When it comes to garden ponds it’s quite normal for them to collect a lot of debris throughout the year, the problem with any debris that falls into a pond is it can sink to the bottom, this can cause all sorts of problems, it can block filter systems and equipment and if it’s left to decay it can harm your fish
To keep on top of things you need to get rid of this debris before it can do any harm, the good news is you can use a pond vacuum to make the task a lot quicker, easier and cleaner than trying to remove the debris by hand.
What to look for when buying a pond vacuum.
Type of pond vacuum: When choosing a pond vac you will come across 2 types, a manual one and a electrically powered one. Manual pond vacuums are ideal for small ponds and although they can remove silt and debris they are harder to use than the electric versions, but they are a lot cheaper. The electrically operated pond vac use an electric pump to suck out all the debris and silt making it quicker and easier than using a manual one. We would suggest using an electric vac for most ponds, but you could use a manual one for a quick clean up or for small jobs.
Can it reach the bottom of your pond: You need to take into consideration the depth and size of your pond, there are three things to look out for, hose length, power cord length and maximum suction depth your vacuum will reach. If you want to discharge the dirty water away from the pond you can also take into account the length of the discharge hose.
How much suction: The amount of suction you will need can depend on the size of your pond and the time you want to spend cleaning it. The bigger the suction the more debris it will suck up and the quicker it will do it. Normally the higher the wattage the pond vacuum has the more suction it will have, the only problem can be the weight, the bigger the vacuum the heavier and bulkier it can get.
Look out for attachments: Just like the vacuum cleaners you use in your home pond vacuums can come with attachments for different uses. There are large heads for doing the bulk of the work and smaller heads for getting into difficult areas, you can also get algae nozzles, gravel heads and nozzles for blanket weed.
Chambers and discharge: The majority of pond vacuums have a single chamber that the dirty pond water enters, when the chamber fills up the suction turns off to let the water discharge through the discharge hose to a drain, garden plants or if using a discharge basket back into the pond. A twin chamber pond vac has the capacity to suck the dirty water out of the pond and discharge it without the vac turning off, this makes cleaning your pond a lot quicker, you usually find twin chambers on the more expensive pond vacs.
Chamber capacity: If you are going for a single chamber model you should look for a large chamber, this will determine how much water the chamber can hold before discharging, remember with a single chamber you will have to stop cleaning your pond while the water discharges. The bigger the capacity the less you will need to stop cleaning.
Carrying and storage: The larger the vacuum you buy the heavier it will probably be, so look for one that has wheels to help with its manoeuvrability, also think about storage and whether you have room to keep one.
How much: If your looking to buy a pond vacuum on a budget you are looking at paying around £30 for a manual vac and around £100 or just over for a motorised one. If you are looking for something more powerful from a big brand you can spend from about £175 and upwards.
Below are some pond vacuums we found on amazon.co.uk, pondkeeper.co.uk and bradshawsdirect.co.uk. We have selected a manual pond vac and four electrically operated pond vacs from budget to top of the range.
Manually operated pond vacuum.
Laguna vacuum kit.
The laguna pond vacuum has a siphon system that utilises the power of your existing water supply, it connects to a garden hose using a standard click fit fitting, there is no need for electricity and so no running costs.
The kit comes with a 140cm extension pole to reach to the bottom of your pond, a re-usable mesh waste collecting bag and a power brush for the removal of algae.
There is a control valve to adjust the flow of water and to turn the water on and off.
One of the main problems when using this type of vac is you are using tap water to make it work, tap water has chlorine in it which can be harmful to your fish, the longer you use it the more chlorine is added to your pond. A large pond might be able to dilute the chlorine, but a small one can’t and to be honest this type of pond vac is only suitable for small ponds. If you don’t have fish it’s not a problem.
They are cheap to buy, but it will take longer to clean your pool than if you were using an electrically powered pond vac.
Electrically operated pond vacuums.
