Choosing the best sump pump for your own needs can be a difficult task. Knowing exactly how much power you require or even which type of sump pump (submersible or pedestal) can be a really difficult thing to decide if you are new to these types of products. Other decisions such as how the pump is powered (water powered, electric or battery powered) will also be something you need to consider. If all that sounds intimidating, don’t worry. Our guide will walk you through every step of the decision.
There are many products on the market to fit the bill, and between our detailed sump pump reviews and our buying guide, we’ve provided all the information you should need to make the right decision for putting in your own basement and ensuring that the disaster of floods doesn’t become an issue for you.
Best 10 Sump Pump Reviews
- Material: Cast Iron and Stainless Stell
- 3/4HP, 4600GPH
- Warranty: 5 Years
- Material: Cast Iron and Epoxy Coated
- 1/3HP, 3800GPH
- Warranty: 3 Years
- Material: Cast Iron
- 1/3HP, 2680GPH
- Warranty: 1 Year
- Material: Cast Iron
- 1/3HP, 2680GPH
- Warranty: 1 Years
Superior Pump 92341
- Material: Cast Iron
- 1/3HP, 2760GPH
- Warranty: 3 Years
- Material: Cast Iron and Stainless Steel
- 1/2HP, 5100GPH
- Warranty: 3 Year
- Material: Thermoplastic
- 1HP, 3300GPH
- Warranty: 2 Years
- Material: Cast Iron and Thermoplastic
- 1/3HP, 3000GPH
- Warranty: 1 Years
- Material: Cast Iron
- 1/3HP, 3000GPH
- Warranty: 2 Years
- Material: PVC
- Warranty: 3 Years
1. WAYNE CDU980E Submersible
Wayne is a company located in Ohio who construct their sump pumps in the USA. The CDU980E is a submersible pump so needs to go inside the sump pit itself, but this is one of the most powerful models you are likely to come across, pumping at around 4600 gallons per hour if needed. If you need 10 ft of lift to get water up and away from the pit, this still only reduces to 3500 GPH, so the power is undeniable.
The suction style design of the pump itself has a filter for the debris which means that you are less likely to experience problems with clogging, something that can be common among other sump pumps. This is a medium sized sump pump so you need to ensure your pit has at least 11 inches of diameter before installing.
2. WAYNE CDU790 Submersible
This other model from Wayne, the CDU790, is something of a smaller sibling to the CDU980E. It features a lot of the same features and the same exceptional build quality, including epoxy coated materials and a sturdy iron base to ensure that it doesn’t corrode easily over time. The quality is tested for up to one million cycles to ensure that this is built to last.
The CDU has a ceramic seal which stops water from getting in and causing problems, and though it has a little less power than it’s big brother, it does still offer 3800 GPM of pumping power. At 10 feet of lift, this lowers to 2700 GPM which is still powerful enough for many of our needs, unless you’re in an area where a lot of water can get into your basement, or need to lift it a huge distance.
This is a cheaper alternative to the CDU980E and still has plenty of power and functionality if you need a submersible sump pump for a pit which doesn’t get huge amounts of action. It is also excellent value.
3. Zoeller M53 Submersible
This is one of the best sump pumps on the market and has a huge amount of five star reviews. The reliability and ease-of-installation make the M53 an incredibly popular option among plumbers and consumers. The ⅓ horse power engine provides plenty of power and 2680 GPH of water pumping power is more than enough for most needs.
A quick look at some consumer reviews shows many users talking about having huge amounts of rainfall and the Zoeller M53 being up to the task. It is cast iron with epoxy coating and stainless steel fasteners. The build quality and durability is certainly not under any question in the Zoeller range. The M53 is 7.8 x 10.5 x 10.5 inches in size.
4. Zoeller M57 Submersible
The Zoeller 57 is a very similar product in many ways to the M53, almost identical in fact when it comes to most of its functionality and its build quality. It is made using the same high quality materials including the epoxy resin coated steel and stainless steel fasteners. It uses no low quality sheet metal as these are far more likely to easily corrode.
The main difference between the M53 and the M57 is the dimensions. This pump is 11 x 11 x 8 inches, whereas the M53 is 7.8 x 10.5 x 10.5 inches. It is worth measuring your sump pit well before you purchase one of these products just to ensure you are choosing the correct one for the shape and size you have.
Just like its sibling product, this has some excellent reviews, and is one of the most popular sump pumps on the market. The pros and cons are identical to the M53.
