The Best Hydroponic Systems For 2018
In this day and age, being environmentally conscious is a need rather than a choice. That extends to growing methods too. Technology has allowed us to be environmentally friendly and get more effective results at the same time. Other than preventing possible soil erosion and offering less water usage, hydroponic systems also increase the growth rate by almost thirty percent.
How to Choose the Best One
With so many options to choose from, it’s definitely important to have one’s priorities straight before browsing through all those hydroponic systems. You have to constantly pay attention to the nutrient and pH levels in hydroponic systems, so it’s integral that you buy a high-quality product. After weighing several different factors, the most important ones have been highlighted in this buying guide.
Time and Attention That You Can Give
Since hydroponic systems remove soil from the equation, the only medium for the plants is water. The plants are in direct and constant contact with the water, so they are more sensitive to its nutrient and pH levels. The health and growth rate of the plants depend on it, so you definitely need to be alert.
There are different types of hydroponic systems and some are more demanding than others. Aeroponic hydroponic systems are the easiest to maintain since they don’t include complex pumping and timing requirements. A drip hydroponic system is easy to set up with very few components but is susceptible to changing pH levels and clogging and, hence, would demand more vigilance. Ebb and flow hydroponic systems require particular attention too since the recycling of the nutrient solution might cause an unstable pH level. Nutrient film technique (NFT) hydroponic systems are easy to maintain since they utilize self-regulating small channels to transport water.
It matters whether you are planning to set up the system in your backyard, front garden or within your house. This depends on the amount of plants you want to grow. It also depends on the system you choose.
Over the years, companies have experimented with the different types, varying their sizes, but the general pattern is somewhat the same. Nutrient film technique hydroponic systems take up the most space since they utilize a channel of water. Ebb and flow systems spread out horizontally, taking up an average amount of space. If you want more compact designs, then aeroponic or deep water culture systems are the perfect choice.
Type of Plants
Every system has its own particular niche of plant type. Generally, a broad range of plants can be grown under every type, but some are more optimal for particular types like fruits or flowers. Plants that need a dry period to maximize their growth rate and productivity should make use of the dripping system, while the NFT system is optimal for growing small plants. It is important for the prospective buyer to know the dominant plant type they wish to grow and to tailor their purchase according to those demands.
Hydroponic systems function on pumps and timers. The interconnected framework signifies the dependence of the different parts on the employed machinery. If the pumps stop working, all the plants could die within a day since there is no soil to retain the water. The access to water would be immediately cut off in most cases. Thus, one of the top priorities for a hydroponic system is that it belongs to a reliable brand. You should also test out the machinery before buying it and do a complete walkthrough of the system so that you can catch any small technical malfunction.
|General Hydroponics RainForest 66 Aeroponic System||Find Lowest Price|
|Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bubbler Bucket Kit by PowerGrow Systems||Find Lowest Price|
|Clone King 25 Site Aeroponic Cloning Machine||Find Lowest Price|
|DreamJoy Hydroponic Grow Kit 72 Site 8 Pipe Nutrient Film Technique System||Find Lowest Price|
|General Hydroponics Waterfarm Complete Hydroponic System Grow Kit | GH4120||Find Lowest Price|
Top 5 Complete Hydroponic Systems
Being a medium-pressure aeroponic system, this product is suitable for a large selection of plants and flowers. It is a satisfactory package space for 6 medium-sized to large plants and comes with all the equipment you could need. It comes with six net pot liners to facilitate the water flow, a bag of pebbles for the base and 3-part GH nutrients.
Its special feature is the Vortex Sprayer, which evenly distributes oxygen in the nutrient solution before transferring it into the plants. This way, their growth rate is increased through the pump.
Another brownie point is its dimensions. Its dimensions are 22.9 x 19.1 x 26.1 inches, making it compact enough to even set up in a garage. It can adjust well in your house’s layout, given that it’s very easy to set up and maintain and takes very little space. For the beginner, this is one less reason to be stressed out about.
With a well-thought-out design and operation, this product is equipped with a 7-gallon reservoir, placating the last worry of an immediate shutdown if any machinery fails. The Flora Kit adds the extra punch to this well-equipped package.
- Simple to set up
- Easier to maintain than most aeroponic systems
- Noisy pump
It is a suitable choice if you want a simple, compact system to grow medium-sized to large plants.
This Hydroponic Bubbler Kit allows the user to grow four different types of plants. The quality of its accompanying air pump, airlines, air stones and six basket lids is guaranteed with a 1-year, US-based warranty. These can get immediately fixed without any additional cost to you. They have also been FDA-approved for their sturdiness.
This kit is very easy to manage since each bucket has its separate drainage system and a water level indicator, facilitating the vigilance required. Despite the fact that it can only grow four plants, it’s one of those few deep water aeroponic systems whose cost doesn’t exceed a DIY deep water system setup. That means that along with all the time and hassle that buying this will save you, you don’t have to worry about additional cost either.
