7 Best Aquaponics & Hydroponics Water Pump Guide

While a passive hydroponics setup won’t require the use of a water pump, all other hydroponic systems do.

Hydroponics water pumps are what your plants will depend on for providing them with a regular supply of water and nutrients, making it important that you choose a quality pump that you know you can rely on. Here’s how to go about doing that:

Top Pick: Simple Deluxe Submersible Water Pump

Sale
Simple Deluxe LGPUMP400G 400 GPH Submersible Pump with 15'...
1,994 Reviews
Simple Deluxe LGPUMP400G 400 GPH Submersible Pump with 15'...
  • PRE-FILTER INCLUDED - Pre-filter on the intake prevents...
  • DURABLE QUALITY - Our Polished Aluminum Oxide Ceramic...
  • SAFE & EASY - Safe for fish with no exposed copper. Easy to...

Out of all of the water pumps available on the market, the Simple Deluxe Submersible Water Pump really stands out. It’s made with quality materials and solid construction – you can tell that it’s going to be extremely durable as soon as you hold the product.

Unlike the other pumps out there, this one not only has an extra-long power cord, but also comes with a fantastic filter that makes it so much easier to keep debris and impurities out of your hydroponics system.

Water Pump Buying Guide

Best Aquaponics & Hydroponics Water Pump Guide

Types of Hydroponic Water Pumps

All hydroponic water pumps will fall under one of these 2 categories:

Submersible Pumps

Submersible pumps are designed to be placed directly in the nutrient solution in your reservoir. They keep themselves cool and temperature-regulated using water, and are best suited for small-scale systems.

The power of a submersible pump is measured in gallons per hour (GPH), which you will learn more about below.

Inline Pumps

Inline pumps are more heavy duty than submersible pumps, making them the pump type of choice for commercial growers. They sit outside of the nutrient solution tank, making use of air to keep themselves cool.

Due to how powerful they are, inline pumps are measured by horsepower (HP), rather than GPH.

Size

As mentioned, submersible pumps are measured in gallons per hour (GPH). Most models will have a single maximum GPH figure, while others will give you a range – this means that the pump has more than one adaptor so that you can customize its flow to your setup.

For some systems, such as ebb and flow, you would need to work out gallons per minute, rather than hour, simply because you’ll be flooding your growing trays for much shorter amounts of time. This is easy to do – simply divide the GPH by 60 to work out gallons per minute.

One thing to keep in mind is that a product’s GPH relates to water being pumped at ground level, or up to a foot high. The higher the water needs to be pumped, the lower the actual GPH will be, since your pump will not only be working against the weight of the water itself, but also going against gravity. This is something to pay close attention to if you have a vertical hydroponic system.

This is referred to as head height or lift. Many manufacturers will provide guidelines with their pumps that will tell you how much the GPH will vary with different head heights.

In order to decide what size pump you need, you will need to first work out the best GPH for your system. Then, look for a pump that provides about double this amount – this will give you more flexibility when setting things up, while also giving you the option of expanding your hydroponics system in the future if needed, without having to buy another pump.

Best Aquaponics & Hydroponics Water Pump Guide

How to Work Out the GPH Required for Your Hydroponic System

The way in which you work out the ideal GPH for your hydroponic system depends on the type of system you’re using:

  • Ebb and flow systemsyou’ll only need enough pumped water to fill your growing chamber, so simply work out how many gallons of water a single growing chamber can hold, before multiplying this by the number of growing chambers you have.
  • Nutrient Flow Technique (NFT) systemsthese make use of a constant but low-volume flow of water, usually just a few gallons per hour. You will need to take into consideration the depth and width of your water tubes, along with their angle – a horizontal tube would need a much higher GPH compared to one placed at a steeper angle.
  • Drip systemsthis is a tricky one to work out, usually requiring lots of trial and error, since everything from type, age, and a number of plants to growing medium and humidity levels will influence the required GPH for this system.
  • Aeroponic systems – you will need quite a high GPH for an aeroponics system in order to create a strong mist from above. The height of your misters will influence this too.
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Water Pump Timers

Chances are that you’re going to be using a timer with your water pump. While you can always turn the pump on and off manually, a timer is usually essential for keeping things running consistently and accurately.

Some water pumps will come with a timer, which saves you from having to purchase one separately. Since these timers will have been designed to be used with that specific pump, they are usually much easier to calibrate.

