Written by Terry Smith
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Best Pond Vacuum UK: Top manual and hand pump + Karcher pond vacuums reviewed
This article was last updated on October 3rd, 2021 at 7:09 am
Table of Contents
If you have a pond in your garden…good job! They’re a great feature to have and can be a pain to get right, so whether it’s a small rocky pond or a full-blown fish pond, it can really make your garden look decorative and to be blunt, it’s very impressive! As well as that, they’re also great for any surrounding wildlife for a range of reasons, so it’s a great way to do your bit for the environment. In other words, ponds are a much needed lifeline for our ecosystem and you’re not the only one benefitting!
There is a downside, however, and that’s maintenance and it starts going wrong when your pond filter isn’t up to the job. Even if you don’t have any wildlife living in your pond, debris and plant detritus can build up both at the bottom of your pond and on the surface of the water. As far as science goes, this results in the accumulation of a range of bacteria and other microorganisms (algae, protozoa) that can eventually become toxic to any life, both wildlife and plants, that grow there. Even without the toxicity, an unclean pond starts to look murky and green because of these microorganisms, so it just looks ugly and will ruin your pond features for good.
This is why cleaning is necessary. Pond pumps (a must-have) generally take care of most of this and are especially helpful in reducing the toxicity of the water by filtering waste and debris. This is a common feature of any pond, but it’s not quite enough. This is where a pond vacuum comes in.
A pond vacuum does what it says on the tin. It works similarly to an indoor hoover to remove debris from your pond that the pump can’t quite catch, meaning you can be reassured that your pond is squeaky clean. All pond vacuums work in a similar way in that they use suction to vacuum up debris from all areas of the pond, but they can either be manual or hand pump. Hand Pump pond vacuums are a lot cheaper and require to pump in order to collect waste (Surprisingly!) whereas manual vacuums use electricity, but are more expensive.
Best pond vacuum
We’ve reviewed the best pond Vacuums in the UK to make sure you know which pond vacuum is best for you and your pond. These products are a mixture of hand pump and manual pond vacuums but don’t worry, you’ll see why! They are rated based on usability, water flow rate, ability to suck up the last little bits of water, how clean they leave your pond liner, and build quality. If you want to know more about buying the right one for you take a look at the pond vacuum buyers guide too!
Anyway, let’s get started!
1. Oase Pontec Pondomatic Pond Vacuum Cleaner
Specification: Energy use: 1400w, Container capacity: 30 l, Suction Hose Length: 2 m, Power Cable Length: 4 m,
In our first place spot is the Oase Pontec Pondomatic vacuum, and whilst this sounds like a completely different language, its spot in first place is highly deserved. It has an average rating of four and a half stars across over 350 reviews on Amazon, with many noting how impressive and efficient this product is. Oese is a brand that focuses on water tech and design, so it’s no surprise that they land the first spot with one of their products.
It comes with 3 different nozzles to use depending on the size of the pond, which really came in handy. The drainage hose was 2m long and the suction hose was 4m long, so it was definitely flexible enough and easy to use. It has a 30L tank and can collect debris up to 10mm long, and with the 1400 Watt motor, you can get all debris up to this size no matter how small.
This particular model doesn’t come with a filter bag though (probably it’s only downside), but they’re readily available to order so this wasn’t too much of an issue. If you want to drain the collected water elsewhere though (such as the garden), then this isn’t actually necessary. Since I was draining the water back into the pond, I bought a filter bag, easily attached it to the drainage hose and got to work.
Once it was up and running, it’s safe to say this vacuum did not disappoint. Its hose is flexible enough to get to the hard to reach areas, and its length really helps with this. The choice between nozzles really helps too, as smaller nozzles are great for areas where there’s not much large debris so that smaller particles are collected more efficiently. It was easy to operate and the automatic activation/emptying feature was helpful at times too, so there was little worry of it overflowing. Overall, operating this vacuum was straightforward and didn’t need much thought.
As for its effectiveness, the vacuum was efficient in collecting a large amount of debris (as seen from the filter bag) as well as small waste, so it appears to work really well. Don’t get me wrong, it does require a bit of work with the arms, but this certainly pays off. The pond feels cleaner and looks like it too, and whilst the bottom of the pond isn’t very visible, the smaller debris collected in the filter bag indicates that it’s a lot cleaner than before. Once the whole pond had been vacuumed, you could really tell the difference.
Overall, this vacuum got the job done well and is well-deserving of the top spot. The fact it was made by water tech specialists reassures you that it is the best out there, and for only £129.99, it really is incredible value for a manual pond vacuum. It might not come with filter bags, but apart from that, there really aren’t any obvious downsides to this product. It’s efficient, powerful and easy to use, so what else could you ask for?
