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The Best Hydroponic Garden Systems of 2022

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Product image of Rise Gardens Personal Garden

Rise Gardens Personal Garden

Mixing clean-lined, wood accents with a modern look, this compact garden can contain eight seed pods and boasts a pretty comprehensive app. Read More

Pros

  • Small in size
  • Includes an app

Cons

  • Nothing we could find
Product image of Edn SmallGarden

Edn SmallGarden

It may be small, but this compact garden can hold 10 seed pods at once. It’s easy to use, with minimal upkeep and features basic smart capabilities. Read More

Pros

  • Smart capabilities with mobile app
  • Compact size
  • Membership program

Cons

  • Hard to water without spilling
  • App available for iOS only
Product image of Back to the Roots Water Garden

Back to the Roots Water Garden

Part garden, part fish tank, this ecosystem feeds itself—betta fish waste fertilizes the plants, and the plants clean the water. You can also use it just as a hydroponic garden. Read More

Pros

  • Appeals to kids
  • Self-contained system
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Water can get murky
  • Seedling roots may clog pump
Product image of AeroGarden Harvest Elite

AeroGarden Harvest Elite

This modern-looking hydroponic garden fits six seed pods and is incredibly easy to set up. Our only complaint: Its low hood makes it awkward to add water. Read More

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Automated alerts
  • Abundant growing lights

Cons

  • Awkward to water
  • Temperamental water alert
  • Bright light can be distracting at night
Product image of Click and Grow Smart Garden 9

Click and Grow Smart Garden 9

Larger in size than some other countertop grow systems, this hydroponic garden can hold nine seed pods at once, but doesn’t have an overly extensive lighting display. Read More

Pros

  • Includes an app
  • Option for a subscription

Cons

  • Fewer LED lights

If your green thumb is more withered and brown and traditional soil-in-a-pot gardens keep letting you down, hydroponic gardens are one solution you can turn to. Though it may surprise you, there are actually lots of herb and veggie gardens that do just fine on a kitchen countertop, giving you year-round access to fresh basil, rosemary, cilantro, and even lettuce.

Why are at-home gardeners going gaga over hydroponic gardens? Well, they're essentially fancy-but-simple planting systems where seedlings dangle their roots into water rather than dirt as they luxuriate beneath LED lights for upwards of 18 hours a day. No sun—and really, no effort—needed. It's the closest to a set-it-and-forget-it garden you can get.

These countertop gardens have become so popular that there are hundreds of models out there. To find the best, we dug into hundreds of user reviews of the best-selling and top-rated gardens online. Though the gardens we picked range from simple to fancy, you're sure to find a garden you'll use and love.

Editor's Note

The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.

Product image of Rise Gardens Personal Garden
Rise Gardens Personal Garden

There is not much to dislike about the Personal Rise Garden, which pairs clean-lined, natural wood accents with white metal components to create a slim, 18-inch countertop hydro garden for growing herbs and salad greens year-round. It's beautiful and functional, with a small enough footprint to fit in most places in your home.

This smart-enabled garden boasts a comprehensive app and pretty low energy consumption. For families, Rise features an additional three larger-sized, multi-tiered gardens of the same concept. No matter which size you pick, this is one of the best options we've found for your new at-home herb hobby.

Pros

  • Small in size

  • Includes an app

Cons

  • Nothing we could find

Product image of Edn SmallGarden
Edn SmallGarden

There is minimal upkeep involved in the Edn hydroponic system, so you don’t have to fully invest your time to grow your own fresh veg. It can sit right on your countertop, where your plants can bask under LED lights, with smart alerts set to remind you to care for them.

While the Edn grow kit is smart-enabled, there is currently no support for Android users. Also, watering the garden is a challenge, unless you own, of all things, a turkey baster. Solve for those issues and this is one garden you're sure to get results from.

