Best Hydroponic Systems Reviews and Buying Guide

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Are you looking for the best hydroponic systems? We’ve got you covered!! The term hydroponics refers to a modern process of gardening where plants are grown in a soil-less set-up using inert media.

Hydroponics gardening has gained a lot of popularity and many farmers are now using this improved farming techniques to achieve sustainable food supply.

A hydroponic system is a man-made structure that contains the inert media or water where the crops grow until maturity. Most common hydroponic systems are designed in form of trays, Towers, or Flames depending with the gardeners’ specifications as well as the available gardening space.

Different types of hydroponic systems can be set indoors or outdoors to provide the plants with optimal conditions for growth. However, the gardener must refill the system with essential nutrient solutions at given intervals to address the issue of nutritional imbalance.

Best Hydroponic Growing Systems Comparison Table

Product NameDimensionPrice
AeroGarden Ultra (LED) with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit17.25″ W x 11.25″ D x 15″-34″ HView on Amazon
SavvyGrow DWC Hydroponics Growing System Kit_View on Amazon
General Hydroponics EcoGrower Drip Hydroponic System_View on Amazon
AeroFlo 18 – Hydroponic System – 18 Sites – 17-Gallon Reservoir2′ x 5′ 2″ View on Amazon
Viagrow Complete Ebb & Flow Hydroponics System43.5″ x 25.75″ x 7.5″View on Amazon
Hydroponics Grower Kit, PATHONOR 11 Pods 3.5 Gal Self Watering DIY Planting Cloner Kit Educational Hydroponics System 15.97 x 5.51 x 11.11 inView on Amazon
General Hydroponics GH4720 Farm Controller, Terra Cotta24.5 x 24.5 x 24.5View on Amazon

An ideal system should have electricity supply, water, nutrient-filled media, aerators, and the right number of plants. You can consider making a simple hydroponics system at home if you have the required expertise or purchase one from a trusted supplier.

If you are looking for the best hydroponic systems for your indoor garden, you are at the right place.

This post will give a detailed review of the best hydroponic systems that any gardener can buy in order to enjoy high productivity with less inputs.

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Ultra (LED) With Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kitir?t=fancygardenin 20&l=li2&o=1&a=B00O9GRTC8


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If you are looking for a system that you can comfortably grow fresh herbs, flowers, salads, and vegetables, look no further because the Miracle-Gro AeroGarden has all that you need.

In this advanced hydroponics system, plants grow purely in water and the kit can accommodate up to 7 plants at any given time.

It is fitted with high performance full spectrum 30-watt LED lighting system that offers optimum condition for photosynthesis.

This best hydroponics systems Kit comprise of the following components;

  • Genovese Basil
  • Thai Basil
  • Curly Parsley
  • Thyme Mint
  • Chives and Dill
  • 3 Oz Patented nutrients

One thing that makes this advanced system unique is the interactive LCD screen control panel. The LCD control panel helps the gardener understand when to add water, patented nutrients and provides basic timely tips.

The control panel is also automated to automatically turn the lights on and off therefore, giving you an easy time when naturally growing your herbs.

The LED lights used in this system are energy-efficient and easily replaceable in case of malfunction.

HTG Supply Bubble Brothers 

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The HTG Supply Bubble Brothers DWC is fitted with six 3.5 gallon buckets which are low profile to enable you conserve space.

This hydroponics system is unique as it comes with a bigger air pump to produce a more powerful bubbling action.

The main components of HTG Supply Bubble Brothers are;

  • 2-inch air stones
  • 50-feets of ¼-inch air tubing
  • Net-pot lids
  • 10-litre bag of clay pebble grow medium

The system is suitable for small-medium sized growing setups. In addition, you can easily adjust the length of the tubing to the buckets to suit the available space.

The buckets can support the growth of variety of plants and the system offers an optimal environment for the growth of high quality plants.

General Hydroponics AeroFlo 18

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This type of hydroponics system is designed to offer ideal growth to small and medium sized plants up to three feet such as lettuce.

It’s fitted with 17-gallon reservoir and 18 plant sites. Gardeners who want a compact and high performance system can comfortably use the AeroFlo 18 site.

This unique best hydroponics systems is made up of the following components:

  • 17 gallon reservoir
  • Three 4 ft. grow chambers
  • 3″ grow cups
  • CocoTek Coco cups and Hydroton
  • 3 part Flora Kit
  • waterPower 120 pump
  • injection manifold
  • support structure

 

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) System

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Most hydroponic gardeners use NFT hydroponic system to grow faster growing plants such as lettuce, herbs, and veggies.  Nutrient Film Technique systems are very simple to design and they are constructed using the following materials;

  • Container/pot that will act as a reservoir for nutrient medium
  • Tubes to distribute water from the pump to the NFT tubes
  • Submersible fountain water pumps
  • Return system that will facilitate the flow of nutrient solution back to the reservoir

Regardless of the design, a good NFT system must have a very shallow nutrient medium that flows downwards through the tubing system so that the plant roots can absorb the essential nutrients.

