Sump Pump Judge

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Best Sump Pump Reviews and Ratings For 2016

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.

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.

Our Top 12 Recommended Sump Pump Comparison Table

ProductTypePumping CapacityReview
Wayne SPV-800

Wayne SPV-800

Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com

Pedestal sump pump3,800 GPH @ 10-foot head, 1,500 GPH @ 20 feetOur Review
Superior Pump 92301

Superior 92301

Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com

Pedestal sump pump2,280 GPH @ 10-foot head, 900 GPH @ 20 feetOur Review
Flotec FPPM3600D-01/09

Fluotec Pedestal Sump Pump

Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
Pedestal sump pump2,460 GPH @ 10-foot head, 1,620 GPH @ 15 feetOur Review
Zoeller 98-0001 Submersible Sump/Effluent Pump

Zoeller 98-0001 Submersible Sump/Effluent Pump

Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
Submersible sump pump3,660 GPH @ 10-foot head, 1,500 GPH @ 20 feetOur Review
Liberty Pumps 257 Submersible Sump/Effluent Pump

Liberty Pumps 257 Submersible Sump/Effluent Pump

Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
Submersible sump pump2,250 GPH @ 10-foot head, 1,560 GPH @ 15 feetOur Review
Superior 91250 Utility Sump Pump

Superior Pump 91250 Utility Sump Pump

Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
Submersible sump pump1,800 GPH @ level, 1,200 GPH @ 10 feetOur Review
Attwood WaterBuster

Attwood portable pump

Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com

Portable sump pump200 GPH up to 40-inch headOur Review
Superior Pump 92330

Superior Pump 92330

Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com


Portable sump pump1,680 GPH at 10-foot discharge, 540 GPH at 20 feetOur Review
Little Giant 501004

Little Giant 501004 205GPH Direct Drive Submersible Pump

Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
Portable sump pump205 GPH at 1-foot discharge, 120 GPH at 5 feetOur Review
Wayne ESP25

Wayne ESP25

Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
Battery Backup sump pump2,300 GPH @ 10-foot head, 1,500 GPH @ 15 feetOur Review
Wayne WSS30V

WAYNE WSS30V Pre-Assembled

Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
Battery Backup sump pumpCDU800 - 3,150 GPH @ 10-foot head, ESP25 - 2,300 GPH @ 10 feetOur Review
Zoeller 507-0005

Zoeller 507-0005

Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
Battery Backup sump pump1,380 GPH @ 5-foot head, 900 GPH @ 10 feetOur Review

Best Pedestal Sump Pump Reviews

Reviewed below are three best-in-class pedestal sump pumps from dependable manufacturers. These pumps are built to provide many worry-free years of service. Each has room to spare in keeping even a large basement bone dry during heavy rains or spring snow melts. Because of their design, pedestal pumps cost less and provide up to twice the longevity as submersible pumps. They are also easy to adjust with more float travel than other pump types.

1. Wayne SPV-800 Sump Pump

Wayne SPV-800 sump pump

4.6 Overall
Pros
• Cast iron volute and top assembly
• 1-1/2-inch NPT discharge outlet
• 2-year warranty
Cons
• Thermoplastic motor housing
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Comfort
Value for the Money

Manufacturer Wayne Pumps
Type Pedestal sump pump
Suitable for 12-inch min. sump diameter
Product Details ½ HP, 115VAC, 28 lbs., 3800 GPH @ 10 feet
Overview
Wayne’s SPV-800 pedestal sump pump is built to last with enough power to keep a basement sump empty even during heavy rains. At a 20-foot lift, it pumps out 1500 gallons per hour and more than twice that with a 10-foot discharge lift. The pump base is rugged cast iron and the shaft is epoxy-coated steel. Its 1.5-inch NPT outlet fits normal plumbing installations. It makes a great, long-lasting replacement for a submersible sump pump as long as the sump basin is at least 12 inches in diameter.
Review
This Wayne sump pump is considered by many owners to be the best sump pump for basement use because of its simplicity of operation, easy maintenance and durability. With half a horsepower, it has plenty of juice pushing water upward 20 feet or more. Because the pump inlets are on top of the cast iron housing, it is particularly resistant to debris clogs. Despite pedestal pumps having an undeserved reputation for being noisier than submersibles, buyers using this pump as a replacement for their old submersible report the noise level to be the same or less. One buyer noted that the packaging leaves something to be desired as their pump rolled in the box, which resulted in a broken float rod.
Conclusion
The extra punch the SPV-800 has over 1/3 HP pumps means the motor will never strain. It might be the best sump pump to buy for the peace of mind it brings. It is the best sump pump replacement for an old submersible if the sump is wide enough. It is a must-have if the outlet lift is more than 10 feet.
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2. Superior Pump 92301 Pedestal Pump

