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Best Hydroponic Grow Trays

Reviews and Buying Guide

quadcopter reviewsBest Hydroponic Grow Trays

How to Pick Grow Trays

If you’re looking for high-quality, affordable hydroponic grow trays, you’re in the right place! We’ve spent five weeks researching 30 new and bestselling products to pick the best ones for you. Below you will find the top 10 hydroponic trays for sale. Now: Before we dive in, take a quick look at the most important features you need to know when buying.

Best Hydroponic Grow Trays

Dimensions: How big is the tray? The size affects how many cells and inserts will fit in the tray, which will affect what grows best in the trays, from seedlings to mature plants. Pay attention to dimensions in relation to your storage needs and the size of your grow.

Best Hydroponic Grow Trays

Standard 1020: The standard tray size is 10x20 inches, although the sides can taper out a little more than that. Although many trays are labeled 1020, this standard is loosely followed, so you won’t always be able to stack trays from different manufacturers.

How to Pick Grow Trays

Drain Holes: If you want a hydroponic tray to use as a base tray, you probably don’t want drain holes. But if you need a tray insert, the cells in the tray are likely to have drain holes. This comes down to your specific use and preference.

Best Hydroponic Grow Trays

Material: Different plastics have different strengths and weaknesses, and environmentally conscious hydroponic growers may prefer to use recycled plastic where possible. So we’ve included the type of plastic each tray is made of.

Best Hydroponic Grow Trays

Reusable: All of the trays in this review are reusable, but some are more reusable than others! The plastic type and thickness will affect how many seasons the tray lasts, but all of the trays should last at least a few seasons with typical use.

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Drain Channels: Drain channels allow water to flow away from your plants without suffocating their roots or wasting water. This can help you conserve water for later without making a mess. All but two of our trays have drain channels.

Top 10 Products

Here’s the deal: There are a lot of hydroponic grow trays, but only a few offer good quality plus a good price. Our top pick comes from Bootstrap Farmer, which offers ultra-durable hydroponics supplies of all kinds, but you’ll also see great options from Second Sun Hydroponics, Hydrofarm, and more. Let’s take a look!

Bootstrap Farmer Extra Strength

Top Pick
The Bootstrap Farmer Extra Strength 1020 hydroponic fodder tray can take a lot of use. There’s actually a photo of the tray supporting a 35-pound concrete block without bending - wow! The trays are made of ultra-durable BPA-free plastic and feature drain channels but no drain holes. They are available in 2-packs, 5-packs, 10-packs, and 60-packs. You can also buy 2-packs, 5-packs, or 10-packs with humidity domes included for each tray. The trays are 2.5 inches deep and stackable. Bootstrap Farmer also has 32-cell, 72-cell, 128-cell, and 200-cell trays available, too. The humidity domes are a great extra to spring for if you want to foster ideal conditions for seedlings and sprouts, but may not be necessary, depending on your growing setup. If you need the toughest hydroponic tray system for your greenhouse or other grow setup, then Bootstrap Farmer is the way to go. These trays made it to the top of our list because they are incredibly durable and long-lasting, perfect for the pro grower who wants to get year after year of use out of their trays. Recommended!
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Second Sun Hydroponics Tray

Budget Pick
Don’t have a lot to spend on hydroponic equipment? The Second Sun 1020 hydroponic trays come in 5-packs, 10-packs, 25-packs, and 50-packs to work for growing operations of all sizes. These thermoformed plastic trays are white rather than the typical black seen in most hydroponic growing trays. White is more reflective than black, so it absorbs less heat. Plants that are sensitive to heat and prefer cooler conditions might get a bit of a boost from these white trays. These trays are tapered for stacking and are 2.375 inches deep with drain channels. Second Sun Hydroponics also offers humidity domes and insert trays (sold separately) if you want to get all of your hydro supplies from the same place. These trays are not as heavy-duty as some of the other trays on our list, like the Bootstrap Farmer trays. However, they are far from the flimsy single-season trays you might find at your local superstore. Plus, they’re cheap! The plastic has some flex to it but should hold up well over the seasons, and the plastic resists being degraded by UV light.
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Living Whole Foods Tray

Review
This hydroponic grow tray tapers from 20.5x10.1 inches at the top to 19.9x9.4 inches at its base. It has a depth of 2.375 inches and can be stacked with other 1020 trays from Living Whole Foods. The trays are available in 5-packs, 10-packs, 50-packs, and 100-packs for small to huge projects. Made of .198mm 35-gauge plastic, the trays are durable but flexible enough that we wouldn’t consider them to be heavy-duty. We don’t recommend trying to move a fully loaded tray without lots of support. They are reusable, though, and 20x10 inch hydroponic grow pads and micro mats from Living Whole Foods will fit perfectly into these trays if you want to stock up on supplies from one manufacturer. These basic hydroponic containers feature drain channels and no drain holes so they can save overflow from watering your seedlings while allowing the water to drain away from the seedlings’ roots. The plastic’s flexibility makes the trays better for seedlings and sprouts rather than full-grown plants if you are planning to move the tray around.
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Hydrofarm HGFT24 Tray

Review
This 2x4 foot flood tray is a great choice for hydroponics due to its large size and deep multi-level drain channels. The tray is about 5.5 inches deep and made of black ABS plastic. It can hold a lot of liquid as a result of its depth and size - at least 20 gallons! We recommend using this flood table indoors for the longest-lasting use, as some types of ABS plastic degrade under sunlight and extreme temperatures. Unlike the 1020 trays on our list, this flood tray comes in a single unit rather than a multi-pack, so keep that in mind if you want to buy in bulk. One feature we liked is that it is graded on the sides to help you assess how much water is in the tray, in inches or centimeters. A flood tray can be a helpful addition to your hydroponics set up. The size and depth of this tray make it ideal for applications involving a lot of water. It’s more than double the size of your typical 1020 tray so it can be useful for larger operations.
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Second Sun Heavy 1020 Tray

