Water Pumps for Hydroponics

 Reviews of the Best Pumps for your Hydroponic System

Water pumps play a crucial role in a hydroponic system because they allow water to move efficiently throughout the system. Without an efficient flow of nutrients and water, plants will not receive the nutrition, hydration, and aeration they need to stay healthy. So how do you choose the correct water pump for your indoor system? There are several types of pumps and plenty of different sizes to consider. Let’s first take a look at what you need to know about water pumps for hydroponics, and then review some of the best options for your particular system.

Types of Water Pumps for Hydroponics – Inline vs. Submersible

There are two main types of hydroponic water pumps – inline and submersible. Inline pumps are air-cooled and are place outside of the tank.  Submersible pumps are water-cooled, placed directly in the water of hydroponic reservoirs, and use fittings and hoses to transport the water within a system. Since inline pumps are mainly used in large-scale hydroponics operations, most hobbyists should just be concerned with submersible pumps.  

Because of their limited power, submersible pumps are really only suitable for hydroponic systems with a total GPH (Gallons Per Hour) requirement of 1200 or less. This should be more than adequate for most home growers. Inline pumps are so powerful that they are not measured in GPH, but rather in HP (horsepower).

You may also hear the term sump pump in hydroponics terminology. This type of pump can be used to transport water from between sump tanks or to mix nutrients inside a sump tank. A submersible pump also does the job of oxygenating the water and helping maintain consistency within the system.

Many hydroponic growers use air pumps help provide extra aerating to the nutrient solution (water and nutrient mix). Aeration to the root zone is crucial to avoiding anaerobic decomposition.

And lastly, peristaltic pumps are sometimes used for auto-dosing types of hydroponic systems. For the most part, submersible pumps and air pumps are most likely the types of pumps you should consider as a home grower, so let’s dig a little deeper into those.

Choosing the Correct Size – Water Pumps for Hydroponics

Submersible water pumps for hydroponics are measured in GPH (Gallons Per Hour). This type of pump is suitable for hydroponic systems that need 1200 GPH or less (this includes most home growers and even some smaller-scale commercial grow operations). It is recommended that you choose a water pump that will give you at least twice the water you will need to meet the minimum GPH of your system to avoid water shortage issues. If your pump has a flow restricting function, you can reduce the pump’s flow volume if you find it to be too much. If your pump is “fixed flow,” you will not be able to make this adjustment.

As you look to purchase your water pump, notice the number listed on the packaging. This number means the maximum GPH the pump will allow (ex, 500 GPH would allow up to 500 GPH). Some pumps give a range of – say – 400 – 600 GPH. This is because the pump has two adapters to limit the flow to either 400 or 600 GPH depending on how you set it up. Note that the maximum GPH is only at ground or water level (or one foot high depending on the model you choose). The higher the pump will need to transport the water above the surface, the lower the GPH it will end up putting out (called the “Head Height”). The pump manufacturer will often include a chart inside the packaging which lists the maximum GPH at various heights.  

Since water pumps are measured in gallons is per hour, you can calculate the gallons per minute by simply dividing the gallons per hour by 60. This is an important consideration if you are buying a pump for a ebb and flow/flood and drain system because you will only flood the grow trays/beds for a short duration. To illustrate the point,  if you will need 50 gallons of water volume to flood your hydroponic system, and you want it to completely flood within 10 minutes, then that would be 1/6th of an hour (50 x 6 = 300 GPH) . This would equal 5 gallons per minute, or 300 gallons per hour as a minimum requirement.

Reviews of Water Pumps for Hydroponics

Here are some of the most popular and best submersible water pumps for hydroponics.

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PonicsPump Sizes: 91 – 291 GPH

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PonicsPump Submersible Pump (Various Sizes)

Versatile Water Pump for Hydroponics and Aquaponics Applications

PonicsPumps are recognized as being an inexpensive and dependable brand of water pumps. They offer 8 different of submersible pumps with 19 different models, each equipped with waterproof cords,  adjustable input flow-rate screen, and 3 outlet adapters for tubing (1/2″, 5/8″, and 3/4″). 

You can be assured that PonicsPumps are made of durable and high-quality materials. The polished aluminum oxide ceramic impeller shaft is non-corrodible and the motor’s epoxy resin encasement prevents unwanted corrosion and conductivity issues. Neodymium Iron Boron (NdFeB) magnets are incorporated into the design of the electric motor for power and increased energy efficiency. The pump’s electric cord is waterproof and made with 18 gauge copper wire.

PonicsPumps are easy to clean and safe to use in hydroponics and aquaponics systems. No need to worry about water temperature because these pumps can handle any range.  The company offers a 1-year limited warranty with each purchase.

