6 Best Air Pumps for Hydroponics

The art of growing plants without soil is known as hydroponics. Yes: you can grow plants without soil as long as you have all of the necessary ingredients.

Awesome, right? But there is one “detail” a lot of people forget.

The most difficult aspect of hydroponics for both experienced and novice gardeners is controlling and maintaining the water reservoir and providing oxygen for the plant through air.

The plants still need oxygen when being cultivated through hydroponics. That’s why we researched about the best air pumps for hydroponics and reviewed the top 6. 

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General Hydroponics GH2716 Pump

General Hydroponics GH2716 Pump – Amazon.com

The General Hydroponics GH2716 Pump is our top choice for the best air pump for hydroponics. To begin with, the company claims that this is the world’s only air pump designed exclusively for use in hydroponic systems.

The pump has 4 outlets, each one measuring ¼ inches wide.

This makes the pump ideal for use in both small and large reservoirs, especially because the air flow can be controlled.

The pump can be divided in half, allowing it to feed air to up to eight reservoirs. The heavy-duty motor can pump up to 320 gallons of air in just 60 minutes, which is more than twice as much a typical hydroponic air pumps can do.

Such a powerful air pump would be anticipated to consume a lot of energy, but this is not the case. The GH2716 Pump from General Hydroponics uses less energy that you’d expect and requires little to no maintenance. You don’t have to replace anything in the pump if something breaks; spare parts are readily available.

PROS

• Designed for heavy duty
• Durable
• Not very noisy
• The pump is not heavy
• Adjustable air flow
• Great design

CONS

• Relatively expensive

Hygger Quiet High Output 10W Aquarium Air Pump

Hygger Quiet High Output Pump – Amazon.com

The Hygger Quiet High Output 10W Aquarium Air Pump is as quiet as its name suggests. Given the fact that most hydroponic air pumps are somewhat noisy, this is fantastic. The air pump is powered by bearing motors that use magnets to reduce vibrations.

Aside from that, the Hygger Quiet High Output 10W Aquarium Air Pump is fitted with noise reduction gears, making it virtually silent.

When it comes to energy efficiency, only a few models can match this model’s great output for fewer watts. It may be used in up to 600 gallons of water. 600 gallons is a big nutrient reservoir in hydroponics cultivation.

The air outlet of the pump may be modified because it has two 4mm wide ports. Because the pump is composed of stainless steel, you won’t have to worry about corrosion or rust.

Customer support for the Hygger Quiet High Output 10W Aquarium Air Pump is excellent, and they are always willing to help. As if that wasn’t enough, on top of the 1-year warranty, they also provide a 30-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with the air pump.

PROS

• Made to be silent
• Energy efficient
• 30 days money guarantee offer
• Adjustable airflow

CONS

• Not waterproof
• Not suitable for small reservoirs
• Not effective without air stones
• Not specifically designed for hydroponics gardening

Danner Manufacturing, Inc Supreme Oxy-flow Air Pump

Danner Manufacturing, Inc Supreme Oxy-flow Air Pump – Amazon.com

If you’ve spent enough time in hydroponic farming, you’ve probably heard of the Danner Manufacturing INC Supreme Oxy-flow Air Pump. This is the hydroponic pump to use if you want to save money on your monthly electric bill because of its energy efficient motor.

The pump has 2 outlets with enough energy to supply two medium-sized nutrition reservoirs.

When it comes to the Danner Manufacturing INC Supreme Oxy-flow Air Pump, noise isn’t a concern. When you’re oxygenating your plants, the motor runs quietly, so don’t worry about bothering your neighbors.

The Supreme Oxy-flow Air Pump by Danner Manufacturing INC is easy to operate, making it excellent for beginners.

There are no intricate settings, everything is simple, and no prior experience with hydroponic air pumps is needed to understand how to operate this air pump.
Because the pump is lightweight and takes normal tubing, you won’t have to spend extra money on specialty tubes.

