If you are like me, you are a fan of simple products that make life better. Indoor gardens are fun, healthy and add a little greenery to your life. Best yet, they are effortless to use, so they check all of the boxes. AeroGarden and Click & Grow are the two leading brands in the indoor gardening space, and once you get set up, you will have beautiful plants growing within weeks.
I love the idea of growing a home garden, but I don’t have much of a green thumb. Not long after we bought our first house, my wife and I planted a raised garden bed in our backyard, but it was so overrun with weeds and brush (long story) that we eventually gave up.
Then we received an indoor hydroponic garden as a gift, and it changed everything. The instructions are incredibly simple to follow, and the plants require very little maintenance compared to an outdoor garden. Within a few short weeks, we were harvesting our own basil, thyme, mint, dill, and more. Delish.
How Do Indoor Gardens Work?
Most indoor gardens operate using hydroponics. You might be asking, “hydrowhat?” Hydroponics is simply growing plants with no soil. Most of the time, the roots sit in water or some other liquid, and nutrients normally found in the soil are added to the water. Hydroponics works well indoors because there are fewer variables to control and because the right amount of nutrients can be added as needed.
The indoor gardens reviewed here operate using seed pods, which sit at the top of a water basin and under controlled lighting. Each pod has a little soil to protect seeds, which grow in perfect conditions under timed lights and with plenty of water. Add in plant food as directed, and anyone can produce delicious herbs, vegetables, salad greens, and flowers.
Some indoor hydroponic gardens combine the science of growing plants in water with aquaponics, which utilizes animals such as fish to provide nutrients to the plants above. We love AeroGarden and Click And Grow because you don’t have to worry about any fish to succeed with their systems. You simply add some of the company-branded plant food to the water for proper plant nutrition. Miracle-Gro also has some products that work well for indoor gardens.
AeroGarden vs. Click & Grow Comparison Table
Which is Better? AeroGarden or Click And Grow?
AeroGarden offers seemingly countless configurations, but Click & Grow’s simplicity will be attractive for many. While you can grow mini tomatoes with Click & Grow, this might be the one area AeroGarden shines brighter. If you want to grow tomatoes upwards, AeroGarden has expandable taller units with trellis-like attachments. Still, for most situations, we prefer Click & Grow for ease of use. The nutrients are built into the biodegradable pods, and there are fewer customizable options.
Here are situational recommendations, which are detailed in the reviews below:
The AeroGarden team sells garden units in four primary categories, based on size. There is a little something for everyone, and the AeroGarden systems are easy enough for anyone to use. The company also offers a germination guarantee for its seed pods. If there are any defects in the pods, or if the seeds don’t germinate, the AeroGrow team may send a replacement for any non-germinating seed pods.
So not only is the system easy to use, but it comes with peace of mind too. The light hood on most AeroGarden models features white, red, and blue lights, so your garden receives a full spectrum of light. In some ways, the lighting systems are better than natural light because they provide ample light regardless of the day’s season or length. And by the way, plants that are grown correctly in the AeroGarden system grow up to 5X faster than the same seeds planted in the soil!
Which AeroGarden Should You Choose?
The AeroGarden hydroponic systems are very easy to use, regardless of how big you anticipate growing your indoor garden. Something is rewarding about growing healthy plants in your kitchen. The AeroGarden system provides automatic reminders when it is time to add plant food, and either reminders or a gauge to see when it is time to add more water to the reservoir. The silent water pumps improve oxygenation. It’s all very straightforward in the best kind of way.
The first decision you need to make is how big you want your indoor garden to be. Once you decide on size, you will want to consider the technological features.
The newest member to the AeroGarden family is the Sprout series, which has room for three plants. The Sprout unit has a sleek design, so sleek that it would look good in an office or otherwise on display outside of the kitchen. This is the perfect unit to grow your favorite fresh herbs on the kitchen counter, too. The plants or herbs can grow as high as 10 inches under the grow light, and with proper pruning, the plants can last year-round.
