Best Affordable Indoor Hydroponic Systems

Just because it’s not the right season or you have limited space, it doesn’t mean that your gardening must be put on hold. Hydroponic systems allow you to continue your gardening activities all year round. These smaller systems are ideal for indoor use, as a countertop kitchen garden, on a window ledge or on a shelf. They can even be a great conversation-starter on your desk at work.

A hydroponics starter kit is a great way to grow herbs and small vegetables without soil. Hydroponic gardening is an emerging trend and it’s very convenient because you can grow plants indoor all year around without worrying about weeds and pests.

We’ve reviewed several models that are affordable with low maintenance requirements. This is a perfect way to always have organic, fresh herb and vegetables available. These kits are also a great way to experiment with growing unfamiliar plants or germinating seeds before moving them in your outdoor garden.

What to Look for in Hydroponic Garden Kits

Here are some features to look for when shopping for hydroponic kits, especially an indoor hydroponic garden kit. Also, remember the systems we have reviewed may qualify as “cheap” hydroponics kits, but that just means they are relatively inexpensive, not low quality.

Type of Grow System

Most of the hydroponic garden kits we review use a grow system called deep water culture. This grow system replaces soil with an alternative growing medium and provides nutrients to plant roots by directly exposing the root system to water. One system we review is an aquaponic system that combines the hydroponic grow system with an aquarium. The fish byproducts provide nutrients for the plants. The plants, in turn, remove toxic materials from the water, cleaning the water for the fish. These aquaponic kits are especially good for educational purposes since they teach children about how ecosystems work.

Integrated LED Lighting

LED grow lightIndoor hydroponic kits typically have an integrated LED lighting system. Almost all the kits we review have one. If the kit you choose does not have an integrated light, you’ll need to invest in an energy-efficient, full spectrum LED grow light.

Adjustable light heigth is useful when growing plants of different sizes. By adjusting the light height, you can be sure the plant will get the optimal lighting.

A basic LED grow light is typically a full spectrum or pink light which will provide the most beneficial light frequencies for growing plants. Some systems have selectable light spectrums (light colors) that can be used for different purposes. For example, a white light can be used as a reading light and pink light for plant growth.

Automated lighting control is another great feature. You can program how long and how often you want the lighting to be active. Some lighting controls allow more fine-grain adjustment to the lighting schedules than others. Some people even use the lighting control as a light-based alarm clock that will gently wake them up when the plant light schedule begins.

LCD Control Panel

A control panel can be very useful for controlling lights, watering and other functions of the hydroponic grow kit. It also provides a convenient way to monitor the current status of the system and can remind you when to change the water, add nutrients and perform other maintenance activities.

White Noise Generators

A white noise generator can help to mask the sounds of water pumps in a hydroponic herb kit. This may be important if you are going to have the kit in a bedroom where someone is sleeping. As an added benefit, the white noise can cover up other noises (pets, neighbors, etc.) that might otherwise disturb your sleep.

Seed Pods and Nutrients

Some kits come with growing media, seed pods and nutrients. However, many do not. Read the description carefully. If the kit you choose does not include seeds and nutrients, they are easy to find online.

Size and Looks

Keep in mind how much space you have for your indoor garden. Are you going to place your kit on a bookshelf or create a kitchen garden on a countertop? Our hydroponic garden kit reviews include information about sizes and weights so you can be sure they will fit your specific needs. And don’t forget fashion! Everybody has different tastes and the garden kits we’ve reviewed have a variety of designs. Some of the kits are also available in a range of colors.

ph meter

Other Accessories

An important accessory that is typically not included in an herb kit is a pH tester. It’s important to test the hydroponic nutrient solution to ensure proper pH levels. Fortunately, pH meters are readily available online for very reasonable prices.

More Information

If you’d like to learn more about hydroponics, see our extensive guide to hydroponic gardening.

Now, on to the reviews!

Hydroponic Indoor Garden Kit Reviews

Aerogarden Harvest with Gourmet Herb Kit

Indoor Hydroponic System
AeroGarden Harvest

Aerogarden is the market leader in affordable hydroponic systems.The Aerogarden Harvest with Gourmet Herb Kit is one of the most complete ready-to-go kits and is great for beginners although more advanced models are also available. Some creative uses for this product include using the automated lighting control as an alarm clock (waking up when the grow lights are activated) and using the soothing white noise as a way to mask abrupt noises that can interrupt sleep.

Pros:

  • Everything is included. Nothing else to buy to get started.
  • LCD control panel to control lights and automate watering reminders
  • Powerful grow light. Can light up a room.
  • Available in other colors: red, teal and white.

