A sump pump is a must-have homeowner tool that helps you eliminate excess moisture and protects against flooding. If you currently don't have one, then it's something you'll quickly regret when you need it. Sump pumps protect your basement from flooding and prevents the likelihood of water damage. For homeowners, buying a sump pump is the best thing after flood insurance to manage flood risk. They can potentially save you thousands of dollars in water damage repairs making them well worth their cost.
Types of Sump Pumps
Sump pumps drain water in the sump basin, a pit-like structure built into the basement of many residential homes. The sump itself collects water that enters your basement through rain or underground moisture.
Should the sump pit fill up, the sump pump will channel the water to external drainage. This system prevents water from flooding the basement, essential for those that experience heavy rains annually.
The basic sump pump has a groundwater collection system, check valve, primary pump, discharge hose, and sump pit. Nonetheless, sump pumps vary according to their specific qualities — there are three sump pump types including:
- Primary sump pumps
- Battery backup sumps
- Combination sump pumps
Primary Sump Pumps
Primary sump pumps are commonly used in residential homes to reduce the risk of flooding. A primary sump can be a pedestal-type pump or submersible pump.
Pedestal pumps are so-called because they sit on a pedestal during operation. This design means that a pedestal sump is unlikely to experience water damage to internal components.
Submersible pumps sit in the sump pit: they are waterproof, so the water cannot affect their operation. Also, submersible pumps run quieter since they operate underwater.
Each type of primary sump pump works differently:
Pedestal sump pumps have a line that connects to the sump basin, through which water is pumped up and out of the basement. The system activates once the float sensor detects rising levels of basement water.
Submersible sump pumps work the same way; the only difference is they sit in the sump basin. If the float sensor kicks in, the submersible pump will channel the water to your drainage.
Battery Backup Sump Pumps
Excellent as they might be, primary pumps have a flaw: they cannot run without power. Anyone who has experienced flooding knows the power supply often goes out during big rain events.
Battery backup sump pumps provide an alternative power source to keep the pump running if a power failure happens. Most battery backup sump pumps can run for 15-20 hours before draining their reserve power.
Combination Sump Pumps
Combination pumps comprise a primary pump and a battery backup pump. The most significant advantage of installing a combination pump is that you get maximum protection against basement flooding.
While the regular pump connects to your home's electricity system, the backup pump uses battery power. If the primary pump goes out, the backup pump starts operating until power is restored.
Think of a combination sump as the Infinity Gauntlet of sump pumps. Your basement will always remain dry, irrespective of the weather and power situation.
How Do Sump Pumps Work?
Sump pumps are for the most part used in home basements and crawl spaces. Water will drain into a constructed hole pit around the basement where a sump pump is often placed. See this video for a more detailed view into how sump pumps work.
The vast majority of them have an automatic flotation system that will activate when the water reaches a certain level. The water it collects is then pushed out through a hose outside. While there are different types of sump pumps, they all have the same similar function.
Top 10 Sump Pumps Reviews
1. Liberty Pumps 287 Liberty
With a 37-Feet maximum shut-off head combined with ¾ inch capacity of solids-handling, this 287 sump pump by Liberty pumps is ideal for mid to low-range pump applications. Designed for sump pits of 10'' and above in diameter, it features a VMF switch that's magnetically operated.
This 10 x 10 x 13'' pump has an efficient design that saves up to 40% electrical usage. Weighs just 19.46lbs, the 289 series sump pump offers a flow rate of 67 GPM or 4020 gallons per hour. It's excellent for mound systems, high sump output, transfer of liquid waste, and STEP systems.
No needs to break seals, thanks to the 10-foot long power cord for quick disconnect and replacement within seconds. Not only has the pump offered superior performance, but the hermetically-sealed motor also has thermal protection. It features sturdy housing of cast iron with a rotor shaft of stainless steel and steel bottom screen.
- ½ HP high-output motor
- Lubricated bearings
- Reduces electric usage
- 37-foot maximum head
- VMF magnet loses hold over time
2. WAYNE CDU800 Submersible Cast Iron and Steel Sump Pump
The Wayne CDU800 has 1/2 HP and is constructed with durable cast iron. It's a submersible sump pump and it's also one of the best sump pumps on the market. With a high flow rate of 5100 gallons per hour, this powerful sump pump offers top-notch performance for high risk flood areas.
