Cannabis doesn’t grow better in soil. The more light and the more quality nutrients it has access to, the faster it grows and the more it yields. But you may be wondering, how hard is it to grow cannabis hydroponically?
Well, although you don’t need too much, we’ll still recommend using some sort of DWC or hybrid-DWC setup if you’re looking for optimum results. A DWC (deep water culture) system is after all the best hydroponics system for cannabis hands down.
Browse through our complete reviews and comparisons to see how much variation and flexibility you can find in DWC hydroponic systems. Also, notice how easy they are to work with and how well optimized they are at feeding and oxygenating the plant roots without having to rely on soil.
Best Hydroponics System for Cannabis Reviews
1. PowerGrow DWC Hydroponic Bubbler Bucket Kit
This is a system suitable for both experienced growers and beginners. It is easy to set up, easy to use, and even easier to take care of.
As a DWC hydroponic system, this ensemble gives you plenty of flexibility when trying to grow cannabis for recreational or medicinal use. The system is a modular system which means that the containers are not stackable nor are they attached to one another.
However, they are connected with the help of a 4-way divider. This is what allows a single air pump to oxygenate all the buckets and guarantee a healthy and speedy plant growth rate. While the air pump deals with the oxygen, feeding the nutrient solution is up to you.
You can use organic nutrients if you like since DWC hydroponic systems are unlikely to clog. Just don’t go overboard. There is a small chance to clog the air lines. The maintenance is rather simple. You have to empty the buckets every one or two weeks and fill them up with fresh water and another batch of nutrients.
Each of the buckets has a drain. So, removing and replacing the water is like taking candy from a baby. There’s also a water indicator on each bucket which lets you know if you need to top off the bucket. There’s no indicator for pH levels or nutrient levels.
Each bucket holds 5 gallons of water. The top features 10” lids which you can fill with a passive grow medium of your choice. Go with anything that’s strong enough to anchor the plants but without smothering them.
The flexibility you get from this modular system is impressive. There’s enough give in the air lines that you can put the containers one shelf lower or higher and still maintain good air flow. But remember that the system is not complete. You’ll still need good grow lights to maximize your yield.
2. Hydrofarm GH4120 Hydroponics WaterFarm
This is a semi-modular DWC hydroponics system which provides you with two large containers that can be used to grow plants of various sizes.
The GH4120 features two high-impact stackable plastic containers. One is tall, and the other is roughly three times shorter. This lets you grow a variety of different-sized cannabis plants.
The small container requires more hands-on maintenance. The large one on the other hand, has a drain tube. The air line is inserted from the above. This means that you might want to put it in before you arrange your grow medium to avoid clogging.
Because of the positioning, it also means that you’re free to use organic nutrients in the water. If any deposits are to develop, they are likely to stay at the bottom and only slightly mess with the drain tube.
Just because the large container has more than decent water capacity, it is no excuse to not change the water every two weeks or add nutrients every couple of days. Neither unit has indicators, so you’ll have to play it by ear or experience, whichever you have more of.
The price point on this unit is quite low considering the capacity. You can think of the GH4120 as a DWC hydroponics system that can hold at least 4 or 5 medium-sized cannabis plants, or a lot more if you’re only going for tall and thin strains.
As an added bonus you get a bag of grow medium too. The big clay pebbles can be used as an efficient anchoring medium, one that doesn’t interfere with the quality of the water or damage the plants with too much pressure.
3. Mr. Stacky DWC Hydroponic Growing System
This is a truly massive setup designed for high capacity and with enough weight to handle very large plants. It comes in three choices: one, four, or eight pot holders.
This DWC reservoir holds 16.5 gallons regardless of how many individual plant holders you want on it. But, what makes it truly impressive is the amount of spacing allocated between the plants. Even the four-holder design which features four holders in the center has plenty of spacing to prevent the roots from tangling.
With such a massive capacity, you certainly don’t have to refill it in any less than two weeks. But you might have to add nutrients once every two days just to be sure that your plants are getting enough.
Another interesting feature is the use of pole holes. This will help you direct and secure the growth of tall cannabis strains. It also means that you can add even more nutrients to the water and pump a lot more oxygen to make them grow as tall as possible. The pole holes can also be used to attach a proper lighting system which should increase your yield even more.
One downside of this massive reservoir is also one of the things that makes it great – the size. The reservoir measures 18.5” in length and width and 16” in height. It will require a decent portion of space in your home or garage. And, if you want to use the poles you can’t hide it under shelves or put it in a small grow tent.
As extra bonuses, you get packs of Rockwool cubes and Clay pebbles to customize your grow medium accordingly. You also get a Venturi air pump which is one of the best brands used in hydroponic systems.
4. H2OToGro DWC Hydroponic Bubbler
If you’ve never seen a classic DWC hydroponic system, this is how it looks like. It’s one big reservoir with individual cutouts for multiple plants and a self-feeding feature.
This DWC bubbler is marketed as a complete growing kit, and for good reason. It features one large container that holds all the nutrient-rich water. The system also has a slow drip feature that tops off the reservoir with nutrients so that you don’t have to.
The air pump is powerful and provides plenty of oxygen so that the plants can grow fast and maximize yield. There’s also a water level indicator that tips you off when it’s time to add some more. Although this is a high-capacity reservoir, you may have to change the water every 7 days. That’s because multiple plants are suspended in the same body of water.
The kit includes six plant nets and enough grow medium to anchor and stabilize six plants through all stages of growth. There’s also a drain valve you can use to speed up the maintenance process.
The container is also opaque which means that neither artificial light nor sunlight will hit the water and spark algae growth. On the other hand, the container is still made of plastic, so it is easy to heat up. This is a plastic DWC hydroponic system designed for indoor use.
The air pump is made by Active Aqua which is considered a fairly solid manufacturer.
5. Superponics DWC Hydroponic System
Yet another hybrid DWC reservoir system made our list, and why wouldn’t it? – DWC hydroponic systems are the most efficient when it comes to growing cannabis.
Superponics combines DWC principles and drip principles to create this hybrid system. It has a medium capacity base reservoir where up to eight plants can be grown simultaneously. Each plant has its own site and plenty of separation from the others.
The automatic drip system is used to feed nutrients from the top to compensate for the loss of nutrients that happens over time in the reservoir. The feed system uses a 132 GPH pump that can be adjusted to feed slower or faster.
The drain tube is particularly long. It is easier to take care of refills this way rather than relying on a tiny valve. It also makes maintenance less messy.
This Superponics system comes with a very nice 3-year warranty which helps compensate for the extra cost.
Are you still not convinced that DWC hydroponic systems are the best hydroponics systems for cannabis? – The main reason why these are our top five picks is that they are very versatile and highly adjustable compared to other types of hydroponic systems.
Not only that, but they come with an easier installation process and a simpler maintenance schedule than anything else on the market. You too can get started with your own productive hydroponics garden today.