Best Pond Air Pump and Best Pond Aerator 2021 (Reviews)
Pond aerators are a popular method of providing extra dissolved oxygen and increased water flow to your garden pond water. If you don’t have a natural aerator to provide oxygen, such as a waterfall, or just want extra aeration for your fish, purchasing a dedicated pond air pump system is a great way to oxygenate your water. In this article we’ll cover the most common types of aerators, and list the best pond air pump systems currently on the market for all types of garden ponds!
What are Pond Aerators & Pond Bubblers?
A pond aerator, also sometimes called a “bubbler,” is something that provides oxygen to your pond water, as well as additional flow and surface movement. Natural aerators include waterfalls and fountains, whereas dedicated aerators usually come in the form of an electrical air pump.
There are different types of electrical air pumps available, ranging from zero-cost solar powered aerators for small ponds, all the way to powerful aerators designed for large koi ponds and small lakes. Even though the size and power of these different air pumps vary, they all provide the same basic function – water oxygenation and aeration.
Air pumps work via an electric (or solar powered) motor which pumps oxygen (O2) directly into pond water. The oxygen is usually transferred across the water with a type of diffuser attachment which fits to the end of a hose.
For small pond aerators, the diffuser usually comes in the form of a stone or pebble attachment. For large pond aerators, the diffuser may be present as a long metal cylinder or tube with small evenly placed holes. The diffuser works to create an even spread of oxygen and maximize oxygenation across a wider area compared to just a basic hose outlet.
Pond air diffuser pumps often come in the form of “kits”, which provide everything you need to get started adding oxygen to your pond. Larger, more specialized air pumps sometimes just include a pump, and you will need to supply the hose yourself.
Do I need a pond aerator/air pump?
There are numerous benefits of increasing oxygen levels in your pond water, but whether you actually need one depends on your pond situation. If you have a pond with fish and slow water flow, adding an aerator will provide the fish with more oxygen which they may struggle to get otherwise. However, if you have a natural pond aerator, such as a waterfall or fountain, this may be sufficient in oxygenating your waters by itself. If you have a large pond with plenty of koi, then having a heavy duty oxygenator will certainly be of benefit, as koi thrive in highly oxygenated waters.
In general, if you have a fish stocked pond, a pond without much flow, or a pond without water features, adding an aeration system will likely only provide benefits in the long term. For more information on the benefits, read on!
Benefits of Oxygenating & Aerating Pumps
Pond aeration has many benefits, none of which being more important than keeping pond fish happy and healthy. A pond with low levels of oxygen will adversely affect your fish, as they need oxygen to grow and function. Koi in particular are very sensitive to oxygen levels, and can easily become sick from low levels of oxygen. If you keep a pond with fish, there are no real drawbacks from adding an aeration system, as this provides more dissolved oxygen for your fish to thrive. Most koi pond owners will invest in a strong aeration system with a wide spread diffuser for maximum benefits.
The bubbles produced from aeration air pumps help prevent surface water stagnation and also increase water flow. Preventing stagnation will stop insects laying eggs in your pond, and increase the levels of beneficial gas exchange taking place on the surface. If you have a particular area of your pond that has less flow than other areas, adding an aerator to this section would be ideal. If you have a fountain or waterfall, which is a natural oxygenator, you can add an air pump to the opposite end of the pond for maximum benefits.
A healthy pond is built on a healthy beneficial bacteria population! Pond bacteria will help break down fish waste, sludge, debris, and remove harmful substances from your pond water. These bacteria require oxygen to function, so adding an aerator will help speed up their efficiency and boost population levels.
Note: Algae can also thrive from additional oxygen, as well as reduce the natural levels in your pond water over time. We recommend a quality UV clarifier to remove algae and prevent a bloom occurring when running your aeration system.
Different Types Pond Air Pumps & Aerators (Compared)
1) Solar Powered Pond Aerator
A zero monthly cost aeration option is with solar power! These compact pond aerators are designed for use with smaller ponds, aquariums, or as a complement to a larger aeration system (i.e., a waterfall). They do not need any mains power or extra wiring, so would be a perfect solution if you can’t get to a mains socket. They function the best under heavy sunlight, so would suit spring and summer months.
For a small pond with fish, or a pond without fish, a solar power aerator would be a great choice to help prevent stagnation and increase water flow. Since there would be no additional costs per month, and if you are able to catch a lot of sunlight, this may be a fantastic long term investment! The air pump is usually very small, however, so may not be powerful enough for large ponds or koi ponds.
2) Electric Pond Aerator
Unlike a solar powered air pump, this type of air pump is more powerful and connected directly to your mains socket. This is the most popular choice of aeration for most pond types, in particular, fish stocked ponds and larger ponds. Air pumps can provide a constant flow of oxygen to your pond’s waters, and are much more reliable than solar powered aerators as you’re not reliant on sunlight for operation.
