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Last updated: February 06, 2021
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When the winter months roll in, having a pond heater can make a big difference. Many people like to install pond heaters to prevent their ponds from freezing over when the temperatures start to get low. They help to protect the pond fish and other aquatic life, and if you’re looking to buy the best pond heater, this is the guide for you.
We took a look at 33 of the best pond heaters on the market and found that the Farm Innovators Model P-418 is the best option in most cases. It’s a well-made, durable pond heater that fits perfectly in most standard-size ponds and is super friendly to fish and plants, as well as being totally safe to use. We also included five other highly rated pond heaters in our guide and hope it will help you to find the perfect pond heater for your home.
Our review team spent hours evaluating and analyzing the pros and cons of each pond heater. We looked at various features, including the size of pond that each heater is able to handle, which is very important for those who have big ponds, as well as the type of heater, how much power it uses, the length of the power cord for easy installation, and other aspects like the dimensions of each product and what kind of warranty the manufacturer is able to offer. Below, you can find a table showing all of the top pond heaters we found, followed by detailed reviews of each one and then a buying guide and FAQ section to help you buy the perfect pond heater.
We start off our list with the top rated pond heater on the market today: the Farm Innovators Model P-418. Made by one of the top brands in the business – Farm Innovators – this floating pond heater sits on top of your pond and can handle ponds of anywhere from 200 to 600 gallons in size, so it’s a great all-round option for small to mid-sized ponds.
It’s super powerful, using 1,250 watts of energy to generate strong and steady heat, ensuring that even on the frostiest of days, you’ll never have to worry about the whole surface of your pond freezing over. The Farm Innovators Model P-418 always keeps a hole open on top of the pond to provide oxygen to the fish and other life inside the water, and it’s made from top quality aluminum too, built to last for years without any flaws or faults.
It uses more energy than many of the competing models out there, so if you want an energy efficient model, the Farm Innovators Model P-418 might not be the one for you. It also has quite a short (10 feet) power cable, which can make installation a little difficult, depending on where your pond is located and how you choose to set up the heater.
Next, we move onto the TetraPond Pond De-Icer. This is one of the best value pond heaters on the market and is made by a trusted company, TetraPond, responsible for some of the top pond accessories out there. The TetraPond Pond De-Icer is a thermostatically controlled floating pond heater that uses just 300 watts of power. It’s very energy efficient, shutting itself off once the temperature reaches a certain level in order to save as much power as possible.
All of this means that you won’t need to worry too much about the TetraPond Pond De-Icer having any effect on your energy bills. It’s a really useful and practical pond heating solution, and it features a very clever design as well. The TetraPond Pond De-Icer is actually styled to look just like a smooth stone, sitting in the center of your pond, so it blends in perfectly with the water and looks very natural, as opposed to some of the brightly colored or poorly-designed alternatives out there.
As a floating pond heater, the TetraPond Pond De-Icer is really easy to install and it comes with a lengthy 3-year warranty to keep you covered in case any problems arise. Unfortunately, some users have reported issues when using this pond heater in super cold environments, but the warranty keeps you covered for a good length of time.
Next, we come to our Budget Pick for this list, the Thermo-Pond Floating De-Icer. If you’re just looking for a simple, effective, cost efficient pond heater or de-icer that gets the job done, this is an amazing product to choose. And one of the best things about it is its price. The Thermo-Pond Floating De-Icer is available for under $50 and can keep your pool safe and your fish healthy for many years to come. It uses just 100 watts of energy, making it one of the most energy efficient pond heaters out there.
Many other pond heaters and de-icers use up to 500 watts of energy or more, but the Thermo-Pond Floating De-Icer has no noticeable impact on your energy bills whatsoever and is one of the most eco-friendly devices you can find. It features an automatic thermostat that switches off the heating element when the temperature gets high enough, and the heating element is fully protected too, ensuring that this floating de-icer can go the distance and last for several years without any issues.
On the downside, the Thermo-Pond Floating De-Icer comes with quite a short power cord of just 12 feet. It also has a small warranty of only one year, but many users have proven to be highly satisfied with this device and would recommend it to other pond owners, even those with large ponds as it can handle bodies of water of up to 1,000 gallons.
What we liked:
Works in huge ponds of up to 1,000 gallons
Very energy-efficient, only uses 100 watts of power
Compact and super lightweight
Long lasting design with protected heating element
When it comes to pond heaters and de-icers, Laguna is one of the top brands to trust. Time and time again, Laguna has proven itself to be a dependable and reliable maker of the best quality pond heaters around, and the Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-Icer for Ponds is the best Laguna pond heater you can buy right now. You have to pay a bit of a premium for this product compared to some of the others due to the fact that it comes from a top brand, but many users believe that the extra cash is justified by the durability, efficiency, and effectiveness of this product.
The Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-Icer for Ponds uses 315 watts of power, so it’s one of the most energy efficient pond haters around. It can handle super cold conditions, heating up ponds even in -20 degree Fahrenheit weather. It’s a sleek and modern device, with an easy to see LED pilot light to let you know when the unit is turned on and heating up the pool.
