Aerogarden is a great investment whether you want to get started growing food indoors or just want to keep your gardening hobby alive in the winter months. But if you are considering getting an Aerogarden for yourself or as a gift, there are some things to consider first. No hydroponic system is perfect, and while the Aerogarden has a lot of benefits, there are some drawbacks people don’t really talk about, but that every Aerogarden user will tell you.
Pros of Having an Aerogarden
An Aerogarden Lets You Grow Food All Year Round
One of the most common reasons people get an Aerogarden is to grow food in any season.
A lot of gardeners pick up an Aerogarden so they can continue gardening into the winter months. But there is nothing stopping you from using an Aerogarden 365 days a year. While you should still clean and maintain your Aerogarden system (see the cons below), you can keep it running all year.
Aerogardens have their lights, reservoir, and air pump all included into one self-contained unit, so some people use it as a year-round perennial herb garden in their kitchen.
Aerogarden Is an Easy, No-Fuss Introduction to Hydroponics
Aerogardens are the easiest hydroponic systems for complete beginners to grow food or flowers at home. Everything works out of the box with clear instructions and all the supplies and nutrients you need to get started.
While there are some easy DIY hydroponic projects you can try, an Aerogarden is a virtually foolproof system to start with. It has the lights with a timer, nutrient reservoir, net cups (grow baskets), and reminds you when to add more water/nutrients to your system.
The Aerogarden will teach you the principles of hydroponics while you’re growing food.
If you find out you love hydroponics and want to get into it more, I would recommend making your own Kratky hydroponic systems. They can be as simple as using a plastic container, and you can use your Aerogarden grow baskets and nutrient solution. From there, you might want to try more complex DIY systems like deep-water culture (DWC) and ebb-and-flow systems.
Plants Grow Faster in the Aerogarden
Plants grow significantly faster in hydroponic systems like the Aerogarden compared to growing in soil.
With the proper nutrition, plants grown in hydroponics typically see much faster growth compared to soil-grown plants. This is because roots in a hydroponic system are submerged in a solution of plant-available nutrients.
While some simpler systems use no aeration (such as the Kratky method), adding aeration will further improve vegetative growth, creating lusher, healthier plants, and also reduce chances of roots drowning due to a lack of oxygen. One example of a system using aeration is deep water culture (DWC), which keeps the nutrient solution aerated with an air pump. Another is aeroponics, which involves spraying a fine mist of nutrient solution on plant roots. The Aerogarden is a kind of hybrid DWC and aeroponic system. The bubbles from the air pump splash droplets of solution onto plant roots, but as the plants mature, their roots will also grow down into the aerated nutrient reservoir.
Aerogardens Are Very Space-Efficient
Most Aerogarden systems are compact and will also let you grow more plants in a smaller area. This makes them perfect for apartments or other areas with limited space.
Because Aerogardens are hydroponic systems, plants don’t need to compete nearly as much for nutrients since their roots are all bathing in the same solution, and you can fit more plants in a smaller space. The only limitation is the size of the plants themselves, not whether they can get adequate nutrition.
Aerogardens are also complete, self-contained systems, and most models are fairly small and lightweight, so they can be placed anywhere.
Even the larger Aerogarden Farm XL models have a smaller footprint than most DIY hydroponic systems.
Indoor Gardening Improves Mental Health
Growing plants indoors provides several mental health benefits, including reducing anxiety, stress, and seasonal depression.
Growing any plants indoors has been shown to have a multitude of benefits. There is something therapeutic about taking care of indoor plants and watching them grow, especially combined with the satisfaction of growing your own food. But the benefits can be even more beneficial to your health.
Many people consider gardening a stress release. But a study found that people experienced noticeable psychological and physiological stress reduction after doing tasks related to taking care of plants.  Therapists also use gardening activities to alleviate trauma, depression, and anxiety in patients, called horticultural therapy. 
If you already have an outdoor garden, using your Aerogarden to grow herbs, vegetables, or even flowers indoors can let you keep gardening well into the cold, depressing winter months.
You Can Grow MORE Than Your Aerogarden Seed Kit
You do not need to use Aerogarden seeds (and this is one way Aerogarden users save money) and you can grow many more varieties than what they offer. If you already have seeds, you don’t necessarily need to buy Aerogarden seeds. For example, you can grow any kind of peppers, dwarf cherry tomatoes, and even strawberries in your Aerogarden.
