Choosing a pond pump can be a daunting task, with many different manufacturers offering all manner of models and designs. Some design features only become apparent over time and use, with ease of cleaning being one of these that can save hours of cold, wet hands when it’s time for maintenance.

garden pond with water feature

The first question is what do you want the pump to achieve? Fountains or small water features don’t need too much grunt and can usually be delivered by compact, low wattage pumps. Without the back pressure of filters or the need to lift water to a height, even solar options are viable It may be as a result of working in retail, but I know that many people want to stick their water feature where the sun don’t shine and for this, solar technology might be a poor investment. Pumps will often be rated for pond volume and turnover rates – bear in mind that these figures will be affected by waste build up, so try to plan a bit of spare capacity to avoid the headache of having to clean things constantly.

As a standard, pond pumps come with ten metres of cable which makes installation relatively straightforward. Protecting this from accidental damage should be part of the considerations when planning where the cable runs to the power source. Switch boxes and weather-proof connectors are available to make for flexible options where multiple devices such as ultraviolet clarifiers or lighting are also required.

As mentioned above, fountain pumps are generally small and cheap to run although larger pumps often come with the necessary adaptors to run a fountain as well as supplying water to filters or waterfalls. A word of caution when running fountains – high jets of water can be prone to draining a reservoir in windy conditions and a bell jet or geyser might be more weatherproof option. As fountain heads can be fouled by detritus, these pumps often have a strainer that needs cleaning to maintain efficiency.

Pumps designed for supplying water to filters are often ‘solids handling’ which means they can process particulate matter without clogging These pumps require less cleaning but will be clogged by leaves, blanketweed and large amounts of detritus. Some of these units are starting to appear with features such as adjustable flow, which can be very useful if seasonal reductions in delivery are required (to avoid chilling the pond during winter for example).

An option which fulfils the needs of many modestly sized features, all in one units combine a pump with an ultraviolet clarifier and filtration. Some of these also include lighting but most are designed for features with low levels of solid waste and tend to become clogged in ponds where thorough cleaning may be overdue