Whether you have an active Koi pond, a tumbling waterfall with statues that became your “Happy Place”, or a vibrant aquarium stocked with precious fish, a high-quality pump is a requirement for keeping your aquascape happy and healthy.
You can’t just purchase any old pond pump, though. You need the best pond pump that matches your exact specifications. It needs to move the right amount of water for the size of your pond or tank while also operating efficiently enough to avoid running up your energy bills.
Top 8 Best Pond Pumps In 2019
To help you save time, money, and the frustration of purchasing the wrong equipment, we have sifted through hundreds of different pumps available in 2019.
Each of our recommendations below come with pros and cons and help you dial in the pump you need to your exact requirements.
1. Little Giant Direct Drive Waterfall Pump - powerful Pump
If your aquascape features a stream or waterfall, the Little Giant Direct Drive is one of the best pond pumps for clear water you can buy. It is a direct drive pump capable of handling up to 4,280 gallons per hour.
The kit includes 16 feet of cord, and the pump can drive water up to 30 feet in the air. The direct-drive design means you can run both a vertical waterfall and a horizontal stream. This makes it an excellent choice for larger ponds with varied landscapes.
The pump also features a dual-discharge design so you can operate up to two water features at the same time. This feature saves you a ton of space and money by avoiding the requirement for running two pumps to achieve the same goal.
The body of the pump resists corrosion so you can use it as a submersible unit without worrying about rust or potential oil leaks.
- It is smaller than other pumps but just as powerful.
- It features a dual-discharge design for running multiple features.
- The kit is easy to install and maintain.
- The pump can move up to 4,300 gallons of water per hour.
- The inlet placement requires the use of an external filter.
- The unit can be challenging to clean if it gets clogged.
2. Tetra Pond Energy Efficient Debris-Handling Pond Pump - Energy Efficient
The Tetra Pond Debris-Handling Pump is another great buy. If your pond is pre-disposed to substantial amounts of debris, runoff, silt, and waste, the Tetra Pond Debris-Handling Pump can reduce the amount of time you spend maintaining your aquascape.
It’s built with a rugged design that helps resist blockages up to ¼” in size. It is designed for ponds in the 1,000 to 1,500-gallon range and can power your waterfall to a maximum height of 15 feet.
The pump’s internals utilizes a ceramic shaft that resists corrosion and water to help extend the lifespan and minimize maintenance. For reducing the amount of time you spend maintaining your pump and aquascape, this oil-free design is energy efficient and worth the money.
- The pump is easier to clean than many other models.
- It is incredibly powerful and energy-efficient.
- The pump is perfect for ponds that deal with large amounts of debris.
- It is less expensive than other comparable models.
- Tetra Pond backs each unit with a 2-year guarantee.
- The pump isn’t as powerful as some other units we’ve featured.
3. Little Giant WGP-65-PW Premium Pond Pump - Durable Pump
The Little Giant WGP-65-PW is the best pond pump for a small pond that we have found.
The pump is built with a dual-discharge design allowing you to run multiple water features at the same time. Whether you want to run a waterfall and a fountain or maintain proper flow under the surface of the water, it is incredibly versatile.
The unit can power up to 1,600 gallons per hour and utilizes a 16-foot power cord to propel water up to 16 feet into the air without losing voltage or overheating. It operates quietly and efficiently and, even though it is smaller than comparable pumps, is incredibly powerful.
If you have a smaller pond or want to operate multiple water features without breaking your budget, the Little Giant WGP-65-PW is an excellent choice.
- The pump is smaller and easier to install than other models.
- It is energy-efficient, powerful, and quiet.
- The unit is great for small ponds, under 1,500 gallons in size.
- A 3-year guarantee backs each pump.
- The pump can be installed as a submersible or external unit.
- The inlet tends to clog in high-debris environments.
- It can be challenging to maintain in high-debris situations.
4. TotalPond 1200GPH Waterfall Pump - Smoth and silent
The TotalPond 1200GPH Waterfall Pump is one of the best pond pumps for koi ponds we have come across. It is perfect for smaller ponds with a shorter waterfall, capable of moving large amounts of water while still operating in near-silence.
For smaller waterfalls and features, the pump is capable of moving water up to 5 feet in the air without the constant buzz and humming associated with other comparable pumps.
