Aerogarden and Click & Grow both make sleek, all-in-one hydroponic systems for indoor gardening. But which is better? Here’s an in-depth comparison of both companies’ smart garden models, reviewing their design, available plants and cost.
Aerogarden vs Click and Grow
Aerogarden is the original indoor garden company.
But are they the best?
As indoor gardening has gotten more popular, tons of new companies have popped up, all offering smart gardens in various sizes, price points and unique features.
I’ve slowly started branching out to try various Aerogarden competitors, but at the top of my list to check out was Click and Grow.
Because they make (in my opinion) the prettiest indoor gardens!
Here’s a deep dive into Aerogarden vs Click and Grow.
Aerogarden is a Colorado based company that makes indoor hydroponic gardens and accessories.
They were the first to create smart countertop gardens that could be used to grow plants in just water (no soil!).
Their gardens are cute, compact and do all the heavy lifting when it comes to gardening, so they’re perfect for beginners (no green thumb required).
And best of all, they allow you to grow indoors!
Aerogardens are especially great for those who live in small apartments and condos with limited outdoor space because they have built in LED lights.
With these, you can grow herbs, salad greens, tomatoes, chili peppers and flowers all year round.
The company was originally called ‘Aerogrow’, and named their products ‘Aerogarden’.
But, they seem to have rebranded and streamlined to simply ‘Aerogarden’ across the board. In 2016, garden giant Scotts-Miracle Grow acquired a controlling stake in Aerogarden.
Click and Grow Overview
Click and Grow is an Estonian based company, founded in 2009 by Mattias Lepp.
He was inspired to create indoor gardens after hearing about NASA’s successful experiments growing food in space.
Lepp worked with several universities to create the first ‘smart garden’ prototype.
The company’s aim is to create smart gardens for busy city dwellers, with indoor plant systems that take care of plants automatically.
With Click and Grow’s smart gardens, the watering, lights and nutrients are all taken care of so even the busiest person can experience the magic of gardening.
With these, you can also grow herbs, salad greens, tomatoes, chili peppers and flowers all year round.
Aerogarden vs Click & Grow
So, which company should you go with?
Honestly – you can’t go wrong with either. I have hydroponic gardens from both companies and really like them both. They each work slightly differently, which I go into in more depth below.
But, if you want the short answer:
And to be honest, hydroponics is addicting!
So most likely you’ll start with one but slowly find yourself buying more over time, ha. At least… that’s been my experience!
But I promised a deep dive, so let’s take a closer look at each company and get into the details…
Aerogarden vs Click and Grow
my wall of Aerogarden farms growing eggplants, beans and hot peppers indoors
While both companies essentially do the same thing (ie, allow you to grow plants indoors, 5x faster than soil, all year round), they approach hydroponics slightly differently.
I break down the differences by comparing each part of the gardening process:
- Watering Method
- Fertilizer Method
- Available Plants
- Growing Different Plants
- Use Your Own Seeds
Hands down, I think Click and Grow wins on the pure aesthetics of their gardens.
I get bombarded with Instagram ads for gardening products all day long, but the only brand that’s stood out to me from the instant I saw them was Click and Grow.
Their gardens come in 3 neutral colors – white, beige and grey – and all of them are designed with a very sleek, minimalist Scandinavian style that I personally really love.
When I received the garden, I realized Click and Grow carries that design-first approach to every aspect of the product, from the packaging to set up.
Everything was really easy to put together, and the garden is essentially pre-assembled. It took me less than 5 minutes to get started.
And, I loved how the gardens have a neat slot to tuck in the electric cord so it doesn’t show.
Aerogarden gardens, while they don’t look ugly per se, they’re.. utilitarian.
Unfortunately Aerogarden seems to have pared back on their color options!
The set up for the Aerogarden Farm models (the larger 12 and 24 pod gardens) is quite frankly – annoying and time consuming. It requires lot of screws and turning the machine upside down and right side up again, so I did find assembly to be a bit of a pain.
In contrast, the Click and Grow 27 (which has 27 growing spaces) offers a comparable amount of growing slots but is split into 3 gardens of 9, so assembly is a cinch. Putting together the plant stand was very straightforward.
Aerogarden and Click & Grow both have built-in LED lights, but they differ in a couple ways:
Both gardens utilize LED lights to enable plants to grow indoors all year round. These lights contain a spectrum of red and white lights and have a built-in timer to operate on a set schedule.
