Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Attention garden lovers! In the following, you will learn everything about garden pumps, which model is right for you, how you can best save money with it and which quality features you should look out for. In particular, you should take a closer look at the flow rate, the suction height and the immersion depth.

In our large garden pump test 2021 we present various models that basically differ in price and quality. You can choose between suction and submersible pumps. This way you can find the right pump for your garden and with the help of the garden pump you can not only make your oasis of well-being shine, but also yourself.




The most important facts

  • Garden pumps are basically divided into two categories: suction pumps and submersible pumps. There are several subgroups for both variants.
  • Suction pumps stand outside the water source and suck in the water using a suction hose. In contrast, submersible pumps are immersed directly in the water source.
  • Each pump variant is suitable for certain uses. There is no one type of pump that is ideal for all applications.

The best garden pump: Our picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a garden pump

A garden pump can be a sensible, but also relatively expensive investment in your garden.

So before you decide on a particular garden pump, we have summarised the most important questions and their answers in this section.

How does a garden pump work?

Modern garden pumps do not work mechanically, but mainly hydraulically. A relatively small impeller creates a strong flow through nozzles so that water is moved.

Above all, a garden pump must suit you and your living situation. (Image source: 123rf.com / roblan)

The impeller is driven by the pump motor. The pump chamber is coupled to this impeller via a system of nozzles. The vacuum created in this way sucks in the water.

The water is pressed through the nozzles via a suction nozzle through a pre-filter. From there it reaches the impeller and leaves the pump under pressure through the discharge nozzle. This flow allows the water to be sucked in over a height difference.

What does a garden pump cost?

Garden pumps come in all price ranges, with the initial cost varying according to type and model.

Prices start at around 30 euros and can also be around 1,200 euros for a high-performance deep well pump.

Type price
Jet pump approx. 50 to 300 euros
Domestic water pump
Domestic water pump
approx. 100 to 800 euros
Clear water pump
Wastewater pump
approx. 30 to 200 euros
Submersible pressure pump approx. 100 to 400 euros
Deep well pump approx. 200 to 1200 euros
Rain barrel pump approx. 50 to 200 euros

Since the cheaper garden pumps are in most cases cheap no-name products, buying them is not advisable. Not only because spare parts are not available, but also because of the plastic parts inside, which can easily be damaged.

In a large price study, we examined a total of 150 products from the garden pump category to give you an overview. You can see the results here in our graph. Find out in our guide whether a product in the higher or lower price range is suitable for you.(Source: Own representation)

Can I connect a garden pump myself?

Basically, it is no problem at all to start up a garden pump on your own. The manufacturer's installation instructions are helpful and should always be read carefully.

What do I do with my garden pump in winter?

Suction pumps and submersible pumps must be winterised by the first frost in the ground at the latest. The pump itself is simply dismantled and stored in a frost-proof place.

Water pumps have a drain plug for draining the water. Simply unscrew it and let the water run out. In the case of suction pumps, it is also important to ensure that the suction line is drained of residual water to prevent possible bursting.

Can I save water costs with the garden pump?

Yes, you can actually save on water costs, and not too little. Depending on the region in Germany, the cost of 1 m³ of tap water is about 2 euros. However, for every cubic metre of tap water you replace with well water, your electricity costs will increase by about 30 cents.

The result: Replacing 100 m³ of tap water with well water results in savings of about 125 to 170 euros.

You will probably not be able to exchange 100 m³ with pump variants that are not suitable for irrigation or for operating lawn sprinklers. These pumps are more for convenience or a specific purpose, such as pumping out water.

Depending on the region and the electricity consumption of the water pump, you can save about 1.25 to 1.75 euros per cubic metre by replacing tap water with groundwater.

Decision: What types of garden pumps are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, garden pumps are divided into two main groups:

  • Suction pump
  • Submersible pump

Both variants usually belong to the category of centrifugal pumps. These are fluid flow machines that use centrifugal force to pump liquids.

In the following section, we would like to help you find out which type of water pump is best suited for you.

How does a suction pump work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The suction pump draws water from a source using a suction hose. The pump itself is not in the water. A distinction is made between self-priming and non-self-priming.

A suction pump is often somewhat noisier.

