A sump pump is an emergency device that uses sensors to detect and pump rising water levels in your basement. To help you select a sump pump that’s right for your home, the This Old House Reviews team researched the best sump pumps on Amazon. Here are our top picks.
Most Compact: Superior Pump Store 1/4-Horsepower Utility Pump
This ¼-horsepower sump pump weighs just 6.8 pounds and moves up to 1,800 gallons of water per hour to help keep your basement or low-lying area safe from floodwater. Built with thermoplastic, this sump pump is a compact and durable flood-prevention device that includes a removable suction screen to handle solids up to ⅛ inch thick. Additionally, the sump pump comes with a 10-foot power cord and a versatile discharge hookup that’s compatible with a garden or discharge hose.
Best Submersible Pump: Zoeller M53 Mighty-Mate Sump Pump
This submersible sump pump is built with cast-iron motor components that withstand a variety of conditions and keep your home protected from rising water levels. This sump pump includes a float-activated switch that automatically powers the pump when it detects rising water levels. Along with its automated design, the powerful sump pump discharges up to 43 gallons of water per minute. Additionally, the product comes with a nine-foot power cord and can take in solids up to ½ inch thick.
Best Power: Wayne Submersible Cast-Iron and Stainless-Steel Sump Pump
This sump pump is powered by a ¾-horsepower motor that’s activated by a vertical float switch to keep your basement dry even if you’re not home. It’s designed with quality cast iron and stainless steel, minimizing the risk of air locks and clogs. The sump pump works in sump basins that are 11 inches or larger and can discharge water up 20-foot inclines. Additionally, this model has an easy installation process that only takes about 15 minutes.
Best Battery Backup: Wayne Upgraded Combination Battery Back-Up Sump Pump
This sump pump is built for large 16-inch sump basins and has a built-in backup battery that pumps up to 10,000 gallons of water on a single charge. It contains a ½-horsepower motor protected by a durable cast-iron and epoxy-coated steel frame. The pump is powered by electricity but uses its backup battery to work through power outages, helping keep your home safe from flood damage at all times. Its versatile design and quality construction can pump up to 5,100 gallons of water per hour.
Most Versatile: Superior Pump Cast-Iron Submersible Sump Pump
This sump pump is equipped with a piggy-back plug that lets homeowners automatically or manually turn on the pump to discharge up to 2,760 gallons of water per hour. It includes a ⅓-horsepower motor contained inside of a heavy-duty cast-iron frame that secures the pump inside the sump pit. As a result of its powerful motor, the pump can move water up inclines as large as 20 feet. Additionally, the sump pump comes with a removable screen filter that’s easy to clean.
Types of Sump Pumps
There are four main types of sump pumps: submersible, pedestal, battery backup, and combination.
Submersible sump pumps are completely submerged in the pit, or sump basin, that’s located below your basement’s floor. Once the pit fills with a certain amount of water, a sensor is triggered, which turns on the sump pump to pump the water out. This type of sump pump is typically quieter than other types of sump pumps because its motor is inside the pump, but it’s more expensive than other pumps.
Pedestal sump pumps sit in a basin that’s level with your basement floor and remove water through a pipe that leads to a drainage area in your yard. They’re more affordable than submersible sump pumps, but their motor is attached to the outside of the device, making them noisier.
Unlike submersible and pedestal models that run solely on electricity through a power cord, battery backup sump pumps have a battery-powered backup pump that kicks on when the main unit can’t run due to a power outage. The battery on the backup pump can typically last for a few hours on a single charge. While this is enough for short surges, the battery will eventually die if it’s pumping a lot of water during an hours-long outage.
Combination sump pumps include the power cord of pedestal and submersible models and the backup battery of battery models, allowing them to work in all situations. They usually sit in a below-the-floor basin like submersible sump pumps, but they’re larger, which means you can’t use the basin you dug for your old submersible sump pump for your new combination sump pump.
Before purchasing a sump pump, it’s important to understand how each model’s design and specifications impact its performance. Here are a few factors to consider when buying a sump pump.
