5 Best Submersible Sump Pumps On The Market [2021 Product Reviews]

Written by Regina Cal
Published on August 16, 2019

Last Updated on June 8, 2021

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Submersible sump pumps can be a lifesaver for your home and are an essential appliance if you live in an area with a high water table or is prone to flooding.

Installing a sump pump will help keep your basement dry and free from mold and mildews.

A sump pump can also alert you of imminent flooding if your basement or crawlspace becomes inundated.

Although keeping your basement or crawlspace dry is the primary use for a sump pump, there are many other uses for this versatile pump.

  1. You can use it to drain just about anything! A hot tub, a water heater, a garden pond, low lying wet spots on your property, etc. If water collects in a deep enough area, the sump pump can drain it.
  2. You can use a sump pump to add a water feature such as a water fountain in a pond or even a waterfall. The pump is great for moving water and adding aeration to water and can be a cheap alternative to a pond pump.
  3. Moving water from one area to another is a sinch with a sump pump. This is great for off-grid installations if you are moving water from a natural body of water to your cabin.

Sump pumps are designed to be durable and last through tough jobs, but not all sump pumps are created equally.

Although you may not think of your sump pump on a daily basis, the last thing you want is a failure in times of flooding.

Flooded basements suck!

That is why I wrote this guide to give you the most in-depth information about the best submersible sump pumps available so you can worry less about the quality and durability of the pump you buy.

You may also want to check out my article about the best backup battery sump pump for times of an emergency.

You can watch my video version of this article!

Best Overall:

Zoeller M53 Mighty-mate Submersible Sump Pump

Zoeller M53 sump pump

Pros and Cons


  • Can pass .5 inch spherical solids
  • Manufacturer has all parts available for repair
  • A heavy stout pump built to last


  • Shoddy packaging, check pump upon arrival
  • Float switch not always reliable
  • Weep hole can get cloggy

The Zoeller M53 Mighty Mate is known to be able to pass debris like no other! Spherical solids of up to a half-inch can pass through this pump without any clogs. This thing can handle small rocks going through it with ease.

Weighing in at 21 pounds, this pump is the heavyweight champ for being stout and durable.

The pump can move 2680 gallons per hour, which isn't the highest volume I've seen, but is a pretty darn good output for handling dirty and debris filled water.

A unique plus to this pump is that the manufacturer has all replacement parts for sale to the public, so if your pump does break down outside the warranty you can work on it yourself.

When you receive the pump, check it immediately for damage, as users have reported that the pump is not packaged very well.

Also, as with most pumps with float switches, they may need replacing over time. I recommend having a backup one handy as they are cheap and could get you out of a pinch.

The weep hole tends to get clogged up and many users have had to drill out an additional weep hole which isn't too big of a deal but something to take note of.

Overall, this is my top choice pump. It offers the power and durability needed to keep your basement dry and can handle debris and solids like a champ. I also like the fact that the manufacturer offers all replacement parts needed if you need to repair it.

Although it's a little bit spendier than other pump options, the quality and durability make up for the small price difference.

Top Product:

WAYNE CDU980E 3/4 HP Submersible Cast Iron and Stainless Steel Sump Pump

wayne sump pump

Pros and Cons


  • Can pump massive amounts of water in a short time
  • Built to be highly clog resistant
  • Extremely quiet while running


  • Instruction manual is vague
  • Reports of flimsy float switch
  • Cast iron material has a tendency to rust

This Wayne submersible sump pump can pump massive amounts of water to the tune of 4600 gallons per hour! If you are in a water situation where you need volume and performance, this pump will handle the job.

The pump weighs 12 pounds and is made of cast iron and steel giving it a rugged rating that will last years.

The pump does need to remain totally submerged or else the motor will eventually blow out, although users have said that their pumps have not burned out in situations where their pumps have run dry.

The pump is designed with "top suction" so it does not clog nearly as easily as other pumps although if you are dealing with highly dirty water you might want to build an enclosure screen around the pump.

The pump comes with a massive 5-year warranty whereas many competitor's pumps only offer 1 year.

One issue to be aware of is the reports of a flimsy float switch. Although the pump itself is rugged, the switch seems to be quite flimsy and may not work as it needs to. If the switch does not work, the pump will not turn on or shut off. Although it only costs about 20 bucks in replacement parts, it is something you need to keep an eye on.

