The Best Fish Pond Liners 2020 (Koi, Goldfish & Wildlife Ponds)
After you’ve finished designing and digging out your garden pond, you’ll need one last thing before you can finish up – a good quality pond liner! Here we cover the best pond liners on the market for garden ponds, with choices of PVC, LPDE, and Rubber liners included.
How does a pond liner work?
A pond liner is a material used to line the structure of your pond, preventing water from leaking into the surrounding sediment. Most types of ponds will require a pond liner to be installed, as well as a quality underlayment for pond liner support. High quality pond liners are designed to withstand general wear and tear, as well as impact and pressure which can cause leaks. Common materials include rubber (EPDM and Butyl), PVC, and the more modern LDPE. Each different material has its advantages and disadvantageous, but all are designed for the same purpose; long-lasting protection from leaks and damage. In general, rubber pond liner is more suited to rougher sediment, as it’s very durable and strong. Plastic pond liner, such as PVC or LDPE, is better suited for pond designs which require flexibility, as it’s usually easier to work with compared to rubber.
As well as a pond liner, most pond owners will also choose to add a layer of underlayment material under the liner itself for maximum support. Pond underlayment, or underliner, is a softer material which acts like a cushion for the pond liner, absorbing energy from impacts and pressure. Underlayment is highly recommended for all pond builds, especially those with rougher sediment containing a large number of stones. A high quality liner and underlayment can easily last 25+ years if installed correctly, which means a leak and hassle free pond for much of it’s lifetime.
Do I actually need a pond liner?
If you’re building a concrete based pond, no, you actually don’t!
However, concrete ponds are not that common, so most pond creators will instead choose to line their pond with a good quality pond liner. Lining the exposed sediment (dirt) with a pond liner is generally cheaper and much less work than creating a concrete design. Concrete ponds will also require more manpower and planning, so it’s easy to see why regular ponds are more popular.
So, yes, if you’re planning to create a normal pond which will be exposed to the soil, you WILL need a good quality pond liner to prevent leakage and dirty water. If your pond was exposed to the soil, not only would it slowly vanish, but it would be incredibly dirty and almost impossible to maintain. Pond liners form a protective barrier against the natural sediment, holding your pond water, preventing leakage, and help maintain good water clarity.
Best Pond Liner Material (Options Compared)
Flexible Pond Liners
These type of pond liners, also known as sheet pond liners, are made from very flexible material and designed to fit almost any shape of pond. Flexible pond liners are a popular choice if you’re creating a custom pond shape, a large pond, or simply want more flexibility. Their goal is to keep your pond watertight and protected against the earth, and they come in a range of different materials to achieve this goal. The opposite of flexible pond liners are pre-formed ponds, which are made from sturdy plastic and come with a pre-built pond design.
1) PVC Pond Liners
PVC, or Polyvinyl Chloride, is a popular material due to its cost effectiveness and ease of use. This plastic pond liner is usually around 0.5mm in thickness and is much stretchier than other pond liner material. A downside of this kind of liner is that it isn’t tear-proof, so clearing the ground of sharp stones and objects is important before fitting. PVC liners are still a good choice in most cases, but make sure the material has been enhanced (usually with extra layers) to increase its durability and don’t go for regular PVC.
2) LDPE Pond Liners
LDPE, or low-density polyethylene, is a material used in more modern pond liners that has become an economical alternative to the PVC liner. In comparison to PVC, LDPE pond liners offer greater flexibility, which results in a much neater finish. LDPE molds to the contours of the pond more snugly and is much less likely to produce significant wrinkles. This is our recommended liner material of choice in most circumstances, as it’s often stronger and just as flexible as PVC.
3) Rubber Pond Liners
Generally considered the best pond liner material, rubber pond liners can be broken down into two common categories – EPDM and Butyl.
