Best Pond De-icer and Heater: Review + Buying Guide

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So, winter is coming, and you are worried about your precious fishpond in your backyard. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Winter can be quite harsh on your friends who live in the pond as the oxygen level drops to a critical level. In this dire time, your best friend could be a pond de-icer or a heater. 

If you live in a chilly climate, having a de-icer is not just an option, IT’S MANDATORY!  

It keeps the water temperature at an optimum level, increases aeration, and removes toxins from the pond.

That being said, let’s take a look at the best pond de-icer and heater and our detailed guide to buying one. 

IMAGE PRODUCT Type  rating price
K&H Pet Products Thermo-Pond Perfect Climate Deluxe Pond De-icer K&H Pet Products Thermo-Pond Perfect Climate Deluxe Pond De-icer
  • Floating and submersible
10
Aquascape 39000 Pond Heater and De-icer Aquascape 39000 Pond Heater and De-icer
  • Floating
10
K&H Pet Products 100213382 Thermo 3.0 Pond De-icer K&H Pet Products 100213382 Thermo 3.0 Pond De-icer
  • Floating
9.5
Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-icer for Ponds Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-icer for Ponds
  • Floating
9.5
TetraPond De-icer TetraPond De-icer
  • Floating
9
Hygger Saltwater Tank Titanium Tube Submersible Pinpoint Aquarium Heater Hygger Saltwater Tank Titanium Tube Submersible Pinpoint Aquarium Heater
  • Submersible heater
8.5

Should I Use a Pond Heater During Winter?

This is a question which most koi pond owners will ask. It’s a very logical and important question.

Koi fish are native to Eastern Asia. Although their birth place is Central China, the Japanese are mostly responsible for popularizing the fish.

In these areas, average temperatures are around -4°F to 35°F (-20°C to 2°C). This means that koi can survive in fairly cold temperatures naturally. To deal with the cold weather, they even limit their movement and hibernate.

However, winter temperatures in the USA tend to often fall below this level. The extremely cold environment might pose a threat to your koi.

Why is that?

Because the oxygen level drops in the cold, and if it drops too much, your fish could die.

This is where the importance of a heater or a de-icer comes into play. A de-icer/heater increases the temperature of the water in a pond.  A de-icer also has another role to play. It creates a hole in the icy surface so that aeration and the oxygenation process can continue.

It thereby eliminates or reduces the toxicity of the water.

So, if you live in an area where winter is particularly cold, you MUST get a de-icer. Otherwise, your fish could die.

However, if you live in a warmer climate (such as California), you won’t need to buy an aquascape pond heater or de-icer.

You should keep in mind that this applies only to koi ponds. If you have a goldfish pond, you must maintain the pond temperature between 68°F to 74°F. In this case, you must get a heater.

Top 6 Best Pond De-icers and Heaters of 2020

K&H Pet Products Thermo-Pond Perfect Climate Deluxe Pond De-icer – Overall Best

K&H Pet Products Thermo-Pond Perfect Climate Deluxe Pond De-icer

If you are confused as to whether you should get a de-icer or a heater, K&H Thermo-Pond Perfect Climate Deluxe Pond De-icer might come to your rescue.

Why?

Because it works as both a de-icer and a heater. It primarily works as a de-icer, but with a push of a single button, it becomes a heater.

It’s a perfect two-in-one device.

Also, the wattage of this device is quite high, meaning you can use it even in the coldest of climates.   

It’s also absolutely safe and is certified by MET for fish safety.

What more could you expect?

Product Profile – K&H Thermo-Pond Perfect Climate Deluxe Pond De-icer (750W)

  • Pond size: 100 gallons to 1,200 gallons
  • Wattage: 750W
  • Cord length: 12 feet
  • Floating vs. submersible: Both

Notable features

  • Converts from a de-icer to a heater at the click of a button
  • MET certification proves that it’s safe in all ponds
  • Thermostatically controlled
  • Doesn’t damage plastic ponds or pond liners
  • Available in two wattage options

Pros

  • Two-in-one design
  • Safe to use
  • Easy to clean
  • High power output
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • High wattage count could result in a high electricity bill

Aquascape 39000 Pond Heater and De-icer – Best Pond De-icer

Aquascape 39000 Pond Heater and De-icer

Let’s talk about a perfect de-icer which focuses on the role of de-icer and not a heater. I’m talking about Aquascape 39000.

