Having a pond can add something special to your garden, and moving water can be downright enchanting when you have time to sit down and listen to it. However, there are a few parts and a lot of maintenance that quietly goes on in the background to ensure that your pond stays fresh and clean, and picking out a good pond pump is your top priority. You want to prevent the water from going stagnant and smelly, especially if you have aquatic plants, amphibians, or other fish that inhabit the pond.
Installing a pond pump is one way to keep your pond clean because it creates movement through the water. You can have it recirculate water back into the pond itself, or it can run water to a water feature somewhere in your pond. It can also keep mosquitoes from laying eggs in the pond because they like still water or moving water.
Choosing the best pond pump will require some research on your part. Pond pumps vary depending on the desired effect, pond size, and whether or not you have a water feature. We’re going to outline 10 of the best pond pumps to help create moving-water effects in your garden or landscape below.
Picking out a pond pump that is the correct size and style for your pond will ensure that it can cycle enough water to keep it clean and clear. Since there are many types of pumps available, it’s important that you take the time to make your choice. If you don’t, it’s easy to damage the pump by overworking it. August 17, 2019 by osseous / CC BY 2.0
Tetra Pond Debris-Handling Pump – Top Pick
The Tetra pond pump allows you to get the water circulation you need without worrying about debris from your maple trees clogging it. You’ll get a specialized protective filter that will shield any aquatic life you have in the pond from the impeller, and it’ll allow small debris bits to pass through without any clogs. This is especially helpful if you have a lot of trees that drop their leaves or needles in the fall and you don’t have time to go out and scoop them out of the water while the pump runs. It can move up to 4,235-gallons of water every hour, and it can lift water up to 13.1-feet without straining the motor.
You can use this pond pump to filter your water through it or pump a steady stream of water for a waterfall or fountain. This pump will pull water in and direct it into a separate external filter that makes cleaning the unit easy. There is a motor and an unidirectional impeller that increases how efficient the pump is while operating 24 hours a day. It’s a submersible unit that comes sealed to prevent water from leaking into it. It has a 15-foot power cord attached to make it easy to run it to electricity.
- Specialized protective filters
- Moves up to 4,235-gallons an hour
- Submersible design
- Sealed body
- Lift water up to 13.1-feet
- Continuous operation without overheating
- 15-foot power cord
- Slower to suck up debris
VIVOSUN High Lift Water Pump – Step-Up Pick
This is a powerful 220-watt pond pump that can circulate up to 9,000 gallons of water in your pond without an issue. Also, it has an ultra quiet operation to it that means it only produces a small hum when it runs. So, you won’t have to worry about noise interrupting your relaxation or the soothing water sounds. It has an energy-efficient design to it, and you’ll get a 20.3-foot power cord with it that allows you to plug it into a standard outlet. You can choose from five different wattages ranging from 100 up to 620 when you pick out this pump for your pond.
You can position this pond pump either horizontally or vertically under the water. You’ll get suction cups to hold the pump securely in place so it doesn’t accidentally move. It is designed for inline or submersible use, and it’ll run constantly. There is a built-in heat overload sensor that will switch the pump off to prevent damage if it starts to get too hot. It can pump water to a height of 18-feet. It’s easy to clean because the intake filter detaches, and the whole unit weighs around nine pounds.
- Circulates up to 9,000 gallons
- Works well with water features
- Position it horizontally or vertically
- Submersible or inline use
- Built-in heat overload sensor
- Pumps water to 19-feet
- Suction cups attach it securely to the bottom of the pond
- Doesn’t fit a 1 ½-inch hose adapter
TotalPond Waterfall Pump – Mid-End Budget Pick
This pool pump comes with an impressive lift of 17-feet, and this can easily help you create a fast-flowing waterfall in your pond. You’ll get a motor that can cycle through 2,000 gallons every hour, so it works well for larger koi ponds or even pools where you have a water feature or two. It can easily filter a pond that holds up to 4,000 gallons without overheating, and you’ll leave it running 24/7 to ensure that it keeps the water clear, clean, and moving. It’s also very easy to connect to your water supply, so you won’t have to worry about taking ages to set it up.
