Aerogarden vs Click and Grow: Real Life Comparison

(This post may include affiliate links. While buying items through these links won’t increase your cost at all, we may receive a small commission that helps keep this site up and running. Click here for more details)

A side-by-side of the Aerogarden vs Click and Grow indoor smart gardens.

Who doesn’t love fresh vegetables or herbs all year long? Besides tasting better, nutrient levels can start to degrade soon after harvesting. According to a study published in Food Chemistry, commercially packaged spinach lost as much as 80% of its Vitamin C in just 3 days!

But many of us have constraints with seasonal weather patterns, limited outdoor space, physical issues that make gardening a challenge, or something else. Or maybe you just want to try something new.

This is where indoor smart gardens can really shine, and two of the most popular ones on the market are Aerogarden and Click and Grow. They have many similar features that can leave you questioning which one is the better choice.

The key distinction between Aerogarden and Click and Grow is that they operate on different growing principles:

  • Aerogarden is a low-flow aeroponic system, which delivers nutrient-rich water to your plant while also providing high oxygen exposure.
  • Click and Grow uses a wick hydroponic system, where water is absorbed into nutrient-rich soil and delivered to your plants’ roots.

But do the different growing systems produce different results? We wanted to know the answer to this question too. So we set up an Aerogarden Harvest and a Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 side-by-side in our home to assess the results first-hand. Here’s what we found out!

RELATED: We’ve laid out the differences in detail and included some helpful diagrams in our post on aeroponics vs hydroponics. It can really help you understand how your smart garden works, so don’t miss it!

Disclosure: Click and Grow supplied us with a complimentary Smart Garden 3 and set of plant pods. All opinions are totally our own.

Aerogarden vs Click and Grow: Comparison Table

Aerogarden Harvest

Click and Grow Smart Garden 3

Dimensions

10.5 x 6 x 17.4

9 x 4.9 x 12.5

Weight

6.13 pounds

3.52 pounds

Number of Plants

Up to 6

Up to 3

Power Source

Electric cord

Electric cord

LED Light Wattage

20 watts

8 watts

Automatic Light Timer

Yes

Yes

Color Options

Black, white, sage green

White, beige, gray

Number of Plant Options

37

75

Growing System

Active low-flow aeroponics

Passive wick hydroponics

Aerogarden vs Click and Grow: Features

Let’s take a closer look at the features you’ll find on the Aerogarden Harvest and the Click and Grow Smart Garden 3. We’ll break them down into 9 categories:

  1. Cost
  2. Seed pod construction
  3. Plant selection
  4. Light
  5. Noise
  6. Control panel
  7. Upkeep
  8. Energy consumption
  9. App function

1. Cost

At the time of publishing, the cost for an Aerogarden Harvest and a Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 was very comparable. The Harvest is $129.95 on their website and $111.81 on Amazon. The Smart Garden 3 is $104.97 on their website and $130.99 on Amazon.

But one thing to be aware of is that both Aerogarden and Click and Grow offer sales and special discounts multiple times throughout the year, so the price at any given time can vary by quite a bit. Check the websites around major holidays to potentially cash in on seasonal deals.

For refill seed pods, Aerogarden seed pods cost a few dollars more, but they come in packages of six pods as opposed to three for the Click and Grow. So in the typical cost-per-pod, Aerogarden is less expensive.

Winner: Aerogarden

2. Seed Pod Construction

Both the Aerogarden and the Click and Grow are equally easy to use- just insert the pod into the system and let the garden take over.

But there’s a little more to the seed pods than that. Here’s a breakdown of the pods by growing system:

Aerogarden. Aerogarden pods have a classic net bottom, which is standard for most hydroponic systems. These net openings allow the plant roots to pass through and reach into the nutrient solution.

This pot style allows the plant roots to grow extensively outside of the pod. This leads to bountiful harvests thanks to a large, well-developed root system and an overall longer plant life cycle.

But one downside with that free root growth is the need for more frequent system cleaning. If there are contaminants in the water or in a single plant pod, all the plants can be affected since they share a common reservoir and circulating nutrient solution.

