For the starting (and experienced) cultivator it’s easy to get lost in all the possible nutrients that are offered online. To make a good comparison it’s useful to pick a few selection criteria in order to answer the question: which hydroponic nutrients to use? We list a few below.
Comfort or effectiveness?
A good question to ask yourself is whether you find comfort or best results/cost efficiency more important. For the starting grower a premixed solution might be a good idea. This always comes at a price though. You pay relatively more, and you possibly feed your plants suboptimally. At the other end of the comfort spectrum you can equip yourself with a PPM and PH meter. By carefully analysing all the aspects of the water, you can optimize accurately for maximum yield. A nice compromise is the complete nutrients set of Masterblend 4-18-38. The fact that it’s not premixed yet ensures an economic buy, and because the three components are delivered separately you can tweak the ratios of nitrogen and sulphate. You maintain the comfort because you don’t have to worry about PH and (in case you follow the mixing instructions), the ppm will be a breeze as well.
Liquid or solid hydroponic nutrients?
A logical question that follows from the last one is whether to use solid or liquid nutrients. The short answer is: solid. We explain it in detail here.
All-purpose or specific nutrients?
A question that often pops up is if it’s better to use generic all-purpose nutrients or more specific ones (for a specific growing phase, or specific plant). Every situation demands different solutions, but from our experience we have learned that in ~90% of cases an all purpose nutrient mix does the trick. As long as you keep a close eye to the mixing ratios, your tomatoes will be just as happy as your lettuce with a general kit.
Depending on your goals and experience as a cultivator, in ~90 of cases you can go for an all purpose nutrients set. Furthermore, for every grower it is a smart choice to buy solid nutrients rather than liquid ones. The only scenario where this is not a smart choice is if the mixing of the nutrients is too much effort. In every other case you are much better off with solid nutrition in terms of costs.