PROS

• Energy efficient consuming as low as 4 watts
• Whisper silent
• Easy to use
• Lightweight
• Cheap

CONS

• Not designed for heavy duty
• Only for small nutrient reservoirs
• Not durable

Hydrofarm Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump

Hydrofarm Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump – Amazon.com

Even the best hydroponics air pump can’t beat the Hydrofarm Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump’s 400 gallons of air per minute.

The air pump has 12 outlets and is designed for heavy use. This means the pump can oxygenate up to 12 hydroponic farms with ease.

Most pumps start out with a lot of pressure, but as time goes on, the pressure declines, and the pumps lose their effectiveness. With the Hydrofarm Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump, this is not the case. The pump maintains constant pressure during its operation, which is quite beneficial.

The Hydrofarm Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump uses only 12 watts of energy. Your monthly electric cost will be reduced as a result of this.

PROS

• Designed for heavy duty
• 12 air outlets
• Energy efficient
• Super silent
• Durable
• Provides high output

CONS

• Very expensive
• Relatively heavy

Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump

Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump – Amazon.com

If you’re looking for a multi-purpose air pump that can be used for both aquaponics and hydroponics, the Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump is a good option. It can oxygenate 100 gallons of water due to its high pressure.

There are 2 air outputs on the pump, and the airflow can be controlled. As a result, the pump can be used in both small and large nutrient reservoirs.

Most hydroponic air pumps need you to delve deep into your pockets to purchase all of the necessary supplies. Well, with the Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump, you’ll be ready to go as soon as you get it.

The brand provides all of the necessary equipment in one convenient package. What more could you possibly want?

PROS

• Comes with all the necessary accessories
• Designed as multipurpose
• Adjustable airflow
• Affordable

CONS

• Can only oxygenate 2 water reservoirs

SUN YT-304 18LMP Aquarium Air Pump

SUN YT-304 18LMP Aquarium Air Pump – Amazon.com

The SUN YT- 304 18LMP Aquarium Air Pump is the last but not least in our list of the best air pumps for hydroponics.

This is an air pump that can be used in aquariums and hydroponic systems. The air pump is equipped with a unique rubber that ensures that the pump maintains constant pressure throughout its service life.

The SUN YT- 304 18LMP Aquarium Air Pump produces 18 liters of water per minute, which is a lot considering the low energy usage.

It’s also simple to use; all you have to do is connect the cable to the power source and you’re ready to go.

The SUN YT- 304 18LMP Aquarium Air Pump comes with four outputs and a 1-year warranty.

PROS

• Affordable
• Easy to use
• Energy efficient

CONS

• Not designed for heavy duty

How to choose the best air pump for hydroponics?

Durability is important

The air pumps will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With that in mind, it would be smart to choose long-lasting air pumps.

Never be afraid to pay for something a little more expensive if you want the durability you deserve. A long-lasting air pump will last you a long time before you need to replace it.

Noisy air pumps are avoidable

As previously stated, many air pumps for hydroponics are noisy. This should not be an issue if the system is positioned outside, but if it is located indoors, we have a problem.

It is recommended that you choose air pumps that operate silently, and there are a number of them available.

Hydroponics is claimed to produce higher yields if done correctly. To avoid incurring additional costs, you should pick air pumps that are economical in the sense that they use less energy and require little to no maintenance.

What is your budget for an air pump? Doesn’t matter what the budget is, choose the highest-quality air pump you can afford, one that will last a long time.

The essence of air pumps in a hydroponics system

The lack of soil is replaced by water. Most people new to hydroponics are not aware of the essence of air pumps. Most of them will only settle for water pumps and a balanced nutrient reservoir.

The water pumps only pump water to the system but there lack an essential component; air! Air is essential in any hydroponic system. Stagnant water is a good harboring place for bacteria and pathogens that might attack the roots of the plants. For this reason, you need a water pump, there is no way the system can operate without one if you want high yields from your plants.

The essence of oxygen in a hydroponic system

From basic third grade science, plants take in carbon dioxide in and excrete oxygen in a process known as photosynthesis whereas animals use oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.