Review
Another option from Second Sun Hydroponics, these hydroponic drip trays are made from heavier plastic than our budget pick from the same brand. The trays use thermoformed UV-resistant recycled plastic, so they’re a good choice for environmentally-conscious hydroponic farmers! With a three-inch depth and drain channels, these trays are a good choice for sprouting seedlings and cuttings hydroponically. They come in packs of five and are reusable season after season. We don’t recommend using these drip trays for mature plants or heavy setups if you plan on moving the trays from place to place. They are ideal for sprouts and establishing young plants, or as a general-purpose stationary drip tray that will stay put on your table or workbench. We found these trays to be relatively sturdy, so they are a low-cost step up from our budget pick if you want a little more durability. They can be used with Second Sun Hydroponics humidity domes and insert packs, which will fit perfectly. Besides being recycled, they are also made in the USA, which some patriotic gardeners might prefer!
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Bootstrap Farmer Starter Tray

Review
Every drip tray or flood tray needs a plant tray on top! These standard 1020 hydroponic seedling trays have 72 cells for seedlings. Each cell measures 1.5x1.5 inches and is 2 inches deep. The trays are available in 10-packs and 60-packs. You can also choose from bundles that include starter trays, drip trays or “flats,” and humidity domes. You can get two or ten trays with matching domes and flats, or ten trays with flats and no domes. These grow trays have drain holes and can be used with hydroponic growing mediums or traditional soil. Similar trays from Bootstrap Farmer are also available in 32-cell, 128-cell, and 200-cell combinations. The Bootstrap Farmer hydroponic seedling tray is incredibly durable and made to last for years to come. They can be stacked on top of one another easily but can handle a lot of weight without cracking. The multi-tray packs and all-in-one tray/dome/flat packs are ideal for beginners or people who need to stock up on high-quality hydroponics equipment!
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Second Sun Seedling Tray

Review
If you’re looking for budget hydroponic seedling trays, these tray packs from Second Sun Hydroponics should be calling to you! The trays are available in several different configurations of cells and depths. The rigid plastic design means they can be used without a 1020 drip tray, but they will still fit in a shallow 1020 germination tray if you want. The 98-cell 1020 tray is a great choice for seedlings with cells that measure 1.34x1.34 inches around and 2 inches deep. Each cell has ribbed sides to improve transplant growth and prevent root circling. Besides a 5-pack of these 1020 98-cell trays, you can also get 5-packs of 128-cell, 162-cell, 200-cell, 288-cell, 392-cell, 406-cell, and 512-cell trays! Phew. Other options include 5-inch deep 50-cell trays, 3-inch deep star-shaped 72-cell trays, round and square 50-cell trays, and square 72-cell trays. These packs of multiple trays in so many different configurations give you a lot of options for starting plants as well as helping them mature! Whatever you’re growing and however much of it, you have a lot of plug tray choices here.
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Thunder Acres 1020 Growing Tray

Review
Looking to add a pop of color to your greenhouse? These standard 1020 growing trays from Thunder Acres are available in blue and pink. Having different colored trays can allow you to set up a color-coding system based on plant type, growth stage, or any other way you want. The trays are made from durable plastic and have a slight flex. They have drain channels, but no drain holes and the trays measure 2.5 inches deep. You can find them in packs of 2, 5, 10, and 20. These are a good and affordable middle-of-the-line upgrade from flimsy plastic trays and are easy to keep track of, too! Thunder Acres features a one-year warranty on these trays as well. These colorful growing trays are ideal for seedlings, sprouts, grass, and micro greens. They can take some abuse, although ABS plastic is generally recommended for being less brittle and more impact-resistant overall. They are a good choice for light to medium use if you want to move them around once in a while, but leave them be if you fill them with heavy plants.
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Botanicare Grow Tray

Review
This flood tray for hydroponics features deep drain channels and an overall depth of 5-6 inches. Since it is made from thick ABS plastic, it is durable and impact-resistant. The 2x4 foot size of this flood tray makes it more than twice the size of your average 1020 tray, and these trays are sold individually rather than in packs. They are available in black or white, and in 2x2 foot and 3x3 foot sizes as well. A white flood tray can be a good option for outdoor use since they reflect more light and heat than black trays, so they don’t get quite as hot in the sun. Something to keep in mind is that these trays are actually closer to 42 inches long rather than 48 inches! We suspect the model name was rounded up to 2x4 for simplicity’s sake, but that “four” is more like 3.5! While most standard 1020 trays should fit in this flood tray, make sure to measure your growing trays just to make sure they’ll work well together. If you want a 2x4 flood table that’s actually 2x4 feet, you may prefer Hydrofarm tray we reviewed above!
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Second Sun Seed Starting Tray

Review
You can use these trays from Second Sun Hydroponics for starting seedlings or as grow trays to capture excess water. The black 1020 tray has drain holes, while the white 1020 tray option does not. The trays can be purchased in packs of 5, 10, 25, or 50. They are 2.375 inches deep and made from thermoformed UV-resistant recycled plastic. We found the trays to be durable, but with some flex, so they are a good choice for moving seedlings and young plants around the greenhouse. Second Sun Hydroponics also offers compatible inserts and humidity domes if you want to get all of your hydroponics materials at once! If you want a mix of tray types, the color-coded trays (black with drain holes, white without drain holes) can help you stay organized if you need a mix of trays for different purposes. These trays are stackable, too, and great for a range of hydroponic applications.
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