Outdoor ponds are amazing to have, especially when you have fish and other critters in there. Now, with that being said, if you live in a place where it gets really cold, you are going to have some problems. The surface of your pond is going to freeze in the winter and that is going to cause issues.
The ice itself might not be a huge problem for your pond, at least not in terms of the temperature. However, the buildup of gasses and the lack of oxygen is definitely an issue for your pond fish.
Therefore, you need to get yourself a good pond heater, also known as a pond de-icer. Let’s get right to it and what we feel are some of the best pond heaters and de-icers you can get for your pond (this is our top pick).
A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2023
The 8 Best Pond Heaters & De-icers
1. TetraPond De-icer – Best Overall
The TetraPond De-icer is a very simple model to go with. All you need to do is place it in your pond, let it float there, and plug it in. It really does not get any easier than that. The TetraPond De-icer is quite powerful, as it is a 300-watt unit. It has the ability to deice a pond when temperatures get to -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-28.8 degrees Celsius).
In other words, it can handle really cold weather with ease. It helps to de-ice a pond so that harmful gasses can escape the water and so that oxygen can reach your fish. It is a great model to go with because it has a built-in thermostat that shuts it off when it is not needed, which helps to save electricity.
We also like this pond de-icer it is a durable option to go with, one that should last you for a decent amount of time. One thing to keep in mind here is that it cannot be used when there is already a solid layer of ice formed. Make sure to put it in the water before the layer of ice forms.
2. K&H Deluxe Pond De-icer
This particular model is a slightly less powerful one than the one we just looked at. This particular pond deicer is a 250-watt pond heater de-icer, which is a little less powerful than the one we just looked at. On the other hand, if you want, you can always go for the 750-watt or even the 1500-watt model.
Now, the best part about the K&H Deluxe Pond De-icer is that it is both a submersible and a floating pond de-icer. Within seconds you can transform it from a floating de-icer to a submersible one, and then back again too.
This thing is controlled by a thermostat, so it knows exactly when it needs to heat the water and when it is not necessary. The temperature is not adjustable, but the K&H De-icer will maintain the water temperature just above freezing at all times.
Just place it in the pond, plug in the 12-foot-long cord, and let it do its work. This thing is about as easy to use as can be. This pond de-icer is also MET listed for safety.
3. Aquascape 39000 Pond Heater and De-icer
This is another nice 300-watt pond heater to go with. It features a design that is specially made to ensure that it uses as little energy as possible. It features a built-in thermostat so it knows exactly when it needs to be on or off. This pond heater does come with an LED light which indicates when this unit is running.
Just to be clear, the Aquascape 39000 Pond Heater and De-icer is a floating pond de-icer, so it is meant for keeping a small hole open at the top. It cannot be placed on ice, however.
It needs to be put in the water before the ice starts to form. The Aquascape 39000 de-icer is made out of metal, stainless steel to be precise, which has 2 specific benefits.
For one, it won’t corrode or rust in the water, and second, it is very durable overall. The 22-foot long power cord means that you probably won’t need an extension cord, plus it makes placing this unit in the right spot fairly easy. It is pretty much just a metal pot and lid that heats up, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
4. Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-Icer
The Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-Icer is quite the powerful pond heater and de-icer. It is a 315-watt model that can handle temperatures down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit or -28.8 degrees Celsius. The Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-Icer comes with a built-in thermostat, so it knows when it needs to be on or off.
The thermostat not only shuts off when the temperature is above freezing, but also when the pond heater itself overheats.
This is heater nice because it prevents the Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-Icer from suffering heat damage. Whenever the temperature dips below freezing, it will turn on all on its own. You will know when this particular unit is on because it comes with an LED light indicator to let you know.
The Laguna De-Icer is a simple floating de-icer, so it does need to be put in the water before ice forms, but it does get the job done just fine. It might not look like anything special, but it works just as advertised. The 7-meter power cord is pretty handy too because it makes placement fairly simple.
