What Is a Pond Aerator?
While water will naturally aerate itself, there can be a number of natural and artificial circumstances which impact how oxygenated the water can get. That is where a pond aerator comes into play with the ability to infuse the water with more oxygen by either mixing it into the water or mixing the water altogether. This is accomplished primarily with a pump to move the water and a compressor to move the air.
Who Needs a Pond Aerator?
If you have enough property to support a man-made pond or just happen to have a naturally-occurring one on your property, then you will need to be able to take care of the ecosystem. One of the most important ways to do this is to ensure that your pond’s water is oxygenated enough and reduces the algae buildup. As such, if you have a pond, even small one that is mostly for decoration, then you need a pond aerator to help keep it healthy.
What Makes a Good Pond Aerator?
To figure out what makes a good pond aerator you will first need to consider what type of pond you intend to aerate as the size of the pond as well as where it is located can impact what will be the ideal pond aerator. That said, all pond aerators are better when they can push more air in a shorter amount of time – though how much is necessary will vary from pond to pond and more so if your pond supports fish and other life.
How to Find the Best Pond Aerator
Figuring out which pond aerator is the best pond aerator for you can be a difficult and confusing task. That is why we have put together a list of the 7 best pond aerators, highlighting what each one does best. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the best pond aerator to suit your needs.
Best Pond Aerators 2018
|Airmax KoiAir 2|
for Small Ponds)
|4 ft||4000 Gal|
|AirPro LWA1A||Diffuser||2.3 CFM||50 ft||1 acre||100 ft|
|Aspen Aeration Systems|
for Large Ponds)
|Diffuser||3.2 CFM||50 ft||1 acre|
|Kasco Marine 2400AF||Surface||oxygen: 650GPH||min 15in||1/2 acre||N/A|
|Pond Boss DFTN12003L||Fountain||2000 GPH||min 2.5ft||1/4 acre||N/A|
|OWS AWS0013||Diffuser||3.0 - 4.5 CFM||30 ft||2 - 3 acre||100 ft|
|Airmax PondAir||Diffuser||0.15, 0.30 CFM||2 ft||1000, 2000 Gal||30 ft|
1. Airmax KoiAir 2 – Best Air Pump for Koi Pond
Airmax is definitely a bit uncommon in that this is actually the larger conglomerate corporation of numerous different brands. Generally, the larger umbrella corporation does nothing except manage the brands, but AirMax got its start as a pond aeration company and sees no reason to end its reign just when it has begun to expand into pond and water care in general. That said, this company still prioritizes its original product over the others and can be said to specialize in pond aerators more than the other elements of pond and water maintenance.
One of the most important things to remember about the Airmax KoiAir 2 pond aerator is that it is not truly designed to be used in every setting – though it is by far one of the more impressive pond aerators within its designated niche. Specifically, the Airmax KoiAir 2 pond aerator is meant to be used for smaller ponds which is especially clear considering that it has a maximum depth of 4’.
One of the things to keep in mind when considering pond aerators for smaller ponds is that they are not going to be nearly as powerful as the pond aerators for larger ponds. That said, this does not mean that the aerator is a worse quality as the larger pond aerators are likely to disturb the wildlife and your property with their noise. Still, it is important to ensure that the pond aerator is powerful enough to handle its job, and the Airmax KoiAir 2 pond aerator more meets those standards with an aeration rating of 1.70 CFM – which is ideal for smaller settings.
2. AirPro LWA1A Pond Aerator Kit – Best All-Around Value Pond Aerator
Unlikely some of the other companies on our list, AirPro is a bit distinctive for that fact that is not actually a company at all and is instead simply a brand of a larger corporation. That said, the parent corporation of AirPro, Living Water Aeration, not only specializes in pond maintenance equipment broadly, but they specialize in pond aeration products specifically. That said, Living Water Aeration has only been in existence for about a decade and a half, so you should expect a good but not necessarily great performance making it ideal for our best all-around value pond aerator.
Whenever you are looking for a pond aerator, regardless the brand or the pond, one of the most important things to make sure is that the pond aerator is powerful enough to handle the job. Thankfully, the AirPro LWA1A pond aerator packs quite a punch considering its price point as it can more or else hang with products that are significantly more expensive than itself. This begins primarily with an air compressor that boasts ¼ HP in power and can push 2.3 CFM making it more than capable of handling an acre of pond without issue. On top of that, the pump uses 1.7 amps, so you do not have to worry about whether the different components can keep up with one another – unlike some pond aerators that we saw.
This specific type of diffuser uses a rocking piston system as opposed to a diaphragm system for the best results. On top of that, this pond aerator features a powdered aluminum body that is both incredibly durable as well as naturally resistant to rust and corrosion.
AirPro Pond Aeration Diffuser Installation
3. Aspen Aeration Systems – Best Pond Aeration System
Aspen Aeration Systems is notable as a company for a particular business structure that is not often found in markets with commercial-grade products. Specifically, Aspen Aeration Systems is the only company we reviewed which uses an only online business model. Generally, this is done to keep overhead costs low and pass on those savings to the consumer, but for the Aspen Aeration Systems, this business model allows Aspen Aeration Systems to provide a high-end pond aerator suitable for commercial applications at a price other companies cannot match.
