The Best Lake Muck Blowers & Muck Removal Machines 2019 (Compared)
For anyone who owns waterfront property on a lake or pond, muck can be a particularly foul, unattractive nuisance. Muck is also notoriously tough to remove, as many common methods of doing so are labor-intensive, ineffective, or impractical. Muck blowers are powerful, easy-to-use tools that aim to solve this mucky problem!
Why Should You Remove Muck?
Before choosing a muck blower, it may help to know your enemy. Most people know muck as a soft, smelly gunk found on the bottoms of lakes and ponds. Muck is a mix of organic substances, particularly plants, that have decomposed to the point they are no longer individually recognizable. This explains muck’s slimy consistency and brown-gray color. Rotting remains of fish, insects, weeds, leaves, grass clippings, algae, uneaten food, and waste are all common components of muck.
Muck is unpleasant to walk on and swim through, can interfere with activities like fishing, and can shelter dangerous pests like leeches. Additionally, the bacteria that break down muck can cause problems in excessive amounts. The microorganisms that initially decompose muck absorb dissolved oxygen in the process. When decomposing larger-than-natural amounts of muck on the bottom of a waterbody, these bacteria can drastically deplete the available oxygen, potentially suffocating fish.
Other types of bacteria that take over after the oxygen is gone then release hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide causes muck’s terrible smell, and at high concentrations it can stress and even kill fish and other organisms. Ordinary muck is unlikely to have such drastic consequences. However, large quantities of muck created by algal blooms or other products of human activity may lead to these problems, especially in smaller waterbodies.
What Are Muck blowers, And How Do They Help? (The Benefits Explained)
A muck blower is basically a submersible, electrically powered fan that creates water currents to push away muck. Most can be mounted on a dock, but units that float or attach to freestanding poles are also available. Muck blowers can be positioned at the surface or bottom and can quickly and painlessly remove large clumps of muck in the immediate vicinity.
1) Automated Surface Debris Removal
Muck blowers are convenient, easy-to-use tools for keeping small areas free from floating debris. Many owners of muck blowers use them to blow away drifting clumps of algae and weeds. However, these devices can also move larger objects, such as driftwood, garbage, and ice, that could interfere with your dock or waterfront space. A muck blower might be an attractive option for maintaining good conditions for activities like boating, fishing, and swimming.
One of the biggest advantages to muck blowers is that they require very little effort but cover significant surface area. Muck blowers can clear debris from specific parts of the surface as needed, or they can run continuously to sweep the immediate area (though this will drive up your electric bill).
2) Bottom Muck Reduction
Blowers that are positioned deep enough can effectively clear weeds and clumps of muck on the bottom of a lake or pond. By doing so, they can create safer, cleaner swimming areas, especially when rotated as described above. Muck blowers let you remove significant amounts of bottom muck with minimal exertion. This can make them more desirable than labor-intensive options like rakes or shovels. The amount of muck cleared will depend on the blower’s motor strength.
3) Massive Aeration Potential
Because they greatly agitate the water, muck blowers can provide a pond or lake with valuable aeration. Blowers positioned near the surface expose more water to the air, helping oxygen to enter from the atmosphere. The currents these devices create can also circulate water between the bottom and the surface, bringing dissolved oxygen to the deepest parts and helping to keep deeper waterbodies from stratifying into layers of different temperature.
In addition to helping fish breathe, this aeration can lessen the amount of muck that accumulates over time. Two types of bacteria decompose muck: aerobic bacteria, which need oxygen to survive, and anaerobic bacteria, which thrive in the absence of oxygen. Aeration promotes the growth of aerobic bacteria, which rot muck about 20 times quicker than the anaerobic variety. Anaerobic bacteria are also primarily responsible for releasing the smelly, potentially toxic hydrogen sulfide. By aerating the water, muck blowers can help keep harmful, less efficient anaerobic bacteria away.
Considerations When Buying Lake Muck Removal Machine
1) Motor Strength & Max Blower Distance
A blower’s motor strength determines the volume of muck it can move, as well as how far it can push. Manufacturers list motor strength in horsepower (HP); higher HP blowers can move more water, and therefore muck, per minute. Most muck blowers are available in motor strengths ranging from 1/4 HP to 1 HP. Models with stronger motors are typically more expensive as well as more effective. Generally, the larger your section of pond or lake is, the stronger your muck blower needs to be. This is especially true if you’re using your blower for aeration. Stronger blowers turn the water over faster because they have higher flow rates, making them most worthwhile for larger waterbodies.
You may also need to consider how far you want your blower to move debris. If you’re looking to clear a section of a large body of water, you may need debris pushed 70 feet or more. For smaller ponds, though, this distance might be unnecessary. A smaller distance might also be better if you share a waterfront with other property owners, since you probably don’t want to blow debris into your neighbors’ areas.