Each unit includes a shield to protect it from larger debris to help reduce maintenance and extend the lifespan. It is also available in different sizes, ranging from 2,000GPH to 3,600GPH and even a 5,100GPH size.
- The pump is incredibly robust while still operating quietly.
- There are multiple versions available depending on the size of your pond.
- Each pump features an oil-free design to reduce the potential for problems.
- The pump is priced competitively when compared to other models.
- TotalPond only offers a 1-year limited warranty.
5. TetraPond Water Garden Pump - Very efficient
The second Tetra Pond Pump on our list is the Water Garden Pump. It is a magnetic drive pump that makes an excellent choice for a new pond owner. It can handle most uses, from powering a waterfall, to maintaining undercurrent, operating your filter, or powering a fountainhead.
There are multiple models available, too. Depending on the size of your pond or the water feature you need to power, you can choose from a 325GPH, 550GPH, 1,000GPH, and even a larger 1,900GPH model.Every pump from the TetraPond Water Garden lineup is 100% submersible and low maintenance, making your life a lot easier. The pumps are easy to install and operate, which makes them great for beginners.
- The unit is easy to install and maintain.
- The magnetic drive operates in near silence.
- It is an inexpensive but durable pond pump.
- It is designed to be submersed, and each pump comes with a 3-year warranty.
- You will need to utilize an external filter to protect the pump.
- It is a very basic unit so you may need to upgrade for more advanced features.
6. Aqua Pulse 550 Submersible Pond Pump - Great Pump
The Aqua Pulse 550 Submersible Pond Pump is the best pond pump and filter we can find for small to medium-sized aquascapes. Manufactured by Patriot Pumps, a name long-known for quality and durability, the unit is built to perform.
The pump is a direct-drive setup is coupled to an internal magnetic drive, requiring less electricity for the volume of water than other comparable models. It also operates with minimal noise pollution and is designed to be operated 24 hours per day without overloading or overheating.
If the 550 model is too small for your aquascape, Patriot also manufacturers other sizes. You can choose from an 800GPH, a 1200GPH, and a 1600GPH unit to suit your pond’s volume. It features a variable speed motor to help you dial in your water feature or undercurrent.
- Smaller, but more powerful, than other comparable pumps.
- The hybrid direct-drive design makes it incredibly energy efficient.
- It is perfect for ponds with plants and large numbers of fish.
- Each pump is backed with a 2-year warranty.
- The units are submersible and resist corrosion, minimizing maintenance.
- You may need to monitor the pump’s screen and filter.
7. Hydrofarm Active Aqua Submersible Water Pump - Solid pond Pump
The Active Aqua Submersible Water Pump from Hydrofarm is one of the best pond pumps for the money we have found. It is a smaller, more sleek and lightweight design than many other pumps, making it great for aquascapes that are limited on space.
The pump can also be used indoors and outdoors because of the no-noise design. The price point is one of the most attractive features of the pump.
If you are on a tight budget, have a smaller aquascape, and need a small-sized pump that’s both powerful and energy-efficient, there aren’t many that compare to the Active Aqua pump.
- The built-in ceramic shaft makes it suitable for saltwater use.
- The pump operates in near-silence, making it great for indoors use.
- A 1-year guarantee backs each pump.
- The units are submersible and resist corrosion buildup.
- The unit may clog with heavy debris, requiring the use of an external filter.
- The motor isn’t as strong as other brands we have featured.
- The pump can be challenging to clean if you neglect a maintenance schedule.
8. PonicsPump Submersible 400GPH Pond Pump - Safe and easy
If your pond is known for producing debris, runoff, and silt, the PonicsPump Submersible 400GPH is the best pond pump for solids we have found for sale. The internal motor is encased in durable resin to help prevent corrosion.
Each pump features internal neodymium magnets that help reduce friction while providing more flow at the same power levels of other comparable pumps. An internal aluminium ceramic shaft helps minimize maintenance and lasts longer than steel shafts.
With 6 feet of waterproof cord, adjustable flow rate, a built-in screen, and a wide variety of outlet adapters, this pump are easy to adapt to most aquascapes. It’s incredibly powerful and versatile while also staying affordable.It is one of the few pumps we have featured that can be run entirely from solar power without taxing your solar system and batteries.