5. Superior 92341 Submersible
On to a pump which is excellent value for money and much cheaper than some of the other options on the market. In spite of this, it still has the ⅓ HP of power that many more expensive options can offer. It has an impressive iron housing and a vertical float switch which is pretty standard for pumps of this type.
It can pump at 2760 GPH and is still very efficient in the process, not using a huge amount of power. The 10 foot cord is a big plus point and this can even be replaced if needed in the future. The whole product has a three year warranty to keep you protected. It is relatively compact at 7.2 x 7.8 x 11.5 inches so fits into relatively small sump pits, making it a good choice if you need a small pump.
6. Liberty Pumps 257 Sump and Effluent Pump
This cleverly designed submersible pump has a magnetic vertical float switch and runs at an impressive 3000 GPH. The pump is relatively compact, and in spite of having this decent level of power it can operate in just a 10” sump pit. If you have one of these smaller pits then the Liberty 257 might be perfect for you.
The cleverly designed one piece housing means that there are very fea opportunities for water to work its way into the mechanism, keeping the pump itself safe from clogging and from corrosion. The high quality cast iron design protects the interior of the product exceptionally.
The manufacturer themselves describe this as a ‘workhorse’ pump. The 10 foot cord can be quickly disconnected and is totally waterproof, and the fact that this sits in a small pit but can lift water up to 21 feet with excellent speed and force make it a good choice at any budget, but this is also mid range in terms of price so represents good value for money.
7. Superior Pump 92333 Pedestal
Superior Pumps are very good at manufacturing products which offer really great value for money, and the 92333 pedestal sump pump is certainly on the more affordable end of the market. While we may not call this the very top sump pump ever built, it is a good and fairly powerful option if you need a pedestal pump.
The dimensions of this pump are 7 x 31.5 x 9, naturally this is very different to the submersible sump pumps as it is designed to stand next to the pit rather than go inside.
The housing itself is made from thermodynamic plastic, which is decent in quality but not quite up to the same standard of the cast iron pumps. This only works due to the fact that it can stand alongside the pit rather than being in it. Some of the components such as drive shaft and arm are made from higher quality metals.
8. Wayne WSS30V Combo with Battery Backup
Backup Flow Rate
Primary Flow Rate
When you are choosing which sump pump to buy, a backup system is pretty much essential. There is no point in having a pump which will not be able to work if the power goes out, without having some sort of backup. Wayne know this and have created the WSS30V. This has a lot of wonderful features but perhaps top of these is the fact that it is ready to put straight into the sump pit and has the backup ready to go.
The float switch has undergone 1 million cycle tests which is not something many other manufacturers can say, and the WSS30V main pump is super powerful, running at 5100 GPH so even in areas with a lot of water seeping into the basement this can ensure you don’t end up with flooding.
Both of these pumps offer ultra quiet performance so they won’t disturb you even if they do have to kick in and start pumping water away. The company make their products in the US.
9. WAYNE ESP25 12 V backup w/Alarm
Yet another Wayne product makes it onto our list. This time, the ESP25 which is possibly the best backup system available on the market, designed to kick in when your main pump fails. This is why it is fitted with an alarm, so you can be made aware when the main pump has failed and the ESP25 has had to start doing the job.
This sump pump offers an incredible 2900 GPH of pumping power, this is better than some of the main pumps we’ve seen, so is certainly very impressive for a backup. It has an LED display showing if it is ready and charged to kick in when needed, great for doing the odd visual check. The ESP25 is recommended to be used with the WSB 1275 75 amp battery but any 75 amp battery should do the job.
10. Liberty Pumps SJ10 Water Powered
We had to include the Liberty SJ10 as one of the best backup pump systems, also. It is the only product on our list which is water powered, and though this may not be the most cost efficient way of pumping water it is one of the safest for if the power should go down and you are left having to try and rid your basement of water.
This isn’t a submersible pump so it sits alongside the sump pit. The design is actually quite high in efficiency but these types of pumps should really only be used as a backup. Every one gallon of water used can remove and lift (five feet) up to two gallons of sump water.
The product doesn’t need any assembly and has a 2 year warranty. All you need to do is attach it to a source of mains water and it will be able to start working if your main pump should stop.
What Is a Sump Pump?
Sump pumps are designed to keep your home protected from the issues of flooding. In lots of parts of America and the rest of the world this can big a huge problem. Flooding can be brought about by weather conditions, and you don’t even have to live in an area where the weather is known to be particularly extreme, prolonged rainfall can cause flooding wherever you live.