This PondMaster pond vacuum from PondXpert is excellent value for money, this budget vac offers better features than many of the low priced pond vacuums on the market.
It comes with an extra powerful 1400w motor that will remove all your sludge, algae and leaves. The powerful suction will suck up all the waste and debris into it’s extra large 35 litre capacity chamber, when it’s full it will auto discharge through the 2 metre 46mm diameter discharge hose, this can be directed onto your garden plants, down a drain or into the PondXpert discharge basket (available at extra cost or save ££ if you buy the 2 together from pondkeeper).
It has a maximum operating depth of 2 metres, the 4 metre 35mm diameter suction hose can be extended using the suction tube extensions, you get 4 of them, each being 48.5cm, 2 are translucent so you can see all the muck shooting up the hose.
The PondMaster vac comes with three attachments, you get a wide nozzle for doing all the large area, a small crevice nozzle for getting into all the cracks and crannies and a 2-10mm adjustable nozzle, great if you have gravel in your pond.
Four wheels help manoeuvrer it around and the 4 metres of power cable is Ok if you have a power supply close by, which you probably will have if you’re running pond pump and equipment. You also get a 2 year guarantee.
Hozelock pond vacuum.
This pond vac from Hozelock is very different in design than the usual pond vacuums, it has no chamber for the dirty water to accumulate, it just pumps it straight out onto your garden or into a drain through a discharge hose.
Essentially the Hozelock pond vacuum is an electric pump on the end of a pole, but in reality it is a lot more. Inside the pump are cutter blades that chop up any large pieces of debris to avoid blockages.
The motor to run the pump is only 60 watts so very little electrical energy is used to run the vac making it very cheap to run and very efficient, in fact they claim it’s up to 7 times more efficient which minimise the running costs.
The pump head is submerged in the water for continuous running which saves you up to 30% in cleaning time when compared to a single chambered vacuum which has to stop to discharge the dirty water. Having the pump head of the vac in the water means the pump doesn’t have to pull the water through long tubes and hoses which gives it more power.
The hozelock vac comes with four aluminium tubes that can extend to a maximum length of 2.0m, each tube can be adjusted as they work on a push fitting that you screw to tighten once you have your desired length. The tubes are bright so you can see them in the pond, this helps to know where the pump head is for efficient cleaning. There is a handle that can be positioned at any point along the tubes to suit the operator and another handle that connects to the end of the tubes which the waste hose connects to.
You will receive 3 attachment nozzles to suit different needs, a large open nozzle for cleaning the bottom of your pond and large areas, a crevice type nozzle for getting into all the nooks and crannies and hard to get to areas and another large nozzle with soft plastic bristles to scrub away algae and dislodge waste and blanketweed from your pond.
It comes with 10 metres of power cable, but only 3 metres of discharge waste hose, in our view the hose could be longer, this is so it would reach a drain or your garden beds if your pond is located further away, you could replace this hose or add more hose to it to extend its reach. Better still you could get the hozelock collection basket (available at extra cost but you can save ££ if you order the two together) which can sit at the side of your pond so the cleaned water (the basket collects all the waste) can go back into your pond, doing this means you won’t have to top up your pond with water after you have cleaned it.
For peace of mind it comes with 3 years guarantee.
Oase Pondovac 3 Pond Vacuum.
The Pondovac 3 pond vacuum from the well know brand of Oase has twin chambers for continuous use, no stopping and waiting for the dirty water to discharge as you would with a single chamber pond vac, this saves a lot of time when cleaning your pond.
The patented twin chambers are filled and emptied in continuous cycles, as one fills with your ponds dirty water the other one is emptying, once that one has emptied it starts filling and the other chamber is emptied, and so on and so on, this is such a great idea if you don’t want to be standing around most of the time.