Note: on the fancier models, both Click and Grow and Aerogarden allow you to customize the light cycle.
In terms of the light strength, the Aerogarden models tend to be stronger.
The light stand is also designed a bit differently on the Aerogarden vs Click and Grow.
With Click and Grow, the company’s aim is to handle practically 100% of the gardening for you.
Their motto is to allow you to grow fresh greens and herbs inside without sacrificing your busy lifestyle. So, the light stand is fixed (although they sell optional attachments to increase the light height) and the LEDs are mostly white and red lights.
This results in compact plants that grow and flower on their own. They won’t get too large, due to the fixed height of the light and lower watt strength, but that also means you don’t need to constantly adjust the lights.
With Aerogarden, the light height varies on each model, but ranges from 12 to 36 inches. As the plants grow tall, you’ll want to slowly raise the light hood so that the plant leaves don’t burn.
The huge height capacity on the larger Bounty and Farm models (2 to 3 feet) means you can grow some pretty big plants! I love being able to grow peppers, eggplants and cherry tomatoes in the larger Aerogardens.
The larger models also have stronger LED bulbs with more color ranges, including white, blue, red and far red LEDs. This helps with flowering, fruiting and root growth which all supports larger plants.
You can always remove the plants from the indoor gardens and transplant them in larger pots outdoors too!
A big difference between the two systems is how they water plants.
Hydroponics is the art of gardening in water instead of soil, but within the category of hydroponics there are many sub categories, like:
- deep water culture
- nutrient film technique
- ebb and flow
I go a bit more in depth about them in my Hydroponics 101 post, but to keep things simple for today’s post, Aerogarden and Click & Grow utilize different hydroponic methods.
Click & Grow Hydroponic Method
Click and Grow uses the wick method, a passive form of hydroponics that’s easy to maintain.
With a wick system, water is transported up from the basin to the plants’ roots using a wick. It’s a great system because it’s easy to maintain – the growing medium and nutrients are contained in the plastic pod cups.
So, the water basin purely contains water and stays much cleaner.
The roots of each plant grow within the pod cups and won’t tangle or touch each other.
The Click & Grow gardens do not have a water pump inside the bowl, so there’s less parts to clean.
The lack of water pumps also means there’s no operating noise, so these are blissfully silent gardens.
Aerogarden Hydroponic Method
Aerogarden uses an aeroponic setup, with a small oxygenating pump inside the basin that circulates the water.
Their gardens run on a timed watering schedule, where the pump will run for about ~5 minutes every hour to cycle the water and mist it over the plants’ roots.
The water pump allows the roots to continuously have nutrients without being oversaturated and also provides greater oxygen exposure.
This is a more advanced set up and occasionally you’ll hear the water trickling. It sounds a bit like a water fountain to me (so I find it soothing) but some people find it distracting, especially if they work from home or are sensitive to noise.
With Aerogardens, you’ll want to be a bit more diligent with cleaning and check every so often to ensure the plant roots aren’t growing into the pump (which can cause the garden system to stop working) or growing into each other.
Each company approaches feeding your plants a bit differently.
With Aerogarden, you’ll need to add fertilizer every 2 weeks.
Larger fruiting plants will require more nutrition so eventually you’ll buy more plant food as you continue to garden.
You can keep some plants in the Aerogarden nearly indefinitely, as long as you keep adding nutrition and water. The plants will get bigger and bigger, and produce more fruits (until they grow past the height of the garden).
With Click & Grow, the fertilizer has already been pre-added to each pod’s ‘smart soil’.
They look like little red and yellow beads within the sponge and are designed to slow release plant food over time. When the plants have used up all the nutrients in the smart soil, they’ve reached their max size and height capacity.
At that point, you should remove the plants from the system. You can continue to grow them outdoors in soil and buy new Click & Grow smart soil pods to start a new indoor garden.
So in general, a plant grown in the Click & Grow will be a bit smaller compared to the same plant grown in the Aerogarden.
These indoor gardens allow you to grow entirely indoors, from start to finish.
But, some people like to use the gardens to start plants and then move them outside. This way they can kick start their summer gardens, grow more and free up space inside.
Also some plants are just too big for an indoor garden and other plants just do better outdoors in sunshine and soil.
