Do you love having fresh herbs available no matter the time or day? Does keeping them alive always seems a struggle? Worry not! There is a vast array of indoor herb garden kits on the market, with some being quite a bit more expensive than others. Does cost equate to value when it comes to the best indoor herb garden kit? Let’s find out!

As a notation, all the indoor garden kits reviews were all started on April 9th, 2019. I used the same type of seeds (Buttercrunch Lettuce) except for the ones that came with pre-seeded pods.

I also included two updates for this indoor herb garden reviews article. I wrote the first one on April 19th, 10 days after I started the testing, and the second one on May 21st (42 days after the start of this experiment).

It’s been a roller-coaster from start to end!

The table below shows the 3 best indoor herb garden kits according to their progress during the 42 days. The Hoctor indoor herb garden is, in my opinion, the best budget indoor herb garden. The Ideer Life kit is the best deluxe herb garden – sturdy and flawless construction on this one!

The overall best indoor herb garden kit is definitely the AeroGarden Harvest. Although slow growers at first, the crops that came with this one turned out great and its maintenance is extremely easy.

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Hoctor Herb Garden Kit

The Best Budget Indoor Herb Garden Kit

hoctor kit

AeroGarden Harvest Herb Garden

The Best Indoor Herb Garden Kit Overall

AeroGarden Harvest

Ideer Life Indoor Herb Garden

The Best Deluxe Indoor Herb Garden Kit

IDEER Life grow kit

AIBSI Hydroponics Indoor Herb Garden Kit

AIBSI Hydroponics Indoor Herb Garden box

The AIBSI indoor garden kit showed up in a plain brown box, no fancy pictures on it.

At first glance, it appeared to be fairly simple. The directions leave a little to be desired if you have never started an indoor herb garden before.

They were not clear at all in the description of what you were supposed to do. Even the pictures were a little confusing.

Once I got the hang of it, the next thing I noticed was the straight vermiculite that was the medium to grow in. We will see how well it does.

The assembled herb garden looks like this. I want to highlight that there is no mention of any kind of fertilizer needed, even though I think there should be.

Day 10 Update

Although I initially gave this a 4 out of 10 mark, the AIBSI indoor herb garden kit exceeded my expectations – so did the Hoctor model, for that matter, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

The plants are growing incredibly well, especially considering they only have vermiculite as a growing medium.

Day 42 Update

Hoctor day 42 update

Although after 10 days the AIBSI herb garden review was one of the most promising, I’m very disappointed in how it turned out.

As you can see in the picture below (it’s the kit on the left), the plants are on the brink of dying and definitely don’t look appealing.

The Hoctor kit, on the other hand, is doing much better!

Out of all of the units, these two seemed to scream the most for a water refill. I was adding water about every 3rd day.

 

Darren’s Rating:

Price Range:

$

PROs

✔️ Inexpensive
✔️ Small, does not take up much space

CONs

❌ Small, can’t grow very much
❌ Light is not height adjustable
❌ Directions are a bit unclear
❌ Needs frequent water refills
❌ The light isn’t bright enough to support healthy development as the plants grow
❌ As you can see from the second update, this was a major disappointment

Hoctor Indoor Herb Garden Kit Review

Other than the extra decorative sleeve, the Hoctor indoor herb garden kit is very similar to the AIBSI model.

Hoctor Indoor Herb Garden Kit - first day

After having the first one under my belt, and with better-written instructions, the indoor green garden from Hoctor went together much smoother. It also felt a little bit better built.

But apart from the directions being easier to follow and just the feel of better materials, I was still left wondering about the straight vermiculite growing media. Although the manual did mention the need for fertilizer, it was not clear on how much.

As you can see, the AIBSI and Hoctor kits are very similar in appearance.

Hoctor herb kit day 10 update

Day 10 Update

Just like the previous kit from AIBSI, the Hoctor herb garden kit (right) is showing great progress.

