H2OtoGro DWC Starter Kit

Product Name:DWC Hydroponic System
Type:Deep Water Culture
# Plants:6
Size Plants:Small
Cost:$
Rating:
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The H2OtoGro DWC Starter Kit at a Glance

A cheap starter kit that is good for smaller plants like lettuce, basil, or fresh herbs, the H2OtoGro DWC Starter Kit is the easiest and fastest way to get growing hydroponically. It has everything you need, including a reservoir, net cups, growing medium, water pump, air pump and air stone, and even nutrients. While the system is advertised as a deep water culture system, it actually incorporates a secondary drip system. This means that you don’t have to worry about young roots not reaching the DWC reservoir. The H2OtoGro DWC is especially good for those that are just starting out with hydroponics, as it is one of the simplest and most forgiving hydroponic systems out there.

Pros

At under $100, this kit is perhaps the most cost effective way of getting started in hydroponics. In addition, the system:

  • Is incredibly simple to set up. It takes less than 10 minutes to get this system operational. Since everything you need is included, you won’t get the system set up only to realize that you need to put your grow on hold.
  • Comes with a starter pack of nutrients. Yes, we mean it when we say it comes with everything. The nutrient starter pack will get you through your first couple of grows, after which you can pick up larger bottles that will last you much longer.
  • Has six planting sites. For an inexpensive system, being able to grow six individual plants is a major plus. Herbs, lettuce, and small pepper plants thrive in the H2OtoGrow system.
  • Is cheap to operate. With small and efficient air and water pumps, the system uses only 10 watts of power (2w for the air pump and 8w for the water pump). Running the system continuously costs less than $1 per month, given electricity prices of $0.12 per kWh.
  • Includes rockwool starting cubes and expanded clay pellets, two of the most common and simplest hydroponic growing mediums.
  • Comes with a handy water-level meter. You won’t have to open the system in order to tell when you need to add more water/nutrients.
  • Is backed by a great company. H2OtoGro customer services is incredibly responsive. In fact, they personally thank every reviewer of their products on Amazon and answer every question in the customer question and answers section.

    H2OtoGro DWC Starter Kit Nutrients and Medium

    Includes nutrients and growing medium

Cons

With six 3.75″ planting sites squeezed into a small system, don’t expect this to be able to grow large plants like tomatoes all the way through to fruit. While you can start large plants in the H2OtoGro system, you will need to move them to a larger hydroponic system or transplant them into soil beds after they have grown to 8 to 12 inches tall.

In addition, one reviewer pointed out that the drip system got clogged with roots after about a month. It’s not a bad idea to keep an eye on the pump guard, filter, and tubing to make sure roots aren’t finding their way into the drip system.

You’ll also want to keep an eye on the nutrient reservoir, as depending on the water and nutrient appetite of your plants, the water levels can drop pretty quickly.

Add-Ons

While the H2OtoGro DWC Starter Kit comes with everything you need to start growing, there are a few items you’ll likely want to add on to the system as you go. PH monitoring and adjustment capabilities are important, especially for plants with tight PH tolerances. You can learn more about the role of PH in hydroponics here. In addition, a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter will help you know if your nutrient solution contains the right amount of nutrients.

You may also want to look to artificial lighting to boost growth by extending the length of each day. We would recommend taking a look at LED grow lights, given their steep decline in cost in recent years combined with their massive efficiency bump over other lighting methods. The H2OtoGro system is only about 13″ by 18″, meaning a <100w LED grow light would be plenty for explosive growth. Take a look at our light reviews for more ideas.

While the H2OtoGro DWC Starter Kit is great for small plants, you may eventually want to grow larger plants hydroponically. You’ll still have the ability to use the H2OtoGro as a starter system for larger systems.  We have reviewed a few of these systems, including the GH4720, Viagrow DWC, and GH4830. By splitting the stages of growth between two systems, you can grow twice as many plants in the same amount of time. You can read more about efficiently cycling and rotating systems in our hydroponic hacking section.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for the best hydroponic starter system, you can’t go wrong with the H2OtoGro DWC Starter Kit. Combining the best of DWC and drip hydroponics, the kit provides nutrients, medium, and comes almost fully assembled. Even if you upgrade down the road, the H2OtoGro kit is great for starting larger plants to double your capacity.

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