Best Sump Pumps Reviews & Ratings

Water damage in your home is a serious business. Therefore, the decision to buy a reliable, quality sump pump to prevent a flooding catastrophe in your basement or crawlspace must be taken with due consideration. Luckily for you, you have come to the right place with the best information available for a sound decision.

Our Top 3 Picks

  • Wayne
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Quiet
  • Price: See Here
  • Superiour
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Durable
  • Price: See Here
  • Flotec
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Economical
  • Price: See Here

We have already done the “leg work” to track down the finest, best-performing pumps available on the market today. Our research includes all types of the best basement sump pumps, portable pumps and backup sump pumps. Our top picks have been carefully selected for their ability to remove unwanted water from your home while also taking into consideration the variance in homeowners’ budgets.

Once you have completed this brief guide, you will understand why a sump pump is such an important investment, what features to look for in the best sump pumps, how to use them and how to install them properly.

 10 Best Sump Pumps


1. Wayne Cast-Iron Pedestal Pump

1. Wayne Cast-Iron Pedestal Pump
The Wayne SPV-800 pedestal sump pump is built with heavy-duty quality materials and a proven design from one of the biggest makers of quality sump pumps in the U.S. Wayne’s engineering experience in both residential and commercial products spans seven decades, so you know this pump is made to the last and move water efficiently.

Powered by an air-cooled, ½-HP, 5.3A electric motor positioned far from standing water, this pump transfers 3,800 gallons per hour with a typical 10-foot discharge lift. If your situation requires more lift, this pump still moves an impressive 1,500 GPH at a 20-foot head. It keeps basements bone dry even during the heavy rains or snow melts. You cannot overwork it as it can run continuously for long periods and the motor is protected against thermal overload.

Expand to see more
The pump base is made from high-quality, epoxy-coated cast iron. The impeller shaft is epoxy-coated steel. Since the inlet to the impeller is above the base with built-in filter, debris clogs are avoided. The pedestal design allows the greatest range of float switch adjustment, which means you can adjust it easily for long cycle times, which prolongs motor life.

This pump operates smoothly in sump sizes too small for most submersible pumps. An 11-inch diameter sump is suitable. Installation is simplified with an easily accessible 1.5-inch NPT outlet and a long electrical cord. Simply plug in the pump to any nearby GFCI-equipped outlet.

The Wayne SPV-800 is an economical, but robust and efficient sump pump. It makes a superb replacement for an older pedestal-style pump or a submersible pump that has failed. If you study sump pump reviews, you will see that many people buy this model to replace an older Wayne pump that had run 25 years or more.
  • High output even at 20-foot discharge height
  • Top suction design avoids debris clogs
  • Runs quietly
  • Should secure base due to high torque

2. Superior Pump 92301 1/3 HP

2. Superior Pump 92301 1/3 HP
This 1/3-HP pedestal sump pump from Superior Pump is the best sump pump for keeping an average-size basement free from excessive moisture or flooding. It has ample power to move out water from heavy rains or overflowing laundry sinks and washers. It is a primary pump that fits into sumps as small as 12 inches in diameter. The motor is an energy miser that draws a mere 2.6A. Installation could not be simpler. Just plug it into any 20A, GFCI-protected 120V outlet within 10 feet of the sump.

This sump pump is rated to discharge water at a rate of 2,280 GPH for a 10-foot discharge height, which is typical in residential applications. At 15 feet, it pumps 2100 GPH, which is still formidable. So, even during heavy rains or snow melt conditions, this pump will handily remove inflow water to the outside to maintain a dry basement.
Expand to see more
The motor is designed for continuous duty with built-in automatic thermal overload protection. The above-floor motor position and air cooling mean this pump exhibits twice the lifetime of typical submersible sump pumps. Due to the generous range of float-switch adjustment, pumping cycle times can be extended for deeper sumps, which further prolongs motor life.

The base/impeller housing is made from solid cast-iron for the highest durability. The stainless steel impeller shaft from the motor to the pump is 100 percent corrosion resistant as are the float ball and pump impeller. Clogs due to debris are eliminated by the built-in impeller filter that rejects debris larger than 3/16-inch. A standard, 1.5-inch NPT outlet makes hookup simple to standard discharge plumbing.

The Superior 92301 is an affordable, efficient sump pump for new installations or the replacement of an older pedestal-style or submersible sump pump. Superior sump pump reviews regularly give this pedestal sump pump high ratings for low cost and high simplicity.
  • Continuous-duty, thermal-protected, low-amperage motor
  • Stainless steel drive shaft, float and impeller
  • 10-foot cord
  • Fragile float-switch lever

3. Flotec FPPM3600D-01/09

3. Flotec FPPM3600D-01/09
Flotec’s FPPM3600D-01/09 is the most economical pedestal sump pump you can buy in the 1/3-HP motor class. It is often used to replace an existing, failed pedestal pump of the same size or as a replacement for a Flotec submersible sump pump, since it works readily in either application. It requires only a 12-inch diameter sump to operate. It discharges up to 3,840 GPH of water at zero lift or 2,460 GPH for a 10-foot head. Your basement will remain dry as a bone even during occasionally heavy winter rains when basement flooding is most common.

The electric motor draws a modest 3.5A when pumping and is protected by built-in thermal overload circuitry. It operates off any 115-120VAC GFCI outlet within reach of its six-foot power cord. Rated working temperature for the motor is between 35F and 77F, which is well within the conditions found in basements during any season. A fine-meshed top inlet debris screen prevents clogging from debris in the water. The 1.25-inch NPT discharge outlet matches up well to standard size discharge plumbing.
Expand to see more
The external housing for the motor, base and pump unit is highly durable, non-corrosive thermoplastic resin. Refer to any sump pump guide and you will see that this innovative material contributes to this Flotec sump pump being one of the lightest pumps on the market at only 12.8 lbs. Its lightweight eases installation or removal should repairs be needed.

