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Best Solar Powered Pond Pump & Solar Fountain Pump in 2021 (Top 5 Pumps Compared)

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Solar pond pumps are a great way to aerate your pond and power small fountains and water features… at no cost.

Who doesn’t love saving money on their electric bill?

And as long as that bright burning ball in the sky supplies us with sweet, sweet energy, we might as well use it.

So, let’s look at the pros and cons of using a solar pond pump to see if it’s right for your pond.

Oh, and we’ll reveal the 5 best solar pond pumps and fountains on the market today to help save you time and money.

Let’s get pumpin’!

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Solar Pump Comparison Chart

Description Awards Price
Aquaplancton 50w Twin Panel Solar Powered Pond Pump Kit Aquaplancton 50w Twin Panel Solar Powered Pond Pump Kit Best Solar Powered Large Pond Fountain SEE PRICE »
Beckett Corporation Air Pump Solar Kit Beckett Corporation Air Pump Solar Kit Best Solar Small Pond Aeration Pump SEE PRICE »
Sunnydaze Outdoor Solar Pump Fountain Kit w/Battery & LED Light Sunnydaze Outdoor Solar Pump Fountain Kit w/Battery & LED Light Best Solar Pond Fountain With Lights SEE PRICE »
Solariver Solar Water Pump Kit Solariver Solar Water Pump Kit Best Value Solar Powered Pond Pump SEE PRICE »
Smart Solar Aquatic Range Floating Lily Solar Fountain Smart Solar Aquatic Range Floating Lily Solar Fountain Best Floating Solar Pond Fountain SEE PRICE »

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5 Best Solar Pond & Fountain Pumps

Aquaplancton 50w Twin Panel Solar Powered Pond Pump Kit

  • Best Solar Powered Large Pond Fountain

The Aquaplancton Solar Powered Pump Kit is one of the most powerful solar pond pumps on the market!

With its twin 25 watt solar panels (50 watts total!) it can pump out a max of 898 GPH!

The kit includes a 16ft hose to connect to your pond's filter or water feature and another 16ft of electrical wire from your pump to your solar panels. If you feel you need more length you can purchase add-on electrical wire in 16ft increments.

The easy-to-clean pump features a dry run cut-off, which essentially means that it will never pump your pond dry in the event of a leak in your pond, etc. This is crucial if you have fish and/or you want to maintain a healthy pond ecosystem.

The pump also features a proprietary brushless design which ensures a long life and reduces maintenances issues.

If you have a larger pond and/or want to power normal sized water features, then this is the pump for you!

Specifications

Water Pump: 898 GPH
Solar Panel: 2 x 25w
Max head: 9.86ft
Battery Backup: No
Warranty: 1 year

Pros

  • Great for larger ponds and normal sized water features
  • Very long pump hose and electrical wires
  • Dry run cut-off feature
  • Long, maintenance-free pump life

Cons

  • No battery backup

Aquaplancton 50w Twin Panel Solar Powered Pond Pump Kit

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Aquaplancton 50w Twin Panel Solar Pond Pump Kit

Beckett Corporation Air Pump Solar Kit

  • Best Solar Pond Aeration Pump

The Becket Corporation Solar Powered Pump Kit is perfect for aerating a small pond!

Featured as one of our best pond aerator’s, this pump comes with one 1.5 watt solar panel, a 9.8’ power cord and a 6.5’ air hose.

This pond pump is not going to power any water features nor has a built-in fountain effect. It is simply designed to boost oxygen levels in your pond to keep your fish and your ponds ecosystem happy.

Specifications

Water Pump: 2 L/M
Solar Panel: 1.5w
Max head: N/A
Battery Backup: No
Warranty: 1 year

Pros

  • Effective zero-cost pond aeration solution
  • Keeps fish and other pond life alive and happy
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Can only be used for pond aeration
  • No battery backup
  • No on/off switch
  • Pump is not submersible

Beckett Corporation Air Pump Solar Kit

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Beckett Corporation Air Pump Solar Kit

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

  • Best Solar Pond Fountain With Lights

The Sunnydaze Solar Pump & Fountain Kit comes with an integrated light kit and a battery backup!

The pump has a max flow rate of 132 gallons per hour and can spray water up to 56 inches high. Pretty good for a solar powered water pump!

The battery backup, when fully stored, will run your pond pump for up to 4 hours without sunlight. This is great for getting more pump action over the course of the day, but the battery won’t have enough stored energy to allow for continuous 24-hour pumping. Just keep that in mind in case that’s a requirement for your pond.

The built-in LED lights will only run at night and automatically turns off during the day as to not waste any energy.

The kit includes the 5 watt solar panel, battery backup, 132gph submersible pump, an LED light, 2 x 16ft cables, a 77” cable to connect the solar panel to the battery, 4 x 3” fountain extension tubes and two fountain spray heads.

