Pond Pumps 101

Types of Pond Pumps

There are several types of pond pumps, each serving different functions and used to accommodate various water features. When installing a new water feature, or fixing an old one, understanding the functions and applications of a given pond pump can be challenging. This article will effectively break down the different types of pond pumps and make the learning process simple for water feature owners.

Whether you are creating your own water feature or refurbishing it, understanding which pump to use and how that pump operates is vital. Essentially, pond pumps can be labeled as either submersible or external. Within each of these categories, there are several types of pond pumps. 

Submersible Pond Pumps

Submersible pond pumps, simply, are pond pumps that rest underwater in a given water feature. These pond pumps are the most commonly used pumps, as they are often used for nearly every type of pondless water feature.

Submersible pond pumps produce very little noise and allow for a peaceful setting. Also, submersible pumps are remarkably simple to install and are always reasonably priced. Another huge benefit of a submersible pump is that they never have to be repaired from weather damage because the pump will always be underwater. 

Since submersible pumps are submerged in water, owners do not have to prime them. Water pressure funnels water into the submersible pump, which means it does not take very much energy to move water. Thus, submersible pond pumps are very energy efficient. 

Bear in mind that an area big enough to fit a submersible pump needs to be outlined in order to reap the benefits of a submersible pump.

Types of Submersible Pond Pumps

  • Magnetic Drive Pumps: Also known as  a hybrid mag drive pumps, these types of submersible pond pumps are generally used for small pond systems or fountain applications. Magnetic drive pumps are small and have very low operating costs. These pumps were created to run continuously and tend to operate for 5-7 years. 


    • Direct Drive Pumps: Direct Drive Pumps have been the mainstay of the pond and water garden industry for the last decade. These pumps are powerful and generate a high volume of flow with high flow rates at heights greater than 6-10 foot. Most direct drive pumps are constructed from stainless steel and are heavier than magnetic drive pumps. Direct drive submersible pond pumps are perfect for very long streams or very tall waterfalls.  
  • Statuary Pumps: Statuary pumps are mostly suited for decorative uses, not for aerating water. Small fountains, ornamental spitters, and container water gardens are the most practical applications for statuary pumps. These pumps are energy efficient and rarely clog due to a pre-filter cage, thus reducing maintenance. 
  • Debris-Handling Pumps: Debris-handling pumps are designed to remove debris from a pond. These pumps rarely clog because of the large inlet.
  • Fountain Pumps: Fountain pumps are mainly used for small fountains as well as the fountains that may be found in the middle of lakes or big ponds that shoot water into the air. 


External (Non-Submersible) Pond Pumps

External pond pumps are used for water features that have high flow rates and high pressure rates. External pond pumps are to be set outside of the water feature. These pumps need to be set in a place that will provide protection from Mother Nature. 

By placing the external pump in a safe place, maintenance and servicing will nearly be eliminated. Non-submersible pumps are ideal for large water features that produce high flow rates, unlike submersible pumps. External pond pumps are also very energy efficient, especially considering how much water pressure that they facilitate. 


External pond pumps are easy to repair or perform maintenance on because they are not submerged in the water. Non-submersible pond pumps require less routine maintenance than submersible pumps, however, they are more difficult to install than submersible pumps. External pond pumps are also noisier than submersible pumps since they are not submerged in water. 

Fake rocks are a great tool for covering an external pump as well as minimizing the noise of the pump. 

Solar Powered Pumps:

Solar powered pumps can be either external or submersible pumps. These pumps are powered by the sun and thus, are great for the environment. Since no electricity is used with these pumps, they are also incredibly safe to use. The caveat with solar pumps is that they are best utilized in areas that are consistently warm and sunny. 

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