The Aerogarden is an all-purpose hydroponic system. For the most part, the only limit is the size of plant you can grow, not the type. Most greens and shorter vegetables can easily grow in the system.
Root vegetables might not have enough space to grow in the Aerogarden grow baskets, and taller, full-sized determinate tomato plants will need the large Farm Aerogardens to thrive, but some taller plants like kale and peppers can be pruned on smaller models before they touch the Aerogarden lights.
Cons of Having an Aerogarden
Most Aerogarden Models Are Expensive (at Retail Price)
The cost of a nearly foolproof, beginner-friendly Aerogarden hydroponic system is the actual cost, which is considerably higher than similar-sized DIY hydroponic systems.
The cheapest model (Sprout) goes for $99.95, which is ideal for very small herbs, flowers, microdwarf tomatoes, or heavily pruned chili peppers, and has enough space for three plants.
If the price of an Aerogarden is a bit too steep for you, you can keep an eye out for discounts. In addition to sales on third-party vendor sites, the Aerogarden site itself periodically has big discounts on various models. Seasonal sales have brought the price of Aerogarden Sprout down to as low as $60, and I’ve seen the $205.95 Harvest Elite system on sale for $140. Check their site regularly for discounts.
Bushier Plants May Overcrowd Your Aerogarden
Each Aerogarden system comes with space for a different number of plants, but some varieties may take up more space than others. Bushier plants, even if short enough for the Aerogarden, will need more space to grow fully.
This is not really something that’s talked about. For example, the Sprout model technically has space for three plants. Technically. But if you’re growing dwarf cherry tomatoes, you may need to select microdwarfs to effectively grow three plants in such a small system. Other larger (but still dwarf) cherry tomatoes can get quite bushy, so your Sprout Aerogarden system may really only have space for one or two cherry tomato plants so they don’t get crowded out.
This is not a specific problem with the Aerogarden; it’s something to consider when growing more than one plant in any single hydroponic system.
Aerogardens Are Foolproof, But Not Maintenance-Free
It’s recommended to regularly clean your Aerogarden, especially before you plant new seeds or put your Aerogarden away in storage. Cleaning is required to reduce the buildup of harmful bacteria and mold, as well as clean up mineral deposits that have accumulated throughout each grow cycle.
Although not using microbe-rich soil, hydroponics is not fully sterile. Bacteria, mold, and algae can grow in your Aerogarden sponges and inside the nutrient reservoir. While small amounts of bacteria or mold isn’t a problem for mature plants, too much can cause problems for seedlings (such as damping off). In addition, both the minerals in your water and nutrient salts can deposit and accumulate inside your Aerogarden system. Serious mineral buildup can even clog your pumps. This is why it’s a good idea to clean your Aerogarden before planting new seeds or when putting your Aerogarden away for storage.
Pro-Tip: If you need to clean your Aerogarden but want to keep your plants, you can carefully remove them first and keep the roots in water until you’ve cleaned and rinsed your system.
To do a full cleaning of your Aerogarden, use diluted chlorine bleach (1/4 cup bleach added to a full reservoir of water) or full-strength white vinegar. Let your pump run with the cleaning solution for 5 minutes, then drain and do at least two more 5-minute pump cycles with fresh water to completely rinse out the system. You can read more details about cleaning your Aerogarden at the Aerogarden blog.
For many, the benefits of having an Aerogarden outweigh the costs. The price can be high without discounts, but it saves you the effort of having to build your own DIY system, which takes time and still costs money. And while Aerogardens do require maintenance, most DIY systems require just as much if not more maintenance. However, if you are already using other hydroponic systems, the real benefit for you is just having a compact, no-fuss system you can set and forget. That’s what makes Aerogarden a solid choice for a hydroponic system: it’s easy enough for beginners and convenient enough for experienced hydroponic gardeners.
1. Lee, M.-sun, Lee, J., Park, B.-J., & Miyazaki, Y. (2015). Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults: A randomized crossover study. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 34(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40101-015-0060-8
2. American Horticultural Therapy Association. https://www.ahta.org/about-horticultural-therapy