my final take
12 Pod iDOO Hydroponics Growing System Review
- Easy to Use
- Low noise Water pump
- Timer control
- Very Affordable
- Limited Space
- Unclear Instructions
- No Spares List
iDOO Indoor Hydroponic Gardening Overview
The 12pods iDOO Hydroponics Growing System is excellent for beginners wanting to try an indoor garden starter kit at home. I have successfully my indoor herb garden with little previous experience growing plants.
I spent several hours researching hydroponics growing before purchasing and have since used the indoor garden kit for several months. Below I shared my experiences to help you decide if this indoor herb garden is right for you.
The iDOO 12pods hydroponics growing system hits the sweet spot between price and features. Overall this hydroponic system is hard to fault, several improvements could be made, but in the end, it is easy to grow plants and well made.
For these reasons, I think the 12pods iDOO Hydroponics Growing System is the best beginner indoor hydroponic garden available in 2022.
As I am new to hydroponic systems, I faced several challenges with the iDOO indoor garden kit, some of which I did not expect.
The following sections cover all stages of my plant growing journey, giving a good indication of what you can expect from this zero soil indoor herb garden.
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As a compact beginner indoor gardening hydroponic system, the iDOO 12 pod indoor hydroponic garden has a healthy array of features.
With a footprint of 8 x 10.5 inches (27 x 35 cm), the iDOO indoor garden is more compact than you may expect, fitting easily into any space. Max height is 16 inches or 53 cm.
A simple touch control panel is located on the top of the LED light panel. This enables total control of the lighting grow mode, water pump, and built in fan fan automatic timer.
An iDOO Hydroponics Growing System with Wifi is also available, giving app control features for light panel, pump and fan timings.
Sunlight Spectrum LED Grow Light – Lighting modes
Optimized lighting for vegetables, flowers/fruit are available. Promoting plants photosynthesis using the LED grow light to give year round fresh veggies.
LED Light Height adjustment
Adjustable height gives adequate light for various plant types and different growth stages with a height of 11 inches when fully raised.
Integrated Low Noise Pump
A small water circulation system pump is submerged in the tank. This built in pump ensures the water is kept oxygenated and promotes the absorption of nutrients.
Built in Fan
This upper fan simulates a gentle outside breeze, disperses heat, spreads pollen and improves airflow through the plants, preventing the build-up of heat and moisture and ensures an optimal environment for promoting growth.
A two-part nutrient is included. Add water, shake, and dilute this plant food in advised quantities to make your hydroponics garden plant food.
To avoid the removal of the tank top, there is a small filling point.
Water level gauge
A visual window is located on the front of the tank to monitor the water level.
When required to empty the tank, a drainage plug is located on the back of the tank.
All the factors of owning an iDOO indoor herb garden growing system with led grow light from start to finish.
The product is well packaged, and all the supplies and parts are neatly contained. My only concern would be the excessive use of plastic packaging and foiled bags.
Unboxing and Contents
- iDOO hydroponic growing system machine
- 12 Plant Baskets – used to suspend the plants in the tank.
- 12 Grow Domes – used to cover the seeds during germination.
- 24 Sponges – supplied sponges serve as a growing medium.
- 2 Bottles of Plant Food – Two parts (A + B) growing nutrients.
- 12 Tags – used to keep track of which plants are where.
- 6 Hole Covers – used to blank holes if some are unused.
- 12 basket covers – used to prevent mold from growing on sponges.
Assembly of the iDOO Hydroponics growing system is straightforward, with little chance of mistakes. The extendable rob slots into the base with the attached light panel.
Once the power supply gets connected, the system will spring into life.
Top Tip: Avoid connecting the power supply until the tank is filled to avoid running the pump dry and causing damage.
Where to Place your iDOO Indoor Herb Garden
- Distance from power -The system needs to be permanently plugged into a power socket, which is worth considering.
- Adequate space – Although compact, you must ensure a suitably sized, stable area. A kitchen counter is ideal.
- Accessibility – For ease of maintenance, I recommend keeping the system somewhere easy to monitor and access.
- Location due to high performance grow lights – When the led growth light panel is active, it emits an intense sunlight spectrum blue light. I would advise against placing this system in a bedroom for this reason.