Butyl pond liners are in high demand, can be expensive, but are incredibly strong and durable. EPDM is a newer material, slightly cheaper, and shares very similar properties. Both materials are 100% waterproof and impermeable to gases, as well as being highly resistant to UV light. Both materials are great choices for a pond, and you can’t go wrong with either material. These liners offer less flexibility to LDPE and PVC pond liners, but once fitted the finish will have a minimum of wrinkles.
Since this material can be harder to work with due to its weight, if you have a larger pond project you may need extra help to get the liner in place.
Preformed Pond Liners (Preformed Ponds)
These type of pond liners, as the name suggest, are already pre-molded into a specific shape and ready to fit your pond. These are lowered directly into the dug hole, with sand being used to create a tight fit and cushion against the earth.
Preformed ponds are a popular choice for smaller ponds, as you can either dig a hole to match the size or create the pond above ground and build around design.
How much pond liner do I need? How to measure your liner:
One thing to note – you should never purchase a pond liner and hope it fits your pond. You need to first measure your ponds size and then purchase a pond liner to fit.
To work out the size of pond liner you will need, you can use the formulas below:
*The extra 2 foot (1 meter) is for overlap to ensure you have enough spare liner to safely fix the sides of your pond in place.
After you have your answer, this should provide you a good liner size that will cover your pond excavation and have sufficient room for overlaps at the edges, with little wastage.
Best Pond Liner Reviews 2020 (Top Products)
Due to the different brands available between the US and UK markets, we’ve researched and divided our categories to provide both American and UK pond owners a review on the best pond liners available. We have listed below the best fish pond liners available to both the US and UK market. Before we get on to the reviews..
Don’t forget about your underliner:
Best PVC Pond Liner
When PVC meets LPDE in terms of strength! TotalPond has greatly enhanced their regular PVC pond liner to create a strong, but still very flexible liner material ideal for ponds of all sizes. This pond liner weighs almost 30% less than other PVC liners, and has been reinforced with a strong polyester weave between multiple layers of PVC. This extra reinforcement has allowed TotalPonds PVC liner to be as strong as newer LPDE pond liners, while still retaining the flexible qualities PVC is known for.
The surface of this pond liner has been textured throughout, creating an ideal environment for fast beneficial bacteria colonization. More surface area means more bacteria to help prevent pond sludge build up. The liner is also highly UV resistant, and has a good level of puncture protection.
However, PVC liner is not as durable as rubber, so even being reinforced, it is recommended to make sure the sediment is clear of stones and smooth before applying. This pond liner can still tear fairly easily, and a good underlayment is recommended.
- Sizes: 7ft x 10ft, 10ft x 13ft, 13ft x 20ft.
- Weight: Light Weight
- Thickness: 14.5 mm
- UV Resistance: High
- Warranty: 20 Years
Best Budget Rubber Pond Liner
Another TotalPond liner, but this time an ultra durable rubber one. EPDM rubber liners have long been regarded as some of the best rubber liners in the industry, and for good reason! TotalPond have refined their EPDM rubber material over the years, providing an extremely strong and durable rubber liner for even the largest of pond projects. Being a rubber liner, TotalPonds EPDM is very strong and not easily torn, so would work well on rougher ground where there could be problems with PVC liners. This pond liner is ideal for pond owners who want total peace of mind with very little risk of tearing or punctures.
Obviously, being a rubber liner, EPDM is quite heavy and can be difficult to mould in all your ponds nooks and crannies if you’re working alone. It may be best to have an extra pair of hands on board to help you flatten the liner if your pond is fairly large. The liner is still fairly flexible for rubber, however, so it’s not as difficult to work with as some other rubber lines – which is great!
TotalPond’s Rubber range of pond liners are also some of the most affordable on the market, making them good choices for smaller pond builds or owners on a budget. You won’t lose much in terms of quality, and the liners come with a 20 year warranty as standard for extra peace of mind.
- Sizes: 10t x 15ft, 15ft x 15ft, 15ft x 20ft.
