Best Air Pump for Hydroponics

If you are just starting out in the world of hydroponics, one of the things you need to become familiar with is the (drum roll please) air pump! After all, learning how to maintain and use the nutrients to your advantage is critical in keeping your plants growing well.

There are three main parts that go into this setup. They are:

  • Your air pump
  • Airline tubing
  • Air stones

In this article, we will take a look at the best air pump for hydroponics, offering you four great choices that are sure to keep your setup looking as lush as you dreamed.

Our Picks for Best Air Pump for Hydroponics

1. VIVOSUN Air Pump 950 GPH

VIVOSUN Air Pump 950 GPH 32W 60L/min 6 Outlet Commercial Air Pump for Aquarium and Hydroponic Systems

Key Features:
  • Dissipates Heat Efficiently
  • Very quiet operation
  • Great for running 24/7

What It Does

This pump provides 32w of power and offers great air pressure. It sends air to a total of 6 valves. The pump itself is perfect for use with 1/ 4 ” airline tubing.  The pump is safe to run all day and night and is ideal for outdoor use. The noise generation is not terrible, but still somewhat high at 60 decibels. The power cord is 1.5 m in length, so you can easily place it anywhere in your growing setup. The pump even dissipates heat using the radiating plates included. It is built for durability and a long life.

About the Brand

Vivosun is mostly known for their plant light setups, but they’ve ventured off into the world of aeration with this great pump. They commit themselves to providing indoor growers with great products at an exceptional value and do a great job of meeting or exceeding all buyers’ expectations with products that just work and work well.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Tough enough for outdoor use
  • Can treat 16 gallons per minute
  • Energy efficient

Cons

  • Louder than other pumps offered

2. EcoPlus 1030 GPH Air Pump

EcoPlus 1030 GPH (3900 LPH, 35W) Commercial Air Pump w/ 6 Valves | Aquarium, Fish Tank, Fountain, Pond, Hydroponics

Key Features:
  • Pump is made of strong materials
  • Features 6 valves
  • Can treat 1300 GPH

What It Does

This is a powerhouse of a pump that can treat a large setup and keep it aerated around the clock. It runs a bit loud, but this can be remediated by hooking up a buffer in line with the pump. The pump is known to run hot, so some users suggest placing a fan nearby just to make sure it can stay cool.

About The Brand

Ecoplus provides its customers with a large selection of magnetic powered water pumps, and they are sold in a variety of styles ranging from a rate of fixed flow to the bottom draw convertible and even more powerful fixed-flow utility pumps. You can find what you need for your specific setup, whether it is 75 gallons or all the way to 7400 gallons.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Users report running it for months with little to no issues
  • Features a 1-year warranty
  • Great for larger setups as it has 6 valves

Cons

  • Pump is rather loud compared to others

3. EcoPlus 793 GPH Air Pump

EcoPlus 728450 Eco Air1 Air Pump 1-18 Watt Single Outlet, 6 Valve Manifold For Aquarium, Fish Tank, Fountain, Pond & Hydroponics, Commercial 793 GPH, Silver

Key Features:
  • Great budget option
  • Features 6 valves
  • Pump is made of strong and durable materials

What It Does

This provides serious growers with what they need to aerate their setups and do it well. However, there is a tradeoff- we found this pump to be rather loud compared to the others. Thus, you will want to use this in your basement or garage, away from family areas. Make sure you attach the hose that is included to the outlet port with a clamp, or otherwise, it can blow right off during operation!

About The Brand

EcoPlus is one of the TOP names when it comes to aeration of gardens, ponds, and aquariums. Their accessories are reliable and offer professional-grade performance at a good price. They are the number one name when it comes to hydroponic gardening aeration and can meet your setup needs, whether they are large or small.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 1-year warranty offered on product
  • Can handle over 700 gallons per hour
  • Durable build quality

Cons

  • Some users complained the pump ran hot when in use
  • Pump can be a bit loud

4. Hydrofarm 125 GPH 2-Outlet Air Pump

Hydrofarm Active Aqua Air Pump, 2 Outlets, 3W, 7.8 L/min

Key Features:
  • Quiet model
  • Uses minimal power
  • Can adjust airflow

What It Does

This tiny but powerful air pump can oxygenate nutrient reservoirs of many different sizes. This is a silent but powerful little air pump that includes a rubber diaphragm with a consistent output, which is easy to adjust using the pressure dial.

It consumes power at a low rate and has adjustable airflow.  However, with the airflow, we did notice one thing: the air-channel that is located on the left of the pump puts out less air volume as compared to the air channel on the right.  The air pump is still a great design and works well, but this may be something to consider if you have to oxygenate two different buckets.