Cons:

  • The light might be too powerful and can dry or burn the plants.
  • The pods can be a bit expensive.

Price: $112.00

FeaturesSpecificationsIncluded Items
  • Light power: 20 watt LED Grow Light
  • Light colors: High Performance, energy efficient full spectrum
  • Automatic light control: automatically turns lights on and off
  • LCD Control Panel: automated grow lights, nutrient and water reminders
  • Number of plants: 6 pods
  • Finish: Black high gloss plastic
  • Grow Height: Extends 12”
  • Dimensions: 5 x 11 x 13 in
  • Weight: 4lbs
  • 6-Pod Gourmet Herb Seed Kit that contains: Genovese Basil, Curly Parsley, Dill, Thyme, Thai Basil and Mint
  • 3 oz. patented nutrients (enough for a full season of growth)

iRSE Indoor Hydroponic System

Indoor Hydroponic System
iRSE Indoor Garden Kit

The iRSE Indoor Hydroponic System has a grow light with a timer and selectable white or pink lighting. The white light is good as a reading light and the pink light is optimal for plant growth (simulates sunlight). This is a relatively small product so it would be good for an apartment or where space is limited. The product is well-built and the sleek modern design looks great on a countertop or a deep window seat.

Pros:

  • Great for small spaces.
  • Multi-color grow light
  • Low maintenance. Just refill water every two weeks.
  • Easy to assemble.

Cons:

  • The light timer controls are limited.
  • Light height is not adjustable.
  • Operating instructions could have more details.

Price: $59.97

FeaturesSpecificationsIncluded Items
  • Finish: white, modern design
  • Light power: 8 watt LED Grow Light
  • Light colors: White Reading light, Pink plant growing light
  • Automatic light control: 3 Modes LED light with timer 16-ON/8-OFF hours, On All Time, Off All time
  • Number of plants: 2 pods
  • Grow Height: Extendable
  • Dimensions: 14.5 x Width 4.5 x Length 10.5 inches
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs
  • Lettuce Seeds
  • Fertilizers
  • Planting media (nutrients for the plant water)

Click & Grow Smart Garden 3

Indoor Hydroponic System
Click & Grow Smart Garden 3

The Click & Grow Smart Garden 3 is a compact indoor hydroponic system that was inspired by how NASA grows plants in space and was funded as a Kickstarter project. It’s very easy to use and the modern design is easy on the eyes and will enhance any decor.

Pros:

  • Compact. Ideal for small spaces.
  • Float to show water level.
  • LED lights over each plant for even lighting.
  • Metal rings for LED lights to prevent discoloration from light heat.
  • Lights will flash when water level is low.

Cons:

  • Light height is not adjustable.
  • Can be difficult to fill water tank without spilling.
  • Seed pods are relatively pricey.

Price: $99.95

FeaturesSpecificationsIncluded Items
  • Finish: white, modern design
  • Light power: 6 watt LED Grow Light
  • Light colors: full spectrum
  • Number of plants: 2 pods
  • Watering: The Indoor Hydroponic System Smart Garden has a 1.2L/40oz water tank, which holds enough water for a whole month.
  • Grow Height: Extends, the overall height from the bottom of the garden to the top of the lamp is 18.11” and the maximum height between the garden and lamp is 13.19”
  • Water: 1.2L/40oz water tank
  • Dimensions: 9 x 4.9 x 12.5 inches
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs
  • Basil seeds

Back to the Roots Water Garden

Indoor Hydroponic System

The Back to the Roots Water Garden has a unique and exciting design that integrates a 3 gallon fish tank. The combination of the plants and the fish tank allows it to be a self-cleaning ecosystem. This means there’s no weekly water changes required, which is great for children. It can also be a perfect gift or classroom project to teach about DIY aquaponics & ecosystems. A free downloadable online curriculum for kids about the science behind aquaponics is available.

Pros:

  • Integrated 3-gallon fish tank.
  • Self-cleaning ecosystem.
  • Aquarium stones included.
  • Includes coupon for a free fish.

Cons:

  • No lights included
  • No seed pods included, so some additional items are needed to get started.

Price: $99.99

FeaturesSpecificationsIncluded Items
  • Unique design.
  • Integrated 3-gallon fish tank.
  • Self Cleaning: fish release nutrient-rich waste into the water, the plants eat the nutrients as food at the same time filtering the water to go back down to your fish
  • Includes coupon for a free fish.
  • Great for children or for educational purposes.
  • No lights.
  • Dimensions: 13.4 x 13.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 7.1 lbs
  • 3-gallon fish tank
  • 3 month’s supply of herb and microgreen seeds.
  • Grow stones, grow bed, decorative gravel.
  • Silent water pump.
  • Water treatment.
  • Natural fertilizer.
  • Fish food.
  • Coupon for a Betta fish.

