PowerGrow Deep Water Culture System
If you want plants that will mature faster and produce more yield, you may be looking for the best hydroponic system. With the right investment and setup, your plants and/or cannabis can produce up to 30% more yield and grow up 25% faster. What’s the secret? No soil. Hydroponics is defined as a method of growing plants in a soilless environment using water rich in nutrients. The roots of the plant are supported by some medium such as clay or rocks just for structural support.
Think of hydroponics as a very geeky way of maximizing yields. It’s like growing plants in a chemistry lab with precise measurements all figured out! The premise behind hydroponics is that you are feeding the plant exactly what it needs, when it needs it, properly pH balanced, at all the right temperatures to make sure the plant has reached its genetic potential. With soil, there is always a frictional cost for the plant: for example the plant needs to seek out nutrients in the soil and extract them, which is energy wasted by the plant. With the best hydroponic system, plants can focus more on growing up instead of expanding the root system downstairs. It’s the same concept as spoon feeding your plant vs having it go hunt in the wild soil.
Best Hydroponic System Reviews
- PowerGrow Deep Water Culture System – 5 Gallon Kit (Top Pick)
- General Hydroponics EcoGrower Drip Hydroponic System
- Hydrofarm MGSYS Hydroponic Megagarden Ebb & Flow System
PowerGrow Deep Water Culture System – 5 Gallon Kit
If you want the best hydroponic system for cannabis or your plants and you don’t want to invest too much, get the PowerGrow Deep Water Culture System (DWC). Deep water culture systems are probably the easiest to setup and maintain. These systems are cheap and so the investment is kept at the minimum. We think PowerGrow makes some of the best DWC systems in the hydroponics industry because of their quality and ease of use.
This kit has everything you need to start growing your first plant including a 5 galloon FDA approved bucket, bucket lid, Growstones growing medium, an air pump, air tubing, an air stone, start plugs, and blue water level indicator. The system is incredibly easy to setup: insert the airhose through the top of the bucket, connect the airstone which helps release oxygen into any water based solution, connect the tubes to the air pump, fill the basket with growstones (included in the kit) or a medium of your choice, and finally fill it with your seeds, add water and nutrients.
There is a tube connected to the bottom that gives you a visual indication of the water level, which is a nice feature to have. What makes this system different from the other Deep Water Culture systems is the quality of the air pump, which is the heart of what makes this setup work. The pump in this system is nice and strong enough to sufficiently oxygenate the nutrient solution, which is crucial for plant growth. The pumps on PowerGrow’s DWC system are rarely known to fail and this is why you should choose them if you want a DWC system.
As a basic rule of thumb, you should only have one plant for one bucket. This single bucket system is perfect for someone who wants to get started on growing plants and cannabis using hydroponics. If you are growing more plants, we recommend you use PowerGrow’s multiple pot system. Overall, this is the best hydroponic system for someone who wants to experiment with growing with a hydroponic system and doesn’t want to invest too much money.
General Hydroponics EcoGrower Drip Hydroponic System
If you want a drip system to grow your plants or cannabis, the General Hyproponic EcoGrower Drip System is the best hydroponic system for you. This drip system is designed to grow six plants and includes a 17 gallon reservoir, six individual pot inserts with each one 6 inches in diameter, spider pumping columns, a single outlet elite 800 air pump, and clay pebbles.
For those of you who aren’t aware of what a drip system is, instead of flooding the plants with the nutrient solution, this solution is slowly dripping onto the plants. In the EcoGrower, the reservoir acts like a growing tray, holding the plants. Drip manifolds are connected from the nutrient pump to the growing tray and extend out next to each pot. With the EcoGrower, you have a lot of control over how you feed your plants and how fast or slow you want to drip your nutrients.
It is also inexpensive for the number of plants you can grow and virtually no risk of breaking down. This drip system makes great use of space and is perfect for those growing plants, vegetation, and cannabis in an urban environment. The only negative thing we can think of about the EcoGrower is that you may have unstable pH levels in the reservoir nutrient tank because of recycling, but this just requires some work to manage pH levels. Also, you are limited to growing six plants, so if you want more you’ll have to upgrade to a bigger system. All in all, for six plants, this is the best hydroponic system for your money.
Hydrofarm MGSYS Hydroponic Megagarden Ebb & Flow System
Hydrofarm offers the best hydroponic system if you are looking for an Ebb & Flow system. This system is great for amateurs who want to step away from soil and transition in hydroponic systems. The Hydrofarm Megagarden has everything you need to get started on your first batch of plants, vegetables, or cannabis. The setup is easy and very efficient: you have trays, pumps, pots, red clay medium, and a timer.
The Megagarden is an ebb and flow system which means it involves soaking your plant roots in a nutrient solution each day for a set interval, draining the solution and then repeating this process. There is a 7.5 Gallon reservoir with water level indicator that is water tight and holds 15 5 inch plastic grow pots which you fill with the provided red clay medium or a medium of your choice.
One of the advantages of using the Megagarden is that you do not have to deal with stagnant water, which leads to roots rotting and infestations and bugs. The timer is capable of up to 12 flood settings so you have many options when it comes to on off water cycles. Megagarden also comes with nice accessories like 16 oz of its all-purpose nutrient and a pH test kit. This is a great hydroponic system if you want to max out the number of plants per square foot as well. You can jam in 15 plants in a 22” x 22” x 10” area, which is pretty amazing density compared to most other systems.
More Info on Hydroponic Systems
There are many advantages as well as disadvantages of hydroponic systems. For one, it saves space, it saves water, reduces pollution and waste from soil run off, there’s no need to weed, you’ll have less pests and soil born diseases, you’ll have time savings by having more harvest cycles, and it gives you full control over the final product. In terms of disadvantages, there are some as well, but not many. First and foremost, hydroponic systems are generally more expensive than an equally sized soil system.
The initial setup can also take a lot more time to setup and to perfect. Managing the hydroponics system takes more time and more attention to detail, like monitoring and balancing your pH and nutrient levels every day. Finally, a small failure in your system or a wrong calculation in nutrient delivery and you can kill your plants within hours. If there’s a water pump failure, your plants will die very fast.
There are a few types of hydroponic systems: deepwater culture, nutrient film, aeroponics, wicking, bb & flow, and drip. Deepwater culture systems are probably the easiest to grow plants and cannabis. The roots are suspended in a nutrient solution with an air pump oxygenating this solution, which prevents the roots from dying. Many people choose deepwater culture systems because there is no drip or spray system, which are susceptible to frequent clogging.
Nutrient Film Technique is a system where there is a continuous flow of nutrient solution over the roots through the help of gravity. Aeroponics is another type of hydroponics system where the plant is suspended in the air and nutrient solution is misted to the roots. Wicking is a low cost hydroponic system that uses capillary action to shuffle nutrients up a cotton wick and deliver them to your plants and cannabis. Then there are ebb & flow systems that work by flooding your plant pots with a nutrient solution at intervals and letting the solution drain back into a reservoir to be reused. Finally, there are drip systems, which simply slow drip nutrient solution directly onto the roots of your plants or cannabis.