Well, the journey of hydroponic gardening often leads to the tough decision between NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) and DWC (Deep Water Culture) hydroponic systems or you can say indoor gardening systems.

Today, this comprehensive guide by Creative Grow Store aims to provide basic and important details differentiating between these two popular systems.

NFT vs DWC | Hydroponic System

By jumping into the practical aspects of setup, optimal plant selections, a detailed examination of the pros and cons, and guidance on what to grow with each system, we intend to empower you with the knowledge needed to make a well-informed choice aligned with your unique gardening goals and preferences.

Understanding NFT and DWC

Hydroponics introduces innovative ways to cultivate plants, and NFT and DWC stand out as two prominent methodologies.

NFT involves a continuous, shallow stream of nutrient-rich water flowing over plant roots, ensuring a consistent supply of essential elements. On the other hand, DWC immerses plants in a nutrient solution, fostering well-oxygenated roots in a submerged environment.

This choice significantly influences the efficiency and success of your hydroponic endeavors.

Setting-Up Your Hydroponic Systems: NFT or DWC?

Understanding the basic practical aspects of each system is very important for a successful setup:

NFT Systems

Components: A sloping channel, water pump, tubing, and a reservoir for the nutrient solution.

Setup Process: Construct the sloping channel, ensuring a gradual decline for proper nutrient flow. Place the water pump in the reservoir and connect tubing to create the nutrient film. Regularly check for clogs in the tubing.

Tips: Ensure proper slope for optimal nutrient flow. Periodically observe tubing for clogs. Install a backup power source for the water pump to avoid interruptions.

DWC Systems

Components: A container, an air pump, air stones, and a net pot for each plant.

Setup Process: Fill the container with the nutrient solution. Place the air stone in the container, connect it to the air pump, and position it to ensure thorough oxygenation. Insert the net pots, each holding a plant, into the container.

Tips: Regularly check air pump functionality and cleanliness of air stones to maintain optimal oxygen levels. Use appropriate-sized net pots to provide ample space for root expansion.

What to Grow with Each System

Adjust your hydroponic systems to the types of plants you wish to grow. Must follow systems’ guidelines and tips for optimal results. Below mentioned are the glimpse of what you can grow in NFT and DWC.

NFT Systems – Ideally suited for plants with shallow root systems, such as lettuce, herbs, and strawberries, NFT systems ensure consistent nutrient delivery to support their growth.

NFT systems are ideal for growing leafy greens like basil and cilantro, and compact fruits. Their efficient nutrient delivery makes them suitable for plants that thrive in a continuous, evenly distributed supply.

Tip: Monitor and adjust nutrient concentrations to match the specific needs of your chosen plants.

DWC Systems – Best suited for plants with deeper root structures, including tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, DWC systems offer an environment that accommodates the needs of larger plants. The nutrient-rich solution promotes robust growth and high-yield harvests, making it an excellent choice for fruit-bearing crops.

Tip: Use appropriate-sized net pots to provide ample space for root expansion. Implement a regular water change schedule and invest in a quality water testing kit.

Pros and Cons of NFT and DWC Systems

Examining the unique advantages and considerations of each system provides valuable insights:

NFT Systems

Pros: NFT is comparatively easy setup and easy in maintenance. This habit makes it more beginner-friendly. It follows efficient water usage and compact design suits smaller spaces.

Cons: Not suitable for deep-rooted plants. Caution needed for potential root drying in case of pump failure. Install a backup power source for the water pump to avoid interruptions.

DWC Systems

Pros: DWC is well-suited for large plants as having simple maintenance, and superior root oxygenation.

Cons: it has pretty much higher water consumption. DWC requires vigilant monitoring of water quality to prevent bacterial growth for plants’ health and stability. Implement a regular water change schedule and invest in a quality water testing kit.

Making the Right Choice: NFT vs DWC

Navigating the decision-making process involves a thoughtful consideration of various factors:

  • Evaluate the available space and vertical height for your hydroponic setup.
  • Consider the root structures of the specific plants you intend to grow.
  • Assess your comfort level with maintenance tasks and the willingness to monitor water quality regularly.
  • Choose plants specifically famous for hydroponic systems and follow the guidelines for better results. If you are not well aware of such systems and their basic requirements, you can contact us anytime to get free consultation.
  • Weigh the pros and cons against your priorities and constraints to make a well-informed decision tailored to your gardening aspirations.


Plan your hydroponic journey with Creative Grow Store.

Whether you decide on NFT or DWC, we will make sure that your experience will be both exciting and fulfilling. It’s important to acknowledge that each system has its distinctive strengths and minor drawbacks. For better results, understand the working nature of both systems. Do give a thorough look to setups and components with your specific plant preferences. Both setup requires full attention and monitoring then you’ll be well-prepared to embark on a successful hydroponic gardening adventure. Grow Green and Eat Healthy!