10 Best Sump Pump Reviews and Recommendations

Are you looking for the best sump pump for your home this year? We know buying sump pumps can be a drag, so this is why we have a top best sump pump models list, full reviews, recommendations, and a complete buying guide. Read on to understand better how sump pumps work and what you need to know (and avoid) when it comes to sump pumps’ installation and maintenance!

Why Is It Important to Get the Best Sump Pump for Your Needs?

Like any piece of equipment, buying the right sump pump takes a great deal of research. After all, not all models on the market are the same. There are many variations between brands and their products. It is important to have a strong knowledge of the tool you are getting for your money, just like in the case of deep & shallow well pumps or other similar devices.

For this reason, we have created a list of the best sump pumps on the market as well as a detailed FAQ list to answer any questions that you may have. Both of these informational sections should answer any questions that arise during your search process. If you are still undecided after reading through our reviews, make sure to check out our buying guide for additional information and tips.

The Basics of Sump Pumps: What You Need to Know

These powerful water pumps – that you should not mistake for recirculation pumps – help you to control how much water accumulates in the basement under your home. While many people have not heard of sump pumps before, these units should be in every household – whether you rent or own.

Generally speaking, these pieces of equipment are housed in a hole (aka sump pit) or depression in the basement floor or in a crawl space. The standard pit size is two feet deep and eighteen inches wide. They are placed at the lowest points on the floor, meaning that any water that flows into the basement will sink directly into the pit.

What is the Best Type of Sump Pump?

Most types of sump pumps have a switch that is triggered when the water level gets too high. Other types of pumps require water levels to rise over the motor and activate a pressure sensor before they kick into gear. When the water reaches the necessitated level, the sump pump activates and pulls water out of the pit, through the pipes, and into a backyard or sewer system. This will happen for as long as the water is flowing into the sump pit. When the water returns to a safe level, the sump pump will automatically shut off.

Automatic vs. Manual Sump Pumps

If you are a homeowner, we strongly recommend investing in an automatic sump pump. You can leave them on and they will do their job whenever the sump pit needs pumping.

There are manual models that can be turned on and off by the homeowner but that is not always a good choice. Imagine if a flood occurred while you were away. You would not be able to remove the water and significant damage could occur.

Just so you know, sump pumps cannot prevent water from entering into your basement. As the name suggests, they are effective tools for removing flood water by pumping it out and keeping general water levels at bay. A home free from mold, mildew, and water damage will give you peace of mind.

10 Best Sump Pump Choices in 2020

The Top 10: Which is the Best Sump Pump?

These are the 10 best sump pumps available right now. Each comes with amazing customer feedback and reviews. Take a look at the comparison table below where you can sort the values according to what matters to you.

After the table, you can find out more about each of these top-rated sump pumps and which one we recommend depending on your needs.

We’ve got a buyer’s guide too, with everything you need to know before you buy.

ProductModelRatingPriceHorse PowerMax Flow rate (GPH)MaterialPositivesNegatives
superior-pump-91330Superior Pump 913304.5$1/32400ThermoplasticDurable & energy efficient motor, can pump water to 25 feet in height, large diameter discharge pipe for high capacity pumpingNot as sturdy as a cast iron pump
wayne-cdu980eWayne CDU980E4.4$$$$3/44600Cast Iron/ Stainless SteelDurable & reliable construction, 5 year warranty, no clogging, powerfulExpensive
Zoeller-M53 Mighty MateZoeller M534.7$$$$1/32700Cast IronAmazing reliability, no clogging, choice of plumbers, top build qualityNot as powerful as others in the same price bracket
simer-2305-04Simer Geyser II4.1$1/41260ThermoplasticLightweight & portable, 1 year warranty, simple operation, great valueOne of the least powerful
Wayne-VIP50Wayne VIP504.1$1/22500ThermoplasticCorrosion resistant, removes water down to 1/8 inch, made in USA, 1 year warrantyNot the longest warranty we’ve seen
superior-pump-92341Superior Pump 923414.3$$1/32700Cast IronBuilt to last, efficient motor, easy cleaning, good value, 3 year warrantyWon’t fit in small sump pits
flotec-fppm3600dFlotec FPPM3600D4.1$$1/33480Thermoplastic/Cast IronGreat water flow, fits in small/narrow sump pits, reliable, easy installationLouder engine than a submersible sump pump
Zoeller M98Zoeller M984.3$$$$$1/24320Cast ironAmazing build quality, huge capacity to pump, corrosion resistant, won’t clogExpensive, only one year warranty
liberty-pumps-257Liberty Pumps 2574.6$$$$1/33000Cast IronEnergy efficient motor, 3 year warranty, fits small sump pits, durable & dependableAbove average price
little-giant-6-ciaLittle Giant 6-CIA4.3$$$1/32760Cast IronReliable, for continuous use, can pump large volumes of water, well regarded by ownersWill only fit larger sump pits

Notes: Max Flow Rate = gallons per hour (GPH) of unwanted water it can remove.

Top 10 Best Sump Pump Reviews and Recommendations

Let’s take a look at each of these sump pumps in a bit more detail. Don’t miss our sump pump buyer’s checklist at the bottom of the page either.

