If your goal is to grow spectacular yields fast, it is hard to beat a hydroponics system for growing cannabis. Buying your first setup however requires time and research in order to make sure you are getting one of the best hydroponic systems. There are quite a few different types of hydroponic growing systems on the market, and you need to make sure you are buying the right setup for your needs.
There are also variations in quality from one system to the next. While there are some excellent products out there, there are also a lot of inferior systems. Weeding these out (pun intended) during the buying process is essential if you want to ensure success.
In this guide, I will introduce you briefly to some of the different types of hydroponic systems you can buy and tell you which features are important in the best hydroponic systems. Then I will share some brief reviews with you of some of the most highly rated indoor hydroponics systems.
What Types of Hydroponics Systems Are There?
Best Hydroponic Systems For Beginners:
- Ebb and Flow
Many of the best hydroponics systems for beginners fall under the ebb and flow category. These systems work by pumping nutrients from a reservoir into containers which hold your cannabis plants. The nutrients then drain out, pulling oxygen to the root systems. Ebb and flow systems are simple and work well, making them some of the best hydroponic systems.
- Passive Growth Systems
Also popular among newbies are passive growth systems. These use a wick to bring nutrients to your plants. Once again, these are easy to use and also relatively inexpensive to set up.
Other Great Options:
- Deep Water Culture
This is a system where you keep your cannabis plant in a pot above a reservoir. The roots are left exposed, and air is used to bring oxygen and nutrients to the roots. These systems are easy to maintain, but the exposed roots give you a smaller margin for error.
Unless you are going pro, you probably won’t use an aeroponic system. The setup is a bit like deep water culture, but the system is kept at 100% humidity levels. The exposed roots soak up oxygen and nutrition on a constant basis. You need a lot of space for this type of hydroponic system. While it can produce great results, it is unforgiving of mistakes.
- Top Feed
These types of hydroponic growing systems are also referred to as “drip feed” systems. Tubes carry nutrients from a reservoir into the substrate with your plants. It then washes over the roots and runs back down into the reservoir.
- Nutrient Film
With this type of indoor hydroponics system, there is a long tub situated at an angle. At the high end of the table, there is a reservoir. A solution is pumped out of it and then carried by gravity down the tub.
How do you decide which of these types of systems to use? I recommend accounting for the electrical systems in your home, the amount of space you have, how much maintenance you are willing to do, and your experience level.
Cost of course is also a factor when it comes to choosing the best hydroponic systems. Make sure you are not just shopping for the least expensive model though. Do some research to make sure the product you are buying is effective and will be sufficient to help you produce the yield you need. Sometimes a product which costs more to buy upfront has better overall and long-term value.
Don’t forget that you also will need to shop for LED grow lights and other equipment to maintain the right environment for your cannabis.
What Features Are Important in Hydroponic Growth Systems?
- The right type of system for your needs
Not every hydroponic growing system is a fit for every person or every environment. Someone else might do great with aeroponics, while you might do better with deep water culture. Make sure that you select a system that is right for you.
Some systems are ideal for growing just a few cannabis plants, while others can help you grow many at a time. Still other hydroponic growing systems are too small to be suitable for cannabis at all. Others can be scaled up if you add on more units in the future. So make sure you know what kind of capacity you can expect before you invest in a system.
- Quality, durable build
The best hydroponic systems will hold up great to long term use. You should be able to use them for years to come. You don’t want something cheap which is just going to break on you in a few months.
- Everything you need to get started
As a beginner, you should think about shopping for all-in-one kits. The best hydroponic systems include everything you need to begin growing cannabis right away.
- Easy to clean and maintain
The best hydroponic systems also are easy to clean and maintain, which helps you to prevent mold and blight.
Top Hydroponic Growth Systems for 2017
Now you know more about indoor hydroponics systems, which means you are ready to shop for the best hydroponic systems for your needs. Let’s check out some highly rated and popular products which are on the market right now.
1. Indoor Hydroponics Grower Kit by Pathonor
This is one of the more popular hydroponic systems which you can buy online right now. It is also one of the most highly rated as of the time of this writing. It is an indoor setup with a simple design utilizing a tub.
- This is an all-in-one kit. It comes with everything you need aside from the nutrient solution and the cannabis seeds.
- A special material used in the design of the basket and the basin cover help curb the growth of algae.
- You can easily see the nutrient level at a glance, so you always know when it is time to add more.
- The simplicity of this setup is ideal for beginners.
- The cost is low, making this an excellent value.