The AeroGarden Harvest Series come in a few shapes, sizes, and colors, but all feature space for 6 pods. The Harvest Series features an adjustable lamp arm that can be raised as your plants grow. The built-in LED lights can be raised as high as 12 inches above the pods. The AeroGarden Harvest Series is excellent if you would like an expanded herb garden or if you want to start experimenting with a few leafy greens alongside your herb garden.
Things start to get serious with the AeroGarden Bounty family of indoor gardens. Not only are the Bounty models larger, but they also pack serious technology, such as a high-resolution touch screen control panel and infinite dimming LED Grow lights. Some of the Bounty models are WiFi-enabled to work with Amazon Alexa or the AeroGarden app, and also feature a vacation mode to help your plants thrive while you are out of town. Aside from the gadgetry, the Bounty Series has room for up to nine plants, which can grow as tall as 24 inches below the ultra-thin grow light hood.
AeroGarden Farm Family
Once you move beyond herb garden kits, the Bounty Series starts to make a whole lot of sense with room for nine seed pods. That said, the AeroGarden Farm Family is the best option if you are ready to get serious about growing your food. The Farm Family Series is the perfect solution for people looking to grow a range of plants since it has as many as 24 pods. There is enough room for a little herb garden and an indoor vegetable garden. However, at this investment level, we recommend using the Farm Family Series for a serious indoor vegetable garden and perhaps adding the Sprout Series or Bounty Series to support an herb garden.
We are particularly fond of the Farm Family 24XL, which has separate controls for the garden’s left and right sides. Imagine growing your own herbs and lettuce on one side and tomatoes on the other side of your garden. It’s your very own dinner salad waiting to happen. The Farm Family 24XL features dual motorized LED grow light panels, allowing you to adjust the light’s height quickly depending on what you are growing on each respective side of the indoor garden. This unit allows growth as high as 36 inches to allow for tomatoes and taller plants.
The Farm Family Series features an interactive display touch-screen control panel and all other technology featured on the Bounty Series. The other thing worth mentioning is that the AeroGarden Farm Family Series is built with a modular design so that you can connect a series of units with stacking kits. If you are interested in generating a self-sustaining amount of food or just interested in growing a variety of plants, this is important to consider.
Is AeroGarden Worth The Money?
Some of us are blessed with more natural green thumbs than others. With that in mind, if you are weighing whether to buy an indoor garden, then ease of use is probably top of mind. The AeroGarden hydroponic systems are exceedingly easy to use. The water level indicators make it easy to tell when the tank needs to be refilled. And Even the entry-level Sprout Series provides automatic reminders when it’s time to add more nutrient solutions.
And if you aren’t exactly sure what to plant, AeroGarden sells seed pod kits with a germination guarantee to get you going in the right direction. Regardless of whether you are interested in a starter-sized herb garden or a full indoor vegetable garden, the AeroGarden systems are an excellent solution.SUMMARY PROS
- Options For Anyone
- Frequently Out of Stock
- Easy To Use / Low Maintenance
- Automatic Feeding Reminders
- Develops Healthy Roots System
- Quiet Water Pumps
Click And Grow Review
Click & Grow is not too dissimilar from AeroGarden, though the company seems to have a little more focus on the mission, and of course, their products come in a slightly different form. The Click & Grow team recognizes that a growing percentage of the population lives in urban areas, and the company is out to improve health in urban and non-urban spaces by enabling customers to grow indoor gardens.
And this isn’t just done through the health benefits of eating fresh plants. Indoor gardens can improve air quality and overall happiness by adding a little greenery where you might not otherwise see it. You won’t have to worry about watering, lighting, or plant nutrition because they have designed a system that takes care of all of that for you.
Which Click & Grow Should You Choose?
Click & Grow has three primary options, which can be expanded using plant stands. There is an additional option called the Wall Farm for those looking for a reliable, self-sustaining food source. While Click & Grow doesn’t have quite as many options as AeroGarden, Click & Grow’s options are a little more straightforward.
