Hey friends, today I’m excited to share my experience testing out the hydroponic system called Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12. Throughout the past month, I’ve been growing plants in this system and following the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance. What really caught my attention were the unique features it offers, ones that I haven’t come across in other hydroponic setups.
Having spent this time with the SF-Smart G12, I’ve developed my own perspective on its performance, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts with all of you right here.
My rating of the Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12
|Impact on comfort
|Ease of maintenance
Based on my tests, the Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 achieved a commendable score of 79 out of 100. This score is considered very good, as not all hydroponic systems can attain such high marks.
During my evaluation, I assessed the system across ten different categories and assigned a score to each one. In the following explanation, I will provide details on how I conducted the tests and the criteria used for evaluation.
The device I tested is the previous model. As of writing this review, a newer model has already been released, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test it. The main difference between them is that the previous model’s LEDs have a power of 24 watts, while the new model has 36 watts.
The light can work for up to 16 hours, which is quite sufficient for plants. Moreover, it has a rare feature in this price segment – the ability to dim the light. The LEDs can also operate in two modes: Vegetables and Flowers.
The bowl capacity is 6 liters, which is excellent. At the bottom of the bowl, there is a pump equipped with a T-sprinkler that effectively saturates the water with oxygen, although not as effectively as in the Aerogarden models.
The maximum growing height is 20 inches, which is sufficient for most plants. Not all indoor hydroponics systems can boast this height.
The grow deck has vents, but they are more of a hindrance than a benefit, and fortunately, they have been removed in the new model.
Moreover, the device lacks a water level sensor, plant food reminder, screen, and some other features. All of these omissions make this device less technologically advanced than some others on the market.
I give the Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 a 7/10 for technology.
Even though my device is equipped with 24-watt LEDs, I achieved excellent yield results. I can only imagine the potential of a new model with more powerful LEDs.
Regarding the plant food, it performed admirably as well. I only used it twice in a month, and the plants grew remarkably fast.
If the Spider Farmer had a nutrient solution distribution system similar to the Aerogarden models, it would undoubtedly become one of the most efficient hydroponics systems in its price range.
I give the Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 a 9/10 for efficiency.
The material quality of the Spider Farmer is quite impressive, especially when it comes to the grow deck, which is made of durable plastic.
The light support is constructed from sturdy aluminum and is well-secured. The LEDs, being Spider Farmer’s specialty for indoor growing, are expected to have a long lifespan.
Regarding the bowl, the plastic used is a bit thin, which could be improved considering its 6-liter capacity. It would be better if the walls and bottom were slightly thicker. Nonetheless, the base is sturdy and there are no issues to point out in that aspect.
I give the Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 a 8/10 for quality.
Setting up this system is quite straightforward. All I had to do was attach the light hood to the base, fill the bowl with water and add plant food, and place the seed pods in the designated holes. After that, I turned on the electricity, selected the light mode, and set the desired number of light hours.
These steps are typical for starting most similar systems. However, I did encounter some difficulties during operation.
The first issue is that the system lacks stickers to prevent algae growth on the sponges. To address this, I had to create my own stickers using foil.
Secondly, I found the ventilation holes to be unnecessary. They tend to accumulate algae and increase the humidity in the room.
Next, the fill hole is located on the side, making it inconvenient for me to pour water as there is another hydroponic system nearby. It would be much more convenient if the water hole were positioned on the front of the unit.
I give the Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 a 7/10 for user experience.
Impact on comfort
This device noticeably affects comfort. Despite having the pump located on rubber cushions, there is still some audible noise, especially from the T-shaped sprayer, which creates a sound reminiscent of flowing water.
In total, it generates 56 dBA of noise, whereas the background noise in a typical city room is around 35 dBA. For optimal comfort, it’s advisable to place this unit away from the bedroom.
Regarding the light, it is not overly bright and doesn’t cause much disturbance. Additionally, it offers the option to dim the light, which is helpful as you can adjust the brightness as the plants grow larger.
The Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 has a modern appearance that fits seamlessly into almost any interior.
I give the Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 a 6/10 for impact on comfort.
Ease of maintenance
Maintenance of this system is relatively easy. The bowl can be separated from the base, which is highly convenient for cleaning the inside.
What adds to the ease of maintenance is that I don’t need to disconnect the pump cable. The base and bowl are designed with contacts that automatically disconnect when the bowl is removed. This feature is a first for me, and it proves to be very convenient.
