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iDOO 12-pods Indoor Hydroponic System Review

Greetings! Today I want to share my experience with the iDOO 12-pods hydroponic system. In this article, I’ll tell you everything I’ve learned about it over the course of my time using it.

I have highlighted ten main criteria that I will use to rate the unit. For each of the criteria, the device can get a score from 1 to 10. Then you will see the total number of points the device has received. I hope this will help you make your choice.

iDOO 12-pods review

My iDOO 12-pods

My rating of the iDOO 12-pods (Model: ID-IG301)

Criteria Rating
Technology 8
Efficiency 6
Quality 7
User experience 7
Impact on comfort 8
Ease of maintenance 5
Customer support 9
Operating Costs 7
Proprietary 7
Price 10
Total 74

According to my scores on each criterion, the iDOO 12-pods scored a total of 74 points out of a possible 100. In fact, this is an excellent score, but it is not an absolute value because you need to consider the price category of the device.

In terms of average scores the iDOO 12-pods gets a rating of 7.4/10. Below I will tell you why I gave this or that rating in each category.

Technology

The first thing I want to evaluate is the technology. This device has all the attributes of a classic hydroponic system, which is a definite plus. However, iDOO 12-pods is a bit simplified system, so its potential is not fully revealed.

The pump just creates water movement in the bowl but does not pump water to each plant. In the AeroGarden models, for example, the pump pumps water to each pod, which improves yields.

The grow deck is a plastic plate with holes in it. The developers assume that you will grow 12 plants, but in reality, you can grow 4-6 plants here. Also, the hole for the water refill is a bit too small.

The advantage is that the light hood is equipped with a fan. This improves air exchange around the plants and cools the LEDs. As a result, the lifespan of the LEDs should be longer than the competition.

The wattage of the iDOO 12-pods LEDs is 22 watts. The AeroGarden Bounty Elite, for example, has 50 watts.

A growing height of 10.5 inches and a 4.5-liter tank allows you to grow quite large plants in this hydroponic system.

Unfortunately, I got the version without Wi-Fi and the app for the test. However, there is a more expensive model in the line iDOO WiFi 12 Pods Indoor Garden with APP Controlled.

I give the iDOO 12-pods an 8/10 for technology.

Efficiency

idoo-12-pods-light-review

The maximum light output that this device is capable of generating is 20,000 lux. This is in the lowest position of the light hood and in Vegetable mode. AeroGarden Harvest with less powerful LEDs generates almost twice as much light.

It follows that the efficiency of the LEDs is not as high as the competitors and this reduces the yield.

In one month I was able to grow four mature lettuce bushes. The light is sufficient for this type of plant and the growth rate is high. However, I am not sure that for plants that bear fruit (tomatoes, etc.) light is enough for abundant fruiting.

As for fertilizers, they work well. They are a little not handy to use because you have to dilute in water and they come in two bottles. But they do the job and provide a good result.

I give the iDOO 12-pods a 6/10 for efficiency.

Quality

As for the build quality, the iDOO 12-pods is excellent. All the parts are well attached and nothing needs to be screwed on. During assembly, you can hear some sniffles, but when the system works nothing buzzes or falls off.

The plastic is also of good quality and looks durable. However, it doesn’t feel as nice as the AeroGarden.

Also, the pump is pretty small, which suggests that it will last less than larger competition pumps.

The net pots are thin and are unlikely to last many times. Especially if you will be growing plants with large roots.

I give the iDOO 12-pods a 7/10 for quality.

User experience

idoo-12-pod-fall

In general, the iDOO 12-pods are quite easy to use, just like most similar systems. All you have to do is assemble the system, pour water, and add plant food. However, there are some annoying features of this device that you need to be aware of.

The first is that the sponges are not pre-seeded. So you have to buy your own seeds. At the same time, AeroGarden and some other competitors supply their devices with pre-seeded sponges.

The second thing is the hole to fill the water. It’s pretty small and difficult to pour water into. I have had water spill out very often.

Next are the power cables. Since the iDOO 12-pods control panel is in the light hood, there are two cables going to it. They just dangle off the light hood. This is a bit of a hindrance to growing and harvesting. It also doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing.

And the last thing I personally don’t like is that when the plants have reached a big size they lie on their side. This happens because the net pots do not sit tightly in the holes. The weight of the plant causes the pot to fall out of the hole a little bit.

AeroGarden Harvest, for example, doesn’t have this problem. There pots are very tightly fixed in the seats.

One of the pros here is to note that it is very easy to check the water level through a narrow window in the bowl. Also, the bowl has recesses on both sides which are easy to catch with your fingers if you need to move the device.

I give the iDOO 12-pods a 7/10 for user experience.

Impact on comfort

idoo-12-pods-noise-review

As for the effect on comfort, I distinguish for myself two aspects:

  • Light;
  • Noisiness.

The light from the iDOO 12-pods does not bother me. If you place the device not at eye level, it is not disturbing at all. Moreover, the light is not as bright as in the AeroGarden models.

Regarding the noise level, this device is 40-45 dBA. That is a little bit noisier than the AeroGarden Harvest with 35 dBA.

The higher noise level of the iDOO 12-pods is due to the presence of a fan in the light hood. But in general, the noise from this device can not be called uncomfortable.

I give the iDOO 12-pods an 8/10 for impact on comfort.

Ease of maintenance

All hydroponic systems need to be cleaned and iDOO 12-pods is no exception. Before cleaning, the device must be unplugged and some parts must be removed.

However, what I don’t like about the iDOO 12-pods is that you have to disassemble the system almost completely. First, you have to disconnect all the cables, then you have to remove the light hood. After that, you have to remove the grow deck with the plants.