In the case of a non-self-priming variant, the suction line and pump chamber must be completely filled with water manually before start-up. Due to the suction process, an increased noise level is to be expected with this group.

A non-return valve is required on the suction side of the garden hose to prevent the water from flowing back after the pump is switched off.

Depending on the design, this type of pump can transport water over a height difference of up to eight metres. However, the greater the difference in height between the pump and the source, the less water is pumped.

The following garden pumps belong to the group of suction pumps:

  • Jet pump
  • Domestic waterworks (pump with boiler)
  • Domestic water pump

Jet pump

A jet pump is usually equated with the term garden pump.

The jet pump is characterised above all by its robust and simple design. Unfortunately, these characteristics also make it seem somewhat bulky. Another advantage is that this suction pump is virtually wear-free, as there are few moving parts inside.

Advantages
  • Short operations possible
  • Low wear
  • Electronic control unit can be retrofitted
Disadvantages
  • No automatic control
  • High noise level
  • Usually bulky

For operation, it only has a manual on/off switch. Due to the high speed, a higher noise level is to be expected.

Typical uses for a jet pump are watering gardens and filling pools or similar.

Domestic waterworks

In a domestic waterworks, the pump is connected to a pressure tank. The device pumps water into the pressure vessel, which is divided into two chambers. One chamber is filled with compressed air, the other with water. Both chambers are separated by a rubber membrane.

When water is withdrawn, this reduces the pressure. As soon as the pressure falls below a certain level, the pump switches on. The setting of the pressure switch must be individually adapted to the respective water network.

With this system, it is possible to replace parts of your domestic water supply with rainwater or groundwater.

Especially the washing machine or the toilet flush are suitable for a domestic waterworks. A positive side effect is that rainwater or groundwater does not contain limescale, which protects pipes and appliances.

Advantages
  • Automatic activation in case of pressure loss
  • Low wear and tear on the pump
  • Complete domestic water supply possible
  • Low power consumption
Disadvantages
  • Spare parts usually expensive
  • Boiler and diaphragm costly to repair
  • Pressure fluctuations

For many small water withdrawals, a domestic waterworks is recommended instead of an automatic domestic water system because the pump does not switch on immediately.

Typical uses for a domestic waterworks are watering gardens, operating irrigation systems, increasing pressure and supplying water to sanitary facilities.

Automatic domestic waterer

An automatic domestic water pump is a garden pump or jet pump with an electronic control unit.

The advantage of this type of pump is that it switches on automatically as soon as water is drawn off. Since the pressure is generated by several paddle wheels, it is always constant and does not fluctuate, unlike with a domestic waterworks.

Advantages
  • Fast and constant pressure
  • No fluctuation in the system
Disadvantages
  • High power consumption
  • Higher noise pollution
  • Pump switches on even with small quantities

A domestic water dispenser is recommended for consistently larger water withdrawals, as the pressure remains constant.

Typical uses for an automatic domestic water pump include operating irrigation systems, filling pools or ponds and operating lawn sprinklers.

How does a submersible pump work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Submersible pumps or submersible pumps are types of pumps that are immersed in the liquid to be pumped. They are able to transport water from deeper regions to the surface.

The following motor pumps belong to the category of submersible pumps:

  • Submersible clear water pump
  • Submersible pump
  • Sewage pump
  • Deep well pump
  • Rain barrel pump

Clear water pump

The clear water pump is usually used to move larger amounts of water, such as in a flooded cellar or similar. Because of its design, it can remove almost all of the water present.

Advantages
  • Only low residual water level
  • Very quiet
  • Low acquisition costs
Disadvantages
  • Low pressure
  • Not suitable for operating irrigation systems
  • Not always suitable for chlorine

A large volume of water can be pumped, but with little pressure.

Pumping out water during floods, pumping out pools or pumping groundwater and rainwater are among the typical uses of the clear water pump.

Caution: Not every clear water submersible pump is suitable for chlorine - this must be explicitly stated by the manufacturer.

Submersible pressure pump

The only difference between the submersible pressure pump and the normal submersible pump is that it works with pressure. This is a great way to pump well water to operate an irrigation system.

