Winter. Even the most foolhardy of us know that it’s time to hibernate. For some of us, that means sub-zero temperatures. For others, relentless winds and snow drifts the size of sand dunes. And for some of the lucky few that means a blessed few weeks of weather hovering near or around the 32-degree mark.

No one likes shoveling snow. Or slipping on patches of ice. But imagine living underneath those conditions for months on end? That’s what your outdoor fish or amphibians have to put up with every single day during winter. And to make matters worse, once the water temperature falls so do their body temperatures.

More importantly, the algae and vegetation they feed on die during the winter, resulting in an accumulation of frozen gases which can harm and even kill outdoor fish. But there is a solution.

Pond heaters and de-icers are becoming increasingly more popular among owners of koi and other outdoor fish ponds these days. At one time prohibitively expensive, their prices have dropped dramatically over the past few years. But does affordability also ensure reliability?

We’ll take a look at some of the more popular brands of pond heaters currently available, as well as provide a useful guide to keep in mind when purchasing one.

K&H Thermo-Pond Perfect Climate Deluxe Pond Deicer Review

This 250-watt pond heater can be used as a floating de-icer or converted to a submersible de-icer in a matter of seconds.

Thermostatic controls allow for automatic operation as needed to keep the water in your pond safe from freezing over… even when you’re not at home!

Easy to maintain and with a 12’ long cord, K&H deicers are guaranteed not to harm both your fish as well as pond liners or plastic ponds.

Allied Precision 7521 Floating 1,500-Watt Pond De-Icer/Heater Review

A 1500 watt pond heater ideally suited for larger ponds, this thermostatically controlled model comes complete with automatic shut off and a 6 foot power cord.

Some customers have pointed out that this can not be used in a plastic or PVC pond without the purchase of an additional heater guard, so you may want to purchase one separately.

Still, this is a miracle worker at an economically friendly price.

LagunaPowerHeat Heated De-Icer for Ponds Review

Laguna’s 500-watt model is also a thermostatically controlled heater, with a stainless steel design and 22-foot long cord.

A flashing LED light indicates when the unit is heating and is designed to be safe for plastic and liner ponds.

What makes Laguna’s model unique are dual-zone integrated thermostats that help the distribute the heat, allowing for an even thaw; something that can be critical for those of you in particularly frigid temperatures.

Farm Innovators Model P-418 Premium Cast Aluminum Floating Pond Heater

A 1250 watt model capable of heating ponds between 50 and 600 gallons, this thermostatically controlled de-icer is constructed out of patented cast aluminum for maximum safety.

Complete with an industry standard 10’ cord, an automatic on/off control and backed by a 3 year warranty, it also works on fountains, troughs and just about any outdoor aquatic structure that needs heating.

Pond Heater Buying Guide – How to find the best pond heater for your needs.

Despite the fact that the term “pond heater” and “de-icer” are virtually interchangeable, there’s a significant amount of difference in models to take into consideration before your purchase.

Floating Models

While most manufacturers offer models that are floating, there are some that are still entirely submersible. More common is a floating/submersible hybrid. What are the differences?

Floating models stay on top of ice and water; which means no inherent danger to plastic ponds or PVC liners. On the other hand, submersible units are protected from dangerous elements such as wind or heavy snowfall which cannot only rob a de-icer of heat but can destroy it.

Wattage

Ensuring that the wattage unit is suitable for your pond is critical. Higher-wattage units are more suitable for bigger ponds but may overheat smaller ones, while low-wattage units may work perfectly on small ponds but prove insufficient for larger ones.

Wattage units and size vary from climate zone, however. For handy reference, you can find a quick guide here: http://khmfg.com/pdf/chart_pond.png

Fuel

Pond heaters can run on either electricity, gas, and oil. Ultimately this is contingent on your budget. Gas and oil are costly; and while electric may seem affordable at first, frequent usage and maintenance may increase over time.

There’s no denying that a fish pond is one of the most natural and perfect ways to beautify your property. And we wouldn’t be surprised if you spent a drastic amount of money stocking it. Doesn’t it make sense to spend a fraction of the cost to keep it alive?