3 Best Air Pumps for Hydroponics for 2021 [Review]

To create an optimal hydroponic system, you need to make sure your roots are getting enough oxygen. The best way to accomplish this is to get an air pump to help oxygenate the nutrient solution.

There are countless options to choose from so we created a handy guide to help you find the best hydroponic air pump for your setup.

Best Overall Air Pump

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General Hydroponics is a trusted brand and the best brand of hydroponic air pumps. The pump runs at an impressive 8 watts. Overall it’s fairly quiet and runs 4 medium air stones very well. The 4 outlets are each 1.25″.

For the power, this is a fairly quiet pump when compared to others of a similar size. If it still seems loud, you can adjust the strength using the control knobs. If you’re looking for a great price on a top of the line bubbler, this is the pump for you.

Best Budget Air Pump

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Looking for a great deal on a beginner’s hydroponic air pump? The Uniclife pump is definitely for you. This is actually marketed as an aquarium pump, but the goal is still the same, oxygenating your water. Since this is a smaller-budget pump, if will only work if your setup is 2-4 gallons (the pump is sold in 2 or 4 watt models). If you do have a small setup, and a low budget, you’ll be impressed with this pump.

As far as average ratings go, this is the highest-rated pump on our list, though most reviewers just use it for their fish tank. More good news is that both models come with the accessories you’ll need: tubes, connectors, valves and stones. These accessories alone are worth almost half the cost of the pump itself, so the value is pretty amazing. Since it’s designed for a home fish tank, you can bet that it’s fairly quiet when compared to some larger, commercial pumps.

Best Commercial Grade Hydroponic Air Pump

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If you’re looking to build or upgrade a commercial hydroponic setup, take a look at the Hydrofarm Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump. This pump comes in 3 different models with 6, 8 or a whopping 12 outlets!

A downside you may discover is that any of these 3 model pumps are quite loud. What would you expect from a large, commercial grade air pump though, so chances are this won’t be a huge deal to you.

Accessories are not included, and with so many outlets, you’ll want to make sure that you have plenty of 1/4″ tubing.


Do I need an air pump for hydroponics?

If you’re using the Deep Water Culture hydroponic system you definitely need an air pump, however it is recommended for any of the other hydroponic systems. If you’re looking to boost results, try adding an air pump.

What size air pump do I need for hydroponics?

This depends on the size of your nutrient-solution reservoir. The wattage of the air pump should be as close to the number of gallons in your reservoir as possible.

Can you have too much air in hydroponics?

No. According to studies, you cannot over oxygenate your plants. One researcher noted that if you had the ability to over-oxygenate your roots that in theory their growth could be stunted, but you’ll never reach those thresholds with any pump you see listed above.

Should I run my air pump 24/7?

Yes. If possible you should always have your air pump running so your roots can stay consistently oxygenated. It’s worth noting that air pumps typically don’t use much electricity.

Do I need to purchase air pump accessories?

Probably: Most hydroponic air pumps do not come with accessories included. However the Uniclife model listed above does come with accessories. For other pumps, check the features/description to see which accessories are not included with the pump. Chances are you’ll need to purchase things like plastic tubing for the air to travel, check valves, connectors and possibly even the air stones that go inside the reservoir.

Whether you’re a beginner, or a commercial grade hydroponic farmer, you’ll experience better growth through the use of a hydroponic air pump. Oxygenating your roots is critical to getting the most out of your plants, and we hope our guide has helped you make a more informed buying decision.

High Tech Gardening