Aerogarden uses sphagnum moss as their growing medium in the pod. Moss is a great material for absorbing and dispersing moisture while still allowing for airflow, so it’s ideal for growing plants. However, moss is also an inert material, meaning that it contains no nutrients on its own. That means that your plants rely on the Aerogarden plant food you add to the water to get their nourishment.

Click and Grow. Click and Grow plant pods are made from biodegradable material and use a wicking system to deliver water to the plant’s roots. Your plant will live its entire life contained in the pod, and each pod consists of Smart Soil that is pre-enriched with plant nutrients.

Here’s a look at the pod from the top and bottom:

The top view of a Click and Grow plant pod.
The bottom view of a Click and Grow plant pod with a wicking system.

The wick extends down into the water reservoir, and highly-absorbent material soaks up water and transfers it to the soil through capillary action. This is a completely passive process that doesn’t use pumps or electricity.

The roots stay contained within the pod for their entire life, never coming into direct contact with the water in the reservoir. Thanks to this self-contained design, you don’t have to clean your system mid-growing cycle, and there’s no intermingling of roots between separate plants.

One drawback here is that the limited pod space limits your plants’ growth. In all likelihood, the plants in a Click and Grow will not reach the size of those grown in an Aerogarden. However, some people may see this as a benefit: If you’ve only a small space for growing, you might appreciate more compact plants.

Click and Grow uses a specialized “Smart Soil” in their pods, which is pre-enriched with essential nutrients, is non-GMO and contains no herbicides/pesticides. Everything your plant needs to thrive is already contained in the pod, so no plant food is needed.

NOTE: Click and Grow offers Pro Pods as an additional purchase. These pods have perforations that allow the roots to grow outside the pod walls, leading to better growth/production and potentially longer plant life cycle. But they also require more system cleaning, similar to the Aerogarden.

Winner: Aerogarden, based on the growth/production potential

3. Plant Selection

At the time of publishing, Click and Grow beat Aerogarden on the sheer number of plant pods you can purchase. Click and Grow offers 75 different plant choices while Aerogarden offers 37.

If you’d prefer, both systems also offer unseeded pods, so you can add whatever seeds you’d like to grow, which I think is a pretty cool option.

Winner: Click and Grow

4. Light

Proper lighting is absolutely essential for healthy plant growth. Here’s how the lights stack up:

Aerogarden. The Aerogarden Harvest uses a 20W LED light panel (different Aerogarden models have different light wattage). The light is on an automatic daily cycle of 15 hours on, 9 hours off. The arm has multiple height settings that top out at 12 inches tall, and you’ll want to keep the light about 4-6 inches above the plant’s tallest point at all times.

The Harvest has white, red and blue light diodes to provide a full spectrum of light. Plants need the different light wavelengths for various functions, like photosynthesis and blossom/fruit production. Since the Aerogargen provides a hearty dose full-spectrum light, you can grow fruiting plants (tomatoes, peppers, etc) all year long, no problem.

Here’s what the light looks like:

A 20 watt, full spectrum LED grow light panel on an Aerogarden Harvest.

Click and Grow. The Smart Garden 3 has an 8W LED light bar supported by a side arm. The light runs on an automatic daily cycle of 16 hours on, 8 hours off. You also get two arm extension pieces, which you can add to raise the light panel as your plants get taller. Adding the extension pieces is really easy, and I appreciate the Click and Grow designed them with a groove to hold the electrical cord.

The Smart Garden 3 provides full-spectrum light, but all the wavelengths are combined into white light diodes instead of having separate red/blue ones. While you’ll have no trouble at all growing healthy greens and herbs, fruiting plants (tomatoes, peppers, etc) will struggle a bit more.

Here’s what the light bar looks like:

A Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 8 watt, full spectrum LED light panel.

Right away you notice the difference in size and coverage. But keep in mind that you’re growing three plants in the Click and Grow vs six plants in the Aerogarden, so the demand for light is less.

Both lights are fairly bright, and they’ll definitely light up whatever room you have them in. And both are also on a pre-set timer, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to turn your smart garden’s lights on/off throughout the day.

