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Best Indoor Hydroponic Systems

Best Indoor Hydroponics Systems

Today I will be reviewing several types of indoor hydroponics systems so that you can determine the best indoor hydroponics system for you! If you aren’t familiar with the term ebb and flow, please find my explanation of this concept in my blog on ebb and flow hydroponics here. You will also notice another type of hydroponics which is Deep Water Culture (DWC).  Put simply, in a DWC system, a plant’s roots are suspended in a well-oxygenated solution composed of water and nutrients.

The Best Indoor Hydroponic Systems

Several different styles of indoor hydroponic systems are available and each have their pros and cons. I will be going over each so that you can make a well-informed decision. Some take up little space and some considerably more. It all depends on how much space you have and what your plant growth objectives are.  My first two favourites have been covered in two of my earlier posts.  One being the Arerogarden and the other being the Foody Vertical Garden.

Please note that this site is supported by affiliate marketing which means that a small portion will be paid to maintain this site from any purchases made through it.  This in no way effects the price of the products on this page.

DWC Hydroponic Growing Kit

Deep Water Culture Hydroponic Growing Kit

This comes with a large air stone to keep the roots well aerated, rock wool and six sites. They have another model with 11 sites. This would be a good counter top unit for growing herbs. It comes with everything you need to grow your own organic food & herbs, includes air stone, rock wool, powerful air pump & medium-sized DWC bucket, water indicator, assembly instructions, tube & clay pebble. This kit creates big plants, fast; their roots get full nourishment without searching in soil for it which makes it the perfect indoor herb garden kit.

PROS:

Satisfies Your Plant Hunger

  • Medium-sized DWC Bucket
  • Grows Plants with Ease
  • Great System That Sufficiently Feed Your Plants Roots
  • Perfect For Beginners And Schools
  • Reliable Airstone That Fully Oxygenates the Water

3-5 Times Faster Than Soil

  • No Soil-Based Pests
  • Creates HEALTHY Plants FAST
  • Don’t Need to Worry Over Soil Conditions
  • Great to Transfer Seedlings to the Greenhouse
  • Roots Fully Nourished Without Needing to Search for Food

CONS:

This does not come with a light or with nutrients so these would have to be purchased separately so it isn’t really a “complete kit” as advertised. Although most customers seemed quite happy with this unit, some did not receive instructions and so had difficulty with set up. Also, some got these with broken pieces and commented that, although customer service told them that they would send the replacement part, they did not.

Darlene’s Opinion:

For the cost, this seems like a pretty solid little unit. The DWC feature makes it good for beginners as it keeps watering to a minimum and looks easy to assemble – assuming you get the instructions!

Click HERE to view in Amazon.

Indoor Smart Herb Garden Hydroponics Growing System

Indoor Smart Herb Garden Hydroponics Growing System

This is an indoor garden with 3 lightness levels & full spectrum lighting system,8 White Lights, 8 Red Lights and 2 Blue Lights, 360° rotation of the light covers a larger area and allows plants to maximize photosynthesis, resulting in rapid, natural growth and abundant harvests. The smart herb garden has the upgraded hydroponic technique and is soilless. The use of space meteorite media to increase the germination rate of plants is more suitable for plant growth. Plant Growth Lighting creates a good indoor environment for your beloved plants. Reading Lamp natural light protects your eyes. Enjoy reading and growing with your plants. Built-in water level sensor. When the water in the LED garden planting sink is less than 10%, the water level warning light starts to flash. Most all the reviews on Amazon were very positive.

PROS:

  • Compact
  • Decent sized reservoir with alarm
  • Few moving parts so less chance of damage or incorrect assembly

CONS:

  • Although arm is rotatable, it will not adjust up or down and I am afraid that this will make small seedling stretch for light
  • Ultra compact so don’t expect to grow a lot of food

Darlene’s Opinion:

This would make a great addition to your desk, especially with the adjustable lighting to make it for reading or for growing.

Click HERE to view in Amazon.

