Best Outdoor Fountains

Updated September 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

25 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
390 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best outdoor fountains

Last Updated September 2020

Whether you currently spend a ton of time in your outdoor living space or want to spend more, an outdoor fountain can be a fun and relaxing investment. An outdoor fountain can serve as a focal point and meditative element for your garden or deck, tying other elements of the space together while adding motion and sound that attracts birds and butterflies.

From simple solar-powered floating fountains to intricately sculpted fountains that resemble works of art, there are a wide variety of fountains available to choose from. Aspects of an outdoor fountain to consider include materials, size, power source, and features such as pumps, lighting, and controls. No matter what type of backyard you have, there’s a style and size to accommodate your space and complement your flower garden. Read our buying guide to learn more about outdoor fountains, and be sure to check out our recommendations when you’re ready to buy.

Outdoor fountains can typically be found in one of four different configurations: tabletop fountains, wall fountains, floating fountains, and freestanding fountains.

Key considerations

Appearance

As an outdoor fountain is first and foremost a decorative element, its appearance is a key consideration, and there are a variety of styles. Nature-themed fountains may resemble a real waterfall with rocks and blend in better in a garden setting. A more ornamental or traditional fountain functions better as a focal point in a garden. There are also whimsical fountains that feature water flowing pot to pot. Others resemble works of art — sculpted figures that are more statue than fountain.

Appearance depends on both your personal preference and how you plan to use the fountain. Some manufacturers provide you with a variety of color choices, giving you even more options to consider.

Construction

As it is exposed to the elements, an outdoor fountain should be built to last. The actual materials that go into a fountain — be it fiberglass, poly resin, or cast stone — can vary considerably, but in the end they should all have the same goal: keeping your fountain in one piece and looking great for years.

Note that while some fountains may resemble stone, there are few that are made from actual stone. Composite materials that resemble stone are often used, providing you with the appearance of stone without its weight.

Size and weight

Know how much your fountain weighs before ordering it. Some are under a pound, while others are heavy enough that moving them around may be difficult. The majority of fountains are in the 20 to 40 pound range. A heavier fountain can be an issue if you need it to be more portable.

Similarly, the size of outdoor fountains can vary considerably, from under a foot in height to several feet tall. Size is important to consider for all fountains, whether portable or stationary. A large fountain in a compact space may overwhelm the space, while something like a tabletop fountain in a large garden tends to disappear. Carefully consider where you will be placing your fountain when deciding what size to buy.

Power source

While some fountains are solar-powered, the majority are powered via an electrical cord. With an electric fountain, you don’t need to worry whether the sun is shining — the fountain runs during dreary days, and even after dark. The downside of an electric fountain is that you need to either place the fountain near an outlet or plan to run an extension cord to it.

So long as it’s receiving decent light, a solar fountain has no such placement considerations.

Installation

Some outdoor fountains arrive fully assembled, while others (particularly larger fountains) require a fair amount of time and effort to put together. Most outdoor fountains usually require some light assembly before you can plug them in, but this may be something as simple as snaking hosing through the fountain and plugging it into the pump.

EXPERT TIP

One vital tool you need when installing a fountain is a level. A fountain that is not sitting flat can easily spill water and may not pump water evenly.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Pump

The pump is the primary way for water to circulate through the fountain. Pumps vary in terms of the number of gallons per minute they move water, with larger pumps usually reserved for larger fountains. Larger pumps may move more water per minute but tend to be louder when running.

When considering a fountain, be sure it includes a pump. The pump should provide a strong, steady flow. Check whether the water flow is adjustable — being able to regulate the flow solves problems such as splashing or anemic performance.

Number of tiers

The tiers of a fountain are the levels where water is collected before falling to the next. Some fountains only have one tier, while others have three, four, or more. Generally speaking, the more tiers, the more water movement the fountain has and the more water sound it produces.