It also uses vermiculite instead of soil or other types of growing medium.

This made me doubt their performance at first, but I was wrong. I take it all back, these kits really work!

I’m surprised with the progress these plants made over the last 10 days.

Honestly, I see no difference to growing them in full sunlight.

Day 42 Update

Hoctor indoor garden kit - day 42 updateAs you can clearly see in the picture above, the Hoctor indoor garden kit (right) has some lushes green lettuce. It is very tasty too! It showed steady and healthy growth so far and I think it’s going to continue on this path by the looks of it. It did require more water refills than the others, which might be a small inconvenience to some, so keep this in mind when picking the best indoor herb garden kit for you.

Although the Hoctor and AIBSI herb garden kits had similar progress when I wrote the first update, it’s clear to me now that the Hoctor kit is the best indoor herb garden kit out of these two. However, it’s not the best in this price range!

 

Darren’s Rating:

Price Range:

$

PROs

✔️ Inexpensive
✔️ Small, does not take up much room
✔️ Materials feel a little more substantial
✔️ Mentions the need for fertilizer
✔️ Shows steady and healthy plant growth

CONs

❌ Small, can’t grow as much
❌ Light not height adjustable
❌ Requires frequent water refills

Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 Review – Best compact indoor garden kit

This was the first of the Indoor Garden Kits that had pre-planted seeds of Basil.

Click and Grow indoor herb garden kit - box
It was very easy to put this indoor herb garden together and did mention the need for fertilizer. The steps were: fill with water, drop in the pre-planted pods, and plug it in.

There are a couple of minor features of this model that bring in extra convenience, which I really liked. The long tabs you see in the picture are handy to write on with anything erasable, so you remember what you planted. The little domes over each pod fit down into a groove so that they do not move around or fall off.

The light comes with extensions so that as your plants grow, you can raise its height.

click and grow indoor herb garden kit . capsule

After going through all the indoor grow systems, I can safely say that if you’re looking for a reliable, yet compact one, this is the absolute best indoor herb garden kit you could get.

Day 10 Update

Click and grow indoor herb garden kit day 10 update
Click and Grow is one of the kits that came with pre-seeded pods of basil. I figured that it would do fairly well, and it has lived up to my expectations, so far.

Just look at how bushy these basil plants are! I would call this a success after only 10 days of using the Click & Grow kit. So far, this seems to be the best grow setup for indoors.

Day 42 Update

Click and grow day 42 update

This one has pretty much done what I expected, and I had high expectations! The basil grew so tall that it was hitting the lights and literally burning.

I have cut it back and used some of it, which might sound like an inconvenience, but it’s exactly the point of these indoor herb gardens.

Water consumption was not as severe as the first two models, so this is a huge plus.

Darren’s Rating:

Price Range:

$

PROs

✔️ Very easy to assemble
✔️ Light height can be adjusted as the plant grows
✔️ Small, streamline model
✔️ Comes with plant marker tabs
✔️ Domes have grooves so they don’t move around
✔️ Shows steady and healthy growth
✔️ Doesn’t require water refills as often as the first two models on this list

CONs

❌ Small, not a lot of growing area
❌ Without trimming, the plants will hit the lights and literally burn

Mindful Design LED Indoor Herb Garden Kit Review

I should have realized the kit from Mindful Design would be quite different from the rest when I saw the price. This is a no-frills, LED light box. It comes nicely packaged and honestly scared me a bit since I felt like I was going to build a computer!

Mindful design indoor herb garden kit
But once you get all the pieces out, it looks a little less daunting.

The instructions are simple if you pay attention to what you are reading. It’s a snap together/insert type of construction (Tab A into slot B), very straight forward.

Once I got the herb garden together, I realized that was all it was, an LED Grow Light box. No pots, plants, seeds. Put it together and plug it in.

