Ponds equipment

5 Best Pond Pumps – Choosing The Right Model and Flow Rate

Last updated on January 28th, 2022

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Circulating the water in your garden pond is essential for the plant, fish and other pond life you have to thrive. And for that, you need a good quality and efficient pond pump.

Buying a pond pump can be confusing, especially if you are just getting started with pond care, some have in-built filters and others take an external filter. My review covers those pumps without an integral filter, even though “filter” may be in their name.

Pond pump being installed on medium sized garden pond
Pond pump being installed on medium-sized garden pond

I also have a review of Pond Pumps with Built-in Filters and UV lights here.

For each model of pumps I review, I choose a particular size, but all of the pumps come in a variety of sizes – so be sure to read all the entries to find the one that’s best suited for your garden pond size.

I look at the pros and cons of each model and its features and then I make my recommendations. My Buyer’s Guide discusses what flow rate is and why it’s the most important element of a pond pump.

Best Pick

Swell UK Pond Filter Pump (1,400L/hr)
The Swell UK Pond Filter Pump is designed to run year-round at a low wattage of 25W. This cost-efficient pump comes in a range of flow rate sizes, from 1,400L/hr for a small pond all the way up to 16,000L/hr for an extra-large pond. Although it doesn’t come with any additional water features, you can attach an external pump as well as a waterfall or fountain to this pump. The grid outside the pump casing serves as a strainer to take out any pond debris, including rocks, that’s larger than 4mm. The pump itself can handle anything smaller. I especially like the safety feature that cuts out the pump if it starts overheating – saving your pond, plants and fish life from damage. Overall, if your looking for a pond pump I think this is. agood place to start.

Best Pick – Eco-system Preservation

Blagdon Amphibious IQ Energy Saving Pond Pump
This pond pump puts you in charge of how great you want the flow rate to be and how much power you want to use for the pump. This lets you fine-tune the eco-system in your pond depending on what conditions occur and what plant or fish life you add. There’s four different sizes of pond pump (small through extra-large), each with the suitable range of flow rate and watts for that volume of water. Two safety features let you know if there’s anything amiss in your pond. You receive a warning if the pump becomes clogged, and the pump temporarily shuts down if the water level drops too low, starting again when the water’s deep enough. The Blagdon Amphibious IQ Energy Saving Pond Pump is for you is you like/need to closely control the water eco-system of your garden pond. This is best suited to those who want somthing a little more advanced.

Best Pond Pumps Reviews

1. Swell UK Pond Filter Pump (1,400L/hr)

Best Pick

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

Swell UK Pond Filter Pump 1,400 | Fully Submersible Energy Saving Eco Waterfall with Thermal Cut-off Features and 4-8mm Solids Handling - 3 Year Guarantee

The Swell UK Pond Filter Pump (1,400L/hr) is a cost-efficient pond pump that runs at 25W, all year round. It’s designed for long-term and heavy use and has a safety feature that cuts out the pump if it starts to overheat. Plus the low wattage won’t have a big impact on your electricity bills and as a pond owner, this is often overlooked.

I reviewed the Swell model of pump that puts 1,400L/hr through the system. This size of pump is suitable for a small pond. However, this is one of a series of pumps that comes in a variety of flow sizes, all the way up to an impressive 16,000L/hr, which works well for an extra-large pond. Whatever the size of your pond, there’s a pump of the right size in this brand for you.

The outer grid case of the pump serves as a strainer that keeps out solids of 4mm or larger and stops them from reaching any external filter you may attach. You can also attach a waterfall or a fountain feature to this pump which is useful. The outlet pipe is stepped in a series of sizes that fit the most popular sizes of hoses (25mm to 40mm) found on water features.

Finally, there’s a 10-meter power cord (which is around 30 meters) with this pump but no plug attached, so you can wire the pump directly into an RCD as is recommended.