Most sump pumps are powered by electricity, but some models include a battery backup that powers the device in the event of a blackout. For example, the Wayne Upgraded Combination Battery Back-Up Sump Pump includes a 12-volt battery that pumps up to 10,000 gallons of water on a single charge. Models that don’t have a battery backup, like the Superior Pump Cast-Iron Submersible Sump Pump, can pump thousands of gallons of water each hour as long as electricity is available.
The horsepower (HP) of a sump pump’s motor refers to its overall power, with a higher HP motor being able to pump more water per hour than a lower HP motor. Many sump pumps contain ½-HP or ⅓-HP engines, though some models like the Wayne Submersible Cast-Iron and Stainless-Steel Sump Pump contain more powerful ¾-HP engines. While higher HP motors can pump more water per hour, they’re typically more expensive.
Most sump pumps use either a digital or manual switch to start their motors. Manual models, including the Superior Pump Cast-Iron Submersible Sump Pump, contain floats that rise with the flood water, turning on the pumps when the water reaches a certain level. When the floats dip below the set level, the pump stops.
Other models feature digital on-and-off sensors. When the water rises to meet the on sensor, the pump starts working. Once the water lowers and reaches the off sensor, the pump turns off. The benefit of digital switches is that they continue pumping water until they reach the off sensor, even if the water level dips below the on sensor.
Many sump pumps come with audible alarms that signal rising water levels in your home. For example, the Wayne Upgraded Combination Battery Back-Up Sump Pump includes a high-pitched alarm that signals when the pump detects water.
Sump pumps are usually made of plastic or some sort of metal, such as aluminum, stainless, steel, or cast iron. Plastic sump pumps are more affordable, but they’re not as durable as metal sump pumps.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the purpose of a sump pump?
A sump pump is typically placed in a basement to detect and pump rising water levels. They help prevent damage caused by significant flooding.
Does my sump pump require regular maintenance?
To ensure that your sump pump functions properly, clean its components at least every three months by following these steps:
- Disconnect the pump from the wall outlet or battery.
- Disconnect the pump’s discharge pipe.
- Bring the pump to your yard.
- Scrape off the grime with a sponge or cloth.
- If there’s too much grime to remove by hand, use a standard garden hose to blast it off.
- Disinfect the pump and its basin by wiping them with bleach, vinegar, or another disinfectant.
- Use a shop vac to clean the remaining debris and water from the basin.
- Reconnect the pump.
Where do sump pumps discharge water?
Most sump pumps send the excess water into a storm drain or dry well.
Do sump pumps smell?
Sump pumps can develop an odor if they haven’t been used in a while. Infrequent use causes the water in the pump’s basin to fully dry, releasing smelly gases into the air. Mold and bacteria growth inside the pump and the basin can also cause a smell.
You can eliminate these odors by creating a solution with a ratio of one cup of bleach for every gallon of water. Pour this solution into the basin until the pump is activated. To prevent an odor from developing in the future, wash your sump pump regularly and keep the basin full of enough fresh water to cover the drain lines.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at [email protected].com.
Storms and hurricanes often put Americans at risk of flooding. But there's plenty you can do to prevent flooding in your home. Sump pumps can help save your basement from water damage and prevent the clean-up nightmare that comes with a flooded basement.
Time and again, our research pointed to the Wayne CDU980E as the best sump pump for most houses. Its durable cast iron and stainless steel construction and powerful motor make this Wayne sump pump worth its higher price tag.
Keep reading to see all of our recommendations for the best sump pumps. And check out our FAQ to learn more about sump pumps and their benefits.
What is a sump pump?
Sump pumps remove excess water from basements in areas where flooding regularly happens. This may be due to heavy rains or a high water table. They reduce the likelihood of water damage ruining your home and your items.
Most sump pumps sit in a sump basin or pit below the basement floor, allowing the pump to function before water levels enter your home.
Compare the best sump pumps
Horsepower is a measure of a motor's power, or its ability to move things. It affects anything that uses a motor, like cars, vacuum cleaners, and sump pumps. By installing a sump with higher horsepower, you can pump more water than a model with low horsepower.