Specification: Energy use: 1000 w, Container capacity: 12 l, Suction Hose Length: 1.9 m, Power Cable Length: 4 m
Our second-place spot might surprise you, as this product is technically a wet and dry vacuum. This can’t be used when submerged in water unlike other pond vacuums and so you have to drain your pond first…so why is it in second place? Well, there are a few reasons why this makes an excellent pond vacuum, despite the fact that you need to drain the pond first.
Kärcher is a reliable brand across Europe and is well known for its efficient, high-level cleaning systems. They offer a range of cleaners for a range of uses but are unthought of when it comes to pond vacuums. However, this 1000 Watt motor means you have a similar amount of power to other pond vacuums, so the suction strength is similar and should therefore collect the debris from your pond efficiently. It also has a 12L storage capacity, so you can collect plenty of debris before worrying about it overloading.
It has an 8m cable and a 1.9m suction hose, as well as four wheels, so it’s easily transportable and flexible to use. It comes with additional accessories, including a brush and a long crevice nozzle, so you can reach those hard to get places. Another great feature is its blowing function, as this helps get rid of dirt from all the nooks and crannies in your pond.
Its similarities to a typical pond vacuum make it perfectly suitable to be used in your garden, so you can be confident of a deep clean. It only costs £58 too and since it can be used indoors and outdoors (and not just for ponds!), you really are getting value for money.
Specification: Energy use: 1700 w, Container capacity: -, Suction Hose Length: 5 m, Outlet Hose Length: 2.5 m, Power Cable Length: 4 m
Of all the vacuums in this list, this one is by far the best in terms of function, efficiency and reliability. Once again it was made by Oase, so you already know that it’s a specialised piece of kit. The pondovac 4 is the latest edition of their pond vacuum that they offer, and there are a few reasons why it’s easily the highest quality pond vacuum on this list. It’s also amazon’s choice for pond vacuums, so what more reassurance do you need?
It’s got a 1700 Watt, two-chamber system to ensure that you get maximum suction power. It has a 2.4M suction depth so it’s suitable for large and small ponds. Its hand regulator and transparent tubing mean it’s easily adjustable and easy to use in general.
As well as this, it comes with 5 nozzle attachments, so you can adjust it to whatever size is most suitable for your pond. One of these is a specialised algae nozzle too, which really helped to collect the surface waste (nasty green stuff!) covering my pond.
Overall, it really is a fantastic bit of kit and has absolutely everything you need. It worked great for any surface dirt as well as deeper parts of my pond, and the difference could really be seen. That said, you might be wondering why it’s not in first place, it has everything you need and is great, so why not? Well, there’s a very simple reason for that, and that’s the price. It costs £349.99 (ouch!) and will really run your wallet dry. If you don’t have a budget then it’s perfect for you, but if this is too steep, then another vacuum is your better option.
4. Swell UK Compact Pond Sludge Vac
Specification: Energy use: 1400 w, Container capacity: 25 l, Cleaning hose length: 4 m, Power Cable Length: 4 m
Next up is a pond vacuum by Swell UK, a brand that you might not know, but that provides reliable aquatic accessories and items to cover your ponding needs. This is partly why this product was chosen, as even though it only has 80 ratings on Amazon, it’s made by a brand that specialises in pond maintenance, so you can feel reassured that it’s going to be a good product.
When put into practice, it lives up to the brand reputation too. It’s clearly designed for efficient pond cleaning, as its 1350 Watt motor and 25L capacity tank means you can collect plenty of waste with plenty of power. It’s compact and easy to move about too, so it’s not a pain to be carrying around the pond area. You can really feel the power when you use it too, so you don’t have to worry about not picking up the smaller bits of waste.
It comes with 3 different nozzles as well as a 4m suction hose, so this really makes using it a lot more ideal, especially since you don’t have to keep trailing it behind you if you have a larger pond. It really is a great bit of kit and you can tell it’s made by a reliable brand.
The only downside is that it doesn’t come with filter bags, so you’ll need to buy these beforehand. This makes it really similar to our first place spot, and it’s actually cheaper too (£105.99), but it’s just not quite as good. It has slightly less power and capacity than the Oase pontec pondomatic, and it doesn’t look as good either. Either way, still a great option!
5. MAGT Jet Vac Vacuum Cleaner
Our previous options have been manual pond vacuums, which are definitely more powerful and better for large ponds, but we can’t forget handpump vacuums, can we? They’re perfect for smaller ponds when a vacuum might just be a bit too much, so they deserve to be on the list. There’re plenty of options on the marketplace but most of them appear to be for the pool maintenance, although these are still perfectly applicable to ponds.