Pros

  • 25W pond pump (submersible) that’s designed to run all year round.
  • Safety feature cuts off the pump if it starts overheating.
  • Pumps 1,400L/hr.
  • Outer strainer case stops any coarse debris between 4mm and 8mm in diameter.
  • Comes in a variety of flow rates from 1,400L/hr to 16,000L/hr.
  • Fits into a variety of hose sizes.
  • Comes with 10m power cable.
  • Free advice available from the seller.
  • Three-year guarantee.

Cons

  • Flow rate is not adjustable.
  • Flimsy plastic cage.

Our recommendation

The Swell UK Pond Filter Pump with a flow rate of 1,400L/hr is an excellent size pump for those with smaller ponds in their gardens. However, the full range of flow sizes available covers the range from small ponds to extra-large ones, plus any other water features you want to include (filter, fountain, waterfall).

As this pond pump is designed to run continuously, I especially like the safety feature that shuts the whole thing off if the pump begins to overheat. The Swell UK Pond Filter Pump is my Best Pick of Pond Pumps and probably the best choice for most people who are looking for a pond pump, especially if you’re just getting started in the pond care hobby.

Did you know you know stopping your pond from freezing over helps oxygen get into the water and lets poisonous gases out?Check out my top recommended pond heaters and deicers here


2. Blagdon Amphibious IQ Energy Saving Pond Pump

Best Pick – Eco-system Preservation

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

Blagdon Amphibious IQ Energy Saving Pond Pump, for Fountain & Waterfall, Run Dry Protection, Adjustable Power & Flow, 3000-6000 Medium Pond

The Blagdon Amphibious IQ Energy Saving Pond Pump is a multi-featured pond pump that looks complex and a little intimidating. But don’t worry, it’s simple to use and all its features add up to a pump that really looks after the water in your pond. I can tell you straight off what I really like about this pump, you can alter the flow rate, it is easy to change the wattage to make it more efficient when needed and the warning systems for blockages etc. It really is an amazing piece of kit.

The uniqueness of this Amphibious IQ pump is that you can adjust the flow rate within a given range and also the power within a separate range. You choose how fast and how strongly the water flows through the pump system and is put into the pond, this is great for those who want a little more control over the pump conditions.

The IQ system is centered on touch buttons that let you adjust the flow and power as well as stop and start the pump. There’s an easy-to-read LCD display that tells you the conditions when everything is running smoothly and the error message if something is going wrong, which can be super useful and a feature not seen on most cheaper alternatives. I recommend placing this IQ controller somewhere safe, dry and easily accessible so you can see it at a glance.

Each of the four models in this series of pumps has its own ranges for flow rate and power wattage. The one I reviewed has an adjustable water flow from 3,000L/hr to 6,000L/hr. This is the one I recommend choosing for a medium-sized pond. Pick 2,250L/hr – 4,500L/hr for a standard pond; 4,500L/hr – 9,000L/hr for a large pond; and 6,000 – 12,000L/hr for an extra-large pond.

When it comes to the power range, this is equally adjustable. My review model lets you choose between 17W and 35W, this I really like as I can tweak it to make it more efficient and cheaper to have running.

Using the lower part of this spread is more economical and most people probably won’t be able to tell much difference between the pond’s performance at the upper and lower limits. Each model has a suitable power range to support the flow rate though.

There are also two safety features with the Blagdon Amphibious IQ Energy Saving Pond Pump. The Motor Protection System kicks in to give a warning if the pump becomes clogged and also instructs you how to fix the problem. The Run Dry Protection System stops the pump if there isn’t enough water in your pond and resumes working when the water becomes deep enough again.

I also like the Soft Start feature that, when you turn the pump on, gently increases the flow rate to the pre-set volume. Your pond and any inhabitants won’t be shocked by a strong stream of water at any time, and this puts less stress on the pump itself too.

