8 Best Seed Starter Kits to Jump Start the Perfect Garden in 2023
Have you ever planted your garden in the spring only to find some plants germinated while the rest were wasted seeds? If you want to assist your seeds in germination, consider purchasing a seed starter kit. A seed starter kit allows you to begin growing in the winter months before you plant anything in the ground or your planters.
Whether you’re purchasing seedlings from a nursery or a local garden store, nursing seeds into delicious vegetables or stunning flora is much easier with a little help in the early stages. But there are so many options that it may feel overwhelming for new gardeners to know what to look for when purchasing the best seed starter kit.
Luckily, I have sorted the list into different categories, so you can find the best product for your needs. Read on to see the best seed starter kits and tips on considerations before purchasing a product.
The overall winner of the best seed starter kit goes to the Gardzen 40-cell plant tray, as it has everything you will need to assist your seeds to maturity. Gardzen packs its product with base trays and domed lids, so you don’t need to provide many additional accessories.
For anyone on a budget, the Burpee seed starter tray eschews some bells and whistles to give you the necessities at a competitive price. If you have other specifications in mind, you’re sure to find the perfect kit for you, plus a few tips on growing healthy seedlings.
1. Overall Best Seed Starter Kit: Gardzen 40-Cell Plant Tray (10 Pack)
Gardzen provides you with nearly everything you may need with its plant trays. If you opt for the 10-pack, you will have more than enough space to begin growing your seeds before the planting season commences.
While some may scoff at the plastic material, it’s surprisingly sturdy and reusable. As long you don’t overly abuse them, you should be able to use these trays for several seasons and not have to worry about breaking issues.
The domed lids will serve you well for nearly any seed you try to start. At 2.75 inches tall, you can fit most plants inside the tray until it is time to transfer. My only real con is the cell size. Since they’re smaller than some other products, you must transfer seedlings earlier than with other models. Avoid planting your seeds too early.
Material: Plastic | Capacity: 400 Cells | Cell Size: 1.4 x 1.4 x 1.85″ | Tray Dimensions: 14.5 x 9 x 1.85″
2. Best Budget Seed Starter Kit: Burpee Seed Starter Tray
Burpee is a favorite brand for many gardeners on a budget, and this seed tray is perfect for those looking to save money or just starting their first garden. While you have to provide light and heat for the seeds, this is an affordable choice that cultivates seeds of acceptable quality.
You won’t have to buy soil for this starter kit, as Burpee includes soil pellets with the product. Soil pellets take time to prepare, and I find the process tedious, but for those on a budget, there are few options as good as this one.
Compared to other higher-end models, your seedlings may be smaller, but they should have no issue surviving in an outdoor garden.
Material: Plastic | Capacity: 72 Cells | Cell Size: 1.5 x 1.5 x 2″ | Tray Dimensions: 10 x 20 x 2″
3. Best Seed Starter Kit on Amazon: Sili-Seedlings Seed Starting Tray
Sili-Seedlings is conscious of the damage disposable plastics do to our environment and made its best seed starter kit with silicone instead. The material is durable and reusable, plus you can even wash the kit in the dishwasher.
You can easily find this model in stock at Amazon, and Sili-Seedlings offers several color options. If you need to keep track of your seeds, just write the name on the side with a dry-erase marker. Once you transfer the seedlings, the writing is easy to erase with rubbing alcohol for labeling the next batch.
Keep in mind you only have six cells with each tray, meaning you should consider these for smaller gardens. Sizable gardens will require bigger models.
Material: Silicone | Capacity: 12 Cells | Cell Size: 2 x 2 x 2.25″ | Tray Dimensions: 6.25 x 4.25 x 2.75″
4. Best Seed Starter Kit With Grow Light: Yskea Seed Starter Tray With Light
If you don’t get much natural light in your house, you should opt for a seed starter tray with a grow light. Yskea has my favorite kit with a grow light. Yskea promises robust seedlings, and it includes a humidity dome to help you control the temperature along with light.
You need to provide the soil for this product, which may make this slightly more difficult for beginners. Aside from soil and heat, you have everything you need, including a base and dome. As far as one-stop solutions, this model from Yskea is one of my favorites.
The transparent trays are a nice touch; you can see the roots take hold to understand how your plants are growing. If you can stomach a slightly premium price, this is a top choice for the best seed starter kit with a grow light.
Material: Plastic | Capacity: 72 Cells | Cell Size: 1.5 x 1.5 x 2.1″ | Tray Dimensions: 5.7 x 7.25 x 2.1″ (Dome height: 3.9″)
5. Best Indoor Seed Starter Kit: Bonviee Seed Starter Tray Set
Bonviee manufactures one of the best indoor seed starter trays on the market. The primary gimmick of this model is its humidity control. You can adjust the domes on each tray to allow the correct humidity level for different types of seedlings.
