Choosing hydroponic equipment and finding the best hydroponic system for your grow needs:
There are a couple of paths you can take on setting up shop initially. For me, I took the route of studying first, asking advice, reading a several growing manuals, watching my fair share of free Youtube instructional videos and incorporating all of my research into designing a system that I built with several trips to a hardware store and the gardening section at Walmart. Sure, it took me a little while to get up and running, but I saved money (I think), and in the end I was more knowledgeable and confident in cranking up operation of my grow room. After all, we all love things we bring to life a lot more than something we just go out and purchase.
That being said, commercial hydroponic systems sold in kits at your local hydroponics store are a great way to go for many first time growers who want to get growing as fast as possible. I say this largely because, if you´ve got the money to plunk out, the better kits will come with reliable instructions on set up, aeration, pot sizes, growing medium, watering, cleaning, pH maintenance and monitoring, and in many case, the kits come with starter nutrients.
In order of increasing complexity, the basic types of systems out there you will need to choose from (whether you plan to build it or buy it) are as follows: Ebb-and-flow, Deep-Water, Drip Irrigation and Aeroponics. When I say "complexity," I´m talking about number of parts, difficulty of assembly, and probably what I consider most important, difficulty level in cleaning/propensity to develop clogs. Don´t be too afraid of clogs or buildups as these are easy to stay on top of if you follow a regular and responsible cleaning and reservoir change out schedule. Like anything else, if you neglect your system for longish periods of time you run the risk of clogging your pipes and jeopardizing clean water and nutrient delivery to your babies. Later, I´ll be getting into some more detail regarding the more specific differences on types of systems out there.