Pond Pumps – Your Complete Buyer’s Guide

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Pond Pumps Buyers Guide

Whether you are the proud owner of a small 300-litre pond or the equivalent of a small lake in the back of your garden, a pond pump is vital if you are wanting to have clean water, and a pond admired by many!

Those long-serving pond owners will appreciate the importance of a good-quality garden pond pump, and for those building their first ponds, you are better doing it right the first time than attempting to cope without a pond pump or fitting a cheap one, and then having to redo it at a later date!

Best Pick Pond Pump

All Pond Solutions UV Steriliser Filter Pump
498 Reviews
All Pond Solutions UV Steriliser Filter Pump
  • UV steriliser with UV on and off indicator
  • 3 Fountain head attachments for a variety of fountain styles
  • A single smart unit with a single power cable
  • Filtration system combined with a 2500 Litres per hour pump
  • 24 Month manufacture warranty. Maximum depth for fountain use: 52.5 cm / 20

This complete buyer’s guide will give you all the information you need on flow rates, lift height, granulometry and much more to help you purchase the best pump on the market!

Only Got 5 Minutes?

The first thing that needs to be considered when purchasing a pond pump is what you want your pond pump to do. What are you planning on using your pond pump for? But not only that, you need to consider the quality of the pump and the different features that are being offered.

Types of Pond Pump

There are many different pond pumps depending on exactly what effect you are wanting to create with your pond! Although we agree that the most important thing is a pond pump that is actually filtering and cleaning the water – we all know that you want the pond to look a certain way too! Otherwise why go to the effort of having a pond in the first place! You will find that almost all pumps are submersible (so are located under the water) however there are some pumps that are kept on the surface or at the side of the pond.

Filter Pump

A filter pump is the most important pump that you need for your pond, as this will filter the water that is in your system to make sure that the water is kept clean and helps to prevent algae from growing and taking over the pond! It will also remove any dead leaves or debris that lands on the surface of the pond.

Waterfall/fountain Pumps

The purpose of these pond pumps is to lift water from the bottom of the pond up to a much higher pond to allow water to flow down either a waterfall or a fountain. It circulates a small amount of the water continuously so that the pond level never changes, and sends this to a different point to create the water feature that you have always dreamed of. The only issue with waterfall/fountain pumps is that they are not their own individual filtration systems and will only have a mesh screen to prevent larger debris from blocking the system. Because of this, we would recommend having a filtration system as well as a waterfall/fountain pump to keep your pond clean and looking its best!

Water Jet Pumps

These are arguably the most extravagant of water pumps, creating jets of water that shoot up out of your pond into the air. Because of the powerful mechanics that go into creating this effect, these types of pumps will be more expensive than other models, but are worth the additional price if you are wanting a show-stopper pond in your garden! These pumps for your pond will have a rod and a nozzle that sprays the water out in a direction set by you, using a  valve to control the water flow.

Fish Pond Pumps

If you have fish in your pond then you are going to want to be extra careful over the pump that you choose for your pond. You will still need one, despite having fish, as it will make sure to circulate the water enough to keep the water both clean and also aerated down to the bottom of the pond to help keep your fish happy and healthy. However, you need to look for a pond pump that does not have too much pressure and force, as this could harm smaller fish that you might have in your pond. Also look for a model with smaller holes so that the fish cannot be harmed by the filter, as they can be curious little creatures! Finally, look for models that are safe to use with fish, as some models need to be well oiled to work efficiently, which can harm the fish in your pond.

Pond Pump Features

There are some key features to look for when purchasing a pond pump – especially if you are wanting one that is going to last. There is nothing worse than fitting a submersible pump at the bottom of your pond, for it to then break so you have to “fish” out the pump to replace it with another one!

Size

The size of the actual pump itself doesn’t matter too much – unless you have a smaller pond – but what does matter is the pump that you purchase depending on the size of your pond. A larger pond is going to need a more powerful pump (which usually means they need to be larger), whereas a smaller pond will be able to cope with a small pond pump designed purposefully for small ponds.

Easy to install

In a perfect world, your pond pump would be installed when you are first building and filling your pond, as this will allow you to check that your pond pump is working correctly before your pond is full of water! However, this isn’t always possible, particularly if you are replacing or upgrading a current pump. Obviously, if the pump that you have purchased is for decoration then it needs to go wherever you feel it will look best – but if your pump is for filtration and circulation then we would recommend placing it in the middle of your pond about 2 inches from the base.

TOP TIP: Use bricks or stones to prop your filter up to stop it sitting on the bottom of the pond and becoming blocked with dirt.

Best Budget Pond Pump

Swell UK Pond Filter Pump (1,400)
115 Reviews
Swell UK Pond Filter Pump (1,400)
  • Suitable for supplying water to pond filters, watercourses and waterfalls
  • Swell's Filter Pumps will easily handle particles up to 4mm in size and each one includes a thermal cut-off switch
  • They feature an extremely efficient motor, requiring (for example) only 40 watts to achieve 2500 litres per hour of flow
  • Easy to install simply unpack and anchor it in place, pumps come with a 10m electrical cable (no plug) for maximum flexibility on pond placement.
  • Swell Filter Pumps come complete with a full 3 year extended warranty

Power

The power that you need for your pond pump is determined by the flow rate that you need for your pond (we have discussed more of this below). However, you also need to consider how energy efficient your pond pump is going to be as if you are wanting it to work as effectively as possible then chances are it is going to be switched on more often than not! Although energy-efficient pumps may cost more to purchase they will usually have considerably lower power consumption, so will save you money in their running time in the long run.

