Last updated on June 14th, 2022
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Does your garden pond shimmer and sparkle cleanly in the sunlight or does it look like the Swamp Thing might emerge from the dank and murky water? A pond vacuum cleaner is an easy way to remove the sludge, sediment, fish waste, rotting vegetation, and other organic matter that keeps your pond from being the pristine and healthy environment that your fish and water plants deserve.
Our Best Pond Vacuum Cleaners review looks at the top models for keeping the water in your pond or pool healthy and waste free. We list the pros and cons of each model and briefly describe the features.
Our Buyer’s Guide explains the differences in how vacuum cleaners work and the features to look for.
Our Best Pick of the pond vacuum cleaners is the Oase Pontec Pondomatic Pond Vacuum Cleaner. This pond cleaner suits the domestic garden with average size ponds that aren’t in bad shape. It’s an affordable model with the features you need to clean up your pond and keep it that way.
The Oase Pondovac 4 Pond Vacuum is the Runner-up. This is a premium pond vacuum cleaner that offers a solution to the most common complaint from users – it runs continuously so that you don’t have to stop and wait while the system empties the sludge tank. Other top-of-the-line features also help to make your pond care tasks quick and easy.
Best Pond Vacuum Cleaners Reviews
1. Oase Pontec Pondomatic Pond Vacuum Cleaner
The Oase Pontec Pondomatic Pond Vacuum Cleaner is a well-reviewed pond cleaner with a standard array of features and is perfect for the average person with a small pond to clean and maintain. As several online reviewers state, “it does what it says on the box.”
The Pondomatic works with an automatic timed cycle. It draws sludge up the 4m long suction hose for about 20-25 seconds into the 30L tank. The cleaner then stops the suction operation and the discharge part of the cycle then kicks in. The water and sludge are released to wherever you’ve put the end of the 2m discharge hose. This could be back into the pond through a filter or into a flowerbed. The organic matter in the water provides fertiliser for growing plants or grass. However the discharge hose is only 2m long, so that limits how far away you can direct the water.
You can suck up particles from 2mm in diameter up to 10mm around. Larger particles or those with awkward shapes are prone to blocking the suction and discharge hoses.
Waiting for the water to discharge before suctioning again may be frustrating but there’s nothing you can do about it. You have a choice of three nozzles to use for the suction process. However, neither the sales page nor the manufacturer’s website state what they are nor in which circumstances to use each one. Remember that the water is discharged by gravity so the tank has to be above ground or pond level.
Be clear though that there is no filter attachment with this vacuum cleaner itself. So whatever’s in the water (mud, debris, fish poop, etc.) returns into the pond if that’s where you’re discharging the water. However, the thickest sludge and mud remains in the tank so you do remove that. You may want to create your own filter for the end of the discharge hose if you plan to return the water to the pond.
- The suction hose is 4m long and discharge hose is 2m long.
- Three nozzles come with the purchase.
- Particles from 2mm up to 10mm in diameter are removed.
- The tank holds 30L of sludge and debris before discharging.
- The automatic timed discharge cycle is about 25 seconds of suction which then stops when the tank discharges.
- 1400 watts of suction power.
- Weighs 9.26kg.
- Two-year warranty for full peace of mind.
- No filter capability.
- The tank fills up quickly and then takes a long time to empty.
The Oase Pontec Pondomatic Pond Vacuum Cleaner has all the features you need to keep an average pond clean. Be sure to use it regularly, especially initially if you’ve neglected your pond for several years. Consider setting up your own DIY filtration system if you plan to return the suctioned water to the pond. And be prepared for some downtime between the automatic suction-and-discharge cycles.
The Oase Pontec Pondomatic Pond Vacuum Cleaner is our Best Pick of the models we look at. We like that its range of features is what you need for a regular pond and its affordable price.
If you have an average-sized pond and no special needs for it, this is the first pond vacuum cleaner to look at.
2. Oase Pondovac 4 Pond Vacuum
The Oase Pondovac 4 Pond Vacuum is the premium pond vacuum cleaner we have included in this review. It’s the most expensive one but it’s worth it if the idea of waiting every 20-30 seconds for the water to discharge from the sludge tank is enough to drive you crazy or if you need a more professional model.
The Pondovac suctions the water from your pond continuously. This non-stop action is due to the two tanks in the unit. When one is full, the suction action switches to the second tank while the first empties the water through the discharge hose. This is much quicker than the suction-wait-discharge-repeat process of the other vacuums in this review. In addition, with 1700W of power, this model has more oomph than the other units we look at.
The premium features don’t stop with you just switching the vacuum on and moving the suction hose around as necessary. This hose is transparent so you can tell if you’ve brought up all the debris at any spot when the water rising is somewhat clear. Just move the nozzle to a new place on the pond bottom. You can vacuum up bits in the usual range of 2mm to 10mm in diameter. But you now have five nozzles to use, some of which are specialised for particular types of debris, including string algae.