The Top 10: Which is the Best Sump Pump?1. Zoeller M53 Mighty-mate Submersible Sump Pump – OUR TOP PICK – Best Submersible Sump Pump

The Zoeller M53 submersible sump pump seems to be the choice of plumbers. They consider the build quality, reliability, and performance of this pump to be some of the best the industry has to offer.

It features a 1/3 HP motor, which can start automatically with a float-activated switch. This means the pump will start up when the water reaches a certain level. A feature like this means the device can be left alone to protect your basement, even when you are not at home.

The motor gives a maximum water flow rate of 2700 GPH or 2040 GPH @ 10 feet of discharge pipe lift. This kind of capacity is more than enough to protect most homes from flooding.

Key Features

  • 1/3 HP motor
  • 2700 GPH max flow rate or 2040 GPH @ 10 feet discharge pipe lift
  • Float-activated automatic switch
  • Cast iron
  • Best for residential sump pits or septic tanks

The pump is housed in a cast iron casing and has a non-clogging design. The cast iron housing provides a solid base for the pump to work. The screws and fastenings are stainless steel so there are no materials that will rust or corrode. The units are rigorously tested after assembly and are watertight, dust-tight, and pressure tested. Zoeller builds machines of real quality and this model will never let you down.

The discharge pipe is 1-1/2″ NPT. Impressively, it will pass 1/2″ spherical solids too. This is the standard discharge pipe dimension and allows the system to work in large capacities. If you wanted to fix this to a garden hose you would need an adapter. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to operate.

Bottom Line

The Zoeller M53 sump pump is more expensive than most models with a 1/3 HP engine, but it is assembled with top quality components and meticulously put together and tested. It will never let you down. This Zoeller sump pump reviews really well on sites like Amazon too. Just ask the 500+ customers that rated it so highly. This is the sump pump we would choose above all others to protect our homes.

2. Superior Pump 91330 Thermoplastic Submersible Utility Pump – BEST BUDGET CHOICE

This small sump pump is one of the cheapest models we have looked at in our guide. Cheaper pumps do exist, but they don’t have anywhere near as impressive a rating as this pump has. This model has been reviewed well over 2000 times and still has a 4.5-star rating.

Despite being much cheaper than most other pumps, the Superior Pump 91330 still packs an impressive 1/3 HP engine. This means it can pump water up to 25 feet in vertical height. It will pump water at a maximum flow rate of 24000 gallons per hour, or 1680 GPH at 10 feet of discharge pipe lift. The discharge pipe has a large 1-1/4″ top to allow high water flow through it. This model also has a clever filter type bottom which will not allow debris to enter the unit. It will also keep working with water depths as low as 1/2 inch.

Key Features

  • 1/3 HP motor
  • 2400 GPH max flow rate or 1680 GPH @ 10 feet discharge pipe lift
  • Thermoplastic construction
  • 10′ cord length
  • Includes 3/4 inch garden hose adapter
  • Removable suction screen and handles up to 1/8 inch solids
  • The pump will lift water up to 25′ of vertical height

The pump is made of a durable thermoplastic. Thermoplastic is really strong, but it is considered to be inferior to cast iron when used to build sump pumps. Cast iron is much heavier and provides a more solid base for the sump pump to operate. This is one of the reasons that this model is priced much lower than others. Another reason is that this is a manual pump. It will not work automatically once a certain level of floodwater is reached. However, you can add an automatic float switch to it. The Basement Watchdog is among the best sump pump float switches.

Bottom Line

We love this cheap sump pump. It’s cheap but it’s still a reliable and trusted performer. Being made of thermoplastic means that it’s not as sturdy as a cast-iron model, but that makes it lighter and more portable too. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a basement that gets flooded heavily and regularly, but if portability is key for you then you won’t do much better.

The Top 10: Which is the Best Sump Pump?3. Wayne CDU980E Submersible Cast Iron & Stainless Steel Sump Pump – SUPER POWERFUL & RELIABLE

This CDU980E model from Wayne features a powerful 3/4 Horsepower engine which is the strongest we have looked at. This gives a maximum water flow rate of 4600 gallons per hour or 3500 at 10 feet of discharge pipe lift. This kind of power should be able to handle flooding basements with ease.

This pump features a vertical float switch. This means that when the water reaches a certain level, the pump will automatically start working. This feature means you can rest assured that your home is being protected, even when you are not there.

Key Features

  • 3/4 HP motor
  • 4600 GPH max flow rate or 3500 GPH @ 10 feet discharge pipe lift
  • Vertical automatic float switch tested to 1 million cycles
  • Stainless steel/cast iron
  • 1-1/2 In. NPT discharge for compliance with building codes
  • 5-year warranty

The CDU980E comes in a stainless steel motor housing and durable cast iron base. These materials give it weight and sturdiness. It will never be moved by strong water flow. The pump itself features clever design to filter debris and make sure it doesn’t get clogged easily. As it is a submersible pump it is not suitable for small sump basins/pits. It would need a pit of at least 11 inches in diameter. The discharge pipe can run in 1-1/2″ diameters.

Bottom Line

This is one of the best submersible sump pumps and is the top choice for homes at the most risk from flooding. It has the most powerful engine, which means it is capable of shifting more unwanted water than any other. It also comes very highly regarded by more than 900 happy customers on Amazon.

