When to Use a Submersible Pond Pump

When deciding on a pump for a pond project, you can either choose a submersible pond pump or an external pump. As you may have guessed, a submersible pump is installed and operated beneath the surface of the pond, and an external pump sits outside of the pond in a dry location.

submersible pond pump
A submersible pump feeding a waterfall.

To view all our pumps for sale, please visit our Pond Pumps page

Both systems have certain strengths and weaknesses that'll you'll have to look at before deciding which system is right for your particular project. Whichever system you end up going with, make sure to purchase a good quality, reliable pump that can be trusted to run 24-7, 365 days per year. Since the pump will drive the main filtration system in your pond, a healthy pond ecosystem depends on a pump's continued, reliable operation.

How Pond Pumps Work

Submersible pond pumps run on a fairly basic principle when broken down. An electric motor is used to drive an impeller. As the impeller turns, water is drawn in one side of the pump, and is expelled out the other. The amount of water flow is determined by the power and size of the impeller. The larger the impeller, the more water can be pumped. Of course, as the impeller gets larger, a more powerful electric motor will be required as well; which in turn uses more electricity.

  1. Alpine Cyclone 2100 Pond Pump
    Alpine Cyclone 2100 Pond Pump
    $169.00

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes:

    Learn More
  2.  Alpine Cyclone 3100 Pond Pump
    Alpine Cyclone 3100 Pond Pump
    $189.00

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes:

    Learn More
  3. Alpine Cyclone 4000 Pond Pump
    Alpine Cyclone 4000 Pond Pump
    $269.00

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes:

    Learn More
  4. Alpine Cyclone 5200 Pond Pump
    Alpine Cyclone 5200 Pond Pump
    $289.00

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes:

    Learn More
  5. Alpine Cyclone 6550 Pond Pump
    Alpine Cyclone 6550 Pond Pump
    $309.00

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes:

    Learn More
  6. Alpine Cyclone 8000 Pond Pump
    Alpine Cyclone 8000 Pond Pump
    $329.00

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes:

    Learn More
  7. Alpine Hurricane 1500 Submersible Pump
    Alpine Hurricane 1500 Submersible Pump
    $129.99

    One of our favorite very small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 2 sizes:

    Learn More
  8. Alpine Hurricane 2100 Submersible Pump
    Alpine Hurricane 2100 Submersible Pump
    $129.99

    One of our favorite very small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 2 sizes:

    Learn More
  9. PMK1500-pum-filter-kit
    Pondmaster PMK1500 Pump-Filter Kit
    $132.99

    The Pondmaster PMK1500 Pump-Filter kit contains a filter, pump, and fountain that is great for filtering and aerating very small ponds under 1000 gallons.

    Available in 3 sizes:

    Filter included:

    Learn More
  10. PMK1700-pump-filter-kit
    Pondmaster PMK1700 Pump-Filter Kit
    $139.99

    The Pondmaster PMK1700 Pump-Filter kit contains a filter, pump, and fountain that is great for filtering and aerating very small ponds under 1250 gallons. 

    Available in 3 sizes:

    Filter included:

    Learn More
  11. Alpine Eco-Twist Pump
    Alpine Eco-Twist Pump
    As low as $151.99

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes:

    • Alpine Eco-Twist 1500: 1006 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Twist 3000: 2251 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Twist 4000: 3052 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Twist 5300: 4320 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Twist 2000-5300: ADJUSTABLE from 2000 gph to 5300 gph at 0' - comes with controller.
    Learn More
  12. Alpine Eco-Twist 1500 Pump
    Alpine Eco-Twist 1500 Pump
    $151.99

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes: See All Sizes

    Learn More
  13. Alpine Eco-Twist 3000 Pump
    Alpine Eco-Twist 3000 Pump
    $229.99

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes: See All Sizes

    Learn More
  14. Alpine Eco-Twist 4000 Pump
    Alpine Eco-Twist 4000 Pump
    $249.99

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes: See All Sizes

    Learn More
  15. Alpine Eco-Twist 5300 Pump
    Alpine Eco-Twist 5300 Pump
    $269.99