The biggest feature of this device is its energy efficiency. This 300-watt de-icer can keep your pond ice free, even in the coldest climate.

The device features a compact stainless-steel casing and the heating unit sits inside, so there will always be a hole on the surface of the pond to ensure proper aeration.

It won’t increase the water temperature of the entire pond, but it will maintain an opening for oxygenation and aeration.

Product Profile – Aquascape 39000 Pond Heater and De-icer

  • Pond size: Up to 500 gallons
  • Wattage: 300W
  • Cord length: 22 feet
  • Floating vs. submersible: Floating

Notable features

  • Corrosion and crack-proof stainless-steel body
  • LED indicator to signal operational status
  • Energy efficient, 300W device can sustain up to 500-gallon ponds
  • Long 22-foot power cable

Pros

  • Energy-efficient, low operating cost
  • Strong build
  • Performs well, even in the harshest climate
  • LED indicator

Cons

  • Expensive

K&H Pet Products 100213382 Thermo 3.0 Pond De-icer – Most Power-Efficient Option

K&H Pet Products 100213382 Thermo 3.0 Pond De-icer

If power-efficiency if your main priority, you should definitely consider the K&H Pet Products 100213382 Thermo 3.0 Pond De-icer.

This 100W mini-monster performs well, even in a 1,000-gallon pond. Yes, it’s the most energy-efficient model on the market.

If you’re worried about the quality of performance, let me give you an interesting fact about this device: it was tested in -30°F temperatures in Northern Wisconsin!

Now, that’s impressive!

Also, all your fish will remain safe as it comes with MET certification.

Product Profile – K&H Pet Products 100213382 Thermo 3.0 Pond De-icer

  • Pond size: Up to 1,000 gallons
  • Wattage: 100W
  • Cord length: 12 feet
  • Floating vs. submersible: Floating

Notable features

  • Consumes only 100W
  • MET-certified for safety
  • Thermostatically controlled
  • Can handle up to 1,000-gallon ponds

Pros

  • Very low operating cost
  • Suitable for large tanks
  • Safety certification

Cons

  • Plastic construction

Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-icer for Ponds – Best Pond De-icer And Aerator

Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-icer for Ponds

Are you looking for a de-icer from a BIG brand? What about Hagen? They are one of the biggest names in the aquarium industry has and have given birth to popular sub-brands such as Fluval, Marina, AquaClear, and many more.

Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-icer for Ponds is an exceptionally good device.

Its build quality is solid. There are two features which make this device stand out – an additional 15W heating element which melts snow and an LED indicator.

Also, it’s a power-efficient model which can handle up to 1,000-gallon ponds!

Product Profile – Laguna PowerHeat Heated De-icer for Ponds

  • Pond size: Up to 1,000 gallons
  • Wattage: 315W
  • Cord length: 22 feet
  • Floating vs. submersible: Floating

Notable features

  • 15W heating element that can melt snow
  • Long 22-foot power cord
  • LED indicator
  • Internal thermostat

Pros

  • Sturdy build quality
  • Additional heating element
  • Long power cable
  • Automatic shut-off feature

Cons

  • Doesn’t perform well under 20°F

TetraPond De-icer – Creates a Natural Look

TetraPond De-icer

No matter how useful a de-icing device is, an electric device will often ruin the aesthetic look of your pond.

What if you get a “heating rock” which also works as a de-icer?

Well, you that’s exactly what you get with TetraPond De-icer! No, it’s not actually a rock, but the heating element has a stone finish which creates a natural look.

The device offers great performance as it was tested in harsh -20°F temperatures. It’s safe to say that you can count on it as it comes from the well-known brand Tetra.