In photosynthesis, plants use carbon dioxide, nutrients, and sunlight in the presence of chlorophyll to make glucose molecule. The glucose made is the running unit of the plant but; how is it broken down?

Basically, plants carry our two processes: respiration and photosynthesis which are the reverse of each other. In respiration, plants use oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide through the tiny opening in the leaves (stomata). The oxygen is used to breakdown glucose into energy that is then used within the plants to carry out its functions. Plants need the energy to transport water and nutrients through the stem to other organs. This cannot be achieved without the presence of oxygen.

The size of the system

What size air pump should you use? This is dependent on the amount of air to be covered. If you have a large system, you’ll need a large air pump. It’s best to choose an air pump with the same wattage as the amount of gallons of nutritional solution in the reservoir. The suggested rate is one watt for one gallon of nutrient solution.

The essence of air pumps in a hydroponics system

Water fills the void left by the absence of soil. The majority of people who are new to hydroponics are unaware of the importance of air pumps. The majority of them will be content with water pumps and a well-balanced nutrient reservoir.

The water pumps just deliver water to the system; they are missing an important component: air!

In any hydroponic system, air is required. Stagnant water is a rich breeding ground for germs and diseases that could harm plant roots. As a result, you’ll need a water pump; the system won’t work without one if you want high yields from your plants.

For plants grown in the soil, the soil is well-aerated meaning that the roots get adequate oxygen supply. The same thing cannot be said about the nutrient reservoir in hydroponics, there is a deficiency in oxygen and it is for this reason that you need one of the best air pumps in your hydroponic system.

The essence of oxygen in a hydroponic system

Ready for some science? Plants take in carbon dioxide and excrete oxygen in a process known as photosynthesis, whereas animals use oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.

Plants create glucose from carbon dioxide, nutrients, and sunshine in the presence of chlorophyll during photosynthesis. The glucose produced is the plant’s operating unit, but how is it broken down?

Plants, in essence, carry out our two processes: respiration and photosynthesis, which are diametrically opposed. Plants consume oxygen and expel carbon dioxide through a small hole in their leaves during respiration (stomata).

The oxygen is utilized to break down glucose into energy, which is then used to carry out the operations of the plant.

Water and nutrients must be transported via the stem to other organs, thus plants require energy to do so. Without the presence of oxygen, this will not be possible.

Why use the best air pump for hydroponics to supply oxygen?

The answer is actually pretty simple. Soil is well-aerated for plants grown in it, which means that the roots get enough oxygen.

In hydroponics, the same cannot be said of the nutrient reservoir; there is a lack in oxygen, which is why you need one of the best air pumps in your hydroponic system. To make sure your plants can breathe well.

Concerns when using air pumps for hydroponics

The majority of hydroponic systems are utilized indoors since they are small enough to fit in tight places and allow for easy monitoring. There has been some concern that a lot of air pumps are rather noisy.
This could have a direct influence on you by disrupting your sleep or work. The good news is that not all hydroponic systems are noisy; you simply need to do some research and find the ideal one.

Hey, our review of the 6 best air pumps above can help with that! 😉

You’ll also need tubing and an air stone in addition to air pumps. These are not always necessary, but they are required to ensure a sufficient flow of air to the roots. It is recommended that you use black tubes while tubing.

This is because brightly colored tubes might attract algae, which will consume the oxygen and nutrients meant for your plants.

In aquaponics, airstones are very popular. It aids in the simple diffusion of oxygen on water and ensures that oxygen is distributed evenly.

Air pumps work well with airstones because they produce little bubbles that improve oxygen diffusion.

Although using an airstone is not always necessary, it is recommended if you wish to boost the solubility of oxygen in the mineral solution. The airstone should be at the center of the circle.

Ways to increase oxygen solubility in a hydroponics system

• Ensure that the nutrient solution is always evenly blended.
• Don’t let algae growth in the system!
• Remember: the nutrients solutions should always be at a consistent temperature
• Use the best air pump for hydroponics you can afford, taking your needs into consideration.

Photo: Jatuphon.

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