Superior Pump 92301

4 Overall
Pros
• Cast iron pump assembly
• 1-1/2-inch NPT discharge outlet
• 3-year warranty
Cons
• Made in China
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Comfort
Value for the Money
Manufacturer Superior Pump
Type Pedestal sump pump
Suitable for 12-inch min. sump diameter
Product Details 1/3 HP, 115VAC, 25 lbs., 2280 GPH @ 10 feet

Superior Pump 92301 promotional infographic

Overview
Superior’s 92301 pedestal sump pump can move up to 3000 gallons of water per hour with a 10-foot discharge lift. It accomplishes this with a 1/3 HP electric motor and a hardened steel drive shaft that connects to a stainless steel impeller housed within a tough cast iron pump housing. At 25 lbs., it stays firmly in place in any sump at least 12 inches in diameter. Because of the long float travel, it is ideal for deeper sump basins, which reduces the number of off/on cycles during high water periods. The 1.5-inch NPT outlet matches standard plumbing pipes and a generous 10-foot electric cord makes hookup a breeze.
Review
The 92301 sump pump from Superior features a 1/3 HP motor, which provides enough lift and flow for an average basement installation with moderate infiltration. If the lift is much over 10 feet or the outlet run is over 40 feet, consider getting a larger pump. The motor is of unknown quality and durability, but the shaft and pump housing are made from quality, long-lasting metals. One buyer received a pump with a defective float switch, but it was replaced quickly.
Conclusion
This is a sturdy, non-descript pedestal sump pump that will serve most basements or crawlspaces just fine. The materials are high quality and corrosion-proof. It makes a great replacement for an existing pedestal or submersible pump and should provide many years of worry-free operation.
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3. Flotec FPPM3600D-01/09 Pedestal Sump Pump

Flotec FPPM3600D-01/09 1/3 HP Pedestal Sump Pump

3.8 Overall
Pros
• Economical
• 1-1/4-inch NPT discharge outlet
Cons
• Thermoplastic throughout
• 1-year warranty
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Comfort
Value for the Money
Manufacturer Flotec
Type Pedestal sump pump
Suitable for 12-inch min. sump diameter
Product Details 1/3 HP, 115VAC, 11 lbs., 2460 GPH @ 10 feet
Overview
Flotec’s 1/3 HP pedestal sump pump has a flow capacity of 2460 gallons per hour at a 10-foot discharge lift. It has a full eight inches of float travel, which reduces the number of on/off power cycles during periods of heavy water infiltration if the sump basin can accommodate that depth. It fits any sump of at least 12 inches diameter. The motor draws just 3.5A at maximum workload. The entire housing from the motor through the pump assembly is durable thermoplastic, which makes it lightweight and easy to install. It comes with a six-foot power cord.
Review
Although this Flotec pump has significantly less capacity than other 1/3 HP sump pumps, it is a good match for smaller basements with average water removal requirements. In those situations, it lasts as long as pumps twice its price. The many pump reviews from previous FPPM3600D-01/09 owners who are buying the same pump are testament to the reliability of this machine. However, a couple of these buyers thought the newer model was noisier than the old one.
Conclusion
Considering the low price of this sump pump, it is a great value for those buyers whose water moving needs are not severe. Used as a replacement for either a pedestal or submersible pump where flooding is moderate, this model will last years with reliable operation.
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Best Submersible Sump Pump Reviews

Submersible pumps, despite their typically higher price and shorter lifespan compared to pedestal pumps, remain a very popular choice because of their quiet operation and less intrusive installation profile. Here we review three of the best submersibles at different budget levels. Each are efficient and provide excellent value for various sump pump requirements.

