We give an in-depth review of the Ultra LED, and help you decide whether or not it is the right choice for you. Also find out what plant type grows best.
The Ultra LED by AeroGrow is easily one of the most efficient and high yielding Aerogardens available in the market today. Along with Aerogarden Bounty, it shares the tag of largest Aerogarden available in the market.But is the right choice for you?
We bring for you an in-depth review of the Aerogarden Ultra LED, considering various aspects of the system so that you can make the right buying decision.
- With a larger footprint, can accommodate plants that grow big and large. (Best Suited for Salads).
- Full spectrum lights lead to a higher yield and faster growth. (After the initial harvest period, you can prune fresh batches almost every second day).
- Uses the same pumping system as the AeroGarden Bounty, so nutrients are spread across the reservoir. (Again resulting in better yield)
- Comes with an intelligent control panel that guides you through sowing and harvesting.
- The water reservoir makes some noise, equivalent to an indoor fish tank.
- The flimsy plastic construction is prone to scratches and requires care.
Verdict – The Ultra LED is the best value AeroGarden you can buy, and comes with high harvest technology, ample space, and an advanced pumping system. (Recommended for first-time buyers)
Full Review –
Like other Aerogardens, the outer structure is made of flimsy plastic, which is a tad disappointing, but since you won’t be moving this device a lot, that shouldn’t be a major problem. The installation is a breeze and hardly takes 15-20 minutes to get the whole setup up and running.
(Pro Tip – We highly recommend you to go through the manual from cover to cover and get accustomed to all the features)
You get a Gourmet Herb Kit with your purchase, and you can plant them right from the get go. The entire footprint of the Ultra LED gives you space for seven pods, but you end up using mostly 4-5 pods only. (Because the plants go fairly wide)
The LED screen of the Control Panel is nice and bright however the full spectrum LED lights are the real stars of the device, and furthermore, they are not that power-hungry. (More on that Later).
Finally, the reservoir is where you add water and liquid nutrients. You would have to change the water every three weeks to ensure that the device doesn’t get contaminated.
The whole device has all the bells and whistles to earn the tag of a “badass hydroponic system.”
Large Surface Area
In terms of surface area, it shares the pole position with Aerogarden Bounty, with dimensions of 17.25×11.25×15.34” and the light pole extends up to 24”. However, unlike the Bounty, it only includes seven seed pods instead of 9. We believe, lesser no of pods, give more space to the plants to grow freely. You end up using 4-5 pods in both the Ultra LED and Bounty, so the extra pods in the Bounty don’t offer much value.
In our opinion and tests, Ultra LED works best for Growing Salad Greens. Salad plants tend to grow up pretty crazy, and the with advanced hydroponics of Aerogardens the tend to grow up pretty quickly too.
This is where the large space of Ultra LED comes in handy. If you grow 2-3 different varieties of salads, you can make use of extended pole height so that light is disturbed evenly among all the plants.
However, don’t think that you won’t be required to do any work. After three weeks or so, you would have to do regular pruning. The yield rate of the Ultra LED is high so plants which take around four weeks to grow on soil based systems will grow completely in around 23-25 days.
Full Spectrum LEDs
Ultra LED uses a wide array of LED lights and comprises of the entire light spectrum since it uses Blue, white and red lights. This nearly replicates the natural growing environment of plants, but thanks to the more concentrated light, the yield is slightly higher.
The manufacturers also claim that the plants grown in Aerogardens have a higher concentration of vitamins as compared to naturally grown plants. We can’t vouch for that, but if you like to lead an organic lifestyle, this is the closest you can get.
Back to LEDs, let’s talk about how these lights effect your plant growth. White LEDs are spread across the panel which helps the plants to grow faster. The blue and the red lights help aid quicker and superior growth of flowers. The lights and liquid nutrient system work in tandem to result in a faster yield.
And did we mention about the energy efficiency of the LEDs? Well, the whole setup consumes 36 watts of power and equating with today’s electricity rates, this will cost you about $25-$30 a year.
Pumping Action & Liquid Nutrients
The heart of the Ultra LED has to be the reservoir. It includes an advanced pump which works tirelessly to spread water and nutrients to each and every seed pod. It is not the quietest pump and sounds more or less like a Fish Tank, but we have no complaints concerning efficiency.
In most cases, the pump works well for 14-18 months, and after that, it is recommended to get a replacement.
However, everything is not pretty with the reservoir, and it demands maintenance from the user too. You would have to clean up and change the water after every three weeks.
This becomes particularly tedious when plants start growing roots, and you have to take extra care.
Other than that, the whole process is virtually hands-free, and you only have to worry about pruning plants.
The Intelligent Control Panel of the Ultra LED features a small LED for display and nine buttons for different purposes. We called the panel intelligent because apart from reminding the user to add water or nutrients, it also provides several gardening tips to the user.
At the time of installation, you can feed in what you are planting and in which pod. You can also set the on & off time for the LED lights. The system provides tips and information accordingly. It also has all the information regarding the date of sowing and estimated time of harvesting.
The control panel gives the power to a complete newbie (without any prior experience), to grow a plant, and we give full credit to AeroGrow for making this happen.
What grows best on Aerogarden Ultra LED?
Even though Aerogarden Ultra LED is designed to work with every seed type, but after trying out every Aerogarden, you can say, that every model works well with a particular type. Space and pole extension of Ultra LED provide the best environment for growing salads.
The produce is enough to feed a large family. It also works well with vegetables. So if you need to grow some fresh salads or vegetables, we recommend Aerogarden Ultra LED, you won’t be disappointed.
Their no noticeable flaws (or issues) that we have with the Ultra LED. We have already mentioned about the noise and the maintenance of the reservoir. Also, be prepared for the cost of replacement of LEDs and liquid nutrients. You will also buy seed pods with time (they cost about $15 a piece). These are not cons, but we like to state the regular expenses that come with the Ultra LED.
Overall, if you are interested in indoor gardening, this is a pretty badass machine and gives you the ability to grow what you like to eat, right in front of you (pretty dope right? 😉