Choosing the right hydroponics systems let alone the best hydroponics system is never an easy job and we've all been at some point in our gardening careers where we had to go through this difficult decision. The following article will help you out and provide some hands-on examples of products that could suit your needs.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of options to choose from when setting out to shop for hydroponics systems and if you're inexperienced in the field, this can make for a pretty tough decision. When it comes to hydroponics systems, branding is not all there is to it and you'll have to see exactly how a particular product could perform with the plant you're trying to grow.
Another important choice is whether you're going to buy a ready-made system or a DIY hydroponics kit to build your own system. Usually, these are cheaper but you'll also have to spend some time setting it up and risk not getting it done right. This article will try to clear up some of these questions and provide you with a couple of hydroponics systems that I found great to work with.
In North America, the American Hydroponics group established itself as one of the top brands in the market, whereas in Europe the United Kingdom companies such as Esoteric Hydroponics are in the lead. Just like in any other shopping category, branding offers a certain risk reduction and quality assurance, but there's the odd company out there that simply markets products lacking quality but still manages to make a well known brand for itself. It's hard to spot these fake quality brands, so it's best to stick with the ones that you know work well, such as the two I mentioned above.
If you're looking for hydroponics systems and supplies from them and other quality companies, you can visit Amazon.com, our recommended and trusted hydroponics online store.
Just because it has a high price, doesn't make a product good. But usually, higher prices mean better materials used in the hydroponics systems or components you're buying. A few exceptions are in place here, since newer and cheaper materials like PVC started becoming available, which makes more expensive titanium tubing not worth the extra costs even with all of the concerns of PVC safety and hydroponics.
Another way to spot the quality of the hydroponic system you're about to buy is with the help of its warranty. If the product comes with a healthy warranty that means that its manufacturers have faith in the product not breaking down. Otherwise, they would have to replace a lot of systems, thus losing a lot of money, so the logic is quite simple: a quality product will have a longer warranty.
Buying systems online is a bit trickier than buying the same products from a local retail shop, because there's a certain risk involved, since you can't see the product before actually buying it.
However, reputable online stores selling hydroponics systems will always have detailed presentations and maybe even reviews of the product done by a professional gardener, or by users that tried out that particular product.
It's often difficult to make the best hydroponics system buy because there are far more products out there than we can handle reviewing. Getting the right system depends on several factors and I'm going to try and help you out in making your choice in the following hydroponics system buy guide.
I know how difficult shopping for hydroponics is and I remember how confused I was at first when I was faced with the numerous options available. There are literally hundreds of different hydroponics systems out there for sale, so how do you get to choose the best one? I'm going to provide you with a couple of tips that can make your hydroponics system buy session a bit easier to handle and I'm also going to recommend a few shops and products that I found particularly great to work with.
The price range on a hydroponic system can vary so much it's quite shocking. You can get a smaller system for as little as $80-90, whereas some indoor hydroponic grow box systems can go up to around $3,000! The difference is not always justifiable and unless money is really not an issue for you, I would recommend against buying such an expensive system, only to gain a few more millimeters in your plant's height. But if you're really looking for a wider range of products at such a huge price gap, there are online stores out there that make it relatively easy to compare.
You might be tempted to buy a hydroponics system that's more expensive, because you'll think it gives you a better environment to grow your plants in. Although that might be the case sometimes, it's not a general rule. A lot of plants that do very well in a particular system will not have a spectacular growth in another one, despite the latter being more expensive.
For example, strawberries, who are very keen on large amounts of water, will do better in an ebb and flow system than they will in an aeroponic one. You should first find the type of system that suits the plant you're growing best, then go for a store that gives you several options to choose from, such asone dedicated to online hydroponics purchases.
Also pay attention to the grow lights that come with your hydroponics system buy. Sometimes it's the lights that make up most of the price and in order to cut down costs, companies sell poor systems with good lights, boasting on the back of the quality lighting system to make you overlook the shortcomings of the system itself. If you have an option, I would say you're better off buying the hydroponic grow light system separately.
If possible, try getting a lighting fixture that allows you to operate both a metal halide lamp and a high pressure sodium one. Metal halide lamps are great for the growing period of the plant whereas high pressure sodium is best during the plant's flowering.
A system that allows you to switch between these two types of lights when needed is incredibly effective, although they usually come at a higher price.
Next time you go shopping for your hydroponic grow systems and accessories, try getting the best stuff for the plants you're growing, which is not always the most expensive product on the market. Learn how to spend money intelligently on your gardening hobby.