- Like a lot of hydroponic systems on the market right now, this one was not specifically designed for marijuana. Indeed, it is a bit small, so you may find that it is restrictive in some ways.
What the Indoor Hydroponics Grower Kit by Pathonor Is Best For
Because this is a smaller system, it is one of the best hydroponic systems for cloning purposes. But if you are a beginner and you are just trying to grow a few small cannabis plants, it could work for that too. If you use quality nutrients, you should get strong root systems.
2. General Hydroponics GH4120 WaterFarm Complete
This reasonably priced hydroponics system is a complete solution which includes all you need to start growing cannabis. It is another option which has received some great reviews online, and which is very popular.
- This is a complete kit which includes all necessary parts and supplies to start hydroponics as a beginner.
- Like all the best hydroponic systems, this one is made out of sturdy materials. The high impact plastic is durable and ensures that the system will stay in great shape over years of use.
- High water capacity and low requirements for water make for an efficient system.
- This system is versatile and can be used for plants of any size.
- There are a few buyers who mention that the air pump is not the best, even if overall this is among the best hydroponic systems. You can however replace this if you want to upgrade the system.
What the General Hydroponics GH4120 WaterFarm Complete Is Best For
If you are a beginner and you are looking for a low cost, easy way to get started, the General Hydroponics GH4120 WaterFarm Complete kit is an all-in-one solution. Just be ready to upgrade the air pump if necessary.
3. General Hydroponics GH4720 Farm Controller, Terra Cotta
If you liked the system above, but you are looking for something more extensive which you can use to grow more marijuana, consider the General Hydroponics GH4720 Farm Controller. This is a more expensive option, but it is one of the best hydroponic systems to consider if you are aiming for a higher-yield operation.
- Your purchase includes 4 WaterFarm module units instead of just one like you get with the kit discussed above.
- The reservoir has a 13-gallon capacity and there is an 8-gallon controller unit.
- If you want to expand the system, you can add up to 4 more modules.
- Buyers have mentioned that this is a great system for higher yields, so if you want to grow a lot of cannabis, this is one way to do it.
- Several customers mentioned getting defective units when they ordered, or units with missing pieces. But so long as you do not fall into this minority, you will be purchasing one of the best hydroponic systems on the market.
What the General Hydroponics GH4720 Farm Controller Is Best For
This is one of the best hydroponic growth systems for producing large amounts of cannabis. Even though it is more expensive than a single module, the value is arguably higher since you are getting 8 modules for a very reasonable price.
4. AutoPot 4pot System Gravity Fed Watering System
This is neither the most nor least expensive hydroponic system on the market. It does include 4 pots instead of just one, however, so it is a solid value. Customers online also have given it largely positive ratings.
- Includes 4 pots connected to a single reservoir.
- Gravity-fed with no powers, pumps or timers needed.
- This system is fully scalable. If you want to connect more pots, you can, making it one of the best hydroponic systems if you are looking for flexibility.
- A few customers mentioned various issues involving the drip hose, fittings or other parts, but there was no real consistency to the few complaints. Most comments on this product are very positive.
What the AutoPot 4pot System Gravity Fed Watering System Is Best For
This is another of the best hydroponic systems if you are looking for a system which you can expand on as you become more experienced and want to start growing more cannabis.
5. General Hydroponics RainForest 66 Aeroponic System
Another of the best hydroponic systems for cannabis is this one for medium and large plants. While it is not as popular as some of the others reviewed here, it has received some great comments from buyers online.
- Contains 6 modules for plants. The whole unit is self-contained, which makes it easy to move if you need to relocate it for whatever reason.
- The nutrient solution is oxygenated by a system called Vortex Sprayer before it is sent to the roots.
- This is actually an aeroponics system. Despite this, it is surprisingly compact and affordable.
- A couple of buyers said that there were missing parts when they received their system. This seems to be a common issue when ordering hydroponics kits online.
What the General Hydroponics RainForest 66 Aeroponic System Is Best For
If you are interested in aeroponic growing systems for cannabis, but do not want to invest a ton of money in a professional system, this is one of the best hydroponic systems you can buy.
6. Hydrofarm MGSYS Hydroponic Megagarden System
This popular system is highly rated online, and reasonably priced. It can support up to 15 plastic grow pots.
- Grow as many as 15 plants at once.
- Includes a 7 ½-gallon reservoir complete with a water level indicator.
- Fired-clay and pebble grow media are included along with a pH test kit and nutrients.
- Flooding and draining are on a timer and are automatically controlled. Both the timer and the pump are fully submersible.
- There were a couple of purchasers who complained that the assembly process was complicated.
