Best & Quietest Water Pumps for your Aquarium (Updated 2019 Reviews)

Close up of an orange fish swimming in its aquarium and checking out a water pump

As an aquatic hobbyist, your main goal is to create and maintain a healthy environment for your tanks inhabitants.

 

And to achieve this, you’re going to want the right water pump for your tank.

 

In this article, you’re going to learn what you need to know so you can pick the best aquarium water pump for your tank.

 

Then, at the end, we’ll review some of the best and quietest aquarium water pumps available today.

Table of Contents

Click a button to skip to that section of the article:

Quick Comparison of The Best Water Pumps

Preview
Aqueon Quietflow Submersible Aquarium Utility Pump 1700
Eheim AEH1001310 Compact Water Pump 600 for Aquarium
Lowest Price
Super Sun Submersible Aquarium Power Head, 317 GPH
Aquatop NP-302 Aquarium Fully Submersible Pump 118 GPH for Fresh and Saltwater Tanks
Top Pick
EcoPlus 396 GPH (1500 LPH, 20W) Submersible Water Pump w/ 6 ft Power Cord | Aquarium, Fish Tank, Fountain, Pond, Hydroponics
Title
Aqueon Quietflow 1200
Eheim Compact 600
Super SunSun Power Head
Aquatop NP-302
EcoPlus 728310 396
GPH
106-608
158
158-317
130
75-7400
Customer Rating
-
-
-
-
-
Price
from $18.76
$30.89
$11.97
$10.85
$23.40
Prime
Preview
Aqueon Quietflow Submersible Aquarium Utility Pump 1700
Title
Aqueon Quietflow 1200
GPH
106-608
Customer Rating
-
Price
from $18.76
Prime
Preview
Eheim AEH1001310 Compact Water Pump 600 for Aquarium
Title
Eheim Compact 600
GPH
158
Customer Rating
-
Price
$30.89
Prime
Lowest Price
Preview
Super Sun Submersible Aquarium Power Head, 317 GPH
Title
Super SunSun Power Head
GPH
158-317
Customer Rating
-
Price
$11.97
Prime
Preview
Aquatop NP-302 Aquarium Fully Submersible Pump 118 GPH for Fresh and Saltwater Tanks
Title
Aquatop NP-302
GPH
130
Customer Rating
-
Price
$10.85
Prime
Top Pick
Preview
EcoPlus 396 GPH (1500 LPH, 20W) Submersible Water Pump w/ 6 ft Power Cord | Aquarium, Fish Tank, Fountain, Pond, Hydroponics
Title
EcoPlus 728310 396
GPH
75-7400
Customer Rating
-
Price
$23.40
Prime

**Before reviewing the individual water pumps, I’d like to talk about how you can effectively choose one for your current setup.

 

Otherwise, if you’re just here to get a breakdown of your options, you can jump straight to the review section.

How to Choose the Best Water Pump for Your Aquarium

When choosing the best water pump for your aquarium, you’ll need to consider the following:

  • Your Filter
  • Gallons per hour
  • Watts

Check the Water Pump is Suitable for Your Filter

Your filter will dictate the type of water pump you need, because not all water pumps will be compatible.

 

Make sure the filter you choose is compatible with your aquariums inhabitants. And once you’ve chosen, make sure the water pump is suitable.

 

It’s very common for you to find this information listed on its packaging, if not, you’ll be able to find it on the manufacturer’s website.

Check the Water Pumps GPH

Every water pump will have a GHP rating. GPH stands for Gallons Per Hour, and it’s the amount of water it can pump.

 

To pick the best water pump for your aquarium, you’ll need to make sure this rating is suitable.

 

You’re going to want to look for a water pump with a GPH which is 4-5x the volume of your tank.

 

For example, if you own a 29 gallon tank, you’ll need a water pump with a GPH rating of at least 145.

 

However…

 

…the GPH rating listed will be the maximum flow rate if it’s in the perfect conditions or at a head height of 0 feet.

 

The length and head height of your water pump will affect its pumping capacity.

 

But, don’t worry if you’re concerned about having to calculate this. 

 

Most companies will provide two graphs with their pumps: one to show you the maximum height you can keep it.

 

And one to show you the GPH rate at different lengths and heights.

Pro Tip: When choosing your water pump, take into account the preferences of the inhabitants in your aquarium. Do they prefer a higher or lower flow rate?

What's the Watts?

Personally, I always check the pumps efficiency. And if you’re budget conscious, I highly recommend you do the same.

 

I like to find water pumps which can do the job using the minimum amount of watts.

 

Lower watts means you’ll be spending less on your electricity bill, and it’s good for the environment.

Submersible Water Pumps

Commonly used in a sump of a wet/dry filter, they run underwater.

 

They’ll clean your water by directing it through your filter, chiller, and/or UV sterilizer to clean it.

 

And then force the clean water back into your aquarium.

