When you are new to mining or when you didn’t test a lot of pools, you often wonder and ask:
- Which pool is the best?
- Which pool should I choose?
- Which pool is most recommended?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as just one pool. Each pool is different and has its own characteristics and every miner that uses a certain pool will recommend that one. Which can be the best pool for you or you might love some other one. Each miner has its own priorities and preferences. In this article, we will focus on Ethereum pools, but you can use the same criteria for pools for other coins as well.
💸 Payout criteria
The most important thing for the miner is to decide where he stands with his payout criteria. Each pool has its own rules when it comes to these three criteria:
- Minimum payout threshold
- The operating and transaction fees
- Reward method
Let’s take a look at each of them separately.
Minimum payout threshold
Check what is the minimum payout threshold required to reach to receive a payout. A quick calculation will show you how many days or weeks till you reach that payout threshold.
For example, if you have a single GPU that is making 30 MH/s you would be making around 0.002 ETH per day by current calculations. This means that the minimum payout threshold of 0.1 ETH is reached in 50 days, while 0.05 ETH is reached in 25 days.
Operating and transaction fees
Check what fees are pool charging for offering its service and if transaction fees are covered by the pool or by miners. Calculate how fees affect you and how they fit your overall earnings and costs.
For example, if you have a rig that is making 240 MH/s you would be making around 0.015 ETH per day which is around 28 USD per day by current calculations. If the fee on the pool is 1%, you would be paying 8.4 USD per month while for pools with fees of 3%, you would be paying 25.2 USD.
Pools have different reward methods. The most popular are:
- PPS: You are paid for each valid share you contribute to the pool. Such pools usually have higher fees, but give constant rewards.
- PROP: You are paid for each valid share you contributed depending on how much you contributed to finding the block proportionally.
- PPLNS: You are paid for the last N shares that you contributed to the pool. Such pools usually have lower fees and higher luck factors. For such pools, it can take hours if not a day until the estimated reward is reliable.
You can read a more detailed description of reward methods here.
⚙️ Difficulty criteria
The difficulty criteria are very important for those that have small rigs or rigs with lower hashrate. Because not all pools operate under the same difficulty, it can happen that you are sending shares to a pool with higher difficulty, which results in fewer shares and fewer earnings as your rig is not strong enough to participate with other large rigs. Hence, mining on such pools is less profitable for you. Select pools that allow lower difficulties that are suitable for you.
👷♂️ Profile criteria
Pools also differ in the way you identify with them. Some pools allow “anonymous” mining to your wallet address while others require registration. Whichever approach you like the most is a personal decision.
🎁 Additional perks
Some pools offer additional services besides mining. For example, on the Binance pool, you can transfer earnings to your Binance wallet without a fee. On Mining Pool Hub, Zergpool, Zpool, and similar you can auto-exchange mined earnings to other cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. Luxor offers a profit switching pool, and so on.
It is also very important to take into account the latency and infrastructure of the pool. If you are from Europe and the pool has servers only in China and they are not optimized, you might get a lot of stale shares. Even 2% stale shares are too much as this is an additional 2% fee that you don’t want to pay and goes to no one. Choose the pool that is closest to you and you have a good connection to it (you can test them with our Sonar).
Here is a quick overview of Etheruem pools that have the highest hashrate at this moment.
Also keep in mind that the more hashrate the pool has, the more blocks it finds in the day and hence collects more rewards. However, such a pool also has much more miners between which the rewards are divided.
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