How Much Do Hydroponic Systems Cost?

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How much do hydroponic systems cost? Well, that’s a tough question to answer.

The cost of a hydroponic system is going to vary greatly depending on your preferences.

In this article, we’ll look at the factors that influence how much hydroponic systems cost as well as some estimated prices.

Some people use hydroponic farming as a gateway to start a farm business while others use it to feed their household with fresh, home-grown produce.

Hydroponic systems use nutrient rich water rather than soil to cultivate crops. As a result, they require a bit more equipment.

There are three tiers of hydroponic systems:

  • Low-tech
  • Middle-tech
  • High-tech

Low-Tech Systems

Low-tech hydroponic systems are either budget options that are purchased as a unit or “do it yourself” (DIY) constructions.

You can purchase a low-tech hydroponic system for about $50 to $200. Construction costs for a small DIY project are about the same.

Middle-Tech Systems

Middle-tech hydroponic systems are purchasable systems that can be installed indoor or outdoors. They typically come with lighting and some higher-end technology like water flow control.

These hydroponic systems range from $300 to $1,000, depending on size and features.

High-Tech Systems

High-tech hydroponic systems include complete system control, like our Pure Greens container farms. These are best for farmers who are aiming to produce a high volume of crops for profit.

High-tech hydroponic systems can be tens of thousands of dollars.  

Vertical farming produce

In addition to technology, there are factors within each tier to consider.

There are four main factors that will influence price estimates:

  • Type
  • Size
  • Control
  • Additional materials

Type of System

Different types of hydroponic systems will require different components and maintenance.

For example, if you wanted to build a nutrient film technique (NFT) system you would need a water pump, but for the wick technique, you wouldn’t.

Additionally, the type of system can affect your reoccurring costs.

For instance, whether your system is recovery or nonrecovery will affect your monthly water bills. Recovery systems recirculate water while nonrecovery systems do not; as a result, recovery systems use less water.

The cheapest low-end option would be the Kratky method, for which you’d only need basic hydroponic materials and an opaque container with openings for the plants.

Size of System

The size of your system plays a huge role in determining how much hydroponic systems cost.

If you’re farming as a hobby, a smaller, cheaper system is adequate. If you’re trying to produce a high volume, you’ll need a larger system, which will be more expensive.

Additionally, the desired type of crop will influence the size of your system.

Some systems, typically the ones where crops share nutrient water, are only compatible with one type of crop per system, so if you want to diversify your selection, you’ll have to have multiple systems.

You’ll also have to consider whether you have the space for a vertical or horizontal system.

Vertical systems can produce more per square foot than horizontal systems, but they may be more expensive as they’re typically considered high-tech.

System Control

The level of control you have over your hydroponic system will also influence the price.

More control over aspects like temperature, water pressure, and humidity levels will bring the cost up in several ways.

First, if you want to incorporate controlled environment agriculture technology into your hydroponic system, the amount of money you spend on energy each month will increase.

Additionally, you will have to spend more money on maintenance as higher quality systems may require special expertise and parts to fix if something goes wrong. Whereas lower quality systems can be easily replaced if needed.

But having little environmental control has its own costs.

If your hydroponic system is outside, there’s a greater risk of losing crops to weather, infestations, and disease. Replacing damaged equipment and plants costs money, not to mention lost profits from dead crops.

Additional Materials

Any additional materials you may need for your hydroponic system will be extra on top of the system itself.

DIY systems lump these costs together, so you’d just have to keep in mind recurring expenses like nutrient solution and growing medium.

Pre-built hydroponic systems, however, may require additional labor costs for installation or may not come ready for immediate use.

For example, even if the hydroponic system has everything it needs to function properly, you still might have to purchase growing mediums, nutrient solution, a pH meter, and lighting separately to actually start growing plants.

Lighting itself can be $20 or hundreds of dollars depending on size, quality, and quantity.

Additionally, you’ll have to factor in whether you already have the space for a hydroponic system. If not, you may need to purchase or rent a new property for your farm.

Once you’ve taken all of these factors into consideration, you can calculate how much hydroponic systems cost for your farm.

But that’s a lot to consider.

Luckily, our Pure Greens container farms come equipped and ready. All you need is somewhere to put it, water and power sources, and crop-specific materials.

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