Pros

  • Easy to install because you don’t need to drill and install a bulkhead in your filter system.
  • Tend to be quieter because they run under water

Cons

  • Water cooled: they may add unwanted heat to your aquarium

If you have limited space in your sump, the dimensions could be a disadvantage or advantage.

In-line Water Pumps

Located outside of your tank, in-line water pump’s use an inlet and outlet hose to filter your water.

 

You can install them in two different ways:

1. In-line Pressure Setup

You’ll want to setup your water pump before your canister filter, so it’s able to force the water though your filter.

 

Be aware, your water pump can receive a lot of back pressure from your filter in this setup, so you’ll need to look for a pump designed to handle this.

2. In-line Free-flow Setup

You setup your water pump after the filtration process. Your water pump will then direct the water from your sump into your aquarium.

 

If you want, you can also set it up to direct your water through other systems like, UV sterilzers or protein skimmers.

 

This setup allows your water pump to direct water with less effort – causing less back pressure.

Pros

  • Air cooled, so it will add less heat to your aquarium
  • Tend to be able to move more gallons per hour

Cons

  • Louder than submersible water pumps

Best and Quietest Aquarium Water Pumps Reviewed

Because we want to focus on the best an quietest water pumps, we’re only going to be reviewing submersible water pumps.

 

1. Aqueon Quietflow Submersible Utility Pump 1200

Sale
Aqueon Quiet Flow 1200
Developed and tested for over two years for fresh or saltwater aquariums. Aqueon pumps deliver a reliable, energy-efficient, and quiet performance.

Measuring at 4.88″ x 2.88″ x 5.38″ inches, it’s a bigger model. So, if you have limited space, this may not be the one for you.

 

However, with an adjustable flow rate available between 106 and 608 GPH, it’s ideal for tanks up to 152 gallons.

 

And using only 21 watts of power, it’s quiet and efficient.

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Energy efficient
  • Ideal for salt and freshwater aquariums
  • Easy to install and customize

Cons

  • Can be noisy during its 'break in' period

2. Eheim Compact Water Pump 600

Eheim Compact 600
This space-sensitive water pump's made from high-quality materials. And offers you an efficient, quiet, and adjustable flow.

If you don’t like having big bulky equipment around your tank, this may be the one for you.

 

Measuring at 3.3″ x 1.8″ x  2.6″ inches, it’s easy to hide away.

 

And despite its size, it’s has an impressive GPH of 158 and only uses 7 watts. Making it very energy efficient. 

Pros

  • Its small size means that you can easily hide it
  • Quiet and energy efficient
  • Flow is adjustable
  • 3-year warranty
  • Use with salt and freshwater tanks

Cons

  • Exposed steel parts could rust if used for a saltwater tank

3. Super SunSun Aquarium Power Head

Sale
Super SunSun Power Head
You get what you pay for, nothing more, nothing less–an efficient water pump.

Another quiet and energy efficient water pump, it’ll pump 158 gallons per hour using only 8 watts.

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Adjustable flow rate
  • Suitable for salt and freshwater tanks

Cons

  • Many reports of it having poor durability
  • Hoses can be tricky to install

4. Aquatop NP-302 Water Pump

Aquatop NP-302
One to watch if you own a smaller aquarium, you'll get a decent pump with a good, adjustable flow.

With a GPH of 130, it’s best suited to smaller aquariums.

 

However, for it’s size, it’s energy efficient using only 6 watts. And the flow is also adjustable.

 

If you want a compact water pump that’s very quiet, this could be the ideal one for you.

 

Pros

  • Compact
  • Very quiet and energy efficient
  • Suitable for salt and freshwater tanks
  • Adjustable flow

Cons

  • Setup and attachments can be tricky and cause issues

5. EcoPlus 728310 396 Water Pump

Sale
Top Pick: EcoPlus 728310 396
Not the best product name, but don't let that put you off. You can use this in-line or fully submersed. Reliable, quiet, and beginner friendly, it's available in a wide range of GPH.

Now, this water pump can actually be used in-line and full submersed. So if you’re undecided, or want options, this could be the one for you.

 

It’s also available from 75 – 7400 GPH, and the watts change accordingly.

 

However, if you look the watt usage at 158 GPH (same as the others we’ve reviewed), it uses 26.5. A huge difference to the others which only use 8 and 7 watts.

 

It’s extremely reliable, quiet, and beginner friendly. If you want to make it as quiet as possible, I would recommend using the submersible setup over in-line.

Pros

  • Extremely quiet
  • Durable and reliable
  • Suitable for salt and freshwater tanks
  • Available for a wide range of tank sizes

Cons

  • Uses more watts

Which is Best?

It’s between the Eco Plus and Aqueon Quiet Flow, as both are very reliable and quiet. But, if you twist my arm I’d say, go with the Eco Plus. 

Sale
Top Pick: EcoPlus 728310 396
Not the best product name, but don't let that put you off. You can use this in-line or fully submersed. Reliable, quiet, and beginner friendly, it's available in a wide range of GPH.

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