Pros of Nutrient Film Technique

  • The system uses less nutrient medium due to the recycling method
  • Easy to design and it does not require too much expertise to operate
  • One can grow a variety of plants
  • Less growing medium is needed since there is minimal wastage

Cons of NFT system

  • The plants are highly affected by any interruption in the flow system that might arise from mechanical, or power failure. It can lead wilting of the plants.
  • Plants root can overgrow causing blockage of the drip system.

Deep water culture- Best Hydroponic Systems

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Deep water culture system involves building a floating net pots platform with your plants suspended on a nutrient solution reservoir where the plants get constant supply of essential components for growth.

The plants roots are able to absorb water, oxygen, and essential nutrients for optimum growth.

Most of the platforms that hold the plants are made of Styrofoam and the system works better when growing plants with shorter maturity periods.

Deep Water Culture hydroponics system works by using an air pump to oxygenate water.

The system also uses an air stone whose role is to bubble nutrients required by the plant roots for optimum growth.

The materials required to construct a deep water culture system are readily available and they are not expensive.

Pros of Deep Water Culture

  • Cheap and easy to construct
  • Easy to operate
  • Recirculating helps in reduction of waste materials

Cons of Deep water culture

  • Only works better with plants that thrive in too much water environment
  • The system only supports plants with shorter maturity periods

Wick System- Best Hydroponic Systems

wick hydroponics system

This type of hydroponics growing  system is by far the most basic system of gardening. Wicking system does not require any pump or electricity to function because it doesn’t have any moving system.

It can be used to grow a few plants and flowers as a DIY system.

The key items that are required when building a wick hydroponics system are; A container/bucket to hold the plant, a container/bucket to act as a reservoir, Growing medium, and wicking rope.

The plants grown under this system absorb nutrients from the reservoir through capillary process with the aid of a wicking rope.

The system works well for smaller plants such as herbs and lettuce which does not require much water and nutrients to grow.

Pros of wick hydroponic system

  • Easy to setup and maintenance cost
  • Inexpensive since the user does not require energy or pumps to run it
  • Works perfectly for smaller plants

Cons of wick hydroponic system

  • Only suitable for smaller plants
  • The system is less efficient in nutrient delivery to the plants as it only relies on the capillary process
  • Plants do not enjoy an even absorption of both water and nutrients.
  • Not all nutrients that are added to the medium are absorbed by the plants. Therefore, there is higher need to re-emptied the reservoir and refill with fresh medium to avoid nutritional imbalance

 Drip system

Drip hydroponics systems are designed in two ways; recovery and non-recovery systems. The drip system is operated using a submersed pump in a nutrient solution reservoir that is used to pump the nutrient solution once the timer is on.

The pump is used to make the solution flow through small drip line which eventually drips at the base of each plant.
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When using a recovery drip system, a reservoir is already set aside which collects all the excess nutrient solution flow that drips off so that it can be re-circulated back into the system.

Watering cycles also requires regular inspection to ensure they are functioning properly.

The non-recovery system as the name suggests is a drip system where excess nutrient solution is not collected and re-used.

When operating a drip system, a proper working timer is essential (especially with non-recovery system) as it ensures that there is minimum run-off.

Pros of drip system

  • Suitable for growing plants at a large scale even for commercial purposes
  • Minimal use of water and growing medium
  • Durable and can be used to grow a variety of plants
  • Affordable as the systems are readily available at fair prices

Cons of drip system

  • Higher wastage especially in non-recovery system
  • Prone to mechanical failure

Aeroponic system

Constructing an aeroponic system involves more technical skills compared to other forms of hydroponics gardening. The system is a bit expensive but most gardeners prefer this system since the plants are able to grow quickly due to efficient oxygen supply.

aeroponics hydroponics system

Aeroponic system functions by having a nutrient pump that mists the root zones of the hanging plants with the nutrients at a given interval using a timer.

As opposed to other systems where the roots are submerged, aeroponic systems is mostly preferred as it uses minimum nutrients and water.

The misting cycle is essential in ensuring that the plants roots have constant supply of oxygen. It is suitable for growing plants outdoors and in a wider space.

