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Best Hydroponic Systems- Buyer’s Guide

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Have you thought of jump starting your growing season but you lack enough outdoor space to do it?

Relax, all you need is to invest in a hydroponic garden and you will have a source of fresh produce throughout the year.

With a hydroponic garden, it will be easier to achieve incredible grow results.

Most noteworthy, you’ll have access to everything you require to begin indoor growing.

To help you choose the best hydroponic system, we’ve compiled reviews of the top grow kits as well as the factors to consider while purchasing a hydroponic system.

These reviews are meant to help advanced and novice users find the ideal setups for their growing operations.

ProductPictureSystemCost 
General Hydroponics GH4720Ebb and flow$$$$$View on Amazon
General Hydroponics Eco-GrowerSpider drip$$$$View on Amazon
PowerGrow DWC Bubbler 8Deep water culture$$$View on Amazon
Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Extra (LED)N.F.T$$$$View on Amazon
Miracle-Gro AeroGarden SproutN.F.T$$View on Amazon

What is a hydroponic system?

A hydroponics system is simply a portable garden where you can grow your plants.

Basically, the system uses a nutrient rich solution instead of soil. Most people think that soil is the only way to grow plants; in fact there are other more efficient ways.

The hydroponic system allows you to use insert media such as Rockwool, perlite, clay pellets, vermiculite or peat moss to support the root system.

One of the key advantages of a hydroponic system is that you only deal with a controlled environment.

This means you can adjust the system depending on what you intend to grow.

Besides, it helps keep the nutrients in direct contact with the plant roots thus keeping your plant nourished throughout the season.

How hydroponic systems work

There are several hydroponic systems available for use. Some of the systems include;

Wick system

The wick is a simple hydroponic system that uses a passive system; basically, it does not have moving parts.

The system uses a wick to draw the nutrient solution from the reservoir into the growing media.

The main growing media used include coconut fibre, perlite, vermiculite or Pro-mix.

Unfortunately, this type is not suitable when growing plants that require a lot of water since the wick cannot supply the nutrient solution as required.

Ebb& Flow

Also known as the flood & drain system, it functions by flooding the growing tray with the nutrient solution for a short time.

It later drains the nutrient solution to the reservoir. This process is done with the help of a submerged pump linked to a timer.

Basically, the timer is set to turn on the submerged pump allowing the nutrient solution into your grow tray.

After the timer shuts the pump, the nutrient solution pours back to the reservoir.

The Ebb & Flow system can work well with many growing media. You can choose to use Granular Rockwool, gravel, or grow rocks.

Drip systems

This is one of the common types of hydroponic systems that most developers use.

The best part?

It is easy to operate since you only need to set a timer to control a submersed pump.

The timer controls the pump allowing the drip line to supply the nutrient solution onto your plants’ base.

Any unused nutrient solution collects back into the base for reuse.

On the other hand, if you use the non-recovery model, it does not collect unused nutrient solution.

Water culture

It has been rated as the simplest in the active hydroponics category.

Developers opted to use Styrofoam as the platform of the plants.

Styrofoam floats on your nutrient solution.

The system works by blowing air to an air stone located in the platform; the air bubbles the nutrient solution thus supplying oxygen to the plant roots.

This type has been recommended for growing leaf lettuce.

Water culture only favors water-loving plants; it does not work well with large plants.

Aeroponic

It is considered as the most advanced and sophisticated hydroponic system.

Their roots hang in the area and automatically get misted with the solution.

Most noteworthy, the misting process is done every few minutes since the roots are directly exposed to the air.

Any interruption with the misting cycle might result to the plant roots drying.

The system uses a timer that runs the pump for around 5 seconds every minute.

Nutrient Film Technique (N.F.T.)

This system suits beginners since their systems are set to supply the plant roots with nutrients without the need of a timer.

The nutrition solution is simply directed to the grow tray and flows over the roots until it is tapped back to the reservoir.

Similar to the Aeroponic system, the only growing media used here is air.

The best part?

You do not have to replace your growing media after each crop hence saving you money and time.


Key benefits of a hydroponic system

In case you didn’t know, you will enjoy a lot of benefits with the best hydroponic system. This section will highlight some of the main advantages associated with the system.

It is Eco-friendly

The best part about hydroponic systems is that it allows you to farm inside your house. This way you do not have to worry about insects and locusts descending upon you.

Moreover, no insecticides are required thus no air pollution.

Hydroponic systems are designed to keep of soil-borne fungi, insects, diseases and viruses.

Emotional benefits

Hydroponic gardening is one of the simple ways you could use to relieve stress and relax.

You could attend to your system during your free time and talk to your green plants as well as take care of them. This will bring a feeling of joy and satisfaction within you.

Moreover, you will experience more joy when you get to see the harvest.

Efficient plant growth

The technology that the best hydroponic system uses allows for increase in plant growth rate.

In fact, a plant in hydroponic systems matures up to 25% faster than soil based plants.

Besides, you will also enjoy up to 30% more harvest than normal garden plants.

Hydroponics will save you a lot of time and effort since the plants will grow at a faster rate without struggling for nutrients.

As long as you invest in the best hydroponic models, you will have a great planting and harvesting time.

City planting

Most folks who live in apartments have always wished for some space to grow plants.

Good news is that you can invest in a hydroponic system and grow food for commercial or personal use.

You do not require any outdoor space, you can place them in your spare room or closet.


Factors to consider when purchasing the best hydroponic system

There are many hydroponic brands out there; you are likely to get confused when it comes to choosing the best one for your gardening activities.

To avoid this, we are going to guide you on the factors you should look at to evaluate if a hydroponic system suits your needs.

Below are some of the key features to focus on when buying.