Go Grow Hydroponic Gardening Planter

Go Grow Hydroponic Gardening Planter

This is an indoor/outdoor gardening planter for herbs, flowers and leafy greens. This hydroponic system is 5.5 gallons but also comes in a 3.5 gallon size. Hydroponic growing is simple with this 36″ Go Grow Hex hydroponic planter which uses off-the-grid, non-circulating technology. It has space to grow 5 herbs, flowers or leafy veggies at a time on your patio, deck, balcony or railing and is semi-sealed to reduce the impact of rain and evaporation. It is made of powder-coated aluminum for durability and offered in a White as well as French Gray color to add a decorative accent to any living space. The Go Grow Planters’ non-circulating growing technology allows plants to grow in a nutrient solution with no soil, no pumps, no filters, no electricity, no weeding, no watering, no pesticides, no herbicides, no GMOs. The provided pre-measured Grow Mix means no measuring or testing, just open, pour and mix for healthy, hassle-free gardening at your fingertips.

PROS:

  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to use
  • Beautiful and versatile

CONS:

  • May need extra lighting in the winter

Darlene’s Opinion: For a beautiful centerpiece you just can’t go wrong. This unit combines excellent growing technique as well as beauty!

Click HERE to see on Amazon.

WePlant Hydroponic Growing Systems

WePlant Hydroponic Growing Systems

This comes with a water pump, PVC vertical hydroponic pipe, timer, nest baskets and sponges for the plants to grow in. The circulation system is on a timer. The default setting of the timer allows the pump to work for 5 minutes every 30 minutes to achieve ebb and flow. This not only makes the pump more durable and saves on nutrient solution, but also make the vegetables grow better. It is available in several different conformations, depending on your space and how much you would like to grow.

WePlant Hydroponic Growing Systems

PROS:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Works well
  • Good for the DIY enthusiast

CONS:

  • Does NOT come with reservoir as shown in the pictures but this can easily be remedied by going down to your local hardware store and buying a cheap Rubbermaid or other opaque plastic container with a lid. You would need to drill a hole in the lid for the pipe to fit into as you do not want light shining on your nutrient solution as this will cause algae to grow.
  • Depending on the conformation, you would want to add lights. My recommendation would be to choose a suitable sized LED light. The first one pictured could be put in front of a large south-facing window but I fear that it would still need additional light in the winter.
  • Nutrient solution not included.
  • Pipes are non-standard US so if you need to replace you will be unable to do so at a hardware store

Darlene’s Opinion: This system is not complete but a very good start on a sizable ebb and flow hydroponic system. If you are at least conversant with how to work a drill, this system would be fine but is certainly not the complete unit that it claims to be.

Click HERE to view on Amazon.

DreamJoy 4 Layers 72 Plant Sites Hydroponic Site Grow Kit

DreamJoy 4 Layers 72 Plant Sites Hydroponic Site Grow Kit

This unit comes in various conformations and will allow for 36, 54, 72, 90 or 108 plant sites. Specs: 8 Pipes;4 Layers;72 Plant sites; Material: PVC-U. Pipe diameter: 6.3 cm (2.5 inch). Hole quantity: 54. Hole diameter: 3.2 cm (1.26 inch). Spacing between the holes: 8 cm (3 inch). It is especially suitable for leafy vegetables in home, garden and office, such as lettuce, herb, celery, cabbage, etc. This hydroponic site grow kit produces high-quality leafy vegetables that are more nutritious and better-tasting because oxygenated water and nutrients are delivered directly to the roots. It is very simple to assemble and use, perfect for beginners. This hydroponic station growth kit features a drain rod design that allows the user to switch between Ebb and Flow or circulating deep water culture units by simply turning the drain pipe up or down in each growth chamber. The hydroponic site grow kit package includes following things: 1 x Holder and Main Pipe. 72 x Planting Sites. 1 x Water Pump.72x Planting Sponge. 1 x Hose.

PROS:

  • Very easy to assemble (even an elderly lady on comments said she found it simple!)
  • Great for home or for growing for a market garden

CONS:

  • Pipes are non-standard US so if you need to replace you will be unable to do so at a hardware store
  • Does NOT come with reservoir as shown in the pictures but this can easily be remedied by going down to your local hardware store and buying a cheap Rubbermaid or other opaque plastic container with a lid. You would need to drill a hole in the lid for the pipe to fit into as you do not want light shining on your nutrient solution as this will cause algae to grow.
  • Depending on the conformation, you would want to add lights. My recommendation would be to choose a suitable sized LED light. The first one pictured could be put in front of a large south-facing window but I fear that it would still need additional light in the winter.
  • Nutrient solution not included.

