Test: The 10 best irrigation systems

The Content Of The Article:

If you're traveling for a few days, your plant welfare needs either a very nice neighbor or a trusted irrigation system. Stiftung Warentest has tested various irrigation systems for balcony, terrace and indoor plants in the June 2017 issue, and evaluated products ranging from good to poor. We would like to introduce you to the ten best irrigation systems of the test.

Test procedure and test criteria

Nice of the test carried out is that it was carried out under real conditions. Real hobby gardeners got the systems to be tested and the same plants. For the balcony there were, for example, pink-flowering magic bells (Calibrachoa), which are known to like to have a little more water, and the houseplants the frugal cannon flower (Pilea), which were allowed to serve as test objects. Then the irrigation systems were installed according to the instructions for use and a long-term test was carried out over several weeks.

The following were evaluated:

  • Irrigation (45%) - High and low water demand indicator plants have been used to check which plants and periods of time the respective systems are suitable for
  • Handling (40%) - Installation according to instructions for use and making the settings as well as uninstalling and rebuilding were checked
  • Shelf life (10%) - Occurring defects during the endurance test
  • Safety, Protection against water damage (5%) - Safety check for hazards

A total of sixteen products from four groups were launched:

  • Automatic systems for balcony and terrace
  • Small tank irrigation systems for balconies and terraces
  • Automatic systems for indoor plants
  • Small tank irrigation systems for indoor plants

This division into different groups makes sense, because comparing all products directly with each other would have been difficult due to the different technology. Some products require power for pumps and magnetic switches, while others are very simple and work only through a water reservoir. In addition, not every product should be used equally for indoor and outdoor plants. Especially in the case of the latter, the water requirement is much higher in the summer, which is why not every product comes into question. To get an overview of the water needs of the respective plants, this was also determined by the testers: The houseplants were quite frugal with about 70 milliliters per day, whereas the balcony flowers in sunshine with 285 milliliters per day needed four times the water.

We only present you the ten products that have been rated as good, as some irrigation systems showed significant deficiencies.

Automatic irrigation systems for balcony and terrace

Illustration of automatic irrigation systems

Illustration of current-driven automatic irrigation systems

In this segment, three products were convincing, two of which need to be powered because they work with submersible pumps, and one works with clay cones and a higher placed water tank.

Gardena flower box irrigation 1407

The Gardena Irrigation Set 1407 supplies 25 droppers via a hose system, which are distributed in the planter according to the needs of the plants. The practical thing is that the system can be easily set via a menu on the transformer. Here you can select different time programs and thus regulate time and amount of water delivery. The installation is easy by hand, but you should consider carefully before laying the hose system, how to be laid, since the supplied hose is adapted or cut. In the long-term test, the system was able to convince and was able to ensure the water supply even over several weeks. In the case of a longer absence, however, it should also be remembered that a suitable water reservoir for the submersible pump is needed or a neighbor comes to refill. The system also needs to be powered, which requires an external outlet on the balcony or terrace. The price of around 135 euros is not low, but its ease of use and ease of use justify it.
Quality rating: Good (2.1)

Gardena irrigation system 1407

Blumat drip system 6003

The Blumat drip system works without a pump and thus without electricity. In this system, the water is forced into the tubing by the pressure of a higher placed water reservoir. In the planter adjustable clay cones regulate the water supply to the plants. The installation is not very easy due to the placement of a higher water reservoir, but it is well described in the enclosed instructions for use. The delivery includes ten droppers (other variants available in stores). These must be watered and adjusted before commissioning, so that the water flow is reliably guaranteed.Built and adjusted the Blumat drip system, however, is very confidence-inspiring, since it eliminates the source of electricity and it reliably supplies the plants with water for several weeks. With a price of around 65 euros, it is also attractively priced.
Quality rating: Good (2,3)

Irrigation system Drip-Blumat 6003

Gib Industries irrigation set Economy

The third set in the bundle allows the supply of about 40 plants by permanently installed tubes of the same length. Although this facilitates the installation, it limits the distance significantly, which is why the plants should ideally be arranged around the pumping system. Due to the limited range of 1.30 meters per hose, the system collects negative points despite its simple installation. In addition, it works via a pumping system and must therefore be connected to the house power. In the endurance test, this system can ensure the water supply for several weeks, but the less user-friendly operation leads to negative points.
Quality rating: Good (2,4)

Gib Industries Economy Irrigation Kit

Small tank irrigation systems for balconies and terraces

Behind the segment hides flower pots and pots that have an internal water reservoir to provide the plants with water for several days. The low price makes them particularly attractive, but ideally the trips should not last longer than a week, as otherwise hot water temperatures could lead to water scarcity.