5. API 1500 Watt Floating De-Icer
If you need a very big and powerful de-icer for your pond, the API 1500 Watt Floating De-Icer is a really good option to keep in mind. Yes, this heater is rated at a full 1,500 watts, which means that it can handle fairly big ponds and it can deal with extremely low temperatures. This floating de-icer does come with a built-in thermostat so that it turns off when it is not needed.
Now, being so powerful does mean that it is not particularly cost-effective or energy-efficient, but it does stop larger ponds from totally freezing over, thus saving the lives of all of your fish. The API De-Icer is made with a nice little floater that is totally encased in plastic, which helps to make it durable and stable. The heating element is guarded with metal rods, thus stopping them from getting damaged or from hurting your fish.
These guards protect the elements, the plastic tank, and the fish around the pond heater. This thing is a floating heater, so you need to put it in the pond before ice forms, but other than that, there are not many downsides to this thing at all. Well, it is ugly. There is no getting around that. It definitely does not look attractive by any means.
6. Farm Innovators Pond De-Icer Heated Saucer
The Farm Innovators Pond De-Icer Heated Saucer is a slightly smaller 200-watt pond heater and de-icer. This thing can be used in ponds up to 600 gallons at the most, and it can handle temperatures down to about -15 degrees Celsius.
As you can see, it is not quite as powerful as some of the other heaters we have looked at so far, but it does still get the job done. It features a very low profile design, which is nice because it doesn’t have much wind resistance, plus it is not much of an eyesore either.
We do like how the Farm Innovators Heated Saucer does not use very much electricity, thus making it quite cost-effective. Moreover, this thing comes with a built-in thermostat that regulates the temperature. In other words, it shuts off when it is not needed, thus preventing the waste of electricity, plus it helps stop it from overheating as well.
The 10-foot power cord is kind of short, so you will probably need an extension cord, but other than that, this de-icer is a really nice option to keep in mind.
7. Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-Icer
The Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-Icer is another nice option to go with, a fairly powerful one. This is a 500-watt de-icer, which means that it can handle some really cold temperatures and big ponds too. It might not be particularly energy-efficient, but it works really well for larger ponds.
It makes a pretty big hole in the ice, which is exactly what you need. Something else that stands out about the LagunaPowerHeat Heated De-Icer is that it is both plant and fish safe, as there is no way for the internal elements to become exposed to the water. The Laguna De-Icer is made with a solid stainless steel shell. This means that it will not rust, it is very durable and has an insane level of impact resistance. It might not be the nicest looking pond de-icer out there, but it is tough, durable, and it gets the job done.
The LED light which is included indicates whether the De-Icer is off or on. It actually has dual-zone thermostats to help with exact heat distribution. It will turn off when the temperature is above freezing. To be clear, this is a floating pond de-icer.
8. Cobalt Pond De-Icer
The Cobalt Pond De-Icer is a small little de-icer, one that does not use a lot of energy or take up a lot of room. This is a 100-watt pond heater and de-icer, so it is not meant for large ponds or very cold temperatures.
Ideally, it should not be used for ponds over 400 gallons or when temperatures go below -10 degrees Celsius. It just cannot handle any more than that. However, for moderately cold temperatures and fairly small ponds, the Cobalt Pond De-Icer definitely gets the job done.
The heating elements are housed in a ceramic casing to protect both the elements and the fish around the pond heater. We do like the fact that the Cobalt Pond De-Icer has a very low energy consumption rate, which makes it very cost-effective in the long run. We do also like how this thing’s heater comes with overheat protection to keep both it and your fish safe from damage and injury. To be clear, the Cobalt Pond De-Icer is a floating pond de-icer.
Buyers Guide: How to Choose the Best Pond De-Icer
With so many pond de-icers on the market, it can be a tough choice. We look at the main things to consider before buying below.
What Does A Pond De-Icer Do?
Simply put, a pond deicer is designed to get rid of a certain amount of ice from a pond. No, they will not melt or keep away all of the ice, but they will do so in a certain radius surrounding the unit. The radius of deicing will more or less depend on the power of the deicer itself. In essence, these things are meant to keep the surface of your pond from freezing over totally.
