When it comes to hydroponics, DIY is nearly always better. You can build a hydroponic system for $100 that would cost you $900 pre-built at your local hydroponic store. Here are 2 specific setups that are incredibly cheap to build and very reliable.

5 Gallon Bucket Deep Water Culture

This system can be built very small (just 1 bucket) and expanded to as many buckets as you wish. For maximum growth you will want 1 air stone per bucket, so make sure you buy an air pump that has enough outlets. These setups are good for growing large plants, such as tomatoes, though they can also be used to grow smaller plants by cutting 3 to 6 2″ holes in the bucket lid and inserting 2″ net pots.

30 Gallon Tote Deep Water Culture

If you have plastic storage totes laying around your house, this can be a very cheap and reliable hydroponic setup. The primary advantage of this system over the 5 gallon bucket method is that it uses less air stones and net pots can be placed more densely, allowing the production of smaller plants.