The Best Priming Pot 2023 (Reviews & Advice)

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The Best Priming Pots – Guide 2023 (updated)

Priming pots not only act as a method of safely priming external pumps, but also extend the life of your pump by acting as debris and leaf baskets. If you currently run an external pump in your pond, having a quality priming pot will make starting the pump easier and also keep your pump working more efficiently in the long run.

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What is a Priming Pot?

Priming pots extend the life of external pond pumps
Priming pots make starting external pumps easier and prolong their operating life.

A priming pot, sometimes called a leaf trap, is a device that fits to the intake of an external pump and works to assist in “priming” the pump for operation, as well as helping prevent debris clogging the impellers. Priming pots are an often-overlooked solution but should be strongly considered if you currently have an external pump installed in your pond. The pots are fitted directly to the intake and then are filled with water which helps with the priming process; of which can be extremely difficult depending on the type of pump you have and its position in your garden. Even with a “self-priming” pump, it cannot prime on just air alone and still requires a certain amount of water to begin operation. Priming pots would suit both non-priming and self-priming pumps, making it much easier and safer to start operation.

Priming pots will work for external pumps installed above or below the waterline, and will be a requirement in most cases where priming is proving difficult. If the pot is installed at or above the waterline, a check valve also needs to be fitted to the pond end. If the pot is installed below the lowest level of pond water, usually in a dug-out hole, a ball valve can be used instead.

Some external pond pumps will come with a prime pot fitted as standard or included in the price, but for those which don’t, our article here includes the top priming pot choices so you won’t miss out.

The Benefits of Priming Pots 

1) Easier & Safer Pump Priming

As mentioned above, one of the key benefits of having a priming pot is the ability to make the priming process that much easier. This is especially useful for external pumps which are installed in positions that make priming very difficult, such as above the waterline. Even self-priming pumps cannot prime on 100% air, and still require water to pass into the main chamber of the pump for it to prime without damage. Having a priming pot adds another layer of protection to the priming process, ensuring there is an adequate amount of water present that starts the priming process. Priming any external pump incorrectly can cause major damage to the rotors, and will gradually decrease the operational lifespan of the pump.

2) Traps Leaves, Algae, and Debris

Priming pots often double as effective strainer baskets, collecting leaves, algae, and other organic debris that can cause a pump to clog over time. You can purchase strainer baskets separately which just sit on the front of the pump, but these do not provide the priming benefits. They’re also usually made from lighter plastic, and are more prone to breaking. If you have a pond that is prone to debris buildup, a priming pot is a convenient way to strain the water passing into the pump, making cleaning the debris a much easier process. Usually priming pots have a clear lid to the top which can be removed and any debris collected directly from the basket inside.

If your pond has a major algae bloom, we strongly recommend clearing as much algae as possible before using a priming pot. The baskets in priming pots are not designed to hold that much matter, and will clog in minutes if you have heavy algae growth. Check here for our detailed guide on removing pond algae.

3) Extends the Life of Your Pump

A final major benefit of using a priming pot for external pumps is that it will extend the overall operational lifespan of the pump. By both making priming easier and collecting debris that may clog the pump itself, a priming pot gives the pump an easier job so it can work more efficiently without added stress. Incorrect priming is a major contributor to external pumps becoming damaged, so having an extra safety guard in place which makes the process easier is always a good thing to have.

Most quality external pond pumps are expensive, so having a priming pot to help get the most out of your money just makes sense!

Before Priming: Install a Check Valve!

When installing a priming pot you should also install a simple check valve on the inlet to the priming pot to make life easier. A check valve on the pond water end will allow water to enter the priming pot but will stop water from leaving the pot’s chamber. You will also have to fill the priming pot to the brim before starting your external pump, and the check valve will ensure that the water does not leak back into your pond. Without a check valve it can be very difficult to successfully prime, especially if your pump is located at or above the waterline. The pump will need time to draw water and begin priming, and this is the best method of ensuring an adequate supply is available.

If you’re installing the priming pot below the lowest point of pond water instead, usually in a deep hole, a ball valve can be used in place of a check valve – although this is less common.

priming pots for ponds

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Best Priming Pot & Leaf Basket 2023 (Reviews)

Below are some of our top priming pot and strainer basket picks for garden ponds. These are all durable, reliable, and will work with almost all external pump models.  They will require your pump to have a 2″ threaded intake (common for externals), but will also work if you can adapt the pump to this intake size.

Helix priming pot for ponds1) Helix Priming Pot Review

A durable priming pot offering from Helix, which supports the priming of any external pond pump with a 2″ threaded intake connector. The priming pot has a clear top which is easy to remove when cleaning, and a generously sized leaf basket that is removed from under the lid. The basket is of good quality and should provide good debris collection, protecting the pump from being clogged. The pot is easy to install, and works great for external pumps that need to be primed above the waterline. It also features a convenient bulkhead draining outlet at the bottom so you can easily drain the water when needed.

If you have a Helix external pump, this is a no brainer, but it will easily work with just about any external pump that has a 2″ inlet.


Elite pumps priming pot2) Elite Pumps Priming Pot Review

A flexible priming pot model from Elite Pumps that works with most external models, including Sequence, Elite, Helix, and PerformancePro pumps. Just like the Helix model, the Elite Pumps priming pot features a 2″ inlet, so will work with any pond pump which matches this connection. The pot is very easy to install and will work great for pumps installed at or above the water line for a better priming process.

The priming pot includes a leaf basket and a clear lid which is easy to remove when cleaning. The basket is fairly large, and should be more than sufficient to prevent large debris clogging the pump’s impellers. Slightly cheaper than some other priming pots, so would suit pond owners on a stricter budget.


Sequence priming pot for ponds3) Sequence Priming Pot Review

A priming pot offering from Sequence, which provides support for external pumps with its standard 2″ inlet. If you already have a Sequence pump, this is likely a good choice, but it will work with just about any external with a 2″ threaded intake. It features a black strainer basket for debris collection and a clear durable lid which can be removed when cleaning. The basket is a similar size to other offerings, and will be able to collect a good amount of debris before it can enter your pump. It can be installed at, below, or above the water line and will make priming a pump much easier and safer.

A good choice for most external pumps, especially if you already have a Sequence pump, but would work well for just about any model with the correct intake size.


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