The FPPM3600D-01/09’s reliability is further enhanced by a metal float switch lever mounted at the top of the float shaft. Not only is a metal lever more durable than the plastic ones found on lesser sump pumps, but its position makes it easy to replace should it be damaged. The vertical float and switch arrangement lets you easily adjust on-off cycle lengths to match your basement sump’s depth. Longer cycles mean fewer pump restarts, which leads to extended motor life.

This Flotec sump pump is a budget-wise alternative to a higher-priced Flotec submersible sump pump of the same output but with the similar quality and improved overall performance. It comes with a standard 1-year warranty.
  • Super economical
  • Lightweight
  • Bottom steel plate rusts

4. Zoeller 98-0001

4. Zoeller 98-0001
For heavier-duty sump pump operations, the industrial green Zoeller 98-001, also known as the Zoeller M98, ½-HP cast iron submersible sump and effluent pump is a tough act to follow for competitors. The M98 demonstrates why Zoeller sump pumps are so well-known for their efficiency and rugged build. Both motor and pump are encased in a heavy-duty, oil-filled cast iron housing that is hermetically sealed for many years of cool running. It keeps on pumping throughout the wettest winter, spring and fall seasons with zero maintenance.

All external parts including the handle, arm, guard, fasteners and seal assembly are made from corrosion-proof stainless steel. Everything else is protected by a thick, powder-coat epoxy finish with a stylish hammered look. No sheet metal is used in any part of this pump. The motor and pump shaft seals are made from long-lasting carbon and ceramic material.
Expand to see more
If you need to move a lot of water, this pump can do it. At a 10-foot discharge height, the M98 puts out 3,660 GPH and 2,700 GPH at 15 feet. It is filter-free but passes up to ½-inch spherical solids easily. The discharge outlet is a 1.5-inch female NPT fitting. A rugged, highly flexible, 15-foot neoprene power cord is pre-installed with a 120VAC 3-prong plug. The motor draws 9.4A running and 29.2A briefly at startup.

An important feature of the M98 compared to other sump pumps is the durable polypropylene vertical float switch, which provides a generous 6-inch float range. That means more water gets pumped per cycle, which is important for smaller sumps and leads to longer motor life.

This not just a good sump pump, it is a great one. For heavy-duty pumping or providing more headroom to your water pumping capacity, the Zoeller 98-001 is an economical, long-lasting investment for your basement. Plug it in and forget it even during the most demanding water flows.
  • Strong, ½-HP performance
  • Well-engineered build with top-quality components
  • Oil-filled, runs cool
  • Should have a dedicated circuit to handle high startup current

5. 92330 1/3 HP Thermoplastic

5. 92330 1/3 HP Thermoplastic
Superior’s 92330 submersible sump pump is an economical solution to keeping the average residential basement nice and dry during the winter and spring months. The 1/3-HP motor has adequate power and flow for water transfer even where a higher than typical 10-foot discharge height is required.

Like all Superior products, this pump is built to last with a robust design and high-quality components inside and outside. The one-piece thermoplastic housing is rugged and completely waterproof. The motor is further protected from water ingress by dual O-rings on the motor plate. Everything inside is permanently lubricated for long life.

The split-capacitor motor features fast starts and low current draw during pumping operation of just 4.1A. Although the pump when submerged is more than adequately cooled by surrounding water, the motor has thermal overload protection just in case. Like other Superior sump pumps, the 92330 motor uses only bare, solid copper windings and a heavy-duty stainless steel jacketed shaft seal. The pump comes with a pre-installed 10-foot power cord and plug.
Expand to see more
In operation, water enters via a bottom plate equipped with a filter screen to keep out debris greater than 1/8-inch in diameter. Smaller debris passes over the impeller and is discharged without harm. Should a clog occur, the screen is easily cleared by backflow or by removing and cleaning the screen. The outlet is a standard 1.25-inch pipe thread fitting that can be adapted to match 1.5-inch discharge plumbing if necessary.

On-off pump cycling is controlled by a tethered float switch that lets you set both on and off depths and longer cycle times, which are easier on the motor. Float range is modified simply by adjusting the length of the float tether.

This quality sump pump is light enough that it can double as a portable utility pump. If used in this manner, the pump clears water down to 1/8-inch depth but the float must be secured in the on position. Never operate this pump dry to avoid impeller and seal damage.
  • Inexpensive with plenty of power for average basements
  • One-piece, double-sealed housing
  • Tethered float requires sump diameter of 14 inches and 14 inches depth

6. Little Giant 501004 205GPH

6. Little Giant 501004 205GPH
The Little Giant Pump Company, a subsidiary of Franklin Electric, sells a wide variety of pumps for water transfer and garden use. Small but powerful, Little Giant pumps are used extensively as highly portable utility pumps. Applications include pond or aquarium water circulation, fountains, transferring water or soap solutions, boat bailing, and pumping water through welding and threading machines. Although they are designed for optimum performance when completely submerged, the 501004 works superbly for clearing flooded floors or pumping out sinks.

Little Giant’s model 501004 205GPH direct drive submersible pump is one of their catalog’s more popular products. It truly is a “little giant” in size and performance. It is too small to be used as a secondary basement sump, but it finds many other uses around the shop, garden and home.