Air pumps range in size and power, with models being able to provide oxygenation for ponds ranging from 500-8000+ gallons easily. This is the type of pond aerator we recommend for most ponds, as they’re able to provide a constant, reliable, and large amount of oxygen to the waters extremely efficiently.
3) Floating Pond Aerator
A final type of pond aerator is the floating aerator. This pond aerator comes in both solar powered and electric types, and floats on your pond’s surface water while providing oxygen through a diffuser stone or base. This air pump has the added benefit of free movement of your pond waters, helping distribute oxygen and helping prevent surface stagnation.
Even though you can get mains connected floating aerators, we prefer the solar powered units. An electrical floating aerator will not provide as much oxygenation as a standard air pump unit, and will usually cost similar to run monthly. A solar powered unit will not cost anything extra monthly, and will still provide a good amount of oxygen to smaller ponds.
Best Pond Aerator Reviews 2021 (Top Air Pump Models)
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 aerators available. We have listed below our air pump picks available to both the US and UK market.
Best Solar Aerator (US)
A great zero-cost monthly solar powered pond aerator which provides a good amount of aeration for smaller ponds. The PondBoss floating aerator is an interesting little aeration system, providing decent air flow while in direct sunlight. The aerator is placed on your pond’s surface water and floats around the pond with the natural flow.
We found the 40 GPH air pump sufficient when under heavy sunlight, but the air flow dropped off quite considerably during periods of overcast skies. Since there is no battery pack connected, this solar pond aerator will only be able to function during daylight hours when there is some sunshine.
With that said, the best time to aerate a pond is in the warmer summer months, as you’re battling insects, surface stagnation, and algae constantly consuming oxygen. The PondBoss aerator should be able to provide a good amount of aeration during this period, and also into autumn while the sun remains stronger. This would be a great investment for small ponds, or as a complement to a larger aeration system.
- Pond Sizes: Up to 200 gallons
- Solar Panel: 0.8 Watts
- Pump Strength: 40 GPH Air Pump
- Submersible: No
- Dimensions: 11.63 x 11.63 x 13.5 inches
- Weight: 1.5 ponds
Best Small Pond Aerator (US)
For ponds that need constant oxygenation and more water movement! The TetraPond Air pump kit is an ideal solution for small-medium sized ponds, and provides a good level of air flow with its 100 GPH rated air pump system. It comes with a generous 30 ft of tubing and 2 aerator diffusers for an even spread of oxygen. We found setup extremely easy, and had everything working in under 10 minutes with diffusers on opposite ends of the pond. The air pump isn’t submersible, but has sturdy rubber feet to keep it in place on the side of your pond.
The 100 GPH air pump provides a strong flow and we were happy with the results, however, air flow will drop off considerably after around 2 feet of water depth. The pump has not been designed to work efficiently past around 2 feet, so make sure you place the diffusers no deeper than this for the best results. The pump also has a small screw valve so you can adjust the airflow as needed!
Even though the air pump has been designed for ponds up to 5000 gallons, we feel it is more suited to around a 500-2000 gallon pond. This is especially true if your pond contains koi or large amounts of goldfish. The pump provides a great level of oxygenation, but for a heavy fish stocked pond or larger ponds we’d recommend a more powerful model.
With that said, the TetraPond Air Pump kit is still a great choice for most ponds, and can work during all months of the year. It can provide aeration during both summer and winter, and is fairly hardy to the elements (although we’d recommend a cover!). A good all-round aeration system at a good price.
- Pond Sizes: Up to 5000 gallons
- Air flow Depth: 2 feet
- Pump Strength: 100 GPH Air Pump
- Submersible: No
- Dimensions: 10.5 x 5.2 x 5.2 inches
- Weight: 4.3 ponds
- Warranty: Limited 1 year
Best Koi Pond Aerator (US)
One of the best koi pond aerators on the market! The Airmax KoiAir series features 3 different models of aeration kits, designed for fish stocked ponds between 1000 to 16,000 gallons. The models range in strength, providing approx 350 GPH to 750 GPH air compressors, which should be more than enough to oxygenate even the largest of koi ponds.
Despite the strength of the air compressors, the KoiAir series are surprisingly quiet in operation, and could be used both indoors and outdoors without too much disruption. The different kits come with 1-4 large diffuser sticks mounted on metal diffuser plates. The compressor is very energy efficient, with the strongest compressor model requiring only 35w of power.
The air pump is very easy to setup, and provided a fantastic level of oxygenation and flow. The kit has a nice 6 foot power cord and accepts 3/8 ID hosing for replacements. We had no major issues when running the pump, although the airline hose came loose a few times during operation. The steel spring clamps provided are designed to prevent this, but we felt they were too slightly too weak to hold the hose in place. We recommend purchasing a few screw clamps which have a much stronger hold.
Overall, a great aeration pump kit for fish stocked ponds or large ponds. The KoiAir series will provide huge amounts of flow and oxygenation, and are very energy efficient to boot – win win!