4. Simer Geyser II 2305-04 Submersible Utility Pump – THE CHEAP OPTION

The Simer Geyser II submersible utility pump is the cheapest sump pump in our top ten reviews and recommendations. But, don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s not any good. It’s a great piece of kit that will do an amazing job in the right circumstances.

The right circumstance would be someone who is looking for a small sump pump that is portable. As this unit is made of thermoplastic, it is considerably lighter than the cast-iron models. This means it is not quite as sturdy and robust, but this also means it can be much more easily moved.

Key Features

  • 1/4 HP motor
  • 1260 GPH max flow rate or 1020 GPH @ 10 feet discharge pipe lift
  • 115-volt, 6 Amp oil-filled Simer motor
  • Thermoplastic construction
  • Portable
  • Includes garden hose adapter
  • 1-year warranty

It is great for gardens that get flooded (it includes a garden hose adapter), or even homes that are vulnerable in numerous places. It also has a simple plug-in operation that makes using it in different places much easier.

The pump packs a 1/4 HP motor. This gives a maximum pumping capacity of 1260 GPH or 1020 GPH at 10 feet of discharge pipe lift. These aren’t the biggest figures you’ll see in this area, but that is the trade-off for portability.

The unit comes with a 1-year warranty.

Bottom Line

Cheap but definitely cheerful! Being lightweight and portable makes this a great alternative to the heavy cast-iron models. If your water problems strike in a variety of different places then this pump is a great fit.

The Top 10: Which is the Best Sump Pump?5. Wayne VIP50 Thermoplastic Portable Electric Water Removal Pump – GREAT VALUE PICK

The Wayne VIP50 Thermoplastic Portable Electric Water Removal Pump falls in the cheaper price bracket, but still packs a heavy punch. It has a 1/2 HP motor that is capable of shifting 2500 GPH at its maximum rating, or 1550 GPH at 10 feet of discharge pipe lift. These kinds of figures are comparable with models that cost much more.

The VIP50 is capable of pumping water down to 1/8 inch in depth. It will even pass solids of up to 1/2 inch in diameter.

Key Features

  • 1/2 HP motor
  • 2500 GPH max flow rate or 1550 GPH @ 10 feet discharge pipe lift
  • Thermoplastic construction
  • US made
  • Highly durable and easy to use
  • Requires 2 5/8 inch of water to prime
  • 1-year warranty

The unit features a corrosion-resistant, thermoplastic construction. As we mentioned before, this means it is lighter and more portable. But, it is not as robust as a cast-iron model.

It is compatible with 1-1/4 inch diameter discharge pipe for the bigger jobs, but it will also take a 3/4 inch adapter to hook up with a garden hose.

Bottom Line

This pump gives you the most bang for your buck. There’s not a model that we’re aware of that gives you as much power for so few dollars. If you’re looking for a cheap sump pump then this is for you.

6. Superior Pump 92341 Cast-Iron Submersible Sump Pump – TOP BUILD QUALITY

This 92341 model from Superior Pump has a 1/3 HP engine that is rated at 2760 GPH at maximum capacity and 1800 GPH at 10 feet of discharge pipe lift. It has an automatic float switch operation. This means it will turn itself on and off automatically according to the water depth. However, this switch is removable should you wish to run it continuously as a utility pump.

Key Features

  • 1/3 HP motor
  • 2760 GPH max flow rate or 1800 GPH @ 10 feet discharge pipe lift
  • 10-foot cord length
  • Cast iron construction
  • Automatic float switch
  • Lifts water up to 25′ of vertical height
  • 100% factory tested
  • 3 year warranty

This sump pump features a solid and durable cast iron construction. This material gives it weight which means it will not get dislodged from its position. The construction also features a removable filter screen. In other words, it makes it easy to clean and maintain. It also has a dual seal to make sure that is completely watertight.

This unit comes UL listed. This means it has passed government-regulated safety tests. This mark means you can be assured of its quality. If that wasn’t enough, it also comes with a 3-year warranty to ease the more anxious minds.

Bottom Line

This is a mid-price submersible pump that has all the perks and features that you should need for your home. It comes from a reputable brand and is perhaps the best sump pump for people who want high-quality at affordable prices.

7. Flotec FPPM3600D Pedestal Sump Pump – BEST FOR SMALL SPACES

This Flotec FPPM3600D pedestal sump pump model is the only pedestal pump we have featured in our top ten. This wasn’t a conscious decision, but the submersible pumps just seem to be a bit more reliable and robust. However, this pedestal model bucks the trend.

It comes highly regarded by many happy customers. The major advantage of a pedestal sump pump like this is that it fits small, narrow sump pits. This model will fit in a sump basin of just 12 inches diameter.

Key Features

  • 1/3 HP motor
  • 3480 GPH max flow rate or 2460 GPH @ 10 feet discharge pipe lift
  • Cast iron/thermoplastic construction
  • Automatic float switch
  • Fits in a 12″ diameter basin and offers a 1-1/4″ discharge
  • Replaces any existing brand of 1/3 HP pedestal pump
  • 1 year warranty

It features a 1/3 HP motor which will shift 3480 GPH at maximum output or 2460 GPH at 10 feet of discharge pipe elevation. These are really impressive figures for a motor rated at just 1/3 HP.

In fact, it has one of the highest capacities to move water that we have seen. The motor is automatically started and stopped by an automatic float switch. This makes it able to protect against flooding even when you are not at home or sleeping.