Its surprisingly compact, all-metal body, which measures 4.3 x 3.7 x 4.1 inches, encloses a reliable thermally protected motor and pump. It runs off standard 115VAC outlets via a six-foot power cord with a 3-prong plug and draws just over 1A of current for a total of 70 Watts of power consumption.
Expand to see more
The case is filled with a non-toxic, dielectric lubricant for permanent lubrication and superior cooling, which also lends to the continuous-duty rating on this spunky pump.

It has a maximum flow capacity of 205 GPH at a one-foot discharge height, which tapers to 120 GPH at five-feet of head. Water enters through the bottom screen and discharges via a ¼-inch MNPT outlet. The bottom screen filters out debris as small as 1/8-inch in diameter and is removable for cleaning. Multiple, long-lasting seals keep water out, so this is a completely submersible pump. In fact, Little Giant pumps work best when submerged.

Every Little Giant pump is designed to give trouble-free operation thanks to quality workmanship and materials. Every pump is fully tested to ensure long-lasting operation and safety. This pump comes with a 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Sturdy materials and smart design for long operation life
  • Maximum head of 7.4 feet


Should your primary sump pump either malfunction or stop running because of a power outage, and it is raining, you have three options. Assuming it is in running condition, use a generator to restart the primary pump, employ some kind of portable backup pump or start bailing. Wayne’s ESP25 is made precisely for this kind of emergency.

The ESP25 is a sump pump that runs off a 12VDC power source. It has a sturdy battery case that can hold any lead-acid battery. Sometimes used in conjunction with Wayne’s CDU800 pump in a packaged combination, the ESP25 can be employed as a second solution for any other pumps. It is completely standalone.
Expand to see more
It operates from a separate float switch. Simply install it alongside your existing pump in its sump. If the level of water is high enough to activate the ESP25 via its float switch, it comes on. This can happen in case the pump you own is unable to discharge sufficient water in heavy inflow situation. In the latter case, the ESP25 acts as a booster pump to assist your primary pump and can discharge via the same outlet line or a dedicated line.

Wayne’s ESP25 has pumping specs that compare well to any similar sump pumps. It resides in a completely waterproof and durable housing. It discharges 2,300 GPH of water at a 10-foot head and has a 1.6-inch discharge outlet.

Either a 40Ah or a 75Ah battery deep-cycle battery is recommended to power the ESP25. With the latter capacity, this pump can keep your basement dry for about 3 days. An audible alarm will be heard when the pump is operating, which usually means the primary pump has failed.

If you have ever had to clean up a flooded basement or worried about whether your sump pump was working while no one was home during inclement weather, then you understand the need for an independent backup sump pump. It brings peace of mind during power outages and confidence that two pumps together can keep up with unusual storm events.
  • Equivalent pumping power as a 1/3-HP AC pump
  • Audible alarm
  • Needs additional sump width

8. WAYNE WSS30V Pre-Assembled

8. WAYNE WSS30V Pre-Assembled
Have you ever been away on a trip and worried about a power outage back home that would put your basement sump pump out of commission? Then this Wayne WSS30V dual sump pump system with battery backup will put your mind at ease. It combines the Wayne CDU800’s powerful, thermally-protected, ½-HP AC motor and the Wayne ESP25 battery-powered sump pump as a backup pump. Under extremely heavy flows, both pumps can engage to remove water faster. See the details in the review section concerning this situation.

Both pumps are tied together in a single drop-in package. The CDU800 features a cast iron housing and base, permanently lubricated ball bearings and is completely waterproof. The impeller is made from high-impact polycarbonate material. It connects to power via a pre-installed eight-foot AC cord to any nearby outlet. Switching is accomplished with a parallel, dual-pole switch, so if one pole malfunctions, the other one keeps current flowing. The CDU800 uses a top-suction design with filter screen to prevent clogging.
Expand to see more
The ESP25 battery-backup pump is built as tough as any other Wayne sump pump. On its own, it discharges 2,300 GPH of water via the shared 1.5-inch discharge pipe. Both pumps are backflow-protected by separate check valves, which are included in the package. Also included are a sturdy battery box with LED charge-level indicators, an audible alarm indicating when the DC pump is working and a hefty wall charger. A lead-acid, deep-cycle battery is not included. You can use either a 40Ah or 75Ah battery. The latter provides up to 3-days of pumping given nominal cycle times.

The entire assembly is adjusted and tested before leaving the factory, so all you have to do is drop it in place. It requires a sump at least 15 inches in diameter and 22 inches deep to operate properly. Once you have this combo pump installed, you can expect quiet, dependable operation and no more sleepless nights even when you are away from home.
A battery case is included, but you must acquire a deep-cycle battery separately. For the ESP25 Wayne sump pump, a 40Ah or 75Ah battery is specified. Since there is little price difference between those sizes, get the bigger one. With the battery, the WSS30V costs about $400 more than the CDU800 alone. Whether you get only the CDU800 or the WSS30V, the next time you are out of town and it is raining hard at home that extra cost will seem a bargain.

  • Strong ½-HP primary backed up by a 1/3-HP battery-powered pump
  • Pre-tested combo ready for drop-in installation
  • Quiet running
  • Requires large sump

9. Zoeller 507-0005

9. Zoeller 507-0005
Power outages happen at the most inopportune moments such as during storms when there is an extraordinary amount of rain. Your basement sump pump may be doing its utmost to deal with a heavy flow when the lights go out. If you do not have a backup sump pump system, then expect a wet basement to be the result.

