The Best Microgreen Trays in 2021: Sizes, Quality, & Types

by Chenell | Last Updated: April 12, 2021

Growing microgreens can be an awesome hobby, or a great way to start a business doing something you love. But one of the main tools microgreen growers need, aside from seeds of course, are microgreen trays (also called germination trays). Microgreens grow on trays, that’s generally just how it works 🙂

You want to have one tray with drainage holes where you actually put your soil or seed starting mix, and place that inside of another tray that doesn’t have drainage holes.

Microgreen Trays & Sizes

There are quite a few different sizes for germination trays that you are likely to find.

10×20 Trays

Photo Credit: Bootstrap Farmer

Also called “The OG” size (kidding). The standard size for microgreen growing trays is 10 x 20 inches, and are also called “1020 trays.” But keep in mind that not all 10×20 trays are created equal. That’s kind of frustrating right? Well, it is when you aren’t aware of it.

These sized trays fit well next to each other on a cart, which is why they are quite popular with microgreens growers.

10×10 Trays

Photo Credit: Bootstrap Farmer

A more square shape that are good for smaller spaces or breaking up different types of seeds you’ll be growing. The same applies here as does the 10×20 trays – just because it says it’s a 10×10 inch tray, check the fine print and details as the sizes might be slightly off.

These will also fit well on a cart or shelving unit, as they are just half the length of the standard 1020 trays.

Microgreen Tray Depth

Trays vary in depth, and while most will work together, this is a big consideration and not something to gloss over.

Shallow microgreen trays tend to work better when you go to cut the microgreens, but they aren’t exactly easy to find.

A lot of “standard” 10×20 trays are 2-3 inches deep, which can make it hard to harvest the greens the way you want them.

Bootstrap Farmer is one of the companies that makes shallow trays for microgreens, and I’ll explain more on those towards the bottom of this page. This can generally increase yields when you go to harvest as well because you can get a little more of the root system in your product.

If you’re starting seeds indoors for eventual transplantation into your garden, you’ll probably want to forego the shallow trays for something deeper that can hold more soil and roots at the plant base.

Drainage Holes or No Drainage Holes

You’ve probably seen these two types already if you’ve done any searching for trays. Some have holes in the bottom and some don’t. It’s that simple, but it’s also something you can forget about quite easily if you’re not paying attention.

Depending on your microgreen setup, you’re probably going to need a combination of growing trays that have bottom holes and ones that don’t.

Planting Trays – a tray with holes in it for proper drainage

Watering Trays – the tray you put the planting tray in to water your seeds from the bottom

A lot of people will put their seeds and soil in a tray with the drainage holes so they can make sure the soil isn’t staying too damp, and then place those inside of a tray without holes to keep water from leaking all over the place.

This is also a good setup for bottom watering your microgreens. Many microgreen growers will probably tell you its best to water from the bottom to avoid mold and fungus issues with overwet microgreens. I would agree here as you’re also removing good air flow from the plant base when you’re letting them sit in unused water.

How Many Do You Need?

This is where planning comes in. It’s best to know how many of these trays you’re going to need before you go ahead and purchase them. Of course, you can always buy more, but there are a lot of places that offer bulk discounts for purchased 10 or more trays.

Quality and Durability

This is a big one to consider when buying your trays.

Are you going to be growing microgreens for years to come, or is this a one time experiment you recently got excited about?

If you’re going to be doing this for a while or are planning on running a microgreens business, then you’re going to want to spend a little more to get better quality trays. The cheap ones might cost half the price, but only last one season, while the “more expensive” ones will last 5+ years.

It’s a no-brainer which one to go with as long as you plan to be growing microgreens for at least 2-3 years. Also, it’s just good for the environment to not be looking at everything as a one-time use item and instead using it again and again.

If this is a test, go ahead and jump on Amazon and just grab some trays that are in the middle of the road when it comes to price and get good reviews.

BPA-Free Plastic

This is something I won’t budge on when it comes to growing any kinds of plants. The plastic needs to be BPA Free. This is why I won’t use red plastic cups if I didn’t see the packaging first. BPA is not something to mess around with and I’m not really interested in those chemicals leaching into my plant starts or microgreens.

If you’re going to be selling these, you’re going to want to get trays made from food grade plastic, which will naturally be BPA-Free.

Colored or Black

Some companies like Bootstrap Farmer, sell colored microgreen trays which is great to help you keep track of which trays have which seed, which ones were started when, or which trays are using which soil if you’re running tests. The possibilities are endless! 🙂

Top Brands that Sell Microgreens Trays

1. Bootstrap Farmer

I love Bootstrap Farmer for buying microgreens trays because they make it super easy to understand what you’re buying. You can select with holes, or without holes, and they’re up front about the depth and length of all their products.

They also sell shallow microgreens trays making it easier for you to harvest your greens. As I mentioned above, 2-3 inch deep trays are not uncommon, and they also sell those sizes for seed starting, so make sure you’re getting the shallow microgreens trays when your place your order.

Top Pick
Bootstrap Farmer

The best trays on the market, hands down. 

You can select trays with holes, or without holes, many sizes and depth options as well. They do sell out frequently, so you may have to wait a few weeks to order the ones you need. 

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2. Paperpot Trays

These are considered the best on the market in terms of durability and easy of use. But they are much more expensive and come in 11×22 inch flats instead of the standard 10×20.

3. Handy Pantry

These trays are BPA-Free and would be what I was referring to when I said they were “middle of the road” in terms of price.

They get good reviews and are sturdy, but they’re not going to be the same quality as the two companies above.

Handy Pantry 5-Pack 1020 Garden Growing Trays
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4. True Leaf Market

5. Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace

You can usually find gardener’s or microgreens growers who ended up ordering too many trays or sadly have gone out of business and are selling their extra trays online.

No matter where you get your microgreen trays, always make sure you sanitize them before using them. If you had issues with fungus or bacteria in the past, or even if you didn’t or aren’t sure, it’s always a good idea to make sure your medium or containers are clean so you’re not spreading that environment around to future plants.

Chenell lived in a big city for 9 years and loved it. But ever since she was a little kid watching her grandfather raise cattle and pigs, she's always wanted to live on a farm. Once the pandemic hit, she bought a house with her partner on an acre and half of land and started planning a 50 foot by 50 foot garden....with no experience. This site is the place where you can follow along as this millennial tries to learn to grow her own food (and eventually make her own avocado toast).