Best Hydroponic System For Beginners: Top 5 Indoor Hydroponic System Reviews

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Turn your ordinary soil based garden into a much greener technology. Learn what indoor hydroponic system is, its types and the best hydroponic system for beginners.

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Tired of your usual garden? Want to have a high-yield opportunity but only got small space. Do you want a more environment-friendly garden system? The hydroponic system is not as complicated as its name suggests. In this article, we will give you the list of the best hydroponic system for beginners.

Hydroponics comes in different systems and designs

Hydroponics comes in different systems and designs

Top 5 Best Hydroponic Systems 2018 Reviews

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Extra (LED)

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Extra (LED). Via:

Using this smart countertop garden, you can already grow fresh vegetables, herbs, salad greens, flowers, and more. You can grow up to 7 plants here at the same time. If you think hydroponics is complex and tough, this device makes everything simple for you. It has a high-performance, full-spectrum 30-watt LED lighting system, which maximizes photosynthesis and promotes abundant harvests. It also has an easy-to-use control panel that reminds you when to add water and nutrient solution. It also automatically turns the lights on & off. The package already includes a 7-pod gourmet herb seed kit, which includes Thai Basil, Genovese Basil, Curly Parsley, Thyme, Mint, Dill, and Chives plus patented nutrients for the whole season.


  • The mini-garden looks good
  • High-quality LED panel construction
  • Foolproof display panel
  • Easy setup
  • Quiet pump


  • The plastic looks rather flimsy and the buttons, clunky

PowerGrow Deep Water Culture 4) 5 Gallon - 10

PowerGrow Deep Water Culture (4) 5 Gallon – 10″ Buckets. Via:

If you are looking for a cheap and simple way to grow hydroponically, PowerGrow is really a great option. It’s not rocket science at all. With very little effort, you can start growing in no time. Using this ready-made system, the plant roots get immersed in nutrient-rich and oxygen-infused water reservoir. the package includes: four 5-gallon FDA approved buckets, four 6” net pot bucket lids, four air stones, four outlet air pump, an air tubing, a blue water level indicator (with drain), and the comprehensive manual.


  • Good quality buckets
  • Good hoses
  • A decent air pump
  • Very easy to set up (just around 20 minutes)


  • If you want to do top feed for your plants, you need to have a separate water pump for each bucket
  • Growing media, nutrients, and pH test Kit not included

Deep Water Culture (DWC)

Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bucket Kit 5 Gallon, 6 inch. Via:

This is another easy-to-use complete kit that comes at a very affordable price. It has a 5-gallon FDA approved bucket and a 6-inch bucket lid. It also comes with 44 GPH Air Pump, Air Stone, Air Tubing, Growing media, & Rockwool Seeds Starting Plugs. It has a bucket drain and a visible blue water level indicator.


  • A complete package
  • Easy to use
  • Consistent results
  • Automated


  • Rather expensive
  • Does not come with chiller


Indoor Hydroponics Grower Kit, Pathonor 11 Pod 3.5 gal Non-transparent DIY Educational DWC Self Watering Hydroponics Tools Plant Cloner Kit Include Aquarium Air Pump, Buoy, Planting Baskets etc. Via:

This is another good deal. Its basin cover and the planting basket adopt dark materials well, which successfully gets rid of the light that could enter the basin, reducing green algae growth in your nutrient solution. There’s a chug cylinder on every side of the basic cover. This chug cylinder can be used when the air bubble stone tracheal passage pumps the trachea to the basin. This can also be inserted into a hollow cylindrical hole from the buoy as the level of nutrient solution. The overall look is really classy. It’s perfect for various plan operations. You can clone up a maximum of 5 cuttings with this low-profile cloner.