What the Hydrofarm MGSYS Hydroponic Megagarden System Is Best For
Even though you feasibly can put 15 pots in this system, it is better to use it to just grow 2-3 plants (otherwise they may be crowded). So this is not suitable as a hydroponic system if you want to grow a lot of cannabis, but if you are beginner just looking for a way to learn with a couple of plants, it might be great for starting out.
7. Hydroponic Site Grow Kit 36 Ebb and Flow Deep Water Culture Garden System
One of the best hydroponic systems in the ebb and flow category is this one from Oxcellent, which is very affordable and highly rated.
- This model can be used indoors or outdoors.
- Assembly is simple and straightforward so that you can get started growing your plants right away.
- The water and nutrients are oxygenated before they arrive at the roots.
- This is not only one of the best hydroponic systems; it is also one of the most unique in that it is adaptable. If you use the time controller, it works like an ebb and flow system, but if you do not, then it works more like a deep water culture system.
- The system does not include the reservoir tank and is also missing a power strip. You will have to provide both separately.
- Some customers say that this model is a bit small.
What the Hydroponic Site Grow Kit 36 Ebb and Flow Deep Water Culture Garden System Is Best For
Because this system is on the small side, it may be one of the best hydroponic systems for cloning cannabis plants. But you may not find it adequate for all of your growing needs.
8. Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bucket
This model from PowerGrow Systems is one of the best hydroponic systems in the deep water culture category. It is also one of the lower cost options on the market as of the time of this review.
- As an inexpensive and efficient model, this is among the best hydroponic systems if you are on a budget.
- The bucket has a 5 gallon capacity and comes with a 6 inch basket lid.
- As an all-in-one kit, the DWC Hydroponic Bucket also includes the air tubing and 44 GPH air pump you need along with air stone, growing medium, and starting plugs.
- A water level indicator clearly shows you when you need to add more water and nutrients.
- There is a one-year warranty from the manufacturer on the system.
- A couple of buyers mentioned leaks.
- The air pump is not very powerful. So you may want to plan to buy another.
What the Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bucket Is Best For
For those on a budget, this is one of the best hydroponic systems available. Just keep in mind you may end up needing to buy quite a few of these if you want to grow a lot of cannabis. For this reason, I would recommend it if you plan to start small and cheap and gradually scale up.
9. TG Supply Bubble Brothers 6-Site DWC Hydroponic System
If you are looking for a connected system of deep water culture buckets which is very affordable, it is hard to beat the Bubble Brothers 6-Site DWC Hydroponic System.
- This is one of the best hydroponic systems for small spaces since the 3.5 gallon buckets are designed to have a low profile.
- Your purchase includes a 951-gph high power commercial quality air pump, air stones, air tubing, and 10 liters of clay pebble grow medium.
- Full assembly instructions are included in the box (this is not the case for all hydroponic systems). Multiple buyers mentioned that setup is incredibly easy.
- Several customers have stated that the air pump is quite loud (though it does work very well).
What the TG Supply Bubble Brothers 6-Site DWC Hydroponic System Is Best For
While this is more of an initial outlay than the system I shared with you previously, it may be a more budget-friendly choice overall since you are getting 6 units. So I recommend this as one of the best hydroponic systems if you want to save money. I would also add that is one of the best hydroponic systems if you want fast and easy setup.
10. Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bubbler Bucket Kit by PowerGrow®
Finally, one more DWC system to consider is this one, which is also by PowerGrow®. The system includes 4 buckets and is available for a very fair price.
- With 4 buckets, each measuring 10” with a 5 gallon capacity, this is a great value.
- Like all the best hydroponic systems, this is a complete kit, and comes with air lines, air stones, an air pump, 4 FDA buckets, and 10” basket lids.
- A water level indicator is provided. There is a drain, which makes it easy to change your water.
- The product includes a one-year warranty.
- You do need to buy the growth medium and check valves separately.
- Once more, there are a few buyers who found parts missing in shipping.
What the Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bubbler Bucket Kit by PowerGrow® Is Best For
This is another excellent option if you are growing cannabis on a budget and want to go with a product which has been well-received by other buyers and which comes from a reputable brand.
It Takes Time to Choose the Right Hydroponics System, But It Will Pay Off In Huge Yields
As a beginner with hydroponics, you have a bit of a learning curve ahead of you. But once you get the basics down, you will find that hydroponic growing systems are simple and straightforward to use and maintain. So take a closer look at the recommended products above, and think about your optimal setup. With the best hydroponic systems on your side, you could be producing monster yields of cannabis sooner than you think!