If the pump you’re considering doesn’t come with its own timer, then you will need to make sure that it’s compatible with the standard timers available on the market. You don’t want to have to spend lots of time, as well as extra money, looking for a specialized timer, especially if you only have a very basic hydroponics setup.

However, make sure that the timers compatible with your pump are of quality. A mechanical heavy duty timer is usually the best option, as you won’t lose all of your settings if you happen to have a power cut.

Best Aquaponics & Hydroponics Water Pump Guide

Ease of Cleaning

Most of the basic hydroponic water pumps out there are pretty simple, which is handy for when you need to take everything apart to give it a clean. This is something that you should be doing every 1 to 2 months, or each time you change the nutrient solution in your reservoir.

Some pumps also come with an additional filter screen, which helps to keep things even cleaner. These can be removed regularly and washed with soap and water.

While these filters are easy to make yourself with a filter screen purchased from your local hardware store, it’s always more convenient to pick a product that already has one in place.

Sound Output

Submersible pumps are usually much quieter than inline pumps, but this does also depend on the model you choose. Some have been designed to be much quieter than others.

If you would prefer a pump that’s as quiet as possible, look for one that has multiple nozzles, as this helps with noise reduction.

If the pump you’re considering is known for being noisy, don’t worry too much, as there are ways that you can reduce the noise level yourself. The most effective is by using a sponge or a dampening pad with the pump, which helps to keep things running quietly.

Best Aquaponics & Hydroponics Water Pump Guide

Cord Length

Just like all other electronic devices, water pumps are attached to a cord, which connects it to an electrical socket.

Ideally, go for a pump that has a long cord length. This will make it so much more versatile in terms of positioning, since you won’t be quite as restricted by your distance from a power supply.

Between 5 and 6 feet is usually a good cord length to go for. While you can always use an extension lead for shorter cords, it’s much safer to plug your pump directly into a power socket instead.

Wattage

The wattage of a water pump refers to how much electricity it uses.

Most growers will pick a pump that has the lowest wattage possible, as this helps to save on electricity costs.

If your hydroponics system only requires your pump to be turned on for short intervals throughout the day, then this may not matter as much compared to a system that requires the pump to be constantly running.

Safety Measures

Some water pumps will come with additional safety features, and these are always worth paying a little extra for.

One safety feature in particular to look out for is heat protection.

Low quality pumps are prone to overheating, which could not only cause a short circuit in your system, but may also raise the temperature of your nutrient solution to a heat that is dangerous for your plants.

Let’s watch this video to know how to calculate pump size for your Hydroponics systems:

FAQs

What Kind Of Water Pump Do I Need For Hydroponics?

Currently, we have 3 main kinds of water pumps specifically for hydroponics. Each of these hydroponics water pumps has its unique strengths and weaknesses, suitable for specific situations.

For large-scale systems, operating inline water pumps will always be a better choice, as they have the most power. You desperately need this kind of power, as it helps tremendously in moving water around. 

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A submersible water pump is more suitable for hobbyists, as their small gardens do not need too much power. The last type is the sump pump, which is used explicitly for a sump system.

How Many GPH Do You Need For Hydroponics?

There are quite a lot of hydroponic applications, and each of them requires different specifications. For this reason, we cannot give you a general number for the GPH, as it varies depending on the situation.

We suggest that you first calculate the amount of water you want to move and your system’s head height. Then, you will get a pump double that size. 

Even if you have a much bigger pump, you can still quickly fix it by adjusting the water flow. On the other hand, if the pump is smaller than what you need, there will never be enough water.

Can You Use A Fish Tank Pump For Hydroponics?

Yes, as they operate on the same principle, nothing stops you from using a fish tank pump for your hydroponics. We do encourage making use of your whole fish tank as a source of nutrients for hydroponics.

You see, instead of leaving them to rot, you can utilize the uneaten fish food and fish poop. These are, at the end of the day, highly suitable for the development of plant life. 

You do need to be extra careful while using your fish tank pump for this purpose, though. As the pump’s flow rate is more suitable for living animals, you may need to adjust it slightly.

Best Hydroponic Water Pump Reviews

Simple Deluxe Submersible Water Pump

Sale
Simple Deluxe LGPUMP400G 400 GPH Submersible Pump with 15'...
1,994 Reviews
Simple Deluxe LGPUMP400G 400 GPH Submersible Pump with 15'...
  • PRE-FILTER INCLUDED - Pre-filter on the intake prevents...
  • DURABLE QUALITY - Our Polished Aluminum Oxide Ceramic...
  • SAFE & EASY - Safe for fish with no exposed copper. Easy to...

