Ah, finally I get to write about my favorite gardening tools on the market – indoor herb kits.
Now, before all you purists begin to send me hate-mail, please know that I still, to this very day till my own land, plant my own seeds, and grow my own herbs and vegetables outdoors; I haven’t embraced the future completely!
But let’s be honest: It’s generally more pleasant to grow fresh herbs without the sunburn or the bug bites. Having an indoor growing rig along with a companion outdoor garden maybe the dynamic duo that you’re missing in your life!
Note: Every herb kit at aerogarden.com is currently 20% off w/ code ‘FRESH20’.
The following table lists the 8 best indoor herb garden kits by overall score:
|AeroGarden Bounty||9 Plants||98%|
|Click and Grow Smart Garden 9||9 Plants||94%|
|AeroGarden Harvest||6 Plants||88%|
|Go Grow Hydroponic Gardening Planter||4 Plants||85%|
|Click and Grow Smart Garden 3||3 Plants||75%|
|AeroGarden Sprout||3 Plants||83%|
|Garden Trio Windowsill Kit||3 Plant||80%|
|AeroGarden Farm XL||24 Plants||97%|
Alright, so herb gardening kits are exactly what they sound like: Kits that are pre-packaged with everything you need to get growing herbs right away. There are three different categories…
1.) Windowsill Herb Gardening Kits:
These kits almost always come with germination bags, fiber soil (a specialty soil that maximizes oxygen absorption by up to three times), and some sort of durable potting – generally ceramic or plastic, but sometimes coconut coir (more on this later).
2.) Planter-Based Herb Gardening Kits (Traditional Kits)
Traditional kits are usually available with either ceramic planters, pre-made mason jars, or plastic exterior containers with holes at the bottom for drainage and reusable material for self-watering. Almost all of these kits come with seeds and plant food.
3.) Hydroponic Herb Gardening Kits
If you’re a gardener who loves dynamic gadgets, then you’ll LOVE these units.
They’re relatively new and come loaded with features like watering and nutrient reminders, plus automatic full spectrum LED lighting.
Hydroponics is the science of growing plants without soil.
We recently covered hydroponics in an extensive Best Hydroponic Systems article.
These kits use pods that are either pre-seeded with herbs like Rosemary, Cilantro, Oregano, and Thyme or left empty for growing literally anything you want; herb enthusiasts seem to love the empty pods for growing rare or exotic herbs (and of course, Marijuana).
Most high-level industry-standard hydroponic rigs that you would see in a commercial garden are extremely expensive and hard to set up.
They usually require sophisticated sensors, pumps, and more wires than a sane person should have to worry about.
Smaller kits are the ideal entry into hydroponic growing.
Hydroponic Speed Test
The following timeline shows the fastest growing hydroponic kits (from inputting the herb seed pods, to harvest) that we’ve tested:
Keep in mind, vegetables and peppers will take a little longer.
What to Look for in a Traditional Herb Gardening Kit?
Say it with me: Spacing, spacing, spacing! Seriously, spacing.
If you’re only wanting to grow a few herbs for the dinner table, you don’t need a multi-planter rig that takes up loads of space!
Before purchasing, make sure to pre-plan your planting ambitions – you may end up realizing that you need a full indoor herb garden to grow the number of herbs that you want.
We have a guide for that right here!
Keep in mind: Most traditional rigs weigh around 4 pounds; Amazon gives you the full product dimensions and information below the product description like most other retailers.
It’s also important to make sure your traditional kit has proper drainage; some planters don’t have drainage holes at the bottom – avoid these planters!
1.) So as cool as hydroponic kits are, you have to remember that they use electricity. In fact, some of the larger units use A LOT of electricity.
Be mindful of the number of watts that a kit uses.
Powerful units, like the AeroGarden Bounty, will use up to 50 watts (not bad for such a sizable system), while smaller more portable units, like the Finether Smart Herb Kit, use around 5 watts because of the onboard LED lighting systems.