We can’t complain about either system’s light mechanism, but the Aerogarden does generate the most light of the two.

Winner: Aerogarden

5. Noise

What kind of noise production are you looking at day in and day out?

Aerogarden. The Aerogarden is an active system that utilizes a low-flow aeroponic system. This means that it uses an electric pump to circulate water from the reservoir tank and out through a sprinkler system that hydrates and feeds your plants’ roots.

During the active hours (whenever the light is on), the pump runs on a 30-minute automated cycle: Circulate water for 5 minutes, off for 25 minutes. While the pump is running, there is a noticeable trickling sound. The pump doesn’t run at all during the resting hours (when the light is off).

Personally, the noise didn’t bother me. But you can certainly hear it, and that might be annoying to some people.

Click and Grow. The Click and Grow uses a wick system to draw water from the reservoir and transfer it into the seed pod for your plant to absorb. This system is completely passive, meaning it uses no electricity or pumps to move the water. As a result, you’ll hear no noise whatsoever as your plants grow.

Winner: Click and Grow

6. Control Panel

Both smart gardens have simple methods for alerting you to your plants’ needs at a glance:

Aerogarden. The Aerogarden has a lighted control panel that alerts you when it’s time to refill your water reservoir, add plant food or when the system is in its active hours. There are three lights on the control panel:

A three-button control panel on the Aerogarden Harvest.

When you need to add water or nutrients, the lights change colors, from green/blue to red. After refilling the water tank, the light automatically changes back to blue, but you’ll need to manually reset the light after adding plant food.

Click and Grow. The Smart Garden 3 uses a simple float indicator that lets you see how much water is left in the reservoir. When the float sinks to the bottom, it’s time to refill. And since the plant pods come pre-fertilized, you don’t need to add any plant food during the growing cycle. Pretty simple!

A float indicator to show water level in the Click and Grow Smart Garden 3.

Winner: Tied- both are easy!

7. Upkeep

While both of these are designed to be low-maintenance, here’s what you can expect in regular upkeep:

Aerogarden: At the beginning, I had to add water to the Aerogarden on roughly a weekly basis. As the plants grew, that watering frequency jumped up to every 4-5 days. You’ll also need to add plant food about every 2 weeks. Adding water or plant food is as easy as lifting the cover off the tank top.

Thanks to the net cup pod design we talked about earlier, plants in an Aerogarden will develop larger root systems and live for a longer time. This means that you’ll need to remove the tank cover with your plants in it and clean the reservior on a monthly basis.

In our test comparison, we grew romaine and harvested it at 30 days, so we did not do a mid-cycle cleaning. But if you’re growing plants with a longer life cycle, like tomatoes or peppers, you’ll definitely need to do a thorough water change and rinse-out at least once.

Click and Grow. I added water to the Click and Grow about as often as the Aerogarden, roughly weekly.

Since the plant pod already contains fertilizer, you don’t have to worry about supplemental plant food. Also, the plant roots stay totally contained within the pod, so you don’t have to rinse or clean the Click and Grow system in the middle of a growing cycle.

Honestly, this is practically a set-it-and-forget-it kind of system (other than having to add water). Click and Grow advertises that children could successfully use this product all by themselves, and I believe it!

Winner: Click and Grow

8. Energy Consumption

While neither of these smart gardens are major energy hogs, the Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 has several passive mechanisms and is therefore more energy-efficient than the Aerogarden Harvest. That comes down to the fact that Aerogarden has a larger LED light panel and uses electricity to power the water pump.

Winner: Click and Grow

9. App Function

You know what comes with “smart” devices- being connected via tech! And both our smart gardens come with a free app.

Aerogarden. Aerogarden has developed a helpful app with lots of functionality, but it only works with Wi-Fi enabled models, which the basic Harvest garden (the one we’re looking at here) does not have.

The Aerogarden Bounty Classic, Bounty Elite and the Farm models are supported devices, and the app enables you to monitor your system’s function, set custom schedules and look up plant information. So it’s definitely helpful, but only for certain gardens.