Features:

  • Has a 400 GPH flow rate
  • Has a 15-foot long power cord
  • Maximum head height of 8.2 feet
  • Comes with a pre-filter to help block debris from entering your hydroponic system
  • Has an impeller shaft made from aluminum oxide ceramic, which is three times more durable than stainless steel

What We Like

This is one of the few pumps out there that comes with its own filter, and this is easy to clean and maintain, making it much simpler to keep your hydroponics system sterile.

The pump itself is powerful and reliable, and the extra-long power cord gives you so much more flexibility in terms of how you use it.

What Could Be Improved?

There aren’t really any downsides to this water pump – it does what it has been designed to do, usually exceeding expectations that growers have, and performs better than most other pumps on the market.

JAJALE Submersible Water Pump

JAJALE 66 GPH Submersible Water Pump Ultra Quiet For...
714 Reviews
JAJALE 66 GPH Submersible Water Pump Ultra Quiet For...
  • Our pumps are epoxy sealed and pass the voltage withstand...
  • Our pumps are easy to clean and no tools are required to...
  • The small pump body and motor use real copper core wires and...

Features:

  • Has a 66 GPH flow rate, which works out to 250L/hour
  • Maximum head height of 1.9 feet
  • Easy to install, as well as disassemble for cleaning
  • Made using real copper core wires for a long lifespan

What We Like

This is a very small and compact pump, making it ideal for those who are just getting started with hydroponics. It fits perfectly with 1/4-inch tubes, and the flow rate is adjustable to suit all types of systems.

The fact that it’s extremely affordable when compared to the other pumps on the market is another great selling point!

What Could Be Improved?

Although this pump comes with suction cups, they’re not the best quality, so you may need to replace these with stronger alternatives.

The size of the pump could also pose a problem for some, as it would be far too small for more intensive hydroponic systems.

Danner Manufacturing, Inc. Supreme Hydro-Mag Recirculating Water & Air Pump with Venturi

Danner Manufacturing, Inc. Supreme Hydro-Mag Recirculating...
64 Reviews
Danner Manufacturing, Inc. Supreme Hydro-Mag Recirculating...
  • Pondmaster Supreme Hydroponic Model 2 Pump 250 GPH 10' Power...
  • Time Proven Magnetic Drive Technology, Energy Efficient and...
  • In-line or Submersible Operation

Features:

  • Has a flow rate of 250 GPH
  • Can be used as both an inline and submersible pump
  • Maximum head height of 10 feet
  • An adjustable venturi helps to increase the water’s aeration,
  • Has a 10-foot long power cord
  • Comes with a 5 year limited manufacturer warranty

Superior Pump 90050 Water Transfer Pump – Best Durability

Superior Pump 90050 Transfer Pump , Black
58 Reviews
Superior Pump 90050 Transfer Pump , Black
  • 1/2 HP Transfer pump moves up to 1500-gallons per hour;...
  • Includes: brass garden hose adapters, suction strainer, and...
  • Features: 3/4-inch NPT suction and discharge; 10-foot power...

Features:

  • Highly durable rugged cast iron construction
  • Non-corrodible impeller shaft, strong against saltwater
  • 1,500 GPH flow rate
  • Continuous duty, thermally protected
  • 3/4-inch NPT discharge and suction
  • Integrated carrying handle

What We Like

The pump is capable of transferring water at a maximum rate of 1,500 gallons each hour. While not the highest on this list, this number is respectable. 

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This hydro water pump is both thermally protected and continuous duty, meaning it does not stop.

What Could Be Improved?

The only complaint we have against this item is that it does not offer an option to adjust the flow. 

Nonetheless, it is only a minor issue, as occasions requiring this feature are rare. Some people may find this issue concerning, though.

EcoPlus 728310 396 GPH Pump – Best Versatility

Features:

  • Highly versatile
  • 6 flexible settings
  • Easy to clean block and grating
  • 396 RPH
  • Fixed flow

What We Like

We like the most about the EcoPlus 728310 396 GPH Pump because it is incredibly versatile. Thanks to having a relatively compact size and a strong performance, it can serve almost all small water applications.

To add to this pump’s versatile nature, EcoPlus gave it a total of 6 fittings. These components will allow you a significant level of flexibility in the setup. 