Darlene’s Opinion: This looks like the best large system by far. If you are growing for a large family or wish to grow to sell to a market garden, I think this is your best bet!

To view on Amazon, click HERE.

Big Smart Indoor Hydroponic Planter

Big Smart Indoor Hydroponic Planter

This unit is for your tall, climbing vegetables, unlike any of the others on this page. You just add trellis units as you need to for a total height of 150cm. It comes with a smart reminder as to when the reservoir needs to be topped up and is a complete unit. Just add the water and fertilizer when it reminds you, no need to take much care, anyone can be a good gardener, It could be connected together by a cable to share an adapter if you buy two sets of it. It comes with big size pots and basin so can grow bigger plants as well besides herbs, like tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, eggplants. Planting foam is provided for you to plant your own seeds into. There were only a couple of negative reviews on Amazon. Most customers had nothing but glowing comments!

PROS:Big Smart Indoor Hydroponic Planter

  • Easy to assemble
  • Good customer support
  • One of the few hydroponic units with a trellis to grow tall or climbing vegetables
  • Cost effective

CONS:

  • Nutrient solution not included
  • Lights not included so best for south facing window

Darlene’s Opinion: I WANT ONE!!! This is the first unit I’ve seen made specifically for climbing plants and at this price point it really can’t be beat.

Click HERE to view on Amazon.

Conclusion

I hope that I have given you a lot to think about! Hydroponic units come in all shapes and sizes and it just depends on what you want them for. There are units for beauty or for high production and everything in between. I have tried to select the best indoor hydroponic systems out there but really had to limit the selection as there were just so many to choose from.

Please feel free to leave your comments and/or questions below and follow me for new posts. I look forward to hearing from you!

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Darlene Thompson

After having lived in Canada's most northerly territory of Nunavut where outdoor gardening is nigh impossible, I started down my adventure of indoor gardening. I hope you find the various methods as exciting as I do!

48 Comments

  1. Hello Darlene,

         Thank you for this post!  I’ve been wanting to give hydroponics a try but I have very limited space.  I’m really liking the Go Grow Hydroponic Gardening Planter for multiple reasons:

    It can go on my balcony half-wall, doesn’t require a pump and is pretty-much self-contained.

    You’ve gotten my excitement level back up again.

    Thank you so much,

    Scott

    • Thank you so much Scott!  I got pretty excited looking those up!  LOL

  2. Hi Darlene! I have read a few post on the indoor hydroponic systems subject and I have found that the best option for us is the DreamJoy 4 Layers 72 Plant Sites Hydroponic Site Grow Kit. I appreciate you have given a lot of details in what you consider the cons. I feel most of them are easy to solve, such as buying a cheap Rubbermaid container with a lid or having additional lights in the winter. But it’s nice to know these things from the very beginning because it enables us to do a well informed purchase. Thank you very much!

    • Thank you, Henry!  I know the disappointment of buying a “kit” and then finding out I still need stuff so I made sure to include everything that you even MIGHT need!  Thank you for your comments!

  3. Setting up indoor gardening is not an easy task but with consistency and patient you can make things work out especially for beginners to get minimum level of watering. The above listed methods is great for beginners that are aspiring to start their own gardening. Thanks for the methods. Also I think the pros and cons is listed for beginners to take note in order to succeed. Kudos to you guys

    • Thank you so much crownwole – I sure hope this helps you out!

  4. Is this can be useful in a cold place like here in Alaska? If that works here it is good for us to grow our own vegetable. Because it is to expensive and sometimes it is hard to eat fresh food. Frozen veggies are more cheaper and easy to cook but not good for you. This Indoor Grow System is what am looking for so long, hopefully most of them have lights because on winter time we dont have lights, or sunlight. I like all the info I read here and its helpful. Thank you

    • Hi Matthessa!  I used to live in Nunavut, far enough north that we got absolutely no sunlight in the winter.  This is what turned me to hydroponics for veggies.  I went through the exact same thing with the scarcity or extremely high price of fresh veggies.  I would definitely go with one of these systems.  Just note where I say they need extra lighting, in your case it will be ESSENTIAL.  Amazon has plenty of good LED lights that will draw little electricity and give your veggies the full spectrum light that they will need during the dark months.