- Weight: Heavy Duty
- Thickness: 40 mm
- UV Resistance: Very High
- Warranty: 20 Years
Best Premium Rubber Pond Liner
For pond owners who want the best of the best in terms of quality, durability, and strength. Firestone pond liners are the heavy weights of the industry, being long regarded as some of the best liners for large projects, water gardens and koi ponds. Designed from highly durable EPDM rubber, Firestone liners are both tear and UV resistant, and would suit ponds being created on rough terrain or in hot climates.
Even though Firetone’s products are very thick for a pond liner, coming in at 45mm of thickness, they’re still fairly flexible under a wide temperature range (40-175F), so should be easy to mould to specific designs throughout the year. Most come pre-cut and ready to install, so you just need to know your working dimensions to get started. We also like how easy it is to install additional ‘membrane’ panels using FireStone’s quick seam tape kits, allowing you to create complex designs even with such a heavy duty material. This makes it a great choice for easily securing features such as waterfalls, skimmers, and filter boxes, which can sometimes proof troublesome and leak.
Although a little more pricey than TotalPond’s Rubber Liner, we feel Firestone liners are stronger and just as flexible to mould to specific designs. Highly recommended for projects where you want maximum durability and top quality. Firestone also includes a 20 year life-time warranty as standard, so even if you do get problems, you can easily get them resolved with little fuss.
- Sizes: Various (Pre-cut and standard)
- Weight: Heavy Duty
- Thickness: 45mm
- UV Resistance: Very High
- Warranty: 20 Years
Best LPDE Pond Liner
A fantastic UK liner offering comes in the form of the All Pond Solution’s tri-laminate LPDE extra durable pond liner. This flexible liner is made from 3-layered LPDE material bonded together for maximum strength. Being a LPDE pond liner, you can expect slightly less flexibility than PVC, slightly more weight, but a much stronger design. LPDE sits in between most PVC and rubber pond liners, but unlike PVC liners, you can safely replace rubber in most cases with LPDE with very little drawbacks. The liners are highly tear resistant, rot proof, and UV stabilized so can be finstalled efficiently even under high daily temperatures.
We like LPDE because it gives the most of the durability you can expect from the best rubber pond liners, whilst still being flexible like PVC. Taking this into account, you should be able to work this pond liner into the nooks and crannies of your pond without too much trouble. All Pond Solutions also provide a free building advice guide to support their pond liner with every purchase, which makes fitting this into a new pond even easier for new hobbyists. Overall a great pond liner choice for most pond sizes and projects!
- Sizes: 5m x 6m, 6m x 6m, 7m x 6m, 8m x 6m, 9m x 6m.
- Weight: Light
- Thickness: 0.3 mm
- UV Resistance: High
- Warranty: 25 Years
Best Rubber Pond Liner
Rubber pond liners are less common in the UK, as pond owners generally have smaller ponds and opt for materials such as PVC and LPDE as they’re easier to work with. Even so, rubber pond liners are still needed for more heavy duty projects, and the Epalyn EPDM rubber pond liners are a great choice. These pond liners are made from the same high quality rubber material as the TotalPond US offering, EPDM, so you can expect a very strong and durable pond liner. The thickness of Epalyns rubber liners is thinner than other EPDM liners, so will be slightly more flexible and easier to mold around any awkward angles. The liner provides excellent UV resistance and is highly durable to puncture, with Epalyns life time warranty on all rubber liners up to 1o0m2 reflecting its strength.
Note: This rubber liner is cut to order, so you will need to select your required length as the quantity at checkout. I.e., Selecting the 8m x 1m rubber liner and selecting quantity of 3 will provide a 8m x 3m liner.
- Sizes: Custom to order (Max 30m per order)
- Weight: Medium
- Thickness: 0.75 mm
- UV Resistance: High
- Warranty: Lifetime up to 100m2, 25 Years after