And, a filter bag that fits at the end of the debris hose comes with this unit. It’s all right to return the water into the pond as the gunk and debris filters out and stays in the bag. Online reviewers do say that, while larger particles of stuff are filtered out, you may want to use an additional fine mesh filter to capture the smallest pieces.
And yet another premium feature is the wheels and the handle on the vacuum cleaner that make it easy for you to move the Pondovac around your pond and your garden.
- Non-stop suction due to the two-chamber system means that you don’t have to wait while the tank is discharging.
- The suction works up to a height of 2.4m (from the nozzle to the tank, even if the vacuum is raised up).
- The suction tube is transparent so you can see if you’ve brought up all the sludge and debris in that part of the pond.
- Handles solids from 2mm up to 10mm in diameter.
- Five nozzles for general and specialist uses universal use; string algae; wet suction; brush nozzle; the large area with brush and rollers.
- Includes a transport handle and wheels to move the vacuum easily around your pond.
- Weighs 16.3kg.
- Three-year guarantee (plus one extra year when you register your purchase.)
- Debris collection bag/filter (included) is not fine enough to catch the smallest particles.
The Oase Pondovac 4 Pond Vacuum goes beyond the standard features of a pond vacuum cleaner to make your pond maintenance tasks quicker, easier and even more enjoyable. The continuous operation is the main selling point here. But other useful features in this model include the transparent suction hose, the filter and the five nozzles.
We make the Oase Pondovac 4 Pond Vacuum the Runner-up in our Best Pond Vacuum Cleaner review. We like its premium quality and features, especially its non-stop operation.
If you have a large pond in your garden to care for, or perhaps several ponds, your investment in this premium pond vacuum cleaner saves time and effort on a regular basis. If you are a professional pond cleaner then this is also a great choice because time is literally money.
3. PondHero Sludge Muncher Pond Vacuum 1400W Motor with Accessories
The PondHero Sludge Muncher Pond Vacuum 1400W Motor with Accessories is similar to the other automatic cycle pond vacuum cleaners in this review with one important exception – it’s a wet or dry vacuum cleaner. This may seem strange when we’re talking about cleaning out ponds that are in use. But you can also use this vacuum in your garage, workshop, patio, and even in your home. This model comes with a dust bag for when you use it as a dry vacuum.
The Sludge Muncher Pond Vacuum has a 1400W motor that lets it operate to a depth of 2m below the collection tank. Online reviewers say to take care when using this machine as it’s very powerful. It’s been known to pull stones and pond liners into the suction hose. It’s also loud so don’t use this early on weekend mornings.
This vacuum deals with the regular particles of size 2mm to 10mm in diameter. The 35L collection tank is quite generous and means that you have to wait a bit longer for it to fill and discharge in the automatic cycle, but you don’t stop so often. Two nozzles are suitable for crevices and wide areas, and the third one is adjustable.
- 1400W motor.
- The maximum depth of operation is 2m
- A dust bag supplied in case you want to use this vacuum indoors as a dry vacuum.
- Deals well with particles from 2mm to 10mm in diameter.
- Three nozzles included: crevice, wide and adjustable.
- Sludge tank holds 35L of what you suck up.
- Automatically suctions for 30 seconds and then discharges.
- Powerful and loud.
- Filter mesh is a little too coarse.
The PondHero Sludge Muncher Pond Vacuum is a fairly standard automatic cycle pond vacuum cleaner with a twist. It comes with a dust bag so you can use it indoors as a dry vacuum. It’s a powerful machine and some reviewers report that it’s their go-to vacuum for cleaning their carpets as well as their ponds.
This is the pond cleaner to look at if you could use a dry vacuum cleaner as well.
4. Swell UK Compact Pond Sludge Vac
The Swell UK Compact Pond Sludge Vac is a model that also uses the automatic cycle process. It suctions up water and gunk for a set time, stops suctioning and then discharges the water that’s collected in the tank. You choose where you want the tank contents to end up. This Swell model is slightly smaller than the other vacuums in this review, with a less powerful motor and a smaller collection tank. As such, it’s suitable if you have only a small pond to look after.
The motor is of 1350W which is of sufficient power to support an automatic cycle of 30 seconds of the suction into a 25L tank and then the discharge. The suction hose and the discharge hose are the usual lengths of 4m and 2m respectively. Three suction nozzles come with this unit so you can use just the right one at each spot on the pond bottom.
The Swell UK Compact Pond Sludge Vac doesn’t come with a filter or a mesh bag to take out all the particles in the water. If you plan to return the vacuumed water to the pond, it’s easy enough to set up your own filtration mesh bag and attach it to the end of the discharge hose. You can even buy universal ones on Amazon.
- A powerful 1350W motor provides the power and suction for small ponds.
- Three suction nozzles are supplied for general and specialist areas and gunk.