  5. Excellent selection of indoor hydroponic systems!  I have to confess… I have a black thumb.  I’m not just kind of bad.  I’m REALLY bad about gardening.  Would any of these be kind of foolproof so you can’t screw it up by giving too much water or not enough water? Or nutrients, fertilizer, etc?  I really liked the climbing plant one, but I’m kind of scared to invest in any of these if I’m just going to kill them like I did every other plant.  I am actually wanting to grow catnip or cat grass, so I probably need the smaller centerpiece one.  What do you think?

    • Hiya Selenity!  I have plenty of soil plants that I’ve killed myself.  The only real success I’ve had is with hydroponics.  If you follow the directions on nutrient feeding, its impossible to over water them.  Its just then a matter of ensuring that the reservoir is kept topped up and off you go!  I find hydroponics much easier than soil.

  6. WOW!!! awesome article, I really enjoyed the write up,This is an indoor garden with 3 lightness levels & full spectrum lighting system,8 White Lights, 8 Red Lights and 2 Blue Lights, 360° rotation of the light covers a larger area and allows plants to maximize photosynthesis, resulting in rapid, natural growth and abundant harvests.great article thank you,rock higher in online business.

    • Hiya Abayomi,

      Yes, I rather liked that unit, too!  The lights are what makes it so perfect!  Best of luck with your growing and have fun!

  7. I’m seeing many amazing hydroponic planters options in here . After checking through the list, I can see that the last option on the list (big Smart Indoor Hydroponic Planter) can serve a great purpose for  the plant am currently looking up to. I want to transplant my pumpkins and tomatoes into a better place. These plant are climbing plants, so they will be better inside this hydroponic planter.

    • Hey Stella,

      Yes, absolutely that last option would be the best for any kind of vining plants.  The beauty of that system is that the pumpkins and tomatoes will not come in contact with the ground so will be immune from slugs and other soil-bourne nasties that tend to get to our garden crops.

      Have fun!

  8. Now that I am finally in my own home I am able to start my garden and I wanted to start a hydro grow as well for my herbs in the house. I never knew you could do lettuce with hydro so this is a surprise and a happy find.  Now I am a beginner so I would suppose I begin with the dwc hydro growing kit! 

    My question is how much attention does this system need if any? What role does the lighting play in the grow is it a necessity or an option?

    • Hiya Shannon,

      DWC is hands down the easiest hydroponic system available and takes the least amount of attention.  Just pay attention to the schedule your nutrient solution gives you and keep the water topped up and you are good to go.  Need to take a few days away from home?  No worries!

      As for the lights, this all depends on where you live and so how much light you get in the winter.  If you are in Arizona, they are probably pretty optional.  If you are in Canada and want to grow in the winter, they are pretty essential or else you will have skinny plants reaching for the non-existant sun.

      All the best!

  9. ok this post was truly timely for me! I am a recent divorcee and have started cooking for myself! I have discovered growing my own herbs! so I started with rosemary, in a small square tub and I am not had much luck with it! hydroponics is something I had not considered until I reviewed your post and it was very informative!

    as a beginner what system would you recommend for me?

  10. Wow! This is very cool. I could grow my own fruits and vegetables so they would be fresh and organic. Does it end up saving you money as opposed to buying organic produce in a grocery store? It seems like it would.
    I appreciated how you specified what each product contained and what it didn’t. It looks like you know a lot about indoor gardening.

    • Thank you, Charles!  I used to live in Canada’s far north where we wouldn’t see the sun for months so indoor gardening with hydroponics was a life saver.  Yes, over time any of these systems will pay for themselves but the true beauty lies is the super fresh produce that is only steps away from your table.  You just can’t pay for the quality of produce that you will receive from hydroponics!

  11. What a great way to freshen up your internal living space.

    With the influx of devices that are used at home now, complementing that with a floral or hydroponically focused household to counter the electronics revolution is vital for health reasons.

    I like the Indoor Smart Herb Garden Hydroponics, it is nifty, compact and relatively simple to monitor and look after.