Click and Grow. We’re very impressed with this app! Enter in the specific plants you’re growing to keep tabs on:

  • When you planted them
  • Typical germination timeframe
  • A countdown to when you should expect to harvest
  • Tips for maintaining ideal growing conditions
  • Interesting fun facts about your plants
  • Helpful dos and don’ts

You don’t need to do any syncing between the app and your Smart Garden 3, which is nice in my opinion. Just enter in the plant pods you put in your garden, and you’re on your way.

This is a really fun way to get some extra enjoyment from your garden and learn about your plants in general.

Winner: Click and Grow

Aerogarden vs Click and Grow: Unboxing and Set-Up

Both of these indoor gardens are well-designed and have everything you need to get set up and growing in just a few minutes.

Aerogarden Harvest

Here’s a walk-through of getting the Aerogarden Harvest put together and ready for growing.

Aerogarden Harvest

Aerogarden Harvest

*Price is at the time of publishing.

Here’s what you get in the Aerogarden Harvest box:

The contents of an Aerogarden Harvest Box: plant pods, garden, plant food, humidity domes and instruction sheet.

Aerogarden includes a set of 6 mixed herb plant pods along with the garden, which is a really nice bonus that gets you growing without any additional purchases. But we wanted to use romaine lettuce as our comparison crop for both gardens, so we made the swap.

To get set up, place the electronic control base on your growing surface, and set the reservoir basin on top:

An Aerogarden Harvest with a two-piece base system.

The black reservoir basin is where the nutrient water goes and where your plants’ roots will live. A small pump circulates the nutrient water evenly to all six plant pods. Here’s a look inside:

Aerogarden reservoir basin and pump for circulating nutrient water.

Once the basin is in place, set the growing tray on top. The tray has six plant pod spaces, and each one has a little trough that delivers the nutrient water efficiently to each pod. I think this is a super cool design, particularly when your plants are young and don’t have long enough roots to reach the basin.

Here’s what it looks like:

An empty growing tray on an Aerogarden Harvest, ready for plant pod insertion.

In this next photo, the plant pods are placed in their openings. Each pod has a paper topper that helps keep contaminants out of the system, displays the plant name (helpful if you’re growing a variety of plants) and how fast you should expect to see germination. These toppers stay in place during your plants’ entire lives:

An Aerogarden Harvest with plant pods placed.

Next, place humidity domes over the pods. These little domes help aid in seed germination by holding in moisture while still letting the light shine through. Once you see seedlings spring up, you’ll remove these domes and store them away for the next time you plant your Aerogarden:

An Aerogarden Harvest with humidity domes placed for germination.

At this point, your system is ready for adding water and plant food. The trapezoid-shaped panel under the two central plant pods lifts up, allowing you to easily access the reservoir for adding water/plant food.

All in all, it only took a few minutes to get the Aerogarden Harvest set up, plugged in and ready for growing, and the process was super simple.

Click and Grow Smart Garden 3

And now here’s a look at getting the Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 out of its box and set up.

The Smart Garden 3

Click and Grow Smart Garden 3

*Price is at the time of publishing.

Here’s what you get:

The contents of a Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 Box: plant pods, garden, humidity domes, arm extension pieces and instruction sheet.

Like the Aerogarden, Click and Grow includes a set of plant pods to get you started right out of the box. The Smart Garden 3 came with basil. But, again, we wanted to grow romaine, so we got our hands on a set of those pods as well.

The Click and Grow comes pre-assembled, and the only thing you have to add is the water indicator float. It slides right into a slot:

Inserting the water float indicator into the Click and Grow Smart Garden 3.

Now you’re ready to put the Smart Soil into the pods and place the pods into the system:

Click and Grow plant pods placed in the Smart Garden 3.

You can write the name of each plant on the tabs you see extending from the pods. If you’re growing a variety of plants, this can be really helpful, but since we just have romaine in all three, we skipped that step.

Next, add the lids. These help keep your system clean and free of contaminants:

Click and Grow plant pods placed in the Smart Garden 3 with lids.

Now top your plant pods with the germination domes to create a more humid, seedling-friendly environment. Once your seeds have sprouted, take the domes off and save them for next time:

A Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 with humidity domes placed for germination.