In other words, you can freely use it for things like ponds, aquariums, and hydroponics, as long as you change the settings.

The block alongside the grating is the easiest to clean that we have seen among pumping machines. All you need to do is quickly wash it after using it to limit any damage.

What Could Be Improved?

We do want to note that this pump is not that good when it comes to longevity. If the Superior Pump 90050’s durability score is a 9, this pump can only get a maximum of 6. Luckily, it is not that expensive so that you can repurchase it easily.

Tetra Pond 325 GPH Water Garden Pump – Best Efficiency

TetraPond Water Garden Pump 300 GPH, For Small Waterfalls,...
509 Reviews
TetraPond Water Garden Pump 300 GPH, For Small Waterfalls,...
  • WATER GARDEN PUMP: Powers waterfalls, filters and fountain...
  • ENERGY EFFICIENT: Magnetic-drive water garden pump – 325...
  • WARRANTY: Includes limited 3-year warranty – see product...

Features:

  • NdFeB magnets increasing energy efficiency
  • Quiet operation
  • Relatively long-lasting
  • 2 adapters suitable for tubing ½-inch and ¾-inch in diameter

What We Like

Most water pumps suffer a low ratio between energy given and power output. That is not the case with the Tetra Pond 325 GPH Water Garden Pump. 

It will take whatever you supply it with and turn that energy into pumping capacity with almost no waste.

The main reason for such an impressive efficiency lies in the NdFeB, or Neodymium Iron Boron, magnets. These magnets are incorporated right into the electric motor, enhancing the conversion of energy into power. The high-quality copper wire also gives almost no resistance.

Another hidden benefit many people tend to overlook is the quiet operation. Despite having a respectable motor, this aquaponics water pump only makes a tranquil sound. 

It can handle any small debris and does not irritate your peace, truly the best of both worlds.

What Could Be Improved?

You do need to pay special attention to the pre-filter, as it can break easily. We all know how much of a mess any pump can make if it does not have a pre-filter. 

As such, we suggest checking on this part at least twice a month to make sure that there is no damage.

Hydrofarm Active Aqua Submersible 400 GPH Water Pump – Best Power

Hydrofarm AAPW400 24-Watt 400 GPH Indoor/Outdoor Hydroponic...
2,909 Reviews
Hydrofarm AAPW400 24-Watt 400 GPH Indoor/Outdoor Hydroponic...
  • Recommended for 40 gallon reservoirs
  • 400 gallons per hour
  • Indoor / outdoor use

Features:

  • Oil-free rotor magnets
  • Impressively powerful 400 GPH
  • Easy to take apart
  • 1-year warranty
  • BPA free, suitable for aquaponic use

What We Like

The Hydrofarm Active Aqua Submersible 400 GPH Water Pump can move at least 400 gallons of water each hour. It is the most impressive number on this list. This kind of capacity means it can take care of almost any hydroponic system.

This pump makes use of the recently popular oil-free rotor magnets, which provide both longevity and power. In other words, you are carrying your shares in protecting the environment. This kind of chance to hit two birds with one stone is hard to come by.

You can easily take this pump apart for cleaning purposes, as the way the parts connect is relatively straightforward. As such, you can save much time and effort each time you want to wash the whole pump.

What Could Be Improved?

We are not that pleased with the length of this machine’s wire. Due to this limitation, you cannot make full use of the submersible nature of this machine. It is quite a shame as the pump would have been the best overall, otherwise.

What We Like

This pump’s venturi feature is fantastic for improving aeration, which you’ll notice pretty quickly when you see the improved growth in your plants’ roots.

It also has a foam filter that’s easy to clean, and the fact that it can be used as both an inline and submersible pump makes this a good choice for commercial growers too.

What Could Be Improved?

The main downside to this pump is how loud it is. Not only does it vibrate quite heavily when running, but it also makes a constant clanging sound, which you will quickly find irritating if using the pump in a home setup.

Conclusion

Hydroponics water pumps come in so many different shapes and sizes, so you need to first work out exactly what your system requires before browsing the numerous options out there.

You’ll notice that prices range quite drastically, but don’t be tempted to immediately opt for the cheapest version – the pump you choose needs to be durable and reliable in order to keep your plants healthy.

Last update on 2021-09-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Jill Sandy

I am a sustainable focus gardener. I love decorating my home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques I develop myself.