The pump features a coated steel body with a top section design that reduces clogging issues and lessens your worries about air locks. Unlike others pump out there, no weep hole is needed for it when you use a check valve. The Wayne CDU800 is quiet and can move a lot of water efficiently. It's up there as one of the best sump pump options.
Whether you're looking for an option for the basement floor or crawlspace, you can't go wrong with the Wayne CDU800.
- A durable cast iron body provides durability
- High pumping capacity to deal with heavy flooding
- Does not have a battery backup
3. Superior Pump 92341
The Superior Pump 92341 is indeed a superior pump and one of the top on the market. The design and performance make it a worthy investment for any homeowner.
This pump moves 2,700 gallons of water per hour and is rated at ⅓ horsepower. That's more than enough to handle even the most extreme cases of flooding. Besides, the pump has a well-designed impeller, cast-iron core, and waterproof construction for extra durability.
If you have a small sump basin, the Superior Pump 92341 is ideal. It uses a vertical float switch that turns on the pump at specific levels. Vertical floats work best for small basins since they ride the basin vertically and don't float around like tethered floats.
With the no-screen intake, debris cannot clog the impeller. The intake is also super-easy to clean.
Another standout feature is its cast-iron construction. The pump dissipates heat better than other budget-price plastic choices. From this, it's evident that the Superior Pump can last longer than most rivals.
- Cast-iron construction provides durability
- Fast draining ability
- Easy to set up for beginners
- The body may be susceptible to corrosion
4. Zoeller M53 Mighty-mate Submersible Sump Pump
The Zoeller M53 can act as a pump for septic tanks and residential sump pits. With it's strong casing, it's built to last and can run for multiple hours every day non-stop for 1-2 years. If you're not using it that often then it can potentially last more than 5+ years. This sump pump is able to move 1/2 inch solids.
If you buy it don't forget to drill a relief hole according to the instruction sheet. The Zoeller M53 model works quickly, emptying any sump pit in mere seconds. With the ability to pump 43 gallons per minute and a max head rating of 19 feet, you won't regret buying it.
This submersible sump pump is constructed with a cast iron body and can deal with 2680 gallons per hour at 5 feet or below. You won't have to worry about it stopping every 30 seconds. The downside is that in the case of a power outage, you'll need buy a battery backup separately.
- Durable and will last for years
- Can handle solids
- Can also be used in septic tanks
5. Green Expert 203618
This submersible sump pump from Green Expert is ideal for quickly de-flooding basements, water tubs, swimming pumps, and other areas that need to be drained. It can pump up to 1600 gallons per hour and 22 gallons per minute, saving you time and energy when draining your basement after a flood.
The Green Expert 2013618 can lift 25" of water against gravity. For homeowners with high basement ceilings, the high head pressure will come in handy.
With high-performance equipment, the fear is that they'll consume too much power and spike the utility bills. The Green Expert doesn't have such problems — thanks to an energy-efficient PSC motor.
This Green Expert pump is relatively noise-free since the water muffles machine sounds. You don’t have to worry that water will damage the pump — the waterproof design reduces the chances of water-related damage.
Per manufacturer specifications, you can use this pump with a regular 115V power source. The cord is a healthy 25ft long and can connect with most GFCI outlets easily.
- Homeowners can easily install it
- Operates quietly
- A long cord that can connect to most outlets
- Can run into rust issues
6. Little Giant GIDDS-521252 Automatic Sump Pump
The Little Giant GIDDS-521252 is 1/3 horsepower pump and has a rating of 2760 GPH. With its design it can start pumping when the water levels reach between 7 - 10 inches and automatically turns itself off at 1 - 4 inches. It has cast iron motor housing to keep it protected
It works well when dealing with a lot of water so it's a must-have in areas prone to flooding or a lot of rain. You can trust this excellent choice to remove water when you need it for your crawl space or basement. You can also use it in a commercial setting. Due to it's quality design, it reduces the chances for air locks to occur.