- The suction hose measures 4m in length.
- The discharge hose is 2m long.
- A compact unit that doesn’t take up much storage space.
- The sludge tank holds 25L of gunk.
- Automatic 30-second cycle to suction and discharge.
- The maximum suction height is 2m.
- Fairly lightweight at 9.58kg.
- Two-year guarantee for full peace of mind.
- No mesh bag or filter.
The Swell UK Compact Pond Sludge Vac uses the automatic cycle process to suction up and pump back the pond water. It cleans the water of sludge but doesn’t have a filter to remove the dirt and smaller particles. This is a compact unit with slightly less power than the other models we review. It has the standard lengths of suction and discharge hoses and three nozzles to choose from.
This is the best pond vacuum in our review for small ponds.
You need to know about less than a handful of features to make an informed decision about which pond vacuum is best for you and your pond. We start this Buyer’s Guide with a brief discussion about how the cleaners work and then details the issues to be aware of.
How pond vacuum (cleaners) work
For a technology that does a lot of backbreaking work for you, these garden machines operate remarkably simply. Here’s how they do their job.
- Put the suction hose into the pond down to the maximum depth below the collection tank.
- The vacuum draws water, sludge, and anything else up along the suction hose into the sludge/collection tank until it’s full.
- This suction then turns off automatically and the mixture discharges/drains through the effects of gravity. The heavy sludge/gunk remains in the tank and the smaller and lighter particles flow out with the water.
Here are the choices you have to make about your pond vacuum:
Automatic cycle or continuous operation?
This is really the crux of the decision making as many of the online reviews we read complain about this.
The automatic cycle cleaners have just one collection tank. They automatically suction the pond for a specified time to fill the tank then they turn that part of the process off.
They then open the tank and let gravity drain the water out. This entire process is repeated over and over again. Your involvement is to move the nozzle and the suction hose from spot to spot in the pond when needed. Reviewers report that it’s frustrating to wait around for the tank to discharge before the suction part starts again. But there’s no way around this – it’s how this type of pond cleaner works.
Continuous operation vacuums have two tanks so they’re able to alternate the suction process into one tank at a time. When one tank is full, the other tank comes into play while the first tank is emptying. There’s no waiting around for the suction to start up again – it doesn’t stop. Only the Runner-up in our review, the Oase Pondovac 4 Pond Vacuum, has this ability, and this does put the price up a substantial amount.
Recycle the water back into the pond or use it as fertiliser
This relates to where you’re going to discharge your water and whether you want a filter on your pond vacuum. After vacuuming your pond water, the heavy sludge stays in the collection tank, but the smaller and lighter particles flow out the discharge hose with the water.
If you put your discharge hose back into the pond, all these particles go back into the pond unless you have a filter/debris collector hooked up to the end of the discharge hose. Not all pond vacuums have these features, even the best pond vacuums. But never fear, it’s easy to make a debris collector yourself and attach it to the hose under the water. Remember to empty it frequently for the best results. You can even buy them on Amazon to save you making one.
The alternative is to eject the vacuumed water and contents onto your lawn or flowerbeds. The organic matter in the water breaks down and creates a fertiliser. Of course, in this case, you have to replace the water that you’ve removed from your pond with fresh water from the tap or your water butt.
This was going to be a section about the suction and discharge hoses (they’re really pipes, not hoses) but all the pond cleaners we looked at have the same length hoses: 4m for the suction hose and 2m for the discharge hose. Online users mumble that the discharge hose is too short if you want to take your water any significant distance from the pond. You may need to connect another hose.
But remember that its gravity that draws the water down the discharge hose. The collection tank must be above the level of the ground, the pond, or wherever you’re releasing the water to.
Please be careful about the wildlife – fish, frogs and other beings – in your pond when you clean the water. Vacuuming the pond does remove water as well as dirt and debris. As well as the danger of sucking fish and amphibians into the hose if you don’t pay attention, you’re altering the environment the creatures are living in. Take care to restore the pH to the appropriate level and perhaps give them an extra food treat when you’re done.
When used regularly, pond vacuums keep the water clean and healthy for the creatures and flora that live there. Even if you’ve neglected the care of your garden’s watery environments for quite some time, these vacuums gradually restore them to a beneficial and attractive condition. Whether you return the cleaned water to your pond or use it on your lawn and flowers as fertiliser, you help your local environment as well as make your pond maintenance chores easier and less time-consuming.
Our Best Pick is the Oase Pontec Pondomatic Pond Vacuum Cleaner. This is an affordable all-round pond cleaner that’s suitable for the average domestic pond.
The Runner-up is the Oase Pondovac 4 Pond Vacuum. This premium continuous operation model has many features to make cleaning your pond(s) a fast and easy task.
After vacuuming your pond, you may decide that now it’s clean and sparkling, it needs something to fill it up. Here are some of our other reviews that may interest you:
Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API