Product Profile – TetraPond De-icer

  • Pond size: Up to 500 gallons
  • Wattage: 300W
  • Cord length: 15 feet
  • Floating vs. submersible: Floating

Notable features

  • Mimics the look of a natural stone
  • Tested to perform at temperatures of -20°F
  • Thermostatically controlled shut-off

Pros

  • Matches the natural look of a pond
  • Safe to use
  • Automatic shut-off
  • Performs well, even at low temperatures
  • Budget-friendly option

Cons

  • Plastic finish
  • Poor build quality

Hygger Saltwater Tank Titanium Tube Submersible Pinpoint Aquarium Heater – Best Saltwater Heater

Hygger Saltwater Tank Titanium Tube Submersible Pinpoint Aquarium Heater

Are you looking for a heater which is specifically designed for saltwater conditions? Well, the possible best option could be the Hygger Saltwater Tank Titanium Tube Submersible Pinpoint Aquarium Heater.

However, I must remind you of something – it’s not a pond heater but a tank heater.

It’s a submersible option with suction cups for easy installation. The heating rod is made from shatterproof anti-corrosion titanium.

The IC controlled thermostat offers pinpoint temperature control.

Product Profile – Hygger Saltwater Tank Titanium Tube Submersible Pinpoint Aquarium Heater

  • Pond size: 5 to 10 gallons
  • Wattage: 50W
  • Cord length: 5.5 feet
  • Floating vs. submersible: Submersible

Notable features

  • High quality titanium heating rod
  • IC temperature control
  • Suitable for saltwater conditions
  • Heating range 32°F to 104°F
  • Control accuracy is +/-0.5°C
  • Low power consumption

Pros

  • Suitable for saltwater
  • Great build quality
  • Accurate
  • Low operating cost
  • Thermostatically controlled

Cons

  • Not suitable for outdoor use
  • Very low tank capacity
  • Requires an additional pump to distribute heat
  • Only suitable for glass tanks

Buying Guide: How Do You Choose the Best Pond De-icer and Heater?

A de-icer is quite important, particularly if you live in cold area. However, there are some buying considerations that you simply MUST take into consideration.

One wrong move and you could end up with burned or even dead fish!

So, make sure to check out these factors.

More: Different Types Of Koi Fish

De-icer vs. Heater

We tend to interchange the term de-icer and heater sometimes as if they are one and the same device. However, there are some fundamental differences.  

A heater, as its name suggests, increases the temperature of the water. Due to the increased temperature, it’s unlikely that ice will accumulate on the surface of the water.

So, a heater offers some form of de-icing properties.

On the other hand, a de-icer follows a completely different working philosophy. It generally floats on the surface of the water and keeps it ice-free. Unlike a heater, it doesn’t change the overall temperature of the entire pond.

The other objective of a de-icer is to allow aeration so that fish have enough oxygen supply. Also, it keeps toxins at bay so that the water remains as healthy as possible.

Another key difference is that a heater is typically submerged, while a de-icer floats on the top of the water’s surface.

More: Koi Fish Care 101 + Complete Care Sheet

Floating vs. Submersible

There are some devices which work as both a de-icer and a heater – they have a dual nature. Due to this dual nature, a de-icer can be both floating and submersible.

For example, the number one spot holder, K&H Pet Products Thermo-Pond Perfect Climate Deluxe Pond De-icer is both floating and submersible.

But generally, most devices are either a floater or submerged.

If a de-icer is submersible, it will serve as a heater and increase the overall temperature of a pond. Otherwise, it’ll only clear the ice from the surface.

Also, if you are buying a submersible heater, it could potentially offer de-icing properties.

So, you should make sure to inquire about the product in detail before making your final purchase.

More: The Best Koi Pond Filter Reviews and Buying Guide [2020]

Wattage

When choosing a de-icer or heater, wattage might be the most important buying consideration.

Why is that?

The device’s capability of how much volume it can handle depends mostly on the wattage. The rule of thumb suggests that the wattage of a device is proportional to the volume of the pond.