Pros

  • Multi-featured submersible pond pump with lots of helpful information on the sales website.
  • Uses high-performance digital technology for more efficiency and less cost.
  • IQ system allows flow and power are adjustable by touch buttons; also stop and start.
  • LCD display on the digital controller gives current conditions or error message.
  • Adjustable flow from 3,000L/hr to 6,000L/hr.
  • Adjustable power from 17W to 35W.
  • Maximum pumping height is 4.2m.
  • Attaches to your own filter and water features.
  • Motor Protection System gives a warning if the pump becomes jammed.
  • Run Dry Protection system pauses the pump if there isn’t enough water in the pond and gives a warning.
  • Soft Start gently increases the flow to the pre-set volume.

Our recommendation

The Blagdon Amphibious IQ Energy Saving Pond Pump is for you if you have a thriving ecosystem of plants, fish and other inhabitants in your pond that you want to maintain.

Being able to adjust the flow rate and power usage to suit whatever conditions arise lets you preserve the delicately balanced environment that plants and creatures need to survive and thrive, plus it makes it more efficient. The safety features also help you feel rest assured that you are informed when the conditions are less than the optimal settings you chose.

The Blagdon Amphibious IQ Energy Saving Pond Pump is my selection as Best Pick – Eco-system Preservation. Overall, if you’re looking for a more advanced pump, this is well worth considering and there are enough different sizes for most ponds.

Read next: Best raised ponds for easy installation and maintenance


3. PondXpert Mighty Mite Pond Pumps (1,000 L/hr)

Best Pick – Small Ponds

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PondXpert Mighty Mite Pond Pumps (1000 Litres Per Hour)

The PondXpert Mighty Mite Pond Pumps is one of a range of garden pond pumps suited for small to medium-sized ponds. With flow rates from 1,000L/hr to 3,000L/hr, and running at 55W, this model supports small volumes of water, perhaps with a compact fountain or waterfall in place.

The pump connects to all the common sizes of hoses (20mm; 25mm; 32mm ) of external water features through attachments that are also included which is nice. The grid around the pump strains out rocks and other pond debris that are 4mm and larger whilst the pump can handle those bits and pieces that are smaller than this. If you do need to get into the pump casing to remove some leaves that are clogging it, access is tool-free and straightforward, which is also handy.

 Pros

  • Black submersible pond pump, 55W, designed for 24/7 operation in smaller ponds.
  • Pumps 1,000L/hr.
  • Attachments to pump to external filter (not included) or water feature (also not included).
  • Connects to a variety of hoses.
  • Strains out solid debris of 4mm and larger while handling those smaller.
  • Access to pump area is tool-free.
  • Range of flow rates from 1,000L/hr to 3,000L/hr.
  • Three-year warranty for full peace of mind.

Our recommendation

If your pond is basically just a fountain or a waterfall into a small catchment area, the PondXpert Mighty Mite Pond Pumps (1000L/hr) is a good pump to consider. It’s designed for small ponds so you won’t be wasting power by pumping water at flow rates that you don’t need. However, these small pumps do have enough power to support a waterfall or fountain to add some further interest to your pond.

The PondXpert Mighty Mite Pond Pumps (1000L/hr) is my choice for Best Pick – Small Ponds and it’s more affordable than many alternatives and simpler to use.


4. All Pond Solutions Submersible Water Pond Pump (10,000L/Hour)

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AllPondSolutions 10000L/H Submersible Garden Water Pond Pump (10000PP)

The All Pond Solutions Submersible Water Pond Pump (10,000L/Hour) is a suitable size for large ponds. It pumps 10,000L/hr of water, though models with flow rates up to 18,000L/hr are available for those with extra-large ponds. However, the slowest flow rate is 8,000L/hr and this is too much for smaller ponds.

As with all pond pumps, all the workings are fully encased so that the pump is fully submersible in the pond – down to 5m with this model so it can handle deeper ponds. However, this All Pond Solutions has a ceramic shaft that is both weather-proof and rust-proof, adding to its longevity which is a nice touch.