Compare sump pump specifications
There's a lot more to sump pumps than horsepower. The vertical lift, flow rate, pipe connector size, and construction materials all make a difference in how effective and long-lasting your pump will be.
Maximum vertical lift
Pipe connector size
|Wayne CDU980E||21 ft.||5,490 GPH (0 ft.),|
4,600 GPH (10 ft.)
|1 1/2 in.||Stainless steel,|
|View on Amazon|
|Superior 92250||25 ft.||1,800 GPH (0 ft.),|
1,200 GPH (10 ft.)
|1 1/2 in.|
1 1/4 in.
|Thermoplastic||View on Amazon|
|Wayne WSS30VN||15 ft.||5,100 GPH (0 ft.),|
3,840 GPH (10 ft.)
|1 1/2 in.|
1 1/4 in.
|View on Amazon|
|Superior 92301||20 ft.||3,000 GPH (0 ft.),|
2,280 GPH (10 ft.)
|1 1/2 in.||Stainless steel,|
|View on Amazon|
|AmazonCommercial AB-P100||29 ft.||3,060 GPH (0 ft.),|
2,620 GPH (10 ft.)
|1 1/2 in.||Thermoplastic||View on Amazon|
About flow rate and vertical lift
Flow rate is one of the most important aspects of a pump. It measures how much water a pump can move in gallons per hour (GPH). But the pump’s performance changes as the vertical lift (pump head) increases, so we listed two numbers for different lifts in our table above. To learn more about vertical lift and flow rate, check out our FAQ: What is pump head?
1. Wayne CDU980E: Best overall
The Wayne CDU980E consistently ranks among the top sump pumps in online reviews, and it’s easy to see why. This pump comes with a powerful 3/4 hp motor that moves up to 5,490 gallons per hour (GPH), which is more than other pumps we researched, including several more expensive models.
It’s a submersible sump pump, making it quieter than pedestal-type pumps. This is useful if you spend a lot of time in your basement and don’t want a noisy pump to interrupt your movies and projects.
Durability is another standout feature of the Wayne CDU980E. It has a cast iron and stainless steel body that protects the internal motor from water damage. Wayne is confident enough in this design that the pump has a five-year warranty, the longest warranty among sump pumps.
Because this submersible pump rests in the bottom of a sump pit, it’s harder to reach for regular maintenance than a pedestal pump. This isn’t enough of an inconvenience for most folks but matters if you have trouble bending down or laying on the floor for occasional debris removal.
The Wayne CDU980E costs around $170, making it more expensive than most competitors we looked at. Still, we think the powerful motor and durable design are worth the extra cash.
Decades of experience
The Wayne company has over 70 years of experience making water pumps, making it one of the most experienced companies we reviewed. The company takes its name from Fort Wayne, Indiana, where it operated for the first 63 years of its existence.
2. Superior 92250: Best value
Superior Pump touts 20+ years of experience, making some of the most affordable sump pumps on the market. Our favorite pump from this company is the Superior 92250 because it costs around $60—almost one-third the price of our top pick from Wayne.
We chose this pump because it’s an upgraded version of the popular Superior 91250. The main difference is that the 92250 has an automatic switch, so you don’t have to activate it manually when water starts to build up. It’s around $10 more expensive, but the automatic operation is worth every penny.
This small sump pump doesn’t have a particularly powerful motor, only 1/4 hp, but moves up to 1,800 GPH. This is almost as much water per dollar as more expensive pumps. We also like that this unit has a small size that’s easy to move and lift out of the sump basin for maintenance.
Unfortunately, the cheap sump pump’s light frame comes from a plastic construction that isn’t as durable as the metal casings on other brands. You might replace this more often than an expensive model, but it’s an excellent option to save money for other home improvements.
3. Wayne WSS30V: Best battery backup
The Wayne WSS30VN is actually a bundle of two pumps: a main pump and a backup pump. Together these pumps allow you to have flood protection, even when the power goes out. You can buy the battery backup pump separately, but we wanted to highlight that battery backup pumps aren’t a stand-alone solution.