Sump pumps can be installed in your basement or the crawlspace of a home. They are designed to pump the water out as it flows in through drains, soil or other means of water leaking into your home. The water then drains into a pit (the sump pit) where the pump is located, and from here it is pumped out of your home.
Do I Need a Sump Pump? (Who Sump Pumps are For)
Sump pumps are not uncommon in homes around the world. In many parts of the USA, these pumps are even a legal requirement in homes. Many homes which are being built today are fitted with sump pumps from day one. The federal clean water act of 1987 has meant that pumps are a mainstay.
There are occasions where you might not have to fit a sump pump. This very much depends on where you are based. The truth is that most basemented properties in America can make use of a sump pump, but if you have never experienced water settling in your home or basement then you may not need one. Check if the basement is dry and warm most of the time. If the answer is yes, and it isn’t moist down there, then you may get away with it, however, if you are in or near an area with flood risks then a sump pump always gives that extra protection.
Who Are Sump Pumps Most Useful For?
Though they are in a great deal of homes, these pumps will see the most use in low lying homes where flooding is likely. Flooding can be caused by a lot of different sources of water, and sump pumps are also absolutely vital if you live in a place where snow may melt quickly. All this water can very easily flood your home.
Over half of American homes have some sort of wetness in their basement. Flooding is not uncommon and at some point in the lifetime of a homeowner, flooding is likely. Unfortunately one day of extreme weather can often cause damage which can be very costly. Even if you are insured against this, it is extremely inconvenient.
Flooding is not the only issue with wetness though. Mold, mildew and other damp-related issues can be a huge problem in homes. The problems which arise from having a moist environment can have a negative effect on your health, so sump pumps can even help to keep you healthy. It is easy to see why they have become a part of regulations in many states.
Working Out If You Need a Sump Pump
Some of the tips above will be useful when it comes to establishing whether you need a sump pump, but there has been another useful method discussed a lot online.
If you are unsure of whether moisture is building up in your basement, you can put sheets of plastic on the walls. Whereas a lot of building materials will soak up the moisture, plastic will not, and will show you whether you have enough dampness to justify a sump pump.
Of course, if you live in any area where there is a risk of flooding, it should be reiterated just how vital the precaution of a sump pump is.
How Sump Pumps Work
A sump pump is usually twinned with a ‘pit’. This is normally simply a recessed area or hole, almost like a mini well within your basement. It needs to be at the lowest point of your property.
The pit not only acts as a place for water to drain into, it also triggers the pump turning on when it has got enough liquid within. The pumps job is then to carry the water through a system of pipes to a safe area for water to drain, taking it away from anywhere it can damage your furniture or anything stored in your basement. The pipes work by utilizing a check valve, this means that water can only flow one way (away from the sump pit) and reduces the risk of it coming back down the pipes.
Sump pumps, or at least standard home sump pumps are simply powered like any other electrical appliance. They don’t specifically have to have any wiring and the power supply it works off is the same as any other electrical item you may have in your basement. That said, due to the fact that it works so closely with water you should ensure you have a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) ensuring there is no chance of any accidents.
Types of Sump Pump
There are two main types of sump pump on the market. The differences are pretty simple, but there are a lot of similarities too. Most of these pumps are usually between two and three feet in height. We’ve explained in detail what each of these pumps does.
Submersible pumps are designed to stay in the water and has a waterproof covering which means you can keep it submerged. The pump itself sits at the bottom, and the pipe where the outlet is located is at the top on most designs.
The bottom part of the pump is covered in a screen which means that unwanted items can’t get in and clog the system. When the sump pump is triggered (usually by the water reaching a certain level) the water is simply pumped up and away from the area, through the pipes to whatever their destination is.
Pumps which are submersed underwater have a few benefits, they are quieter than the alternatives due to the dampening of the sound. They also have the added bonus of the water actually assisting in the cooling of the motor within, something the other types of sump pump will not benefit from.
The other variety of pump you’re likely to see is the Pedestal style. These are designed so that the pump itself is not within the sump pit. It does so by being suspended on a handle. There is instead what is called an inlet pipe, which is the part which sits in the pit. The water is drawn up and away from the area this way.