Zoeller’s 507-0005 backup sump pump system is designed to avoid that unfortunate situation. It provides a secondary, battery-powered sump pump system that automatically kicks in should the primary pump fail for any reason or is unable to handle extreme inflows. It is a separate unit that augments almost any existing primary sump pump. This compact submersible pump is housed in durable thermoplastic and removes water at a 1,380 GPH rate for a 5-foot discharge lift.
Expand to see more
The system features a self-contained 10A smart battery charger for a 12VDC deep-cycle battery, which is not included. It prevents battery burn out or overcharging. LED lights indicate the current charge state on the battery and an audible alarm sounds at 20-minute intervals to tell you when the 507-0005 pump is engaged. The pump itself uses a reliable vertical float switch and a built-in heavy-duty check vale that adapts to either a 1.25-inch or 1.5-inch discharge pipe.

Also included with the Zoeller battery backup sump pump is a durable, polyethylene battery box, which accommodates any 12V Group 27 marine-grade, deep-cycle battery. The battery must be purchased separately. A deep-cycle battery with a 105Ah rating supplies approximately 7.5 hours of continuous-duty pumping and longer if the pump is cycling on and off.

The pump comes with a small LCD control panel and a 1-year warranty.
  • Installs as add-on to almost any existing sump pump
  • Includes check valve
  • Some quality issues, see below

Attwood Portable

Attwood Portable
The WaterBuster portable pump from Attwood is one of the handiest pumps ever made. Running on three D-size alkaline batteries, it can move 200 gallons of water per hour for up to 5 hours. It is strong enough to lift water 4 feet. Because it needs no electrical cord, it is ideal for pumping out boat bilges, dinghies, kayaks or canoes. You can use it for removing large water spills, clearing out basement sumps or removing water from pool covers. It comes with a 42-inch hose and garden hose adapter.
Expand to see more
At just a little over six inches high and five inches in diameter, this battery-powered pump stows in any nook or cranny in a small craft or a home workshop. The 42-inch hose wraps neatly around the outside of the pump below the handle. Add three D cells and you can pump out a few hundred gallons of water from anywhere. Buyers who find frequent uses for this pump would like Attwood to include a power port for a power supply that would enable it to pump longer.

This pump would make a poor backup sump pump during heavy rains, but it is extremely handy for many other uses. It goes anywhere without the need for an electrical outlet and has enough capacity to clean up big spills or pump out ponds or aquariums with ease

Lightweight, easy to stow

Runs up to 5 hours on three D cells

No external power port

Types of Sump Pumps

Pedestal Sump Pump

A pedestal sump pump has a motor mounted above the pump on a shaft. This keeps the motor out of the sump basin. This design is less expensive to manufacture and maintain. A shaft extends from the motor to the impeller of the pump, which sits within the sump basin. They are ideal for both shallow and deep sumps. They fit smaller budgets and typically last 25 years or longer. Because of their height, they should be braced or tied to a nearby support.

Submersible Sump Pumps

A submersible sump pump is designed to be completely under the water it is pumping. They need a sump deep enough to completely cover the unit. Due to its compact size compared to a pedestal style sump pump, most people find it easier to handle and like that it is out of sight below the floor. A typical lifespan for a submersible pump is 10 to 15 years.

Portable Sump Pumps

A portable sump pump is used in areas that flood infrequently. They typically are powered by an electrical cord or an attached gasoline motor. Some require priming with water because they are not designed to suck up water but rather to push it. Intake and outlet hoses usually must be provided to transport the water a safe distance away. Running a portable sump pump dry can quickly damage the impeller or burn out the motor so they should be monitored.

Backup Sump Pumps

If the power goes out while a primary sump pump is operating, a backup sump pump that runs on either a battery or water pressure turns on automatically and continues removing excess water. Water-powered sump pumps get their power from the pressure of your city water supply, so can run indefinitely, whereas battery-powered backup pumps run from a lead-acid battery. Backup sump pumps include alarms to indicate when they are operating.

Battery Backup Sump Pumps

A battery-powered backup pump will work as long as its battery has a charge. Typically, a marine-grade, deep-cycle 12VDC battery is used, which is continually charged while the mains power is on. Although these pumps do not come with a battery, they usually have a sealed battery box, a charger, check valve and plumbing connections to insert it in parallel with your existing sump pump plumbing.

Sump Pump Parts

There are numerous different options out there to choose from in regards to sump pump parts for the system that you own, and today we’ll be taking a look at some of the best and most important parts that you can get for the system you own right now. All of the items on this list are extremely practical, and will help your sump pump perform better than you might have ever thought possible – especially if it’s time to replace one that’s showing a lot of signs of old age.

Without any further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best and most important sump pump parts out there!

Sump Pump Hose

With sump pump systems, the main overall goal for them is to collect excess water and other fluids that have made their way into your basement. These fluids can prove to be true annoyance as a proud homeowner, but thankfully, sump pumps are the ideal solution for resolving this issue. However, that begs one big question. Once the water and unwanted fluids have been collected, where on Earth do they go? It’s a very legitimate and reasonable question, and the answer to it is actually quite simple.

In order to get rid of the water and fluids that your sump pump has collected, you’ll need a sump pump hose. A sump pump hose is connected directly to the actual system that is located in your basement, and it snakes out to the outdoors. You’ll want the other end of the hose, the one that isn’t connected to your sump pump, to be placed in a safe area outside of your home where it won’t be easily disturbed by your kids, pets, or other outdoor critters.