I had a couple of small pots of soil and planted some seeds in them. This unit would be great for those wanting to start your outdoor seeds inside, or, if you have small houseplants that need lots of light – cacti or succulents come to mind.  However, you can kinda make your own budget indoor garden for herbs using this as a grow light and a self-watering planter!

mindful design led garden day 10 update

Day 10 Update

Honestly, this grow box is probably the leader in disappointments. It has the very same type of seeds as the kits from AIBSI and Hoctor, from the very same package.

It can be hard enough starting seeds indoors and this design, in my opinion, is rather awkward. Unless you have a very small watering can or want to pick up each pot individually to water them, it is not that convenient.

Seeds cannot be allowed to dry out and if you tend to forget to water them, they will do poorly with this glorified grow light from Mindful Design.

Having an open bottom would be okay, if it came with a tray to catch water, otherwise it will run over your table.

This one is losing points rapidly.

Day 42 Update

Mindful design herb garden day 42 update
This one continues to be the leader in disappointments. It had the very same type of seeds as the Hoctor and AIBSI kits, from the very same package.

There is no catch pan for water and they definitely need to be checked every day. If you are a busy person, like me, you may forget to water them. At least most of the other units in this test have an alarm that lets you know when they need more water.

I cannot completely fault the death of this crop on the garden kit itself, I did forget to water it a couple of times. As mentioned before, a self-watering planter might turn this in a pretty good deal, but other than that, it’s a no-go for herbs.

I will say this though, if I wanted to grow some small succulents or cacti, this thing would be ideal. I gave this the lowest rating for herbs since this is our purpose here, but if I were to give it a rating for growing other types of plants, it would go up to a 7 I think, since the light is pretty bright.

Darren’s Rating:

Price Range:

$

PROs

✔️ Inexpensive
✔️ Sleek design, great for a countertop
✔️ Good for starting your outdoor seeds or keeping small houseplants
✔️ Bright LED light

CONs

❌ Only good for small plants
❌ No water tray
❌ No water refill notification

AeroGarden Harvest Review

I was already familiar with the AeroGarden series from Miracle-Gro before I started this test. I was interested to see how it stacked up against some of the others.

Aero garden led kit

The Aerogarden herb kit came with a variety pack of herbs, pre-planted in the pods. It also came with a bottle of fertilizer which told you exactly how much to use.

This indoor garden comes mostly assembled, you just add the water and fertilizer, drop the pods into the holes, plug it in and you are off and running. Replacement pods are easy to come by online, so that’s sorted out, too.

AeroGarden Harvest indoor herb garden day 10 update

There are, however, a few things I would change about this model. The greenhouse domes do not sit very well on the individual pods, the slightest bump and they fall over. The control panel buttons on the front are very sensitive, too: the lightest touch turns the light off or changes a setting.

Despite all these, I’m quite happy with how it turned out. Of all the models I went through, this seems to be the best indoor herb garden in the middle price range.

Day 10 Update

Aero garden day 10 updateSurprisingly, AeroGarden seems to be the sleeper of the group. It is not performing nearly as well as I expected. I am familiar with Aero-Garden products and thought for sure this would run circles over the rest. At first glance, this really seems like one of the best indoor grow systems!

Maybe some of the herbs that came pre-planted in this one just need a little more thyme? (pun intended!)

Day 42 Update

Aero indoor herb garden day 42 update
Aerogarden Harvest was the sleeper of the group on day 10, but as you can tell this herb garden kit ultimately lived up to my original expectations. However, it came seeded with several different types of herbs, the basil and fennel ran rough shot over the rest of them and took over the city.

While this indoor herb garden kit seems to be performing the best, my suggestion for it would be to only grow things that either have a similar growth patterns or, better yet, just one crop.