Specifications

Water Pump: 132GPH
Solar Panel: 5w
Max head: 56 inches
Battery Backup: Yes – Up to 4 hours
Warranty: 1 year

Pros

Cons

  • At 132 gph, this pump is only suitable for smaller ponds or may need to be used with another pond pump if you want to run a filtration system or waterfall

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

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

Solariver Solar Water Pump Kit

  • Best Value Solar Powered Pond Pump

The Solariver Solar Water Pump Kit features a powerful 20 watt solar panel and offers one of the best values for the dollar.

The submersible magnetic pump pushes water at a powerful rate of 360+ GPH and has a long 20,000+ hour life. The built-in pre-filter helps to keep the pond pump from clogging.

It comes with a 16’ power cord that runs from the solar panel to the pump with the option to buy a 16’ extension if you need more cord.

Specifications

Water Pump: 360+GPH
Solar Panel: 20 watt
Max head: 10.5ft
Battery Backup: Yes
Warranty: 1 year

Pros

  • Powerful 360+ GPH max flow rate
  • Long pump life thanks to its brushless design
  • Long power cord with optional extension
  • Built-in filter system

Cons

  • No battery included

Solariver Solar Water Pump Kit

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Solariver Solar Water Pump Kit

Smart Solar Aquatic Range Floating Lily Solar Fountain

  • Best Floating Solar Pond Fountain

The Smart Solar Fountain isn’t going to power a waterfall or connect to your filtration system.

But, what it does well is stylishly float around your pond and create a small fountain effect at a zero operating cost.

This lily pad shaped fountain can free flow around your pond or be anchored down. It has a max flow rate of 30GPH and sprays up to 12 inches high.

This floating solar powered fountain will also provide good shade and protective coverage to your fish and other pond life.

You can see it in action this video.

Specifications

Water Pump: 30 GPH
Max head: N/A
Battery Backup: No
Warranty: No

Pros

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Provides fish with good shade and cover
  • Easy to install
  • Works in bird baths

Cons

  • No on/off switch
  • Will not power any water features, though it could be considered a small solar powered water feature itself.
  • No battery backup

Smart Solar Aquatic Range Floating Lily Solar Fountain Pump

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Smart Solar Aquatic Range Floating Lily Solar Fountain

Solar Pond Pump Buyer’s Guide

If you want a pond pump that won’t affect your energy bill each month, then a solar pump may be the best option for you.

Of course, like most things in life, there are some benefits to opting for a solar powered pump, but also some important drawbacks you’ll need to consider.

So, if you’re wondering whether or not the solar powered version will suit your pond’s needs…You’re about to find out!

As well as the pros and cons of running a solar pond pump, we’ll also look at the different types and how to choose one that meets your pond’s needs.

Different Types of Solar Powered Pumps

First and foremost, you’ll find two different types of solar powered pond pumps on the market. It’s important to understand the difference between these two.

Solar Fountain Pumps

Arguably, the most common of all solar pond pumps are the solar fountain pump. They typically include everything you’ll need to be up and running quickly including a fountain head (or multiple heads), the pump itself and a solar panel.

While there are multiple ways to install a solar fountain pump, which we’ll get into in the next section, they all essentially operate the same by pumping water out of the pond and up and out the fountain head using power supplied by the sun.

Don’t expect a lot of water height to come out of a solar powered fountain, though it’s typically more than enough for any smaller pond or water garden.

Aquaplancton 50w Twin Panel Solar Powered Pond Pump Kit

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Aquaplancton 50w Twin Panel Solar Pond Pump Kit

Solar Air Pumps (Solar Aerators)

As the name suggests, this pump has one goal in mind; to add oxygen to the water.

Rather than powering certain water features, the solar panels collect energy which in turn powers the pump that simply adds oxygen to the pond water. For those without a water feature, this oxygenation can be incredibly helpful because it can improve the water quality (and therefore the health of your pond fish). For those with a waterfall or fountain, this may not be necessary.

Beckett Corporation Air Pump Solar Kit

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Beckett Corporation Air Pump Solar Kit

Types of Solar Pump Installation

Now, that you understand the two main types of solar pond pumps, lets break those down even further. Both solar fountain pumps and solar aerators come in three different types – which we will classify by how they are installed.

External Solar Pond Pumps

With an external solar pond pump, you typically get more power and they are easier to clean and repair (since you don’t have to remove them from the water). The downside is they can be more expensive than their floating or submersible counterparts and obviously harder to hide. In my experience, external pond pumps that come with a solar panel are hard to come by. Submersible and floating solar pond pumps are a lot more common.