It has a cast iron and thermoplastic construction, and also a non-clogging operation.

Bottom Line

If you can only manage a small sump pit then this is the perfect pump for you. It is the best-rated pedestal pump we have seen, and it can move a serious amount of water too.

8. Zoeller M98 Flow-Mate Automatic Single Phase Submersible Sump/Effluent Pump – THE ROLLS ROYCE OF SUMP PUMPS

The Zoeller M98 Single Phase Submersible Sump/Effluent Pump is the most expensive unit we have featured in our guide of the best sump pumps to buy in 2020. With this price tag, you get a submersible pump of unrivaled quality. Its components are only the best and they are rigorously tested in assembly. The unit is made of cast iron, with stainless steel bearings and fastenings, and carbon and ceramic shaft seal. The construction will not rust or corrode and has high tensile strength.

It features a 1/2 HP motor.  This motor is capable of pumping 4320 GPH at maximum capacity and 3060 GPH at 10 feet of discharge pipe elevation. These are considerable figures and make it one of the highest capacity sump pumps we have come across and reviewed so far.

Key Features

  • 1/2 HP motor
  • 4320 GPH max flow rate or 3060 GPH @ 10 feet discharge pipe lift
  • Cast iron construction
  • Stainless steel guard and handle
  • Automatic switch
  • Best sump pumps for residential sump pits or septic tanks
  • Passes 1/2″ solids
  • 100% factory tested
  • 1 year warranty

This sump pump can easily shift large volumes of water out of a flooded basement. The motor is turned on and off using a float switch. This means it is capable of looking after your basement on its own. When the water is detected it will turn on. When it disappears it will turn itself off again to save energy and to stop itself from overheating (it needs water to cool). It also has a safety feature to prevent it from overheating.

It will fit a 1-1/2 inch discharge pipe. It is also able to pass solids of up to 1/2 inch in diameter.

Bottom Line

This unit is of real quality, but it comes at a higher price. If you have a basement full of prized possessions then it might be worth paying a bit more for a sump pump like this that will never let you down. To quote one of this sump pump’s customer reviews, “when you consider the thousands of dollars a flooded basement, the extra $, in this case, is cheap insurance.”

9. Liberty Pumps 257 Submersible Sump Pump – RELIABLE PERFORMER

The Liberty Pumps 257 submersible sump pump is a premium sump pump. It has a durable cast iron casing which protects the motor 1/3 HP motor. The motor provides a maximum water flow rate of 3000 GPH or 2220 GPH at 10 feet of discharge pipe elevation. It will pump water up to a maximum discharge pipe height of 21 feet. The motor is designed with efficiency in mind and is said to reduce electrical usage by up to 40%.

Key Features

  • 1/3 HP motor
  • 3000 GPH max flow rate or 2220 GPH @ 10 feet discharge pipe lift
  • Cast iron construction
  • Pumps up to 50 GPM
  • Maximum discharge head of 21 feet
  • Automatic float switch
  • 3-year warranty

The pump features a vertical float switch. This means it can turn itself on and off automatically according to the presence of flood water. This feature is perfect for those who worry about flood water coming in while they are sleeping or away on vacation. This model also comes with an impressive 3-year warranty.

It will fit discharges of 1-1/2 inch and will even pass solids of 1/2 inch.

Bottom Line

This is a premium sump pump that is durable and effective. It has a powerful and efficient motor, that can be left to protect your property even while you are sleeping. It comes in the higher price bracket, but you can relax in the knowledge that it’s well built and durable.

10. Little Giant 6-CIA Automatic Sump Pump – EFFICIENT AND DURABLE

This Little Giant GIDDS-521252 packs an impressive 1/3 HP motor. This motor removes 2760 GPH of water at its maximum output. It also passes 1740 GPH at 10 feet of discharge pipe elevation. It will operate up to a maximum discharge pipe height of 18 feet.

The motor is controlled by a diaphragm pressure switch. This means that it will operate automatically when certain water pressure is reached (at a certain depth). It will also shut-off automatically when the water goes below certain pressure. Sump pumps require the presence of water to cool the motor. So it is important to have a feature like this to stop it overheating once the water is gone.

Key Features

  • 1/3 HP motor
  • 2760 GPH max flow rate or 1740 GPH @ 10 feet discharge pipe lift
  • Cast iron construction
  • Epoxy coated cast iron housing
  • Designed for continuous duty
  • Upper and lower sleeve bearings
  • Automatic diaphragm pressure switch
  • 1 year warranty

This sump pump is housed in a durable epoxy coated iron cast housing. This is corrosion and rust proof.

This unit will fit the discharge pipes of 1-1/2 inch. It also comes with an adapter so that it can be hooked up to a garden hose. The pump will fit sump pits of 10 inches in diameter.

Bottom Line

This pump is designed for continuous and prolonged use. It will work away quietly and effectively in the background. The water flow rate drops considerably at heights above 10 feet of discharge pipe elevation, so it is best suited to be used in places where the pipe doesn’t stretch to high.

Best Sump Pumps FAQs and Other Important Information

As promised, here is an informational section. This includes FAQs and other important notes you should read before purchasing a sump pump.

What Is a Sump Pump?

What is a sump pump? A sump pump is a device that will remove water that has accumulated in a low space. A low space is what we call a ‘sump basin’ and it is usually found below the water table. These places are typically basements in homes.

