Best DWC Growing Systems

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The dream of every grower is to get the best crops and yields. In fact, growers and gardeners alike are always looking for the most effective and efficient way to grow their plants.

One of the most innovative and popular growing methods is the deep water cultivation (DWC) method. It is a system widely used and highly perfected through the years.

Best DWC Growing Systems

With the increasing need for innovative hydroponic systems, many companies have perfected their systems for better plant growth and production. In results, growers have better yields and higher returns.

However, not all hydroponic systems are alike. In fact, searching for the ideal DWC system can be daunting.

That is why we selected the best of the best of systems so that you don’t have to scroll through thousands of hydroponic structures.

Here are the best DWC Growing Systems available on the market.

Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bubbler Bucket Kit by PowerGrow Systems

The Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bubbler Bucket Kit by PowerGrow Systems is an inexpensive and simple to use system. It is also high quality and has many features.

The system is all inclusive and has everything you need for a complete system. It features FDA approved 5 gallon buckets and 6″ net pot bucket lids.

There are also airstones to create bubbles, outlet air pumps, and air tubing for excellent plant growth and production. In addition, it has a blue water level indicator to help prevent overflow, a 1 year warranty, and complete instructions.


  • All accessories are included
  • Separate buckets to help prevent contamination to other areas
  • Black colored buckets are less susceptible to algae in water columns


  • No pressure adjusters
  • Does not include pH test Kit

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HTGSupply 3.5-Gallon Bubble Boy Single Shot Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bucket System

The Bubble Boy Single Shot Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bucket System is a great system for new growers. Not only is it affordable but it is very practical. It is also easy to use, and provides excellent results.

The complete single-site DWC hydroponic system includes excellent features such as a space saving bucket, adjustable dual-outlet air pump, top notch air stone, high-quality hydrostone air tubing, and grow medium.


  • Cost effective
  • Space saver buckets
  • Best single plant system available


  • Can only grow one plant
  • Does not have a water level indicator

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Atwater HydroPod – Standard A/C Powered DWC Deep Water Culture/Recirculating Drip Hydroponic Garden System Kit

 The Atwater HydroPod

The Atwater HydroPod – Standard A/C Powered DWC System is an amazing system with a top feed recirculating hydroponic drip that encourages fast and healthy growth. It offers numerous benefits and extras such as an air pump that instantaneously pumps water to your plants by utilizing oxygenate and air pressure from your reservoir.

The innovative and stress free kit is easy to set up and has all that you need to complete a system. Also included is a dual outlet air pump, Food Grade black bucket, mesh bucket lid insert, water lever indicator, simple instructions, and much more.


  • Simple to use and set up
  • Constructed with high quality material and components
  • No stress draining for faster water change with minimal mess


  • A single growing container

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General Hydroponics Waterfarm Complete Hydroponic System Grow Kit | GH4120

The General Hydroponics Waterfarm Complete Hydroponic System Grow Kits is one of the best hydroponic systems on the market, especially if you are on a budget. The system is perfect for beginners and intended for growing one plant.

It is a high quality system that produces results. It has many features that make it an excellent buy such as a long shelf life, durability, a large water capacity, minimal water requirements, and low cost.

This system is perfect for first time growers or small production goals.


  • Easy to use
  • Cost effective
  • Perfect for beginners


  • Consumers complain of a weak air pump

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What Is DWC Hydroponics?

The biggest difference between traditional gardening and hydroponics is that there is no growing medium or soil. Instead of using soil, the plant roots are suspended in water that is rich in nutrients.

In addition, the water is oxygenated or water that has been supplied with gaseous oxygen.

DWC is a lot different than other hydroponic system in that the roots of the plants receive oxygen and nutrients 24 hours a day. Unlike other hydroponic systems such as ebb and flow that gets an abrupt dosage of nutrients in the form of flood and then it gets drained

DWC is also known as a float or raft-pond system. Generally the method utilizes floating rafts to suspend plant roots into nutrient water about 8-12 inches deep.

It is a reasonably low-cost system that can easily be set up.

How Do DWC Systems Work?

Some growers fear that using the hydroponic method for high production will cause their plants to drown and suffocate from overwatering. However, hydroponic methods will not drown your plants as long as they have their basic needs like oxygen, nutrients, light, and the proper temperatures.

In fact, your plants will thrive and be very productive in a hydroponic environment such as DWC.

The biggest challenge with a hydroponic system is providing your plants with oxygen. One of the greatest advantages of a DWC system is that it’s designed to offer sufficient oxygen for your plants to thrive.