Type

In this section, you will come across 2 types of hydroponic systems namely the Ebb and Flow and Deep Water Culture.

In case you want to grow plants that love dry conditions, consider purchasing an Ebb & Flow type.

For beginners, you can opt for the Deep Water Culture type since it is easy to use and maintain.

Growing sites

You need to plan ahead to ensure that the grow kits fits perfectly in the space you intend to use.

You need to know that the number of pots in your hydroponic system determines the number of plants you can grow.

Bucket size

The size of a growing pot or bucket is measured in gallons.

Knowing the size helps you know the kind of plants you can grow in a specific hydroponic system.

Always ensure you buy the right size otherwise your plant will outgrow the pot or bucket.

Expandability

Some users prefer kits that are adjustable in case their gardening needs get bigger.

Most beginners prefer a hydroponic system with this attribute.

Activeness

Nowadays, farmers prefer investing in an active hydroponic system to pump nutrients to their plants.

It is a technique that is more efficient as compared to the passive hydroponics.

Everything is set to run automatically so as to achieve better results and improved growth.


Top 5 hydroponic products to choose from

1. General Hydroponics GH4720


The GH4720 uses the Ebb & Flow setup and has eleven growing buckets.

Besides, they can also be adjusted up to 12 on one controller.

If you are planning to have a large growing operation, it is advisable to use this awesome system since it has enough buckets.

The system comes with an 8 gallon controller unit and 13 gallon reservoir.

Moreover, the GH4720 comes together with flora series nutrients as well as important hardware and materials you will need to set up this hydroponic system.

You need to know that once you set up the GH4720, you will only be required to undertake minimal maintenance.

The size of this system is ideal for enhancing root growth as well as helpings plant grows quickly.

The system is fitted with an air pump to ensure that the nutrients are well mixed with water, before being directed to the plants.

Pros

  • It requires little maintenance
  • It supports large plants
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Not suitable for beginners
View on Amazon

2. General Hydroponics Eco-Grower

The Deep water Culture system is almost similar to the bucket style but it is an enclosed all-in-one model.

This means it has 6 growing sites enclosed in one bucket. Its reservoir can hold up to 17 gallons.

The good thing about this hydroponic system is that it occupies a space of 2 X 2 feet.

It comes with a spider drip system that is controlled using an Elite 800 air pump.

The reservoirs have a hexagonal shape that helps accommodate maximum volume even in a small space.

The kit comes with net cups, CocoTek liners, Flora nutrients, lid inserts, clay pebbles, pumping column and quarter inch airline.

The Eco-Grower is good for smaller plants and slight medium ones. You can utilize the drip system to provide the plants with extra water if needed.

Pros

  • Can be used by beginners and professional gardeners
  • It’s compact
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Requires high maintenance
View on Amazon

3. PowerGrow DWC Bubbler 8

The PowerGrow hydroponic system is a cheap and simple way to grow your plants.

Within 20 minutes of setting the system up, you can start nurturing your plants in no time.

The kit comes with 8 growing buckets with a capacity of 5 gallons each.

The package comes with basket lids, an air pump, air stones and air lines.

One good thing about this equipment is that it is fitted with a water and drain level indicator.

The pump works well despite having a loud disturbing sound.

In case you are looking to have a bigger system at a very low budget, this one might favor you.

The large buckets encourage root growth since there is plenty of space for the roots to stretch.

It also comes with a long hose that gives you many options on where to set up the buckets.

Pros

  • Good, long hoses
  • Easy to set up
  • Large quality buckets

Cons

  • Does not come together with the growing media, pH test kit, and nutrients
  • Noisy pump
View on Amazon

4. Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Extra (LED)

If you are looking for a sophisticated and smart hydroponic system, consider checking out the Miracle-GroAeroGarden Extra.

It will provide a cool and controllable garden to grow your salad greens, flowers and herbs.

It provides enough space and nutrients to grow up to 7 plants simultaneously.

This equipment is fitted with a full spectrum 30 watts LED lighting system to help you maximize photosynthesis as well as final yield.

In addition, this smart device has an easy-to-use control panel that guides you on when to add nutrient solution and water.

The kit comes with a 7-pod gourmet herb seed kit as well as original nutrients for the entire season.

Pros

  • It looks awesome
  • Has an LED light to maximize photosynthesis
  • Easy to use
  • Quiet pump
  • Has a waterproof display panel
View on Amazon

5. Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Sprout

Similar to the Miracle Extra type, the sprout model is a counter top garden that is easy to use.

The system allows you to grow up to 3 plants at a time.

It has high performance plus has a special spectrum of light to enhance photosynthesis.

The lights are turned on and off automatically on the control panel.

In addition, it remind you when to top up the nutrient solution.

The package comes with a gourmet herb seed kit containing Genovese Basil, Cury Parsley, 3 oz of patented nutrients and Dil.

Pros

  • Easy to operate
  • Maximizes photosynthesis
  • It is sold together with a 3-pd gourmet herb seed kit
  • Effective reminders

Cons

  • The plastic is flimsy
  • The LED light is prone to scratches
View on Amazon

Conclusion

It does not matter if you are practicing hydroponics for personal consumption, commercial or recreational purposes.

It’s important to invest in the best hydroponic systems.

You will note its advantages during the growing period and when it’s time to harvest.


Eunice
 

My name is Eunice, a gardener who is very passionate about gardening. I see the many struggles that gardeners go through to get the right information on products and farming techniques. I have therefore decided to start this blog to share the knowledge I have based on my experience and that of my fellow gardeners. Apart from gardening, I love reading, writing and travelling. Feel free to contact me in case of any questions, suggestions and clarifications.

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http://rivkastage.blog.fc2.com - August 14, 2017

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organic gardening - August 21, 2017

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