Many gases can build up in a pond when the surface is iced over, gasses that will harm and kill your pond fish and pond plants. Pond heaters and deicers make sure that there is a hole in the ice where the gases can escape. At the same time, the hole a deicer makes in the ice also helps oxygen get into the water so your fish can breathe.
What Size Pond De-icer Do I Need?
The size of the deicer is an important thing to keep in mind, but this is not really meant in terms of physical size. What you need to look out for is the size or power in terms of watts. A larger pond and colder temperatures will need a larger and more powerful de-icer. If you have a pond under 400 gallons and the temperature never gets below -10 degrees Celsius a small 100 or 200-watt de-icer will do just fine.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you have a pond over 1000 or 1200 gallons, and live somewhere where temperatures can go down to -30 degrees Celsius, you want to look for a 750 or 1,500-watt de-icer. Simply put, the specific pond heater and de-icer you look at should tell you what size of pond and what temperatures it can handle.
What Makes A Good Pond De-Icer?
Before you go out and buy the first pond de-icer that you see, there are a few considerations that you want to keep in mind. Let’s go over the most important things that you need to look out for when buying a pond de-icer and heaters right now.
No, pond de-icers are usually never going to come with an adjustable temperature feature. However, they do all need to have reliable thermostats built into them. A good pond de-icer can monitor the water temperature and will turn itself off or on depending on whether or not the water is going to freeze.
We already talked about this before, but it is very important to remember to get the right power level for your pond. A bigger pond with colder temperatures is going to need a de-icer with more watts.
If you get one that is too small or not powerful enough, it will just freeze right into the pond along with the water itself.
Floating or Submersible
There are both floating and submersible pond heaters out there. Submersible de-icers are nice because they are protected from the elements like rain, wind, snow, and animals too. The wind is a big problem with floating heaters, something which a submersible one does not have to deal with.
On the other hand, if you have a pond with a plastic liner, you will need a floating de-icer. A submerged de-icer next to a plastic pond liner will result in nothing more than a melted liner and a destroyed pond.
The other thing that you should look out for is how durable the pond de-icer in question is. Ones that feature solid stainless steel housing are our personal favorites.
They have a high level of impact resistance, they are well protected against the elements, and the internal components are all completely separated from the water and your fish.
Do Pond De-Icers Use A Lot Of Electricity?
Generally speaking, no, pond de-icers do not use too much electricity. However, they are not exactly 100% energy efficient either. For one, it depends on the size of your pond and the size and wattage of the pond heater in question. Obviously, a 1,500-watt de-icer is going to use way more energy than a 100-watt de-icer. That is just simple math.
However, it does also depend on how windy it is, because strong winds will take away heat from the de-icer, making it work harder. It also depends on how cold it is. The colder it is, the harder the de-icer will have to work to keep a hole open in the ice. That being said, most modern pond de-icers are being built with energy efficiency in mind.
What Is Winterkill & How To Protect Your Pond
Winterkill is what happens to pond or lake fish when the surface of the water totally freezes over, leaving no water that is not frozen. This solid layer of ice causes two main problems as we discussed before. The ice keeps poisonous gasses in the water, thus hurting or even killing both your pond fish and plants.
Also, the ice does not allow oxygen to pass through it, thus your fish and plants will suffocate. This can all happen quite rapidly. Heck, even a week of ice cover can kill everything in a smaller pond. Winterkill is when a lack of oxygen combined with increased levels of gasses kills your pond fish and plants. You can protect your pond from winterkill by getting yourself a good pond heater de-icer.
- You might also like A guide to adding tap water to your pond safely.
The bottom line is that if you live in a place where temperatures dip below freezing, especially for a prolonged period of time, you will need to get a good pond de-icer.
There is really no way around this, at least not if you have a pond and expect your fish to survive. We hope our pond heater de-icer reviews have helped you get to a decision on the best option for your pond and hope we have helped.
Featured image: Unsplash