Determining the Right Power Output for Your Tabletop Water Fountain

Having a beautiful tabletop water fountain can brighten up the looks of a garden or a room. There are many beautiful tabletop fountain kits available commercially, and these are relatively easy to use. However, the major concern for most people who use these fountains is whether the power output for the fountain is correct, keeping in view the area in which the fountain is installed and the make of the fountain itself.

The Pump

To determine the right power output for your fountain, you need to take a closer look at the pump of the fountain. Until recently, most fountains were “direct-drive” style. However, new technology has produced magnet-drive motors and solar-powered fountain pumps, both of which are now available commercially. The pump is usually the most expensive component of the fountain, and the cost of it is dependent on the power output that you expect. Although there are many pumps that can deliver large flows of water, the challenge is to find a pump that can send out small flows.

The Pump Housing

The most important consideration while choosing a pump is the pump housing. If you have wooden furniture in the area where you want to keep the pump, it is ideal to use a small pump so that water stream is lower and splashing is minimal. The housing is usually completely concealed after the assembly of the fountain is complete. Other considerations are the point of outflow: should it be from the top of the pump or from the side? The reservoir and the depth of the water in it are also serious considerations.

Rule of Thumb

Depending on how you want your fountain to function, the pump of the tabletop fountain will vary. The calculation is rather simple. For each inch or 25 cm width of the stream of water, you should choose a pump that gives you an output of 100 gallons per hour (GPH). This width of stream is measured at the height of the overflow point. This would mean that for each inch of water, a pump that can pump 380 liters of water per hour should be installed in your fountain.

This calculation will differ if the fountain opening is at the side. The pressure required is less in such a case, and therefore, the power output will be slightly less. For average-sized fountains which are kept in outdoor areas, typically a pump that delivers at least 500 gallons per hour (GPH) or 1900 liters per hour is used. The output is ideally measured for pumping water at 3 feet of the head of the fountain.


Again, the pump should only be determined according to the purpose of your tabletop fountain and its location. Some of the commonly available commercial pumps that you can buy are direct-drive pumps, magnet-driven motors and solar-powered pumps. The magnet-driven motors are the ones most commonly used on tabletop fountains. The solar-powered motors are not used for fountains that are to be installed indoors because they are not that efficient.