All of the mechanical elements of this including the pump itself are kept above the pit, and therefore (relatively) clear of water. This is preferable for many, from a safety point of view, but can also mean they make a lot more noise, not ideal if you spend a lot of time in your basement or if it is audible from upstairs.
Pedestal pumps do have their advantages, too. A pedestal pump can fit into a space where the sump pit is more narrow than is traditional. Some sump pits have been built in a way to accommodate pedestal pumps and not have room for a submersible pump, so you may not have a choice in the matter.
Electric vs Other Power Sources
Though the electric Pedestal and Submersible pumps are the most common, there are some other methods of powering your pump. These are often reserved for emergency use, but in your search for the best sump pump you may come across mentions of the following.
How to Choose Your Sump Pump Capacity (Working Out Size Based on Your Home)
Sump pump sizes and their capacity to pump water are important factors in your decision to purchase. There is little point in fitting a sump pump which won’t pump water away quickly enough for your own home, as this will still mean you’re at a high risk of flooding.
The best way to work out the minimum capacity is to use an existing sump pump. On a day which represents the most extreme conditions you can expect, you should run the pump until the water has lowered to the level where it automatically stops. Wait for one minute with the sump pump off, you can measure the distance the water moved in that minute (this will show how quickly the pit is filling up, and the flow of water coming in).
Once you have done this, you can do some simple sums to work out how much water your pump needs to be capable of pushing away.
Most sump pits are around 18 inches across. If this is true for yours then one gallon of water will take up around one inch of space. You can then multiply the number of inches (gallons) by 60 to work out the gallons per hour you need to be able to pump away.
Obviously, this method is not 100% fool proof and scientific, so what a lot of people end up doing is adding an extra 50% to it. Say you needed to be able to pump at 300 gallons per hour, you could add 50% and ensure you had the capacity to pump at 450 gallons per hour. This is a good way to stay safe and make sure your sump pump is effective even if conditions get really bad.
In terms of the physical size of the item, sump pumps tend to have some pretty standard sizes. Generally, a submersible pump will be around the 2.5 foot mark, some slightly taller, some slightly shorter. If your sump pit is 18 inches in diameter then it is important to ensure you purchase a pump which can fit within.
For pedestal style pumps, the size becomes less of an issue as they will sit above the pit. You simply have to make sure the tubing can reach far enough into the pit itself.
How to Choose the Best Sump Pump
Naturally, with any product designed to assist with your safety, and the safety of your possessions, it is important to buy the best. So, with that in mind, what are the criteria for the best sump pumps? What sort of features do you need to be on the lookout for, and why? We have listed the most important here.
No, this isn’t a term purely for use in vehicles. Horsepower is the measurement of power sump pumps use. Most of the pumps on the market are less than one half horsepower, but the amount of power you need will correspond to how much of a problem you have with flooding and moisture. For many of us, ¼ horsepower would be more than enough, but this all depends on the area you are in.
The pressure works in a similar way to a shower head. Imagine you were pointing your shower head upwards and away to try and direct water away. The more pressure you have, the further and higher the water can be pushed away. As sump pits are often located at the lowest point, pressure needs to be high enough to push the water up through the pipes and away from the house. Pressure is measured in feet or meters on most sump pumps. For instance, if your pump says it has a pressure of 10 feet, this is how high it is able to propel the water through pumps.
Most sump pumps require electricity to run, and this brings with it multiple considerations. There are many safety features which can be included, and this is vital for ensuring the worst doesn’t happen. Though we’ve all been told that water and electricity don’t mix, sump pumps are built with strict regulations.
The pumps tend to run off of 110v circuits. This is the standard for homes in the USA. 220 or higher pumps are out there, but these tend to be large pumps used in industrial locations such as factories.
Another consideration related to electrics is the cord length. Sump pumps cannot be plugged into extension cords as this brings with it a huge amount of risk. It needs to be plugged into a GFCI outlet. This means that the cord length on the pump you buy needs to be thought about in some detail. If you buy a pump with a cord which isn’t long enough then you may have wasted your money.
We have a whole section on backup systems below, but it is a consideration when buying the product too. Many sump pumps come with backup systems which can run off batteries or other power reserves if for any reason the electricity stops working.
This is one of the more simple considerations, but you need to purchase a product which is the right size. As we’ve already mentioned, the standard diameter of a sump pit is 18 inches, but all homes are different. Most pumps on the market have a minimum diameter rating, and will show you the smallest pit they are able to fit in. Naturally, for pedestal style sump pumps this becomes less of an issue.