This is a submersible pond pump that has a thick mesh shield attached to it that stops debris from getting in and clogging up the motor. There is also a back spitting feature on this pump that can help keep it cool and stop it from overheating. It has a 16-foot power cord attached to it that allows you to plug it in a small way away from your pond and get the electricity it needs to run. There are four power levels to choose from ranging from 1,200 GHP up to 5,100 GPH, so you can tailor your choice to match your pond size.
- Works on 4,000-gallon ponds
- Submersible design
- Lifts water up to 17-feet
- Four power levels available
- Thick mesh screen prevents clogs
- 16-foot cord
- Easy to set up and use
- Inconsistent rate of flow
Knifel Submersible Pump – Bargain Budget Pick
For those of you on a budget who still need a durable and lasting pond pump to keep your pond clear and the water flowing, try this option from Knifel. This smaller pump can handle ponds up to 1,600-gallons without getting overwhelmed. So, it’s suitable for medium or smaller ponds. It doesn’t deliver enough power for a larger pond, but it’s a nice choice if you’re in a pinch and don’t have a lot of money to spend. It can also lift the water up to 10.2-feet in the air. You’ll hear a very light hum when it runs, and it’s supposed to run constantly to keep the water circulating.
This pond pump has a very small and compact design to it that allows you to easily position it at the bottom of a reservoir for your fountain, or you can place it at the bottom of your pond. It does come with a shorter power cord at 6.1-feet, so your pond will have to be closer to your home or you’ll have to run an extension cord. There is a sponge prefilter that works to keep debris out of your pump, and there is an automatic on/off switch that will shut the pump off if it starts to overheat or if your pond’s water level drops below safe operation levels.
- Budget-friendly price
- Cycles up to 1,600 gallons of water an hour
- Lifts water 10.2-feet in the air
- Compact and small design
- Sponge pre filter keeps debris out
- Automatic on/off safety switch
- Very light noise levels
- Power cord is only 6.1-feet long
Aquagarden Fountain Pump – Best for Small Ponds
This is a 5-in-1 pond pump that will circulate the water in your pond, but it’ll also clean it as it passes through the system as well. It has a UV clarifier built right into the design that works well to destroy algae to keep your backyard pond clear and clean. It works well alongside your pond vacuum to get all of the debris out. There is also a polymer wood cartridge that will help remove any cloudiness from the water as it passes through the system, and this is healthier for any aquatic life or animals that inhabit your pond.
There is an LED spotlight on this pond pump that will illuminate the spray of water from your fountain or water feature after dusk to turn it into a fun focal point. It does best in smaller ponds up to 200-gallons. You can also use it round koi and goldfish without a problem. There are three fountain nozzles included in each purchase of this pond pump, and this allows you to change your water’s spray configuration to a sleek water ball, multi jet spray, or a single vertical jet. You’ll get a 16-foot power cord too.
- 5-in-1 pump
- UV clarifier
- Polywood wood cartridge removes cloudiness
- LED spotlight
- Triple fountain nozzles
- 16-foot power cord
- Possible to use around koi or goldfish
- Only works on 200-gallon sized ponds and smaller
VIVOHOME Electric Submersible Pump – Best for High Flow Rates
Anyone who has a larger pond or requires a much higher flow rate than you’ll typically get with a pond pump should look at this option from VIVOHOME. This is a submersible pump that can easily cycle through 9,000 gallons every hour it runs. There is also a maximum lift capacity for water at 26.9-feet, so this is suitable for larger waterfall features in your pond. Although this is a submersible pump, it can withstand short-term use out of the water without incurring any damage, and this is good for the times when you’re vacuuming up debris and don’t want to work around the setup.