The grid over the water intake keeps out large pieces of pond debris while the pump itself can handle rocks 6mm or less in diameter so slightly larger than most other pond pumps. Your purchase comes with a tiered collar outlet pipe (20mm, 25mm, 32mm, 38mm) to attach the pump to the various size hoses on your filter or water feature, including a waterfall and a fountain.

You also receive a 10-meter power cord so around 30ft. But note that there’s no plug as regulations state that the pump should be wired into an RCD-protected consumer unit.

Pros

  • Black submersible pond pump with a submersible depth of 5m.
  • Pumps 10,000L/hr.
  • Pond pump operates at a low 155W.
  • Workings are fully encased so are completely submersible.
  • Fits several widths of hose.
  • Shaft made of high-quality ceramic.
  • Can handle rough debris up to 6mm.
  • Other sizes available are 8,000L/hr; 13,000L/hr; 15,000L/hr and 18,000L/hr.
  • Comes with 10m of power cord.

Cons

  • No waterfall/fountain attachments.
  • Flow rate is not adjustable.

Our recommendation

The All Pond Solutions Submersible Water Pond Pump (10,000L/Hour) is suitable if you have a large or an extra-large pond in your garden but still want a fairly simple pump.

The high-quality ceramic shaft is strong and durable and the pump can attach to a variety of hose sizes of external pumps and water features. This is a solid choice of pump for those with larger water features in their pond as the range of flow sizes goes all the way up to 18,000L/hr.

Read next: Choosing the best-preformed pond for your first pond


5. Fish Mate Pond Pump (3,000L/hr)

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Fish Mate Pond Pumps (3000)

If your plan for your garden pond involves a fountain, then the Fish Mate Pond Pump (3,000L/hr) is worth a long look. This model of pond pump comes with a fountain set that is ready to hook into the pump and turn on. You choose how the fountain shoots water – in a plume, a bell, a column or tiered. Do several items of your waterscape with just one purchase.

This Fish Mate Pond has an anti-clog design so bits and pieces of pond debris won’t get caught in the interior or the outlet pipe. For the 3,000L/hr model we review – suitable for a small pond – the maximum height the water can be lifted is 2.3m. But this model also comes in a wide range of other flow sizes, from 700l/hr (that’s for a very small pond or perhaps just a fountain) to 7,000L/hr (which is just the right size for a medium to a large-sized pond).

One control knob determines whether the water flows to the fountain or to your filter if you put one into the system. You don’t have to worry about the compatibility of the hose sizes of these elements as the pump has attachments for all the common sizes of water feature hoses – 12mm; 19mm; and 25mm.

Just remember that the 10m power cord doesn’t have a plug on it as garden pond pumps are designed to be wired directly into the switch box.

Pros

  • Green submersible pond pump with an anti-clog design.
  • Maximum flow rate is 3,000L/hour.
  • Needs to be in water shallower than 2.8m.
  • Includes fountain set with four options
  • One knob controls flow to the fountain and to the waterfall/filter.
  • Connects to the separate filter or waterfall with a variety of hose widths.
  • All electrical parts are well-contained for safety.
  • Comes with 10m of electrical cable.
  • Available in other sizes from 700L/hr to 7,000L/hr.
  • Three-year warranty (but not for moving parts).

Cons

  • Metal casing is thin.
  • Flow rate is not adjustable.

Our recommendation

The Fish Mate Pond Pump (3,000L/hr) is right in the centre of the flow rate range of models in this series. Starting at 700L/hr and going up to 7,000l/hr, Fish Mate Garden pond pumps are best suited to small to large-medium ponds. We like that this model comes with a fountain set and that you can choose from four different fountain sprays.

The Fish Mate Pond Pump (3,000L/hr) is a good choice if your pond isn’t on the large side and you want to hear the splashing of a fountain.


Buyer’s Guide – Pond Pumps without Filters

A pond pump circulates water consistently around your garden pond. This ensures that the water receives an adequate supply of oxygen and doesn’t get stagnant, turning green and smelly with algae and mould. If you have any form of plant life or fish in your pond, they need oxygen to survive and thrive. And having the correct flow rate is the key to providing this.

