Pond Academy

5 Best Pond Pumps Compared (Top Pond, Fountain & Waterfall Pump Models)

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Pond pumps are the heart of your pond - the lifeline which powers every feature.

They circulate water to power a pond's fountain or waterfall.

They force water through your pond's filter to keep your pond clean and clear.

They add oxygen to your pond to help improve water quality, reduce muck, and help fish thrive.

We understand the importance of a quality pond pump, which is why we put a lot of work and time into this guide.

Below we compare and review the best pond pumps on the market today and answer the most frequently asked questions to make sure you get the best pump for your specific pond.

Let's get to it!

Psst! Pin Our Pump Reviews Guide For Future Reference

Pond Pump Comparison Chart

Description Type Price
TetraPond Debris Handling Pump TetraPond Debris-Handling Pump Submersible pump SEE PRICE »
Pond Boss Pump & Filter Kit Pond Boss Pump & Filter Kit Submersible pump SEE PRICE »
Beckett Corporation Pond Pump Kit Beckett Corporation Pond Pump Kit Submersible pump SEE PRICE »
TetraPond Water Garden Pump TetraPond Water Garden Pump Submersible pump SEE PRICE »
Alpine Cyclone Pond Pump Alpine Cyclone Pond Pump Submersible & External pump SEE PRICE »

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5 Best Pond Pumps Reviewed

TetraPond Debris-Handling Pump

  • Best Large Pond Pump

The TetraPond Debris-Handling Pump is a popular and durable water pump that was designed for clog-free performance. It has a cage protecting the submersible water pump which prevents large debris from clogging it up. This makes it a great choice for ponds that are under trees or simply prone to lots of outside debris blowing into it.

It features an impeller motor for energy efficiency, a wear-resistant ceramic shaft for longer life and its epoxy encapsulated to protect the motor from the water.

It’s available in two models, one rated at 3,690 GPH and one at 4,235 GPH. And their max head height is 11.4 ft and 13.1 ft, respectively, so keep that in mind if you plan on using it to power a waterfall, fountain, or other water features.

Specifications

Available in 2 models - DHP3600 and DHP 4200
Pump Type: Submersible
Max Flow Rate: 3,690 GPH and 4,235 GPH
Max Head Height: 11.4 feet and 13.1 feet
Warranty: 3 year
Power Cord Length: 15 foot
Power Usage: 199w
Pump Operating Cost*: $14.33 per month
*Assuming 24 hour a day use, 30 days in a month and electricity cost of .10kWh (U.S. average)

Pros

  • Clog-free design
  • Super easy to install
  • Built with energy efficiency in mind
  • Both models have a strong flow rate
  • Pump comes with a solid 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Might not be the top choice for waterfalls as the max head height could be better

TetraPond Debris Handling Pump

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TetraPond Debris Handling Pump

Pond Boss Pump & Filter Kit

  • Most Energy Efficient Pond Pump

As the name suggests, the Pond Boss Pump & Filter Kit is a two-in-one pond pump and filter… that comes in a kit.

Perfect for small ponds up to 500 gallons of water, this kit is a great cost-saving solution. Not just upfront cost-savings, but the energy efficient 23w pump only costs an average of $1.66 per month to run, making it a great long-term saving solution, as well! Who doesn't love to save money on their electricity bills?!

The included filter ensures a long pump life by capturing debris with a two-stage mechanical and biological filter system. The biological filters also help the growth of beneficial bacteria in your pond.

Along with the submersible pump and filter, this kit comes with a fountain water spray nozzle, nozzle extensions, and a diverter valve.

Specifications

Pump Type: Submersible
Max Flow Rate: 320 GPH
Max Head Height: 5 feet
Warranty: 1 year
Power Cord Length: 16 foot
Power Usage: 23w
Pump Operating Cost*: $1.66 per month
*Assuming 24 hour a day use, 30 days in a month and electricity cost of .10kWh (U.S. average)

Pros

  • Two-in-one kit includes water pump and filter at an attractive price
  • Very low power consumption
  • Long 16 ft power cord
  • Mechanical and biological filtration to help improve beneficial bacteria growth
  • Great water pump for smaller ponds

Cons

  • Not ideal for larger ponds
  • Only a one year warranty
Pond Boss Pump & Filter Kit

Pond Boss Pump & Filter Kit

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Beckett Corporation Submersible Pond Pump Kit

  • Best Value Pond Pump

The Beckett Corporation Pond Pump Kit comes with a pre-filter to protect the unit from debris, 3 fountain heads, a two-way control valve, and 2 adapters.

