Hi guys! I’m comparing two dissimilar hydroponic systems because of their popularity. I could, for example, compare the Harvest to the iDOO 7 Pods, which would be more relevant. However, according to the manufacturers, the iDOO 12-pods and the AeroGarden Harvest are the best-selling models in the line.
The most obvious difference between both models is the number of grow holes. The iDOO has 12 holes, while the AeroGarden Harvest has only six. But that’s where the differences begin, so let’s explore.
The design and operating principle are what most distinguish the two devices.
The iDOO is more similar to the Kratky method. This means that the growing sponge is almost completely submerged in water and the plants pull water from the tank on their own. The pump plays a minimal role in this device.
AeroGarden Harvest on the other hand is more like an NFT system. In it, water is constantly washing over the roots of the plants. This is achieved through a more sophisticated design of the grow deck.
The iDOO 12-pods grow deck is almost twice the size of the Harvest. It has 12 growing holes, but you are unlikely to use them all because they are placed very close together. It is best to grow 4-6 plants here. The grow deck also has extra holes to hold the nameplates, which I rarely use.
AeroGarden Harvest has a more complex grow deck. It has two parts that you can separate if they need to be cleaned. Inside the deck, there is a place where the pump delivers the nutrient solution. Then the solution moves through the channels and goes into the holes, that is, directly to the roots of each plant. Also, some of the water falls back into the bowl, which improves its oxygenation.
As a result of such a design, the AeroGarden Harvest does a better job of getting water to the roots. And that in turn increases efficiency a bit. In addition, you don’t have to worry if the water level drops too low, because the pump pumps water up to the roots. This is especially important at the start when the root system of the plants is too small.
As for the number of holes, the AeroGarden Harvest has 6 holes, but it is not very convenient to use them all. This unit grows best with 2-4 plants at a time.
The iDOO on the other hand has extra covers to cover the unused holes and that is very convenient. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the AeroGarden Harvest.
In addition, both decks are equipped with holes for refilling water. The AeroGarden Harvest has a bigger hole than the iDOO. As a result, it is easier to refill water in the Harvest.
The iDOO 12-pods light hood is approximately 70% larger in area than the AeroGarden Harvest. However, its power is 22 watts, while the AeroGarden Harvest has 20 watts. In other words, despite the larger size the power is almost the same.
My measurements showed that the AeroGarden Harvest light hood emits about 30,000 lux of light at its lowest position. Whereas the iDOO this figure is 16,000 lux. This means that the plants in the AeroGarden Harvest get almost twice as much light as the iDOO 12-pods.
The lowest light hood position on the iDOO is 5.5 inches (14 cm) and the highest position is 10.5 inches (27 cm). In the AeroGarden Harvest, the lowest position is 4.7 inches (12 cm) and the highest position is 11.2 inches 28.5 cm.
The iDOO light hood is simultaneously a control panel. On the top part, there are buttons that allow you to control the device. There is also a fan built into the light hood to provide air circulation and this is actually a pretty useful feature. The light hood in iDOO runs for 16 hours and 8 hours off.
The AeroGarden Harvest does not have a fan. The control panel in this unit is located at the bottom. Here the light is on for 15 hours and off for 9 hours.
The tank capacity of the iDOO 12-pods is 4 liters, while the AeroGarden Harvest has 2.5 liters. This means that if you grow four of the same plants in each device, the water in the iDOO will last longer and you will not need to refill it.
The iDOO 12-pods tank is also lower than the AeroGarden Harvest but takes up more space. The space that the iDOO 12-pods tank takes up is 139 square inches, while the AeroGarden Harvest has 62.4 square inches. That means the iDOO need twice as much space.
The iDOO tank has a drain hole on the side. However, it is very small, so it is much more convenient to drain the water by removing the grow deck. To change the water you will have to remove the light hood along with the support, which is not really convenient.
The AeroGarden Harvest, on the other hand, does not have a drain hole on the bottom, but the tank is very easy to remove for water changes or cleaning.
The next thing I want to talk about is the water level sensor. The iDOO has an old-fashioned narrow window through which you can see how much water is in the bowl at the moment. It also has a 4-liter scale. The manufacturer does not recommend that the water level drop below 4 liters.