A sump pump will divert the unwanted water away from the home to a safer place. It is usually installed at the lowest point of the basement, and it will keep the area dry and free of flooding.

Sump pumps are widely used in homes across the country now, as freakish weather becomes more common. Areas at risk of rapidly melting snow and bursting river banks are particularly vulnerable to large amounts of water appearing in short spaces of time. Without sump pumps, people’s homes are at risk of water damage to possessions, rot, mold, rust, and even poor air quality from the damp, moldy environment that flooding creates.

How Do Sump Pumps Work?

A sump pump is installed at the lowest point in your home. This is usually the basement. It needs to be placed in a hole that we call a sump pit. The sump pit is dug below the floor level of the basement, and it should have a stone or gravel base. The sump pump sits in this gravel pit.

The pump has a discharge pipe that comes out of the top of the unit. This pipe takes unwanted water to a place where it can drain safely away from your home.

Most of these sump pumps will turn themselves on automatically. They do this by sensing the pressure of the water (which is greater than air pressure), or by using a float.

When activated the pump uses centrifugal force to move the unwanted floodwater up the discharge pipe. I won’t go into detail about how this works as it’s quite complicated. For the science buffs, the video below explains how sump pumps work really well. It’s even pretty interesting.

How many years does a sump pump last?

A good, reliable sump pump has an average life expectancy of 10 years, according to the US Department of Housing and Development. Nevertheless, you should know that replacing the sump pump every few years – especially when it shows signs of exhaustion – is the sensible thing to do.

What Are The Signs That Tell Me I Need to Replace My Sump Pump?

Sump pumps tend to show you when it is time to replace them. It is better to call for expert help if you realize your sump pump does not work as it did when it was new. Here are some signs that you might need to fix or replace your sump pump:

  • Excessive, grinding, or rattling noises;
  • When it runs, it also vibrates as it did not do before;
  • It runs all the time, an indicator of a switch malfunction;
  • It is cycling irregularly, even in heavy rains, turning on and off at strange intervals;
  • It starts running and continues to run for a longer time than it used to;
  • It got a coat of visible rust;
  • The motor chokes from time to time;
  • The motor fails during operation;
  • The pump is older than 7-8 years.

Our recommendation is to test your sump pump in between two running sessions to make sure it is fully operational for the next heavy rain it will have to manage. Frequent power outages, floods, improper sizing, a tired motor are all contributing factors to your sump pump’s poor functioning or failure.

Is a Battery Backup Sump Pump Worth It?

Yes. The best battery backup sump pump will prove its worth during a heavy storm causing a power outage. If there is no electrical power, you don’t have a sump pump that works either. For this reason, we recommend you also check out some of the best battery backup sump pumps reviews and get a device that will work well in stormy and flood-prone areas too. You will realize how worth it the investment was when your battery backup sump pump will not allow water and floods cause thousands of dollars of damage to your home.

What Are The Different Types of Sump Pumps?

There are two main sump pump designs. They each do exactly the same job but in slightly different ways. There are positives and negatives to each of them. Let’s take a look at them.

The Top 10: Which is the Best Sump Pump?Submersible Sump Pump

The submersible sump pump sits in the water. The pump is located at the bottom of the unit, with the discharge pipe coming out of the top. The whole unit is waterproof so there is no danger of water getting anywhere it shouldn’t. The pump has a filter screen to stop any debris from getting inside and breaking it. This style of pump is thought to be more efficient, quieter (because it is submerged in water), and longer lasting.

The Top 10: Which is the Best Sump Pump?Pedestal Sump Pump

These pumps are much bigger. This time the pump is elevated high out of the water on the top of the unit. As the pump is not submerged in water, these units are a bit louder than the submersible version. However, this means that they are cheaper too. This style of pump is also ideal for deep, narrow sump pits.

Do I Need a Sump Pump for My House?

If you are fortunate enough to live in an area that is constantly dry and sunny then you likely don’t need a sump pump. If you live in an area that is susceptible to flooding, or you have had an issue with dampness in your home then a sump pump might be right for you.

The first step is to find out just how much moisture is affecting your home. Maybe, a dehumidifier is all that you need. You can do this by sticking sheets of plastic to the surfaces of your basement and see how much moisture collects over a few days.

Poor drainage around your building’s foundations is one of the main reasons for moisture getting into a basement. Make sure you check that your gutters are directing water well away from your home and that they are in good condition too.

If you find that your basement or crawl space is being affected by more moisture than a dehumidifier can deal with, then you probably need a sump pump. The next stage is making sure you get the right one for your home. Different models of sump pump offer many different options. This is where we can help.

Can You Use a Sump Pump Without a Basement?

Sump pump systems are specifically intended to remove water from a “sump” or “sump pit” (a shaft designed to collect excess water) to prevent it from pooling in an enclosed underground space like a basement or cellar. While a sump pump might be used to pump water from an enclosed space, you might do better finding a water pump better suited to less-specific non-sump pumping duties.

How Do You Know If Your Sump Pump is Working?