As your sump pump collects any water that is able to make its way into your basement, the sump pump hose of yours will then take all of that water and discharge it into the great outdoors. Sump pump hoses are rather common sump pump parts, and they can be bought from around $20 and less if you do some savvy shopping.

An example of a really good option for a sump pump hose is that of the Little Giant SPDK Kit. The particular one in question measures in at 24-feet long, so you should have more than enough footage to reach the outside of your home from where the other end is connected on your sump pump. There are other options out there if you think you’ll need even more length, but this should prove to be plenty long for most home setups.

This particular sump pump hose by Little Giant only weighs a total of 2-pounds, and it is able to be used for both 1 ½-inch and 1 ¼-inch discharge systems. Additionally, it has the ability to be used with pretty much any sump pump system out right now, making it extremely compatible no matter what system you currently own.

Sump Pump Alarm

Sump pumps are generally rather costly investments, as the machines themselves are quite complicated and powerful. While spending so much money on an additional machine for your home might seem like a bit of a hassle at first, you’ll be more than glad that you did when you get a huge rain storm, and your sump pump is hard at work in regards to sucking up and collecting heaps of unwanted water that was able to make its way into your basement. However, since you spent so much money on this system, you would expect it to work at all times. While this would be the case in an ideal world, that simply is not the case in reality. Problems are bound to pop up no matter what aspect of your home we’re talking about, and sump pumps don’t get excluded from that fact at all.

In the even that your sump pump ceases to work, there really isn’t a great way to know that this happened on its own. Well, you’ll notice that something is up when you have puddles of water in your basement, but that really isn’t the ideal way to realize that something is amuck. After spending so much money on your sump pump system, you’d like to think that there is a better way to know and be alerted when your sump pump system decides to stop working. Thankfully, there is a cost effective solution out there that does just this.

This fix comes by way of a sump pump alarm, and this basically lets you know if/when your sump pump stops working for whatever reason. Just how does this work though? With a sump pump alarm, there is a water sensing probe that can level out in the crock of your sump pump system. This is done by attaching the supplied weight with the alarm to your tank, and these alarms are also equipped with wall-mounted anchors that all the alarm to stay dry at all times.

Just how does it actually work though? You see, once that sensing probe come into contact with water, the alarm will begin ringing, letting you know that it has come into contact with water that it shouldn’t have. If your sump pump works like it should, you’ll hopefully never have to hear this thing go off at all. However, it is a great safety feature to have in stock if you find yourself in a situation where your sump pump quits working during a power outage, or for whatever other reason there may be.

An example of a really solid sump pump alarm is that of the Reliance Controls Corporation THP205 Sump Pump Alarm and Flood Alert. This particular sump pump alarm is able to reach a total sound volume of 105dB, and it can even sound off with a musical tone to make the alarm even more noticeable. It comes equipped with a 6-foot sensor wire, and it even sounds off when it has a low battery. All-in-all, this is one of the best and most cost effective solutions that you can find.

Sump Pump Float Switch

With sump pumps, one of the most important sump pump parts is that of a sump pump float switch. Float switches are little gadgets that are equipped to your sump pump tank that tell it to start sucking it water when it gets to a certain level. You want your sump pump to take in water when it gets too high in your basement, but you also don’t want it go off every single second. On the other hand, you also don’t want it to wait until you’ve got a foot of water in your basement before it actually activates.

Sump pump float switches are used to turn on your sump pump at certain water levels when they are detected, ensuring that your sump pump turns on and offer when you want it to.

One of the most reliable options is that of the Basement Watchdog BWC1. This particular sump pump float switch is able to detect water when it reaches a level of ¼-inches, and will the automatically have your sump pump start taking in water. However, if that first activation doesn’t take place, there’s another float that goes off and turns your sump pump on as a nice backup to have it case things don’t work the way they should in the first place. It’s an extremely excellent tool that helps a tremendous amount in regards to making sure your sump pump works when it should, and it makes the whole process of owning such a machine that much less of a headache.

Sump Pump Check Valve

Last but not least, the final sump pump part that we will be talking about is that of a sump pump check valve. Check valves are easily some of the smallest parts for your sump pump system, but that doesn’t make them any less important by any means of the word. Sump pump check valves are absolutely necessary to the overall well-being of your sump pump system as a whole, and they’re actually quite powerful little tools.

Here’s the deal. With a sump pump check valve, it is found directly in the discharge line of your sump pump, and you more than likely have one in your sump pump right now. Its purpose is to help prevent any sort of unwanted water that’s already been discharged from making its way back into the basin or tank of your sump pump system when the motor is shut off about being used.

Even if your sump pump system came included with one of these, opting to get a third party one can often be a smart move, as it isn’t uncommon for the included ones to not perform the way that they should. If you’re on the hunt for a new one to replace the one in your current setup, the Zoeller 30-0181 PVC Plastic Check Valve is one of the best bets that you have. It’s affordable, durable, and most importantly, incredible reliable.

Why You Should Invest in a Sump Pump

The purpose of a sump pump is to remove excess water that occurs due to flooding or a high water table. If you have evidence of past flooding or any concern about future flooding, installing a sump pump is a wise idea. It avoids a host of problems:

  • Water damage – Excessive water can damage your home’s structure or finish materials such as carpets or paneling.
  • Mold – Excess moisture leads to mold growth in the structure and personal belongings.
  • Rot – Other fungi that destroy wood, paper, clothes, etc. also love moisture.
  • Rust – Anything metal in your basement can suffer from corrosion by either contact with accumulated water or from excessive humidity.
  • Impaired air quality – Mold or other fungi create an unhealthy environment for the home’s occupants.

