Choosing a Pond Water Pump
A reliable pond water pump is one of the most important pieces of equipment in a well functioning ecosystem pond. Not only does the pump drive the filtration system, which is vital to keeping your pond healthy, but it also makes waterfalls, rivers and streams possible. The pump needs to be reliable enough to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without having problems or needing to rest. It also needs to be energy efficient so that the electricity costs to run the pump remain reasonable.
Choosing a pump happens to be one place that people often go wrong - either picking an incorrectly sized pump, a pump that’s unreliable, or a pump that’s an energy hog. Often people will try to save some money up front when choosing a pump, but it’s usually a big mistake since the running costs of a pump can far exceed the initial price of a pump over time. The most important features of a pump are reliability and efficiency. Once you've chosen a pump below, you can run our Pump Electrical Cost Wizard to calculate the running costs of a pump. Keep reading past our pump recommendations below to learn more.
Submersible Pumps We Recommend
Below you will find our Pond Water Pump Recommendations by Flow Rate. After running the pump selection wizard above, use the calculated flow rate numbers to choose a pump below! We only recommend the most reliable, energy efficient submersible pumps. Submersible pumps are meant to be placed directly in a pond, or in a pond skimmer, submersed in water.
1) Very Small: 500 - 1200 gph w low head pressure (5' or less)
Alpine Hurricane Magnetic Drive Pumps (Submersible)- Small, energy efficient pumps for powering ponds or waterfalls with small flow requirements, or low head pressure. Comes with fittings for spiral tubing.
|Model||0' head||5' head||10' head||13' head||Volts||Watts||Price|
|Hurricane 1500||1585 gph||740 gph||206 gph||0 gph||120||95||$129.99||More Info|
|Hurricane 2100||2115 gph||1215 gph||634 gph||0 gph||120||125||$129.99||More Info|
2) Small to Medium Submersible Pumps 1000 - 3000 gph
Alpine Cyclone Magnetic-Drive Pond Water Pump (Submersible) - The Cyclone pumps are similar to the Hurricane pumps above, but just a little larger for slightly higher flow rates, or slightly higher head pressures. They're high quality, reliable pumps with energy efficient magnetic drive operation.
|Model||0' head||5' head||10' head||15' head||Volts||Watts||Price|
|Cyclone 2100||2000 gph||1532 gph||790 gph||0 gph||120||190||$169.00||More Info|
|Cyclone 3100||2500 gph||2251gph||1390 gph||479 gph||120||250||$189.00||More Info|
|Cyclone 4000||4000 gph||3052 gph||2140 gph||1229 gph||120||350||$269.00||More Info|
|Cyclone 5200||5200 gph||4320 gph||3175 gph||2121 gph||120||360 - 440||$289.00||More Info|
|Cyclone 6550||6550 gph||5369 gph||4132 gph||2896 gph||120||500||$309.00||More Info|
|Cyclone 8000||8000 gph||6439 gph||4954 gph||3467 gph||120||600 - 700||$329.00||More Info|
3) Medium to Large Submersible Pumps 2500+ gph
Shinmaywa Direct Drive Pumps (Submersible) - High quality stainless steel, high power submersible pumps that have excellent energy efficiency. We can say they are one of the most reliable submersible pumps available on the market. They're not as efficient as a good external pump however, since externals often use less watts for the same flow rate.
|Model||5' head||10' head||15' head||20' head||HP||Watts||Price|
|3300||2600 gph||1800 gph||800 gph||0 gph||1/5||328||$349.00||More Info|
|4800||3900 gph||3100 gph||2100 gph||1350 gph||1/3||414||$459.00||More Info|
|5700||5000 gph||4200 gph||3500 gph||2700 gph||1/2||567||$559.00||More Info|
|7000||6600 gph||6100 gph||5500 gph||4900 gph||1||1088||$679.00||More Info|
|XP||10,500 gph||9000 gph||7200 gph||5400 gph||1||1265||$859.00||More Info|
External Pumps We Recommend
High quality, external pumps from Sequence are extermely durable, often lasting twice as long as comparable submersibles. Although a Sequence pump will likely cost more to purchase, you will save money on operating costs because they are so efficient. Saving could be between 25% to 50% depending on the size of pump and flow rate. Have a look at the 'watts' column in the below chart and compare to the submersible pumps above for more info.
1) Small to Medium External Pumps
Sequence 750 Series (External) - The Sequence 750 series pumps are small external pumps meant for low to medium flow rates. They are extremely reliable and energy efficient pumps with a 3 year warranty. Meant for ponds with a total head pressure of 12' or less, they are meant for powering ponds and waterfalls needing a flow rate between 1200 to 3000 gph.
|Model||4' head||6' head||8' head||10' head||Volts||Watts||Price|
|3600||2820 gph||2400 gph||1860 gph||1200 gph||115||139||$391.99||More Info|
|4200||3240 gph||2700 gph||2160 gph||1500 gph||115||160||$403.99||More Info|
2) Medium to Large External Pumps 2500+ gph
Sequence Energy Efficient 4K Series External Pumps - The Sequence 4K series pumps are medium sized external pumps meant for flow rates over 2500 gph. They are extremely reliable and energy efficient pumps with a 3 year warranty. Meant for ponds with a total head pressure of 22' or less, they are meant for powering ponds and waterfalls in medium head pressure situations.
