Best Air Pump For Hydroponics

Thomas Angas by Thomas Angas | Last Updated: March 29, 2020

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One of the major componants in any hydroponics system is the air pump. Without a pump your nutrients simply sit in the nutrient reservoir. However, knowing what to look for and which pump is right for your system can be tough, especially if you’re just getting started.

In this post you’re going to learn why you need an air pump, what to look for, how to calculate the right size before we review the 5 best air punps for hydroponics available on the market today.

Let’s get started!

air bubbles from an air pump

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At A Glance: Our Top 5 Air Pumps For Hydroponics

Why Do You Need A Hydroponic Air Pump?

In our hydroponic systems, plants depend on us to provide them with water, light and nutrients, however, there’s one key thing that’s often overlooked – oxygenation.

Without an air pump your plants “drown” due to a lack of oxygen in the water – we told you it was a key part of your system.

By using the right hydroponic air pump in combination with air stones the bubbles disolve oxygen into the water providing the final piece of the puzzle in your system.

What You Should Look For In A Pump

So now you know a little bit more about how an air pump can benefit your system, we’ve pulled together a handy guide on what to look for when searching for the right pump for your system.

How to Calculate The Right Air Pump Size

The size of pump you’ll need depends on your nutrient resovoir. The general rule of thumb for getting the right sized pump is that the wattage should be equal to the number of gallons of nutrient solution you have.

For those new to hydroponic gardening you should aim for a pump capable of outputting 500-600cc air per minute as this will provide your plants with all the oxygen they need.

Commercial growers will need to factor in a few extra requirements, however, for this post we’re just recommending pumps suitable for the home grower.

Noise Concerns

With any pump comes concerns over noise levels as they have historically been quite noisy – the last thing you want disturbing your peace.

Thankfully, most new pumps are significantly quieter and as manufacturers publish decibel levels on their specs you can easily know what the expected noise level will be like. Typically you should look for a pump around or below the 45 decibel mark.

Best Air Pump For Hydroponics

1. Hydrofarm 125 GPH 2-Outlet Air Pump

If you’re looking for a great first air pump then you’ll want to check out the Hydrofarm 125 GPH 2-Outlet Air Pump. With an output of 125 GPH it’s more than capable of providing most small systems with oxygen and at 40 decibels it’s pretty quiet too.

2. Hydrofarm 240 GPH 4-Outlet Air Pump

If you’re looking for a little more power output then the Hydrofarm 240 GPH 4-Outlet Air Pump is a nice upgrade on the 125 GPH version. At 45 decibels you’re trading quietness for more output. One thing we like about all Hydrofarm pumps is how reliable they are – in fact, it’s the brand that we use for our home hydroponic setups.

3. EcoPlus 793 GPH Air Pump

For our next power step-up we taking a look at the EcoPlus 793 GPH Air Pump. This pump is suitable for those larger home hydroponic setups – for example if you’re using a 5 gallon dwc bucket it will be more than capable. It’s extremely well built, however, it is a bit noisy at 85 decibels – roughly the same as your alarm clock!

4. EcoPlus 1030 GPH Air Pump

Okay so now we’re starting to get into the more powerful pumps which are useful for those with large hydroponic systems. With 6 valves this is the perfect pump for anyone needing not just higher output but needs to connect to tubing and airstones.

5. EcoPlus 1300 GPH Air Pump

If you’re looking for a pump capable of letting you run more than one system at the same time then the EcoPlus 1300 GPH Air Pump is for you. With 8 valves you can provide both systems with enough oxygen for them to thrive simultaneously.

The Bottom Line

So there you have it, our guide to choosing the best air pump for hydroponics. Hopefully our advice above has provided a good overview of what to look for, how to calculate the right size and finally given you some great options to choose from.

Image by Ian Burt

Thomas Angas, the founder of Authority Gardening lives with his wife and two darling pups. He spends his free time writing, hiking and learning how to become a better gardener. He launched Authority Gardening in 2017 to help people all over the world their gardens grow.