Pros of aeroponics system

  • Uses minimal nutrients and water
  • Adequate supply of oxygen ensures quicker plant maturity
  • Harvesting is also easier especially when growing root crops

Cons of aeroponics system

  • The system is expensive to install
  • The sprinkler heads can clog regularly in case there are a lot of dissolved nutrients
  • Plants roots can easily dry in case of a mechanical failure

Hydrofarm hydroponic megagarden system

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The hydrofarm hydroponic megagarden system is a modern system that is an all-in-one system. The gardener can comfortably grow up-to 15 plants in this megagarden.

The system is also designed to occupy limited space and comes with the following components;

  • Fifteen-5-inch grow pots
  • Growing media
  • 7.5 gallon reservoir
  • Water pump
  • Rock wool starter cubes
  • PH testing kits
  • A bottle of nutrients for your initial stages

Benefits of hydrofarm hydroponic megagarden system

  • It’s an all in one system
  • The system is affordable
  • Easy to operate and suitable for beginners

Disadvantages

  • Only limited to a small number of plants
  • You will be required to buy ventilation and lighting equipment

Related; Hydroponics Vs Aquaponics

 

General Hydroponics Farm Controller

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The General Hydroponics farm controller comes with a fully automated watering system. It’s designed to hold 8 waterfarm systems and a large reservoir with capacity of 13 gallons of water plus 8 gallon control units.

The general hydroponics waterfarm system is flexible and the number of pots can be added or reduced to suit the needs of the gardener depending with the available space.

The system is one of the most popular best hydroponics systems that most gardeners prefer due to its easy functionality as well as flexibility.

When shopping for general hydroponics waterfarm, budget for growing medium, grow lighting, and ventilation equipment as they are not sold together with this wonderful waterfarm system.

DIY Small Container Hydroponics System

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This is one of the simplest best hydroponic systems that you can build in your house. The system uses old containers which can be converted into growing pots and reservoir.

Once you have identified the containers you want to you, you can choose to use either automatic or manual system.

Automatic system uses electricity and pump while the other one depends solely on circulation of grow medium. Grow lights are needed to provide the plants with the necessary light for photosynthesis.

DIY Small Container Hydroponics systems plants can be grown indoors and the containers can be painted on the outer side to make them more attractive.

 A-Frame Hydroponics System

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Derived from its shape, A-frame hydroponic system involves growing of plants in a vertical garden. This kind of system is mostly used by gardeners with less space and it guarantees higher yields in a very small space.

This system is very flexible as it can be moved from one area to another.

A-frame hydroponics systems are easy to construct since they are built with readily available materials including;

  • Plastic reservoir
  • PVC tubes and pipes
  • A-Flame boards
  • Valves
  • Grow medium

Grow medium and water moves through the pipes and plants are able to absorb nutrients as it passes along the PVC tubes.

Plants are grown horizontally along the PVC tubes and the gardener has the option of adding or reducing the number of plants in A-Flame hydroponics system.

 H20toGrow Complete Hydroponics Kit

Best Hydroponic Systems

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If you are a beginner in gardening, this complete hydroponic grow kit is one of the best hydroponics systems that is perfect choice to go by.

The kit is made up of nutrients and growing mediums all in one to make it easy for starters.

The system is designed to resemble deep water culture setup and can be fitted to a maximum of 18 by 12.5 inches of floor space.

The system has a reservoir which is fitted with a water level indicator to help you refill the container easily.

READ ALSO;  8 Landscaping maintenance tips

The kit comes with complete components and it is relatively small making it convenient to gardeners with smaller space.

I would highly recommend this system to individuals with small and mid-sized setups and beginners as it offers affordable and efficient hydroponics gardening experience.

 Ebb and Flow Systems

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This type of hydroponics system is popularly known as Flood and Drain system. As the name suggests, plants are grown in a tray that is filled with growing medium through a “flooding cycle”.

How does it work?

The Ebb and Flow system comprise of a tray, water reservoir below the tray, a water pump, and a timer.

The flooding cycle is scheduled at a given interval to serve the plants with nutrient-filled solutions a number of times in a day.

The water pump fills the tray with the solution medium until it is flooded.

Then using the force of gravity, the solution flows back into the reservoir through an overflow pipe to be oxygenated pending the next flooding cycle.

The most commonly used mediums in Flood and Drain system are granular, grow rocks, gravel among others. Ebb and Flow system can be used to grow plants indoors or outdoors.

Growing medium are mostly made of pots to facilitate flexibility of the whole system.

Pros of Flood and Drain System

  • Uses less water and power
  • High level of flexibility
  • Suitable for both indoors and outdoors
  • Easy to construct as per your specifications

Cons of Flood and Drain System

  • Prone to mechanical failure and plants can be affected if the pump and timer fails.
  • The system requires a lot of solution-filled medium to function properly.

We believe our detailed post on the best hydroponic systems review will help you make an informed purchasing decision. Our top choice of the best hydroponics systems is Deep water culture.

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