Hi everyone. Today I’m going to compare two popular brands that make indoor growing systems. For comparison, I will use the most popular models of each brand: iDOO 12-pods and Click&Grow The Smart Garden 9 PRO.
The main difference between these models is that the iDOO 12-pods is a true hydroponic system, while The Smart Garden 9 PRO is a self-watering grow system. This is true for all models of both brands. Click&Grow produces growing systems where the roots are in the substrate and iDOO produces systems where the roots are in the water.
The two devices are not only different in design but also in how they work.
The Smart Garden 9 has pots in which you place the sponges. The pot is equipped with a wick through which water goes into the grow sponge. The roots are limited to the size of the pot which is a disadvantage because it can cause root bound.
But the Smart Garden 9 has no pump and this is a benefit because it reduces electricity costs. In addition, this system is silent because there is no water movement in it.
The iDOO on the other hand has net pots in which the grow sponges are placed. The roots grow freely in the bowl and can reach large sizes. This ensures better growth and health of the plants. The roots also have much better access to air.
There is a pump in this device that allows the water in the bowl to move, but its potential is not fully exploited. In addition, the pump creates some noise and uses additional electricity.
Read also: How to choose the right hydroponic system for your home?
The iDOO has a light hood typical of hydroponic systems. It is slightly smaller than the surface of the bowl. The power of the LEDs is 22 watts. The highest position is 4.7 inches (12 cm) and the lowest is 10.5 inches (27 cm).
There is a fan on the light hood that creates air movement around the plants. This is a very useful feature of this system.
Smart Garden 9 has a narrow 13-watt lamp. This may not be enough for some plants. The lamp is not adjustable in height. It is fixed at a height of 10.6 inches (27 cm) from the bowl.
The light of both devices runs for 16 hours and 8 hours off. The iDOO features two light modes: Vegetables and Fruits.
The bowls of both devices hold 4 liters of water. Their area is approximately the same, but the iDOO is rectangular in shape while the Smart Garden 9 is narrow.
The grow deck of the iDOO has 12 holes. However, they are very closely spaced and the optimal number of plants you can grow here is 4-6.
Smart Garden 9, on the other hand, has 9 holes. The distances between them are greater so there is a bit more room for the plants.
The iDOO bowl has a drain for changing the water. Since the Smart Garden 9 does not need a water change, there is no drain hole.
The iDOO has a regular narrow window with a scale to measure the water level in the bowl. This is actually very convenient and simple. However, sometimes there is not enough light to accurately determine the level.
The Smart Garden 9 on the other hand has a float-type water level sensor. When the amount of water in the bowl decreases, the float goes lower. It’s also a pretty simple and convenient solution.
In general, the water level of the iDOO drops a little faster than the Smart Garden 9. This is because the roots in iDOO are totally immersed in water and use as much water as they need. In Smart Garden 9, the amount of water used by the plants is limited by the capacity of the wick in each pot.
The Smart Garden 9 has no control panel at all. All you can do is turn off the light by waving your hand over the lamp. You can also reset the system by touching the lamp with your hand for a few seconds.
The Smart Garden 9 PRO version has a Bluetooth connection. To use this you need to download the app and register on the manufacturer’s website.
The iDOO 12-pods has a control panel on the light hood, which is much more convenient. There are buttons to turn the device on, force the pump off, and light mode selection buttons.
This model is not equipped with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. However, there are models in the iDOO line with Wi-Fi connection capability.
Grow sponges and pots
The iDOO has narrow grow sponges that are designed to hold the seeds in place only. Once the roots penetrate through the sponge they will start to spread freely in the bowl.
Smart Garden 9 has much larger diameter sponges but about the same length. The size of the sponge is the space in which the roots will grow and for some plants, this may not be enough.
Smart Garden 9 sponges have seeds in them. You can choose from various sets of pre-seeded sponges offered by Click&Grow. What’s more, you can use your own seeds and soil in the Smart Garden 9. How I did this you can read in the article: Can You Use Your Own Seeds And Soil In The Click and Grow?
The grow sponges from iDOO do not have seeds inside. You have to buy your own seeds to get plants. But the iDOO sponges are much cheaper than the Smart Garden 9.
When it comes to pots, the Smart Garden 9 has closed pots with a wick through which the water penetrates into the soil. iDOO has net pots typical of such hydroponic systems.
Click&Grow realized plant food in a very simple way. They just put slow-release pellets in the growing sponges. This makes the system very easy to care for, but it also makes it less effective.
The plant food from iDOO comes in two bottles. You need to add 20 milliliters from each bottle at the start and every time you change the water. The efficiency of this solution is slightly higher.
|Unit||Wattage||kWh||Cost (1 yr)|
|The Smart Garden 9 PRO||13||74||$8.9|
The Smart Garden 9 has no pump and its lamp has only 13 watts of power. All this results in a very low power consumption. However, the less powerful LEDs and the principle by which this device works reduces its yield.
The iDOO, on the other hand, consumes more electricity and therefore costs more. But the plants grow much faster and you end up with a bigger yield.
|Unit||Manufacturer’s price||Amazon Price|
|The Smart Garden 9||$229.95||$228.95|
|The Smart Garden 9 PRO||$289.95||$289.95|
Smart Garden 9 is more than twice as expensive as iDOO 12-pods. And the Smart Garden 9 PRO is three times as expensive. This is actually a very big disadvantage of the Click&Grow device. You don’t get better efficiency or a bigger yield for that money.
The iDOO 12-pods on the other hand is a pretty good hydroponic system for the money. You can successfully grow vegetables and herbs without overpaying.
Considering the price, the iDOO 12-pods is a much better fit for almost everyone. It can provide a great crop because of its design and more powerful LED lighting. The downsides include the need for maintenance, but it’s worth it trust me.
The Smart Garden 9 PRO is an expensive system so it is not suitable for those on a tight budget. It also has a weak lamp and small pots. The advantages are low electricity costs, no maintenance, and a beautiful design.