Hydroponic gardening is a hobby that can be extremely satisfactory, but in the long run it can get quite costly as well. But the proportion between cost and success is not always direct and you've probably heard stories of people being extremely successful in growing their plants with homemade hydroponic grow systems that cost them 50$, whereas others that spend hundreds upon hundreds can't get the same results.
So what's the trick in becoming successful when growing plants using hydroponics? And most importantly, how do you spend your money intelligently on your hydroponic grow systems and components, in order to get the most you can per buck spent?
One of the main errors that you'll have to avoid if you want to make the most out of what you have (system and accessories wise) is giving attention to details that might seem smaller at first, but which can prove to be deal-breakers in time.
One example that comes to my mind right now: in hydroponic grow systems that use growth pots, many new gardeners tend to fix these pots at what they consider safe distances from one another, then start growing the plants. The small detail of distance is not very important right now, as all the plants will be growing equally, but when they get taller and wider and as their leaves tend to expand, they will overlap if the pots weren't separated enough, competing with one another for light. This makes some plants overshadow the ones from the adjacent pots, stripping them from their much-needed light and stunting their growth.
Another thing you'll want to avoid is using your hydroponic grow systems the same for all the plants you grow. For example, if you have a $400 ebb and flow system that worked great with growing lettuce, it's not necessary that growing strawberries in the same conditions using the same hydroponic grow system will have the same results.
Strawberries require more water than lettuce, but their coronas are sensitive to water and can rot easily, which makes an ebb and flow system one of the least advisable to grow them in (unlike lettuces, which love growing in ebb and flows). Adapting yourself to the kind of plant you're growing and its characteristics is crucial, if you want to make the most out of what you spent.
So how do you spend money intelligently on hydroponic grow systems? By spending it in accordance to what you're growing, how much you're growing and the other factors that the environment you're growing it in will produce. You will have to find a good balance between your needs and the amount of money you have available.
And don't go spending huge sums of money on something that might not be completely necessary, just because you heard that it can "do wonders to your plants". For example, if you can provide a quality natural light source for your plants, there's really no reason spending another $300 on a high pressure metal halide lighting system, just because it could add a little extra weight to your plant when it's full-sized.
Hydroponic systems and components come in a varied price range and it's often hard to choose the right balance between cost and quality. But if you're on the budget, cost probably comes first and you'll want to ask yourself: are cheap hydroponics worth it?
The quality versus price issue that is present in every possible marketable field couldn't avoid hydroponics either. You have cheap hydroponics components that sell for peanuts but aren't really all that powerful or long-lasting and you have your top-of-their-class components that can give you incredible performance, but only do so at a good chunk of your pocket.
Obviously, many newcomers to homemade hydroponics don't want to start out with something that's too expensive, because they don't know if they can get it assembled right, or if they can ever get their money's worth out of such an expensive system. So they have to go with the cheap hydroponics systems, which raise one question: are they worth it?
First off, let me say that you will have to compare the prices of components and systems that are in the same category if you want to determine what cheap hydroponics means in relation to that particular category of products. You can't compare a 400W High Intensity Discharge metal halide lamp with a 650W one, because the extra power obviously makes the price go higher.
Even in the same category, cheaper products might be cheaper not because they're of poorer quality, but because they're lacking a certain feature. For example, two equally large containers may differ in price because one comes with a pH meter while the other lacks it. So determining exactly WHY the product is cheap is just as important as choosing whether or not you're going to buy it.
Price is often determined by branding and of course, there's a good chance that a component coming from a well-known brand will have a higher quality. But that doesn't go around the same way, because not all cheap hydroponics brands are poor. The price might be lower because their brand is not known well enough to allow them to sell stuff at high prices, but that doesn't mean they're not putting the best of efforts in creating quality components and systems.
In the end, I guess it's just a matter of risk: if you want lower risks, you'll go for the high priced stuff. If you're willing to take a roll of the dice, cheap hydroponics are worth a try.
Personally, cheap hydroponics don't necessarily strike me as trustworthy, hence I try to avoid them. There's a saying that stuck to my mind for years and I go by it every time I buy something, although I can't really place its author: "I'm not rich enough to buy something cheap". Its meaning is that, in the long-run, something cheap, but lacking quality, will be more costly than something that's more expensive, but has the right quality to last you longer.
So to answer the question in the title, cheap hydroponics are not worth it in the long run, but if you've just started out and want to get some experience into building homemade hydroponics systems, or if you're just doing this for a hobby, then indeed, cheap hydroponic systems and components might be the way to go until you decide you're ready to get more involved.