Of course, no pond aerator is going to be awarded the Editor’s Choice best performing pond aerator spot simply because it provides a good value. Instead, the Editor’s Choice goes to the Aspen Aeration Systems pond aerator because it meets or exceeds every competitor’s standard more reliably for less cost. In fact, the only rating that the Aspen Aeration Systems pond aerator does not take the top marks for is CFM and it is still the next best in this regard. On top of that, the Aspen Aeration Systems pond aerator also features the most powerful compressor with a possible maximum ¾ HP.
Like any of the other more impressive pond aerators, the Aspen Aeration Systems pond aerator is designed for a large pond that potentially hosts a varied ecosystem. For one, this ties for the best in terms of pressure durability and lake size with a maximum depth of 50’. While down there, the Aspen Aeration Systems pond aerator will use its 4 dual diffusers which are 9” in diameter to provide 3.2 CFM of oxygenation. This diffuser system uses the rocking piston method as opposed to the diaphragm method to generate better airflow. Finally, the Aspen Aeration Systems pond aerator even comes with a safety pressure valve that automatically engages when needed.
4. Kasco Marine 2400AF – Best Surface Pond Aerator
Kasco is a difficult company to pin down because unlike most of the other companies we reviewed, it is not truly its own company but neither is it truly a brand owned in whole by another company which then expresses will and management over it. Instead, Kasco kind of sits in a nebulous limbo where it manages itself but is still owned by a larger corporation – Living Water Aeration to be exact. This means that Kasco is able to put its 50 years of experience behind water aerators exclusively making this a no-brainer for the best surface pond aerator.
Considering surface pond aerators have a tendency to be smaller than some of the more powerful pond aerators, it is actually a welcome surprise to see the Kasco Marine 2400AF pond aerator able to hang with some of the big boys in couple categories. That said, it is important to remember that a surface pond aerator will not be able to oxygenate the water as well as diffuser pond aerator half as a powerful.
As mentioned prior, the Kasco Marine 2400AF pond aerator is a surface pond aerator which carries with it some implications that must be considered to make sure it is the best fit for your needs. For instance, because surface pond aerators do not oxygenate the water as well as diffuser pond aerators, you should not use this pond aerator for a large pond with a robust ecosystem. Instead, this is better served for a smaller pond with fewer large organisms. While it is not a true fountain, the floating design allows you to position the Kasco Marine 2400AF pond aerator wherever you prefer.
5. Pond Boss DFTN12003L – Best Floating Pond Fountain
Pond Boss is likely the most well-known brand on our list, though that is in a large part due to the fact that they position themselves in areas where they are likely to be seen – like hardware stores, arguably one of the more “internet-proof” markets around. On top of that, Pond Boss is also one of the less expensive brands that we came across, though this definitely shows itself in terms of setting. Specifically, Pon Boss products are generally not intended to be used for larger ponds or those with a diverse and thriving ecosystem. That said, the Pond Boss DFTN12003L pond aerator is by far the best fountain pond aerator we saw.
While the Pond Boss DFTN12003L pond aerator is technically a surface pond aerator, it is actually a bit more specialized and niche than that and is, in fact, a fountain pond aerator. This means that the Pond Boss DFTN12003L pond aerator is best used primarily for decorative purposes with the possibility of maintaining a relatively clean and uninhabited pond. This is because the type of aeration that the Pond Boss DFTN12003L pond aerator uses is the least efficient and not appropriate for larger ecosystems with numerous waste products to clean.
When looking at fountain aerators, you generally must contend with the fact that not only is this inherently a surface pond aerator, but the fountain feature further decreases the oxygenation of the water, you may begin to worry about the Pond Boss DFTN12003L pond aerator’s power. Thankfully, this pond aerator comes in at a surprising ¼ HP for the compressor and 1.5 amps for the pump – the latter of which is comparable to some of the more expensive and powerful pond aerators we reviewed. That said, because it is a fountain pond aerator, the CFM is not given, though the pump is able to push 2000 GPH, so it is not for a lack of trying.
6. Outdoor Water Solutions AWS0013 – Best Windmill Pond Aerator
Though Outdoor Water Solutions definitely fits within the general trend of pond aeration companies in that it has not been around for too terribly long, the company is at least its own entity without tendrils from larger corporations digging in. On top of that, Outdoor Water Solutions specializes exclusively in what they consider “hobby farm” pond maintenance products which means that despite the appearance, these pond aerators are not intended for a true commercial application – though they can definitely provide more than enough aeration for smaller scale fisheries making it the best commercial pond aerator we saw.
