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How to Choose a Water Feature Pump?

If you're not familiar with pumps for water features, we recommend you firstly read our guide on how a water feature pump works.

Choosing a Water Feature Pump: What To Look For

To choose a water feature pump for your fountain we take the specifications of the original pump supplied and find a similar pump of another brand with similar specifications.

The 3 things to look for are: 

Pump outlet size

Will the water feature's existing tube fit into the new pump? You will need to measure your tube size.

Flow rate

Take note that two pumps can have the same stated “flow rate”. However at a distance of 1m as the flow rate weakens, one pump can have double the flow rate of the other. So you’ll need to know the flow rate of your old pump at the distance from reservoir to spout and compare that with the pump new in question. The flow rate of the new pump can be greater if it has a flow adjuster to adjust it down.

Max Head

You can use the max head as a guide of the strength of the pump.


Carmen fountain example about water pump's flow distance

Let's use the Carmen water feature as our example. It's supplied with a pump that has the following specifications:

  • Max Head:1.2m
  • Flow Rate: 650L/H
  • Dimensions: 8.1cm x 6.3cm x 5.1cm

We wish to replace the original pump supplied with the Carmen fountain with a Reefe pump. By looking at any Reefe pump at the bottom we see a table of the specs:

We see the RP610 and RP900 both are suitable. If you want to be sure the pump is powerful enough go 1 level above while ensuring the pump is flow adjustable so you can minimise the flow rate if needed.

It's important to take note of the flow rate at the flow distance. First, estimate the flow distance using the dimensions of the water feature. The Carmen is 60cm and the flow distance is approximately 90% of that, which is 54cm. The flow rate of the replacement Reefe pump at around that flow distance is highlighted in the above table at height ~50cm.

If you know the flow rate of the flow distance for the original pump you can obtain a more accurate comparison and measure. Most of the time a rough estimate using flow rate and max head is sufficient.

Why not get the most powerful pump possible? 3 reasons:

  • It may not have a flow adjuster to minimise the flow rate as required.
  • The minimum flow rate may exceed the flow rate required.
  • It may be unnecessarily too powerful and therefore unnecessarily expensive.

Dimensions of fountain pump

The dimensions of the pump is important if the pump housing has limited room. Some water features may have only a small cavity to put the pump, rather than a pump housing or a large bowl. However in our example the pump sits within the entire reservoir so there's ample room and therefore the size of the pump is not as important.

How to Choose a Solar Water Feature Pump For My Electric Powered Fountain?

The same process above for electric pumps is used. The 3 things to look for are: outlet size, flow rate and max head.

For the more powerful electric pumps with a very high flow rate they require more power. This means the equivalent solar pump would need a much larger solar panel and this is factored into the cost. It is for this reason the higher end of the flow rate of solar pumps tend to be much lower than that for electric pumps.

Next article How Does A Water Feature Pump Work?