You can test your sump pump in one of three ways:

  1. Try unplugging the pump’s electrical cord, then reattaching it. The pump should immediately turn on when power is reapplied. If the pump doesn’t immediately turn on and begin its operating cycle, it isn’t working. If the pump works properly (it will shut down quickly once it detects no water is present) then the switch and motor are working. If you have a battery-powered sump pump, try turning it off then back on to test the motor.
  2. You can manually lift the float arm of the pump up far enough to activate the sump pump float switch and trigger the pump to operate (though this only tests the motor and the switch — it doesn’t test whether or not the device will actually pump water). If you do this, don’t hold the float arm up for more than a few seconds. Running the pump while dry can burn out the motor.
  3. The best way to test your sump pump is by actually running water through it to ensure that it is pumping properly. It only requires a small amount of water (just enough to raise the water level in the pump shaft, lifting the float and activating the pump mechanism). But even if raising the float activates the pump motor, be sure the water you use for the test is actually removed (pumped from the sump) by the sump pump as intended. Just because the motor runs doesn’t mean the pump can successfully move gallons of water.

How to Choose the Best Sump Pump for Your Home This Year

One of the most common concerns we come across with new buyers is how to choose the best sump pump. As we mentioned earlier, narrowing down your choices isn’t easy. There are plenty of different makes, models, and products on the market for you to choose from. However, we have done as much as we can to make your choice simpler. If you are interested in how to choose the very best sump pump, read this section. The following sections will help you narrow down your selection.

Make Sure the Pump is the Right Size

Nothing is worse than making an expensive purchase and then realizing the product is not sufficient to meet your needs. Your sump pump will need to have the capacity to move large amounts of water in your basement or crawl space. The right pump needs a good amount of head pressure, often known by the term ‘total developed head.’ When manufacturers refer to head pressure, they mean how high the pump can raise the water up out of your basement.

Purchase and Install a Sump Pump with a Security Alarm

This is one of the most important pieces of advice that we can give you. The alarm will warn you if an emergency occurs (e.g. loss of power, pump failure, or a dead battery).

Choose a Pump Durable Enough to Survive Real-World Conditions

What do we mean by this? It’s quite simple. The best sump pump will work well even under adverse conditions. We recommend buying a sump pump with cast iron housing.

Double Check to Ensure the Pump will Operate with 110-Volts of Electric Current

Does this sound oddly specific? We have our reasons. The cord needs to be long enough to reach the power sockets too. Never try to plug a sump pump in using an extension cord. Convenience is not worth the risk of potential power failure.

Save Money and Skip Out on Buying More Horsepower (HP) Than You Need

The idiom ‘go big or go home’ does not apply here. Quite to the contrary, a one-quarter hp or one-third hp machine will get the job done in most situations. Save yourself some cash by skipping out on more horsepower.

How to Test and Maintain Your Sump Pumps

As a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to test your sump pump out every now and then. In order to maintain it properly, you need to know how it is functioning. We recommend getting a professional maintenance check done on your sump pump at least once per year. This will not only tune up its function but also help to address any problems that might arise (and nip them in the bud before they occur). Examples of sump pump testing and maintenance may include:

  • Ensuring the power supply works and that there is no damage done to the cord, switches, or any other part of the device
  • Try filling the sump pump with water to a level that would cause it to activate. If the pump still does not turn on, try to call for a repair as quickly as possible
  • Try lifting the switch by hand to see if it comes on. Failure to activate means that you should have a professional inspect your sump pump. Make sure that you do not leave the device on for more than a few seconds without any water in the pit. Operating this type of a pump without flowing water could cause some serious damage to your machine.
  • Remove dirt, debris, and other materials from the sump pump and pit.
  • Run some clean water through your sump pump to break up patches of dirt and other material in the pump.

Backups and Emergency Power for Your Sump Pump

Sump pumps are powered by the electricity system of your home. If your home’s main power system goes out during a storm or other outage, a sump pump that relies on a 110-volt current will not function properly. This is why you should install a backup system to keep the power running in case of an emergency.

Backup battery systems will provide you with the power your need for your sump pump to continue running. We recommend looking for a battery pump that will last you for at least six to nine hours of pumping. Is your backup battery rechargeable? If so, periodically check to make sure that it is fully charged.

Remember that different types of batteries will require different types of maintenance. To give you an example, dry-cell marine batteries will need to be filled often to maintain their function. Some batteries have control alarm boxes that will notify you when they need to be filled. Tests show that deep cycle and automotive batteries do not perform as well as reusable and rechargeable batteries. Sealed maintenance-free batteries do not need much attention but will only last for eighty percent of the lifespan of standard sump pump batteries.

As we previously mentioned, some sump pump systems will require the assistance of professional electricians or plumbers. It is likely that professional construction knowledge may be required as well. Make sure the contractor that you hire is able to carry out every part of the requirements to install the best sump pump.

What Should Your Backup Sump Pump System Include?

There are plenty of options on the market for you to choose from. So, you may be wondering what your backup sump pump system should include. Not to worry – we’ve done the research and taken the guesswork out of it for you. Here are our tips and tricks for your backup system.