With Aerogarden, the roots can often grow into huge massive clusters. Because their gardens allow you to grow larger plants, it can sometimes be difficult to extract mid-size or large plants from the Aerogarden.
With Click & Grow, their pods are enclosed, so the roots can’t really grow outside the container. It makes removing the plants really easy.
Both Aerogarden and Click and Grow gardens come with pre-seeded pods, and you can also buy more plant pods.
Aerogarden Seed Kits
Each model of Aerogarden comes with slightly different seed kits.
In general, the plants are pre-selected to optimize for each garden’s size.
So for a 6-pod model like the Harvest, you can choose from things like
while for a 24-pod model like the Farm, you can choose from all the previous options but also larger options like:
Aerogarden also sells over 30+ individual plants, like
And they sell fun variety packs, like
You can browse Aerogarden’s full plant selection here.
Click & Grow Plant Pods
Click and Grow’s smart gardens also come with plant pods so you can get started growing right away.
Each seed is already pre-planted in ‘smart soil’, a natural growing medium made from biodegradable materials that already has nutrients included.
And, all the plants chosen are designed to fit the compact size of the garden.
With Click & Grow you don’t have the option to choose plants. But to give you an idea here are the plants that come with each Click & Grow model:
- the Smart Garden 3 comes with 3 basil plants
- the Smart Garden 9 comes with 3 tomatoes, 3 lettuces and 3 basil
- the Click and Grow 25 comes with 9 leaf mustards, 9 red kale, 18 romaine lettuce and 18 green lettuce
Click and Grow also sells over 75+ herb, veggie and flower plant pods. They’re sold in packs of 3 and the company is always offering new varieties.
Some plant options include:
Click and Grow also sells mixed packs, typically in bundles of 9, with fun options like:
- asian greens
- basil variety
- calming tea mix
- fruit and veggie mix
- chili pepper mix
- steak seasoning mix
Browse all of Click and Grow’s plant options here.
And finally, Click and Grow offers plant subscriptions where you can sign up for ongoing deliveries of new plants. You save a little bit on the membership model vs buying individual plants.
Both companies offer a germination guarantee.
If any of their pre-seeded plants don’t sprout, you can contact customer service and they’ll send you a replacement.
Growing Different Plants
One of the things I didn’t know before I started gardening indoors was that every type of plant is different.
Some, like salad greens and lettuce, grow very quickly but have a short lifespan. Others, like hot peppers, can take months to grow and require a lot of patience (and hand pollinating) but can stay alive for years!
Every plant also has different nutrient requirements.
When gardening outdoors, you would add different amendments to the soil to give each type of plant what it needs. With hydroponics, there’s no soil so you add liquid nutrients directly to the indoor garden.
The nutrients change the pH of the water and each type of plant thrives at a slightly different pH.
So when using an open system like the Aerogarden, where all the plants drink from the same water-nutrient mix and can touch each other, you want to maintain an optimal pH environment for all the plants.
Essentially, you need to grow similar plants together in an Aerogarden (6 different types of lettuce, or 6 herbs together in the Harvest).
Growing plants with different nutrient requirements is a bit of a disaster, because one variety will thrive at the expense of the other (so don’t plant tomatoes with lettuces, for example).
But since the Click & Grow uses a closed pod system, where each plant gets its nutrients from the ‘smart soil‘ and not from the shared water bowl, you can grow completely different types of plants all together in the same smart garden.
So you could plant basil, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers and wild strawberries all together!
If you’re hoping to grow anything and everything all at the same time, go with Click & Grow.
When you first start out, it’s nice to be able to use the plant pods that come with each garden so you can get growing right away.
But as you get more comfortable with gardening indoors, you naturally start to want to grow more things. The nice feature of these smart gardens is you can use your own seeds!
Both Aerogarden and Click and Grow allow you to grow *anything* in their systems.
I’ve bought seeds from garden companies, my local plant nursery and on clearance at hardware stores. You can basically start almost any plant in these hydroponic systems with the addition of some accessories.
Note: Not all plants are small and compact enough to fully grow, from start to finish, inside these gardens. So in those instances, you’ll eventually want to transplant the plants to larger pots, garden containers and outdoors.
I have a more in-depth post on where I buy heirloom seeds here.
