Pond vacuums are turning out to be one of the most useful tools in a small pond owners arsenal. By the same token it’s easy to see that in reading the various reviews on shopping websites that not everyone is happy with them.
The most important consideration when your choosing a pond vac is to determine the type of work you’re wanting or needing to do with one. Capabilities vary quite a bit depending on what the vacuum is powered by and the amount of suction it produces.
Let’s start by keeping everything in perspective. For smaller ponds and those that are not prone to getting very dirty, a light duty pond vacuum may be great while a high horsepower model would be complete overkill. By the same token, if one tries to save money on going with a very simple vac, it may perform very poorly if the pond size or demand is too much for it to handle. All of this needs to be kept in mind as we compare the various models on the market.
Light duty muck vacs, as they are called, all use a water hose, with a minimum psi of about 50, to help generate suction. These are relatively inexpensive and can be found for under $100. They work well for small ponds, and shallow waters with light leaf debris, some muck, and sediments on the bottom.
Muck vacs can be easily overwhelmed if the leaves are heavy or the pond is deeper than 3 feet or more. As this depth increases, the draw or suction necessary to remove the debris will need to be adequate or you won’t suck up a thing. Normally the head, switch, and brushes are plastic and the telescopic poles are made out of aluminum. Odyssey and Python are two of the more popular brands.
Muck vacs can be a very helpful tool for those with light weight needs and demands. They are worth a try if your pond is under something like 1,000 gallons (although this can vary based on how much stuff you’re trying to remove) and the debris and build up is minimal.
They can work great for routine cleanings but may not do the job if your an infrequent pond cleaner.
Mid Sized Powered Pond Vacuums
Our definition of a mid sized vacuum includes those with electrical powered motors rather than water hose connections. These tend to have more power available to work in greater depths (generally around five or six feet) and heavier debris loads. In areas where water pressure may be suspect these represent the next best bet and will do everything a muck vac can do and more.
Most configurations are similar however some models work very much like a shop vacuum where they collect water in a holding chamber and need to be manually dumped. Other vacuums such as the Pondomatic will suck material and water in, and then need to be reset to discharge the collection while and upgraded vacuum like the Pondovac series from Oase have dual chambers which allow for continued suction and discharge at the same time. As with most equipment, pond vacuums with additional features normally cost more.
The range of pricing of models like this will range from about $200 up to $500 and maybe more. Our personal experience has been with the models noted above, but there are a number of manufacturers on the market including Matala and Easy Pro.
The greatest risk in using a powered pond vacuum is in the durability of the motor. Several years ago we had several high end vacs end up with burned out motors even from moderate use. This particular pond vacuum is no longer on the market and of those that are, most provide reasonable performance for the money. To provide a bit more protection from breakdowns be sure to compare warranties. Most units will at least have one year of coverage.
The Most Powerful Pond Vacs
When looking at the overall performance and capability of a pond vacuum, the horsepower or HP rating or wattage of the motor will be important. The newest Oase on the market is the Pondovac4
and it’s upgraded to an 1800 watt motor. It would fall on the lower end of the power vacs with an effective suction depth of up to 8 feet.
The Blagdon Pond Monsta vacuum is somewhat different in design in that the motor is actually housed in the head of the unit. It has an operational depth from 12″ to 16 feet making it one of the best systems for deeper ponds. A rotating brush in the head also improves scrubbing performance. The Pond Monsta is unique among pond vacs in how it works and may be a trend for future pond vacuums to follow.
Ultimately by getting a clear picture of what you’ll need a pond vacuum for with a little thought and planning you’ll be able to find the system that will work the best for you at the lowest price possible.