The disadvantage of this solution is that it’s a little hard to tell the water level because of the lack of light at the bottom of the bowl. But overall it works well.
The AeroGarden Harvest, on the other hand, has an electronic water level sensor and when the water in the tank is low the red light on the control panel will come on. The problem here is that the sensor only triggers when the bowl is almost empty.
But to be successful, you don’t need to let the water level drop that low. You need to open the lid of the tank from time to time and visually check how much water is left. The best thing to do is not to let the water level drop below half of the tank.
The AeroGarden Harvest pump is slightly larger than the iDOO. From this, we can conclude that it is more powerful and should last longer.
The main difference here is in the work the pumps do. The iDOO pump just pumps the water inside the bowl making small waves. This allows the water to move and slightly oxygenate it. All in all, you can say that the pump in the iDOO is of little use.
The AeroGarden Harvest pump pumps water through a channel up to the grow deck. The water then flows to each hole. In addition, some of the water falls down creating a waterfall effect. This enriches the water with oxygen much better and prevents the roots from drying out if the water level in the tank is low.
Thanks to these features, the roots in the Harvest are healthier and the plants look better. This was one of the reasons why I included this device in my list of the best hydroponic systems for indoor usage.
In addition, the pump in the AeroGarden Harvest is equipped with a filter that is able to retain quite small particles. iDOO has only a coarse strainer.
The iDOO and the AeroGarden Harvest have different control panels that allow you to manipulate the devices in different ways.
The iDOO control panel has a full shutdown button, while the AeroGarden Harvest does not. Next is the full pump/fan off button. Again, the AeroGarden Harvest has no such button.
The next two buttons on the iDOO panel are for selecting light modes. There are two: Vegetables and Flowers/Fruits. The AeroGarden Harvest has only one lighting mode.
Both devices allow you to turn the light off when you want to. Also, both devices have a forced pump start function.
The special thing about the AeroGarden Harvest is that it can remind you when you need to add fertilizer and add water to the tank. The iDOO doesn’t have that.
The seed pods of these devices are similar, but not identical. You cannot switch them between devices.
The AeroGarden Harvest has seed pods that are slightly larger in diameter and longer than the iDOO. Also, the AeroGarden Harvest net pots are sturdy.
As for growing sponges, the AeroGarden Harvest sponge is slightly larger than the iDOO. Once soaked, the Harvest sponge is softer and easier for roots to get through than the iDOO.
An undoubted advantage of AeroGarden Harvest is that it comes with a fully assembled seed pod with seeds in the sponge. Whereas iDOO has all the parts of the seed pod that come separately and you have to assemble them. In addition, iDOO does not provide seeds and you have to get them on your own.
AeroGarden Harvest has a more handy plant food. It is in one bottle in liquid form and ready to use. The company recommends adding the plant food every 2 weeks and after each water change.
iDOO has a two-component plant food that is solid. It must be diluted in water before use. The company recommends adding 5 ml of each component for every liter of refilled water.
|Unit||Wattage||kWh||Cost (1 yr)|
As you can see from the table, the AeroGarden Harvest uses less power than the iDOO 12-pods. This is because both the light hood and the iDOO 12-pods pump consume more power.
At the same time, the AeroGarden Harvest light hood produces almost twice as much light and the pump pumps water through a longer and more complex path. This means that the Harvest units are more productive with less energy.
|Unit||Manufacturer’s price||Amazon Price|
As you can see from the table, the price of both devices can be quite similar. It all depends on the site that sells them. Very often there are good discounts on these hydroponic systems. In addition, the price is influenced by the color of the body.
In conclusion, I would like to say that both devices are quite similar and can be alternatives to each other.
The iDOO 12-pods is the more budget-friendly model and if you compare it to similar AeroGarden models, it will definitely win on price. Compared to the Harvest, however, it’s not all that clear-cut.
The iDOO 12-pods has weaker lighting and a less efficient pump than the AeroGarden Harvest. But at the same time, it is larger and allows you to grow more plants.
The AeroGarden Harvest has a more efficient design and more productive units. At the same time, it is smaller than its competitor.