Like any situation where cast iron is immersed in water, it will eventually rust. The degree of rusting depends on the water it is submerged in; although rusting could be an issue, most users do not have a problem with this in the long term.

Overall an outstanding pump for its durability, long warranty, and power.

Having a hard time deciding between the Wayne and Zoeller sump pump? Check out my latest article: Wayne VS Zoeller sump pump. It will help you make the decision.

Best Value:

WAYNE WaterBUG Submersible Sump Pump

wayne waterbug sump pump

Pros and Cons


  • Built with two discharges, one on the side and one on the top
  • Can suck down water to 1/16th of an inch
  • Pumps large volumes of water out quickly


  • No automation; you must plug and unplug for use
  • Warranty will not cover usage in pools because of the chemicals
  • Can clog easily and needs to be cleaned out regularly

The Wayne Waterbug submersible pump is a workhorse and can move up to 1257 gallons per hour and withstand 30 feet of head. The pump has two output ports which allow for better access to areas that may be difficult to pump.

Although it's not a super high capacity pump, the fact that it can pump water down to 1/16th of an inch is a huge plus!

The pump itself is sturdy, is about the size of a dinner plate, and has a good heft to it so the pump cannot tip over.

Users have said that the pump runs quietly in comparison to its power.

This pump excels in removing standing water but keep in mind that it is NOT automatic!

This means you will have to babysit the pump. Granted it does take water down to 1/16th of an inch, the pump cannot run dry or it will be ruined.

Users have reported that the pump can clog easily, so you might want to consider building an additional strainer around the pump to keep from sucking in too much debris, or clean out frequently.

Although many users use this pump for sucking out a pool, the warranty will not cover pumps that have been used for this reason.

Overall a good pump with versatility and lots of power, but probably not suitable for a basement sump pump due to no automatic shutoff.

Best Buy:

Superior 91250 1/4 HP Thermoplastic Submersible Utility Pump

superior sump pump

Pros and Cons


  • Lightweight pump, only 7 pounds
  • Designed to be compact and can fit into 6 inch openings
  • Made of thermoplastic lowering corrosion


  • Does not have automatic shutoff
  • Not as reliable as other heavy duty pumps
  • Doesn't pump out past a 1/2 inch
If you are in need of a pump but don't want to spend the big dollars, the Superior Pump is a good choice.

Although this pump is small it can handle some big water pumping jobs at 1600 gallons per hour. It can also handle debris up to 1/8 inch thick.

This is a super lightweight pump so handleability is much easier than lugging around a heavy cast iron pump.

The pump is also very compact and can fit into snug spots where a larger pump could never get to.

However, as with most products, you get what you pay for.

Although there is a lot of happy users, there are many reports of premature failure.

Its simply not going to be as reliable and rugged as a heavier duty, more expensive, pump.

It also does not pump water out past a half-inch which could be problematic for some situations.

Overall, if you are on a budget and need some water moved, this is the pump for you!

Small and Mighty:

KEDSUM 880GPH Submersible Pump

kedsum aquarium pump
 Buy on Amazon 

This little pump is super cheap and can pack out a decent amount of water for its size and is ideal for smaller jobs like pumping out rain barrels or draining aquariums. 

System Upgrade Accessory:

PumpSpy PSO1000 Wi-Fi Sump Pump Smart Outlet

pump spy smart outlet
 Buy on Amazon 

Make your submersible sump pump smart!

This PumpSpy outlet is connected through wifi and monitors your sump pump 24/7. It will send you alerts via text, notifications, or email if there is a problem with your pump.

It also comes with a high-water sensor and alerts.

There is no monthly fee; you only pay one time for a lifetime of monitoring. Pretty neat.

Part Two: Helpful Information About Submersible Sump Pumps

How Does a Submersible Sump Pump Work?

Submersible sump pumps are installed at the lowest point of your basement or crawlspace. This point has a sump pit dug out which is typically about two feet deep with a gravel bottom.

The pump turns on as it becomes submerged in water and pumps the water out of the space through piping that runs away from your home. The pipe needs to drain away from the foundation.

The pump is activated by one of two ways: a float activator or a pressure sensor. The float activator is a little buoy attached to an arm on the pump; as the buoy floats, the arm rises, triggering the pump to turn on.