The quality of the buckets is impressive – they are thick-walled and, thus, more reliable and light-proof with built-in net pots and pre-installed, high-quality grommets. The system is made such that it makes it particularly easy to lift the entire plant and transfer it to another bucket, allowing greater flexibility.
However, its four- to five-gallon reservoir isn’t as spacious as it should be.
- High-quality buckets
- Easy to set up
- Only grows four plants
- Small reservoir
This is a suitable choice if you want to grow a small number of plants in a high-quality setup and don’t want to spend extra dollars on the system either.
This one allows you to grow 25 different plants and because of its cloning feature, it makes it very easy to multiply the number of plants without costing extra for the seeds. It has a 317 GPH submersible pump which, aided by the 13 spray heads, makes sure that the water reaches every one of the 25 plant openings.
The 13 spray heads are among this system’s special features since a system of this cost and size is usually accompanied with fewer spray heads. Thus, this system will make sure that the nutrient-rich water reaches every pothole adequately.
This entire system makes use of no chemicals and is completely organic, ensuring quality organic vegetables if you choose to grow them.
It also provides a manual with an easy-to-follow guide for cloning. It contains detailed pictorial instructions along with solutions to any possible problems that can arise. It is a breeze for complete beginners too. It can be set up within a quick thirty minutes, and the roots will grow in half the time that they would in conventional systems, without any problem of wilting or humidity complications caused by the humidity dome.
After 10 to 14 days, the transplanted roots will have grown enough to be self-sustainable and can be moved to any other medium, which can also be soil. There won’t be any complication just because they have grown without soil.
This system has a well-documented success rate and uses machinery whose replacements are easy to find in local stores as well. However, there is a constant potential problem of clogging due to the type and make of the system.
- Large capacity for plants
- Easy to use
- Easy to set up
- Clogging dangers
This is the perfect fit for you if you want a large Aeroponic system.
With high-quality plastic, i.e., food-grade PVC, this product provides up to 72 sites for aeroponic growth, so it can easily support most gardens. All of the material used for balancing the water supply on its different layers is food grade. Thus, you don’t have to worry about faulty machinery with such high-quality materials being used.
Using the nutrient film technique, there are eight pipes that go through all of the 72 sites, providing adequate water supply for fast growth rates.
Its selling feature is its hybrid model. It can be used as a deep water system if a timer is used and as an ebb and flow system without it. The ebb and flow system takes care of the requirements of the plants for occasional dry periods, while the deep water culture provides a constant water supply.
Furthermore, there is a constant recycling of nutrients through this model, making it another environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to the conventional growing techniques. The planting sponge has a well-calculated depth, the water pump can generate pressure up to 110 volts, and the hose can stretch up to 15.25 ft.
This system can be used either outdoors or indoors and is perfect for vegetable gardening with its spacious style. It is especially equipped for beginners with its easy setup.
It can generate 45-day yields of completely organic and optimal quality herbs, lemons, etc. This method not only facilitates growth rates but also guarantees a higher quality because of the direct access to the nutrient-rich water supply. Thus, it will require less water and less space than the traditional gardening methods and offer the same benefits.
However, you won’t be provided with a reservoir tank or power strip in this product. That would demand extra time, effort and possible technical expertise. The net pots might also be too small for certain plant types. You should also be careful about the type of vegetables and plants you want to grow before buying this multi-functional aeroponic system as it won’t suit all types.
- High quality
- Doesn’t come with a reservoir tank
- Net pots might be too small for certain plant types
This is a suitable fit for you if you want to extract more than one function out of the system and still want to retain a certain level of cost-effectiveness.
This system is very easy to set up and maintain and can support small, medium-sized and large plants. It can grow anything from cucumbers and tomatoes to herbs and flowers. Furthermore, water farms are the most suitable system for beginners to start with since they require the least amount of maintenance.
It allows the user to grow several plants together and uses high-quality plastic, increasing the durability of the system. Its square model saves more space than usually done by water farms, thus actively rooting out the burdensome considerations for beginners and making it easier than ever to move to hydroponic systems for gardening.
It only weighs 12.48 pounds, and its lightweight feature makes it easier to transport the system and to set it up.
However, the reservoir size is only 2 gallons, so it might prove to be a problem for the ambitious beginner.
- Easy for beginners
- High quality
- Low reservoir space
This is the most suitable fit for beginners.
All of these varying options are inclusive enough to suit different preferences. The most high-quality products for different preferences have been hand-picked to ensure you don’t have any trouble choosing the best system. You don't have to buy a complete kit. If you are looking for specific components, check out our reviews for some of the best grow tents and top grow lights.