PonicsPumps can be found with various maximum GPH and flow rates. For example, the 291 GPH pump puts out 291 Gallons Per Hour (GPH) @ 0′ Lift; 271 GPH @ 1′ Lift; 251 GPH @ 2′ Lift; 218 GPH @ 3′ Lift; 172 GPH @ 4′ Lift; 120 GPH @ 5′ Lift; 26 GPH @ 6′ Lift; Max Lift – 6′ 3″.  These pumps are workhorses!

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EcoPlus Sizes: 158 – 7400 GPH fixed flow

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EcoPlus Pumps for Hydroponics (Various Sizes)

Great for in-line use or submersibly in water

EcoPlus makes simple and reliable submersible water pumps for hydroponic and aquaponics systems, ponds, fountains, and fresh or saltwater aquariums. The pumps have interior threaded fittings and this particular model has a fixed water flow (not adjustable). Like the PonicsPump, the motor features a powerful oil-free rotor magnet, and the ceramic shaft and bearing ensures that the pump will be a dependable workhorse. Plus, the stainer protects the impeller from any damage. With only one moving part, EcoPlus has designed this so that not much can go wrong.  If you are looking for simplicity in your water pump, look no further. 

The 264 GPH, 28 watt motorized pump includes these fittings: .75″ barbed x .75″ threaded, two-.5″ barbed x .75″ threaded and nozzle x 3.4″ threaded. The unit comes with a pre-wired 120v power cord (69″).  EcoPlus offers fixed flow submersible pumps ranging from 158 GPH all the way up to 7400 GPH as well as bottom draw, mag drive, and adjustable models.  This may very well be the most recommended and reviewed water pump online, and the jury is mostly in agreement that EcoPlus makes a great budget water pump for hydroponics and aquaponics applications. 

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Active Aqua Sizes: 40 – 1000 GPH

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Hydrofarm Active Aqua Submersible Water Pump (Various Sizes)

High Quality and Highly Rated

Hydrofarm is a well known and well-regarded brand in the hydroponics community. It may come as no surprise that many hydroponics enthusiasts turn to Hydrofarm for their submersible pumping needs. The Active Aqua line offers pumps in sizes to cover just about any water power generation you will need 40, 160, 250, 400, 550, 800, and 1000 GPH.

Hydrofarm’s Active Aqua submersible pumps are perfect for any type of hydroponic system. They are each constructed with powerful mag drive and comes equipped with impellers, removable foam filters, and mounting feet (rubber) to reduce vibrations. Active Aqua pumps are oil-free, BPA free, environmentally safe, UL-listed, and suitable for aquaponics systems with fish (and obviously without fish). A 6′ power cord is included. We give the Active Aqua submersible pump high marks.

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Homasy Sizes: 53 GPH and up

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Homasy Upgraded 400GPH Submersible Pump 

Ultra Quiet Water Pump for Hydroponics

This 400 GPH (max flow) submersible water pump by Homasy features an ultra quiet design with 2 nozzles (.51″ and .62″) and an adjustable knob to control the rate of water flow so you have more control over the water pressure. The maximum allowable height is 6.9 ft and the 25-watt motor is highly efficient while saving you on your energy bills. 

Homasy water pump has threaded fittings for extra stability and the stainless steel impeller shaft is corrosion resistant and long lasting. Included is a 4 suction cups for mounting vertically or horizontally and a 5.9′ power cord to reach your outlet. Homasy backs its pumps with a 12-month warranty and quality customer service and support. A great choice for any hydroponics grower that needs a reliable water pump to get the job done.

Homasy offers pumps in sizes starting at 53 GPH and up.

You may be considering other items when purchasing your water pumps for hydroponics.  There may include tubing and connectors as well as air stones to oxygenate your system. Here are a few items to get you started:

Watts Pre-Cut 1/2″ x 3/8″ Vinyl Tubing

  • Pre-cut, clear vinyl 
  • 10 feet in length
  • Polyvinyl chloride has the flexibility of rubber 
  • Can handle a wide variety of chemicals, liquids, and gases
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EcoPlus 253 GPH Air Pump 

  • Great for indoor hydroponic applications
  • Energy efficient
  • Oscillating pump (dual chamber) for stable pressure and high output
  • Built-in noise reduction system 
  • Housing is a heavy duty and water resistant
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EcoPlus Commercial Air Pump

  • Excellent for oxygenating in larger hydroponic systems
  • Chrome air manifold (choose between six to twelve outlets)
  • Strong and durable pump made w/ premium materials
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We hope that our Water Pumps for Hydroponics article helps you find the best pump for your next grow. Best of luck!

We encourage you to check out our other hydroponics and aquaponics articles, including our Best LED Grow LightsGrow Lights for WeedMarijuana Growing Supplies, and Best Grow Tent pages.