The powerful 1600w motor will suck up all the waste and debris in your pond including blanketweed. Once it is passed through the pond vac chambers it’s discharged through a discharge hose. The discharge hose is a little disappointing in its length at just 2.5 metres which might make it hard to reach drains or flower beds where the waste and dirty water can be discharged. On the plus point it comes with a stringed debris collection bag that you tie on to the end of the discharge hose, with the bag in place you can discharge the water back into your pond, the bag will hold all the waste and debris ready for disposal, plus you won’t need to top up your pond with fresh water.
The vacuum itself has an adjustable carrying/pulling handle and wheels for easy transport and move around your pond. There is a maximum suction depth of 2.1 metres using the tube extensions, one of them being transparent so you can see all the waste being drawn up and a suction hose length of 5 metres. The power cord is only 4 metres which is a bit on the mean side but if you run a pond you probably have and outside socket close by, if not you might need an extension lead.
The Oase Pondovac 3 comes with 4 nozzles, a string algae nozzle for removing blanketweed, a wide nozzle for general use and cleaning big areas, a crevice nozzle for getting to the hard to reach nooks and crannies and an adjustable nozzle for removing general pond debris up to 10mm in diameter.
It comes with a 2 year guarantee with an additional year if you fill out the card that comes with it, you also get a free pair of gloves.
Top of the range.
Oase Pondovac 5 pond vacuum.
The Oase pondovac 5 includes lots of the features of their other pond vacuums but with a lot of upgrades.
One of the biggest problems with pond vacuums is the discharge hose, they use gravity to allow the dirty water to drain away, the pondovac 5 overcomes this problem by using a silt pump to pump the dirty water out of the vacuum through a very impressive 10 metre discharge hose, even better it can pump all this water uphill to a height of 2 metres all in a continuous operation without stopping. One point I would like to make is the higher you place the discharge hose the slower the water will flow.
The silt pump is only able to pump small particles so all the large particles such as leaves are caught in a pre-filter bag that fits inside the vacuum chamber, this bag gets full quite quickly so if you have lots of large waste you can either fish out the worst of it with a net which defeats the purpose of a pond vacuum or be prepared to empty the bag on a regular basis.
One of the upgrades is the larger wheels which now have tyres, the extra ground clearance helps with rough ground and the tyres keeps the noise down when moving the vac around.
The maximum suction depth has increased to 2.5 metres and the suction hose is 5 metres in length using the 4 aluminium tubes, there’s also a transparent tube that lets you see the debris being sucked up. The handle has a flow adjuster that can be opened or closed depending on how much suction you want.
The power cable is 7.5 metres in length which should be adequate, talking about power the pondovac 5 has a very impressive 1700 watts with a maximum 8000lph flow rate.
There are 5 nozzle attachments included which should cover all applications, A universal nozzle for most things, this as brushes on one side for brushing and rubber on the other side for scrapping, a string algae nozzle, great for getting rid of blanketweed, a brush nozzle for scrubbing your pond, a wet suction nozzle that has wheels and an adjustable nozzle that adjusts from 3mm-12mm, perfect if you have gravel that you dont want to vacuum up.
A 2 year guarantee is included with the option of extending it another year by filling out a card, also comes with free gloves.
So which is the best pond vacuum to clean your garden pond.
The manual pond vacuum might be good for using on a small garden pond but the fact it uses water from your tap is a bit of a drawback, your tap water has chlorine which is not good for fish, if you don’t have fish it’s not a problem.
Of the 2 budget pond vacuums we like the concept of the hozelock pond vac although it does have some drawbacks such as the short discharge hose, the pondxpert pondmaster also has drawbacks one of which is the waiting for the dirty water chamber to empty but it’s the one we would go for.
The mid-range Oase pondovac 3 is the best one to go for if your budget allows, it’s two chamber system has the edge for us, no waiting for water to discharge which speeds up the cleaning process.
The top of the range Oase pondovac 5 is a great pond vacuum with everything you could want, but for us it just doesn’t offer enough to warrant the cost of the machine.