It also comes with an integrated thermostat that shuts the de-icer down when the temperature gets high enough. In short, the Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-Icer for Ponds is able to keep a good-sized hole on the surface of your pond, perfect for gas exchange and keeping your fish alive. It comes with a 22-foot long power cord for flexible installation and has protection against overheating too, but the warranty is a little on the short side.
What we liked:
Comes from a trusted brand
Integrated automatic thermostat for easy functionality
Simple to install
Works flawlessly to provide gas exchange in and out of the water
Next, we come to the Natural Waterscapes Pond Heater and Pond Aerator Winterizing Kit. This is actually the only submersible pond heater on our list, so you have to install it a little differently when compared to the floating de-icers and pond heaters out there.
The Natural Waterscapes Pond Heater and Pond Aerator Winterizing Kit is also a full kit, complete with an Aquascape 75000 Pond Air 2 Double Outlet Aeration Kit. The pond heater and aerator work together in combination to keep your pond safe in winter and help your fish stay lively and healthy. The aerator works to provide oxygen and strong gas exchange in the water, while the heater helps to create a warm pocket of water for the fish to live in safely. It’s a great option for those who have delicate koi carp or goldfish in their ponds, as these species are very easily affected by big temperature drops.
The Natural Waterscapes Pond Heater and Pond Aerator Winterizing Kit is well-made and very easy to maintain, lasting for years when treated with care. The kit is quite expensive and has the highest price tag of any entry on our list, but you’re getting a lot of accessories for your money and a 2-year warranty on the heater itself, plus a 3-year warranty on the aerator.
Last but not least, we come to the final entry on our list, the Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-Icer for Ponds 500Wt. Many people worry when buying a pond heater as they fear that it might break down easily or be damaged from being in such a difficult environment and cold conditions all the time.
It’s true that a lot of de-icers and pond heaters break down within the first few years, but the Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-Icer for Ponds 500Wt is one of the most durable pond heaters around. This pond heater has a high price tag, but it was built to last. It can stick around for years to come, surviving in any conditions and handling temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit with ease.
It features an LED light to let you know when it’s functioning and turns off when the temperature of the surrounding water is warm enough to prevent freezing. It does use quite a lot of power at 500 watts, but is very effective and efficient at what it does, so you shouldn’t notice much of a change to your energy bills when using this device. It also comes with a very lengthy 22 foot power cord and can handle massive ponds of up to 2,000 gallons in size.
What we liked:
One of the toughest pond heaters around
Made from strong materials
Highly effective heating element
Long power cord
Can handle huge ponds
What could be better:
High price tag
Things to Consider
Now that you’ve read through our detailed pond heater reviews and seen some of the best pond heaters on the market, let’s take a look at why you might want a pond heater in the first place. This buying guide will explain how pond heaters work, what kind of benefits they offer, and how they help to protect your pondlife, as well as covering the various factors you need to consider when shopping for your next pond heater too.
When are pond heaters needed?
This all depends on where you live, but in general, pond heaters or pond de-icers are only really necessary in winter. As the temperatures start to get low, the oxygen levels in your pond can start to decrease. This makes it harder for the fish inside, and other aquatic life, to live comfortably. A phenomenon known as ‘winterkill’ can occur, in which fish like koi carp actually die during the freezing winter months as they run critically low on oxygen and the top of the pond freezes over.
When the pond freezes, it makes it much more difficult for oxygen and other gases to be exchanged in and out of the water, creating a much more difficult and hostile environment for the fish. This is particularly true in terms of koi, as they’re very sensitive to low oxygen levels and freezing conditions. So, overall, the time to use a pond heater is when the temperatures drop down close to freezing point.
Benefits of pond de-icers usage?
Many pond owners find themselves asking the common question “Should I use a pond heater?” and the usual answer is yes, especially if you have any fish in your pond. If you don’t have any fish, a pond heater is less necessary, but there are always many useful benefits to have a pond heater.
For starters, they can help to prevent the pond freezing over. This helps to preserve the delicate ecosystem of the pond, protecting the fish, as well as any frogs, plants, or any other forms of life in the pond. Pond heaters help to keep oxygen levels up in the water, making it a healthier and more comfortable place for live to flourish, and can actually save fish lives in the winter months.
Features to consider while choosing a pond heater?
If you’re ready to buy a pond heater, you shouldn’t just dive right in and buy the first one you see. There are many different models of pond heater out there, and the best pond heater for you will depend on the size of your pond, the amount of money you want to spend, how you want to install it, and various other factors and features. Read on to learn about these individual factors and be sure to consider them all when shopping for your next pond heater.
There are three main types of pond heaters: in-line, floating, and submersible.
An in-line electric pond heater is actually a kind of plumbing component you can get fitted down beneath your pond to heat up the water that passes through it. These heaters are usually connected to external pond pumps and they work by heating the whole pond, rather than just a small section. They can be very expensive and need to be professionally installed too.
