After careful research, we determined that the best solar powered fountain pump is the ROADTEC Solar Fountain Pump. Its versatility and affordability make it the ideal choice for decorative and practical uses. The separate PV panel lets you place it where it can get the most sunlight. That can ensure continual operation. It is an excellent solution to one of the typical problems using these types of devices.
Related Article: How Do Solar Panels Work
What to Look for in the Best Solar Birdbath Fountain
If you’re creating a wildlife-friendly yard, then, a solar water pump is a must-have. It keeps the water fresh for birds. It also adds to the aesthetic value of having one. Size, of course, is the essential consideration. The height also matters. It can’t be too small or it won’t work if your birdbath is deeper. Likewise, if it is shallow, you risk burning out the motor.
Some units adhere to the bottom. Others will float on the surface. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Most products do not have a battery backup. They work only when the sun is shining. That makes sense. After all, birds will visit the birdbath only when it’s light.
But, you can get the best solar powered fountain pump for other purposes too.
Other Practical Uses for the Best Solar Water Pump
Fountains are the obvious choice. Flowing water adds just the right touch to a decorative font. It also helps keep the water and the structure clean. It prevents algae which can detract from its beauty. You can use them in a water feature or pond to give them a natural feel like walking in a rainforest. The calming effect is priceless.
Pros and Cons of Installing a Solar Fountain Kit
Like most products, there are some good and bad points about setting up a solar power water pump as part of your landscaping. It’s essential to know what they are upfront so that you can make any necessary modifications. Some apply specifically to this use and others are issues that you may have with any solar-powered device.
Pros of a Solar Pump
The advantages of installing this item related to their uses. They can aerate water in a closed water system or in a cove along the shoreline. That creates a healthier environment for fish and other aquatic wildlife and plants. It also makes it safer for birds who drink from a birdbath. It can also help prevent mosquito larvae from hatching because standing water is no longer stagnant.
The other positive points rest with aesthetics. The flowing water looks attractive. It also creates a calming ambient sound that can make your backyard more peaceful. And isn’t that part of the reason you’ve invested time and effort in your landscaping? With solar as an energy source, you won’t have to deal with unsightly cords that could pose a tripping hazard.
But, of course, there’s another side to the story.
Cons of a Solar Pump
The downsides of using this device often lie with solar power in general. The correct installation as per the manufacturer’s recommendations is imperative. That means setting it up someplace where the solar panels will receive enough direct sunlight. Otherwise, they won’t work. Also, products with batteries won’t recharge fully. If your pond is in a shady location, it won’t work as expected.
Of course, some things are out of your control. Cloudy days will interfere with the solar pump’s operation. And some regions aren’t suitable simply because their solar energy potential is low. The Pacific Northwest and Upper Midwest are prime examples. Places that recent a lot of precipitation or lie in northern latitudes may not get enough hours of direct sunlight.
Features and Specs of the Best Solar Powered Fountain Pump
A glance at the specifications of the product will give you the information you need to make an informed choice. Several specific ones can give you a clue about how it will work in your setup. Things you should pay attention to include:
Construction of the Best Solar Pond Pump
The best solar powered fountain kit is well-made to handle the elements and changing water conditions. Cheaper units are typically made of plastic. They’ll have rubber suction cups on the bottom. The more powerful the unit, the more robust the design. They will also have a separate polycrystalline solar panel to capture more direct sunlight.
There is a tradeoff. This material is cheaper than newer ones which help keep the price in check. However, they have a shorter lifespan and are less efficient. The blue color is the telltale sign. That can make the solar panels more obtrusive and an eyesore in your landscaping. But, the downside is that you can’t obstruct the direct sunlight getting to it. Otherwise, the pump will only work intermittently.
Related Article: Best Solar Path Lights
We’ll say from the get-go that many solar pumps for ponds are not as powerful as electric ones. It’s the nature of the beast. However, that’s only a problem if you’re trying to aerate a large pond. If yours is smaller or you want to use it in a birdbath, you’ll find lots of products to fit the bill. Our advice is to note this spec and what it means for volume.