1. Zoeller 98-0001 Submersible Sump/Effluent Pump

Zoeller 98-0001

4.8 Overall
Pros
• Cast iron housing
• 1-1/2-inch NPT discharge outlet
Cons
• 1-year warranty
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Comfort
Value for the Money
Manufacturer Zoeller Pumps
Type Submersible sump pump
Suitable for 12-inch min. sump diameter
Product Details 3200 GPH @ 10 feet, ½ HP, 115VAC, 25 lbs.
Overview
Zoeller Pumps makes a wide variety of quality pumps and their 98-0001 sump/effluent pump is no exception. It is the best sump pump that also doubles as a septic tank pump. It features a powerful ½ HP AC electric motor with plenty of power to push through a maximum 23-foot discharge lift, which is far more than most homeowners require. At a 5-foot head, it moves 4320 gallons of water per hour. The rugged pump is designed to pass spherical solids up to ½-inch diameter. It is all housed in an enduring, solid cast iron housing with stainless steel fasteners.
Review
Zoeller pumps are built to last even in adverse conditions under which lesser pumps fail. They use corrosion-resistant coatings and parts throughout. All pump and motor bearings are oil-fed. This pump is rugged enough to pump debris-filled effluent from a septic tank, so as a basement sump pump, it normally lasts longer than other brands. Given its build quality, it is disappointing that Zoeller only offers a 1-year warranty. Zoeller sump pump reviews report this to be an exceptionally quiet pump. Unfortunately, the very few buyers who had problems with their pumps also report that Zoeller customer service is poor.
Conclusion
You do pay more, but it is hard to go wrong with a Zoeller sump pump of any model. This one in particular is very durable, quiet and works as advertised. It will provide many, many years of pumping even in heavy water ingress situations.
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2. Liberty Pumps 257 Submersible Sump/Effluent Pump

Liberty Pumps 257

5 Overall
Pros
• Cast iron housing
• 1-1/2-inch NPT discharge outlet
• 2-year warranty
Cons
• Less than 4-inch float travel
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Comfort
Value for the Money
Manufacturer Liberty Pumps
Type Submersible sump pump
Suitable for 10-inch min. sump diameter
Product Details 1/3 HP, 115VAC, 15 lbs., 2200 GPH @ 10 feet
Overview
The Liberty Pumps 257 sump/effluent pump is reliable and versatile at a price point that other manufacturers cannot match given its high quality construction. Its one-piece cast iron body, hermetically sealed motor and switches, permanently lubricated bearings and rugged motor spell long life. It will fit in sump basins as small as 10 inches wide and fit standard outlet pipes of 1-1/2 inches. The 1/3 HP motor has a maximum flow capacity of 50 GPH and a maximum lift of 21 feet.
Review
The Liberty 257 sump pump is a great mixture of economy, quality and versatility. It has three sump pump switch options. The VMF switch allows the 257 to fit sump basins as small as 10 inches in diameter. It uses a quick disconnect cord, so a longer cord can be installed if needed. It handles up to ½-inch debris and pumps through a discharge lift of up to 21 feet, which is impressive for a 1/3 HP motor. Owners of other sump pump brands regularly write that the Liberty pump is the quietest they have ever heard. One reviewer was unable to get flow at 15-feet of head, but it seems the outlet hose was too small.
Conclusion
At a price competitive to other 1/3 HP submersibles, the Liberty Pumps 257 outperforms and outlasts many other brands. It is over-engineered and over-built, which makes it a top performer at an affordable price.