Floating Solar Pond Pumps

With a fountain or diffuser adding oxygen to the water, this pump will live on the surface of your pond or water garden. For those who want to provide oxygen to specific parts of a pond, this is a great option because the floating aerator can be moved (it can also be moved for appearance’s sake!). Depending on the model, floating water pumps can also float around the surface naturally or be anchored to a specific position. Plus, they are easy to install!

Smart Solar Aquatic Range Floating Lily Solar Fountain

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Smart Solar Aquatic Range Floating Lily Solar Fountain

Submersible Solar Pond Pumps

As the name suggests, this pond pump is submersed under water, naturally hiding it and making it quieter than a floating or external pond pump. Submersible water pumps are typically going to be weaker than their external counterparts but they are cheaper.

Aquaplancton 50w Twin Panel Solar Powered Pond Pump Kit

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Aquaplancton 50w Twin Panel Solar Powered Pond Pump Kit

Benefits of Solar Powered Pond Pumps

Solar powered pond pumps only require solar energy from the the sun to operate, making it a zero operating cost solution to your pond’s pumping needs. Who doesn't love free energy?! As the solar panels are hit with the sun’s rays, this is converted to electricity. Simply put, the more rays that reach the panels, the more efficiently the pump will run.

Assuming a certain amount of sunlight reaches your pond each day, the pump will work without interaction and without any wiring or outlets.

Solar powered pumps are also extremely quiet when in use, while still offering enough power for smaller water features like pond spitters, for example.

did you know Did you know...

Solar power has quickly become the cheapest form of energy in 60 countries across the globe!

Another reason why people choose solar pumps is that they can be installed easily. You don’t need to dig up the ground and lay power lines or rely on an outlet being near your pond or water garden. Solar pumps can be set up within minutes and they just work (as long as there is sunlight of course).

Finally, we should mention the good you’ll be doing for the planet. Solar power is the cleanest, most renewable energy around. Use it as often as you can, tell your friends to use it, and we’ll all be helping our wonderful earth!

Benefits include:

  • Small design
  • Easy installation
  • Free energy
  • No wiring
  • Green solution
  • Suitability with small fountains
  • Near silent operation

Drawbacks of Solar Pond Pumps

With so many great benefits, why would anybody NOT use a solar powered pump?

Unfortunately, there are a couple of drawbacks and it starts with the poor head height and water flow. With even the most powerful solar pumps, they typically fall below 200 GPH of water flow (though two of our recommended solar pumps are considerably higher than this average) which just won’t be enough for many situations. For example, it typically wouldn’t power a large water feature or be enough for an effective filtration system either.

Rather than replacing a regular electric pond pump, solar pumps are actually designed for smaller features. If you research the available pumps, you’ll see they’re typically offered in ‘kits’ for aerators and small fountains. If you decide to replace your stronger electric model with a solar option, you’re most likely going to be left disappointed.

The battery capacity for solar pond pumps can also cause a problem. As we’ve already discovered, solar panels welcome the rays from the sun and store them as energy. As long as the model includes one, the energy is stored in a rechargeable battery pack. As soon as the sun goes down, whatever is left in storage will be used to keep pumping. Unfortunately, most solar pumps won’t have a large enough battery to offer anything more than a few hours in storage (if they offer a battery backup at all).

You may struggle with the following:

  • Not meant to be a replacement for your main electrical pond pump
  • Will only work with small features
  • Battery capacity may limit use when no solar energy from sunlight is available (if it even comes with a battery backup)

How to Choose a Solar Fountain Pump

You don’t want to be stuck with a solar powered pump that’s just not going to do what you want it too. So, before ordering a new solar pump for your pond, ask yourself these questions.

How much sunlight do I need?

If you’re like most, you’re probably wondering how much sunlight you actually need to power the pump. Does the sun need to shine directly onto the solar panel for it to work effectively? Does a cloudy day prevent the pump from working completely?

Ultimately, it’s more about the sun’s energy than the shine itself. Over the course of an average day, the sun’s energy will vary somewhat. At midday, it will peak in intensity and this is where the output will optimize on a clear day. As the afternoon progresses and the sun starts to fall, output will slowly decrease until it stops completely at night.

Though buildings, trees, clouds, and other obstructions can slow output, they don’t necessarily halt it altogether (especially where clouds are concerned). With some light cloud cover, some devices will still offer at least 50% efficiency. For your pump, it’s likely to keep a reasonable flow until the sun drops too low or the clouds get too thick, thus blocking the solar energy needed to power the pump.

Is a solar pond pump powerful enough?

What about power? Well, it really just comes down to your needs and the size of your specific pond or water garden. For example, a 200 GPH pump just won’t be good enough for a 4,000-gallon pond. If you have a 400-gallon pond and are only looking to add a 2-foot fountain, on the other hand, there’s no reason why a solar powered water pump can’t do the trick.