EcoPro Tools Indoor Hydroponic System

Indoor Hydroponic System
EcoPro Tools HP2025

The EcoPro Tools HP2025L LED Indoor Hydroponic System kit has a high power, high efficiency LED lighting system with adjustable height. The powerful lighting can be controlled by an LCD panel with both automatic and manual lighting controls.

This is a medium-sized product that is a bit more affordable than some of the other indoor hydroponic systems. However, although the system comes with seed pod containers and grow sponges, there are no seeds included so these will need to be purchased separately.

Pros:

  • Powerful, full spectrum LED Lighting.
  • Adjustable light height.
  • LCD Control Panel: Auto and Manual Modes.
  • Low water indicator.
  • Water pump timer.
  • Good instructions.

Cons:

  • Seeds not included.
  • Control panel is on back.
  • Limited lighting control (germination and growth automatic modes)

Price: Out of stock

FeaturesSpecificationsIncluded Items
  • Space for 8 seed pods.
  • Powerful, full spectrum LED Lighting.
  • Full spectrum lighting.
  • Adjustable light height.
  • LCD Control Panel: Auto and Manual Modes.
  • High Flow Air Pump.
  • Water reservoir with light that indicates if it needs watering.
  • Finish: Ivory white.
  • Number of plants: 8
  • Light power: 24 W LED
  • Light colors: full spectrum
  • Grow Height: extendable by about 10” (22″ total height including base)
  • Dimensions: 17.2 x 14 x 12.2 inches
  • Weight: 10.6 lbs
  • EcoPro Grow Pellets.
  • Grow Domes Water Tank Assembly.
  • LED Panel AC Adapter.
  • Nutrient Package.

Root Farm Indoor Hydroponic System

Indoor Hydroponic System
Root Farm System

The Root Farm Indoor Hydroponic System is an affordable system for larger plants. For example, you could have one large plant like a tomato or pepper plant, two medium plants like eggplants or small pepper varieties, or four small plants like leafy greens and herbs. The pump is very quiet, it makes a very calming sound of running water.

In order to get this up and growing, you will need 2 kinds of fertilizer, a grow light, growing medium to go in the baskets, and seeds. You will also probably need a ph testing meter or strips, as explained in the video below, to test the waters’ PH and adjust to a range between 5.5 – 6.5.

Pros:

  • Large size good for larger plants.
  • Large tub. Holds 6 gallons of water.
  • Quiet pump.

Cons:

  • Just the tub and pump. No lights or other supplies included.
  • Large size is not the best for small spaces.

Price: $98.31

FeaturesSpecificationsIncluded Items
  • Six gallon tub.
  • Easy read water level indicator to remind you when your plants need water.
  • Finish: Brown plastic
  • Number of plants: one large plant like a tomato or pepper plant, two medium plants like eggplants or small pepper varieties, or four small plants like leafy greens and herbs.
  • Lighting: none.
  • Water tank: A six-gallon tub with built-in recirculating pump.
  • Grow Height: no limit
  • Dimensions: 18.8 x 16.6 x 23.2 inches
  • Weight: 11.75 pounds
  • Tub
  • Water pump and tubing
  • Starter baskets
  • Lids for the holes you are not using
  • Water level gauge.

123WeGrow Indoor Hydroponic System

indoor hydroponic system

The 123WeGrow Indoor Hydroponic System is a great-looking, stylish product that would be a colorful addition to any kitchen countertop or window seat. The high performance, full spectrum LED grow lights are adjustable to almost 2 feet in height. It has timers to control light cycles and nutrient delivery.

The low price makes this a good choice for a starter system or a gift.

Pros:

  • Very affordable.
  • Powerful 35W, full-spectrum LED light.
  • Adjustable grow height.
  • Easy to assemble.
  • Good instructions.
  • Comes in a variety of different colors.

Cons:

  • No seeds and nutrients. Must purchase separately.

Price: $129.00

FeaturesSpecificationsIncluded Items
  • Powerful 35W, full-spectrum LED light.
  • Relatively small and compact.
  • Adjustable grow height.
  • Number of plants: 3
  • LED Light power: 35W
  • Light colors: full spectrum
  • Grow Height: adjustable, about 12 – 16 inches
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 12.5 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 5 lbs
  • System with light.
  • Seed pods (no seeds).
  • Clay pellets and vermiculite.