Darren’s Rating

Price Range:

$

PROs

✔️ Easy to assemble and use
✔️ Tells you when the unit needs water
✔️ Although slow at first, it shows speedy and healthy growth a month later

CONs

❌ A tad on the pricey side
❌ The greenhouse cones do not sit on the pods very well
❌ Control settings too sensitive

Ideer Life Indoor Gardening Hydroponics Growing System Review – Best Indoor Herb Garden

The moment I picked this beast up, I knew it would be something special. It was very heavy and when the pieces came out, I saw why. REAL Bamboo frame.

Side note: due to back ordering, this unit showed up and was started two days later than the rest.

Ideer life indoor gardening kit

Putting the iDeer Life indoor grow kit together was a little bit of a challenge. The holes in the wood are all pre-drilled and it comes with the screws and a small screwdriver. Emphasis on small. My large hands had trouble holding the wood together and using the tool.

Ideer day 1 update

Two people would have no problems whatsoever with setting up this grow box kit, that is just an author’s issue.

The directions are very easy to follow. This model comes with the pods, all necessary pieces, and enough fertilizer for two feedings (the initial and one more).

The iDeer Life kit is very beefy in design and construction materials. There is plenty of room to grow lots of herbs or greens in here.

Only having one operating switch makes it a breeze to operate by those who aren’t that tech-savvy.

I guess it’s pretty safe to say, of all the products I’ve tested for this article, this IDEER LIFE kit is by far the best indoor herb garden kit.

Day 10 Update


The IDEER Life kit was my favorite going into the test, just on the look and feel of the unit. But it is also a little on the sleeper side of results.

Just to be fair, it is two days behind everybody else, so I will take that into mild consideration. Still, I think the Buttercrunch Lettuce I planted should be a little farther along, at least in my opinion.

The sporadic germination is interesting on this one, too. I am not sure what a few have great growth and a couple have little to none.

Day 42 Update

Ideer day 42 update
Lastly, this WAS my favorite going into the test, just on the look and feel of the unit, even though I figured the AeroGarden Harvest would have been the overall best indoor herb garden kit.

I am not completely sure what went wrong here. Maybe the unit is too short for taller crops, the browning leaves are where it reached up and touched the lamps. I did like the way the leaves were filling out, but they suddenly just started getting, well, ugly.

This unit starts making very loud gurgling noises when it needs water, so if you happen to be close enough to hear it, great, if not, the plants will start to wilt without a fill-up.

Darren’s Rating:

Price Range:

$

PROs

✔️ Very nice design and construction materials
✔️ Easy to follow directions
✔️ Room for plenty of herbs or greens
✔️ Very simple to operate-plug in-turn on

CONs

❌ No domes for a greenhouse effect
❌ Very heavy, once in place not easy to move around
❌ Not easy to tell when it needs water
❌ Expensive
❌ Burns the leaves if the plants are not regularly trimmed

Conclusion

Overall, the test of these 6 indoor garden kits has proven to be interesting, if not a tad frustrating. Just when you think you have Mother Nature figured out, she throws a few curve balls at you. So far, i’m most impressed with AeroGarden of all models I reviewed. As for budget ones, Hoctor turned out to be incredibly disappointing, while the herbs in the AIBSI kit are growing incredibly well!

Indoor garden kits are not all the same, and price can/will give you a small idea of what you are getting. Do your research and make sure that they have the specific spectrum of lights for plant growth and to support the plants that you are intent in growing.

One final word of caution, the pictures that many of the units have on the market show huge amounts of veggies being produced, tomatoes, peppers, etc.

Although the pics look great, my common sense is telling me many of those pictures are impossible. Greens and herbs are suitable for many of the smaller units, but even the big ones have their limits.

About the Author - Darren Sheriff

Darren Sheriff is an SCNLA Certified Professional Nurseryman, A Charleston County Master Gardener Emeritus and is the manager for Terra Bella Garden Center in North Charleston, SC.With his 220+ Camellias, he is an active member and president of the Coastal Carolina Camellia Society, the South Carolina State Director for the American Camellia Society, the founder of the Lowcountry Fruit Growers Society as well as a past president.

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