This product is one of the best ways to start seeds indoors. The trays are compact, meaning they’re great for a crowded house. You can place several trays around the house in convenient locations, saving you space and avoiding clutter.
You receive plenty of cells with this model and ample room in the cells. The deep cells allow plants to germinate indoors longer than some other models. Giving your plants extra tender love before placing them in the garden may be the difference between a successful harvest and a flop.
Material: Plastic | Capacity: 120 Cells | Cell Size: 1.5 x 1.5 x 2″ | Tray Dimensions: 7 × 5.5 × 2″ (Dome size: 7.3 × 5.7 × 2″)
6. Best Countertop Seed Starter Kit: Burpee Self-Watering Starter Tray
Burpee has made the best countertop seed starter kit with its self-watering tray. The beauty of this model is it doesn’t require much maintenance. You fill the reservoir with water and allow the tray to take over.
Without the worry of over or underwatering your new seedlings, all you have to do is make sure your seed starter kit is in a warm area with plenty of indirect sunlight.
My only complaint is that the company provides pellets, which work well for growing seedlings. However, these pellets require an upfront time investment that some may need help with. Be ready to put in some work before you get seeds in the ground and begin the germination process.
Material: Plastic | Capacity: 72 Cells | Cell Size: 1.5 x 1.5 x 2″ | Tray Dimensions: 10 x 20 x 5″
7. Best Beginner Seed Starter Kit: Jiffy 36 Peat Pellet Seed Starting Greenhouse Kit
Jiffy is a trusted brand for gardeners who are new to seed germination. They know beginners don’t want to search for different components of a successful starter kit, so they packaged everything you need. If you’re just starting and haven’t developed your green thumb, this kit is a place to start.
You will find a simple-to-follow process included with this seed starting tray. All you need to do is prepare the pellets, add your seeds, and finally give everything enough tender love and care until they are ready for transplant. The process is as simple as they come and perfect for your first time.
Yet another benefit is the low upfront investment. You don’t have to break the bank to get your garden off the ground.
Material: Plastic | Capacity: 72 Cells | Cell Size: 1.4 x 1.4 x 2.5″ | Tray Dimensions: 21 x 11 x 2.5″
8. Best Volume Seed Starter Kit: Bootstrap 50 Cell Seedling Trays (10 Pack)
For bulk growers, Bootstrap’s seed starter kit is wonderful. One tray holds 50 cells, allowing you to start more seeds simultaneously than most other models. If you plan on growing a sprawling garden in the spring or summer, a high-volume tray like this one is my recommendation.
The Godzilla-like size is not the only ideal aspect. The cells are massive as well, measuring 1.75-inch x 1.75-inch square with a depth of 2.25 inches. The size allows you to keep your seedlings in the tray longer before transplanting them into the garden.
While it’s up to you to determine what constitutes expensive, some new gardeners will find this model to come with sticker shock. I recommend this for experienced gardeners looking to plant a large area.
Material: Plastic | Capacity: 500 Cells | Cell Size: 1.75 x 1.75 x 2.25″ | Tray Dimensions: 21.25 x 11 x 2.25″
What to Consider When Buying the Best Seed Starter Kit
Do you plan on growing a large garden or just a few planters out back? Seed starter kits come in different capacities, so match your needs with product size. If you want a smaller garden, a few seed-starting trays with several cells should get your garden started on the right foot. Buying a model too big for your needs will waste money and space.
With the correct starting mix, you can grow almost anything in any seed starter kit. Some seeds need longer germination periods or bigger cells to grow in. Research your particular plants to see what considerations you should make with your seed starter kit. You will find all the information you need on your seed packet.
I do not believe one seed starter kit material trumps any other. Each material has its advantages. Plastic is often reusable for multiple seasons. You can plant biodegradable trays directly into the soil, making transfers a breeze. Silicone trays are more durable than plastic and washable in the dishwasher.
Every option has its place on the best seed starter kit list, but the Gardzen 40-cell plant tray is the cream of the crop for seed planting trays, pun intended. The tray is durable and comes with almost every accessory you need to get your seeds started. Whether you are a new gardener or have planted many seasons, you will find something to like with this model.
Before I sign off, I have a few answers to your burning questions about seedlings and starter kits.
Is it better to start from seeds or seedlings?
Seedlings are easier to grow, as someone else does the difficult work of germination. Seeds are cheaper, and I find you leave with more satisfaction from growing directly from seeds. You can always use a mix of seedlings and seeds in your garden.
Is it better to start seeds in soil or water?
Generally speaking, you will want to start your seeds in the soil. The only time you may want to start your seeds in water is when cultivating a hydroponic garden. Ensure you keep the soil moist during the germination process.
What do I put under seedling trays?
You want to put a base tray under your seedlings to catch excess water. Without a base tray, you will have water leaking onto unwanted surfaces, and improper draining may affect your seeds. Always use a base tray when planting with seeding trays.