How To Choose The Best Water Pump For Your Hydroponic System

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Water pumps are an important part of a hydroponic garden. It’s important to choose a pump that meets the requirements of what your hydroponic system will need.

Here is how to choose the best water pump for your hobby hydroponic garden.

What You Need To Know Before Choosing A Water Pump For Your Hydroponic Garden

There is not any particular feature that makes a water pump work for hydroponics. The same water pumps used in aquariums and fountains are the ones that are used for hobby hydroponics. You’re able to purchase them online or at any of your home improvement box stores.

There are some things to consider when choosing a water pump for your hobby hydroponics system.

Submersible Or Inline Water Pump?

The 2 most common types of pumps you will use with hydroponic are submersible and inline pumps.

Inline water pumps sit outside of the water. These are typically more powerful and reserved for large-scale systems.

Submersible water pumps are submerged in the water, These are the most popular water pumps in hobby hydroponics. These pumps work great for small-scale systems used in hobby hydroponics.

Hydroponic water pump

How High Do You Need To Pump The Water?

The vertical height that the water needs pumped is probably the most important thing to consider when looking to purchase a  water pump for your hydroponic garden. This is especially true when choosing a pump for a vertical hydroponic system.

How far a water pump can push the water up vertically is called head hight. The height is determined by measuring the top of the water level in the reservoir to the tallest point vertically the water will need to be pumped.

How to determine hydroponic water pump head height.

Keep in mind your head height may change as your system runs. This is especially true with systems like the ebb and flow. As the water is pumped into the grow bed, it increases the distance between the top of the water to the point it’s being pumped to.

It’s important to have a water pump that has enough power to compensate for water level changes. It’s best to purchase a water pump with a little more lift than needed, as there is usually a way to dial the pump back some but you can’t increase the lift.

How Many Gallons Per Hour?

The gallons per hour (GPH) of a pump will help you determine how long it takes to filter all the nutrient solution in the reservoir through your hydroponic system.

For example, if you have a 40-gallon reservoir full of nutrient solution and a water pump pumping of 80 GPH it will run all the solution in the reservoir through the pump twice.


It’s always better to air on the side of caution and purchase a water pump that exceeds your requirements. You can’t really improve a lacking water pump but most pumps have a way to decrease the water flow and if not, you can always add a valve.

It’s important to purchase a quality water pump for your hydroponic system. A failed water pump can mean the death of your hydroponic garden.

One answer

  1. Chas A. Stack
    March 1, 2020 at 2:08 am

    after some serious thinking and review reading I’m now leaning towards wave makers . My 19 qt tub is still in the mail but I want to hit the ground running when it gets here . today I saw in real life my 1st power pump and it was teeny tiny and hardly moved sink water whereas some reviews are saying wavemakers are uprooting large aquarium plants thanks . I joined your FB group lots of good ideas .

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