- Can be used in residential and commercial areas
- Automatically turns itself off saving you money
- Not as powerful as other choices
7. FLUENTPOWER 3/4 HP Sump Pump
The FLUENTPOWER sump pump offers reliable performance with its ¾ HP motor with a flow rate of 3300GP. It has a 1.25" discharge size and a 27ft maximum head. This portable submersible pump is ideal for water drainage or removal from fish ponds, garden pools, and swimming pools.
The pump comes with multiple hose connectors that include a 1.5" male thread, ¾'' GHT, and NPT1. An automatic float switch starts with a 30cm minimum water level, but you can also operate it manually by adjusting the cord.
Unlike standard mechanical seals, this pump features an oil-sealed chamber for better durability and more extended performance in crawl spaces. Thanks to thermal protection, it gives peace of mind that the pump won't explode or burn when overheated. The sturdy metal casing being rust-resistant also adds to the durability. Besides, its 26.2ft long cable cord allows a 7m submersible depth.
- Sealed oil chamber
- Flat base
- Stainless steel casing
- Automatic float switch
- Works with clean water only; 5mm solid passage
8. WaterAce WA50SAS Sump Pump
Ideal for preventing basement floods in your house, the WA50SAS by WaterAce uses a ½ hp PSC motor that's more efficient and draws fewer amps. When it comes to head performance and flow, the WaterAce pump easily beats the competition. It's rated as 'Continuous duty' that means it works continually when needed during water issues.
The WaterAce pump is created with heavy-duty and durable cast-iron with a thermoplastic volute. For safety, there's a built-in overload protection feature for the motor. The vortex impeller has a non-clogging thermoplastic design that allows ½'' solids passage through it.
The vertical automatic switch design offers easy and simple operation for your household use. Guard-mounted floating switch with stainless steel arm lets this pump to operate at a minimum of 11" basin diameter. The advanced-designed float is constructed from a strong plastic POM, while reinforcing rib and composite rod offers level control via the low friction guide.
Apart from being good for crawl spaces, it's also a good option if you're looking for a basement sump pump.
- Cast iron durable construction
- Built-in thermal protection
- PSC ½ HP motor
- Can process 5100 gallons per hour
- No battery backup
9. MEDAS Electric 3 in 1 Submersible Pump
The MEDAS Electric 3-in-1 submersible pump drains sump pits, irrigates farms, supplies fountain water, and transfers sewage. This pump can tackle the job, whether it's a flooded cellar, basement, or swimming pool.
Without a doubt, this MEDAS pump beats most rivals in the performance category. The 400-watt motor can pump close to 3,000 gallons of water per hour! You can pass inch-thick solids with this pump — which helps you have debris-filled water.
The sump benefits from built-in overload protection. Sump pumps often fail during big rain events because of the associated thermal overload — so a built-in protector makes sense.
MEDAS has designed the motor in this 3-in-1 pump to consume a fraction of the power. That way, you can decrease your power usage and reduce your utility bills.
This sump pump uses a tethered float switch and has a bulb float to control operation. The upside to using an old-fashioned bulb float, as opposed to a modern sensor, is that you won't handle any software issues.
- Multi-functional design
- Powerful pump rate
- Round-the-clock protection against thermal overload
- Cannot work with regular hoses
10. Schraiberpump MSC1000 Sump pump
Unlike a standard sump pump with low water pressure, this MSC pump has a 49psi high-water pressure. Engineered to drain out any standing water, it's ideal for use in flooded home basements, irrigation, farm use, fountains, swimming pools, and other water-transfer purposes.
The pump has a 1.5 HP motor and 113' head to install in an 11'' diameter sump basin and allows it to move an impressive 24 gallons per minute or 1440 gallons per hour. The 6.5 x 7.5 x 14'' dimensions make it perfect to fit small openings and reduced spaces.
NPT discharge makes it compatible with standard plumbing for simple, trouble-free installation. High-quality construction is evident from the sturdy stainless steel casing, thermoplastic float, and copper winding.
This offers excellent durability even when repeatedly submerged in water. Moreover, this pump's thermally protected oil-filled motor prevents overheating. A 2-year warranty backs it.
- Automatic float switch
- 49psi high-pressure
- Small yet durable frame
- 5'' HP motor
- For clean water only
Sump Pump Buying Guide: What To Consider
Unless you want a combination pump, your choice for sump pumps is either a pedestal or a submersible pump. Consider the pros and cons of each pump design before shopping for a model.