This submersible water pump has a maximum flow rate of 500 gallons per hour (GPH) with a max head height of 6.5 ft.

The unit has a fairly impressive water flow rate for how little energy it consumes. The average monthly running cost is only $2.45 per month.

Specifications

Pump Type: Submersible
Max Flow Rate: 500 GPH
Max Head Height: 78 inches
Warranty: 2 year
Power Cord Length: 15 foot
Power Usage: 34w (?)
Pump Operating Cost*: $2.45 per month
*Assuming 24 hour a day use, 30 days in a month and electricity cost of .10kWh (U.S. average)

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Choose from 3 different fountain spray’s
  • Includes pre-filter to protect the water pump and extend its life
  • Great for small to medium ponds

Cons

  • Not ideal for larger ponds
  • Depending on how much debris you have, the small pre-filter can clog up quickly needing to be cleaned often (though it is easy to clean)

Beckett Corporation Pond Pump Kit

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Beckett Corporation Pond Pump Kit

TetraPond Water Garden Pump

  • Best Magnetic Drive Pond Pump

The Tetra Pond Water Garden Pump is a submersible pond pump that can easily power most waterfalls, fountains, streams, filtration systems, and any other water features.

This magnetic drive water pump comes in 4 different sizes, so you’ll want to pick the one that closely fits your pond.

Pump Model Maximum Flow Rate Max Head Height
26586 325 GPH 6.5 ft
26587 550 GPH 7.5 ft
26588 1000 GPH 8 ft
26589 1900 GPH 16.5 ft

This line of pond pumps utilizes its magnetic drive technology that is reliable and energy efficient. Plus, they come with a solid 3-year warranty.

Specifications

Available in 4 models. Specs below reflect the 1900 GPH
Pump Type: Submersible
Max Flow Rate: 1,900 GPH
Max Head Height: 16.5
Warranty: 3 year
Power Cord Length: 16 foot
Power Usage: 226w
Pump Operating Cost*: $16.27 per month
*Assuming 24 hour a day use, 30 days in a month and electricity cost of .10kWh (U.S. average)

Pros

  • The Tetra Pond Water Garden Pump is available in 4 different versions making it easier to find one for your ponds exact size
  • Reliable and energy efficient magnetic drive technology
  • Industry leading 3-year warranty so you can buy with confidence
  • Long power cord

Cons

  • No debris catching filter
  • No fountain attachments or any other special features

TetraPond Water Garden Pump

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TetraPond Water Garden Pump

Alpine Cyclone Pond Pump

  • Best External Pond Pump

The Alpine Cyclone Pond Pump is unique in the fact that it can be used in or out of the water! And it can be used vertically or horizontally, allowing for a greater range of placements in or out of the pond.

The high performance and energy saving motor is protected by a large pre-filter cage that can be easily taken apart and cleaned with the use of any tools.

There 7 different models available for the Alpine Cyclone, so pick the one that best suits your pond’s size and needs.

And feel confident with your purchase with the solid 3-year warranty

While this pump doesn’t include a bunch of fountain head attachments and other add-ons, it is our highest recommended pump purely based on reliability, performance and the ability to handle any pond task.

Oh, did we mention the insanely long 33-foot power cord!

Pump Specifications

Available in 7 models available. Specs below reflect the 3100
Pump Type: Submersible or external
Max Flow Rate: 2,500 GPH
Max Head Height: 21 feet
Warranty: 3 year
Power Cord Length: 33 feet
Power Usage: 250w
Pump Operating Cost*: $18 per month
*Assuming 24 hour a day use, 30 days in a month and electricity cost of .10kWh (U.S. average)

Pros

  • Can be used in or out of the water, vertically or horizontally
  • Includes easy-to-clean pre-filter
  • Energy efficient operation
  • Reliable, high-performance motor
  • 33-foot-long power cord
  • Available in 7 different sizes - perfect small to large pond pump solution
  • Impressive head heights making them a good choice as your ponds waterfall pump
  • Solid 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a variety of fountain head attachments and other add-ons like some other pumps

Alpine Cyclone Pond Pump

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Alpine Cyclone Pump

What Does A Pond Pump Do?

