The best sump pump

Allen Foster

Because you may need your sump pump the most during a storm, when the power is at risk of going out, it’s wise to have a battery backup that will allow your home to stay dry even if there’s a power failure.

Unless it's flowing through your pipes to a sink, shower, toilet, or washing machine, you don't want water coming into your house. A sump pump is a device that allows you to remove any groundwater that's seeping into your home before it can create a breeding ground for mold and cause permanent damage to your home.

The best sump pump is the one that meets your specific pumping needs. Our favorite is the Wayne 1/2 HP Primary and Battery Backup Combination Sump Pump System, a reliable sump pump system that helps keep your home safe and dry, even when you lose power. To learn about the three critical elements you need to consider when selecting that perfect sump pump, keep reading.

Considerations when choosing sump pumps


There are two main types of sump pumps to consider when shopping: pedestal and submersible. Each type has its pros and cons, and you must carefully weigh them to determine which is best for your particular situation.

Pedestal sump pump

Like it sounds, a pedestal sump pump is a long slender device with a motor that sits atop a pedestal. The motor is not designed to become wet, so it must stay well-above the water line. Because of that feature, it's only appropriate for shallow sump pits. It runs louder, but it tends to last longer and is priced lower than a comparable submersible sump pump. The biggest downside is that pedestal sump pumps cannot easily handle particles that may wind up in the water.

Submersible sump pump

A submersible sump pump is positioned deep in the sump pit, so it's underwater. The location makes it quieter, and its design is better suited for handling solids and small debris. The downside is that the best models can cost significantly more than pedestal sump pumps, and often they don't last as long.

Gallons per minute

After deciding on the type of sump pump that's best suited to your needs, you'll want to find the one that can handle the job. In other words, how much water can it move? If it can't pump out the water quickly enough, it's not going to be of much use.

Gallons per minute (GPM) is the unit of measurement that sump pumps use. About 40 or 50 gallons per minute is more than sufficient for average home use. However, that measurement also must include the height the water needs to be in order to be pumped out of your basement, which is typically 10 feet. You must be careful because some manufacturers may list the specs in a confusing way. For instance, a pump that can move 2,100 gallons per hour sounds impressive, but it really only moves 35 GPM. Additionally, if that rating is with a zero head or lift, when calculating a 10-foot lift, the pump's flow rate will be even less. As long as you understand what to look for, you won't be fooled.


At the lower end of the price scale, you can purchase a light-duty plastic submersible sump pump for about $50 or $60. The decent mid-range sump pumps, either pedestal or submersible, are available in the $80 to about $170 price range. If you're looking for a heavy-duty cast iron submersible sump pump with battery backup, those models can range from $200 to more than $500.


Q. Does a sump pump turn on automatically?

A. Yes, in most instances it does. You can override this feature, but then you run the risk of having the water level rise significantly, enough to flood your basement.

Q. Why is my sump pump running constantly, even when there is no water to pump?

A. If you have a sump pump with a float switch, it could be stuck in the "on" position. If you run a sump pump when there is no water, it can cause your pump to burn out prematurely.

Sump pumps we recommend

Best of the best: Wayne 1/2 HP Primary and Battery Backup Combination Sump Pump System

Our take: A powerful top-of-the-line sump pump system that is designed to protect your home even if the power fails.

What we like: The Wayne sump pump system comes pre-assembled and preset for an effortless drop-in installation. It's suitable for sump basins that are 15 inches in diameter or larger. At 10 feet, it still has a flow rate of 52 GPM.

What we dislike: About the only downside to this high-quality pump is the high price tag. If it fits within your budget, you will be satisfied.

Best bang for your buck: Superior Pump 1/3 HP Thermoplastic Submersible Utility Pump

Our take: A durable thermoplastic submersible sump pump that is manufactured to deliver many years of reliable service.

What we like: This sump pump features an intake screen to keep debris from entering the pump and clogging the impeller. It also has a transport handle and an adapter, so you can attach a garden hose to the discharge. Additionally, it is one of the most affordable sump pumps on the market.

What we dislike: At 10 feet, this pump can only move about 28 GPM of water, so it is not as powerful as the other models in this shortlist.

Choice 3: Zoeller Mighty-Mate Submersible Sump Pump, 1/3 HP

Our take: An impressive cast iron submersible pump that is reasonably priced.

What we like: This sump pump features a sturdy build. At five feet it can pump 43 GPM. It has a cast iron switch case, motor, and pump housing. The base is manufactured using a corrosion-resistant thermoplastic.

What we dislike: This pump runs loud. A few different quality-control issues have been noted, which can add unnecessary frustration if you receive a bad one of the batch.

Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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