Aerogarden Grow Anything Kit
Aerogarden sells a ‘Grow Anything’ kit that’s essentially empty pods and sponges. Each kit comes with plastic pods, dome caps, sticker labels, grow sponges and plant food so all you do is add your own seeds!
They cost ~$0.70 when you buy in bulk.
I have a separate guide to making your own Aerogarden replacement pods here.
Click & Grow
Click and Grow sells ‘Grow Anything’ plant pods that contain an advanced version of their Smart Soil. These contain added nutrients to boost sprouting and growth and will work for pretty much any type of greens, herbs or flowers.
These are just the sponges though – the plastic pods and caps that come with each Smart Garden are re-usable, so the Grow Anything kit from Click & Grow is basically just the smart soil and nutrition.
So far, it doesn’t seem like many third party companies make off label versions so you have to get them direct from the company.
They cost ~$3 per pod which personally I find a bit expensive, since their plant pods cost about the same but come with the seeds.
The Grow Anything soil pods are available in two types:
Of course, it always comes down to price.
Unfortunately (or fortunately!) both companies price their gardens at roughly the same cost.
It’s hard to make a direct comparison, because each brand’s gardens are slightly different sizes with slightly different features, but I’ve tried my best to run the numbers by looking at the costs in several ways:
Aerogarden vs Click & Grow Cost Comparison
One difference though, is in the plant selection.
If you asked me, I would prefer to grow as many different plants as possible.
But, in terms of what I’d actually use and cook with, I often use huge amounts of basil to batch make pesto, and I don’t really know what to do with dill, so growing multiples of one plant might actually be more functional.
24 / 25 / 27 pod models
When you get to the larger units, both Aerogarden and Click and Grow offer large gardens so you can grow tons of plants. These are designed to either sit on the floor or on a large piece of furniture.
You have the
There are lots of different variations of the Farm, with slightly different bells and whistles, but on average the Farm 24 Plus retails for $929.95 (it often goes on sale – I have seen them for around $300-500).
With the larger models, I think it depends what you want to use them for.
The Farm is designed for fruiting plants that can grow 2 to 3 feet in height.
It has strong 60W full spectrum LED lights meant to optimize for leaf, root and fruit production.
The unit is split into 2 equal grow bowls, so you have separate water tanks and can control the light and nutrition schedule for two groups of 12 plants simultaneously.
Get the Farm if you want to grow bigger plants like cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, eggplants, etc.
The Click & Grow 25 is designed for succession planting leafy greens.
I find myself growing lettuces and Asian greens the most, because they’re easy to grow, quick to harvest and healthy to eat – so I plant lots of them!
Greens are short lived plants, so you’ll want to succession plant them, meaning continually plant more so that you have a steady ongoing supply. The Click & Grow 25 is optimized in vertical slots, so you can neatly grow 5 greens at a time for 5 weeks.
It’s a really clean, organized and efficient smart garden if you’re focused on growing healthy lettuces.
The Click & Grow 27 is a nice in between option.
It allows you to grow up to 27 plants, split among 3 gardens and includes a nice plant stand!
While it would be difficult to grow any large fruiting plant in this tower, it is a really functional way to grow many plants at once. So you could do one garden of herbs, one garden of cherry tomatoes and one garden of greens!
I just got the Click & Grow 27 and love it so far!
by Plant Pods
All of these gardens are very sustainable ways to grow indoors, because you can re-use them over and over again.
All you need to do is either buy your own seeds + the empty ‘Grow Anything’ pods, or buy new plants direct from the companies.
Aerogarden seed pods range in price depending on the plant, but cost ~$14-16 for a pack of 12, or approximately $1.17 – $1.33 per plant. They also regularly host sales so you can get them even more inexpensively.
Click and Grow seed pods range in price depending on the plant, but cost ~$9.95 for a pack of 3, or approximately $3.31 per plant. These come with the nutrition in their smart soil, so I’d also consider them relatively cheap!
In general, growing indoors using LED lights is very cost effective. LED lights have great output while consuming relatively low amounts of energy so they’re very efficient sources of light.