  • Does your basement have a living space? If so, you might prefer a submersible pump to a pedestal one. Submersible style sump pumps allow you to put a lid over them, reducing noise and blocking out debris. The lid also helps to keep moisture contained and out of your home.
  • Most pumps are composed of either cast iron or plastic. While plastic pumps are affordable and get the job done, cast iron ones won’t easily break. Cast iron also helps to dissipate the heat of the pump to the surrounding water, so the tool won’t overheat and burn out your circuits.
  • Opt for a sump pump with mechanical switches over pressure ones. After all, there is no guarantee that the switches would not become waterlogged or burn out.
  • You can buy a combination package of two to three sump pumps.
  • Pumping capacity plays a critical role in the overall rating of our picks for the best sump pump. If you choose to go with a small secondary pump with reduced capacity, your backup system would be rendered useless if the power was to go out. The best sump pump will have a capacity of thirty-five to sixty gallons of water per minute.
  • For those of you seeking professional installation, consider the warranty offered on the model before making your purchase. If your device were to arrive damaged or malfunction, you could contact the manufacturer to fix or replace your item.

The Average Cost for a Sump Pump Repair

Most home repair experts say that the average cost of repairing your sump pump is $450. Homeowners pay anywhere from $380 to $530 to repair this product and submersible sump pumps can cost even more. If you have problems with your plumbing system, interior drain system, and electricity, it will increase the cost of repairs even more.

The most common sump pump problems that occur are a worn out motor and electrical problems. If your local area gets a lot of heavy rain, if there is flooding, or groundwater, having a backup sump pump could prevent a lot of unnecessary headaches. A battery backup is another good thing to have. It can operate the pump between twelve to twenty-four hours if your main pump breaks down or if you lose power.

Does your sump pump have visible rust? If so, you should factor in the cost of sump pump repairs into your budget? Other signs of wear or tear are is if it does not turn on consistently when triggered, is more than seven years old, or makes strange noises. The lifespan of a submersible pump is seven years on average. Pedestal sump pumps typically last for ten years or longer. Electrocution and shock are risks of repair. Submersible sump pumps should only be repaired by an experienced plumber or electrician.

Before You Buy The Best Sump Pump on the Market: Checklist

Make sure you get the perfect model for your home. Have all bases covered with our checklist.

1. Choose the right style of pump for your home

As we said before, there are two types of sump pump available. There’s the submersible type which is regarded as being more efficient, reliable, and quieter (because the motor is submerged in water when it is operating). Then there is the pedestal type pump. This is the tall thin pump which has the motor on top of the pole, clear of the water. These types are better for small, narrow sump pits as they take up less floor space. If space isn’t an issue then the submersible type pump is probably the best bet.

2. Do you need an automatic switch?

The more expensive models are automatic sump pumps. These come with automatic switches. These are usually operated according to the water depth but work according to water pressure too. The switch will turn the pump on when it senses a certain amount of water present. It will turn it off too when the water goes below a certain level.

It means you can relax in the knowledge that the automatic sump pump can be left to look after your basement when you are not around. Most pumps need water to cool the motor too. So they run the risk of overheating if they are operating when there is no water present. The switch acts as a safeguard to protect the motor. Pumps without switches are manually operated. They are also much cheaper.

One can also buy basement sump pump systems equipped with a sump pump alarm (letting you know when the unit isn’t operating properly), as well as redundant systems with battery backup sump pump units that engage in the event of a power outage, and two-stage back up sump pump system with both a primary sump pump and a backup sump pump in case of emergencies. Such back-up sump pumps are prudent (though costly) safeguards.

3. How much horsepower do you need for your sump pump?

Sump pump motors are rated in horsepower. The more powerful motors will have a higher horsepower rating. If your home is at risk from large amounts of floodwater then you should choose a more powerful motor that is capable of pumping more water out. The higher the horsepower rating the higher the energy consumption too. A rating of 1/2 horsepower should suffice on most occasions.

4. Be aware of the discharge pipe height you will be running

The discharge pipe is the exit route for the unwanted water. It will run upwards to a safe place for the water to drain, away from your home. The higher you run this pipe upwards from the sump pump, the less effective the pump will be.

Manufacturers give their maximum water flow rate (the amount of water they can remove in gallons per hour) at a height of 5 inches. This isn’t usually a practical height. We’ve listed our sump pump’s effectiveness at a height of 10 feet too to give a better indication of their practical use. Be aware that if you run it higher then the water flow rate will decrease further. Make sure your sump pump will work effectively at your chosen discharge height.

5. What material construction do you need?

Sump pumps come in three different materials. Each has there own advantages.

  • Thermoplastic – Cheaper, lightweight, and strong.
  • Cast iron – Stronger and heavier than thermoplastic. Its extra weight means it isn’t likely to be moved from its base by strong water flow. The top-rated sump pumps are usually cast iron.
  • Stainless steel – Strong and durable.

6. Plan the size of your sump pit/basin

The sump pit is the ‘hole’ that your pump will sit in. It must be large enough so that the switch is not impeded. Larger sump pits are better as it can run a little longer each time and have a longer time to cool off. A smaller pit will have to start and stop more frequently which wears the motor more.

7. Consider the Housing

You want to invest in a durable sump pump that will last for years of use to come. To make sure your model can perform well, take a look at the housing and its overall construction. Is it made well? What materials is it constructed from? A durable housing should not crack, rust, or break. Be wary of thermoplastic. It’s the lightest, cheapest material. While it does not rust easily, it is prone to cracking.

Stainless steel is a much more durable option and will not rust either – a con is its weight. The best material you can find for housing is cast iron. It strikes a happy medium between weight, anti-corrosive properties, and strength. Remember that materials will play a large part in the price of your sump pump.