The system typically uses two different methods of supplying oxygen –

  • An air pump
  • Falling water to create bubbles (air)

In addition, the nourishing solution helps the plant get the proper nutrients for healthy growth and higher yields.

The DWC process is comprised of a reservoir that has an airstone connected to an air pump for oxygen. Water and nutrients are added to the reservoir.

Deep Water Culture Hydroponic System

The plants are then placed in net type pots that are suspended above the nutrient solution in the reservoir. The mesh provides support for strong root growth.

In fact, the roots are not confined to grow just straight down; but they will actually have room to grow in any direction of the net pot. With an unconfined net pot, the root system of your plants will be strong and vigorous.

In addition, once the nutrient solution feeds the roots there is a burst of growth.

Since the plant roots get air and oxygen from the dissolved oxygen in the water and from bubbles rising through the nutrient solution, your plants won’t suffocate. A good indicator that your plants are receiving enough oxygen is the bubbles in the water.

There should be enough bubbles that it looks like the water is boiling.

What to Look for When Buying a DWC System

Today, you can find a large variety of hydroponic systems on the market. If you decide to use a DWC system for hydroponic growing, there are a few things to consider before buying.

  • Size – the size plays a major factor on which system to buy. Size is determined by how big of a crop you are growing. A large crop needs a larger reservoir. In addition, smaller reservoirs need to be filled up with water on occasion whereas; a large sized reservoir does not need refilling.
  • Weight – the weight is determined by the location of the system. It your crops are grown indoors; then weight might be a factor. If your plants are grown in a greenhouse or a solid structure like a garage, then a larger system should not be a concern.
  • Reservoir Water Capacity – always make sure that you have a big enough reservoir for the number of plants that you are growing. Basically, a cannabis plant requires a reservoir with a minimal volume of about 2 Β½ to 4 gallons (10-15 liters) to complete its life cycle. Small to medium plants need a minimum of 1 to 1 gallons per plant. Large plants require a minimum of 2 gallons per plant
  • Air Pump – one of the most vital accessories for your system is the air pump. It provides the necessary oxygen for life and healthy growth. Make sure that the pump is of high quality and capable of supplying your plants with oxygen.
  • Expansion – a new grower will generally start small. However, it is important that your buy a system that can expand. If your main goal is for higher yields, you will eventually need to accommodate a system that can contain more plants.

Important Factors When Growing with a DWC System

Prior to buying a quality DWC system, it is paramount that you know the most important components for successful growing. The leading components are

  • Air pump
  • Net pots
  • Air stone
  • Airline tubing
  • Nutrient solution
  • Instruction manual
  • A 3-5 to 5 gallon DWC bucket
  • Pressed lids for buckets (airtight)
  • PPM (parts per million) meter for testing water
  • pH controller – not every system includes a controller

The Pros and Cons of DWC Hydroponics

All hydroponic systems have their positive and negative traits, including the DWC system. However, if you weigh the pros and cons, it is clear that a DWC system is a beneficial method for growing weed.


  • Economical
  • Easy to assemble
  • No need for fertilizer
  • Very few moving parts
  • Drastically increases plant growth
  • Aerates the roots – improves absorption and increases cell growth
  • Low maintenance – no feeder lines, no nozzles, or clogged water pumps


  • Small systems can be under or over calibrated
  • Risk of low oxygen levels if not monitored – which can drown your plants
  • Temperatures may be hard to maintain if you use a non-recirculating system
  • Minimal time to replace air pump if it breaks – drastically affect plant health
  • Water levels, pH levels, and nutrient concentration can fluctuate in small systems

What to Expect from a DWC System

As your plants germinate, the roots will begin to touch the water. As soon as that happens, growth is quickly accelerated. Typically, if a plant was in the soil, the roots would be searching for nutrients.

However, when the plants are in a water solution the nutrients are readily available. In turn, growth is much faster.

Likewise, if the right oxygenation is in the water, the plants roots can remain totally submerged within the water.

The main principle of growing plants hydroponically it to try and reduce the intervention between the nutrients and the roots as much as possible. In fact, using a hydroponic system makes it easier for your plants to access nutrients for faster growth and more production.

With current technology, you can find about 5 different hydroponic systems that are widely used. The DWC systems are renowned for being one of the easiest and most efficient hydroponic methods available.

For general purposes and for reference, here is a comparison of other hydroponic methods to the DWC system.

Ebb and Flow Systems

An ebb and flow systems works by flooding the grow bed with a special nutrient solution. The solution comes from the reservoir that features an underwater pump that has a timer.

The timer can be set for specific times for feeding. When the timer goes off it releases the nutrient water to fill the grow beds.

Gravity slowly drains the water out of the beds and sends it back to the reservoir when the timer stops.