A pond pump is essentially a water pump – an electrical device that moves your pond's water.

Think of your pump as the heart of your pond. It circulates water and powers your ponds features, such as a pond spitter, fountain, waterfall, and even streams. And if you have a pond filtration system, it forces the water through your filters which can help keep your water clean and clear.

Pond pumps can also help aerate your pond. This is the process of adding oxygen to your pond which can help improve water quality, reduce pond muck, and may be essential if you have fish or other aquatic life in your pond.

Do I Need A Pond Pump?

In most cases, yes, you will want to run a pump in your pond. I’ve never not recommended using one in a backyard pond.

Does that mean you can’t successfully have a backyard pond without one? Of course not. But you’ll need to do a lot of careful planning when building your pond, and potentially a lot more manual maintenance to keep your pond clean and clear.

If you are dead set on never running a pond pump, be sure to:

  1. Have some form of pond algae control. I'd recommend adding lots of pond plants to help naturally filter and aerate the water. Plus, plants will consume nutrients that would otherwise fuel algae growth.
  2. Either don’t add any fish or keep the number of fish very low. Fish like to poop. And that poop can increase nutrient levels which will help algae grow. Also, overfeeding your fish can increase nutrient levels. Let your fish eat natural food already in the pond.
  3. Line the sides of your pond with rocks. Microbes like to live on rocks and will help keep your pond clean and free from foul odors.
  4. Put a pond net in place to help catch debris before it enters the pond and sinks to the bottom, becoming muck on your pond floor.

Even if you follow the above advice, you may still run into pond scum issues, murky pond water and oxygen levels to low for your fish to thrive in.

Using a water pump will help with peace of mind and may even be required in some ponds (heavily stocked koi ponds), so don’t skimp out on this investment. If running costs are a worry for you, there are solar pond pumps that may be perfect for your specific pond setup.

Types Of Pond Pumps

Basically, the two main types of pond pumps you’ll run across are submersible water pumps and external pumps. Each type of water pump have their own pros and cons, so let's break down each one to see which is the best pump for you.

Submersible Pond Pumps

As the name suggests, a submersible pond pump is placed, and runs, entirely under water.

This is arguably the most common type of pump available today for a few reasons:

  • They’re much easier to hide than an external pump, as they simply live under water.
  • Because these pumps are submerged, they produce less noise than their above water counterparts.
  • Installation is a breeze.

Submersible pumps come in a variety of sizes and water flow rates which makes it easy to find a solution for no matter how big or small your backyard pond is.

TetraPond Water Garden Pump

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TetraPond Water Garden Pump

As with most things, there are a few drawbacks with submersible pumps, the main one being that they can be more difficult to maintain and clean. This is because your pump generally sits at a low point in your pond, so to perform any maintenance to it you would have to reach down to this point and manually remove your pump. This might not be an issue for smaller ponds, but for larger (and deeper) ponds, this can be a hassle.

Running costs can also be a little bit higher for submersible pumps, compared to external.

Pros

  • Easy to hide
  • Very quiet operation
  • Easy to setup and get running
  • Typically cost less than external pumps

Cons

  • Can be more difficult to maintain
  • Higher operating costs

External Pond Pumps

On the other hand, external pond pumps sit outside of the pond and are generally hidden inside a box or underground.

These types of pumps are typically going to be bigger and more powerful than submersible pumps, however, you can still find an external water pump for just about any sized pond – large or small. These pumps are a great choice if you have a very large pond or need a powerful pump because you stock a lot of pond fish like koi.

Alpine Cyclone Pond Pump

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Alpine Cyclone Pump

By nature, an external pump is going to be noisier then a submersible pump, but this can be remedied to a certain degree by housing the pump in a box or placing it underground next to your pond.

And while cost may be a little more upfront for an external pump, the monthly operating costs are actually lower than the average submersible water pump – with all things being equal.

External pumps require more effort to install, as well, as you must run plumbing to and from it, plus you’ll need somewhere to house it. With that said, you don’t have to remove it from the water to access it!

Pros

  • Typically bigger and more powerful
  • Easier to maintain – you don’t have to remove it from your pond
  • Energy efficient
  • Good option for larger ponds and ponds heavily stocked with koi and other fish

Cons

  • Installation requires some additional steps
  • Noisier than submersible pumps
  • Higher upfront cost

What Size Pond Pump Do I Need?