Pros

  • Smart capabilities with mobile app

  • Compact size

  • Membership program

Cons

  • Hard to water without spilling

  • App available for iOS only

Product image of Back to the Roots Water Garden
Back to the Roots Water Garden

Kids—and really, anyone interested in science—will adore this hydroponic slash aquaponic water garden that is entirely self-sufficient. Its base is a betta fish tank, while its top serves as the base of a garden—plant roots grow into and clean the water of the tank, while the fish’s waste product fertilizes the growing plants, including succulents and other house plants.

We could only find a few issues: First, that the plants’ roots sometimes get tangled in the water pump, and second, that the water can sometimes get murky. Still, this is one pretty cool invention.

Pros

  • Appeals to kids

  • Self-contained system

  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Water can get murky

  • Seedling roots may clog pump

Product image of AeroGarden Harvest Elite
AeroGarden Harvest Elite

AeroGarden’s Harvest Elite is a great hydroponic garden that stands up to its claims. The starter kit comes with a variety of seed pods for its six openings, as well as grow caps that work like mini-greenhouses, and some Miracle-Gro plant food. The system is easy to use, except for the useless water level indicator, and it is easy to clean.

The super bright LED grow lights work well, except at night when they’re just too bright, so don’t keep this unit in your bedroom.

Pros

  • Easy to use

  • Automated alerts

  • Abundant growing lights

Cons

  • Awkward to water

  • Temperamental water alert

  • Bright light can be distracting at night

Product image of Click and Grow Smart Garden 9
Click and Grow Smart Garden 9

The number is in the name—the number of seed pods you can cater to, that is—in Click and Grow’s Smart Garden 9. While this larger-than-most countertop hydroponic garden does boast LED lights, they’re not as abundant as in some other grow kits, but there is, well, more space for stuff to grow.

A subscription service offers flexible choices with regard to plant varieties (strawberries! lavender!) and intervals at which they’ll be sent to you.

Pros

  • Includes an app

  • Option for a subscription

Cons

  • Fewer LED lights

Product image of Gardyn Home Kit
Gardyn Home Kit

For people who are new to gardening and growing vegetables, the Gardyn smart hybriponic system offers a great introduction and can almost guarantee a bountiful harvest every few weeks. Also, it’s quite tall, with a 6-gallon water tank, and a hefty price tag to match.

The kit includes 30 seed pods, from lettuce and herbs to tomatoes. It can be a learning tool for families who want to introduce their young children to gardening and growing their own food, in a very un-messy way. And, there’s a great app that you can access if you purchase more than the basic starter kit.

Pros

  • Smart capabilities with mobile app

  • Houses 30 seed pods

Cons

  • Costs extra for the app

  • Takes up a lot of space

  • Bright light is distracting at night

Product image of Lettuce Grow Farmstand
Lettuce Grow Farmstand

The vase-like appearance of Lettuce Grow’s garden is as adorable as its name is clever. The Farmstand isn’t kidding when it comes to size, either; the largest option—with 36 plant openings—stands tall at just over 6 feet.

While we love its look and approach, we don’t love its high price, coupled with the fact that you’ll need to also buy Glow Rings if you plan to use The Farmstand inside, as well as source your own seeds.

Pros

  • Range of size options

  • Low water usage

  • Aesthetically pleasing to most

Cons

  • Must order lighting separately to use indoors

  • First set of plants not included

  • Takes up a lot of space

Product image of iDoo 12 Pod Hydroponics Growing System
iDoo 12 Pod Hydroponics Growing System

If you’re a first-time grower and want to start small, you can’t beat the price on this iDoo indoor herb garden kit. The futuristic-looking system boasts a strong showing of LED lights, which will grow plants quickly.

Unfortunately, long-term users may find this a case of ‘you get what you pay for’ if and when pump problems arise. Plus, you’ll need to source your own growing seeds.

Pros

  • Good value

  • Two different light modes

Cons

  • Seeds not included

  • Pump problems

Meet the tester

Leigh Harrington

Leigh Harrington

Managing Editor, Home

@lahlah_land

Leigh Harrington has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor for myriad print and digital publications. At USA TODAY and Reviewed, she focuses on coverage about home trends, home improvement, large and small appliances, and gardening.

See all of Leigh Harrington's reviews

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