- Pond Sizes: 1000-16000 gallons
- Air flow Depth: 4 feet
- Pump Strength: 350-750 GPH Air Compressor
- Submersible: No
- Dimensions: 13 x 13 x 17.1 inches
- Weight: 29.35 pounds
- Warranty: Limited 3 year
Best Solar Aerator (UK)
Another floating solar powered pond aerator comes in the form of PondTec’s floating air pump. This unit is very similar to its US counterpart from PondBoss, supporting smaller ponds up to around 800 liters in volume. The floating aerator comes with a self-contained air pump rated at 120 LPH which runs 100% from solar power. The biggest advantage of a solar aerator is the lack of monthly running costs, as you won’t be using any mains electricity, just energy from the sun!
The aerator is simple to set up, and you’ll easily have this running in under 5 minutes so long as you can catch some sunshine (British weather isn’t always reliable, after all). Luckily, even in lower levels of sunlight the aerator will be able to produce a decent amount of oxygen flow, and working under intense sunlight, you’ll have a very good stream considering how small the unit is.
As this is a floating aerator, you have the added benefit of extra surface breakup which helps prevent stagnation and increase water flow as the aerator moves around the pond. Sadly, this solar aerator doesn’t come with a battery pack, so will only work when there is sunlight available. Even so, it’s a decent solar aerator for smaller ponds or as an additional aerator to accompany a larger system. Recommended for small pond owners looking to achieve monthly savings!
- Pond Sizes: Up to 800 litres
- Solar Panel: 1.2 Watts
- Pump Strength: 120 LPH Air Pump
- Submersible: No
- Dimensions: 28.2 x 27.7 x 8 cm
- Weight: 798 g
Best Small Pond Aerator (UK)
Hozelock’s Air Pump series provides surprisingly powerful and compact aeration systems, with the 640 model being able to provide aeration for both small and large ponds. The air pump comes with a 10m air hose and 4 small diffuser air stones for an even oxygen spread. The air compressor is quite powerful for such a small unit, providing approx 640 LPH of air flow to the pond’s water. The pump can provide an efficient amount of air flow to a depth of around 1.2 metres, after which point the flow starts becoming reduced. We found after the 2 metre depth mark, flow greatly diminished and was no longer ideal.
The air pump is 100% water resistant (not submersible, though!), and very hardy when it comes to weather. Sometimes you need to cover an aerator to prevent damage, but the Hozelock series are sturdy enough and will happily function all year without one.
The air pump is very easy to install, and we were very surprised with just how quietly it runs! The air diffuser stones were slightly disappointing, being only around 2.5cm in width. Ideally we would have liked to see larger stones for such a strong pump, but if you feel the need to upgrade, you can easily attach larger ones which can be purchased separately. This isn’t a deal-breaker, and the Hozelock aerator would be a great match for larger ponds or goldfish ponds that need extra surface movement and oxygenation!
- Pond Sizes: Up to 3000 litres
- Air flow Depth: 1.2 metres
- Pump Strength: 640 LPH Air Pump
- Submersible: No
- Dimensions: 8 x-14 x 20 cm
- Weight: 1.7 Kg
- Warranty: Limited 2 year
Best Koi Pond Aerator (UK)
For heavily stocked koi ponds in need of oxygenation! The Blagdon Koi Air aeration pumps are powerful and able to provide a heavy dose of oxygen to your pond waters. The series have 3 standard models designed for different sizes of ponds, with the smallest having a mighty 1500 LPH flow rate and the largest a huge 3900 LPH flow rate. Despite the powerful flow rate, the pumps are surprisingly energy efficient and can reliably run 24/7 without issue.
The pump is slightly more difficult to setup compared to other aeration kits as it only includes the pump and no actually airline options. A recommended 1/2″ ID tubing and some quality diffusers would need to be purchased separately for full operation. When you have your air hose and diffuser stones, these can be attached to a large multi-outlet air fitting, allowing multiple air stones to work at once. We like this design as it provides flexible placement options and good oxygen spread throughout the pond. The pumps can provide a strong flow to depths ranging from 2-3.5 metres, depending on model, which should be more than enough for most pond types.
As mentioned above, these are quite powerful air pumps, and would be a great addition to a large koi pond. Since they’re quite strong, they’re also sadly quite noisy, too! It’s unlikely you’ll be able to run this pump indoors due to the noise, so we recommend only purchasing for outdoor operation. The air pump is also not waterproof and will need to be secured with a cover to prevent weather/rain damage.
Overall, a very powerful pump series which would be perfect for large ponds or heavily fish stocked koi ponds in need of some aeration. The main drawbacks are the lack of included tubing and the noise, but if you need a powerful air pump, you can’t get a more solid choice!
- Pond Sizes: 1000-10,000 litres
- Air flow Depth: 2 – 3.5 metres
- Pump Strength: 1500-3900 LPH Air Pump
- Wattage: 18w, 30w, 42w
- Submersible: No
- Dimensions: 8 x-14 x 20 cm
- Weight: 1.7 Kg
- Warranty: Limited 2 year