- Location due to noise – Although very quiet when the pump and fan are active, it is noticeable. I recommend against placing the indoor herb garden in a bedroom or other unsuitable space. I find it ideal for my home office.
|Appliance||Noise Level (dB)|
|Average Fridge||32 – 47 dB|
|iDOO Indoor Garden (Pump system only)||38 dB|
|iDOO Indoor Garden (Pump and Fan)||45 dB|
|Average Dishwashers||46 to 60 dB|
Filling/Topping up the Nutrient Tank
This is a simple process, but I will expand on a few crucial points:
- Fill the nutrient bottles with tap or distilled water and shake well until all nutrients dissolve. I let it stand for a few minutes, and then a final shake did the job!
- Add water and nutrient A + B to the tank as per the table. I filled the tank with 6.5 Liters of nutrient water. Still, due to how little water is used with no plants growing and only germination growth period, I recommend using only 5 Liters. This will avoid waste yet allow the growing sponge to reach the water and stay hydrated.
- Always top up the water with equal amounts of nutrients A + B to support plants and stimulate plant growth.
- Avoid adding more nutrients than recommended, as this may harm the plants.
- Using well or softened water is not recommended due to dissolved solids and sodium levels, respectively. Neither are desirable for hydroponic system according to iDOO instructions and can cause the plants to brown.
- I use a mixture of tap and filtered water, which has so far worked well.
Using the plants germination kit
Seeds are not supplied, so you will need to purchase these separately. I went for a selection of herbs and, following the below steps, had all but two germinate successfully using this indoor garden germination kit.
First, I submerged the growing system sponge to ensure it was well-hydrated before placing 2 or 3 seeds in the seed hole.
Soaking the seeds is recommended in the iDOO Indoor Garden instructions. Put several seeds in water and allow them to soak for about 2 hours. Seeds that sink have a higher chance of germination.
Although I found some smaller seeds all floated and subsequently all germinated.
Place the growing sponge and the basket into your chosen growing hole.
The basket labels can then be used to cover the basket to prevent the growth of algae. I found, however, they also stopped the seedling covers from sitting fully, and I eventually opted to remove all the basket labels.
High Performance Grow Lights
The LED grow lights in this hydroponics growing system simulate a year round constant day/night normal cycle.
Using a mixture of LED lights, the iDOO hydroponics system creates two modes as shown creating an optimal environment for indoor gardening.
Vegetable mode contains more blue light and is beneficial for vegetable growth.
Flower/Fruits mode is a mixture of white light and red light. Ideally suited to flowers and fruiting plants.
You can switch between modes freely, each time the 16 hour on and 8 hours off automatic timer is reset.
You can override the automatic timer, turning the led lights off for 10 hours (sleep mode) by pressing the current mode button once.
The fan and pump normal mode is 30min timed intervals. This can also be suspended for 10 hours by pressing the pump switch.
Long press the fan button to turn off the fan only.
Adding more nutrient solution (When required)
Depending on the plants grown and the growth stage, the frequency of adding more nutrients will vary on how quickly the plants absorb nutrients. When doing so, I added equal amounts as per iDOO recommendations.
iDOO recommends changing the hydroponic circulation system water up to once a week. I ignored this recommendation due to the amount of water it would waste. Instead, I topped up the water when the tank/pump needed cleaning.
Cleaning the iDOO Water Circulation System (Monthly)
As per iDOO recommendation, I clean the tank and pump thoroughly about once a month.
When cleaning, I removed the LED grow light panel, support arm, and plant tray. Draining any water into a bowl from the tank.
The pump clogs with algae over time, reducing water flow. Water pump removal is simple, only requiring a screwdriver. The pump can then be thoroughly cleaned, ensuring the hydroponics growing system aerates the hydroponic system efficiently and to effectively filter impurities.
I avoided using any cleaning detergents and used fresh warm water and a sponge.
To avoid waste, I add back about half of the old tank water. Leaving the last bit with dirt/sediment, which I use on house plants.
Finally, top up the hydroponic growing system tank with some fresh nutrient mix as required.
It takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Top Tip: It can be easy to get the water pump power cable wet during cleaning. Ensure it is dry before reconnecting.
Positives and Negatives
My breakdown of the iDOO hydroponic growing system
- Very easy to set up and start growing with this indoor herb garden system, even with little or no experience.
- Indoor gardening is interesting for all ages, great to watch the plants develop through different growth stages.
- The iDOO indoor garden is an deal educational tool for kids.
- Looks good in any space and is a great conversation starter for visitors.