Aerogarden vs Click & Grow: Electric Costs
|Model||Plant Capacity||Avg Watts Used||Monthly Cost||Annual Cost|
|Aerogarden Sprout||3||13 W||$0.82||$9.95|
|Click & Grow Smart Garden 3||3||8 W||$0.50||$6.12|
|Aerogarden Harvest||6||23 W||$1.45||$17.60|
|Aerogarden Bounty||9||48 W||$3.02||$36.72|
|Click & Grow Smart Garden 9||9||13 W||$0.82||$9.95|
|Aerogarden Farm||24||126 W||$7.92||$96.40|
|Click & Grow 25||25||32 W||$2.01||$24.48|
|Click & Grow Wall Farm||51||110 W||$6.92||$84.15|
*assuming a 16 hour per day light cycle and electricity supply costs of 13.1 cents per kWh
Aerogarden Sprout vs Click and Grow Smart Garden 3
But in terms of actual cash, it’s just a couple dollars more per year.
Aerogarden Farm vs Click and Grow 25
That’s nearly a 400% cost difference!
So, I guess it depends what you want to grow.
In the small models, the price difference is a couple dollars over the course of the year and pretty negligible.
But if you wanted a large garden and intended to grow lots of leafy greens, you’re better off getting the Click & Grow 25. It will allow you to grow a lot at an optimal energy consumption rate and be much more cost effective!
Something else to consider is yield.
The cost difference really comes about because the LEDs on the Aerogardens are stronger and therefore use more power.
I would assume yes, so if we account for yield, the cost per grow is pretty much the same. Just be smart about what you’re growing in which garden!
Overall both companies make smart gardens that use very low amounts of energy!
BTW – if you’re curious about the math, keep reading!
Here’s how to calculate how much adding a smart garden would cost to your electric bill.
Number of Hours a Day the Garden is On
The Click & Grow gardens run on a pre-set light schedule of 16 hours on, 8 hours off.
On the other hand, the Aerogarden gardens have 3 pre-set light schedules, depending on the type of garden you’re growing.
- Herb garden: 17 hours on
- Salad garden: 16.5 hours on
- Tomatoes and pepper garden: 16 hours on
- Flower garden: 15.5 hours on
For the purposes of comparing both companies fairly, let’s assume both gardens run for 16 hours a day.
Electric Supply Costs
I took a look at my most recent electricity bill. In February 2023, my local utility ConEd billed me 13.1 cents per kWh for supplying me with power.
Electricity rates vary by location and time of year, so you should look at your own utility bills to see how much your actual electric supply costs. Or, you can look at this chart released by the US Energy Information Association, which publishes data on average electricity costs by state.
The average national cost was 15.47 cents per kilowatt hour in January 2023.
So whoo – looks like I pay under the national average in NYC (shocking)
I find looking at this stuff kind of fascinating.
It looks like people in New England (specifically Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire) pay some of the highest electricity prices in the country, around ~30 cents per kilowatt hour!
And eek Hawaii residents have the honor of paying the most – a whopping 45 cents per kwh.
How to Calculate Smart Garden Costs
Anyway, back to comparing electric costs by brand. To calculate the monthly cost of a garden, multiply:
(kilowatts used) x (cost per kilowatt hour) * (hours a day the garden is on) x (# of days)
Note: utility companies charge in kilowatts so you’ll need to make sure to divide the wattage for small appliances like this by 1000, to convert to kilowatts
How Much Energy the Aerogarden Uses
For the Aerogarden Sprout:
.013 kilowatts used x .131 cents per kWh x 16 hours a day x 30 days = $0.817 cents per month
.013 kilowatts used x .131 cents per kWh x 16 hours a day x 365 days = $9.94 dollars per year
How Much Energy the Click & Grow Uses
For the Click & Grow Smart Garden 3:
.08 kilowatts used x .131 cents per kWh x 16 hours a day x 30 days = $0.503 cents per month
.08 kilowatts used x .131 cents per kWh x 16 hours a day x 365 days = $6.12 dollars per year
I guess if you’re looking at a strict dollar and cents basis, the Click & Grows are cheaper (because their LEDs are less strong and use less power). But really, both companies’ smart gardens use very little energy and are cost effective to run!
Even if you live in Connecticut or Hawaii :)
So, Click & Grow or Aerogarden?
It really depends on how much time I have and what I’m in the mood to grow.
So hopefully this comparison was helpful – let me know which company’s gardens you have + prefer in the comments! Or if there are other brands you recommend, I’m always open to suggestions.
Overall, I’m glad there are so many options out on the market. It’s nice to see more innovation in the indoor gardening space and I’m always impressed by how brands come up with different designs and solutions.
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