Sump pumps don’t necessarily require a professional to install, though if you are not savvy with DIY and don’t know your way around a tool kit, perhaps going for the pro option is wise. However, a lot of people do opt to do it all themselves, and it isn’t too complicated if you are a naturally handy person.
Obviously, all models of sump pump have their own unique instructions, but the process is generally the same. That’s not to say you shouldn’t consult carefully with your instructions though, as they will be able to show you anything unique to your specific model. Not following your manual may even result in your warranty being voided.
How to Install A Sump Pump Yourself
This process depends on whether or not you have a sump pit existing within your basement. If you have a sump pit and are simply replacing the pump then you can go straight to the installation. If you do not have a sump pit, this needs to be your first job, and it isn’t an easy one.
To make a sump pit you will require a jackhammer to break the concrete at the bottom of your foundations. Here, you need to make a pit which is a suitable size for the pump you have chosen, and preferably one which is larger to ensure that there is plenty of room for water. Be as neat as possible when creating your pit and try to ensure it is even all the way down. Scruffy DIY projects such as this can look bad if you ever wish to sell your home.
Put the pump within the pit. This will be on your instruction manual, so check if there are any specific instructions at this stage. It is often the case that gravel should be placed within the pit before the pump so it is not right at the bottom.
- Make sure there is a check valve on the pump’s outlet. These are normally removable, and though your pump may come with one, it is worth checking that it is installed on your outlet valve.
- Next, you need to ensure the outlet pipe is taking the water somewhere appropriate. This involves fitting some PVC pipe to the check valve and running this towards a wall within the basement. You can then attach another, longer amount of pipe which should be accompanied by a 45 or 90 degree elbow joint when you reach the perimeter wall.
- Drill through the rim joint and ensure the discharge point is reached. Once the pipe has been directed outdoors you need to make sure it is above any foundation wall and then direct it to an appropriate drainage area. Once you have directed it to a suitable place, you can seal it in place.
If you’re looking for a neat job and aren’t a handy person, then it may be worth getting a professional in to do the job. This will also reduce the risk that something could go wrong and the money you’ve spent on materials gets wasted.
Do I Need A Backup System?
How much could go wrong? Well, the answer is actually that quite a lot could go wrong. As we’ve already stated, water and electricity don’t mix. If you’re in a position where a lot of water is entering your basement then there is a chance that your sump pump could run into issues. This is the reason the wiring on them is protected, and extension cords cannot be used to make sure the power cord reaches.
If anything should go wrong, without your electric sump pump you can quickly run into issues. This is why most people opt for some sort of backup system.
Types of Backup System
There are numerous types of backup system, some of which we have mentioned in our section about ‘types of sump pump’. There are some powerful battery powered systems which are arguably the best option. As well as being able to kick in when your pump stops working due to either a mechanical failure or a power failure, these often have alarms to tell you when the backup system has had to take over.
The advantage of a battery powered backup system is the fact that it is very easy and affordable to install, and does not require a great deal of specialist knowledge. The disadvantage is that there is the chance that the battery may drain after long periods of time with no use, or fail when conditions get bad.
Other types include the water pump system. These will actually run off of the water supply to your home, meaning that when the electricity is out then you are still able to keep pumping.
The main advantage is that it works from your water system, which will not be affected if the electricity goes. However, the installation can be a little tricky. If you don’t know what you are doing with plumbing this can be daunting, and the help of a professional is advisable. Also, the water pumps themselves are expensive.
Sump Pumps: The Last Line of Defence
Some of the sump pumps on the market are incredibly good quality. It can be easy to forget that they should be the last line of defence. Though most homes in the USA and many elsewhere around the globe should have a sump pump fitted, they aren’t the only way to avoid flooding.
Foundation cracks should be inspected to ensure no excess water is getting in, and your guttering should also be regularly checked and repaired.
The best way to ensure no damage occurs is to ensure no water can enter your basement in the first place.
There are a lot of decisions to be made when purchasing and fitting a sump pump. Only you will know the exact environment your home is in, and how much power you need. This guide has been designed to walk you through all of these different elements and make your buying decision easy, as well as the decision on whether to install it yourself or leave it to the professionals.
There are thousands of homes around the world who owe a great deal to having a good sump pump system, they can avoid horrific damage occurring in the event of extreme weather, and not installing one is certainly risky business. All the more reason to ensure you have the best sump pump system in your home as soon as possible.