Best Seed Starting Trays of 2023

We’ve started a lot of seeds over the years and decided to compile a list of the best seed starting trays. Let’s start with our absolute favorite, the Burpee SuperSeed 16XL.

Our Favorite

Burpee SuperSeed 16XL

When it comes to durability these trays are superior. Your seedlings can grow large in the 2″x2″x2″ cells, plenty of room for roots and less transplanting. The large drain holes and silicone bottoms make it easy to pop out your seedlings. Give these a try, we know you’ll love them as much as we do!

And one of our favorite features… the alphanumerical grid, that Burpee calls the Plant-o-Gram, allows you to keep track of what seeds you’ve sown without using plant tags. Even though there’s no humidity dome included, we found that 2 of these trays side-by-side can be covered by a standard 10×20 dome.

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Sure, you could just go to the nursery and purchase seedlings, but what fun is that? Not only will you miss out on the joy and satisfaction of watching your seeds sprouts. On top of that, the garden centers usually only carry run of the mill plant varieties. If you want to grow something unique, you’ll need to start seeds in a high-quality seed starting mix.

We know it can be difficult to navigate all the options when choosing seed starter trays. But having the right tools for the job can eliminate frustration and lead to success. Seedling trays come in many shapes and sizes; some even include accessories. To help you narrow down your choice, we reviewed the best seed starting trays and listed their advantages and disadvantages.

Best Seed Starting Trays

ComboSoligt Seed Starting Package

Small TraysYAUNGEL Seed Starter Trays

ReusableBurpee SuperSeed 36 Cell Trays

BiodegradableEco Pots Biodegradable Trays

Self WateringBurpee Self-Watering Seed Starter Tray

Seed Starting KitJiffy Seed Starting Greenhouse

Beginner TraysGardzen 200 Cell Propagator Kit


Thing to Consider When Choosing the Best Seed Starting Trays


Most seed starting trays are made of plastic. However, not all plastics are the same. Some seed trays are made of thin plastic, while others are thicker and more durable, lasting through many growing seasons. For those who don’t like the idea of ​​using plastic, we’ve listed some biodegradable organic seed trays. Just remember, you have to buy new trays every season when choosing biodegradable options.

Seed trays should also provide good drainage so that your seed starting mix doesn’t stay too damp. Too much moisture and your seeds may mold under the soil and never germinate. If they germinate, the overly damp soil can lead to problems like dampening off where the seedling basically rots off at soil level.

Amount of cells

Some seed starting trays have only a few cells, while other trays are one piece and fit into a standard 10″x20″ watering tray. Personally, I prefer small cell clusters to large one-piece trays. Since some vegetables go to the garden earlier than others, planting the seeds in separate cell groups eliminates the need to carry a whole large tray around the garden.

Cell size

The size of seed cells you need depends on the type of plants you want to grow and how long you want to grow them in seed trays. Most vegetables can be started in standard 1.5 inch seed cells. For larger vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, etc., a cell 2 inches or larger in diameter would be ideal.


Humidity Dome – The use of a humidity dome is recommended. They help a lot in seed germination. As with seed trays, not all moisture domes are created equal. Vented humidification domes are ideal, but not necessary.

Seedling Heat Mat – Depending on what type of plants you’ll be growing; a seedling heat mat can be invaluable. Warm weather vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes need the soil to be over 75F to germinate properly. NOTE: Always use a temperature control thermostat with a heat mat.

Plant Tags – As you sow your seeds, you’ll need to label the cells. Plant tags can be inexpensive plastic plant tags or nice wooden markers. You could even use a popsicle stick.

How We Rated the Best Seed Starting Trays?

We base our product recommendations on many factors such as durability, construction, capacity, functionality, and any accessories included. You’ll find that we list products by best-in-class, which allows us to fairly compare items such as plastic vs. biodegradable trays. In addition, some gardeners may have other needs as well. By providing the best-in-class recommendations, we can ensure that everyone can find a seed tray that suits their specific needs.

60-Cell (x2) Seed Starter Combo

Best Combo
best seed starting trays combo with heat mats and humidity dome

Sturdy plastic trays and tall, vented humidity domes fit together tightly. We love the fact that this combo includes the heat mats. Just add soil and you’re ready to go with this setup.

MaterialThick Plastic
Tray Size10″ x 16″
Number of Cells60 (x2 trays) – Total of 120 cells
Cell Size1.5″W x 1.5″L x 2″D


  • Durable, long-lasting construction
  • Tight fitting humidity dome
  • Adjustable vents on humidity dome
  • Two heat mats included
  • Watering trays included


  • Tray size is not the standard 10×20

Burpee SuperSeed 36 Cell Seed Starter Tray

Best Reusable Trays
burpee superseed best seed starting trays

Same great features as their big brother, the 16XL with more, but smaller cells. TIP: We found that two of these side by side can be covered by a standard 10″x20″ humidity dome.

MaterialThick Plastic and Flexible Silicone
Tray Size11.5″ x 10.5″
Number of Cells36
Cell Size1.5″W x 1.5″L x 2″D


  • Extremely durable plastic
  • Easy to remove seedling
  • Flexible silicone cells won’t crack
  • Side handles for lifting
  • Dishwasher safe


  • No humidity dome included

Seed Starter Trays 10 Pack, (120 Cells)

Best Small Trays
best small seed starting trays with humidity domes

Having 12 cells per tray makes it easy to scale up your seed starting to size. A 3.5″ high vented humidity dome for each tray. They even include a couple seed planting tools.