Most battery backup pumps don’t offer a high flow rate to pump water and last only as long as the battery does. Essentially, you’re paying for redundancy to keep water out of your basement when the primary sump pump loses power. Like other submersible sump pumps, you can expect quiet operation from the Wayne WSS30VN. The primary pump has a powerful 1/2 hp motor that can move up to 5,100 GPH, almost as much as our top pick, the Wayne CDU980E.
For such an expensive bundle, it doesn’t come with some vital components like a battery and a check valve. The check valve is usually a separate $10–$30 purchase for sump pump installations, but buying a battery for the backup pump adds around $275 to the overall cost. This is a big detractor if you want to save money.
What is a check valve?
A check valve is a one-way valve between your sump pump system and the discharge pipe. It keeps leftover water from flowing back into your home after the pump turns off.
Even though the battery backup sump pump is a nice feature, it’s unnecessary unless your house has a history of simultaneous power outages and flooding. Still, if you must have a battery backup, we think the Wayne WSS30V is an excellent option.
4. Superior 92301: Best pedestal pump
The Superior 92301 has a different design than other pumps on our list. Its motor rests on a pedestal at the top of a tall shaft—not at the bottom of a sump basin like a submersible pump. This keeps the motor far from the water below, which results in a longer-lasting pump design. It qualifies for a five-year warranty because its electrical components have less exposure to water.
Because the motor is above floor level, it’s easy to adjust the vertical float switch that turns on the unit and makes it easier to look for motor problems. You still need to clean out the sump basin as debris builds up, but it’s less of a hassle when your motor casing doesn’t have gunk all over it.
The 1/3 hp motor on this pedestal sump pump isn’t as powerful as it would be on a submersible pump, but it has an excellent output of up to 3,000 GPH to keep your basement dry. Since the motor isn’t down in a sump pit, it’s noisier than submersible models, but the noise isn’t a problem if your pump doesn’t run very often.
While we prefer submersible pumps for their power, the easier maintenance of this pedestal pump makes it a useful alternative for folks with limited mobility.
5. AmazonCommercial AB-P100: Affordable power
Amazon is a fairly recent entrant in the basement sump pump market with its AmazonCommercial line of products.
In general, the company has an excellent reputation for customer service, and its white-label AmazonBasics products are surprisingly effective, given their lower prices. The AmazonCommercial AB-P100 is a superb example because it offers a high flow rate for an affordable price.
This submersible unit can pump up 3,060 GPH thanks to a 1/3 hp motor, making it an excellent intermediate pick between the ultra-cheap Superior 92250 and the high-flow Wayne CDU980E. The motor also has an impressive vertical lift of 29 feet, which means it can pump water higher than any other pump on our list.
About vertical lift
Even though this pump has a high vertical lift, the amount of water it can pump at that height is very low. In general, we don’t recommend pumping water much higher than 20 feet with this pump to get a flow rate of at least 1,740 GPH.
One of the reasons this pump is so affordable is because its plastic body isn’t as durable as steel or cast iron. Still, Amazon sells a more powerful cast iron variant for about $25 more if you want something more robust. These pumps have a one-year warranty, which isn’t as long as the five-year coverage you get with more established products like the Wayne CDU980E.
In any case, we think Amazon crafted a solid product that provides excellent performance for a relatively low price.
More sump pumps we considered
The Liberty Pumps 257 (about $198) is more expensive than our top pick, the Wayne CDU980E, but doesn’t quite match the flow rate. Even though it’s less powerful, this pump can handle solid particles up to 0.5 inches, something that our top pick can’t do. This makes Liberty Pumps suitable for moving dirty water with lots of debris.
Zoeller has roots in 1939, making it the oldest company we looked at for our review. The Zoeller M53 (about $176) is similar to the Liberty Pumps 257 because it can also handle solids up to 0.5 inches, making it a heavy-duty sump pump alternative. Overall, we're big fans of this Zoeller sump pump, but we think the Wayne CDU980E is a better fit for most folks thanks its longer warranty.
How many years does a sump pump last?