Add enough water to bring the float level with the growing tray, pouring it right onto the float itself. Plug your Click and Grow in, and you’re done. The set-up process was incredibly simple and took literally just a couple of minutes.

Aerogarden vs Click and Grow: Results

After we set up both systems, it’s time to see what happens.

This is the progress at 3 days after set-up:

Growth in the Aerogarden Harvest 3 days after set-up.
Aerogarden
Growth in the Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 three days after set-up.
Click and Grow

In the Aerogarden, we’ve got several seedlings poking through the soil surface.

In the Click and Grow, you can just barely see a couple of tiny seedlings ready to emerge. It’s hard to see in the picture, but trust, they’re there! (We took the domes off the Click and Grow to make the soil easier to see in the picture- we put them right back on afterward.)

Here’s a comparison at 7 days after set-up:

Growth in the Aerogarden Harvest and Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 seven days after set-up.

Both systems have healthy seedlings springing up from every pod, and the domes are off for good.

Here they are at 12 days after set-up:

Growth in the Aerogarden Harvest and Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 twelve days after set-up.

The Aerograden is definitely ahead in terms of growth, but both have great color and the seedlings appear strong.

The Aerogarden’s faster growth rate only became more pronounced as time went on. Here they are 18 days after set-up:

Growth in the Aerogarden Harvest and Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 eighteen days after set-up.

At this point, we were getting curious about what was going on under the surface. We lifted the plant pod tray off the Aergarden, and this is the impressive root system we saw:

Root growth in an Aerogarden Harvest 18 days after set-up.

It’s harder to get an idea of the root system in the Click and Grow since the entire plant is contained in a pod. But here’s what there was to see:

A Click and Grow plant pod 18 days after set-up.

After replacing the plants in their systems, we let them grow for another few days. Here they are at 23 days after set-up:

Growth in the Aerogarden Harvest and Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 twenty-three days after set-up.

Everything is looking pretty good.

And finally, here’s the last side-by-side comparison, taken 30 days after set-up:

Growth in the Aerogarden Harvest and Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 thirty days after set-up.

We spotted some leaf yellowing and a few brown patches at the leaf tips, so we decided to harvest the Aerogarden. This photo shows the discoloration a little more clearly:

Plants in the Aerogarden Harvest with yellowing bottom leaves 26 days after set-up.

I suspect the plants were packed too densely in their pods, and this may have led to the discoloration issues.

In hindsight, I think I should have thinned the seedlings when they were about 1 inch tall. I left all the plants to grow undisturbed, but I think the pods became overcrowded and possibly compromised the plant quality.

Thinning is not mentioned in the Click and Grow instructions, and Aerogarden says you can grow as many lettuce plants as you like in each pod. But I would still highly recommend only growing 1-2 plants in each pod. We had 3-4 plants growing in ours during this test which may have contributed to the leaf discoloration.

Once again, we wanted to see what was going on beneath the surface. Here’s look at what the roots looked like at this stage:

Root growth in an Aerogarden Harvest 31 days after set-up.
A plant grown in the Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 32 days after set-up.

Wow! The roots on the Aerogarden plants are definitely thriving. However, that’s a pretty dense network of roots, and if you wanted to remove just one pod, you’d have a hard time. Also, it’s easy to see why you need to clean the system out mid-cycle- those roots could work their way into the pump mechanism or potentially suffer from algae growth.

The Click and Grow, on the other hand, stays neat and clean during the whole growing cycle. But as you can see, the roots are pretty tightly constricted. So the plant will probably never get much larger than this.

Now for a key point- how did the romaine from each garden taste? They both produced delicious results, and we weren’t able to notice any taste differences between the plants from one garden or the other.

So there you have it! Both gardens produced healthy, delicious plants, and it was beyond easy to set up and care for them.

Other Aerogarden Models

We used a Harvest smart garden in our comparison, but the Aerogarden line actually has many other members to choose from:

Aerogarden Sprout

Aerogarden Sprout

The Sprout offers a space-saving design for people who want to grow just a few plants at a time.