  • Excellent features
  • Effective system
  • Easy to install


  • The unit is rather small

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Sprout

AeroGarden Sprout with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit. Via:

This is another countertop garden that’s super easy to use. You can grow up to 3 plants here at a time. Its performance is good, and the full spectrum of light is converted into a specified spectrum that boosts the extent of photosynthesis, which enables natural growth among plants. Its control panel effectively and automates the turning on and off of the lights. It also sends you a reminder when to add the nutrient solution. The package comes with a 3-pod gourmet herb seed kit which has Curly Parsley, Dil, Genovese Basil, & 3 oz. of patented nutrients.


  • Easy to operate
  • Enables good healthy photosynthesis
  • Effective reminders
  • Comes with a 3-pod gourmet herb seed kit


  • The plastic is a bit flimsy
  • LED is prone to scratches

What Is Hydroponics System?

Hydro comes from an English word which means water and ponos from a Greek word for labor. Therefore, hydroponics deals with water in growing plants. The water used in this system is a nutrient-rich solution, and it does not use soil. Soil is not the only way to let the roots of the plant grow. There are other ways.

With this concept in mind, we can use inert media like perlite, peat moss, clay pellets, rockwool or vermiculite for its root system. Oxygen is essential to plant growth and the nutrients from its source. The hydroponics deals with a controlled environment, so you can adjust the setup based on the kind of plant you are planning to grow. The nutrients are in direct contact with the roots; therefore, you can say that the plants will be nourished well as they grow.

This is an organic hydroponic vegetable cultivation farm with rows of water-based production

This is an organic hydroponic vegetable cultivation farm with rows of water-based production

4 Benefits of Hydroponics System

The best hydroponics systems have a number of benefits. The following are some of the key advantages of using the best hydroponics systems:

Efficient Plant Growth

We all want to increase the growth rate of our plants. And with the best hydroponics systems, it’s possible to have our plants mature up to 25% faster and generate up to 30% more yield than soil-based plants. You can also save time and effort here. Your plants grow big and fast as they won’t work hard to get nutrients. Even a tiny root system would already provide the exact thing the plant needs. Instead of expanding downstairs, they will grow upstairs. As long as you choose the best hydroponics systems, you can enjoy an efficient production.

Lettuce vegetables growing in an efficient hydroponics system without using soil in a controlled setting

Lettuce vegetables growing in an efficient hydroponics system without using soil in a controlled setting

City Farming

One of the things that block city folks’ plans of growing their food for personal or business purposes is the lack of space. You don’t need to have any extra lot or even a patio to do it-- any spare room in the house will do (even your closet).

A maximized city building with hydroponics plants on its windows

A maximized city building with hydroponics plants on its windows

Emotional Advantages

Hydroponics is a stress-dissolving and satisfying form of recreation. You just have to sit down next to your green babies, talk to them, play music with them, and take care of them while you enjoy a great sense of satisfaction within. The feeling will be all the more fulfilling once you actually get to see the fruit of your labor.

A hydroponics system that can be easily set up while bringing full benefits to the environment

A hydroponics system that can be easily set up while bringing full benefits to the environment

Eco-friendly Gardening

Soil-borne fungi, viruses, insects, and other diseases are wiped out by the best hydroponics systems. You no longer have to experience a plague of locusts descending upon you since you can just do your gardening inside the house. You don’t have to use pesticides, sparing the environment from further harm.

Indeed, there are lots of benefits in using the best hydroponics systems. This time, let’s try to know how the best hydroponics systems work.

A selective hydroponics method of growing plants with the use of mineral nutrient solutions in water

A selective hydroponics method of growing plants with the use of mineral nutrient solutions in water

Types of Hydroponic Systems & How It Works


Wick System

This is basically the simplest form of hydroponic system. It’s a passive system; thus, it has no moving part. Its nutrient solution is drawn right into the growing media from its reservoir with a wick. The wick system could just make use of various growing media, such as Vermiculite, Perlite, Coconut Fiber, and Pro-Mix. The downside of this type is if you’re using large plants or those that require a large volume of water since they could absorb your nutrient solution much quicker than the wick could supply.