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3. Superior Pump 91250 Utility Sump Pump

Superior Pump 91250 1/4 HP Thermoplastic Submersible Utility Pump

4.4 Overall
Pros
• Lightweight, highly portable
• Quiet even under load
• Easily cleaned debris screen
Cons
• Not durable enough for permanent installations
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Comfort
Value for the Money

Superior Submersible Sump Pump GPH metrics

Manufacturer Superior Pumps
Type Submersible utility sump pump
Suitable for Direct floor intake pumping
Product Details 1/4 HP, 115VAC, 7 lbs., 1200 GPH @ 10 feet
Overview
This sump pump from Superior, a Chinese manufacturer, is a light-duty bottom-intake submersible pump that works well for basement water removal without a sump basin. It uses a bottom suction design that can take the water level down to 1/8th of an inch. The entire pump is housed in double-sealed thermoplastic. It can fitted to intake water from a garden hose with an included ¾-inch adapter. The 1/4 HP motor can pump a maximum of 1800 GPH on level and up to 1200 GPH with a 10-foot discharge lift.
Review
This pump finds many uses as a backup sump pump, a spill cleanup pump, a fountain pump and for moving water from washing machines and pools. The 91250 sump pump reviews are fully of happy buyers who rate it highly for unexpectedly high performance. Its 1/8-inch draft makes it ideal for removing standing water directly from a floor. Not all buyers are happy, however, as a few report it failing or tripping the GFI breaker after several uses.
Conclusion
For around 50 dollars, the Superior 91250 ¼ HP utility pump is a good investment as the best backup sump pump to fill in should your primary pump need repair. It has so many other uses that it will not sit idle for long, even if you never need use it as a sump pump backup.

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Best Portable Sump Pump Reviews

Portable pumps are usually built to operate not only as backup sump pumps but for circulating water in ponds and fountains or to clear up spills. They are compact and easily stored out of sight until needed. Some are built to move fuel oil or soapy water. Below are three outstanding, economical portable pumps perfect for use in various on-demand jobs.

1. Attwood Portable Pump

Attwood WaterBuster Portable Pump

4.2 Overall
Pros
• Lightweight, easy to stow
• Runs up to 5 hours on three D cells
Cons
• No external power port
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Comfort
Value for the Money
Manufacturer Attwood Marine Products
Type Submersible battery-operated pump
Suitable for Portable pumping needs
Product Details Cordless, runs on three D cells, 2.2lbs., 125 GPH @ 2 feet
Overview
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.
Review
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.
Conclusion
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.

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2. Superior Pump 92330

Superior Pump 92330

4.8 Overall
Pros
• Powerful 1/3 HP motor
• 10-foot cord
• 1.25″ outlet matches most sump pump outlet pipes
Cons
• Poorly translated manual
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Comfort
Value for the Money
Manufacturer Superior Pumps
Type Portable 120V AC submersible pump
Suitable for Backup sump pump for removing standing water
Product Details 120VAC, 9lbs., 1680 GPH @ 10 feet
Overview
The Superior 92330 submersible sump pump has a sturdy, efficient split-capacitor 1/3 HP electric motor that can move up to 2400 GPH from any basement sump. It can pump directly from standing water on a floor too. It uses both bottom and side inlets to resist debris clogs. It has a tethered float switch for use in sumps. A second power plug is un-switched for continuous running situations. It can push water up to a 25-foot height and the 1-1/2-inch male fitting for the discharge matches standard plumbing. It takes power from any 120VAC outlet.
Review
This pump will stand in for a broken sump pump for as long as you need it. The outlet fits most standard submersible or pedestal sump pump fittings, so temporary replacement is a snap. If your current sump pump uses a 1-1/2-inch outlet, keep an adapter handy. When using this pump to clear standing water, be sure to move the plug to the continuously running position. A couple of reviews for this model noted a sticky float valve, so check its operation as soon as the pump arrives.
Conclusion
The Superior 92330 is nearly strong and durable enough to be a primary sump pump. For its budget price, it is better to buy it as a backup or supplementary pump. It is easily carried to other water pumping tasks such as draining pools.