The deck is also easily removable, providing access to the pump. When it comes to cleaning and changing water, this system stands out as one of the best.
However, one aspect that leaves a negative impression is the placement of the fill hole on the side. As I mentioned earlier, this makes it quite difficult to refill water and add plant food.
I give the Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 a 9/10 for ease of maintenance.
Spider Farmer’s customer support leaves much to be desired. Firstly, their website lacks a chat option, forcing customers to resort to alternative methods of communication.
When I emailed them during their business hours, it took several days to receive a response. Although they eventually resolved the issue, the wait time was unacceptable.
While they do provide a phone number on their website, I cannot attest to its effectiveness as I haven’t personally tried it. If anyone reading this has dealt with their customer support over the phone, I would appreciate hearing your impressions in the comments section below this article.
On a positive note, the company maintains a YouTube channel and a Facebook page for anyone interested in their content and updates.
I give the Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 a 5/10 for customer support.
It took me a whole month, specifically thirty days, to successfully grow lettuce using this hydroponic system. Below, you’ll find a table detailing the expenses I incurred during that time.
I utilized four grow sponges for the process. Although they were included with the unit, I factored them into the overall costs since they will eventually need to be purchased separately. I considered the cost of the cheapest sponges available in the market.
The most significant expense was on electricity, while I excluded the costs of water and plant food from the calculation as they were negligible.
For the total investment of $2.8, I managed to obtain four mature lettuce bushes. In simpler terms, each lettuce bush cost me $0.7, which I find to be an excellent price for such a yield.
I give Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 an 10/10 for operating costs.
In my view, a crucial aspect of all hydroponic systems is the flexibility to use alternative consumables. This is essential for saving money and avoiding shortages in essential supplies.
However, with the Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 system, the situation is not uniform across all components. The grow sponges, fortunately, are compatible with Aerogarden, providing access to numerous alternative options, some of which are listed in the table.
|Price for one sponge
On the flip side, the baskets are not compatible with Aerogarden. This means that if a basket gets damaged or misplaced, it could pose a problem as I have been unable to find a suitable replacement basket for this particular device on sale.
Regarding plant nutrition, fortunately, any plant food will suffice. Personally, I use General Hydroponics brand for this purpose.
I give the Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 a 8/10 for proprietary.
The Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 certainly excels in its price point. It falls under the category of budget-friendly hydroponic systems, yet it provides impressive features.
You can purchase it at the discounted price of $79.99, and in return, you get a generously-sized tank, powerful LEDs, and a spacious grow deck. With these specifications, it becomes a great option for cultivating a wide variety of plants.
When comparing it to other similar devices on the market, very few can match its affordability. Moreover, it’s worth noting that the Spider Farmer brand is renowned for producing high-quality LEDs, which makes the price of this device even more appealing.
I give the Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 a 10/10 for price.
The Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 is an ideal choice for budget-conscious individuals seeking an efficient hydroponic system. Although it may seem straightforward, this device is capable of delivering satisfying yields without straining your finances.
Moreover, it is well-suited for beginners venturing into indoor hydroponics. Despite some minor imperfections and limited features, this system provides an excellent platform for learning how to grow plants hydroponically. Once you’ve gained experience and knowledge, you can easily transition to more advanced devices.
Pros and Cons
|Spacious bowl capacity
|Inconvenient placement of the filler hole
|Ample growing height
|Convenient dimming function
|Unsatisfactory customer service
|Competitive price point
|Lack of a water level sensor
|Thin bowl walls
|Simple and hassle-free maintenance
|Cost-effective electricity consumption
|Option for alternative sponges
|Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12
|iDOO 12-pods (ID-IG301)
|Mars Hydro Hydroline 12
|Mufga 12 Pods
|Number of pods
|24 (36) W
|Max grow height
|20.2″ (51.5 cm)
|10.5″ (27 cm)
|20.2″ (50 cm)
|Min grow height
|11.2″ (28.5 cm)
|5.5″ (14 cm)
|11.2″ (28.5 cm)
|Low Water Reminder
In conclusion, the Spider Farmer SF-Smart G12 proves to be a commendable hydroponic system, particularly for its price point, and it is well-suited for less experienced users.
With its generous tank size and powerful LEDs, this system can yield an abundant supply of leafy greens or herbs, making it sufficient for a small family. However, it’s important to keep in mind that it may not reach the same level of performance as some leading systems in the market.
With that said, I hope my review has been helpful, and I wish you the best of luck with your hydroponic endeavors!