When sizing your pond pump, you’ll need to know your ponds volume. Why? Because, generally speaking, you’ll want your pump to circulate the water in your pond every 1 to 2 hours. In other words, if you have a 500-gallon pond, you’ll want a pump rated at 250 – 500 gallons per hour (GPH), at the least.

To save you time, I’m going to refer you to our pond calculator, which will tell you exactly what sized pump you need for your pond and a ton of other useful information (like filter size, pond liner size, volume and much more).

Another time saver are pond kits. With a pond kit you'll get everything you need to get your pond up and running in no time. And they take the guesswork out of trying to find all of the right-sized components.

What Size Pump Do I Need For A Waterfall?

There are a few extra considerations to consider if you plan on featuring a waterfall in your pond, mainly the head height and the gallons per hour (GPH). But, it’s pretty simple to calculate.

Step 1: Calculate The Waterfall Head Height

The head height is the distance from the top of the waterfall down to the surface of the pond. So, let’s say it’s 3 feet from the top of your waterfall (where the water comes out) to the pond’s surface, then your head height is 3 feet.

Step 2: Determine GPH

Now, let’s look at how wide your waterfall flow is. For your typical waterfall, you will want a pump rated at 1500 GPH for every 12 inches of width. If the water discharging from your waterfall width is 2 feet wide, then you’ll want a pump rated at 3,000 GPH. If you want a lighter water flow or heavier water flow, then adjust the GPH accordingly.

Step 3: Putting It Together

Using the above example, you would simply be looking for a pond pump that is rated at 3,000 GPH with a head of 3 feet.

Keep in mind, if the tubing from the water pump to the top of the waterfall is longer than 10 feet, you’ll want to add a foot of head height for every 10 foot of tubing. This is due to a loss in pressure the farther the water must travel.

How To Install A Pond Pump

Pump installation is going to be different for every brand and model, so you will want to follow the specific instructions that come with your pump.

If you lost your pumps instructions, you can usually download them on their website or try contacting the manufacturer and have them send the manual to you.

With that said, it’s typically a simple 3 step process for most submersible pumps.

Pump Installation Steps

Step 1: Attach any connectors and tubing to the pump as per the directions. If your pump has a fountain attachment, you will need to assemble to the desired height and add the desired fountain spray nozzle, if applicable.

Step 2: Place the Pump into your pond in the desired location and depth on a stable surface. You may have to place a flat rock or brick in your pond for the pump to sit on.

Step 3: Adjust the water flow control valve, if applicable, and plug the pump into a properly grounded outlet.

That’s it! Now, just turn it on and test the flow rate to make sure water is properly flowing through your pump.

How Much Does It Cost To Run A Pond Pump?

Unless you’re running a solar pump, you’re going to run into monthly operating costs.

How much just depends on your pumps wattage and the cost of a kilowatt hour from your utility company.

It’s a good exercise to figure out the running cost of a pump before you buy it so you don’t run into any surprises when you get your next utility bill.

Luckily, figuring out this cost is relatively easy.

Step 1: Multiply your pumps wattage X the average daily run time in hours = Daily Usage

Step 2: Daily Usage / 1000 = kWh usage per day

Step 3: kWh usage per day X days in month = kWh monthly usage

Step 4: kWh monthly usage X cost of 1 kWh on your latest electric bill = Monthly Operating Cost

So, for example, you have a pond pump that operates at 200 watts, which runs 24 hours in a 30 day month, and your electricity costs .12 per 1 kWh.

  1. 200w X 24 hours per day = 4,800
  2. 4,800 / 1,000 = 4.8 kWh usage per day
  3. 4.8 X 30 = 144 kWh monthly usage
  4. 144 X .12 = 17.28

Your pumps monthly running cost would be $17.28.

If you're trying to save money and your pond is 500 gallons of water or less, the Pond Boss Pump & Filter Kit only costs a measly $1.66 per month on average!

Pond Boss Pump & Filter Kit

Pond Boss Pump & Filter Kit

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Is It OK To Turn Off My Pond Pump At Night?

No, you should not turn off your pond pump at night. Your pond pump delivers vital oxygen to your pond, powers your filtration system and other water features, and creates water movement to help combat the growth of algae.

For these reasons, you should let your pond pump run continuously 24 hours a day. We cover this topic pretty extensively in our Q&A titled "How many hours a day should I run my pond pump?".