In our experience, 1,000 gallons seems to be the maximum for solar pumps – if it’s the sole pump in the pond. If you want to simply add extra features to your larger pond you can certainly use a solar pump (in addition to the regular pond pump).

Do I need a solar powered pond pump with battery backup?

You’ll want to make sure that the pond pump you buy specifically mentions a battery back-up otherwise it’s not likely to be included. What does this mean? Ultimately, the pump won’t be able to store energy and will only work when sunlight reaches the solar panel.

While the change in flow and sound as the sunlight changes may be preferred by some, others find it frustrating, so you need to decide whether or not this is an important feature for you.

If you’re looking for consistent performance (as consistent as possible), look for so-called ‘night’ pumps. During the day, some of the energy will go towards the pump and some will go towards charging the battery. When the sky becomes cloudy or the sun goes down, the battery jumps into action and the pump continues its work. Just be ready to pay a little more for this additional feature. With some models, the price can double with a battery back-up.

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

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

More importantly, you need to make sure your pond doesn’t rely on the solar pump to run continuously. For example, if you have a pond stocked with fish and they rely on your pond aerating pump for survival, you should not use a solar pond pump. In fact, I’d still recommend against using one with a battery backup just in case it went a long time without sufficient sunlight and the battery didn’t have enough charge to keep the pump running.

Increasing the Efficiency of a Solar Pond Pump

Since the power output isn’t constant with a solar pump, there are some things you can do to improve the efficiency of the unit. For example:

  • Cleaning the solar panels frequently will help them absorb as much of the sun’s rays as possible.
  • Place the solar panel strategically so they catch the maximum sunlight during the optimum hours (between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm).
  • Decrease the fountain height so the pump doesn’t have to work as hard.
  • Cleaning the pond pump frequently will ensure that water flows through as efficiently as possible.
  • Improving the quality of the pond water will again help the water flow through the pump as efficiently as possible so that the pump doesn’t have to work as hard.

Solar Pump FAQ’s

What size solar pond pump do I need?

We typically recommend that ponds have the water circulated once per hour. This means that a 1000 GPH pond pump will be needed for a pond containing 1000 gallons of water. That being said, all ponds are unique and those with a pressurized filter may only need to be turned every two hours. Or if the pond simply contains no fish. In this scenario, the same 1000 GPH pond pump would suit a 2,000-gallon pond.

Generally speaking though, regular ponds including those with a waterfall or pond skimmer should be turned around once an hour. With this, you can search the market for a product that matches your pond exactly rather than settling for something less than adequate.

Better yet, use our highly advanced, yet easy-to-use pond calculator to figure out the right size of pump for your pond or water garden.

How does a solar pond pump work?

Though some tend to complicate the process, solar pumps are simple in nature. First, you need to understand that two types of solar pumps exist; one pumps air into the pond (an aerator pump) and the other pumps water (a water pump). Regardless of what your chosen pump does, they all use the same process.

As the sunlight reaches the solar panel, this either powers the pond pump directly or is stored in a battery which, in turn, powers the pump. Once the pump has enough energy it starts to move water around or pump air into the pond. Thanks to the way it stores energy, pumps with batteries can continue into the night and also work when very little sun is showing. On the other hand, units without a battery can ONLY work when the sun’s energy is hitting the panels.

Should I choose a solar powered pond pump or an electrical pond pump?

In truth, this is the question we see most frequently, and the answer depends on what you’re expecting from the pump.

If you’re simply looking to power a fountain in a backyard pond, most people will find solar pumps to be more than sufficient.

If you want it to power the main filtration system in a koi pond, I can pretty much guarantee you won’t be happy with the result because koi ponds need continuous filtration. And as we mentioned earlier, if your pond relies on an air pump to keep its oxygen levels in a safe range, a solar pump won’t be your best option. Unless you can be absolutely sure that enough energy is stored in the battery during the day and the system continues through the night, a solar pond pump won’t be enough to support a healthy ecosystem in these circumstances. We have a complete guide on how to aerate a pond without electricity for more information and other aerating options if this interests you.

So again, in many cases, an electrical pond pump will be required. However, this isn’t to say that a solar pump can’t support any features you decide to add in a larger pond that already has an electrical pump installed.

How deep should the water be for a solar fountain pump?

This really just depends on the brand and type of solar pump, whether it is submersible, external or floating. For most pumps I’ve worked with, the water should be a minimum of 4-6 inches deep. The maximum depth will depend on the type of pump. A floating pond pump won’t be restricted by a specific maximum depth as it just sits on top of the water no matter the depth. A submersible pump will need the fountain spout to stick out the top of the water, so if you’re pond is deeper than the length of the spout, you’ll just have to place it in a shallow edge of the pond or water garden.

With that said, it’s best to follow the instructions for the specific pond pump you are using.