MaterialReusable Plastic
Tray Size6.5″ x 5″
Number of Cells12 per tray (120 total)
Cell Size1.2″W x 1.2″L x 2″D


  • Clear plastic cells for easy root monitoring
  • Vented humidity dome for every tray
  • Each tray easily fits on a windowsill
  • Includes 20 plastic plant tags
  • Comes with seedling Dibber and Widger


  • Cell size is a bit smaller than average
  • Only one drain hole per cell
  • Only 20 plant tags for 120 cells

100 Biodegradable Seed Cells

Best Biodegradable
best biodegrable seed starting trays

This is an eco-friendly option. Made from natural 100% biodegradable paper. Just cut the cells apart and plant the pot. Decomposing paper will act as a natural fertilizer.

MaterialBiodegradable Paper
Tray Size8.5″ x 3″
Number of Cells10 per tray (100 total)
Cell Size1.4″W x 1.4″L x 1.75″D


  • Environmentally friendly
  • Can be cut apart to plant the pot
  • Helps prevent transplant shock
  • Includes 10 plant tags
  • Comes with seedling Dibber and Widger


  • Not reusable
  • Flimsy when wet
  • Only 10 plant tags for 100 cells

Burpee Self-Watering Seed Starter Tray, 72 Cells

Best Self Watering
best self watering seed starting trays

No worry that your seedlings drying out while you’re away with this self-watering seed starting tray. Includes coco coir pellets. We’ve had great success when using this tray.

MaterialReusable Plastic
Tray Size10″ x 20″
Number of Cells72
Cell Size1.5″W x 1.5″L x 2″D


  • Large amount of cells
  • Includes coco coil pellets
  • No worry about seedlings drying out
  • No need for plant markers
  • Humidity dome included


  • All cells are connected
  • Durable but thin plastic construction

Ferry Morse Jiffy Seed Starting Greenhouse, 72 Cells

Best Seed Starting Kit
best seed starting trays kit with peat pellets

Two trays, two humidity domes, and 144 peat pellets make this seed starting kit a real bargain. Compressed pellets expand with water. Plant the peat pellets into your garden.

MaterialReusable Plastic
Tray Size11″ x 21″
Number of Cells72 seedlings per tray (144 total)
Cell Size1.4″W x 1.4″L x 1.85″D


  • Less mess when using the peat pellets
  • Easy to bottom water
  • Large capacity
  • Includes humidity domes
  • SUPERthrive Plant Vitamin sample included


  • Peat pellets are one time use
  • Easy to overwater

Gardzen 200 Cell Propagator Set

Best Beginner Trays
best seed starting trays 5 pack combo

These thin plastic cell trays are great for those dipping their feet into seed starting. You get a lot of cells with this 5-pack of trays and humidity domes.

MaterialReusable Plastic
Tray Size9″ x 14.5″
Capacity40 cells per tray (200 total)
Pellet Size1.5″W x 1.5″L x 2″D pellets when expanded


  • Fair price for the amount what’s included
  • Lots of cells per tray
  • Includes humidity domes
  • Comes with seedling Dibber and Widger


  • Thin plastic, will melt in the sun
  • Not standard 10×20 trays

Final Thoughts

We always list our favorite product at the top of the page, in this case it’s the Burpee SuperSeed 16XL. We feel that the durability, functionality, and cell size of these seed starting trays is superior and will suite the needs of most gardeners. However, for those on a budget or just starting out, the Gardzen trays are the most cost-effective choice and it even includes humidity domes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose the best seed starting trays?

The perfect seed tray can be a matter of opinion. You may prefer large trays with lots of small cells, while another gardener might prefer smaller trays with larger cells. We encourage you to read the product reviews on this page. We will show you the advantages and disadvantages of each product.

Does it save money starting seeds?

Consider this…a packet of seeds that will grow 20 plants may only buy one or two seedlings from a nursery. Of course, there will be an initial investment in equipment. However, buying quality planting tools that will give you years of enjoyment will pay for itself in no time.

How many seed starting trays do I need?

Once you have figured out how many plants you will have in your garden, there are a few things to consider. Some gardeners choose to grow multiples of each plant in case some seedlings don’t survive. However, this requires more trays. To save space, many gardeners choose to plant more seeds per cell. This reduces the number of seed starting trays needed and ensures at least one of your seeds will sprout. If there are many seeds growing in each cell, you can remove the weakest seedlings later.

Do I need a humidity dome?

A humidity dome will increase your chances of success when growing from seed. Even some of the best seed starter trays don’t come with a humidity dome, but these can be purchased separately for a reasonable price.

Should I use a seedling heat mat?

Cold-weather crops like spinach, lettuce, and other leafy greens don’t need a heat mat as long as the temperature you start planting at is above 60 F. For warm climate plants like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc., keep the soil temperature at 75-80 F for the best germination time and rate. If you can’t reach these temperatures naturally, consider investing in a seedling heat mat and thermostat. NOTE: ALWAYS use a temperature controller (thermostat) with the heating pad. They are not always included with heating mats, but a thermostat that controls the temperature can be purchased separately. Using the heat mat without a thermostat will most likely result in the seed overheating.

Can I reuse seed starting trays?

With the exception of biodegradable trays, most of the best seed starting trays are reusable if caution is taken when removing seedlings. Even the cheapest plastic trays can be used over and over again. However, we recommend Burpee SuperSeed seed starting trays for ease of use and maximum life.


I hope this review has been helpful in finding the best seed starter trays for your application. If you are looking for seeds to fill your trays, please feel free to visit our seed store.

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