"A visit to a friend's aquaponic set up in Round Valley" courtesy of: Alan Levine

Why Do You Need a Backup Sump Pump?

Your primary sump pump will stop working during a power outage or due to mechanical failure. A backup sump pump has a power source separate from mains power, its own pump, check valve and plumbing to bypass the primary pump. Unattended, it will kick in and keep moving water when the primary sump pump is out of commission.

Check for these features when selecting a backup sump pump

  • For a battery-powered backup pump, be sure it can charge a deep-cycle battery
  • It should have a similar pumping capacity as the primary pump
  • It must have its own check valve
  • A water-powered backup pump is not appropriate for a house that gets water from a well.

Why Should You Listen to Me?

Having owned houses with basements, I have firsthand experience with all the pump types covered in this guide. As a home builder and renovator for two decades, I also installed or replaced sump pumps of all types in dozens of homes. Additionally, for this guide I have consulted over 20 experts including plumbers and sump pump manufacturers to acquire detailed specs and advice about designs, installation techniques and how to avoid maintenance and repair problems. Where any gaps in my knowledge still existed, I filled those by researching product descriptions, review sites and online forums populated by experts in pump technology.

How to Use a Sump Pump


You should always test a new sump pump installation to familiarize yourself with its operation and determine that everything is working properly. The same steps should be applied every year:

  • Be sure that the circuit from which your sump pump draws power is properly grounded and uses a GFI outlet.
  • There is no reason to remove the sump pump when checking its operation, but if you do make sure its electric supply is disconnected.
  • Remove the cover from the sump, if any.
  • Removed debris from the sump basin. Too much debris plugs the pump’s inlet ports.
  • With the pump connected electrically, fill the sump from the bottom with a garden hose or bucket.
  • Watch that the float rises smoothly and continuously as the water level rises.
  • When the pump turns on, it should not hesitate or cycle on and off quickly.
  • There should be no unusual noises such as squealing or scraping when the pump starts or runs.
  • Turn off the garden hose and observe the pump’s operation until it turns off.
  • After the pump turns off, you should hear the check valve close in the outlet pipe.
  • Repeat the entire test one more time to be sure everything works as expected.

The most important adjustment you can make is the length of time the pump runs after it turns on. This is controlled by the float switch. The duration of the on cycle is determined by the length of travel of the float. A longer travel distance allows the pump to operate with fewer on/off cycles, which increases the life of the pump.

Sump Pumps: What to Look for

A pedestal pump is more tolerant of different sump sizes. Most submersible pumps need a wider sump basin. Other than the sump pit size, both kinds of pumps, and other types as well, can be evaluated according to the following characteristics.


Be sure to buy a sump pump that has adequate pumping capacity. This is measured either as gallons per minute or gallons per hour. Both of these figures are measured at a specific head height, which is how high the water is pumped. As head height increases, GPH decreases. If a particular sump pump does not list a chart of GPH versus head height, pass it over. If the maximum head height it can pump is less than the distance from your sump to the top of the outlet plumbing, it will not work for your situation.


Sump pump power is measured in horsepower. If you are replacing a sump pump that was working adequately, buy another one with the same horsepower or higher. A 1/3-HP sump pump is adequate for most situations. If you have to pump the water higher than 10 feet or further from the house than 50 feet, then purchase one with a power of at least ½-HP up to 1 HP.

Float Type

Sump pump floats come in different configurations. Pedestal sump pumps have a float on a long rod that rises with the level of the water. They usually have the longest travel of any pump type up to 10 inches. Submersible pumps use floats with shorter travel on a rod of four inches give or take. Some submersibles use a tethered float, which permits up to eight inches of travel. The longer the travel, the fewer times the pump will have to cycle power. Solid floats are superior to hollow floats as they never become waterlogged.


You should only purchase a sump pump with an automatic switch so it can run unattended. Furthermore, the switch should be mechanical and not a pressure switch. Otherwise, the type of mechanical sump pump switch is unimportant.

Inlet Size

A sump pump impeller that can handle debris up to ½-inch diameter is recommended. Metal impellers will withstand hard debris such as pebbles better than plastic impellers.


Sump pump motors, especially pedestal style pump motors, can generate a lot of heat if they must run continuously. Thus, the best pump motors have a cast iron core rather than plastic in order to more effectively dissipate heat.


All other things equal, a sump pump of higher horsepower costs more than a smaller pump. Other than power, the price will reflect the cost of the materials used to make the pump such as the type of metal used in bearings, bushings and the housings.


Check the length of warranties and what they cover when comparing sump pump brands. Do not expect much, however. Since sump pumps work under unpredictable and adverse conditions, most manufacturers do not grant more than one or two years of warranty.

How We Picked Sump Pumps

Sump pumps have a vital job to perform. They must remove accumulated water in your basement or crawlspace automatically and with high reliability in order to avoid costly damage. Often, they are called upon to perform this function during times of extreme weather. Furthermore, they may pump unclean water containing debris.

Homeowners prefer sump pumps that they set and forget, which sometimes means the pumps must continue to operate even without regular maintenance. Thus, we look for sump pumps that are rugged, made of quality materials and do not play games with their specs. For instance, if a pump hedges the GPH/Head figures in any way, we consider that a sign of a weak pump. The best manufacturers tell you straight up how the pump will perform so that you can judge for yourself whether it is the right pump for your situation.