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes: See All Sizes

    Learn More
  16. Alpine Eco-Twist Adjustable Flow Pump 2000 - 5300 gph
    Alpine Eco-Twist Adjustable Flow Pump 2000 - 5300 gph
    $329.99

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes: See All Sizes

    Learn More
  17. Alpine Eco-Sphere Pump
    Alpine Eco-Sphere Pump
    As low as $159.99

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes:

    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 1400: 982 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 2800: 1806 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 4100: 2761 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 2000-5300: ADJUSTABLE from 2000 gph to 5300 gph at 0' - comes with controller.
    Learn More
  18. Alpine Eco-Sphere 1400 Pump
    Alpine Eco-Sphere 1400 Pump
    $159.99

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes:

    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 1400: 982 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 2800: 1806 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 4100: 2761 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 2000-5300: ADJUSTABLE from 2000 gph to 5300 gph at 0' - comes with controller.
    Learn More
  19. Alpine Eco-Sphere 2800 Pump
    Alpine Eco-Sphere 2800 Pump
    $179.99

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes:

    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 1400: 982 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 2800: 1806 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 4100: 2761 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 2000-5300: ADJUSTABLE from 2000 gph to 5300 gph at 0' - comes with controller.
    Learn More
  20. Alpine Eco-Sphere 4100 Pump
    Alpine Eco-Sphere 4100 Pump
    $239.99

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes:

    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 1400: 982 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 2800: 1806 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 4100: 2761 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 2000-5300: ADJUSTABLE from 2000 gph to 5300 gph at 0' - comes with controller.
    Learn More
  21. Alpine Eco-Sphere Adjustable 2000-5300 GPH Pump
    Alpine Eco-Sphere Adjustable 2000-5300 GPH Pump
    $329.99

    One of our favorite small magnetic-drive submersible pumps! It is extremely energy efficient, providing reliable pumping in a small package.

    Available in 6 sizes:

    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 1400: 982 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 2800: 1806 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 4100: 2761 gph at 5' of head pressure
    • Alpine Eco-Sphere 2000-5300: ADJUSTABLE from 2000 gph to 5300 gph at 0' - comes with controller.
    Learn More

Water Pump Diagram
How Pond Pumps Work

Why Use a Submersible Pond Pump

There are a few advantages that submersible pond pumps have over external varieties. The first is, because submersible pumps are kept submerged in water, no priming is necessary. With external pumps, care must be taken to ensure there is water in the pipes before turning on the pump to prevent the pump from sucking in air and burning out. Another advantage of submersible pumps is they are quite easy to hide in a pond due the pump being stored under the water. In the case of an external pump, it takes a little extra effort to hide the pump somewhere in the landscaping, while keeping the pump accessible for maintenance.

Limitations of Submersible Pond Pumps

Sometimes if a pump needs to be placed in an area of limited size or clearance, it may be difficult to fit an entire submersible pump. In these situations it is much easier to place an intake pipe (which is much smaller than the pump itself), which leads to an external pump. An example of such a situation would be a skimmer. In order to get water flowing through the skimmer to capture floating debris, some kind of pump is needed inside the skimmer to draw water in. If the skimmer is large enough, you can place a submersible pump directly inside the skimmer. If either the pump is too large, or the skimmer is too small, then an external pump may be needed. To learn more, please see our page on external pond pumps.

How Large a Pump is Needed?

Whether you decide to go with a submersible pond pump or not, you will still need to figure out how much water is in your pond so you can purchase an appropriately sized pump. As a minimum your pump should be capable of pumping the entire contents of your pond in two hours. If you plan on putting koi or another type of fish in your pond, then turning over the contents of your pond more often, such as every hour, is a good idea. Also, keep in mind that pump flow rates are measured assuming there is no extra strain on the pump due to gravity or pipe fittings. In the case that you are pumping water up hill (ie. for a waterfall), you will need to take this additional 'head pressure' into consideration. For more information on calculating the head pressure in your pond, please see our page on Calculating Pond Head Pressure.

Click Here to Return from Submersible Pond Pump to Pond Pumps

Click Here to Return from Submersible Pond Pumps to our Home Page