You can expect to replace your sump pump every 5–10 years, depending on the quality of the pump.
A flooded basement is expensive and frustrating, but you can prevent it with a reliable 3/4 hp sump pump like the Wayne CDU980E. It has a solid design of cast iron and stainless steel that protects its powerful motor from corrosion. Speaking of powerful motors, it outperforms the competition by a healthy margin, making it quite capable of protecting your basement.
Feel free to browse our FAQ to learn more about sump pumps and why they matter.
Also, the pump has a built-in screen on its bottom, which means it can collect larger chunks of debris before it has a chance to gum up the works. While smaller stuff may infiltrate the mesh and collect within the pump, the mesh screen can be removed rather easily should you need to clean the pump (or the screen itself, for that matter).
Arguably the most impressive feature this pump has to offer is its price tag.
It is certainly on the low-end of the pricing spectrum, but at the same time it manages to offer a few more features that you may not expect to see in a pump at this cost.
While it’s not designed to be a classic basement pump out of the box per se, the fact that it just takes the addition of a float switch to turn it into a sump with a couple of somewhat advanced features makes it feel like a pretty impressive value plus it is backed up by a 1 year warranty.
If there is one knock on Pump, is that it tends to struggle a bit in cold conditions.
Both the 10′ power cord and the interior tend to freeze up a little bit if exposed to colder environments for prolonged periods of time.
You may be able to combat this by keeping it stored in a warmer space when not in use, but this could be cause for some alarm if you live in an area that’s prone to harsher wintery conditions. Also, when you do buy the attachments necessary to use the device as a sump pump, you’ll want to make sure what you’re picking up is compatible with your unit.
It’s a small step that’s easy to overlook, and it could cause some frustration – particularly if you purchased the attachments online like the garden hose adapter so the pump can be used in swimming pools
The Best Water Pumps to Help You Prevent Serious Damage From a Flood
Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.
If you’ve ever had to deal with a flooded basement, you’ll understand the utility of a water pump. You stick the handheld device into a pool of water, start it up (or start pumping), and its suction tube sucks up water, and moves shoots it out through a second one.
Think of it like a vacuum, but instead of holding dirt and dust in a bag, you’ll put the second hose on your lawn, or in a large container like a garbage can. Also, don’t worry, the electric pumps are designed to be waterproof, so you can use them in a room that’s already full of water. While primarily used to prevent water damage from floods, a water pump can also be used to remove water from an overfull pool, overflowing toilet, or stalled washing machine.
It’s a piece of equipment you hope you never have to use, but is indispensable when you need it. If you’re looking for your first — and most likely only — water pump, we’ve collected four portable options that suit every type of situation.
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Water Pump
There are many factors to think about when choosing the right water pump for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Power Source: Water pumps can be powered by physically pushing and pulling on the top of a pump, automatically via a battery, or plugging it into an outlet. The last two make water pumping a lot faster and easier, but you have to make sure you’ve recently changed the pump’s batteries, or are near a wall socket.
Size and Portability: All of the water pumps on this list are handheld, and easy to take from one place to another. The pumps powered by hand or battery resemble the ones you’d use to fill air in a bike’s tires; the pumps that need to be plugged in look short and stout, like a motor you’d use to fill an air mattress.
1. King Innovation 48036 King Siphon Pump
King Innovation’s manual water pump is durable, dependable, and easy to clean. The 39-inch pump weighs two pounds, and comes with a couple of pieces: the pump, which looks like a long tube with a manual pump on top, and a discharge hose, which lets you direct the water you’re pumping out.
Four pumps will move one gallon of water through the discharge hose; if you figure each pump takes five seconds, you can move three gallons of water per minute. That’s enough to handle a small flood, or a broken washing machine with water that won’t drain. It’s not the right choice for dealing with active leaks, though.
The pump is made out of a steel shaft covered in polymer, so it’s built to handle repeated use without showing any signs of wear. It comes in three sizes: 24 inches, 36 inches, and 72 inches; I’ve recommended the medium-sized one here because it’s a good balance of portability and efficiency.