8. Should I Buy a Pedestal or Submersible Pump?

Whether you should buy a pedestal or submersible pump depends on your specific needs. Pedestal pumps tend to be much more affordable. However, if you are seeking something fast and efficient, you should consider a submersible pump. While you are searching, keep in mind that submersible pumps are more expensive and that the size of the sump pump is also important when it comes to the product that fits your needs best.  

9. How Large Does the Sump Basin Need to Be?

When it comes to size and sump pumps, bigger is better. Larger pumps allow for longer cycles. Your pump will not constantly have to go through the process of going on and off, warming up and cooling down. Reduced cycles increase longevity. The size of the basin impacts which type of sump you go for (e.g. consider the switch).

10. What Causes Sump Pump Noise?

You may not have known how loud your sump pump was going to be. For new buyers, this can be very off-putting. What causes sump pumps to make so much noise? There are three primary causes. The first cause is that the pump is located outside of the sump pit. This means it is directly in your basement. Basically, there is no sound barrier between you and the operating sump pump.

Another reason why the sump pump is causing noise could be that the sump pit does not have a lid. Even submersible style sump pumps can be loud and obnoxious when they are in operation. If your sump pump does not have a lid, noises, odor, and humidity will carry over into your home. In addition, the open pit will likely gather debris and clog the system. To prevent all of these issues, install an airtight sump pit lid. Lastly, the sump pump could have poorly designed discharge lines.

When the water is being forced out of your home, the result is quite loud. If the water is being pushed down 90-degree angles during the process, this noise disturbance will be much worse. Proper discharge lines should include large pipes that handle whatever is given to them.

11. Sump Pump Size and Capacity

How do you know if your sump pump pit is too small? Remember that standard pits are about two and a half feet deep (30 inches) and up to two feet (24 inches) across. If you go to a store like Home Depot, you will find that standard sump pit inserts hold twenty-six gallons of water and measure eighteen inches in their diameter.

In most cases, the pit needs to have a width of two feet at a minimum and be three feet (36 inches) deep. As you would expect, small pits fill up with water very quickly. Since sump pumps need to turn on and off frequently, the life of the pump and valve will be shortened. This is one reason why you should install a backup pump. But what happens when or if the sump pit is still too small or crowded? In this case, you will have to dig through the bottom of the pail to make it deeper or resort to cutting the concrete to install a full-size sump pit.

The benefit of having a larger diameter sump pump pit is that it takes longer to fill (with water). When a sump pump functions in short cycles, the thermal overload protection activates and it shuts down. This means that the basement would flood even though the pump is not broken. It will return back to normal when it cools down.

Any Lessons Learned on Installing a Sump Pump?

  1. If your basement doesn’t already have a sump pit, you’ll have to dig one. Before beginning your sump pump installation by jackhammering cement and making holes in the basement floor, first locate the sewer, water, cable, and gas lines to avoid digging into them and potentially damaging them. If necessary contact your local utility companies for assistance. If you’d rather not embark on such a large project yourself, shop around in your area to find the best sump pump installation cost.
  2. Ideally, the new sump pit (sump basin) should be positioned at or near the lowest point in the basement. That will ensure that any water automatically drains into the sump without difficulty and will keep your basement dry.
  3. Try to locate your sump pit in close proximity to an electrical outlet or an exterior wall, so that providing power to your sump pump will be simpler.
  4. The most effective sump pump systems carefully plan where the sump pump’s water outlet port and discharge pipe will route the drainage. If in a city, it may be possible to direct pump run-off directly into the city graywater sewer system. In rural areas where that isn’t possible, be sure that the run-off being pumped gets dispersed away from the home, preferably at a low point on the property and at least 20 feet away from the structure. Place gravel in the dispersal location to keep the area from becoming too muddy in the event of heavy rains or flooding.
  5. Whenever you fit and install pipe, test your planned pipe job by doing a dry fit test to ensure the pipes are well-supported and fit together properly. Always be sure of the fit before gluing or soldering anything together.

Pros and Cons of Using a Sump Pump System

The pros of having a sump pump installed in your basement are obvious. If an emergency happens, you are able to preserve your house. Does this sound dramatic? Think again. Water can do a lot of damage. Turn on a news channel and watch flooding occur in a city and you will see what we mean.

Choosing The Best Sump Pump on the Market: Conclusion

Choosing the right sump pump can take a good deal of time. Do not try to rush the search process. This purchase is very important as it can reduce damage and wasted time. Whether you are leaning towards a pedestal or submersible pump or considering the material of the housing, there are plenty of things to think about.

If you have the right information, your search process is so much easier. In recent years, sump pumps have advanced so much. The result is that there are very many styles on the market you can choose from at reasonable prices. No matter what your budget looks like, there is a great product out there for you. Do not put your purchase off for too long. You never know when you will need to use your sump pump. If an emergency happens, you want to be prepared.

Bottom Line

That’s all for our guide to the best sump pump reviews. If you have any further questions then please leave a message at the bottom of the page, and we’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.

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Hi I'm Jamie, teacher and owner/chief contributor at waterfilteranswers.com. We strive to bring you the most informative water filter reviews in the most intuitive and user friendly way. Besides offering advice on the water filter to suit your needs, we also post topical articles on water pollution and the environment. Stay connected and follow us on, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more!

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