Noise

Some bigger pond pumps can be quite noisy, which totally ruins the peaceful ambience that you are trying to create in your garden installing the pond in the first place! Check the pond pump you have selected is going to be quiet when working!

Warranty

Most pond pumps will have a twelve-month warranty, however, this can often be extended if you register the product online. Make sure to check with the product details as we would never recommend choosing a product that offers less than 12 months – especially with the effort that has to go into replace your pond pump!

Filter type

If it is a filtration pump that you need then check that it is using a biological filter (or granulometry if we are using the technical term) of at least 10mm to be effective in your pond. To make sense of this…..water with up to 10mm of dirt and debris will be pumped through effectively, and any impurities that are bigger than this will be filtered out. This helps to keep your pump working smoothly and also keep your pond clean.

Flow Rate

All pumps for ponds (but particularly filtration pond pumps) will have flow rates detailed on their product description – this will be measured in either litre per minute or gallons per hour. The way to work out the flow rate that you need is to choose a pond pump that’s maximum flow rate will be able to pump the whole pond every 2 to 3 hours. Any less than this and you are risking algae, dirt and toxins building up in your water. If you have a number of fish, or large fish, in your pond then it may be worth considering a higher water flow rate.

Compatibility

Make sure to check if your pump is compatible with whatever other systems you are planning on putting in place, such as fountains, filters or jets if you are buying an individual pump. If you are still in the planning stage of your pond then we would definitely recommend this versatile type of pond pump as it will give you more flexibility in your design! 

Head Height

If you have chosen a pump that is going to be used to create a waterfall, fountain or jet effect in your garden then one of the most important things you need to consider the head height. This is the height that your pump will be able to lift the water above the surface of your garden pond. Obviously, the higher the head height the more power that you are going to need in your pond pump.

Pump Cord Length

Make sure to check the pump cord length is suitable for your size of the pond. Almost all pond pump cords will be perfectly long enough for small ponds but this is definitely important to check as some will need the electrical source to be a certain distance away from the pond.

Magnetic Drive or Direct Drive Pumps?

Magnetic drive pumps are more energy-efficient motors that are better suited for ponds housing fish (as they do not require oil to function effectively). However, they are not as powerful as direct drive pumps that use a motor to function. These models will be cheaper as they are simpler in their functions, but they will require more power and therefore be more expensive to run!

Best of the Rest

Jebao XTP-5000 Compact Super Eco Energy Saving Submersible Dirty Water Filter Pump 5000L/H GS/CE approved
115 Reviews
Jebao XTP-5000 Compact Super Eco Energy Saving Submersible Dirty Water Filter Pump 5000L/H GS/CE approved
  • 5,000L/hr 26w Super low energy consumption for energy conscious and enviromentally friendly operation.
  • Can be used as a filter pump and watercourse pump. Maximum Head 3m.
  • Compact size: Measuring 306mm x 265mm x 127mm. Comes with 10m cable.
  • 6 stage rotatable stepped outlet allows connection to hose sizes 20/25/32/40mm
  • Thermal resettable fuse so pump automatically switches off if it overheats to prevent motor damage.
Fish Mate 9000 Pond Pump
44 Reviews
Fish Mate 9000 Pond Pump
  • Very low running costs
  • Includes fountain set with 4 options
  • Solids-handling capability to 8mm (3/8")
  • Anti-clog design
Blagdon Inpond 5 in 1 Pump 3000 Pond Pump with Filter, 5 W
185 Reviews
Blagdon Inpond 5 in 1 Pump 3000 Pond Pump with Filter, 5 W
  • Complete in-pond solution including pump, 3 fountain options, UV clarifier and automatic LED spotlight
  • Creates a clear and healthy pond. UV Clarifier kills green water algae
  • Suitable for very small ponds - up to 3000 litres
  • Simple to install
  • 3 year manufacturer guarantee

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should a pond pump last?

You should be able to expect your pond pump to last for between 1 and 2 years depending on the power and quality of the pump, and also depending on the amount of work that your pond pump is having to do! There is regular maintenance that you can complete to make your pond pump last longer!

What is the best koi pond pump?

Koi carp produce a lot of waste so it is important to choose a pond pump that is going to be able to pump continuously as your want your water on a continuous cycle if the water is going to be clean enough to keep your fish healthy. You also need to choose a pond pump that has enough power and quality to work constantly, instead of only being on for a few hours a day like some models.

Do pond pumps need to run continuously?

This depends on the type of pond that you have – if you have fish in your pond then your pond pump will need to circulate constantly to keep the water clean from toxins and dirt so that your fish stay healthy! However, if your pond is just for decoration then chances are it can be switched off for some hours during the day (or even overnight). There isn’t an exact science as to how long your pump needs to be on for as it depends on the dirt and debris that builds up in your pond!

How often do I need to clean and maintain my pond pump?

We would recommend cleaning and completing general maintenance on your pond pump once a year. This is a good time to remove the pump from its tank, clean it, remove any filters and replace, and oil any parts that need oil to work successfully. Also, use this opportunity to check and clean valves.

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About Francesca Fitton 92 Articles
I have a passion for gardening and being outdoors. I blog about plant care, technology and tools that I love to use outside and invite you along to watch.

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