either a pump or LED lighting or both, and these two use electricity. You will also incur the cost of the seeds and the nutrients. We recommend that you buy a kit that is ready to use with all the needed items. This way, you will not incur other costs.
Other Features of a Hydroponic System
You may need some convenience features, which make it easier for you to use the system. Some of the top systems might have features such as:
• Reminder or Timer: This is a system that reminds you when you need to add the nutrients and water so that you never have to keep monitoring the system.
• LED Lighting: Some systems feature LED bulbs that enhance plant photosynthesis and fast growth. Your plants will grow fast regardless of the weather condition outdoors.
• LCD Display: An LCD display is available on expensive models. These screens offer the necessary information you need to enhance the growth of your plants. You can set reminders from the screen.
• Voice Assistant: This is another feature only on the most advanced and expensive models of hydroponic systems. You can use Google Assistant or Alexa to control these systems.
Which Type of Hydroponic System Should You Go For?
- Deep Water Culture System
- Wick Systems
- Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Systems
- Ebb and Flow Systems
- Drip Systems and Aeroponics
Deep Water Culture System
These are systems where the plants float on aerated water. The system has net pots on a reservoir of aerated and nutrient-rich solution. Plant roots grow into the solution to access the nutrients, oxygen, and water. Because the plants suspend on the surface of water, it is easier to aerate the water. Most of these systems are in the form of a bucket that is easy to set up.
The main advantages of a DWC are that it is easy to maintain, and you can even make one at home with a few materials. Their disadvantages are that it takes more work for you to grow flowering plants, such as tomatoes, and the water doesn’t circulate, so it is challenging to maintain the temperature of the water.
In a wick system, plants grow on a tray with growing media and the tray sits on top of a reservoir with a solution of dissolved nutrients. There are wicks from the reservoir to the tray. These wicks carry the solution from the reservoir to the tray. These systems are simple and space efficient. However, the system may not accommodate tomatoes and other plants, which need large quantities of the water and nutrients. Again, the wicks are always damp, and this can cause a fungal outbreak or cause the growing media to rot.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Systems
NFTs are a system of flowing nutrient solution that washes over the tips of the roots. The water drains into a reservoir at the bottom of the system. Unlike in a DWC system, the roots of plants do not immerse in the nutrient solution. It is the tips of the roots that absorb the solution and transport up the roots. You need to change the water every week to ensure that the plants get enough nutrients. These systems are ideal for large scale hydroponics. However, they need a pump, which may fail and causes your plants to dry out. Again, the plants will overcrowd.
Ebb and Flow Systems
Ebb and flow systems have a grow bed and a reservoir below them. They also have timer. The system floods water in the grow bed when the timer starts. When the timer stops, water drains from the grow bed and into the reservoir. There is an overflow tube that ensures water doesn’t go beyond a given level in the grow bed. Plants will absorb nutrients when the grow bed floods and get oxygenated when the bed dries.
These systems are very popular because they are versatile and can grow even larger plants. They also appeal to DIY gardeners who may want to create their own systems. However, they rely on a pump, which may fail. If the bed doesn’t drain completely, mold may form and the plants may also suffer from root disease or even rot.
Drip Systems and Aeroponics
In a drip system, a pump circulates the nutrient-rich solution and then drips it to individual plants. In aeroponics, the plants suspend in the air and their roots are exposed. The exposed roots draw nutrients and water from a nutrient-rich mist. These systems use less water.
Hydroponic System – FAQs
- What is the best way to clean hydroponic system?
- What is the best type of hydroponic system for weed?
- What is the best small hydroponic system?
- What is the best hydroponic system for lettuce?
- How do you setup a hydroponic system?
- How often should you change the water in a hydroponic system?
- How do you make hydroponic system with fish tank?
- How much does a hydroponic system cost?
- How does a hydroponic grow system work?
What is the best way to clean hydroponic system?
Cleaning the hydroponic system involves sterilizing and sanitizing the system. Both of these have the same effect; they keep your plants healthy. When sterilizing the system, you need to remove dead plant matter, clean spilled water, and clean the air intake filters. Sterilizing is best done after a harvest where you kill all the bacteria and pathogens that can affect the health of your plants. You can do sanitization in between the sterilization cycles.
When cleaning, use agents such as isopropyl alcohol, unscented bleach, food grade hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar. Some of the tools you need include scrubbing brushes, clippers and scissors, sponges, and scrub pads, rubber gloves, clean rags, spare buckets, and a garden hose. You can also have compressed air cans to clean ventilations grills.
When cleaning, read the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid mixing chemicals. All the cleaning agents need to be in mild form.
What is the best type of hydroponic system for weed?
Weed will survive in most hydroponic systems. Ensure that the system is large enough to accommodate the plant. You can grow it in peat and perlite, ebb and flow, aerated solution, and nutrient film technique.
What is the best small hydroponic system?
The AeroGarden Ultra 903100-1200 is an ideal choice if you need a unit that can fit on your countertop. It grows only seven plants, but it has all the features to facilitate fast growth and high yields. The system features full-spectrum LED light to support plants in all their growth cycles.
What is the best hydroponic system for lettuce?
If you are growing lettuce at home, a water culture system where you plant floats and the roots grow downward would be the most ideal. When growing lettuce on an industrial level, a nutrient film method would be the most appropriate. Consider a DWC system such as PowerGrow Deep Water Culture Hydroponic Bucket.
How do you setup a hydroponic system?
Hydroponic systems come in different designs and modes of operation. When using one, you need to assemble it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once it is all set, mix the nutrients and water in the hydroponic reservoir. Add the plants to the system as directed on the instructions, depending on the system. If your system has a settings display, you need to set the lights and aeration according to the needs of your plants. In some, you can set the LED lights to go on or off in a schedule. If your system has a pump, turn it on and monitor it every day.
How often should you change the water in a hydroponic system?
You should change the water in the hydroponic tanks after about two weeks. If the amount of the top-up water is the same as the volume of the tank, you know it is time to replace the water. Changing the water reduces the buildup of nutrients (such as sodium), fungi, and bacteria.
How do you make hydroponic system with fish tank?
If you have a fish tank, you can use to grow plants indoors. Set up the tank according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You need to consider all the safe practices of setting up a fish tank. Dechlorinate the water and allow it to cycle for about four weeks. This allows bacteria time to grow before you can add fish. You also need to add a pump to ensure that water cycles to the grow bed to the fish tank.
From there, add your media bed on top of the tank or at the side of the tank. You can use clay pebbles, which are pH neutral and do not affect your aquarium water. The fish tank and the grow bed should be the same size. At this step, you are ready to add the fish, including tilapia, goldfish, koi, and pacu and ornamental fish. From there, add your plants and then maintain the system. Observe the pH and ensure the water cycles.
How much does a hydroponic system cost?
Many factors affect the cost of a hydroponic system, including the type of the system, the size of the system, system controls, technology features, and the materials used to make the system. Simple, low-tech systems can cost as low as $20 while high tech systems can cost as much as $1,000 or more.
How does a hydroponic grow system work?
Hydroponic grow systems work by giving the plant everything it needs to grow, including water, nutrients, and temperature and pH balance. They may have components such as:
• A grow media that supports the weight of the plant and accommodates the growing roots
• Net pot, which are planters to hold the plants
• Air pumps and air stones, which release air bubbles to aerate the water
• Full spectrum LED lights to enable the plant carry out photosynthesis at all times
There are so many hydroponic systems on the market today. You can pick the most advanced, which allows you to automate everything, or you can pick one that allows you to interact with your garden. Your needs and your budget will determine your choice.