In addition, the ebb and flow system has an overflow tube makes sure the water levels do not pass a certain level. If the beds fill to high, it can damage the stalks and buds of the plants.

Ebb and Flow Systems

What is more, plants are o constantly immersed in water with an ebb and flow system. Once the water goes back to the reservoir, the plants roots dry out and stay dry until the next ebb and flow of water.

Many growers agree that that the ebb and flow system can put undue stress on your plants. In addition, the nutrient solution needs to be very accurate as well as the timing of when and how often to water.

In fact, the length of time between floods needs to be carefully calculated.


  • Flexible design – there are numerous ways you can set up an ebb and flow system.
  • Versatile – an ebb and flow system allows you to grow much bigger plants when compared to other hydroponic methods.
  • Better production – Flowers and vegetation respond well to the ebb and flow method once the flooding is perfected


  • Expensive
  • Pump issues – your plants health is totally reliant on the pump. It the pump fails, your plants can die.
  • High maintenance – ebb and flow systems require high maintenance and sanitation to prevent root disease and rot. When the system is dirty, it makes the perfect environment for mold and mildew
  • Constant monitoring – the system needs continual monitoring to make sure it is functioning properly

Bubbler System

The Bubbler system has two methods that delivers dissolved oxygen and aeration. These methods are falling water and air bubbles.

Falling water – with this method aeration is created by falling water splashing on the surface. It is not a popular method in smaller farms because of its inefficiency.

It takes a much larger volume of water to produce the right amount of bubbles needed for agitation. In turn, the agitation creates dissolved oxygen.

This method is a lot more popular with commercial operations that can build larger bodies of falling water.

Air bubbles – an air pump and airstone is used to create bubbles for the nutrient solution. The air pump connects to the airstone with the use of an airline or tube.

The small pores in the airstone are what create the bubbles. The smaller bubbles are preferred because they have more contact surface.


  • An efficient recirculating system
  • Roots grow faster in the beginning stages
  • Speeds up the germination and seedling stage


  • More expensive to set up
  • Needs a water pump inside the reservoir
  • Only effective in the beginning stages of growth

Recirculating Top Feed System

The recirculating top feed system is ideal for larger productions and more plants it operates similar to a flood and drain method but with the nutrient solution staying in the system.

The recirculating top feed system allows numerous buckets and containers. The water and nutrients will circulate from one container to another.

The water, calibration, and oxygenate are done in the reservoir.

However, all the buckets need to be connected to the central reservoir. Each buck can generally grow 1 to 3 plants, depending on the strain and size of bucket.

Recirculating Top Feed System

Too many plants in a bucket can cause root bound issues and also clog the airstone. In addition, there will be less oxygen per plant.

You can have many buckets/containers, and they must be connected the big central reservoir.

The most significant advantages are that you can scale big, and you only have to add water, oxygenate, and calibrate the central reservoir. Water and nutrients that feed the plants will be circulated from one bucket to another.

Typically, you should grow 1-3 plants per bucket. More than that and it can bring a threat of the roots clogging the air stone, and less oxygen absorbed per plant.


  • Great for scaling big
  • Water, calibration, and oxygenate are done in the reservoir


  • Too many plants can clog the airstone
  • Overcrowding can cause plants to become root bound

Aeroponic Systems

An aeroponic system is designed to suspend your plants in the air so that the roots are exposed to the nutrient solution. Instead of water, the solution is a fine mist that is sprayed using a special nozzle.

This system has an enclosed framework that can support numerous plants. The water and nutrients are contained in a reservoir and pumped to the nozzle that emits the gentle fine mist.

Typically, the mist is released from above and cascades down a tower chamber. However, some aeroponic systems continually mist the roots.

Since the roots are always exposed to the air, they have plenty of oxygen so they can grow at a rapid rate.


  • Eco friendly – is Eco friendly and uses less water
  • Extra oxygen – the bare roots are able to absorb more oxygen
  • Mobility – are easily transported from one area to another without bothering the plants


  • Costly – not a cheap system, a fully functional system is actually quite expensive
  • Maintenance – the system needs to be continually monitored like the timer, mist nozzles, and cleaning the root chamber


Without a doubt, many growers feel that the deep water cultivation system is the best and most productive way to grow your plants. In fact, many claim that their production and yields drastically improved with a DWC growing system.

The DWC growing system has numerous benefits such as affordability, an easy set-up, quality control, and higher yields. In fact, with the basic knowledge of hydroponics and a good system, most beginners will be pleased with the results.

Today, it is easy to find a quality DWC growing system that fits your needs. As well, you can easily upgrade whenever it is needed.