Tips on How to Maintain Your Basement

  • Keep a cover over the sump. If you live in an area where radon in the soil is an issue, cover and seal this lid with plastic and tape.
  • Make sure the lot grade slopes away from the house in all areas and water cannot puddle near walls.
  • Even during heavy rains, gutters, downspouts and footing drains should handle all the runoff.
  • River rock around the basement periphery and in window wells absorbs water that could penetrate basement walls.
  • Vent bathrooms and clothes dryers to the outside of the house. Do not hang wet clothes in the basement.
  • Insulate cold water pipes so that condensation does not form.
  • Install a dehumidifier if humidity remains high after ensuring you have implemented the steps above.

Best Sump Pump Brands

Liberty Pumps

The Zoeller Pump Co. is known throughout the world for high quality and reliable American-made sump pumps. Their sump pumps use cast iron housings and run quieter than other pumps on the market. Despite using the best quality materials, they are not overly expensive. Most Zoeller sump pump reviews are from happy buyers who installed the pumps themselves. Most of their pumps come with extra inlets and discharge outlets to accommodate varying installation requirements.

Liberty Pumps

Liberty Pumps is a well-known name when it comes to sump pumps, drain pumps, utility pumps and sewage pumps. Their larger pumps are made with heavy-duty cast iron housings, while smaller pumps use durable thermoplastic. Besides primary sump pumps, they also make battery-powered and water-powered backup sump pumps. Buyers in sump pump reviews are always impressed with their quiet operation, reliability, affordable prices and generous 2-year warranties.

Wayne Pumps

Wayne Pumps manufactures nearly any kind of pump you could need around your home. Besides primary sump pumps, backup sump pumps and sewage pumps, they make sprinkler pumps, drain pumps, utility pumps and more. Despite their economical pricing, they make durable products that bring trouble-free satisfaction for many years. Most sump pump products from Wayne use cast iron housings, epoxy-coated steel motor units and large discharge outlets. They back most products with an industry-leading 3-year warranty.

Sump Pump Accessories

Once you get your sump pump installed and good to go though, it can be easy to go ahead and leave it be without every paying a bit of attention to it ever again. However, this is not really the way you want to go about things at all.

While the sump pump on its own is perfectly fine, there are actually some incredibly useful accessories out there that can really help make your sump pump even more useful than it already was the second you took it out of the box. You might be hesitant about pouring more money into this already costly venture, but investing a bit more cash could help keep your basement drier and in better shape than ever before.

In the world of sump pumps, there are actually a great plethora of different accessories to look at and choose from, and today we’ll be taking a look at some of the best ones out there that will really help to take your sump pump to the next level. If you thought your sump pump was already performing great, just wait until you see what some of these available accessories are capable of!

Sump Pump Basins

sump pump accessories

One of the most important accessories to keep an eye out for is that of a sump pump basin. The basin of your sump pump system is what the water collects in when it goes about sucking up and taking in the water that it acquires, but you may or may not have gotten a basin when you purchased your sump pump.

Whether you’re in need of a bigger sump pump basin, or you’re simply hunting for your first one, one great option out there is the Sump Basin AKP3500 by AK Industries. This sump pump basin is one of the best sump pump accessories you’ll find, and it comes equipped with dimensions that measure in at 18 x 22-inches. The basin itself comes in at a total weight of just 7.5-pounds, and the overall quality here is simply fantastic.

One of the best parts about this sump pump accessory is the fact that it doesn’t come with any holes that are already pre-drilled out of the box. While this might sound like a bit of a bummer, it means that you are able to modify the basin exactly the way that you want to. Additionally, the lid system that AK Industries has included here is incredibly tight and secure, ensuring that no unwanted smells or moisture is able to make its way out of the basin.

Sump Pump Covers

sump pump accessories

Although sump pump accessories are quite vast, the other one that is easily the most important is that of a sump pump cover. Sump pump covers are incredibly practical, as they allow you to prevent any unwanted items or people from getting in your sump pump system and messing with things that they shouldn’t be. These are especially useful if you live in a house with kids, as it will stop them from getting into a place where they really shouldn’t have access to.

Similar to sump pump basins and all other sump pump accessories on the market, sump pump covers are a dime a dozen nowadays. This is great in regards to how many different options are out there, but it also means that locating a sump pump cover that’s ideal for you and your family can be a bit of a challenge.

There is no shortage of sump pump covers out there, but one of the best ones that we were able to find comes by way of Drainage Industries, and it’s aptly named the 17 Inch Sump Pump Pit Cover.

This particular cover is built out of an incredibly durable plastic material, and it is well proven to be able to hold up to a great amount of normal wear and tear as it protects the opening of your sump pump system for a number of years to come.

This particular cover is able to fit openings of sump pumps that measure in around 16-inches or less, and the cover itself is about 1.5-inches thick. Additionally, the slot found on the front is able to store a pipe that has max dimensions of 8 x 3-inches.