PowerBy far the most impressive quality of the Outdoor Water Solutions AWS0013 pond aerator is the fact that it is the most powerful pond aerator that we came across – though judging this aspect is a bit more difficult than with the other products. This is because the Outdoor Water Solutions AWS0013 pond aerator does not use electricity like most other pond aerators and instead relies on the clean energy of wind power. While this does not provide us with amps for the pump or horsepower for the compressor, it does still give us the 4.5 CFM airflow which is by far the best ratio on our list.
Part of what allows the Outdoor Water Solutions AWS0013 pond aerator to provide such a great experience is the fact that it is a diffuser pond aerator – though not like the ones we have already seen.
On top of that, the BalCam technology used further increases the lifespan of the bearings to ensure that the Outdoor Water Solutions AWS0013 pond aerator works as expected for a long time.
How to Install a Windmill Aerator
7. Airmax PondAir4 – Best Price Budget Pond Aerator
Considering that they are one of the largest consumer-grade manufacturers of pond aerators as well as pond maintenance products – depending on the brand within the company – it only makes sense that Airmax would make more than one appearance on our list. That said, since this is a consumer-grade brand, for the most part, you should expect to find some excellent deals within their catalog. Thankfully, the Airmax PondAir4 pond aerator provides just such a deal with the lowest cost that we saw, easily making it the best price budget pond aerator that we reviewed.
It is important to remember that budget-friendly pond aerators are almost without exclusion designed for smaller ponds – especially decorative or garden ponds – as opposed to larger bodies of water which may hold a teeming ecosystem underneath its surface. As such, it is vital that you do not use the Airmax PondAir4 pond aerator out of context or else you will potentially damage the product. That said, this is a solid product that features a compressor and pump combo that only uses 8 W of power which translates to roughly $1 per day.
In fact, this 8 W compressor pump is by far the most energy efficient setup that we have seen – and virtually all pond aerators these days are highly efficient. This means that only will the Airmax PondAir4 pond aerator save you money up front, but it will also help you save money in the long run too with a decreased overhead cost. Beyond using little electricity for power, this is also one of the quietest pond aerators that we reviewed with a decibel level well-below the volume of normal communication, preventing you from having to speak up when outdoors near your pond.
Best Pond Aerators – Buyer’s Guide
This is by far the most structural or design consideration you will have to make and will likely influence which setting a given pond aerator is most suited for over all of the other qualities. Aside from the fact that the type of pond aerator will ultimately have an impact on the aesthetic appeal of your pond, it will also determine whether or not you can host a teeming ecosystem and which species are most appropriate. This is because the type will have a huge impact on the oxygenation effects and ultimately push or pull the CFM by about 20 to 25-percent one way or the other.
This type of pond aerator is best suited for small ponds with very little diversity of life. If you have a garden pond or a koi pond, then a surface pond aerator may actually be your best option. This is because a surface pond aerator is generally far less powerful than the other type and generates significantly less noise. This means that if you have fish or other animals living in your pond, they will not be unduly disturbed by the pond aerator. Still, this type of pond aerator will not be able to handle the serious pond maintenance required to prevent the growth of algae.
This is the best type of pond aerator primarily because it is the most efficient in terms of oxygenation – the primary purpose of a pond aerator in the first place. That said, diffuse pond aerators can come in two different subtypes of their own: rocking piston or diaphragm. Of the 2, the rocking piston is generally a bit better at oxygenating the water, but it is not always enough to justify the increase in price depending on the brand.
That said, this type of pond aerator is also noted for using a larger air compressor that makes a great deal of noise and could potentially disturb sensitive wildlife.
What does a pond aerator do?
While there are a fair number of different spec stats to pore over, the one that trumps them all is CFM, or cubic feet per minute. If 2 competing pond aerators have identical specs, but one has even a modest advantage in the CFM, it would be worth paying more than you might first think to opt for the pricier model. In fact, if a more powerful pond aerator puts out few CFM than one with a smaller pump and compressor, you should likely still go with the smaller one – though it is liable to give out quicker. Still, this is not a consideration you pinch pennies with as it will ultimately determine the health of the lake. If you do not purchase a sufficiently efficient pond aerator, then there is no point in the first place as half-measures simply will not do.
As we can see, the sheer number of circumstances will ultimately prevent any single product from being the best pond aerator for all people. Still, you can easily identify which are the best for the primary situations – which in this case is generally based on size more than anything else. Though, it is entirely possible you may need a different pond aerator than our recommendations if you have uncommon circumstances.
Regardless, for those who are looking to aerate more than a decorative pond, we recommend the Aspen Aeration Systems pond aerator. While it does not put out the absolute most CFM, it is still the second best and not far off the top spot. On top of that, this pond aerator features a customary designed that can be adapted for virtually any setting other than shallow ponds.
Of course, if you happen to have a shallow pond, then you are going to want to go with the Airmax KoiAir2. While it may only feature a maximum depth of 4’, this pond aerator is still plenty powerful enough for its intended setting and is actually one of the smallest diffuser pond aerators that we saw. On top of that, this is likely the least obtrusive pond aerator that we encountered producing very little noise and using an energy-efficient design.