Floating pond heaters, like the Farm Innovators Model P-418, sit on top of the pond and float in the water. They emit heat around themselves, creating a section of warm water on the surface of the pond and preventing that spot from freezing. So, even if the rest of the pond’s surface freezes over, the fish will always have an opening when a floating heater is installed. They’re cheap to run, highly efficient, and very popular with many pond owners as the best overall choice.
Finally, submersible or immersed pond heaters are relatively easy to install and run just like aquarium heaters. They sit under the water’s surface and help to make a little warm section of water for the fish to hang around in. You might need more than one of these heaters, depending on the size of your pond.
The size of your pond is a big factor to consider when buying a pond heater. Some pond heaters can’t handle huge-scale ponds and are only designed for smaller bodies of water. Manufacturers should always state how many gallons of water the pond heater or de-icer can handle, and you should compare this measurement with the size of your pond in order to choose the right heater for your water.
The power rating of a pond heater tells us how much electricity it uses to heat up the pond water. Some of these devices are much more energy efficient than others. Pond heaters that use lower amounts of electricity are more cost-effective and can help you save cash on your energy bills, so if you want to keep your costs low, choose an energy-efficient heater like the Natural Waterscapes Pond Heater and Pond Aerator Winterizing Kit.
The working temperature of a pond heater tells you what kind of temperatures the heater is able to work in. Advanced pond heaters can handle extremely low temperatures and still function at peak capacity, while others will struggle when the temperature starts to drop too low. You should consider the climate and average winter temperatures in your area when buying the best pond heater for you.
Pond heaters typically come with power cords to be plugged into a power supply. The length of the power cord can vary from one model to another, and longer cords, like the one seen on the Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-Icer for Ponds, give you more flexibility in terms of how you choose to install the heater. Be sure to think about how and where you want to install your heater and choose one with a long enough cord.
The size of your pond heater is another factor to think about. Most of these heaters are relatively small and lightweight, so they’re not too awkward to carry around and install, but big and bulky heaters can take up space in your pond, especially if you have quite a small one, so it’s worth considering the size and try to find one that is proportionate to your pond.
Pool heaters are designed to withstand water and extremely low temperatures, but they can fail from time to time. If your heater breaks down or doesn’t perform as expected, it helps to have a warranty, giving you total coverage and ensuring that the manufacturer will cover the costs if anything goes wrong.
Pond heaters can vary in price quite a lot, with some models being under $50 and others costing more than $100. You don’t always need to worry about buying the most expensive model, as cheaper alternatives often suffice in most cases. However, more expensive pond heaters tend to be more durable and may have additional features.
If you own a pond with fish inside, you’ll notice that their behavior tends to change a lot when the cold winter months begin to arrive. When the water temperature cools down, the fish have to adapt to survive to the different conditions. Their bodily temperatures also drop along with the water. Their breathing rate lowers and they tend to move less as they don’t need to use up as much energy. Basically, when the temperature of the water is lower, the fish become less active. If you install a heater that heats up the water of your pond, the fish will become a little more active, but the temperatures will still be relatively low, so you shouldn’t expect them to be swimming around as quickly as they would be in the summer months.
Interestingly, you can actually allow most of the pond’s surface to freeze over and still keep your fish perfectly safe. The hole in the ice doesn’t need to be too big in order to allow the oxygen levels to stay high and give the fish the gas exchange they need to breathe comfortably. In general, most de-icers will make holes of about 10 inches in diameter, and that should be just right in most cases. It all depends on the conditions, however. If you live in a really frosty area, you’ll need to buy a more powerful pond heater to make a big enough hole, while those with milder winters won’t need to worry too much about hole size as the pond shouldn’t freeze too easily.
This all depends on the model you buy. Some pond heaters or de-icers are made to be highly energy efficient and can run all day and all night without really making a dent on your electricity bill. Others are less efficient. In general, the best pond heaters only use up to 500 watts of electricity. They’re also equipped with thermostats to check when the temperature is sufficiently warm to turn the heating element off and save energy. When buying a pond heater, check out how much energy it uses and try to find an efficient one if you want to keep your costs low, like the Thermo-Pond Floating De-Icer
Overall, our number one ponder heater is the Farm Innovators Model P-418. Busting out a whopping 1,250 watts of power, this pond heater is super effective at warming up the surface of your pond and ensuring that it never freezes over, even in icy conditions.
The next best pond heater money can buy is the TetraPond Pond De-Icer. Unlike many of the other pond heaters out there, this one actually blends into the natural surroundings with its rock-like shape and coloring, helping to heat your pond without standing out and ruining the aesthetic.
Our third top rated pond heater is the Thermo-Pond Floating De-Icer. Able to handle ponds of up to 1,000 gallons in size, this high-powered, low-priced de-icer is a big winner in every category, proving that you don’t need to spend big to get a great pond heater.