As far as Click & Grow’s pods, the brand likens them to coffee capsules, which makes sense. Naturally, they aren’t filled with coffee, though, and instead are filled with seeds and smart soil. The smart soil is the perfect combination of nutrients and aeration to allow oxygen down to the plant roots as they start to grow.
Click & Grow Smart Garden 3
The Click & Grow Smart Garden 3 is comparable to the AeroGarden Sprout Series, as it is big enough for 3 pods. It is the perfect size for dipping your toe in the water tank and would be great for a small herb garden. The Smart Garden 3 comes with a complimentary set of three basil plant pods. If you feel a little more adventurous than basil, you can choose one of the other pre-chosen mixes or pick your own.
Click & Grow Smart Garden 9
If growing your own organic garden sounds good to you, then honestly, you probably need something bigger than the Smart Garden 3. As the name alludes to, the Click & Grow Smart Garden 9 features holes for up to nine seed pods, which allows for much more versatility in your home garden. The entire Click & Grow setup is pretty incredible when you stop to think about it. It provides automatic watering, the perfect level of lighting administered by the built-in pro-grow lights, and smart soil pods with the ideal nutrition and aeration levels.
And if one Smart Garden 9 provides enough vegetation for your needs, it easily fits on a kitchen countertop. For those of you with a bit more budget and larger aspirations, you can also purchase the Click & Grow Smart Garden 27, which is essentially a specially designed stand that fits three of the Smart Garden 9s (Yep, 9X3=27. Very straightforward.).
Click & Grow’s Smart Garden 9 is shipped with 3 basil pods, 3 tomato pods, and 3 lettuce pods, but you can choose from the selection of more than 60 pre-seeded plant pods if you have something else in mind.
We are big fans of the Click & Grow Smart Garden 9 Series, including the full Smart Garden 27, because of its adaptability. If you purchase the three-level stand, you could plant the lowest level as a little garden for kids, the middle level as a smart herb garden, and the highest level with salad greens or your favorite vegetables. There are lots of options and seemingly endless combinations.
Click & Grow Smart Garden 9 PRO
The Upgraded Click & Grow Smart Garden 9 PRO has an innovative, app-controlled grow-light, and that is the main difference from the non-PRO model. This enables you to fine-tune the perfect light cycle and allows you to control it from anywhere, even while on vacation. Based on experience, I can say that the grow lights are very bright, especially at night, so when you have guests over, you can turn off the light via the app.
Aside from the app-controlled features, you can expect all of the same features available on the other products. The water reservoir allows for automatic watering, so you can nearly set it and forget it. Despite the low maintenance style, you still get to reap the benefits of a pesticide-free, GMO-free, organic indoor garden.
Sidenote: The companion app also has plenty of tips and tricks, so regardless of whether you utilize the app-controlled features, you can still use the app to become a plant expert.
Click & Grow Vertical Wall Farm
While the Smart Garden 27 is probably big enough for most families, the most ardent sustainable gardeners will want to consider the Click & Grow Farm wall, which has space for as many as 51 pods. This is the most expensive option for sure and might be a good option for farm-to-table restaurants. Still, if you have a big family or have a highly plant-based diet, the Wall Farm Vertical Indoor Garden makes sense to consider. You could potentially save loads of money on produce over the long-term, and you can’t beat the freshness.
The Wall Farm Vertical Indoor Garden is designed to work in any environment. It would look great in a sunroom (not that you need the sunroom’s light) or in a kitchen at home, but it is built to work in more commercial settings too. The Wall Farm would work well in a restaurant or even in a school.
Sidenote: It is also worth noting that Click & Grow recommends that Wall Farm owners set up a subscription for regular plant deliveries to replenish your source as you make use of it.
Is Click & Grow Worth The Money?
We’re big fans of Click & Grow products because the options are streamlined, and the Smart Garden 9 is scalable as the basis for the Smart Garden 27 package. Our only gripe is that the stand isn’t sold separately.
It would be nice to buy the stand first and add Smart Garden 9s over time. That said, the entire Smart Garden 27 package is pretty affordable, and we still appreciate the streamlined approach to product options. Where AeroGarden has nearly 20 product options, Click & Grow gets by with 5 product options that mostly serve all of the same purposes. The limited options should make your buying decision much more straightforward.
