Aeroponics is a very popular method of indoor growing. It is very comparable to hydroponics but it still has some characteristics that separates it from the rest of the crowd. Hydroponics is distinguished from other types of growing by having complete control over the nutrient supply to the plant. By not using soil, the grower is able to make specific measurements and adjustments to modify the nutrients the plant is receiving. Aeroponics follows along these same lines, so it could be said that it is a type of hydroponics.
The big difference between aeroponics and hydroponics then, is really the medium you are growing your plants in. Aeroponics, as the name might imply, uses air as the growing medium where as hydroponics uses coco, hydroton, rockwool, or other comparable mediums which the plant roots grow into. Aeroponic systems work by hanging the root system into a high humidity spacious area, typically with some type of sprinkler system that keeps the roots wet and supplied with ample nutrients.
By using air as your growing medium, you are able to maximize oxygen availability to the roots of your plants. This can be a great advantage and does lead to increased growth in shorter periods of time. By being able to completely control the nutrients being delivered to the plant, combined with the very high level of oxygen, the grower is able to see growth and development unparalleled to any other system. Most growers would agree that the aeroponic system is the most efficient, highest yielding system available for these very reasons.
However, it isn't all positives with this system. If you have problems or mess something up, it can make that much of a bigger impact on your success. This is a very touchy system, and because the plants are hanging in air, if you have any problem with your pump or sprinkler system you could easily kill a plant in a very short period of time. This problem isn't nearly as severe with other systems because the growth medium gives the grower a buffer in cases of big mistakes.
By evaluating both the positives and negatives of this system, you can decide for yourself if it is the type of system you would like to use. I would strongly recommend building your own system, because it can be done for less than $100 and it really doesn't take much time and is not difficult to do.
For DIY Aeroponics, click this link. For any other homemade hydroponics, click this link.