About The Brand

Hydrofarm is the biggest, and oldest, wholesaler and maker of hydroponics gear such as air pumps and quality grow lights. They do only sell via wholesale. Their products are professional grade items that will last a long time thanks to their good quality. Inside the packaging, you will find instructions, photos, and diagrams of how the product works, and well-written directions for contacting customer service if necessary.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Users hardly notice their pump is there
  • Features two nozzles
  • Small size and lightweight, weighs in at just 13 oz.

Cons

  • Smaller air pump, good for small setups
  • Air channels seem to offer differing outputs

Why Do I Need An Air Pump?

We are growing our gardens the hydroponic way. This means that everything a plant would normally get in the wild or in an outdoor garden must be brought to them by the grower.  You likely already knew you’d be providing nutrients, water, and light, but oxygen matters too.

Consider how soil naturally is. There are small spaces of air in between the particles of soil and the water inside it. Now picture a hydroponic setup, but with no air pump involved.

The stagnant water will be depleted of oxygen fast, and your plants could literally drown in the nutrient reserve.

Yes, plants can drown. In sum, this is EXACTLY why you want an air pump for your hydroponic garden.

By making use of an air pump, you can merge air and water. Set it at the bottom of the nutrient reservoir and use an air stone for best results. These two machines create air bubbles that boost the amount of dissolved oxygen in your nutrient reservoir. Another bonus is that the bubbles keep the reservoir mixed, a small but worthy benefit.

What Size Do I Need?

Ask yourself this: how big is the nutrient reservoir you’re using? Your air pump should have a wattage that matches the amount of nutrient solution you have. Some growers find that a bit much, so let’s look at another way.

Try this method: Make sure the pump you are interested in can offer at least 500 to 600 ccs of per minute of oxygen into your nutrient reserves. 500 to 600 ccs is the exact same measurements as 500 to 600 mL each minute.

Even low-grade air pumps can provide that and much more, so the average hydroponics enthusiast will be just fine.

I Live in An Apartment/Share with my Roommates/Parents, How Bad is Air Pump Noise?

Many people worry about the noise their air pump could make. After all, you may have heard an air pump on the outside of an aboveground pool or another friends’ hydroponic setup and wondered how they deal with such a noise.

Try to find one that works quietly. The ones we featured here are pretty quiet, but make sure you review the decibel rating of the pump before you buy.

This will help you determine where you can use the pump, whether that happens to be in your room, the garage, or the basement. 45dB or fewer is best for those of you that desire low noise.

Can I Lower the Noise?

Every air pump is going to make noise; there is no perfect, noiseless option (yet).  If not possible to put it in a place like the basement or garage, you’re going to have to deal with the noise.

Some growers found that wrapping the pump helped a bit, with some using a towel to shield the pump and thus absorb some of the noise. Setting it on a soft surface like a rubber mat may also help lower the noise (if it vibrates against a wooden or concrete surface, for instance).

This may affect the life of your pump; however, so do use caution.

We did also see a YouTube video in which one man used silicone to quiet his air pump, but we only recommend this if you are an expert.

What Do I Need?

Aside from buying the air pump itself, there are a few accessories you will need. Of course, these are the air stone and the airline tubing.

Airline tubing is pretty easy to come by. You can find it on Amazon, or you can ask a local hydroponics shop for help. It has to be approved for gardens and dark in color – the best is black.

Some people may think they can skate by with clear tubing, but we advise against this because it can grow algae (ask an aquarist!) Aquarium tubing is OK, so long as it is dark in color.

Now let’s talk about the air stone. There are many options here, but one thing you should know is that smaller bubbles are better. As a result of smaller bubbles, more surface area will be exposed to the H20, and the bubbles move slower.

This results in more oxygen getting dissolved into the reservoir.

Air stones are available at a local hydroponics shop, or you can shop on Amazon.

Number of Nozzles Matters

You will find that some air pumps have more nozzles than others. Those with a large indoor setup are growing with more than one reservoir, or perhaps you plan on growing your setup as time goes on.

If this sounds like you, having multiple nozzles is a must. You can split the airline tubing up to go in several different directions.

You can use this to oxygenate several types of plants at once. This prevents you from having to buy multiple air pumps.

Is It A Good Value?

Your money matters. At the end of the day, we know we have rounded up some great air pumps that you will love using in your setup. That being said, some of you may end up going elsewhere, and we understand that. However, make sure that whatever you buy is:

  • Durable
  • Has the features YOU want
  • Is quiet enough for you
  • Has good reviews from other users

Conclusion

We hope this review of the best air pumps for hydroponics has been helpful for you.

Every air pump here will serve you well, whether you are just starting out or have been enjoying hydroponics for some time.

Even serious hobbyists can find something on our list.

Best of all, these air pumps have favorable Amazon reviews, can be delivered right to your home, and won’t break your budget!

The only things you need to do is make sure it is quiet enough for your setup, has the nozzles you need to grow your plans, and secure airline tubing plus a quality air stone. That’s it!

If your plants could, they’d thank you when they grow to their potential with these great air pumps.

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