Either way, the MAGT jet vacuum is our pick for a reliable yet cheap hand pump vacuum. For £23, you get a sleek black tool that’s easily foldable and compact, so you don’t need to worry about storage. It feels sturdy when you hold it and is really simple to set up.
All you need to do is connect it to a hose, and once it was connected, it worked great. Even though it’s not manual you could still feel the pressure, and it reassured me when the filter bag was full of large bits of debris. It made a noticeable difference to the pond surface and was a lot easier to set up and use than a manual vacuum to give it a brief clean.
It has a 4-star average and the reviews mention how it gets the job done quickly, which turned out to be true in my case. Yes, it might not get everything up, but as far as hand pump vacuums go, it collects most of the waste that makes your pond look nasty and is dead easy to use. For its price, it really is a strong tool and works really well, so I couldn’t recommend it more.
The final spot in our list is another hand pump vacuum, which is really similar to the MAGT jet vacuum and works just as well. It has a sleek black design and is made by PondXpert which, surprisingly, specialises in pond equipment. It feels sturdy and can reach 2m, so it’s really useful for shallow and small ponds as well as those that are a little deeper.
It works in the same way as the MAGT jet vacuum and works just as well, which was obvious when the filter bag became full rather quickly. The bag is easy to detach and reattach, however, and a full bag means it’s working properly. Its design allows it to be made stationary too, so you can stand it in the pond and even make it part of the feature. This is a great addition to this tool and actually makes cleaning a lot easier.
Even if you would prefer to use it portably, it does a good job at collecting debris. Its filter bag is slightly smaller than I expected, but since this is only used for smaller ponds, 2 or 3 full bags is all you would really end up with, so it’s not that much of a pain. The filter bag is made from fine mesh too, so it actually does a decent job at collecting smaller particles.
Either way, it does have its limitations. It’s not good for large ponds due to the smaller bag size and if you were to pump it whilst stationary, cleaning would take all day. It also costs £39.99, so more expensive than the MAGT vacuum that does pretty much the same job.
Pond Vacuum’s Buyers guide
To make sure you pick the right pond vacuum for you, there are a few things you need to be aware of. Some of these points have been mentioned already, but it’s worth going over again, as pond vacuums can be great for the right pond but not so good for the wrong pond.
Manual or hand pump-which is better?
This might seem obvious, and although it has already been discussed, there’s an important difference between hand pump and manual pond vacuums.
Firstly, handpump vacuums are a lot cheaper and widely available. Their job is similar to a standard net, but nets aren’t that useful at all apart from removing large debris, so a hand pump vacuum goes one level up. It uses a hosepipe (in most cases) to create suction at the end of the vacuum, meaning that you use a similar technique to using a net, but you collect debris more efficiently. They also don’t need electricity, which is the main difference.
However, they’re only really useful for smaller ponds or for collecting large debris. The suction is not strong enough to pick up fine/small particles, so something heavier might be needed. This is where a manual comes in, and whilst being a lot more expensive, they’re a lot more powerful and get the job done properly. They are more complicated to use and a deep clean takes longer of course, but it’s worth it to get a pristine looking pond. They are also more expensive (by quite a lot!), but as said, they do a far better job than a hand pump.
Either way, it depends on what you need it for. If you need something quick and easy to remove large debris or for cleaning a small pond, get a hand pump vacuum and save your money. If you have a larger pond or want to do a deep clean, the manual is for you.
This doesn’t really apply to hand pump vacuums, but it’s key for manual vacuums. Manual vacuums use a motor, either in a single or double chamber, to achieve the state of suction on the end of the suction hose. The higher the wattage of the motor, the more power provided to the system and therefore the stronger suction effect. This will mean you can pick up more waste, small or large, from in and around your pond.
Since manual vacuums are expensive, they should have a motor of at least 1000 watts. This is enough suction power to make sure you get the job done, but the more powerful the motor, the smaller bits of debris will be collected.
Suction hose length
Typically, most pond vacuums have suction lengths of 2m, which is the minimum needed for easy use. A suction hose shorter than this can really reduce how flexible you can be when operating the vacuum, and it requires a lot more movement and effort. A hose that’s too long, however (4m+) isn’t ideal either, as the amount of suction will decrease the longer the hose is. Between 2m and 4m is suitable.
Discharge hose length
Not the most important, but something to consider. A discharge hose of at least 2-3m is best so you have flexibility in terms of where you discharge your waste. If you plan to discharge it through an attached filter bag back into the pond then this also applies, as the longer the discharge hose, the less you have to worry about continuously moving it back and forth when cleaning.
Keep in mind these important points and your pond vacuum should be just right for you…happy cleaning!