Best Return Pumps For Reef Tanks : New Reviews For 2020

If you have recently set up a new sump for your saltwater tank, you will want to find the right return pump to use in it. Choosing the right sized return pump can be a bit confusing, so it’s important to know what to look for before purchasing.

When deciding on the best return pump for your reef tank, there are many factors to consider. Things like the size, flow rates, reliability, types, and cost all will play a role in that decision. One advantage that you have today is there are so many return pump options available for you to choose from. You don’t have to settle on just a couple of choices.

To help you make the decision of which return pump to buy, I will show you a review of various pumps taking into consideration the most important factors. Here are some excellent choices.

If you are in a rush, my top pick is the Ecotech S2 Vectra. Click the link to see today’s price on Marine Depot.

Best return pumps for saltwater reef tanks


#1. Ecotech Marine S2 Vectra

The Ecotech Marine S2 Vectra is a high-quality return pump that has been greatly improved and desired by many hobbyists. They are reliable, efficient, very quiet and easy to use. Ecotech is a trusted brand for many products and the S2 Vectra is no exception. This return pump will cost a bit more than others but is well worth it. There are so many features and options with this pump that others simply can’t compete with.

Features and specs include:

  • Improved couplings that are tailored for hard plumbing PVC
  • User-friendly collars
  • Improved motor sleeve and thermal management
  • Controllable DC Quiet drive motor
  • Vectra modes include closed-loop lagoon, reef crest, gyre, and feed mode
  • Compatible with Reeflink. Control this device via your smartphone and receive performance and status alerts
  • Eco smart live compatible
  • Battery backup compatible
  • Efficient pump for cost savings
  • No need for ball valves to restrict the flow
  • Flow: 1400 GPH
  • Max head pressure: 11.5 feet
  • Footprint: 6.5″L x 3.8″W
  • Power: 72 watts


Check today’s price on Marine Depot here.



#2. Sicce Syncra 1.0



The Sicce Syncra 1.0 is one of those little pumps that just won’t quit. If you have a smaller nano tank and you need to add a pump to a small space, like an all in one tank, go with the Sicce. A nice feature of this pump is that the flow is adjustable. Even though it only puts out 251 GPH, you can dial it back if needed. These return pumps come at a great price so even if you just need a spare, these are perfect.

Features and specs include:

  • Powerful and versatile
  • Compact design
  • Perfect or small tanks
  • Synchronous motor and an advanced rotor which makes the pumps 100% silent
  • Max head pressure: 5 feet
  • Power: 16 watts
  • Footprint: 3.5″ x  2.4″ x 1.9″
  • Fittings included
  • 5-year warranty



Check today’s price on Amazon here.


#3. Jebao DCP 5000




The new DCP return pumps from Jebao are an improved version of the DCT models. These pumps are energy efficient, easy to set up, and reliable. If you are looking to not break the bank and have a solid return pump, then you should consider the Jebao.

Features and specs include:

  • High-performance DC motor
  • Variable speed with different modes
  • Quiet operation
  • Motor Protection if the rotor is blocked
  • No copper components
  • Wear-resistant ceramic shaft
  • Max head pressure: 13 feet
  • Footprint: 7″ x 4″ x 5″
  • Power: 40 watt
  • Fittings included
  • Max flow: 1450 GPH



Check today’s price on Amazon here.



#4. Eheim CompactON 1000


The Eheim CompactON 1000 is a reliable return pump that is trusted by many saltwater hobbyists. It is designed to provide maximum power and efficiency while operating with minimum noise. These pumps are simple to use and install, and they will fit in many aquarium sump systems easily. If you are looking for a return pump that will last, go with an Eheim. This is another perfect pump for small nano tanks.

Features and specs include:

  • Efficient and quiet operation
  • Power consumption has been improved by up to 50%
  • Reliable and long-lasting design
  • Adjustable flow rate
  • Compact aquarium pump for versatile use
  • Includes durable suction cups to attach to glass
  • Attachments included
  • Footprint: 1.85″ x 3.11″ x 2.87″
  • Max flow: 264 GPH
  • Max head pressure: 4.59 feet
  • Power: 15 watts


Check today’s price on Amazon here.


Anyone of the return pumps mentioned here is a great choice. Depending on your budget, tank size and requirements, you now have some great options. Of course, my personal top choice would be the Ecotech Vectra S2. All things considered, this pump is tough to beat!