|Model||5' head||10' head||15' head||20' head||Volts||Watts||Price|
|3600||3100 gph||2400 gph||1600 gph||300 gph||115||227||$585.99||More Info|
|5000||4350 gph||3500 gph||2500 gph||500 gph||115||263||$610.99||More Info|
|5800||5400 gph||4200 gph||3000 gph||1000 gph||115||296||$630.99||More Info|
|6800||6400 gph||5250 gph||4100 gph||2500 gph||115||367||$724.99||More Info|
|8200||7250 gph||6250 gph||5000 gph||3200 gph||230||450||$738.99||More Info|
3) Large / Very Large 7000+ gph - External Pumps
Sequence Power Series External Pumps - When we encounter a pond or waterfall application that needs very large amounts of water flow in hiigh head pressure situaitons, our goto pump is the Power Series by Sequence.
|Model||10' head||20' head||30' head||40' head||Volts||Watts||Price|
|8500||7800 gph||7080 gph||6000 gph||4800 gph||230||1385||$871.99||More Info|
|9200||8580 gph||7800 gph||7020 gph||6000 gph||230||1744||$916.99||More Info|
|11,000||10,380 gph||9540 gph||8640 gph||7500 gph||230||2056||$1,008.99||More Info|
|18,000||16,500 gph||14,280 gph||11,520 gph||7500 gph||230||2315||$2,661.99||More Info|
4) Priming Pots / Strainer Baskets for External Pumps
Sequence Priming Pot / Strainer Basket - priming pots greatly simplify the process of priming an external pump. As well, each unit contains a strainer basket to filter out leaves and other debris from entering the pump. A priming pot is only needed when the pump is placed in a location that is higher in elevation than the pond surface. The priming pot allws the pump and lines to be filled manually with water before beginning operation.
|1 1/2" - 90 cubic inches||1 1/2"||1 1/2"||$91.99||More Info|
|2" - 90 cubic inches||2"||2"||$91.99||More Info|
|2" - 500 cubic inches||2"||2"||$244.99||More Info|
|3" - 500 cubic inches||3"||3"||$244.99||More Info|
Pump Vaults & Pump Socks
Although hiding a submersible pump inside a skimmer is our prefered way to install a submersible pump, sometimes it's not desired or possible to use a pond skimmer. In these cases, pump vaults and pump socks are great ways to conceal a submersible pump in a pond, while keeping debris, solids and fish from being sucked into the pump.
Submersible or External?
A submersible pond water pump is actually placed inside of the pond, below the surface of the water, usually inside of a skimmer. This is traditionally the most popular method of plumbing decorative ponds, mainly because of ease of installation. Just plop the pump in water and turn it on with no priming necessary. However, what submersible pumps make up for in simplicity, they loose in efficiency. A good external pump, which sits outside of the pond on dry land, can often pump the same amount of water as a submersible pump, but will use less electricity doing it. To calculate the cost of running a given pump per month, see our Pump Electrical Cost Wizard. We can’t stress enough how important an efficient pump is! External pumps are usually a little more expensive to purchase initially, but after looking at the energy savings, the money can easily be made back over time. Therefore, if your pumping requirements are over about 2500 gph, then we would recommend getting into a good external pump, like the Sequence 4K series mentioned above. Do you have less than 2500 gph? Go for a quality submersible like the Alpine Cyclone or the ShinMaywa. To learn more, see the pond water pump recommendations above, or see our page on submersible pond pumps or external pond pumps. Need to power your pump in a remote location nowhere near a power outlet? Maybe you need a portable generator from our friends at Johnny's Generators.
How much Flow do you Need?
The first step in choosing a pond or water garden pump is deciding how much water you need to pump per hour. As a minimum for proper biological filtration, your pond water pump should be able to pump the entire contents of your pond in one hour. That means if your pond contains 2000 gallons of water, as a minimum you’ll want 2000 gph (gallons per hour) flowing through your filter.
If you’re planning on having a waterfall in your pond, it’s important to consider the flow requirements of the waterfall as well. As a general rule, we recommend a minimum of 100 gph per inch of waterfall width. So if you have a 24” waterfall, that would equal 2400 gph. For a waterfall with more punch, try increasing the flow from 100 gph per inch up to 200 gph per inch.
Calculating Pond Head Pressure
Before choosing a pond water pump, it is very important to know what kind of head pressure you’re dealing with first. Head pressure is the combination of forces your pump must overcome to pump water from one end of the system to the other. For example, having a 5 foot rise in elevation (in the case of a 5 foot waterfall for example), will add 5 feet of 'head' to the system. Other things that increase head pressure include the length of pipe, pipe fittings, and equipment like filters and UV units. As you can see in the head pressure charts for the pumps above, the flow rate of the pump DECREASES as the head pressure increases. If you don’t take head pressure into consideration, the actual amount of flow coming out the end of your pumping system could be much lower than you initially planned for. For more detailed information on calculating head pressure, click here.
If you plan on keeping fish in your ponds, you may want to read our page on fish pond pumps, which outlines a few extra requirements for your swimming friends. Another more specialized type of pump is a solar powered water pump, which we currently have mixed feeling about due to reliablity.
A pond water pump is also commonly referred to as a garden pond pump or water garden pumps.