Hydroponic systems are an excellent investment, whether for a personal garden, an educational tool, or a gift. That said, each system has a vastly different price tag.
How much does a hydroponic system cost? Depending on the size and features, a hydroponic system costs as little as $50 or as much as several thousand dollars. Small, uncomplicated systems typically run between $50 and $500. Medium systems are at least several hundred dollars. A large system costs several thousand dollars or more.
Below, we’ll go over in detail the costs of different types of hydroponic systems and how much you can expect to pay for one!
Costs of Hydroponic Systems
The main factor that determines the cost of a hydroponic system is its size. That’s why we’ve broken down the costs associated with them by the main sizes of common hydroponic systems:
Small, Simple Hydroponic Systems
A small and simple hydroponic growing system typically includes a reservoir for the water, some sort of mechanical pump (for air or water), and one or more grow sites.
These systems are the simplest, have the least-expensive components, and are the easiest to set up and learn how to use. They also make great educational tools and/or gifts.
For small, simple hydroponic systems, you may expect to pay between $50 and $500.
Small and simple setups are found relatively easily in person, in gardening centers, and online.
Example: LAPOND Hydroponic Garden
For those interested in growing leafy greens, small root veggies, clones, or strawberries, the LAPOND Hydroponic Garden is a prime choice for the price.
The system includes 108 individual grow sites and over three layers of grow pipes. It’s powered by a water pump and pump timer.
LAPOND’s system is easy to install and learn, and it produces enough food for eating or selling.
Example: PowerGrow DWC Hydroponic System
The system runs off of a central reservoir that delivers air and water to four additional large 5-gallon buckets with 6-inch grow sites.
The system is easy to set up, painless to upkeep, and comes with a one-year warranty as well.
Medium Hydroponic Systems
A medium hydroponic system is a step up from the simple, small setups (described above). They typically have a reservoir that holds between 25 liters and 100 liters or more.
Medium hydroponic systems also have more space for grow sites.
The main reservoir of a medium system may also serve as a central unit for recirculating water to multiple reservoirs (each supporting one or multiple grow sites).
A major difference, besides the obvious (they are bigger than small ones), is that medium hydroponic systems come with far more powerful air pumps and water pumps than small systems.
Sometimes medium systems also come with some sort of filtration system built in, which most small setups lack.
For medium hydroponic systems, you may expect to pay between $500 and $1,500.
You can find medium size setups in gardening and hydroponic centers (in larger cities) or shop for one online.
Large, Extensive Hydroponic Systems
Larger, more extensive hydroponic systems include a lot more than small or medium systems.
They have much bigger reservoirs, more powerful water pumps, longer pipes and hoses, and larger, more-durable components in general.
The largest and most extensive hydroponic systems are used for commercial agricultural operations such as growing hydroponic strawberries or tomatoes.
For large, extensive hydroponic systems the price is generally in the tens of thousands of dollars.
The best way to find out how much a large, extensive hydroponic grow system costs is by directly contacting the manufacturer and asking them.
Factors That Affect Cost
While the cost of larger systems can truly be staggering, understanding the reasoning behind the higher prices helps to put things in perspective.
Also, being familiar with the various components, add-ons, and options will help make you a more savvy shopper when searching for the right system for you.
The size of a hydroponic system increases or decreases the cost of the product automatically.
The larger or smaller the reservoirs are determines how much larger or smaller the components like pipes, hoses, air stones, air pumps, and water pumps may be – all of which impact the price tag.
An additional cost that is easy to overlook until it is too late is the extra features that a system comes with (or that you need to invest in separately).
These may include extra hoses and fittings as well as pricier components like water pumps or waterproof electrical timers.
The extra features can be as inexpensive as an extra $5 or $10 dollars or may quickly add up to hundreds of dollars.
DIY or Purchased System
Another thing to consider is whether your system will be DIY or purchased. If it is purchased, you may have less choice in what parts and extra features your system includes.
However, your system will most likely come with a guarantee or warranty.
If you build a DIY system, you must pay for each part and feature separately (or make them yourself, if possible). Furthermore, you have no guarantee or warranty.
If it breaks, you have to fix it yourself, period. However, with a little know-how and some basic tools, it is entirely possible to construct a simple system yourself, catered to your space and needs.
Ongoing Costs Associated With Hydroponic Systems
Running a hydroponic garden has different costs than traditional gardening, even though they aren’t necessarily much more expensive (if at all):
- Liquid nutrients (to feed your plants regularly)
- Netted pots (you need to replace them from time to time)
- Replacement parts (whenever a pump or component breaks down)
- Growing medium (you need plenty of inexpensive medium)
- Water (you must change the water at least once every 15 to 30 days)
Is Hydroponics Expensive?
Any hobby or business comes with expenses, even traditional soil-based gardening, and so it is with hydroponics: yes, there are expenses. But, is it expensive? Not really.
The only difference between typical gardening expenses and hydroponics is that the money goes into liquid nutrients, pH adjusters, and other components rather than into fertilizer, soil, mulch, and more.
Is Hydroponics Good for Beginners?
Hydroponics is easy enough for anyone to learn (yes, it is good for beginners!).
Not only is it simple and straightforward to learn, but it is also actually fun and interesting (because it is so different than traditional gardening).
If you are trying to inspire someone to get involved with growing things, hydroponics could be an excellent gateway to gardening.
Final Thoughts About How Much You Can Expect To Pay for a Hydroponic Setup
How much you can expect to pay for a hydroponic system depends on a few things, including your budget, the space and available resources you have for a growing system, and more.
Whether you’re looking for a gift or for a system to get started with hydroponics yourself, keep in mind that hydroponics doesn’t have to be expensive and it’s easy enough for anyone to learn.
Hopefully, this article helps clarify the differences between the costs of small, medium, and large systems and clears up any questions you might have had about the price of a hydroponic system.