What is flow rate?

No matter what pond pump you buy, you need to select the flow rate. This tells you the volume of water per hour that flows through the pump – given in litres per hour.

However, choosing the right flow rate isn’t as simple as matching it to the size of your pond. And it’s crucial to get this right as only a few pond pumps have an adjustable flow rate; the rest have pre-set volumes.

What flow rate do I need?

Quite a few people who left reviews online for different pond pumps remark that the pump they purchased was not as powerful as they expected. Here are the issues that might lead to this remark.

Pond pump in the garden at home with the pond connect a drain pump in the garden at home with the pond connecting a drain

Size of pond

As a rough guide, here’s a match between pond size and flow rate.

  • 2,250L/hr – 4,500L/hr for a standard sized pond
  • 3,000L/hr – 6,000L/hr for a medium sized pond
  • 4,500L/hr – 9,000L/hr for a large sized pond
  • 6,000L/hr – 12,000L/hr for an extra-large sized pond

You can see there’s some overlap in the flow rates, so this is just a start.

Another rule of thumb is that you may want the pump to circulate the entire contents of your pond every hour (as I generally recommend for a pond with fish). Then you need to buy a pump with a water flow rate the same as the volume of water in your pond.

For example, if you have 8,000L of water in your pond, your pump should have a flow rate of 8,000L/hr. To circulate the water every 90 minutes, divide the volume of your pond by 1.5 to get the L/hr flow rate you need.

Fountain powered by pond pump

External water features

If you plan on adding an external filter (as in the case of the pond pumps in our review), a waterfall or a fountain, you need a more powerful/higher flow rate. A higher rate comes with a higher water speed to lift the water up the waterfall or fountain or push it through the filter.

Distance

The further the stream of water travels from the pump, the smaller the flow rate – water slows down with distance. If you have a large pond, for example, you want all the water to be affected by the pump so you need a flow rate that takes the pumped water to the other side of the pond.

What about power/watts?

The higher the flow rate, the more power the pump needs to handle the stream of water. But as most pond pumps have pre-set power settings, if you pick the right flow rate, the wattage should be sufficient to produce the power needed. Our Best Pick – Preserving the Pond Eco-system has an adjustable power range so you can select how much energy/electricity the pump uses.

Why is there no plug?

Pond pumps usually come with a 10m electric cord and no plug. This is not the manufacturer being a cheapskate. Regulation has it that pond pumps are supposed to be wired directly into a switch box/RCD/GFI connection to basically a consumer unit. After all water and electricity don’t mix so this is a must for safety reasons.


Final Conclusion

Keeping the water in your pond healthy and fully oxygenated is a simple matter of hooking up a garden pond pump. Continually circulating the pond water creates a healthy environment for fish and plants, plus it stops all that green gunk from growing.

My review looks at a variety of pond pumps without filters so you can choose to add your own filter if you want. All the models we recommend can hook to external filters as well as waterfall and fountain water features. Generally, if you have fish, it’s a good idea to have filters.

My Best Pick is the Swell UK Pond Filter Pump (1,400L/hr). Available in a wide range of flow rates, from 1,400L/hr to 16,000L/hr, the safety cut-off feature of this model ensures that your pump never overheats and causes damage.

My Best Pick – Ecosystem Preservation is the Blagdon Amphibious IQ Energy Saving Pond Pump. This pump has an adjustable flow rate and an adjustable power range, both suitable for the size pond that particular pump is designed for.

Give your pond pump some help in oxygenating the pond water by reading our 7 Best Oxygenating Pond Plants For Water Health and Clarity article. Or add visual interest with the Top 7 Must-Have Floating Pond Plants.

Once the water in your pond is circulating and staying relatively clean, it’s easier to clean the pond as a whole. Check out my Top 4 Best Pond Vacuum Cleaners, comparison and reviews article to find out how to do this with minimal effort.


Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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