Since you can use it out of water, you could use it to quickly pump out the basement if it should flood, or you can use it to pump out your pond if you’re doing landscaping work in your yard and you want to move it to a new location. There is a 20.3-foot power cord on this pump, and this is long enough to have your pond a small ways away from an electrical source. There are five different power levels available, and this allows you to tailor your choice to your needs when you buy it.
- Cycles up to 9,000 gallons an hour
- Lift capacity of 26.9 feet
- Suitable for larger ponds or waterfall features
- Can run short-term out of the water
- 20.3-foot power cord attached
- Several power levels available
- Mesh screen protects the motor from debris
- Instructions are difficult to follow
Patriot Koi Pond KP550 Pump – Best for the Environment
Ideally, any pond pump you pick out will be environmentally-friendly, but this choice is one of the best on the market. At ground level, this pump has a maximum flow rate of 1,450-gallons per hour, and this is enough for smaller or medium-sized ponds. Unfortunately, it’s not powerful enough for huge setups or fountains. It has a maximum pumping height of 14-feet, and it works best to help you create a cascading waterfall that is five feet tall or shorter. There is a mesh barrier on this pump that shields the motor from getting clogged with excess debris in the pond.
This pond pump comes designed to let larger pieces of debris flow out while allowing finer pieces to go straight to the pump without getting stuck. There are a range of pump sizes you can choose from with this model to handle larger ponds, including 2,100, 3,200, and 5,000-gallons per hour power levels. The larger models can work for waterfalls up to 18-feet high. It has a very compact design, and it weighs in at just under five pounds. So, you can easily set it in the bottom of the pond and let it run without it getting in the way.
- 1,450 maximum GPH
- Maximum pumping height of 14-feet
- Compact design
- Easy to set up
- Weighs in at under five pounds
- Allows bigger debris to pass through
- Mesh prevents clogs
- Lower flow rate than advertised
Hydrofarm Active Aqua Pump – Best for Hydroponic Gardens
You’ll get a very sturdy construction with this pond pump, and it works well for keeping the water flowing if you have aquatic plants or a hydroponic setup for your space. It uses chemical processes that are magnetically driven to run, and this removes the need for cooling lines or mechanical seals on the unit. This can help reduce the cost of the entire pump, and it can also make your overall operational costs relatively low. It doesn’t contain any BPA in the design either, and this will help ensure that your plants or aquatic life doesn’t get sick from having it in the water.
You should only use this pond pump in areas that have 1,500-gallons or lower for the best results. It won’t be able to keep up with anything much larger than that. You get the choice of seven power levels, ranging from 40 GPH up to 1,100 GPH. It can easily cycle through 400-gallons an hour without overheating, and you can safely use it indoors and outdoors without a problem. It also comes with a one-year warranty against defects or damage from the manufacturer. So, if part of it fails or you have issues after you get it, they’ll replace it or refund you your money.
- No BPA
- Pumps a maximum of 400-gallons an hour
- Several sizes available
- Suitable for hydroponic setups
- One-year warranty attached
- Very compact and small design
- Easy to clog with debris
Eco 396 Fixed Flow Inline Pump – Best for Small Fountains
This pond pump comes designed with small fountains and water features in mind, and you can use it for a host of things like hydroponic systems, aquariums, ponds, or fountains without a problem. It does have a capacity on the lower end of the scale at 395-gallons per hour. However, it still has no problem pumping your water up to six feet in the air to create an impressive spray. There is also a broad range of fittings attached to this pump, and this allows you to seamlessly connect several different water features without having to go out and get special adaptors for them to work.
This is a submersible-style pond pump that can sit right on the bottom of the pond by the base of your water feature and go unnoticed. It has very few moving parts with it, and this allows you to keep the pump in good running condition for years. It’s oil-free and economical to run, and this is much better for the environment than other types of pond pumps. The pump also comes with the vinyl tubing you need to hook it directly to your water feature quickly and easily.