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3. Little Giant 501004

Little Giant 501004 205GPH Direct Drive Submersible Pump

4 Overall
Pros
• Lightweight but durable
• Up to 205 GPH
Cons
• 7.4-foot head shutoff
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Comfort
Value for the Money
Manufacturer Little Giant Pumps
Type Portable AC-powered, portable, submersible pump
Suitable for Continuous duty pumping at low flow
Product Details 115VAC, 3 lbs., 120 GPH @ 5 feet
Overview
This durable, portable pump is designed to run continuously, which makes it ideal for fountains and pumping out wastewater. It is constructed with a tough all-metal body. The motor is oil-filled, completely sealed and submersible. It pumps up to 205 gallons per hour with an outlet head of two feet. It draws a little over 1A of 115VAC power from a six-foot power cord. The intake screen is easily removable for cleaning. At about four inches high and four inches in diameter, you can store it in any handy spot such as your car, RV or boat.
Review
This small portable pump is surprisingly strong and reliable. Many sump pump reviews for it have had one of these in continuous use for years. It is not big enough to stand in for a broken basement sump pump, but it finds many other uses including clearing standing water, or cleaning up mild chemical or oil spills. The ¼-inch outlet takes a ½-inch I.D. hose, which is not going to move a lot of water but is perfect for most pond/fountain setups.
Conclusion
The Little Giant 501004 almost fits in your pocket. Do not let its size fool you however. It is strong enough to run continuously in fountains and is ready to go anytime as a transfer or spill clean-up pump. It is the kind of tool that once you own it you wonder how you got by without it.

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Best Battery Backup Sump Pumps

The number one reason a sump pump fails is lack of electricity. The worst case scenario is if the primary pump fails during heavy rain or flooding when you are away from home. The best sump pump system consists of a battery-powered backup sump pump installed in parallel to your primary pump. Here are a few suggestions to help you choose the best sump pump backup system.

1. Wayne WSS30V Primary and Backup Sump Pump

WAYNE WSS30V Pre-Assembled

4.4 Overall
Pros
• Pre-assembled dual pump primary/backup system
• Both pumps are high flow
• Dual check valves
Cons
• 15-inch minimum sump diameter
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Comfort
Value for the Money
Manufacturer Wayne Pumps
Type Portable AC/Battery-powered submersible sump pump system
Suitable for Basement primary and backup sump pump
Product Details 115VAC or 12VDC, 39 lbs., 3150 GPH @ 10 feet on AC, 2300 GPH @ 10 feet on battery
Overview
This is the best battery backup sump pump system that combines the Wayne CDU800 primary and an ESP25 battery-powered pump. The primary pump is a durable, cast iron ½ HP pump with top suction and a reliable reed float switch. The battery-powered backup systems includes a battery box, charger and two heavy-duty check valves. The entire assembly is pre-tested and adjusted at the factory, so it can be dropped in place in any sump basin with a diameter of at least 15 inches.
Review
The WSS30V is the only sump pump that provides 100 percent confidence that your basement remains dry during extreme, wet weather. Simply drop it in place and hook up the outlets and electricity and it is ready to go. You have to buy a deep-cycle batter for the backup pump. An alarm alerts you when the backup system is working. With a 75AH battery, expect 3 days of operation. Status LEDs on the battery box display the battery’s charge state.
Conclusion
If you have the budget for it, the WSS30V is the best choice for a sump pump that lets you sleep soundly through any heavy weather or power outage knowing your basement is completely protected. Installation is simple and both pumps can handles heavy infiltrations with their powerful motors.

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2. Zoeller 507-0005 Basement Sentry Battery Backup Pump

Zoeller 507-0005 Basement Sentry

4 Overall
Pros
• Works with any existing sump pump
• Easy to install
Cons
• Less flow than the pumps it is backing up
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Comfort
Value for the Money
Manufacturer Zoeller Pumps
Type 12V battery-powered backup sump pump system
Suitable for Basement sump pump with automatic backup
Product Details 12VDC, 13 lbs., 900 GPH @ 10 feet on battery
Overview
Zoeller’s Basement Sentry backup sump pump is powered from a deep-cycle battery whenever your primary AC-powered sump pump fails due to a power outage. The 507-0005 includes a self-contained 10A/12V battery charger, battery box, fittings and check valves. The homeowner must supply the deep-cycle battery. A solid-state controller automatically turns on the 12V pump and sounds an alarm if its float switch is triggered. The Basement Sentry works alongside any brand of sump pump and comes with a 1-year warranty.
Review
Zoeller’s separate battery-powered backup sump pump is an add-on unit for any existing sump pump of any brand. It mounts above your existing pump and has a separate tethered float switch and check valve. It plumbs into the existing pump’s discharge pipe. It looks a bit strange when installed according to instructions because of its 45-degree angle, which is necessary to avoid airlock. The 507-0005 sump pump reviews are mostly positive, but a couple of problems stand out:

  • The backup pump’s check valve is cheaply made and fails in some cases
  • The 24-hour buzzer silence switch sometimes fails

This pump has about ½ to 1/3 the flow capacity of common sump pumps, so as a backup pump it is limited during heavy intake flows. Since it mounts above the existing pump, the sump basin must be deep enough to raise the Zoeller’s tethered float switch after the lower pump fails.