The motor in a pedestal pump is likely to last longer since it sits above the water basin. That also makes pedestal pumps easier to service and repair. And the price of a pedestal-type pump undercuts a submersible sump pump by several hundred dollars.
Pedestal pumps are noisier compared to submersible sump pumps. They are likely to overheat and stop working under heavy operation. Also, pedestal pumps cannot drain water quickly like submersible pumps.
Submersible pumps have a higher lifespan because moisture reduces motor heat and prevents failure. Also, the noise from submersible pumps is subdued because they run underwater. Submersible sump pumps can also handle the higher load and fit flood-prone areas better.
While some are waterproof, submersible pumps lack any protection against corrosion. Leaving them in water may ruin the components and affect performance. Also, the position of submersible sump pumps makes them challenging to remove for installation.
Sump pumps have switches for operating the pump. Most switches are automatic and can operate sump pumps without human control. For your basement to remain dry, the switch must turn on the sump pump when needed. Sump pump switches come in different types — vertical floats and tethered floats.
A vertical float switch moves up and down the sump according to the water level in your basement. The switch connects to the pump via a rod attached to the latter's motor. Once the float reaches a certain level, the pump automatically starts running. Now, there are times where this switch jams and causes the pump to run without stopping.
A tethered float is a bulb designed to float up as water rises in the sump pit. If the bulb reaches a preset level, the sump pump drains water and stops when the bulb drops back into the basin.
Electronic switch systems don't have visible components. Instead, an electronic switch operates once the built-in sensor detects rising levels of water in the sump.
Because the bulb floats around the sump, tethered floats require a large surface area to work properly. Buying a tethered float switch is ideal if you have a wide sump. For a narrow sump, a vertical float is the better choice.
Electronic switches are more modern features, like water-depth alerts that notify you if your basement floods. Plus, sensors are more accurate for detecting rising water levels.
However, electronic switches are likely to suffer if your water has high mineral content, i.e., hard water. Those minerals corrode the sensors and damage them.
You want to buy a sump pump that can drain your basement, irrespective of how much it gets flooded. Check the manufacturer specifications to see the horsepower and pump rate — these two determine the pump's performance.
Horsepower specifications for sump pumps vary between 1/3 HP and 1/2 HP. You'll need a powerful pump if your area experiences significant flooding. It’s crucial to buy the correct pump, or draining the sump can be difficult.
It is common for power lines to fail during a heavy rainstorm, which spells trouble for electricity-powered pumps. Investing in a battery backup will keep the pump operating in the event of a power failure and reduce flooding risks.
Consider buying a combination sump pump, especially if you live in a high-flood area. You'll spend more money, but the peace of mind knowing that your basement is always protected in case of a power outage is worth it. This is also why you should make checking your sump pump part of your routine plumbing maintenance.
Alarm: Some pumps have failure alarms that send users alerts if the pump drops operating. Other pumps have water-depth alarms that warn you if the water in your basement rises above the acceptable range.
Cast-iron core: Buying a sump pump with a plastic core may be cheaper, but it'll cost you in the long run. A plastic core cannot withstand extreme heat and will wear out quickly. Since it dissipates heat better, a cast-iron core is more durable.
Anti-clog functionality: The best sump pumps have a no-screen intake design and accommodate solids up to a half-an-inch.
Cord length: You're looking for a pump with a cord that's long enough to reach a GFCI outlet. Using an extension is rarely a good idea.
Head pressure: This denotes the maximum height that the pump can reach while pumping water upwards and out of the basin.
Who Installs Sump Pumps?
Sump pump installation isn't the most straightforward thing to do. If you're pretty handy with tools, then you might be able to figure out how to install a sump pump yourself. If you're not too confident with your abilities or your house doesn't already have a constructed pit then you can always hire a professional contractor to install one for you.
Just like sump pumps, one other way to save on potential water damage issues caused by mold due to excessive moisture is by using high quality exhaust fans in your bathrooms. Besides buying flood insurance, buying a sump pump is arguably the best way to ensure your basement remains protected against the risk of flooding. Make sure to consider the factors listed above so you can buy a model that suits your needs.