6 Best Hydroponic Pumps (And how to pick one that fits your needs!)

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A water pump is essential to integrate your plants’ container with a nutrient reservoir in a good working hydroponics system. Choosing a suitable hydroponic pump is critical to the success of your entire hydroponics system.

Because water pumps are a vital part of a hydroponic garden, choosing a pump that meets what your hydroponic system will need is essential. I compiled the best hydroponics pump and the best ways to choose hydroponics pumps that meet your needs to save you time and energy. Below are my tops picks for the best hydroponic pump:

  1. VIVOSUN 317-1750GPH Commercial Air Pump.
  2. Active Aqua by Hydro Farm.
  3. AAPW250 Dynamic Aqua.
  4. AAPW1000 Active Aqua by Hydro Farm.
  5. Hydrofarm’s AAPA7.8L Air Pump.
  6. Hydrofarm’s AAPA15L Air Pump.

Before discussing the best hydroponic pump, let’s explore how to choose a hydroponics pump. You might also enjoy reading: A Complete Guide Of The Top 6 Different Types of Hydroponics Systems (Including their Pros and Cons).

6 Best Hydroponic Pump (And how to pick one that fits your needs)
6 Best Hydroponic Pump (And how to pick one that fits your needs) – plantsheaven.com

How Do You Choose a Hydroponic Water Pump?

Answering 3 questions will help you choose a hydroponic water pump that fits your needs.

  • Choosing between a submersible or inline water pump 
  • How much water would you need to pump? 
  • How many gallons (liters) per hour does your system require?

Let’s discuss these 3 questions in detail.

1- Choosing Between A Submersible Or Inline Water Pump 

Generally, there are two main categories of pumps to choose from: inline and submersible pumps. They are the most commonly used type of pump in a hydroponic system.

  • Inline water pumps are usually more powerful and are only used in large-scale systems. They also sit outside of the water.
    • Inline water pumps are usually noisier than submersible models and are cooled by the air.
    • Generally, they will be ranked by HP (Horse Power) and not by the GPH (Gallons Per Hour) of water.
    • And they are movable.
  • Submersible pumps are the most common in amateur hydroponics since they sit inside your reservoir and are immersed in the water. These pumps are ideal for amateur hydroponics systems on a small scale.
    • Submersible pumps are generally silent because the water acts as noise insulation.
    • Even though the water helps cool them, the heat can pass through without proper care and might warm your nutrient mixture. Regularly check if the heat doesn’t seep into your hydroponics contents
    • While submersible pumps lack the power of inline pumps, most home gardeners can use submersible pumps, as the GPH is more than adequate in most cases.

See also: Pros and Cons Of Ebb and Flow System (And why you should choose this system)

2- How Much Water Would You Need To Pump? 

When shopping for a pump for your hydroponic system, the vertical height to which the water needs to be pumped is perhaps the most crucial factor to consider. This is particularly true when selecting a motor for a hydroponic vertical system.

Head height refers to how high a water pump can push the water vertically. You can calculate the height by measuring the top of the reservoir’s water level to the highest point vertically where you want the water to be pushed. 

Keep in mind that while your system operates, your head position may change, particularly if you are using an ebb and flow system (learn more about the Ebb and Flow Hydroponic system). The gap between both the top of the water and the location it’s being driven to grows as the water is pumped into the grow bed.

It is essential that you choose a water pump with enough power to compensate for changes in water levels. It’s preferable to get a water pump that has a bit more lift than you need because you can generally turn the pump off but not up the lift.

See also: Pros and Cons Of Drip System Hydroponics (And how to avoid them).

3- How Many Gallons (Liters) Per Hour Are You Able To Produce? 

The gallons an hour (GPH) of a motor will tell you how much time is required for your hydroponic garden to filter the entire nutrient in the reservoir.

For example, if you have a 30-gallon tank full of nutrient solution and a 60 GPH water pump, the liquid in the storage will be circulated twice through into the pump.

When choosing a hydroponic pump, investing in a water pump that exceeds your requirements is always better. Most hydroponic pumps offer the option to decrease the water flow or even add a valve, but improving a weak water pump will be challenging.

See also: Advantages and Disadvantages Of Deep Water Culture.

How Much GPH Do You Need For Hydroponics?

GPH stands for Gallons Per Hour, and every pump will have the maximum gph displayed on the package. If the pump shows a range of 300 to 500 gph, it generally means that it has two different-size adapters. 

The smaller level will provide the smaller max gph, while the larger adapter will give you the higher max gph.

The higher up the pump needs to pump the water, the lower the gph it puts out will be. It is called “Head Height.” Various pumps come with a chart that lists the max gph at different heights.

Remember that GPH is per hour, not per minute. To determine the gallons per minute, divide the gallons per hour by 60

This is essential, mainly if you are investing in a pump for a flood and drain system because you don’t want your pump to take an hour to flood your system. 

In this case, it is better if your pump can flood in just a few minutes. For instance:

  • If you need 50 gallons of water to flood the system and want it to flood within 10 minutes fully.
  • It means 1/6th of an hour (50×6=300). 
  • It is the equivalent of 5 gallons per minute or 300 gallons per hour minimum.

See also: Top 20 Pros and Cons Of Nutrient Film Technique (Everything you must know).

Summary of how much water you can pump depending on the type of hydroponics system you set up.

The table below shows the different systems and how much water you can pump depending on the type of hydroponics system you set up.