Flow Measurements of the Best Solar Fountain Pump
The head height describes how high the pump will push the water. The maximum head is its top reach. You also have to take into account the horizontal distance too. The lift equals that measurement plus another foot per 10 feet. For example, if it is 12 inches from the pump to its top, then, you’d need a lift of at least 24 inches.
How high the water can reach is the proverbial double-edged sword. If the space overhead is short, you’ll find that a solar powered pump will get the jump done since it’s likely not over-powered. Likewise, if the spray will end up in an overhanging branch, it may detract from its aesthetic value.
The volume that the solar water pump pond must serve is the dealbreaker. You’ll see this figure expressed as gallons per hour (GPH). To get the right size, you’ll have to calculate the volume of the pond in gallons. Simply multiply the average depth by the length by width by 7.5. For example, if it’s 5 feet by 5 feet and 2 feet deep, the figure is 375 (5 x 5 x 2 x 7.5).
Ideally, the one you get will move the entire volume at least once an hour. If your feature has a filter, you can go to once every 2 hours. But, don’t skimp on the size. After all, you want to get the full benefit of getting the solar water pump pond in the first place.
Ease of Installation of the Best Solar Pump for Fountain
Setting up a pond pump is simple. Most smaller units have suction cups that you adhere to the bottom of the vessel. With ponds, it’s best to start with just a little water to flatten out the liner. Then, place the pump inside and continue filling it up to the desired level. You’ll see products that include a separate solar panel. You can put those nearby, taking care to cover the cord.
Customer Satisfaction and the Solar Pond Aerator Review
This feature concerns the other parts of the buying process. We avoid products that don’t come with at least a money-back guarantee. Defects happen. We prefer manufacturers and sellers who are willing to stand behind them. Otherwise, why would they put them on sale?
Also, look over the warranty information carefully. If you see the word, limited, it’s a clue that there are things of which you be aware. Read the fine print. Don’t assume that the seller will cover every issue.
Related Article: Best Solar Outdoor Lights
Solatec Solar Fountain
Best for Birdbaths
The Solatec Solar Fountain is a smaller unit that you can use in smaller vessels, birdbaths, or small ponds. It measures 6.3 inches long by 6.3 inches by 1.6 inches high. It is also lightweight, weighing only 8 ounces. Solar energy powers the fountain in real-time. You don’t need batteries to use it. That’s both a good and bad thing, depending on where you place it.
The pump attaches to the bottom with suction cups. They work well on smooth surfaces with materials like plastic. Alternatively, you can let it float to agitate the water further. You get the added benefit of keeping the water moving to help prevent mosquitoes and algae development.
The disc with the mini PV cells is black for better UV radiation absorption. They circle the entire surface. While its design is unobtrusive, its flat profile limits the amount of direct sunlight it receives. Thus, it may pump intermittently. However, it isn’t unattractive. The fountain comes with four nozzles to match the strength of the spray to the usage. The maximum head is just under 20 inches.
COSSCCI Solar Fountain Water Pump
Best for Fountains
The COSSCCI Solar Fountain Water Pump is similar to the previous product. It doesn’t use batteries, making it an eco-friendly option. The unit is self-contained and waterproof. The round disc is ringed with mini PV cells. The finish is glossy, adding an attractive sparkling effect which adds to its aesthetic value. It can also obscure it somewhat so that you can’t see it as well in the water.
The GPH is about 40 GPH, making it an excellent option for smaller fountains and ponds. The maximum head is 18 inches, with a range of 10-15 inches. The panel is thin at only 0.5 inches. That makes it a decent option if the vessel is shallow. It has three nuzzles to control the spray. Its dimensions are 6.9 inches long by 6.9 inches wide by 2.2 inches high. Its compact size makes it less noticeable.
The action is responsive and will start working quickly once the disc is in direct sunlight. The unit is lightweight at less than 6 ounces. Windy days could direct the spray out of the vessel and risk burning out the pump. It’s best to check the water frequently. That will extend the life of this product and similar solar birdbath pumps.