Are Solar Pond Pumps Any Good?

Solar-powered pond pumps are a zero running cost way to power small water features in your pond. These pumps absolutely have their benefits and we recommend them in a lot of situations. But, like most things, solar power pumps have their drawbacks and won’t necessarily work in every situation.

Let’s start off with their benefits:

  • They are super easy to install. You don’t even have to worry about an outlet being near your pond, which means no running electrical wires.
  • As we mentioned, solar power pumps have zero running costs.
  • An eco-friendly solution
  • Little to no noise during operation

Sunnydaze Outdoor Solar Pump Fountain Kit w/Battery & LED Light

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Sunnydaze Outdoor Solar Fountain Kit w/Battery & LED Light

And here are the drawbacks of solar pond pumps:

  • They aren’t as powerful as an electrical pond pump
  • They only work when there is visible sunlight. There are solar pond pumps with battery backups. But with the commercially available models, the backup won’t power the pump through the night. It’s typically a few extra hours at most.
  • They’re not going to replace your main electrical pond pump.

Simply put, if you want to power a fountain or small water feature during the day, then a solar pond pump is a great option. But, don’t rely on it to perform the main functions of an electrical pump, like power your water filtration system or provide constant aeration to a fish-heavy pond.

Check out our solar pond pump reviews if you’re interested in this option.

What Kind Of Pump Do I Need For My Koi Pond?

Most pond pumps will work just fine for your koi pond. There isn’t necessarily a specific type of water pump for just koi ponds.

However, if you have koi in your pond, there are some extra considerations you may want to consider when choosing the best pond pump for your koi pond.

Pond fish, especially koi, produce a lot of waste which just adds to the harmful nitrite and ammonia levels. Koi pond owners also often overfeed their fish, which the nutrients in leftover food can help feed algae growth. For these reasons, you’ll want to choose a pump that can turnover your pond entirely once every hour. What this means is that if you have a 1,000-gallon pond, you’ll want a pump rated at 1,000 gallons per hour (GPH) at a minimum. This will ensure that your pond’s water can pass through its filtration system every hour, keeping it clean and clear. So, pond pump size is a big factor.

And, of course, since you’ll need a more powerful water pump that can turnover your koi pond at twice the rate of one without fish, you’re more likely to incur higher operating costs. Doing your research and finding the most energy efficient pump for your needs can save you a lot of money in monthly running costs.

Alpine Cyclone Pond Pump

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Alpine Cyclone Pond Pump

What Is The Best Pump For A Small Pond?

To find the best pond pump for a small pond, you need to look at:

  • The size of your pond
  • Whether or not your pond contains fish
  • If you plan on powering a waterfall or other water features.

First of all, you’ll want a pump that has a water flow rate that matches your pond’s size. Assuming you have no fish, you’ll want your pump to completely turn your pond over at least once every 2 hours. So, if you have a small 200-gallon pond, you’ll want a pump rated at 100 gallons per hour (GPH).

If you have fish, especially koi, you’ll want to make sure your pond's water is completely turned over at least once every hour. So, using the above example, for a pond that holds 200 gallons of water you would want a pump rated at 200 gallons per hour.

Lastly, if you plan on powering a waterfall, you need to consider the head height of the waterfall and how heavy you want the waterfall flow to be. You can see exactly how we calculate this earlier in this article.

With that said, we do recommend the 5 pond pumps at the beginning of this article, so find the one that best fits your pond’s needs and feels comfortable knowing you got the best pond pump on the market today.

How To Clean A Pond Pump

Cleaning your pump will allow it to run more efficiently and can even help keep the pond pump from getting clogged.

The steps to clean your pond pump will vary depending on your brand and model of pump. You should always refer to your specific pumps owner’s manual for instructions. If you lost your owner’s manual, try downloading it from the manufacturer's website or simply contact them for a new one.

With that said, some basic cleaning tips include:

  1. Always unplug the water pump from the electrical outlet before attempting to remove and clean it. Safety is extremely important when it comes to submersible pond pumps.
  2. Remove the pump from the water.
  3. Disassemble any tubing, connectors or other parts.
  4. Clean out the parts using fresh water, making sure nothing is clogged.
  5. If your pump includes a filter, now is the time to remove the pond filter media and flush with water to remove any debris.
  6. Reassemble the pump and place back into your pond.
  7. Plug the unit back in and make sure it is operating efficiently.