Type of Hydroponics System Recommended Flow Rate (GPH)Total GPH
Dutch Buckets (Bato Buckets)2 Gallons Per Hour (GPH) per bucketNumber of Bucks multiplied by Flow Rate (GPH)
Deep Water Culture (DWC)Reservoir volume in Gallons Per Hour (GPH)Total volume multiplied by Flow Rate (GPH)
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Between 4 to 6 Gallons Per Hour (GPH) per troughNumber of Troughs multiplied by Flow Rate (GPH)
ZipGrow Towers2 Gallons Per Hour (GPH) per towerNumber of towers multiplied by the Flow Rate (GPH)
Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain) Beds volume in gallons multiplied by 1 to 3 times the Gallons Per Hour (GPH)Number of beds multiplied by Flow Rate (GPH)
Table Containing The Recommended Flow Rate (GPH) Depending On The Type of Hydroponics System – plantsheaven.com

5 Best Hydroponic Pump Systems 

Here are recommendations of the 5 best hydroponic pump systems to check out.

1- VIVOSUN 317-1750GPH Commercial Air Pump 20W-102W, 18L-110L/min.

If you are looking powerful, high-quality, and cheap pump for commercial use, the VIVOSUN pump will do the work. In addition, it pumps sufficient air to deal with any hydroponics system settings.

It is made of a 100% copper outlet nozzle and a premium manifold, and it delivers excellent long-lasting performance. VIVOSUN pumps disperse heat more effectively with aluminum alloy heat-radiating plates.

2- Active Aqua by Hydro farm

Active Aqua by Hydrofarm is a definite step above the competition and one of the most respected brands in hydroponic gardening. Pumps range in size from 40 to 1110 GPH in the lineup.

Pumps with a capacity of 250 GPH and above come with connections that allow them to be used as submerged or inline pumps.

All Dynamic Aqua pumps may be disassembled for cleaning, and new filters are available. Try it with ultra-low-cost competitors.

3- AAPW250 Dynamic Aqua 

This pump, which is a definite upgrade from the AAPW160, comes with extra connections that can be used to convert it into an inline compressor that sits outside of the nutrient reservoir. The pump is simple to disassemble for washing, and there are numerous replacement components available.

When it comes to components, the AAPW250 Dynamic Aqua has a ceramic shaft that may be used in saltwater. Because nutrient solutions are created with nutrient salts, this feature is suitable for hydroponics.

The lower draw pump adaptor is another benefit of the Active Aqua range (sold separately). This adapter converts your air pump into a sump that can drain a reservoir completely.

4- AAPW1000 Active Aqua by Hydro farm

If you need to pump a large volume of water or make it to the top on hoisting installations, the AAPW1000 Active Aqua will meet your needs. This pump has a max head height of nearly 12 feet, but even at 9 feet, it can push out about 400 gallons per hour.

It has all of the same characteristics as its smaller 250GPH sibling. The drain pump fitting is one significant change. This pump will swiftly drain reservoirs, small ponds, and pools.

Small and Medium Hydroponic Systems Require The Best Aerators Pumps

Plants in a hydroponic system obtain the majority of their oxygen from the oxygen in the water in the fertilizer solution. Your plants require oxygen regardless of the system you use. There are several techniques to oxygenate the water within your hydroponic system.

A drain pipe from the grow chamber delivers nutrients to the reservoir in recirculating systems. Drain lines put above the tank will dump water back into the water, oxygenating it to variable degrees.

Aerators are far more effective in oxygenating your system’s water. An impeller is an electric motor with a baffle that uses tiny tubes and a bubble stone similar to those seen in aquariums to force air into the reservoir.

Here we have also enlisted the best hydroponic pump that works as an aerator.

5- Hydrofarm’s  AAPA7.8L Air Pump

There’s no avoiding the fact that aerators vibrate. Some of them are quite loud. The Hydrofarm’s  AAPA7.8L Air Pump is as silent as several modest single-port aerators I’ve used previously. It does not quite whisper quietly, but it’s still rather quiet.

You could find it irritating if you intend on operating it in your bedroom. Aside from that, noise isn’t a problem.

6- Hydrofarm’s AAPA15L Air Pump 

Hydrofarm’s Active Aqua AAPA15L is an excellent choice for moderate hydroponic systems. This pump, such as the smaller AAPA7.8L, is meant to be gentler for indoor usage and is aimed at hydroponic enthusiasts. It’s still an extremely cost-effective pump with a power consumption of only 6 watts.

This pump can handle up to ten DWC buckets with ease. This pump can also manage nutrient reserves up to 30 gallons. If you’re going to build a deep water culture system with heavy-weight storage containers like the one below, this pump is a wonderful option.

Wrapping Up

The success of your hydroponics garden depends on your choice of water pump, and you must invest in a good quality water pump.

To learn more about Deepwater Culture (DWC), check out this article on the differences between NFT and DWC Hydroponics.


Hello friends, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind Plantsheaven.com. Plants Heaven is a blog that shares information about preparing, creating, and maintaining gardens in and out of your home, regardless of where you live. My goal is to help you learn to love gardening and reap the benefits that come with it. I am still learning; therefore, the information I share on this site may not always be “expert” advice or information. But, I do my VERY best to make sure the information shared on this blog is both accurate and helpful.

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A water pump is essential to integrate your plants’ container with a nutrient reservoir in a good working hydroponics system. Choosing a suitable hydroponic pump is critical to the success of your entire hydroponics system.