In other similar hydroponics, you just need to disconnect the pump cable and remove the bowl from the seating area.

To clean the filter cover on the iDOO 12-pods I have to unscrew the pump. In addition, the lack of a fine particle filter makes the pump very dirty. As a result, the pump also needs to be cleaned.

At the same time, I have to spend considerably less effort and time to clean the AeroGarden Harvest, for example.

As I mentioned before, adding water to the iDOO 12-pods is inconvenient because of the small size of the filler neck.

As for fertilizer, I need to add it every time I change or refill water. The iDOO 12-pods are doing just fine here.

I give the iDOO 12-pods a 5/10 for ease of maintenance.

Customer support

iDOO’s customer support is very good. A few minutes after I wrote them in the chat room they responded and helped me to solve the problem. They also have an email at support@idooworld.com to help you.

If you have a Facebook account you can join the Facebook community of iDOO. There you can ask all kinds of questions about iDOO hydroponic systems.

I give the iDOO 12-pods a 9/10 for customer support.

Operating costs

Operating costs can vary depending on the type of plant. So I propose to consider my particular case where I grew lettuce. I managed to grow four mature lettuce bushes in a month and let’s calculate how much it cost me.

Electricity 11 kWh $1.86
Grow sponges 4 Pcs $1.84
Plant food 70 ml $2.85
Total cost $6.52

As you can see from the table a month of using the iDOO 12-pods cost me $6.52. I ended up with 4 lettuce bushes, which means that 1 lettuce bush cost me $1.63. That sounds like a very good price to me.

The iDOO 12-pods come with sponges and plant food. However, I counted them since you will have to buy them sooner or later. I did not include the cost of water and seeds here, but that is a very small figure so I did not take it into account.

I counted the price of the original sponges and plant food which are slightly overpriced. But if you buy non-original sponges and plant food, the cost can be reduced significantly.

Because the iDOO LEDs produce less light than similar ones in the competition, I overpaid a bit for electricity. As a result, I am going to have to lower my score a bit in this category.

I give the iDOO 12-pods a 7/10 for operating costs.

Proprietary

AeroGarden sponge in the iDOO net pot.

AeroGarden sponge in the iDOO net pot.

In this chapter, I will look at replacing consumables with alternatives.

The first thing that matters to me is the grow sponges. AeroGarden sponges fit perfectly into the iDOO net pots. This means that you can choose many alternative sponges that are much cheaper than the original ones.

The price of one grow sponge from various manufacturers:

iDOO Park Seed Urban Leaf
$0.46 $0.18 $0.30

Next are the net pots. Unfortunately, there is no alternative here. At least I have not found one. The iDOO mesh pot lasts a long time, but if it breaks, you only have to buy the original one.

There are also alternatives to stickers that you have to stick on the net pot. Or you can just attach a piece of foil instead of a sticker and that works great.

As for plant food, you can use any plant food in iDOO. There are plenty of cheaper alternatives on the market. Personally, I use products from General Hydroponics.

I give the iDOO 12-pods a 7/10 for proprietary.

Price

The price of the iDOO 12-pods is quite low compared to most competitors. I will compare the iDOO 12-pods to other similar devices a bit below.

You can buy this hydroponic system on the manufacturer’s website:

You can also use coupon code WOGP10 to get 10% off.

I give the iDOO 12-pods a 10/10 for price.

Recommended For

The iDOO 12-pods is best for beginners with a limited budget. If you haven’t dealt with hydroponic systems before and don’t want to invest a lot of money in them, you should definitely consider this device.

I usually recommend the AeroGarden Harvest for beginners, but it’s almost half the size of the iDOO 12-pods. So if you want a larger hydroponics unit and don’t want to overpay, this is the model for you.

Once you are more familiar with the world of hydroponics, then you can move on to more expensive systems.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Price Slightly weak LEDs
Fan Not the highest efficiency
Customer support Maintenance
Low operating costs Small fill hole
Ability to use alternative sponges Seed pods do not stick well to the deck
Large growing deck Dangling cables
Large tank
There is a version with Wi-Fi/App
24 sponges come with the device

Alternatives

Product Feature iDOO 12-pods (ID-IG301) Mufga 12 Pods Duesi 12Pods Tiltop 12 Pods
Size (HxWxD) 15.3″x13.7″x10.2″ (39x35x26cm) 22.6″x14.4″x9″ (57.4×36.5×22.8cm) 19″x8.25″x6.88″ (48×20.9×17.4cm) 25.5″x16″x7″ (64.77×40.6×17.7cm)
Number of pods 12 12 12 12
LED power 22 W 24W 36W 36W
Wi-Fi/App No  No No No
Fan Yes  No No No
Tank capacity 4-4.5 L 6.5 L 4.5 L 4.5 L
Max grow height 10.5″ (27 cm) 17.7″ (44.9cm) 19″ (48.2cm) 20.8″ (52.8cm)
Min grow height 5.5″ (14 cm) 5.3″ (13.4cm) 5″ (12.7cm) 7.8″ (19.8cm)
Touchscreen No No No  No
Low Water Reminder No No No  No
Nutrient Reminder No No No  No
Seed pods Yes Yes Yes Yes
Plant food Yes Yes Yes Yes
Price $91.99 $64.98 $79.98 $61.99

Conclusion

The iDOO 12-pods is an excellent entry-level hydroponic system at an affordable price. It has unique features and good-quality materials.

This hydroponics system is good for beginners in the first place. But experienced users can also use it as a fallback system to grow simpler plants.

If you ignore the minor drawbacks, this system will save your budget and provide you with herbs and leafy greens. When you’re ready to move on, then look towards larger hydroponics.