    Thank you for the information.

    • Thank you, Shane!  I like that one too for its ease of use not to mention the look.

  12. Hello Darlene, such an interesting post on hydroponic planting system. I’m a seasoned gardener but ever since I got to our new domicile, due to limited space, I have stopped gardening until recently that I heard about hydroponic and its less space consuming option compared to normal gardening. Indeed, hydroponics is really less space consuming and it provides such a greater option compared to other gardening options. I think if I were to go back to gardening through hydroponics, then I will favor the use of the Weplant hydroponic growing system. I like it the most.

    • Thank you for your comments, Ro!  I’ve been gardening since my teens when my mom put me to work out in the garden and when I was no longer able to it just seemed that something was missing.  I must say that with hydroponics I have found it to be MUCH less work and very rewarding.  Best of luck in your gardening endeavours!

  13. I live in NYC apartment and I am in love with Indoor Smart Herb Garden Hydroponics Growing System. I love that it is compact and I can plant my herbs. It is always saddens me when I have to throw away the herbs from my fridge just because It goes bad. I love that it comes with lights that I can adjust. The price is affordable too, thanks for all these reviews.

    • Thank you Nultanee.  I totally agree that having fresh herbs is just SO nice!  Even in a small apartment that unit would fit and look great.  Happy growing and happy cooking!

  14. I’ve always wondered about indoor hydroponics, and the room in particular you need to use for the growing. I’m worried that if I start growing indoors, soon enough I’ll see damp problems in that area of the home. 

    Are there any preventative products that can be used to combat the forms of damp that hydroponics can cause?

    • Good question, Chris.  These are closed systems.  All of the water components are contained.  Even the reservoirs, where necessary, must be kept in closed containers.  There is very little evaporation into the air.  A big reason for this is also because the water is kept moving.  I have several systems (Aerogarden and vertical) and I have never had problems with excess damp even though I live in a rather humid area.  No products exist to combat this because it just isn’t a problem.  Thank you for your comment!

  15. Dear D Thompson, 

    Of all indoor hydroponic systems I’ve seen online, your examples are the best. I like their uniqueness especially the Go Grow Hex hydroponic system and also that DIY DreamJpy 4 Layers type.

    Besides their many other advantages, they seem to be the kind of hydroponic systems that could add real aesthetic value to the home of any enthusiast. 

    Could they be color customized for different theme colors to fit different homes?

    .

    Boniface from AndroidBix 

    • Hi Boniface – its nice to hear from you!  The Go Grow only comes in white or grey so you are limited there.  The DreamJoy is white but its made of plastic.  Why not just paint it?  The sky is the limit when it comes to customizing the DreamJoy since it is a standard unit and its expected that you can and will customize to your liking.

      Have fun with growing!

  16. I really like the look of the Indoor Smart Herb Garden Hydroponics Growing System. I am looking at getting some plants for our office to brighten it up a bit and this looks ideal.

    Love that it comes with the lamp as our office doesn’t get a lot of natural light all day round so this will definitely help the health of the plants. Should one leave this lamp on all the time, or only during the day?

    • Hiya Michael.  Thank you for your post as it points out something I didn’t mention in my post.  That unit has a timer on it will give your plants 16 hours or light and 8 hours of dark in a 24 hour period.  This is the optimal light/dark cycle for your plants so you don’t have to worry about turning the light off and on at all.  This way, you can go home and not have to think about the light at all.

      Happy growing!

  17. Hallo there Darlene, 

    I have been looking for good hydroponic systems at least to add some green leafy touch to my home and I have to say it has been really hectic getting good systems out there. 

    Your post is the first I have seen with as much detailed information as I need and I felt I should comment and thank you for that. 

    Based on the options you have provided, I think I am going to go with the Big Smart Indoor Hydroponic Planter. The cons for the other systems seem too much for me to handle. 

    More than that, it is pretty much the perfect fit for me. I can feel it. Thanks heaps for helping me get exactly what I was looking for.