Aside from that, the automatic watering, pro-grow lighting, and refined nutrients mix result in rapid growth compared to what you would see from the same plants in an outdoor garden. A Click & Grow is an excellent purchase as a new herb garden hobby or as a primary source of veggies, including leafy greens and more.SUMMARY PROS
- Streamlined Options
- Streamlined Options Also Means Limited Purchasing Configurations
- Easy To Use / Low Maintenance
- PRO Model Has App-Controlled Lighting
- Develops Healthy Roots System
- More Than 60 Pre-Seeded Plant Pods To Choose From
- Plant Subscription Available
Best AeroGarden / Click & Grow Alternative: Gardyn
If you’re not convinced AeroGarden or Click & Grow will work for you, then we recommend you spend some time learning about Gardyn. In fact, our team wrote up a dedicated Gardyn review because we are so impressed with their product.
We like Gardyn because it grows vertically along columns in a way that produces as much harvest in two square feet as you could produce in a 1,300 square foot outside garden. The Gardyn system also has environmental sensors that read temperature and humidity, as well as discrete cameras that save images of the plants every 30 minutes. This data is then analyzed by the smart assistant, named Kelby, to provide feedback when your indoor garden needs a little help.
There are other competitors, such as VegeBox and Tower Garden, but Gardyn is the best alternative to AeroGarden or Click And Grow. And by the way, if you are interested in Gardyn, you will receive a $100 discount coupon if you purchase using one of the Gardyn links above.
What Plants Can You Grow With An Indoor Garden?
Nearly any herbs or vegetables can be grown utilizing an indoor garden, and salad greens work exceptionally well with the AeroGarden and Click & Grow indoor gardens. Also, keep in mind that while many people think of peppers and tomatoes as vegetables, they are fruits. And you can try growing some wild strawberries too, so really you can grow herbs, vegetables, and fruits, even though fruits aren’t as commonly considered for indoor hydroponic gardens.
You can grow nearly any type of plant, as the most significant limitation is size. AeroGarden and Click & Grow don’t have the same pod options (keep in mind the pods aren’t interchangeable between the two companies). If there is a specific plant you are interested in, we recommend reviewing the current plant options on the respective sites. Keep in mind that you can also plant flowers if you are mostly interested in bringing a little of the outdoors to your indoor space.
Can You Move Seedlings To An Outdoor Garden?
Some of you may have more of a green thumb than I do. If so, you may want to use your smart garden to cultivate seedlings before moving them to an outdoor garden and starting over with new seed pods. AeroGarden features seed starting systems to accommodate this. They recommend transplanting the seedlings before they reach maturity. The company also suggests you consider a hardening period before making the switch cold turkey.
The hardening process can be done in the AeroGarden basin and requires a transition of the plants to having less water and more outdoor sunlight over a week or so. This increases the chances that your plants will survive transplanting. If you are interested in growing many different types of plants, this is an excellent strategy to get the most out of your indoor garden.
Of course, if this seems like too much work, you could collect a few indoor garden units over time. Many users have one unit set aside for an indoor herb garden and a separate unit for vegetables and salad greens.
What Is The Best Indoor Garden?
Indoor gardening is a fantastic way to add some greenery to your living space, create cleaner air, and of course, grow delicious herbs and vegetables. AeroGarden and Click & Grow offer excellent choices for beginners and serious gardeners alike. Perhaps the best part is that both companies have fine-tuned their systems to provide optimal growth, with plants growing as much as five times faster than they would in traditional soil settings.
And while relying on fish tanks and fish waste is a very resourceful approach, it might be a little much for most people. The bottom line is that if you are still deciding whether to venture into indoor gardening, you should take the plunge with AeroGarden or Click & Grow. Their systems manage everything, including the nutrient levels, the lighting, and the watering. So which should you choose?
If you are really interested in growing tomatoes up a trellis, then we recommend AeroGarden, but for any other needs, we recommend Click & Grow.
The Click & Grow
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