When shopping for a blower, check to see if the manufacturer lists the maximum distance for different motor strengths. Keep in mind, though, that these may just be the distances the blower can push plain water. The actual distance a blower can move floating objects varies with the size, weight, and diameter of the debris. Heavier, bulkier debris won’t move as far or as fast as smaller objects. Blowers also may not be able to move debris as far in deeper, colder, or more polluted water, which is denser than normal.
2) Max Operating Depth
The depth at which you set your blower can depend on more than just whether you want to remove muck from the surface or the bottom. For clearing bottom muck, your blower obviously needs to reach down far enough. The blower can’t reach too deeply, though, or it will dig into the sediment, keeping the blades from turning smoothly. Check the product specifications to make sure that your waterbody meets the minimum operating depth.
Even if your muck blower doesn’t actually touch the bottom, it still shouldn’t reach down far enough to move much sediment. If your blower is too deep, its energy will be wasted pushing away heavy sand, gravel and sediment. This can also severely harm the natural ecosystem by damaging plants and animal habitats and clouding the water. For this reason, some areas have restricted or entirely banned the use of muck blowers on lake bottoms. Even if using a blower to clear bottom muck is legal in your area, you may want to consider whether it’s environmentally responsible.
3) Different Mounting Methods & Options
- Dock-mounted (+ optional oscillator)
Many muck blowers offer multiple mounting methods, allowing you to customize your setup to fit your needs. Most are designed to be mounted on a dock by attaching either directly to the side or to a post. Dock-mounted models are ideal for clearing swimming or fishing areas, as well as for keeping debris away from filters. They can work at the surface or bottom, and manually adjusting the direction is usually very easy.
Some manufacturers sell programmable oscillators as optional attachments to dock-mounted blowers. An oscillator can make changing a blower’s direction even easier. Usually, you can program the device to turn your blower by however many degrees you want at a set time interval. With an oscillator, your muck blower can sweep the area continuously and evenly without requiring constant manual adjustment. Unfortunately, oscillators usually cost about $700-$800 extra. They may also encourage you to run your blower more constantly, which can raise your electricity bill. Oscillators may be less worthwhile for removing bottom muck, which tends to build up over weeks and months and therefore doesn’t require constant attention.
- Floating & Free Standing
If you don’t have a dock, a floating or freestanding muck blower is a better option. Floating models can’t reach to the bottom; the blades usually sit a couple of feet below the water line, meaning they can only move surface debris and provide aeration. They are typically tethered to a steady object on the shore. Freestanding blowers are usually meant for moving bottom muck, but some work at the surface as well. They usually attach to an independent post that rests on a frame or is inserted into the ground.
Floating and freestanding muck blowers are particularly useful for blowing surface debris closer to the shore, where it can be picked up more easily. However, adjusting their depth or direction may be more difficult than with dock-mounted models, and they are rarely compatible with oscillators. Freestanding and floating blowers may also require longer electrical cords in contact with the water, an extra potential hazard.
4) Efficiency & Running Costs
More powerful muck blowers are also more expensive to run. Operating your unit for longer time periods can quickly hike your electricity bill; running it continuously could be prohibitively expensive. Models that use fewer watts cost less to operate, though they may not push muck as far. Oscillators need a small amount of additional power and will add slightly to the cost.
Note that the electrical power that determines a blower’s running cost (measured in watts) is different than the motor’s mechanical power (measured in HP). No machine is 100% efficient, so a blower’s motor strength will always be less than the electrical power it consumes. To find the most cost-effective muck blowers, look for models that provide the most HP per watt.
5) Safety, Build Quality & Warranties
Because they bring electrical cords in contact with the water, muck blowers carry a risk of electric shock. To minimize the danger, always unplug a blower when anyone is in the water. Also, only plug a blower into a GFCI, a special type of safety outlet that cuts off the electricity if the wire within the cord accidentally touches the water.
The Best Lake Muck Blower Removal Machines 2019 (Top Models Reviewed)
Scott Aerator’s Aquasweep is a powerful muck blower made of high-quality materials. The standard Aquasweep is available with 1/2-HP, 3/4-HP, or 1-HP motors, which can move bottom muck 50, 60, or 75 feet, respectively. These are relatively far distances for bottom muck, assuming they apply all the way to the standard dock-mounted model’s maximum depth of 7 feet. As an aerator, the Aquasweep can move 400-500 gallons of water per minute. Motor strength is one of the Aquasweep’s biggest advantages, making it a good choice for use at both the top and bottom of the water column.
Another of the Aquasweep’s major selling points is its impressive construction. The blower is made of mostly stainless steel and polyurethane (a strong plastic), and both the motor and the power cord are sourced from professional manufacturers of heavy-duty aquatic products. A basket-like intake shield keeps debris away from the fan and motor, while a special sensor automatically turns off the blower when the water level falls too far, helping to prevent burnout. This combination of safeguards and excellent materials indicates that the Aquasweep should be a durable, long-lasting product. Just in case, Scott Aerator offers a 5-year warranty on the motor and a 1-year warranty on all other parts. The Aquasweep is oil-free, meaning it requires minimal maintenance beyond changing the propeller every 5 years.