    • Thank you, Dave!  Its great to hear from you and I think you will really enjoy your hydroponic journey/

  18. Hello Darlene,

    I have thinking about such system for my balcony in my new flat, so happy to come to your website! Your article is nicely written and I have chosen Go Grow Hydroponic Gardening Planter, which would be really suitable for the purpose I need, I would buy white one. Before I came to your website I was not aware of how it really works, but after reading this article I am sure this is definitely what I was looking for. Thank you for that, I will check other article of yours and wish you all the best! 

    Bye Renata

    • I love the look of the Go Grow unit as well, Renata.  Its perfect for someone who want something simple, beautiful but also very effective.  I hope you have fun with it!

  19. I’ve never used a hydroponic system, so this is a fabulous review outlining what is available and the pros and cons of each one. Some have more aesthetic appeal than others, my favorite one being the Go Grow Gardening planter, cos it’s pretty :). I also like that it has its own pre-measured grow mix, making it less work, less effort and less likely to kill the plants lol! As much as I love gardening, I’m new to hydroponics, so this sounds like the safest for my kind of experience. Thanks heaps for sharing an informative review of the options available in this area. 

    • Hiya Kat!  I couldn’t agree more.  That unit is perfect for beginners just getting into hydroponics so that you can develop a comfort level with it.  Once you get going with a nice, clean, simple unit like this then the sky is the limit as to where you might want to go from there!

      Enjoy!

  20. Hi Darlene, 

    Good in depth review. Ideally I’m looking for a Hydroponic system that I can set up in a small box room. The DWC Hydroponic Growing Kit sounds like it may be ideal for me, having to purchase the lights and nutrients isn’t going to be an issue. Do you happen to know if it is available on Amazon UK?

  21. I’m having an old house renovated in the Gaspe region of Quebec.  I’m also thinking of adding an all-season greenhouse added to the land.  I was thinking of using hydroponics instead of the earth for the plants.  I have no experience with them though.  These small kits have shown me I could experiment with small amounts of hydroponics in the house first before thinking of doing so in the greenhouse.  Is hydroponics gardening more expensive than earth gardening when you do it on a large scale?  

    • Hi there and thank you for your comments.  Hydroponics will pay for itself time and time again.  Plants grow much faster and much healthier.  They don’t have to search through the dirt for nutrients.  If you want true production of food then, in my mind, hydroponics is the only way to go and the more so when you scale it up.  You scale all the way up to being able to sell your produce and will be able to do it much more profitable with hydroponics because of the increase in the speed of the plant grown and the health of the plants themselves.

      Best of luck in your gardening dreams!

  22. Thought I would leave my comment here. I have always been curious about this topic.The idea of growing something underwater is truly amazing. You informed on the different choices and how the system works, which I liked. Excellent insights. The layout is wonderful too. I felt the pro/con sections are great. I am glad you wrote this. Keep writing, Best Krista

    • Thank you so much, Krista! You will find that growing food hydroponically to be very rewarding. The plants grow so much faster, healthier and larger. Best of luck!

  23. Hi Darlene,

    I love your honest review about this products. We make use of the go grow hydroponic gardening planter. The go grow planter does not disappoint at all! i have used the same planter for about two years to grow lettuce, mint, basil and flowers both inside and out. our whole family has really enjoyed it, our young kids also enjoy watching it grow and helping to plant. it is very low maintenance and i rarely have to refill it and even when i do it’s super easy. we have enjoyed it all year round, growing vegetables outside in the summer and also using it as a window decoration in winter.

    Regards!

    • Its great to hear from someone who has used one of these Jordan!  Thank you so much for your observations.  I really liked the look of that one myself.

  24. Last year, we were travelling for 3 weeks and I was super worried about my plants. Mind you, they were the kind that apparently was better off neglected (snake plant and the like) but we were going away for at least 3 weeks. No family nearby. And I kept thinking, I really should invest in a good indoor hydroponic system since we live in a small ground floor flat so all of my plants were indoors.

    But I had no idea what to look for. I wish I’d come across your site sooner because, on the way back, we missed our flight and ended up staying for 3 months instead of 3 weeks. Luckily, we had left a key and our in-laws had to fly to stay in our flat for a few days just to make sure everything was okay.

    This would’ve saved us lol Thanks for the review. Now I know what to look for.

    • Good story, Kevin and Jade!  Yes, with Deep Water Culture especially, they can go for a good long time without attention.  That’s what I love about it!

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