Advantages
  • Only low residual water level
  • high pressure
  • operation of irrigation systems possible
Disadvantages
  • More expensive than a normal submersible pump
  • Not always suitable for chlorine

Typical tasks of the submersible pressure pump are pumping groundwater, operating lawn sprinklers and pumping out pools or ponds.

https://www.gartenspring.de/teichsauger-test/

Submersible sewage pump

The submersible wastewater pump is used - as the name suggests - when polluted water needs to be disposed of. With its larger opening at the bottom, it can easily suck up coarse dirt particles.

Because of the raised intake opening, it is not possible to have a virtually residue-free suction. Depending on the model, a water level of approx. 2 cm remains.

Advantages
  • Dirty water can be conveyed
  • Up to 40 mm grain size is conveyed
  • Very high conveying capacity
Disadvantages
  • Approx. 2 cm of residual water remains

The typical uses of this type of pump are pumping out excavation pits and pumping heavily contaminated water. The submersible sewage pump is also very often used in flooded areas.

Deep well pump

Deep well pumps are special submersible pumps that are used to pump clear water from an immersion depth of about eight metres. Even under high pressure, this pump can still work perfectly. Especially because of its very narrow shape, it also fits into very narrow boreholes.

Advantages
  • Small diameter of the pump
  • Also for narrow well bores
  • Suitable for deep wells
Disadvantages
  • Expensive to buy
  • Lower delivery rate than normal clear water pump

The deep well pump is mainly used for pumping rainwater and groundwater at high water immersion depths. It is also used to operate lawn sprinklers.

Rain barrel pump

The rain barrel pump is a clear water pump specially designed for use in rain barrels.

The pipe attached to the pump protrudes from the rain barrel at a comfortable height. This eliminates the need to bend down to fill a watering can and also makes it easier to connect to the irrigation system.

Advantages
  • Inexpensive purchase
  • Easy on the back
  • Direct filling of the watering can possible through the riser pipe
  • Garden watering
  • No well drilling necessary
Disadvantages
  • No rain = no water

The rain barrel pump is used to supply water from the rain barrel, to operate lawn sprinklers and to fill watering cans in a way that is easy on the back.

Purchase criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate garden pumps

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate garden pumps. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular device is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Pump type
  • Pressure & volume
  • Delivery rate & rated power
  • Suction head & delivery head
  • Immersion depth
  • Integrated features and fuses
  • Comfort & spare parts

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Type of pump

We have already gone into detail above about the types of pumps - i.e. jet pump, domestic waterworks, automatic domestic water pump, clear water pump, submersible pressure pump, waste water pump, deep well pump and rain barrel pump. Nevertheless, we would like to point out here that the type of pump is the most important criterion when buying a garden pump.

First of all, ask yourself what you want your water pump to be used for. For extensive garden irrigation, automatic domestic water pumps, domestic waterworks, irrigation computers and jet pumps are the better choice.

For fast and almost residue-free pumping out of a pool or flooded cellar, the clear water or submersible pressure pump is suitable for you.

spezielle-wasserpumpe

Depending on your needs, there are different water and garden pumps with specific advantages and disadvantages. (Image source: pixabay.com / pashminu)

All the uses of the individual water pumps have already been listed in detail above. Remember: You will not be satisfied with the best and most expensive pump if it is not suitable for your purposes.

Pressure & Volume

If you want to operate your irrigation system with a garden pump, this value is important. If you only want to pump water with a submersible or waste water pump, the pressure is not particularly important.

Surface sprinklers or water sprinklers require approx. 2 to 3 bar pressure and 500 to 700 litres of water per hour. If the manufacturer's recommended pressure is not present, the stated range will be reduced. If the pressure is higher than recommended, the range of the sprinklers will increase but also the amount of water needed per hour.

https://www.gartenspring.de/rasensprenger-test/

However, too high a pressure can be harmful to the mechanics of the sprinklers or similar. In such a case, connect another water distributor to prevent damage.

Another important point to consider when buying a garden pump is the noise it makes during operation. However, you must ultimately decide for yourself how important a quiet pump is to you.

For example, if you use your garden pump close to the house or in an environment with many neighbours, a relatively loud operating noise from your pump can quickly become an annoying factor.

With submersible pumps, the noise level is a criterion that can be neglected because this type of pump is located in the water source and is therefore not audible.