Lighting

While not standard, some fountains feature LED lighting either within the fountain pools or illuminating the falling water. Some have only one color of LED, while others offer a variety of colors. If you entertain frequently at night or just enjoy hanging outside after dark, consider a fountain with LED lights.

Controls

Controls on an outdoor fountain are usually few. Some fountains have an on/off switch, while others require you to unplug the fountain whenever you want to stop the water flow. A control to regulate the water flow can be found on some fountains.

Add a few drops of a pet-friendly fountain algaecide every week to keep your fountain free from algae and mosquito larva.

Outdoor fountain prices

Outdoor fountains range in price from around $20 up to several hundred dollars. The average price is between $150 and $250. 

Inexpensive: At the low end of the price range you can find simple solar-powered fountains with few bells and whistles and minimal water flow. 

Mid-range: Mid-price fountains are usually in the tabletop size.

Expensive: Larger fountains can be found at higher price points. They’re capable of pumping a much higher rate of water. Pricier fountains are often more artistically designed with a better build. They offer more advanced features such as LED lighting.

DID YOU KNOW?

Outdoor water fountains date back to ancient Crete and Greece, where they were not just decorative but also a valuable source of drinking water for local populations.

Tips

  • Verify that the fountain either ships with everything you need to assemble it, or know what you may additionally need. Some manufacturers require you to buy parts such as hosing before you’re able to use the fountain.

  • Avoid putting fish, plants, or anything else within the fountain water bowls. Both fish and plants produce waste that can clog hosing and affect the performance of your fountain.

  • Simple solar-powered floating fountains often include suctioned feet on the bottom so you can mount the fountain to a surface if you’d rather run the fountain stationary instead of letting it float around.

  • When deciding where to place your outdoor fountain, turn your gaze skyward. Any trees or other vegetation above the fountain may drop leaves and create a cleaning problem.

  • While you can bury conduit to power your electric fountain, an extension cord is much easier. Be sure to buy one that’s recommended for extended outdoor use.

  • Outdoor fountains should be cleaned regularly. If you notice dirt and grime building up on your fountain, unplug it and scrub it down with a little soapy water and a soft-to-medium brush. Rinse the fountain carefully, refill it, and plug it back in.

  • Splashing can be a problem with some fountains. Know how much your fountain may splash, particularly if you plan to locate it on a covered deck or other area where water exposure might be an issue.

Other products we considered

We had several other outdoor fountains that we wanted to share. PeterIvan Outdoor Waterfall Fountain is a three-tier fountain that includes LED lighting for night use and weighs just three pounds.

CYA-DECOR Outdoor Boy and Girl Water Fountain stands out for its stunning design. It ships with a spare pump, which greatly increases the lifespan of the fountain.

Also with LED lighting is BBabe Faux Stone LED Floor Fountain, which features a contemporary design and five tiers in all. It stands almost 40 inches tall.

For the safest pump, only select one that is certified by UL or another reputable laboratory.

FAQ

Q. Where should I locate my outdoor fountain?
A. Before you purchase a fountain, consider where it will go. Solar floating fountains obviously need to be placed in direct sunlight, but freestanding fountains have any number of options when it comes to placement.

If the fountain is for a more formal garden, consider making it a focal point in the center of the garden. For less formal settings, the fountain may be more suitable located along a fence, pathway, or near outdoor furnishings where those relaxing can enjoy the sound of the water.

The fountain’s type and size enter into play when deciding where to place it. Feng Shui offers some advice: wherever you place it, the water should always be flowing in the direction of your house.
 

Q. Do outdoor fountains require any plumbing work to install?
A. Generally not. Fountains are typically self-contained, so you’re responsible for filling it and topping off the water level when it starts running low.
 

Q. Should I bring my fountain in for the winter?
A. If your fountain is light enough, this is your best option regardless of how severe your winter is. In areas where the temperatures drop below freezing, this is especially important, as freezing water can damage delicate fountain parts and burst hoses. At the very least — and particularly for heavier fountains — you should fully drain and cover it to protect it against winter’s harsh elements.

The team that worked on this review
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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