Simply put, the higher the wattage is, the larger a pond it can handle.

For example, if you have a 500-gallon pond, you will need a 300W de-icer. You can’t manage this size of pond with a 100W or 750W device. The first will struggle to keep the ice at bay and the second will overheat the pond.

However, geographical location also plays a critical role. The winter in Alaska is much colder than in Chicago. You’ll need a de-icer in both Alaska and Chicago, but the same device will not work in both places.

So, you need to consider the size of your pond and your location and match this with the wattage of the device. Only then can you make your final choice.

However, there’s a but!

There are some manufacturers who design devices which can offer higher temperatures, even with a lower wattage.

More: A Guide to Choose the Best Koi Food

Thermostat

This is a MUST-HAVE feature!

Weather is an ever-changing parameter. It’s only normal for the temperature to change a few degrees every other day.

If you have a de-icer which doesn’t have a thermostat, you will be offering  a varying temperature every day to your fish, and that NOT healthy!

A thermostat can sense the changes in temperature and make changes in order to maintain a constant temperature in the pond.

With thermostatic control, you can offer a comfortable and constant temperature to your fish.

What Size Pond De-icer Do I Need?

Sadly, there’s NO concrete answer to this question. The answer depends on two factors:

  • Pond size
  • Pond location

So, for a 500-gallon pond, you could require either a 250W or a 750W de-icer. Location plays a significant role here.

For example, if the winter temperature drops to -40°F, you’ll need a 750W de-icer for a 500-gallon pond. However, if the temperature stays at around 20°F, a 250W de-icer will be more than enough.

For this reason, it’s hard to standardize the pond size and wattage relationship.

However, you could use the table below to get an average idea:

 Pond Size vs. Wattage Chart
Pond size
Temperature range   100 – 400 gallons 400 – 750 gallons 750 – 1,000 gallons
-50°F to -30°F  750W 1,000W 1,500W
-30°F to -10°F  500W 750W 1000W
-10°F to 10°F  250W 500W 750W
10°F to 30°F  100W 250W 500W

How Do You Install A Pond Heater?

The installation process for a pond heater is very simple. The device is very compact. There are only two parts to a heater/de-icer:

  • Heating unit
  • Power cord

All you need to do is place the device in the water and plug it in!

If you have a floating device, it will simply float on the surface. A submersible device will just sit on the bed of the pond. There is no special installation guideline for most devices.

However, there is one simple and crucial rule – you should NEVER plug in and operate a device before you put it in your pond.

Also, if you want to remove the device from the water, you should unplug it and allow it to cool completely. Otherwise, you might burn your fingers!

As always, I suggest that you read the instruction from the manufacturers. They often have special installation guidelines. Sticking to these guidelines is always the best strategy to follow.

How Do Pond Heaters Work?

A heater typically has two fundamental parts – a heating chamber and a thermostat.

The heating chamber may have an electric heating element or a gas-fired burner to increase the heat.

The thermostat is a sensor which turns the heating chamber on or off in order to reach the desired environmental temperature.

When the thermostat determines that the temperature of the water has fallen below a desired level, it turns on the heating chamber. Cold water then enters the chamber and absorbs heat from the internal heat exchanger and becomes warm.

The warm water then exits through the outlet valve.

This system continues to work until the surrounding water reaches the preset temperature. Once it reaches this temperature, the thermostat turns off the heating chamber.

This cycle remains continuous.

Conclusion

Are you ready? It’s time for today’s ranking of the best pond de-icer and heater!

K&H Pet Products Thermo-Pond Perfect Climate Deluxe Pond De-icer sits at the top of our list for being both a de-icer and a heater with floating and submersible characteristics.

Aquascape 39000 Pond Heater and De-icer is the runner-up for being the ultimate de-icer.

And third place goes to K&H Pet Products 100213382 Thermo 3.0 Pond De-icer for being the most energy-efficient solution.

What do you think? Please comment with your thoughts.

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