This is the only manual water pump in our guide, and that’s both a good and bad thing. On one hand, you’ll never need to worry about it running out of power — this is critically important if you’re dealing with a flooded room and power outage. But, it means you will have to put effort into each pump, which may get tiring after a little while. If you’re working on a larger job, that may not work for you.
Pros: This pump doesn’t need electric power to work, and can move one gallon of water with four pumps.
Cons: Because it works manually, this pump does require physical labor to work.
2. TERA PUMP Portable Power Water/Fuel Transfer Battery Pump
TERA PUMP’s portable water pump strikes a nice balance between the manual and electrical choices in our guide. Physically, it resembles the King Innovation’s physical pump: It’s shaped like a long tube, and comes with a discharge nozzle that has a clip on it for hands-free use. But, the pump is 21.1 inches long and under three quarters of a pound, which makes it the lightest choice in our guide.
This pump runs on a pair of AA batteries (not included), and can move up to 2.4 gallons of water per minute. An auto-stop valve at the top of its discharge nozzle will automatically stop the suction tube from moving water to prevent it from overflowing. It’ll also start buzzing to let you know this feature has been activated.
As I mentioned earlier, the nozzle also has a built-in clip, so you can attach it to the side of a bucket or other container to direct water without having to hold the hose.
TERA PUMP says this pump can be used for water, gas, diesel, kerosene, light oils, and any other non-corrosive liquids, but says you should not use it with water you plan to drink. It can’t move as much water as other powered water pumps, but the auto stop, clip-on nozzle, and its light weight make it well-worth considering.
Pros: This pump is ultra-portable and can be used hands-free.
Cons: It doesn’t move as much water as other powered water pumps.
3. Superior Pump 91330 1/3 HP Submersible Utility Pump
If you regularly deal with basement flooding, or need to move a lot of water very quickly, Superior Pump’s 91330 is the best choice. It differs from the other water pumps we recommend in a few ways. Most importantly, it needs to be plugged into a wall outlet at all times to work. That can be an inconvenience, but the pump comes with a 10-foot power cable, so if you’ve got an outlet in the same room as your flood, this shouldn’t be an issue; you can also connect it to an extension cord.
This pump’s suction tube is built into its base, and has a 1/8 inch intake screen over it to prevent debris from getting in. When it’s on, water gets pushed through a hole at the top. This pump doesn’t come with a discharge nozzle, but you can use a standard garden hose, or get one yourself.
Superior Pump says this unit can move up to 2,400 gallons of water per hour, which is far more than the other options in our guide. Because of its thermoplastic shell, double-sealed motor, and shaft seal, this pump can continue to work while completely submerged under water.
This is a heavy duty piece of machinery, and at 7.8 pounds it’s the heaviest pump on this list. But if you need to displace a lot of water really quickly, it’s the clear choice.
Pros: This pump can move up to 2,400 gallons of water per hour.
Cons: You do need to keep this pump connected to an outlet at all times to work, and it doesn’t come with a nozzle.
Water pumps superior
Superior Pump Thermoplastic Utility Pump | Top Discharge | 1800 GPH 1/4 HP 25-Foot Cord | 91255
|We have one mission,|
Pumps - Built to Last.
By using high quality components, Superior Pump products are strong and reliable
|Match each color to learn more about Superior Pump standard features.|
|Solid Copper||Superior Motor||Float Switch||Quality First|
|No coated wiring here...only 100% solid copper motor windings featured in all Superior Pumps.||We design, build, test and install our own motors to ensure that every Superior Pump is Built to Last.||Piggyback float switch & 10’ power cords come standard on ALL submersible sump, effluent & sewage.||Every pump is approved by: |
|Split Capacitor||Shaft Seal||Double Seals||Intake Screen|
|It is like having two gears, 1st gear a boost for start-up then a 2nd gear for efficient continuous operation. More Power & Less Energy.||This is no regular shaft seal...this is a Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Jacketed Shaft seal. Quality first.||Dual seals on the motor plate prevents water from entering the motor housing extending the life of the pump.||All utility & sump pumps include a removable intake screen for easy cleaning.|
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