- The pump and fan are quiet but would not suit a bedroom.
- Maintenance is easy to complete.
- Less mess than a traditional soil planting method.
- Apart from seeds, everything you need to start growing is included.
- Although possible to grow larger plants, the iDOO system is ideal for smaller plants and herbs, working best for when small herbs like Basil and Watercress plants fully develop.
- Growing points don’t have much space meaning plants need to be pruned to a neat compact size at different growth stages.
- Requires more maintenance than expected, and young kids would need supervision.
- iDOO hydroponics growing system instructions, if followed, would use all the nutrients supplied in a matter of weeks. Being only enough for about 3 complete 6.5-liter water changes.
- iDOO hydroponics growing system instructions could be more specific in places.
- No spares list available for replacement of pump or grow light panel which is concerning in terms of Planned Obsolescence.
- There is an excessive use of plastic in the packaging, much of it being foil-backed plastic which is difficult, if not impossible, to recycle. Also, some included items, for example, basket covers, seem unnecessary.
iDOO Indoor Herb Garden Alternatives
iDOO Living Made Easy offers many other hydroponic growing systems, ranging from 6 to 20 pod hydroponic systems. Depending on your needs, one of the below may be a more suitable herb garden kit.
iDOO 10 Pod System
14.7inch (37.5 cm) Light Height
4.5 Liter Capacity
iDOO 12 Pod System
Two Sizes and Wifi
14.7inch (37.5 cm) Light Height
4.5/6.5 Liter Capacity
iDOO 20 Pod System
Largest Flagship Model
26.8inch (68 cm) Light Height
4x 2.0 Liter Capacity
Wrapping Up My Plant Growing Journey
The 12 pod iDoo Hydroponics Growing System ticks all the boxes I had for an herb garden kit, and in many ways surpassed my expectations, considering its price compared to similar products.
Its ease of assembly, simplicity of use, good build quality, and good selection of features make hydroponics growing system easy to recommend.
My main concern would be the excessive waste of nutrients recommended by the manufacturer and a lot of unnecessary plastic packaging and parts.
If you are still interested in easy homegrown fresh herbs, the Idoo 12 Pod indoor garden system should be on your list as a near perfect indoor garden.
iDOO Hydroponics System FAQ
Is it hard to use?
No, the system is straightforward to set up and use. Making an ideal educational gift.
Does the pump work?
Yes, the pump circulated the water adequately. It is rated at 140 liters per hour.
Is the pump system noisy?
No, the pump is very quiet. At 38 dB, it is similar to a fridge.
Is the built in fan noisy?
No, the pump is quiet. At 45 dB, it is slightly louder than the water pump.
Does the pump get clogged?
I have found bits of root get pulled into the pump. These can be trimmed to help avoid this issue.
Does the pump have a low water alarm?
Yes, but not audible, if the water and nutrient solution level drops below 1 Liter the water shortage alarm will activate, and the fan/water button blue light will flash.
Can I buy additional nutrients?
Yes, the iDOO Plant Food 70 oz (2 Liter) refill is available.
What nutrients can you use?
To date, I have only used the supplied nutrients, but I see no reason other options would not work.
Can I buy additional sponge baskets?
Yes, the iDOO Replacement Baskets (60pcs) pack is available.
Can I buy additional growth sponges?
Yes, the iDOO Replacement Grow Sponges (60 Pcs) pack is available.
Can I buy additional Plant Labels, Stickers and Covers?
Yes, the iDOO Hydroponics Garden Kit with 50pcs Labels, 102pcs Stickers, 6pcs Covers is available.
Can I buy a kit of spare parts?
Yes, an iDOO Seed Pods kit is available.
Spares for many pieces are available on the iDOO Store. For spare parts such as pumps, you can contact iDOO by email at [email protected].
Although spares are not available to purchase iDOO Customer Services are very helpful and informed me:
“we most definitely honor our Warranty and provide them with replacement parts / unit(s) as the situation warrants. This is our commitment to providing the best User Experience possible.”
Is it difficult to clean?
Although requiring more cleaning than expected, it is simple to complete. The pump requires a small screwdriver to remove.
How much does it cost to run?
How much does it cost to run: Rated at 36 watts, it should only cost a few dollars per month. For an up-to-date calculation, check out this Electricity cost calculator.
Is the system moveable?
Yes, all parts come apart without tools and can be boxed up and moved. Plants growing in the system would need special consideration.