- Smaller and easier to set up than other models.
- The design provides more flow for the same power levels.
- The pump features a variable flow switch and multiple flow adapters.
- Each pump is available in different sizes, depending on your needs.
- The pumps are built with hybrid designs that resist corrosion.
- The unit only comes with a limited 1-year warranty.
- The shorter power cord means you are limited during setup.
- The design of the inlet may get clogged by debris easier than other models.
- It requires more maintenance than similar models.
Why Your Pond Needs A High-Quality Pump
If you’re on the fence about whether or not your pond needs a pump, consider these three factors. Once you do, you will realize how critical a high-quality pump is to sustaining the right type of life in your aquascape.
Prevents pests and bacteria from breeding.
Provides you with adequate filtration.
Maintains a good flow and undercurrent.
In any pond, aquarium, or aquascape, your biggest threat is breeding pests and bacteria. Even if your aquascape is indoors, you still have to pay attention to the types of bacteria that can reproduce once your water stops moving.
If you do not have proper aeration and oxygenation in your water, algae will begin to form, parasites and pests will start to breed, and you’ll be left with a disaster on your hands. To avoid these situations, you need to make sure your water is continuously flowing.
A high-quality pond pump will keep water moving so that pests (like mosquitoes) and parasites (like harmful forms of algae) cannot find a haven to begin to spread. Proper oxygenation also helps your plants and fish thrive and remain active all year-round.
Merely moving the water and maintaining a consistent flow isn’t enough. You also need to ensure that you are filtering your water through a system or substrate to remove contaminants.
A good pump and filter setup will ensure that the right types of bacteria remain in your water while the more harmful types are quickly eliminated. A good filter will also help remove waste produced by your fish and any food that remains after feedings.
Unless you enjoy cleaning and vacuuming your aquascape regularly, having an automated filtration system can save you a ton of time and energy.
Stagnant water is unhealthy water. When your water becomes stagnant and lacks the proper flow, it will also lack the oxygen needed to help keep your fish and plants alive. This is especially true if you have an extra feature like a fountain or a waterfall.
If the pump produces too much flow, it can upset your substrate, offset your plants, and force your fish to work too hard to stay in place. On the other hand, if it does not provide adequate flow, parasites have a chance to breed and your fish, plants, and different aquatic life will lack the oxygen they need to survive and thrive.
The right pump will give your pond a consistent undercurrent that does not tax your fish and make them work harder than they need to. It will also move enough water to prevent pests and parasites from being able to make your pond their new home.
What it will not do is create chaos and commotion inside of the water. It will not disturb your substrate or dislodge your plants. It will not overpower your waterfall or fountain, and it will not drive your energy bills through the roof.
How To Choose The Right Pump For Your Pond
There are, primarily, four different types of koi pond aerators, with three being more popular than others. Depending on your specific needs, the descriptions below can help you figure out which style works best in your aquascape.
Understand How A Pond Pump Operates
At their most basic form, an electric motor powers an internal propeller (impeller) that draws water into one side of the pump and forces it through the other side. This constant motion creates flow under the surface of your pool and helps keep your water oxygenated.
Each motor has a specific range that it operates within. This will be marked as the power consumption or gallons-per-minute / hour that it can flow.
Depending on the size of your pond, choosing the right sized pump will rely on the number of gallons in your aquascape and the amount of power you can consistently deliver to the pump.
Directly connected pumps powered by a constant source of energy, such as a wall outlet, are always going to outperform solar-powered pumps that rely on external battery packs. If you have a larger pond, you will want to utilize a direct connection.
However, for smaller or remotely located ponds, solar-powered systems can work
Weigh Your Budget Against Features
Most pumps are intended to be operated on a 24 hour a day, seven days per week basis. A quality pump has built-in protections to prevent it from overheating and disabling it should it overload the circuit that is powering it.
Since you will generally run the pump consistently, energy consumption is something that should be considered.
Manufacturers have begun paying attention to the energy requirements of the pumps they’re selling to ensure it remains affordable over the lifespan of your pump.
Some manufacturers have switched to the use of magnetic drives, which help maintain low-energy levels and reduce the amount of wattage required to operate.