Wick System

Water Culture

This system is also the simplest in the active hydroponics category. Styrofoam is used as the platform of the plants. This platform then directly floats on your nutrient solution. There’s an air pump that supplies air to its air stone, which then bubbles your nutrient solution and transmits oxygen into the plant's’ roots. This is the best choice if you want to grow leaf lettuce. Leaf lettuce, as you may have known, is one of the fast growing and water-loving plants there are, and so the water culture system is perfect for them. The downside is that it doesn’t work best for long-term plants or large plants.

Moreover, water culture is also a great alternative to grow medicinal plants indoors. Take for example the cannabis plants, you can maximize the growth of your cannabis plants through hydroponics as they grow fast in water.

Water Culture

Ebb & Flow

The Ebb & Flow system also known as the flood & drain system, works by flooding your grow tray temporarily with the nutrient solution and draining the same solution back to the reservoir. It is usually done using a submerged pump which is linked to a timer.

As the timer turns on the pump, the nutrient solution is sent to the grow tray. As the timer shuts off the pump, the nutrient solution also flows back to the base. The timer can be set to work many times in a day, depending on your plants’ needs.

The flood and drain system is applicable to many growing medias. You can fill the grow tray with grow rocks, granular rockwool, or gravel. Many gardeners prefer using individual pots teeming with growing media. It enables an easy plant transfer. The disadvantage is that in some kinds of growing media, like perlite, gravel, and grow rocks, the probability of power outages and pump/time failure can be high. The roots tend to dry out speedily when there’s a water cycle interruption.

Ebb and Flow

Drip Systems (Recovery Or Non-Recovery)

The drip systems are used by a wide base of hydroponic system developers across the globe. It’s simple to operate. You just have to set a timer that manages a submersed pump. When the timer activates the pump, the nutrient solution gets dipped onto each plant’s base using a tiny drip line. Using the recovery Drip System, the unused nutrient solution is gathered back into the reservoir for reuse. If you’re using the non-recovery version of the system, the excess won’t be collected and reused anymore.

Drip System

N.F.T. (Nutrient Film Technique)

Most beginners think about this system first. NFT systems set a steady flow of nutrients, so there’s no need to set a timer for your submersible pump. This nutrient solution is simply pumped in your growing tray and then flows right over the plants’ roots until it gets drained back to the reservoir.

No other growing media is utilized here other than air. This helps you save time and money in replacing your growing media after each crop. However, NFT systems are rather susceptible to pump failures and power outages. The roots tend to dry out quickly as the nutrient solution flow is not fluid.

Nutrient Film Technique


This aeroponic system is one of the most advanced types of hydroponic system. Similar to the NFT system, right above your growing media is just dominantly air. Its roots just hang in the area and get misted with nutrient solution. These mistings are typically done every few minutes or so. Since the roots are exposed to the air, the roots dry out quickly if the misting cycle is interrupted.

There’s also a timer that monitors the nutrient pump, but the kind of timer used here is a short-cycle timer which runs the pump for just a few seconds every minutes-interval.


If you’re ready to start your very own hydroponics system, you can set it up instantly with the ready-made options below. You can pick from the 5 recommended products below to seize the best hydroponic system for beginners.

A modern vertical farming system with the plant food production in multiple layers stacked vertically

A modern vertical hydroponic system with the plant food production in multiple layers stacked vertically


Whether you’re doing hydroponics for business, recreation, or personal consumption, it's surely worthwhile to choose the best hydroponic system for beginners that can help you maximize the best reap. If you have other hydroponics options that you personally would recommend, feel free to drop your comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Lucy M. Clark

Hi there! I’m Lucy, and I’m a self-confessed garden fanatic. Gardening has always been a passion of mine and will always be my favorite pastime. Now that I am married and have one adorable son, I have the time to write and share my personal experiences with other garden enthusiasts like me.

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