This garden holds three plants that are up to 10 inches tall, and it’s most ideal for herbs. The Sprout measures 12 inches long and a maximum of 14 inches tall, so it’s perfect for keeping fresh herbs easily within reach on your kitchen countertop.

Aerogarden Harvest Elite

Aerogarden Harvest Elite

The Harvest Elite is very similar to the basic Harvest we looked at in the main comparison, but it has a few tech upgrades that set it apart. A digital display screen functions as a clock, lets you customize your running cycle and gives you a daily countdown to when you’ll need to add more plant food/water.

It also comes in a Harvest Elite 360 style. The main difference here is a sleeker, rounded shape and taller height, so you can have the same growing capacity with a slightly smaller footprint on your countertop.

Aerogarden Bounty

Aerogarden Bounty

When you want a bigger harvest from your smart garden, choose the Bounty. This model offers space for up to nine plant pods at once, a 4700mL water tank and a powerful 40W LED light. And with that increased capacity also comes increased height, with the lighting arm extending up to 24 inches tall.

As for tech, the Bounty is Wifi and Alexa connected, and you can also set customized running cycles. The display screen gives a real-time reading on water level and alerts you when you need to add more plant food.

The Bounty is also available in the Basic (30W bulb and non-Wifi) and Elite (50W bulb and tech upgrades) versions.

Aerogarden Farm 12 and Farm 24

When you want to grow the largest possible indoor harvest, the Aerogarden Farm models are the answer.

As the names suggest, you can grow up to 12 plants in the Farm 12, it’s an awesome way to capitalize on any vertical space you have in your home. Taking up roughly 1 square foot of floor space, you can raise/lower the 60W bulb to whatever your plants need as they grow.

The Farm 24 accommodates two 12-pod trays at once, and the modular design lets you customize your plant layout to your needs. The 60W LED light panel offer adjustable heights. The Farm 24 also comes in two other frame designs, the 24 Plus and the 24XL, that offer different height options and allow you to grow taller plants.

Other Click and Grow Models

We featured a Smart Garden 3 in our comparison, But Click and Grow also offers other gardens in its product line:

The Smart Garden 9

Click and Grow Smart Garden 9

Click and Grow’s Smart Garden 9 offers more space for herb, veggie or flower plant pods. Just like the Smart Garden 3, the operation is silent thanks to the wicking system and floating water level indicator.

The LED light also packs a bit more power, at 13 watts. The light is at a fixed height that accommodates most plants in your garden. But if you want to grow some taller ones, you can purchase extension arm pieces.

The Smart Garden also comes in a Pro Version that offers app-controlled light settings.

And if you want to increase your growing area but don’t have a lot of extra counter space, consider a Smart Garden 27. This system includes three Smart Garden 9 growing systems and a vertical plant stand to house your gardens vertically.

The Wall Farm Indoor Vertical Garden

A click and grow vertical wall farm
Photo by Click and Grow

Coming in Spring 2022!

If you’re wanting to do large-scale indoor growing, the Wall Farm definitely fills the bill!

Forget countertop growing- you’ll need several feet of wall space to house your garden. Measuring 80 inches tall, 53 inches wide and 16 inches deep, this garden holds up to 54 plants at once.

The Wall Farm uses the same passive wick watering system and pre-fertilized plant pods as the smaller gardens do, so you’ll just need to supply the water. (And you’ll probably need a lot of it!)

Final Thoughts

Both the Aerogarden and the Click and Grow are well-designed devices that make it easy to add fresh herbs, veggies or flowers to your life in the comfort of your own home. When it comes down to which device is better, I have to give the win to Aerogarden. It produced a larger harvest in a shorter time, and the design was excellent for maximizing space.

But there’s honestly not a bad choice between the two options. There are several compelling points in and the Click and Grow’s favor: Next-to-no maintenance, lower energy usage, more kid-friendly, and a thoughtfully-designed app, just to name a few.

So this has been our experience with these indoor smart gardens, and we’d love to hear yours too! Have you tried either of these growing systems? If you did, what did you think? Do you have some other questions about the Aerogarden or Click and Grow?

Whatever’s on your mind, share it in the comments! Your question or insight may be exactly what someone else needs to hear!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.