Installing a Sump Pump

Here are a few tools and materials you will find handy when replacing an old pump or installing a new one:

  • Measuring tape and felt marker
  • A flat blade screwdriver
  • One or two rubber couplings with hose clamps the same size as the outlet pipe
  • Ratcheting PVC snips or a PVC pipe saw
  • PVC primer and PVC cement
  • A few 6-inch zip ties
  • A portable, bottom-inlet utility pump such as the Superior 91250

Grinder Pump by Sustainable sanitation, on Flickr

If you are replacing an existing sump pump with the same or different model, these are the initial steps to follow:

  • Keep a utility pump nearby for cleaning up plumbing water and removing water in the sump basin
  • Disconnect power from the old pump
  • Set aside the sump basin lid
  • Remove or disconnect the existing outlet check valve
  • Lift the old pump from the basin using the vertical portion of the outlet pipe
  • Remove any water and sediment from the basin

To continue replacing an existing sump pump or for a new installation, follow these steps:

    • Add a coupler or adapter to the discharge fitting on the new pump that is the same size as the discharge pipe
    • Attach a length of outlet pipe to the pump’s discharge fitting or coupler that extends a foot or so above the top of the sump basin
    • Use the outlet pipe to lower the pump into the basin
    • Be careful that the pump float does not come in contact with the basin wall
    • Mark, cut and dry fit the remaining PVC outlet pipe being sure to include a check valve
    • When all the outlet plumbing is assembled dry, mark each coupling and pipe it fits over or into with the felt marker so that it can be re-assembled in the same manner

Assemble the outlet plumbing using PVC primer and glue

  • Zip-tie the pump’s power cord to the outlet plumbing to hold it in place
  • Re-connect power to the pump
  • Test the installation by filling the sump with water and observing pump operation

Sump Pump Maintenance

As a homeowner, there are a number of things that you need to keep in mind with your house. And, with all of these things that you need to keep in check, it’s not unlikely for various problems to pop up and occur – no matter how many preventative measures you put in place to try and prevent these things from happening.

A leaky roof, drafty hallway, dripping faucet, and weak insulation are just a few examples of something of the problems that the average homeowner can expect to run into at one point or another during the time that they live in their house.

sump pump maintenance
Although every house is bit differently and each house is unique in its own right, there are some problems that have a tendency to affect a great number of folks. Once of the most common issues it that of a basement that has a tendency to get wet.

Wet basements prove to be a problem for more than 60% of homes all across the country, and it’s something that can become a rather big annoyance in not a lot of time. Sump pumps can help to greatly reduce the amount of water that enters your basement, and are often lifesavers for a lot of folks out there.

However, sump pumps aren’t things that you install in your house and then never deal with it again. As with any major component of your home, your sump pump requires regular maintenance in order to keep in functioning just the way it did when you first installed it. While conducting regular sump pump maintenance may seem like a bit of a hassle at first, it could prove to be the difference between you having a water-free basement or not.

So, in order to keep your sump pump working the way it should, what can you do to go about ensuring its overall quality? Today, we’re going to be going over some of the most important factors and practices to keep in mind in order to achieve excellent sump pump maintenance.

Construct a regular sump pump maintenance program

sump pump maintenance
When it comes to keeping your sump pump working properly, its best to get a sort of checklist or program in place in order to know that you’re checking every possible area of your sump pump for possible signs of trouble.

First off, one of the most important things is to keep an eye on your sump pump’s discharge line to make sure that it hasn’t stopped working or frozen up during the winter or colder months of the year. If you find that it has stopped working for whatever reason, unclogging the air vent hole that is in the same line usually proves to do the trick.

Additionally, keeping a close eye on the inlet screen helps to make sure that it isn’t getting clogged up with any sorts of debris or other residues. This should be done between 3 and 4 times a year, so it isn’t all that demanding of a task.

In addition to these two points, making sure that the floating component of your sump pump is not blocked or obstructed by any sort of object will go a long way in making sure that it runs the way it is supposed to. Similarly, looking over the pit of your sump pump and getting rid of any noticeable stones, mud, or other objects will also help to keep things running as smoothly as possible.

The big task

sump pump maintenance
About once every year, it’s a good idea to completely disconnect your sump pump from its power source and to remove the unit entirely from your basement. Once this is done, you’ll want to completely flush it out with water. This process will help to remove any sorts of gunk or other unwanted items that have made their way into your pump throughout the year. Once this has been completed, you can go ahead and re-install the pump and ensure that everything is working the way that it should be.


Sump pumps don’t require an enormous amount of maintenance, but they do need to be checked with regular tasks to ensure that they are working to their full potential. Sump pump maintenance certainly isn’t the most glorious thing to do, but conducting these tasks on a fairly regular basis will help to ensure that you sump pump continues to work the way it should for a great number of years to come.

Making the Decision

Clearly there are many choices with regard to the size, configuration and quality of sump pumps to consider when making your sump pump buying decision.

Your first consideration should be selecting the correct size of primary sump pump that will adequately remove all the water flowing into the sump pit even during the heaviest rains. If you have an existing sump pump that was performing this function well up until its demise, then buy one with at least the same head lift and flow capacity. If you have any doubts at all about the correct size of sump pump, buy one at least one size larger. The little bit extra you pay for, say, a ½ HP pump versus a 1/3 HP pump pales in comparison to the prospect of standing water in your basement.Gutter pipe with water raining down

Next, compare the quality of pumps from different manufacturers. Here, the best information comes with this guide and product reviews by verified buyers. Discount sites with only a few reviews of a particular product. Also, consider the length of the warranty and the type of materials used in each pump. Ask a couple of local plumbers for their opinions about specific pump brands.

Always include in your sump pump budget room to buy either an automatic battery backup pump or at least a good quality portable pump as insurance against a primary pump failure. Sump pumps are generally reliable, but all it takes is one failure when you need it most to cause irreparable damage to belongings or your home’s structure.

Keep in mind that any sump pump should last at least 10 years and many last up to 30 years. Always buy the best basement sump pump possible, since the cost will be amortized over those 10 to 30 years. If you choose a pump because it is a hundred dollars cheaper, is the three to 10 dollars per year you saved really worth the doubts or lost sleep you might suffer?

Whichever pump you finally decide on, make sure it is installed correctly and do not forget to perform maintenance on it at least once a year to keep it running smoothly and reliably.