Conclusion
The Zoeller 507-0005 battery-powered backup pump is cheap insurance if you have a finished basement you want to protect against water damage. The pump loses points for low flow capacity and a couple of design issues. Those aside, this is a relatively inexpensive way to ensure your sump is pumped when the lights go out.

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3. Wayne ESP25 Battery Backup Pump

WAYNE ESP25 12 Volt Battery Back-Up Sump Pump System with Audible Alarm

4.6 Overall
Pros
• Flow capacity nearly equal to common primary pumps
• Small sump basin footprint
Cons
• Plastic impeller may be damaged by debris
Performance
Durability
Versatility
Comfort
Value for the Money
Manufacturer Wayne Pumps
Type Battery-powered submersible sump pump
Suitable for Basement sump pump backup
Product Details 12VDC, 39 lbs., 3150 GPH @ 10 feet on AC, 2300 GPH @ 10 feet on battery
Overview
Wayne Pumps’ battery-powered backup sump pump provides high flow discharge in the case that your main sump pump fails for mechanical reasons or during a power outage. The ESP25 includes a battery box with status lights, a heavy-duty charger and a check valve. The homeowner is responsible for buying a deep-cycle battery. The pump uses a Reed float switch, which reduces its footprint for fitting smaller sump basins. An alarm alerts the homeowner when the backup pump is operating.
Review
The ESP25 flow and head specs are nearly that of a 1/3 HP AC pump. Sump pump reviews covering the ESP25 give high ratings for ease of installation and reliable operation. During heavy water infiltration, a 75AH marine battery, fully charged, should keep this pump operating for a couple of days with fill/empty cycles of a few minutes duration.

One or two buyers had initial start-up problems with this pump, so be sure to test its operation after installation with a fully-charged battery.

Conclusion
Wayne’s ESP25 is the battery-powered half of their WSS30V dual pump combo system. You can add the ESP25 to your existing primary sump pump system and be confident it will perform when it is needed the most. Unlike competing backup pumps, this one has the power to keep up with heavy rains or snow melts.

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How Does A Sump Pump Work?

An excellent question! And there is a great video that explains the process in a very swift and understandable way.

Types of Sump Pumps

Pedestal Sump Pump

Superior Pump 92301

Pedestal sump pump made by Superior, model 92301

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

Red jacket Sub Pump With Incorrect Flexi by Talusss, on Flickr

Photo by talusss

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

2015-06-28 (179/365) Pumping out our bas by lundyd, on Flickr

Photo by lundyd

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

WAYNE WSS30V Pre-Assembled

Wayne WSS30V pre-assembled backup sump pump

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

backup sump pump by jeffcovey, on Flickr

Photo by jeffcovey

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.

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

“A visit to a friend’s aquaponic set up in Round Valley” courtesy of: Alan Levine ;[CC2.0]

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.

A photograph of a house

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

A video from the North Dakota State University Extension Service provides an excellent overview of how a sump pump works and how to test its operation.

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.

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Cylinder vector drawingCapacity

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.

A light bulb

High voltage symbol iconPower

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.

Project 365 #41: 100215 Float On by comedy_nose, on Flickr

Photo by comedy_nose

buoy vector drawingFloat 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.

switch vector drawingSwitches

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.

pipe inlet vector drawingInlet 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.

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Coal mine vector drawingMaterials

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.

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money bag vector drawingPrice

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.

Cashier with a customer on a vector drawing

Feather with ink bottle vectorWarranty

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.

Basement flooding by State Farm, on Flickr

Photo by State Farm

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.

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

Photo by Sustainable Sanitation

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

 

Check out this YouTube video from Wayne Pumps that covers all the steps above.

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.

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