The pressure sensor works by receiving more pressure from water than from the air, therefore triggering the pump to turn on.

Impeller blade creates suction

The type of force used to move the water within the pump is centrifugal which uses an impeller to force the water towards the wall of the pump. This, in turn, creates a low-pressure area in the middle of the pump which creates suction.

Pretty cool technology!

Pedestal Sump Pump vs Submersible sump pump

A submersible sump pump gets completely submerged into the water and is encased in a waterproof housing. The pump sucks in through the bottom and disperses through an outlet at or near the top of the pump.

A pedestal pump sits on top of a stand and does not get submerged into water. An inlet pipe runs down the stand and sucks the water out of the pit.

So what are the differentiating reasons for purchasing either pump?

Pros of a pedestal sump pump:

  1. They have a longer lifespan. According to basementhealth.org, pedestal pumps can last 2 to 5 times longer than their submersible counterparts! This can be up to 25 years if maintained properly.
  2. Since the pump is not submerged in water, it can be easier to maintain and repair, if needed.
  3. Pedestal pumps are cheaper than submersible models, from about one third to one half less.

Cons of a pedestal sump pump:

  1. They can clog easily. Since the water has to travel through the skinny platform, it cannot handle debris of any sort.
  2. Pedestal pumps are noisier. This is due to the pump not being in the water, therefore the noise travels through the air.
  3. They can be a safety hazard. Since the pump sits on top of a skinny platform, the pump is top-heavy and can fall over on children and pets.
Diagram of the typical submersible sump pump

Pros of a submersible sump pump:

  1. submersibles are more stable. Since they sit within the pit and are submerged in the water, there are no chances of it falling over.
  2. They are quiet. Being that the pump is immersed in the water, the noise of the motor is negated.
  3. The motor can handle greater volumes of water. Check the specs of the manufacturer to see how much your sump pump can pump!
  4. The pump can handle solids and particulates, so no clogs to worry about.

Cons of a submersible sump pump:

  1. They do not last as long and are more expensive. Sump pumps can reportedly last up to 15 years if properly maintained which is a long time but doesn't compare to the lifespan of a pedestal pump.
  2. Maintenance and repairs on the pump are more difficult due to access to the pump, especially if they are installed in a very deep pit.

For this article, I am choosing the submersible pump over the pedestal pump as I feel it is more versatile.

How many years do sump pumps last?

Submersible sump pumps typically last around 10 years, but will vary due to environmental conditions:

  • How much debris is flowing through the pump
  • How much sediment is carried through the pump
  • How long and hard the pump runs
  • If the pump ever receives any maintenance

If you want to get the best lifespan out of your pump, then I suggest some routine maintenance for optimal performance.

Submersible Sump Pump Maintenance

I suggest cleaning your pump every 3-6 months for optimal performance.

You will want to take special care of cleaning out the inlet screen possibly more often, depending on how much debris and sediments the pump is passing.

Make sure that the vent hole is unplugged and all connections are tight.

It's also a good idea to check on it periodically to make sure the pump is still upright in the sump hole.

Using a Submersible Sump Pump Off Grid

I think having a sump pump handy even if you are not using it fulltime is an important component for your off grid setup.

If you were to face any sort of flooding scenario, this pump could save your assets.

Moving water around on your property could become a key function. If you are raising livestock it can come in handy to transport water to their water troughs or set up a pumping system to irrigate your crops.

Any sort of water relay system comes in handy on an off grid property.

Using a natural water source for your homestead will require a pump and a sump pump works really well in this instance. This is because the pump pushes water instead of pulling water, therefore giving you the force needed to get to its destination.

Keep in mind that the pump does require power so setting up a small solar power system to a battery that can power the pump would be your best bet for an outdoor pumping system that isn't near a power source.

You can check out the article I wrote on how to build an off grid water system to get ideas on water and power setups.

I hope you have enjoyed my article on the best submersible sump pumps. I work hard to provide you with the best possible information out there so you can make informed decisions about your purchases and also learn some stuff along the way.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!

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Regina Cal is a solo homesteader on 30 acres in Southern Arizona. She specializes in off grid water system design, homestead gardening, minimalism, and self-sufficiency.

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