Other pumps utilize less internal components to help reduce rotating mass, which, in turn, lowers the energy requirements. When there are less internal components, there are also fewer components that can break and wear down, reducing your maintenance costs.
As pumps have evolved, their energy requirements have evolved with them. If you can afford a higher-end pump that has these energy-saving features included, you can usually offset the increased upfront cost with the long-term savings from operating the pump.
Determine The Size Of Your Pond Or Water Feature
The size of your pond, water feature, or aquascape plays a significant role in the type and style of pump you’re going to need. It also affects the size of the pump required to keep water flowing, which can significantly impact how much money you’ll need to spend to purchase the pump.
In general, small ponds are considered to contain between 200 to 1,000 gallons of water. Medium-sized ponds will hold upwards of 5,000 gallons while larger ponds can contain 10,000 gallons of water or more.
To give you barebones guidelines, you want to match the size of your pond to your pump’s gallon-per-hour rating, or GPH. If your pond holds 500 gallons, a 500 gallon-per-hour pump will provide more than enough flow to keep parasites from being able to thrive.
If you have a larger pond, say 10,000 gallons, finding a pump that can flow 10,000 gallons-per-hour is critical to maintaining proper oxygen levels and a healthy undercurrent.
Decide On The Style Of Pond Pump You Need
There are two main types of pond pumps and, depending on your exact needs, one may be more suitable for you than the other. The two models are submersible and external.
Submersible Pond Pumps
External Pond Pumps
It doesn’t matter what style, size, shape, or type of pond you have, submersible pond pumps are usually always a great choice. Because the pumps are submerged underwater, they are generally less powerful than external pumps.
Being submerged also means that potential for problems to occur such as oil leaks.
The filtration systems required for submersible pumps are also more in-depth and need more work to maintain them than filters on external pumps. The workaround for this is installing a pre-filter system that helps you keep the system without having to remove the pump.
However, with the potential downsides, there are quite a few upsides, too. Since the pumps are submerged underwater, they tend to run quieter and do not have the same susceptibility to overheating as larger external pumps do.
Submerged pumps are incredibly compact, requiring a smaller footprint than most external pumps. This makes them great for indoor aquariums and outdoor aquascapes where your focus is on aesthetics and hiding the equipment you’re using.
The most significant upside to external pumps is the fact they are located outside of your pond, so you do not have to enter the water to perform maintenance on them. Routing the hoses and pipes that come with external pumps generally requires more work upfront, though.
External pumps are great for outdoor aquascapes, Koi ponds, and to oxygenate other small fish ponds. Some manufacturers offer hybrid setups that include both an external pump and a submersible pump to cover larger areas and ensure you’re getting adequate flow.
External pumps are usually bulkier than their comparable submersible-style pumps. If you are concerned about aesthetics, a submersible is often a better choice. However, if you are operating the pump in a larger pond, external pumps will typically provide more power.
External pumps are also easier to maintain and reduce the worry of something going wrong that could potentially harm your fish. Electrocution, noise pollution, and oil leaks are all areas of concern with submersible pumps, especially low-quality submersible units.
A Few Quick Pond Pump Tips
Consider an oil-free pump
Invest in a high-quality filter
Add some flair with a waterfallIf you have the room and want to add some extra flair to your pond or aquascape, creating a waterfall with your pump is a great way to do it. Most times, you only need to add pipe that extends above the surface of the water with holes drilled in it to force water into the air.
When you’re operating your pump inside if your aquascape, the last thing you want to deal with is potentially contaminating the water with oil. Oil-free pumps operate without the constant stress of wondering when you’re going to see the oil sheen on top of your water from the pump malfunctioning and poisoning your fish.
Even though most pumps have a filter built-in to protect themselves from debris and waste, you want to make sure you are helping extend their lifespan. Investing in a high-quality filter will help keep the pump’s internals free of debris, dramatically increasing the life of the pump, itself.
So What’s The Best Pond Pump In 2019?
If you’re looking for the best pond pump that can power multiple features, conserve energy, and requires minimal maintenance, the best pump we’ve found is the Little Giant Direct Drive Waterfall pump.
If you have a larger pond or your pump will deal with larger amounts of debris, runoff, silt, and fish waste, the Tetra Pond Debris-Handling Pump is another great option.
Affiliate links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. Last update on 2019-12-05.
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