Different Types of Pond Pumps

There are several different type of pumps available for your pond.  The most common ones that you've probably heard of are:  Magnetic drive pumps, Direct drive pumps, Hybrid pumps and External pumps.  If you are in the market for a pump, it's very important to understand the differences between these pumps as their applications vary quite a bit.  So, let's cover the basics of these particular pumps.  Hopefully, this will clear up any questions you might have.

Magnetic Drive Pumps

Mag drive pumps, as they are commonly referred, offer more electrical efficiency but are not as powerful.  These sealless pumps transmit torque by magnetizing the impeller.  They find great application in waterfall and streams that meet their low and medium head requirements.  If you are unsure of your pond's total head height, check out our interactive calculator.

Some characteristics of true magnetic drive pumps:

  • Contains an actual magnet at the core of its impeller assembly
  • The motor is encased in resin, making the impeller assembly the only moving part
  • Impeller is synchronous, meaning it can spin either direction.  Impeller may have straight or hinged paddles to accomodate this feature
  • Lower power consumption and purchase price
  • Generally available from 40 GPH to about 3000 GPH flows
  • Commonly used for aquariums, fountains and smaller ponds where low head height is needed

These pumps generally offer a longer life if left running 24/7 versus ones that are frequently turned off and on. The torque placed upon the shaft at startup creates added stress in the brittle ceramic shaft, potentially causing premature failure of that shaft.

    Direct Drive Pumps

    Direct drive pumps have been the workhorse of the pond industry for many years.  They are more powerful, typically offering more maximum head height than mag drive pumps but also use more electricity as well.  They are used quite commonly in larger waterfalls and streams.

    Some characteristics of direct drive pumps:

    • The pump impeller is attached directly to the motor with a drive shaft
    • They contain inner seals that keep water from entering the motor via the drive shaft
    • The pump allows for passage of larger solid objects
    • Pump impeller has curved vanes allowing for maximum flow and power

    Hybrid Pumps

    These new generation pumps offer great performance and high efficiency.  They boast that they are low maintenance and extremely quiet.  To date, there are few companies manufacturing these pumps.  

    Some characteristics of hybrid pumps:

    • Impeller assembly rotor is not a magnet, but only uses a magnetic field when the power is turned on
    • Incorporates a large curved vane impeller mounted on a rotor
    • Lower energy consumption
    • Aynchronous impeller, which means the impeller only spins in one direction like found in a direct drive

    External Pumps

    These pumps are installed outside the pond and are used on larger-sized ponds.  Many of these pumps use priming pots on the intake to assure that the pump stays primed.