2.) Here’s a good question to ask yourself: How many yields should I grow simultaneously? Smaller units may only allow for up to two pods to grow at any given time, mid-sized units peak at around 9 pods and the largest units hold up to 24 pods – like the AeroGarden Farm which is pictured below (under the two AeroGarden Bounties).
3.) The more elite hydroponic kits come with touch-screen control panels that alert you when it’s time to add water or nutrients along with activating the onboard LED lighting for you; this is called automated grow and it’s awesome!
Unfortunately, most hydroponic kits do not come with automated grow, instead, they generally have a very simple water >> lighting >> menu button system.
For those who are willing to spend a little extra cash, always go for automated grow, it’ll save you a lot of time and potential frustration (especially if you’re the type of person who constantly forgets to water your plants like myself).
This was by no means an easy list to compile. Each year companies like AeroGarden, Click and Grow, and iRSE Garden come out with incredible kits that make the previous models look archaic.
AeroGarden Bounty Elite
The Aerogarden Bounty Elite is seriously the gold standard kit for indoor gardening. There is simply no other product that provides the same level of ease, plant-growth speed, and additional growing features for such a low price-point.
Not to mention, the Bounty’s LED lighting system only consumes 50-Watts, so you don’t need to worry about any sudden spikes in your electricity bill.
This really is the perfect kit for both the herb enthusiast who geeks out over hydroponic growing and the technologically unsavvy beginner who just wants to grow herbs within a reasonable time frame.
For roughly $200 less, AeroGarden offers the best hydroponics kit for the price point:
Automatic grow is usually not offered within this price range, but AeroGarden makes good with an easy to understand LCD control panel which reminds you when to water and add food.
Oh, and yes, the Harvest has automated lights. This is by far the most comprehensive system that you can buy for under $120.
The Best Indoor Herb Kits for Beginners
Alright, newbies gather around: For less than $100 you can get started growing all the herbs you want in this 3 pod, inexpensive and efficient Click and Grow Smart Garden model. It’s perfect for apartments and small spaces like closets and cabinets.
The Vegebox is a little less expensive than the Smart Garden 3 system and still packs a powerful punch. At first, I was fairly skeptical about smaller grow kits like this. I just assumed that they were un-practical and too small for growing. My mind was changed after seeing a friend and fellow gardener’s Basil yields sprout within roughly thirty days. The VegeBox can certainly hold its own vs AeroGarden and Click and Grow.
The Click and Grow Smart Garden 9 is perhaps the most portable 9 pod kit. It has an innovative, compact full spectrum LED light setup that compliments the grow reservoir’s sleek design.
The Aerogarden Sprout is the smallest unit that AeroGarden offers. It isn’t exactly loaded with features – no LCD screen or automatic grow option like the Bounty/Farm – but make no mistake, this little kit gets the job done. It grows up to 3 pods at one time and for the price point, could make for an optimal entry into hydroponic growing.
The Best Windowsill Herb Garden Kit
If you’re not looking to invest in a hydroponic kit, then you’re next best bet is a windowsill herb garden kit.
This kit does not use traditional soil; instead, you get 3 coconut coir growing disks.
Coconut coir or coconut fiber is a soilless growing alternative.
1.) It holds onto nutrients better than soil and is lighter, allowing for more oxygen to reach the plant’s roots.
2.) It only needs occasional nutrient watering.
3.) Promotes quick and healthy plant growth.
You’ll also receive 3 light-weight and remarkably sturdy coconut coir planting pots.
Bottle garden kits are also a reliable alternative to hydroponic kits.
For the kit above, all you need are three empty bottles to use as makeshift growing reservoirs.
Just make sure to follow the guide that comes with the kit and you’re in business!
Those are our top picks. Have you tried any of these kits? Do you love them, do you hate them? Let us know!
Reach us @herbexaminer on Twitter or through our contact page.
Thanks for reading.