Delivery rate or pumping capacity & rated power

The maximum flow rate or pumping capacity is the amount of water that the water pump can move in an hour in the optimum case. The higher the suction and delivery head, the lower the delivery rate.

A small example:

You want to connect two quarter-circle sprinklers to your garden pump. For this you need approx. 1,400 litres of water per hour. The water pump you are looking at can handle a maximum of 3,000 litres. With a low delivery head, this works perfectly.

If the delivery head is 30 metres, however, this pump would only manage 1,000 litres per hour - too little to optimally operate the two sprinklers in our example.

With garden pumps from brand manufacturers, a ratio diagram is available for each device, which shows you how much water is conveyed for your requirements.

As with many other products, more power in a garden pump does not necessarily mean a better pump. More power does not necessarily mean more pressure and flow rate. This value alone does not say much.

The less power the garden pump requires for its maximum flow rate and pressure, the more energy-efficient it is operated. The relationship between power, pressure and flow rate is the decisive factor here.

Suction head & delivery head

This refers to the maximum height difference that can be overcome between the water surface and the pump's impeller.

The most common suction head is 8 metres.

For the various types of suction pumps, the maximum limit is about eight metres. If the maximum value of the pump is exceeded, it can no longer draw in water. Since submersible pumps stand in the water and do not suck in water over a longer distance, this criterion is not relevant for them.

For jet pumps, domestic waterworks and automatic domestic waterworks, a distinction is made here between self-priming and non-self-priming. In the case of non-self-priming variants, the suction hose and pump motor must be completely filled with water before start-up, otherwise they cannot attract water.

With the self-priming versions, the water is only filled into the pump core and the water pump takes care of the suction.

However, the term delivery head is understood to mean the entire distance that the water can be pumped by the garden pump from the water source to the extraction point.

The suction head mentioned above is part of the delivery head. There are many calculators on the Internet for calculating the delivery head. Since several factors play into this calculation, you should use such a calculator. In the following video you can see an example of the calculation of the delivery head and flow rate of a submersible pump.

If you know your delivery head, look at the ratio diagram for the garden pump. In this way you can find out how many litres per hour this water pump can deliver for your requirements.

Immersion depth

In the submersible pump family, this feature may be of interest to you. Since suction pumps are not immersed in water, the immersion depth is not a purchase criterion for this group.

The deeper the water source, the more pressure acts on the submersible pump. If the pressure is too high for the submersible pump, it will no longer work properly.

The general rule here is: The higher the value, the better. However, this value should not be oversized.

Integrated features and fuses

When buying a garden pump, be sure to check which additional features and safety devices it has. Some accessories have to be purchased separately and some features are only integrated.

Below we describe the most important factors that can be integrated into a garden pump and whether they can be retrofitted.

Dry-running protection

The dry-running protection is one of the most important features that a water pump can have.

The integrated dry-running protection prevents the pump from being damaged if the pumped medium runs out. The pump then switches off automatically.

If there is no fuse here and the garden pump no longer receives water, you risk motor damage.

A dry-running protection device cannot be purchased as an accessory, but must be integrated when the garden pump is purchased.

Thermal protection switch

An overload / overheating protection is also recommended. The garden pump is, after all, an electrical device that, together with water, can pose a major safety risk.

Equipped with an overload protection, the pump automatically switches off before an overload occurs.

A thermal circuit breaker cannot be purchased as an accessory at a later date either.

Filter

A filter prevents small pebbles and dirt from penetrating the impeller of the water pump and damaging it.

A filter in combination with a non-return valve is available as an accessory and is attached to the front part of the suction hose. Cost: approx. 30 to 40 euros.

Comfort & spare parts

A low weight and a carrying handle attached to the garden pump are an advantage for mobile use.

Bulky and unwieldy devices can quickly test your patience when frequently transporting the water pump. These two features can also make your work easier when winterising.

However, it is up to you to decide how important this point is for you. This criterion has no influence on the function of the water pump.

Spare parts may not always be the first thing you think of when buying a garden pump. However, you should never neglect this point. Water pumps are exposed to frequent loads and it is inevitable that parts will be damaged.

Brand manufacturers such as Gardena or Metabo still offer all spare parts for purchase many years later. The situation is different with cheap devices from no-name manufacturers. Here you will have to buy a new one.

Image source: Pixabay.com / Didgeman

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