What Is the Difference Between Hydroponics and Aeroponics?

grower tending to marijuana plant

So you’ve decided you want to cultivate some cannabis of your own. You’ve also likely been doing some searching around the internet for the best method(s) for cultivation. Now you have to make some choices: Inside or outside? How many plants? Do you want to use soil, hydroponics, or aeroponics? Natural light or artificial?

For many of us, the illegality of the plant is itself prohibitive of outdoor grows. Don’t be fooled, people still do it and have wonderful results, but when considering an indoor (or greenhouse) grow it is definitely more effective to use either hydroponics or aeroponics.

aeroponics vs hydroponics

Aeroponics vs Hydroponics

Aeroponic grows are actually a subset of hydroponic operations. An important note about using hydroponic systems for weed:


Hopefully the presence of so many different grow techniques has further piqued your interest as to the differences among them. When we look at aeroponics vs hydroponics, it is actually easier to explain the four points where they are similar:

  • Hydroponic systems for weed, including aeroponics, utilize a soil-less system of growing plants.
  • Both involve use of nutrient solution being applied directly to the root system
  • Allow for reduced waste via recirculation of nutrients
  • Both give you, the grower, a great deal of control over the environment of your plants, limiting many of the factors that can ail growing plants.

It is at this point, aeroponics vs hydroponics becomes a vital inquiry while preparing your grow setup. Hydroponic systems for weed allow the root system to touch into a nutrient solution, allowing the plant access to all the “stuff” it desires to flourish.

Hydroponic systems for weed do require some form of media to help the plant’s root system retain air, Co2, moisture, and help the plant build a sturdy stem.

Common media for hydroponic grows include:

An expanded list can be found here.

Aeroponic grows, in contrast, can be suspended in a net pot, as the root system is meant to dangle above the reservoir of nutrient solution. Aeroponics grow via mist or fog of nutrient solution applied to the root system at regular intervals. Aeroponics are at an admitted disadvantage if power were to be disrupted, as the root system would be exposed and unable to get any nutrients.

Due to the extremely high availability of nutrients in the mists of aeroponic systems, the plants root systems tend to grow well and quickly, leading to aeroponic grows to yield crops over 10x that of traditional soil grows. In that same vein, hydroponic systems in general–and this differs dependent upon which technique you choose–are deemed much more effective in yield size and quantity as a result of being able to monitor nutrients and environment on a measurable, scientific scale and more easily address plant concerns/ illness/ deficiencies.

When considering your dueling choices–aeroponics vs hydroponics–price, maintenance, and running costs such as electricity come into play. As with much of indoor growing, lighting can get costly to purchase and usually adds up a bit of change on the electric bill. Similarly, these systems require pumps to circulate and disperse nutrients at regular intervals. The saving grace, among all other things mentioned in this post, is how hydroponic systems for weed (including aeroponics) circulate the nutrient mixture for maximum retention of nutrients. Carefully checking the balance of nutrients is really important to a successful grow, along with pH and prevention of rot or algae build-up.

A final note regarding the decision between aeroponics vs hydroponics. Hydroponic systems for weed tend to be more forgiving to less attentive plant mommies and daddies out there, so if you are busy, or lazy, hydroponics may be for you (when compared to aeroponics). If you like to scrupulously obsess over the fine details and have the time to tend to them, aeroponics yields occur more rapidly than soil, and even better than some other varieties of hydroponic grow set-ups.

by Joey Wells