- Designed for small water features
- Broad range of fittings
- Tubing included
- Very compact and unobtrusive
- Comes with tubing
- Very few moving parts to fail
- Only moves up to 396-gallons an hour
TetraPond Water Garden Pump – Best for Waterfalls
This pond pump is a great choice if you want streams or waterfalls because it has a very powerful direct-drive pump that pairs with a dual-discharge design to help ward away clogs due to debris. The dual-discharge system also allows you to operate the pump on two separate features at once at a high volume. So, you could run it on two waterfalls at once without overwhelming the pump. The maximum pumping height is 30-feet, and it cycles through 4,280 gallons every hour. So, it’s powerful enough to put in small, medium, or large ponds with several water features.
This is one of the quieter pond pumps available on the market, so it won’t interrupt the tranquil sound of running water. The cord measures 16-feet, and this gives you a little room to work with your pond placement. It has a convenient size with a sleek design that allows you to sink it to the bottom of the pond or by the waterfall’s base and let it run. It has a rust-proof body on it too that can help the pump last longer, even fully submerged in water. This makes it an excellent value for the price.
- Dual discharge system
- Pumps water up to 30-feet
- Quieter operation
- Sleek design
- 16-foot cord
- Rust-proof body and casing
- Works well for streams or waterfalls
- Intake could be too large
Best Pond Pumps – Buying Guide
Pond pumps come in a large range of styles and sizes, and you can use them for a variety of projects. The best pond pump for your fountain may not be the best choice for your pond or water feature. This is why it’s important to weigh your options before you pick out the best pond pump, and the following buying criteria can help you achieve this goal.
Pond Pump Type
Generally speaking, you’ll break your pond pump up into one of two categories. Each category comes with considerations and best uses attached to it. You’ll have to choose between:
- External – When you pick out this type of pump, the motor is above the water. It connects to the pump using tubing or piping below the water level. This will give you more power to move the water, but they also tend to be louder. You’ll find these pumps used for commercial water features.
- Submersible – Almost all backyard pond pumps are this style, and the pump will sit completely below the water line. Since you can tuck this pump out of sight, they’re very inconspicuous and quieter than an external-style pump. They vary in power and size, and they’re not as powerful as your standard external pumps.
Matching your pump’s style, size, and flow rate to your pond’s size and needs is essential. Doing so will ensure that it can cycle at least half of the water in your pond to keep it clean and clear every day. It can also extend the life of your pump because it won’t have to work so hard to keep your pond looking nice. July 26, 2015 by osseous / CC BY 2.0
Flow Rate and Size
The amount of water your pond pump can safely handle can vary from a few gallons up to several thousand gallons or more per hour. You should take your desired water circulation and the amount of water in your pond into consideration when you shop. The flow rate will tell you how much water the pump can circulate in a 60-minute window.
- Filtration – In order for the pump to circulate the water in a pond through a filter system to keep it safe for yoru aquatic plants, you generally will have to purchase a pond pump that will remove half of the water in your pond in an hour. So, if you had a 500-gallon pond, the pump would need to cycle a minimum of 250-gallons an hour to keep up.
- Fountains – Pumping water in an upwards motion requires your pump to have more power to it, and this is why there are pond pumps specially designed for water features like fountains and waterfalls. They’ll give you the maximum vertical distance they can pump the water with the flow rate right on the box. So, if you wanted to pump your water five feet above the pump, it should have a five-foot lift.
- Waterfalls – It’s not uncommon for a waterfall to meander along, and you may require a pond pump that is powerful enough to move the water both horizontally and vertically. To get this height, measure the vertical height of the fountain and add one foot of lift for every 10-feet of tubing. So, if the waterfall’s top was two feet above your pump but the water has to travel 10-feet vertically, you’ll add a foot to get three feet.
These pond pumps can help you get the feel and sound of moving water in your own backyard. You can use the short buyer’s guide to compare the products and see which one works best for your wants, needs, water features, and pond size. Once you find one, you’ll ship it straight to your door and install it so you can enjoy it all spring and summer long.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.