Geli Aqua Green Plus (80 cm)

The 80 centimeter long flower box by Geli is very practical oriented and in classic colors (for example, terracotta, brown or white) to have. He almost in a double bottom about five liters of water to supply the plants. Through funnel-shaped depressions in the intermediate floor, the plants gain access to the water reservoir and can extract the required water without the risk of waterlogging. If there is a heavy rain shower, you also do not have to worry about the balcony box overflowing. Two overflows ensure that it stays in the reservoir with a maximum of five liters. In this way, the plants are also reliably protected against waterlogging and are reliably supplied with water between nine and eleven days, depending on the weather. Also in terms of handling, the Aqua Green Plus is ahead and has received as the only product the grade "very good". At a price of around 11 euros a practical investment for the balcony.
Quality rating: Good (1.6)

Geli Aqua Green Plus

Emsa Casa Mesh Aqua Comfort (75 cm)

With a length of 75 centimeters and a four-liter water reservoir, it is still a stately flower box, visually appealing in comparison to the Geli product, thanks to its wickerwork structure and various fashionable color options. The water reservoir is also separated here by a shelf from the filled earth. Unlike the product by Geli, the water rises here but by introduced fleece strips upwards. Safety procedures like the Aqua Green Plus are also available, but they have to be drilled out first - which is recommended. Also in the handling of the Emsa product is the Geli barely and could enter here good reviews. The slightly smaller water reservoir is enough to supply the plants with water for eight to nine days. For the prettier design, however, you have to dig a little deeper into your pocket with around 25 euros.
Quality rating: Good (1.9)

Emsa Casa Mesh Aqua Comfort

Lechuza Classico Color 21

This model is not a classic planter, but a planter with a round base. The tested variant is 20.5 centimeters high. The base has a diameter of 16 centimeters and widens up to 21.5 centimeters. Again, the soil is separated from the water reservoir with a double bottom, but in the reservoir still a water-conducting granular layer is introduced, which can absorb about 800 milliliters of water. Also with this vessel was thought of an overflow function, so that no waterlogging arises. The model is available in various, fashionable color and size variants. The tested product is suitable for plants up to a height of about 50 centimeters and provides them with water for five to seven days. The price of around 16 euros is not necessarily cheap, but seems to be justified by processing and function.
Quality rating: Good (2.1)

Lechuza Classico Color 21

Automatic irrigation systems for indoor plants

Even though indoor plants need less water than plants on the balcony or terrace, they can not be left alone for days. Those planning a longer trip beyond the two weeks should resort to automated irrigation systems.

Gardena Set Holiday Watering 1266

The Gardena product can shine here - as it does for outdoor use. In a nine-liter tank, there is a pump that reliably irrigates up to 36 plants for several weeks via a distribution system. Particularly practical: The system has three different distributors with 12 outlets, which can be used to set different watering supplies and thus supply plants with different needs as needed.With 9 meters of distribution and 30 meters of drip hoses a sufficiently large range is given from the tank. Irrigation is done once a day for 60 seconds, depending on the setting. Despite the comparatively large number of parts, the installation and adjustment of the amount of water is easy due to the detailed instructions for use and simple operation. However, the comfort is not very cheap - so you have to expect a purchase price of around 135 euros.
Quality rating: Good (1.8)

Gardena Holiday Irrigation 1266

Bambach Blumat 12500 F (6 pieces)

Without power, the Blumat clay cones come out. Their functioning is purely physical: The dry soil surrounding the clay cone creates a suction effect that draws the water out of the supply hoses. One thing to watch out for, though, is the height at which the water tank is set up - something has to be tested here to ensure that the inflow works well. The user manual explains the operation and installation well, so there are no problems with the commissioning and the price of around 15 Euro per pack of 6 is very appealing. Also, this system is able to provide plants with water for several weeks.
Quality rating: Good (1.9)

Bambach Blumat 12500 F

Claber Oasis Self-Watering System 8053

The large 25-liter tank is not completely inconspicuous with its dimensions of about 40 x 40 x 40 centimeters and must be placed by its operation also 70 centimeters above the plants to be watered. A 9-volt battery then controls a solenoid valve, which, after one of four selectable programs, allows water to flow to up to 20 plants. Due to the placement requirement, the size and the somewhat limited program selection, the system gets a few points in the handling deducted, but can convince by the good irrigation performance. The price of around 90 euros is also still in the frame.
Quality rating: Good (2.1)

Claber Oasis Self-Watering System 8053

Small tank irrigation systems for indoor plants

If you are only traveling for a short time, small tank systems for individual plants are a good alternative to the hose systems. Unfortunately, only one product could really convince in this category.

Scheurich B├Ârdy XL Water Reserve

The B├Ârdy is visually a very funny eye-catcher, but also knows how to convince in practice. For nine to eleven days, the 600-milliliter bird reliably supplies a houseplant with water. The mode of operation here is also physical again: If the surrounding earth dries out, an imbalance arises in the clay cone and it lets water escape into the earth until it is supplied with water again. Thanks to its easy handling and good functionality, the B├Ârdy also manages to garner the best rating. At a price of around 10 euros, it is a practical home help for owners of less plants.
Quality rating: Good (1.6)

Scheurich B├Ârdy XL Water Reserve

Test Result

If you are out of the house for a short time (one to two weeks), you can safely resort to irrigation systems with a water reservoir. The products are reasonably priced and do their job reliably. For a longer absence (from the second week) it makes sense to think about more complex technical systems. Thanks to good quality and performance, the Gardena products for indoors and outdoors were able to score points here - even if the price of around ÔéČ 130 each is not from bad parents. If you want to avoid the danger of electricity, you should use physically working systems with clay cones. These also perform their work reliably and cost depending on the number of required cone much less.

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