Several mounting options are available for the Aquasweep. The dock-mounted model is rated at 1/2 HP and requires a water depth of 12 feet. The typical version attaches using a plate that screws into the dock, but a post bracket is offered as an optimal attachment. A 50-foot cord is standard, but you can upgrade to 75, 100, or 125 feet, as well as add a programmable, 360-degree oscillator for extra cost. (Note: This oscillator only works with the dock-mounted Aquasweep.)
If you don’t have a dock, you can go with the floating Aquasweep or purchase an 8-foot freestanding post. The floating model, only available with a 1/2-HP motor, comes with a 35-foot cord (at extra costs, you can upgrade to 50, 75, or 100 feet). The freestanding post installs directly into the bottom and doesn’t require additional tools.
All models of the Aquasweep are available in both 115-volt and 230-volt sizes, making it a good fit for a variety of electrical setups. The 1/2-HP motor runs at 680 watts. Using the 2018 US average electricity rate, running this motor would cost about 8.48 cents per hour.
In all, the Aquasweep’s superior design, quality materials, and high-performing motors make it a great choice for moving large amounts of muck and surface debris. Various options make it adequately flexible, and although it isn’t cheap, the price isn’t outrageous relative to other muck blowers.
- Mounting Options: dock-mounted (plate or bracket), floating, freestanding post
- Motor Strengths: 1/2 HP, 3/4 HP, 1 HP (for dock-mounted model); 1/2 HP (for floating model)
- Minimum/Maximum Blowing Distance: 50 feet/75 feet (bottom)
- Motor Sizes: 115 volts, 230 volts
- Oscillator: yes
- Materials: stainless steel, polyurethane
- Warranty: 5-year motor warranty, 1-year warranty for all other parts
Our second muck blower is the AquaThruster by Weeders Digest, which is available with motor strengths of 1/2-HP, 3/4-HP, and 1-HP (all three of which are backed with a 2-year warranty). The 1/2-HP and 3/4-HP models both perform very well, with the AquaThruster’s 1/2-HP motor covers 30 feet on the bottom (100 feet at the surface), while the 3/4-HP motor reaches 50 feet on the bottom (150 feet at the surface). The AquaThruster’s 1-HP model, however, is the more effective of the two, covering 100 feet on the bottom (and 200 feet at the surface). If you’re considering a 1-HP model, the AquaThruster is very good better value for a muck blower. A 2-HP AquaThruster is also available for commercial use.
The AquaThruster is primarily made of stainless steel coated in a layer of zinc to protect it from corrosion. Additionally, ETL, a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory, lists it as meeting Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Candadian Standards Association (CSA) standards for safety and quality. This nationally backed certification means that the AquaThruster should be completely safe as well as durable. Maintenance is low; you just have to clean the motor housing twice a year and replace the protective zinc when it becomes visibly corroded.
Variety of mounting options is where the AquaThruster really shines. For convenience, the standard 1/2 HP dock mount plate is included with every other model. For added portability, you can upgrade to the truss dock mount, which attaches to the side with a vice, or the dock post mount, which can attach to an existing post on your dock. All three allow the blower to reach up to 5 feet deep.
To operate the AquaThruster without a dock, you’ll need either the floating model, which sits 2 feet below the surface, or the freestanding frame. Both types at 1/2 HP and are compatible with all motors. The freestanding frame is a small rectangular structure that sits at the bottom of the waterbody. The height is adjustable by about 1–2 feet, and the frame is easy to move around and position in different directions.
For an extra cost, you can add a programmable, 360-degree oscillator that works with all three dock mounts. If you’re adding the oscillator to the post mount option, you can also purchase a bottom frame that lets you use the combination without attaching to a dock. The oscillator is covered by a 2-year warranty, and a digital timer is available as extra which gives you more control over blower intervals.
All models, as well as the oscillator, come with a 50-foot electrical cord, but you can also upgrade to 100, 150, or 200 feet cords if needed. A 110-volt motor is standard, but 220-volt sizes are available for the 1-HP and 2-HP models. Unfortunately, watt usage isn’t listed for any model so we can’t provide an average electrical consumption cost.
In sum, the AquaThruster is a well-made, very customizable, and decently powerful muck blower at a very reasonable price point. It isn’t the strongest muck blower around, but its large variety of mounting options and extras may make it more appealing, depending on your situation.
- Mounting Options: dock-mounted (plate, truss, or post), floating, freestanding frame, bottom frame (with oscillator and dock post mount)
- Motor Strengths: 1/2 HP, 3/4 HP, 1 HP, 2 HP (for commercial use)
- Minimum/Maximum Blowing Distance: 30 feet/100 feet (bottom)
- Motor Sizes: 110 volts, 220 volts
- Oscillator: yes
- Materials: stainless steel
- Warranty: 2-year warranty