ROADTEC Solar Fountain Pump
The ROADTEC Solar Fountain Pump ramps up the power going to the unit with an external solar panel. The great thing about it is that you can place it where it’ll get the most sunlight even if your pond isn’t in the ideal spot. While it isn’t a solar fountain pump with battery backup, it’s the next best thing. The cord is 9.5 feet long, so it gives you plenty of room.
The pump is well-designed with a built-in brushless motor to extend its lifespan. The panel measure 7 inches long by 5 inches wide. It weighs a scant 8.5 ounces. The setup packs more punch than some of the floating types because of the better placement of the power source. The cord from the pump to the fountain is 9.5 feet which is long enough to give you some working room.
The only downside is that you’ll have to hide the cord and make sure it doesn’t pose a tripping hazard. The pump itself is a bit gaudy. You’ll also have to get creative to make it less noticeable. The flow rate is 50 GPH, so you can use it on a good-sized birdbath or smaller pond. The max head is 27.3 inches which makes the spray quite visible. There are four different nozzles for customizing it.
Solariver Solar Water Pump Kit
Best for Larger Ponds
The Solariver Solar Water Pump Kit brings out the big guns for moving larger volumes of water. It includes a standalone PV panel that you can put up to 16 feet away from the submersible pump. There is also an optional extension cord of the same length available so that you can place it in the best spot for the most direct sunlight. Hiding the cord adds an extra step to the installation.
The pump has a GPH of 360, making it ideal for a bigger pond. The maximum head is 7 feet, so you’ll get a lot of action from this product. The solar panel and pump are well-made. The former has an aluminum frame with polycrystalline PV cells. Even though the pump is submersible, it is safe for fish and other aquatic wildlife and flora. That also protects it from overheating.
The kit includes the pump, solar panel, and four nozzles. The manufacturer backs up the product with a one-year, money-back guarantee, which we always like to see. It is a bigger investment than other comparable ones. But, if you have a larger volume of water to move, it’s going to cost more to get the job done anyway. This product is reliable and well-made.
Smart Solar Solar Powered Ceramic Frog Water Feature
The Smart Solar Solar Powered Ceramic Frog Water Feature is a whimsical addition to your landscaping. It is both attractive and practical. It is an all-in-one unit with a ceramic bowl and the pump built together. The fountain is heftier than the other products we reviewed at 10 pounds. It holds 1.5 gallons which adds another 12 pounds when filled. Emptying it is going to be a pain. However, it is necessary.
The design with the frog is classic. The colors are muted which we liked. They give it a quasi-natural look. The fountain is a decent size at 14.5 inches long by 14.5 inches wide by 7 inches tall. You will need something to put it on like a pedestal or a spot near an existing pond. We loved the look. But, we get it that some people may think it’s campy. It gets the job done, making it practical in any case.
It has a standalone solar panel. You can place it within 10 feet of the unit to get the most direct sunlight. The water flow from the frog depends upon the light it gets. That isn’t unique to this product. But have the power source in the best place ensures more reliable operation. Because it’s made of ceramic, you’ll have to take it inside during the winter. It’s not a dealbreaker but worth mentioning.
Final Thoughts About the Solar Pond Pump Review
The ROADTEC Solar Fountain Pump is the best of the products we looked at for smaller spaces. The separate PV panel makes it a more reliable choice. There is still the matter of hiding both it and the cord. We considered it a moot point, given how well it works. It ensures that the water keeps flowing so that you can get the most out of using it.
Adding the best solar powered fountain pump to your water feature is an excellent way to make it more aesthetically pleasing while adding the benefits of aeration. It helps circulate the water to keep bacteria under control—along with the mosquitoes and algae. And if you have it in a birdbath, your feathered friends will appreciate it too.
Fortunately, most products are quite affordable. And they add the right touch to take your landscaping to the next level. We find the sound of the rushing water pleasant, providing another bonus to having one in your yard. And the fact that they are solar powered adds to their value for a set-it-and-forget-it solution. Once you get one, you’ll be asking yourself why you didn’t do it sooner.
Related Article: Best LED Headlights