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The bilge pump is a fairly essential accessory for all boat trips. All it takes is a stormy rain, waves, or damage, for the bottom of the boat to fill with water. In these moments, the evacuation of water is mandatory if you do not want to see your boat sink. There is nothing more effective than a water pump to lower the water level. You can try with a scoop, but it will take longer.
To protect you from these incidents when going out to sea, we have selected the best bilge pumps to get rid of rainwater or seawater.
Bilge Pump Reviews 2022
1. MAXZONE Automatic Submersible Bilge Pump – Editor’s Choice
If you have a small boat and you put it back in the water with the drain plug open, then you will have a problem. However, with the Maxzone automatic boat bilge pump, you can get the water out much faster than it goes in. So at least you can put the drain plug back on.
This bilge pump does not turn on until electronic sensors detect that the water level is at a certain depth. When this happens, the built-in float switch activates the motor and the pump begins to run.
The Maxzone bilge pump uses a 12V supply and is ignition protected to protect it from high currents. Airtight seals protect against water and moisture, and it also features anti-airlock protection. The filter releases quickly for more convenient maintenance, plus it doesn’t vibrate or make noise.
The water-cooled motor has a long lifespan, is encased in a tough plastic housing designed for high impact and uses a stainless steel shaft, and is also rustproof. Click here to see the best price.
- 1100 GPH pumping capacity
- Built-in float switch
- Reed sensor system
- Also available in 750 GPH capacity
2. Sanuke 1100gph Bilge Pump – Our Budget Pick
As the name suggests this is an 1100 gph bilge pump but the Sanuke model is also available in a more powerful version which has a 1500 GPH capacity. It is submersible but you have to turn it on yourself as it is not automatic. But you can also install a float switch which can help it switch on automatically at the installed level.
The bilge pump is waterproof, impact-resistant, and tough enough that you can expect it to work for several years before needing to replace it. The water flow from the pump is good enough even and has a version that’s more powerful than the models from Maxzone.
The first version is a bilge pump capable of pumping up to 18.33 gallons per minute or 1100 GPH while the more powerful version does 25 gallons per minute and both do so on the standard low voltage of just 12.
It runs quietly and without vibration. So, you won’t even notice it’s running, except for the water it’s continually pumping out of your system. The 12v bilge pump is small and can be completely submerged in any boat.
It can be used in both fresh water and salt or dirty water. This bilge pump is particularly resistant to impact and is made from a truly durable and easy to clean plastic material. The crankshaft is made of strong stainless steel and the system is fully submersible. Click here to see the best price.
- Electric 12 volt pump
- Available in 1100 and 1500 GPH versions
- Fully submersible pump
3. Attwood 4505-7 Sahara – Best Automatic Bilge Pump
The Attwood Sahara comes in three versions, in this case, we have the least powerful version, the S500, a 500 GPH model. This bilge pump is an automatic pump in the same shape as most. It has an outlet diameter of three-quarters of an inch.
Inside this pump are a wiring harness, a seal set, a filter, and a switch that does not contain mercury. The presentation is generally durable, with its high-impact plastic casing.
The internal motor is a permanent magnet motor. It is capable of lubricating the bearings so that nothing inside wears out. This ensures the pump lasts for a long time.
A large round knob is included with this bilge pump to facilitate operational analysis. This allows you to easily check for any problems without having to wait and watch the pump for a while. It is a very convenient feature that not all bilge pumps have.
This pump can be easily cleaned with a little water. You can easily take it out with one hand and reinstall it after cleaning. Despite its bigger size, it is a 12.8-ounce pump that is light and very convenient to use.
However, they are misleading when it comes to telling you what is required to get this pump going. Turns out a separate 3-way switch is required which is not included with this pump and costs a few tens of dollars. With that in mind, you will have to spend more money on it, than on what it sells for. Click here to see the best price.
- 1100 GPH pumping capacity
- Automatic submersible pump
- Designed in black and white
- Available in three versions
4. Rule 2000 Bilge Pump – Best for Heavy-Duty Use
With a pumping capacity of 2000 GPH, the pump is known for its high pumping capacity. Plus, it uses a 1 1/8-inch discharge hose to easily channel water. So it will keep your bilge dry with minimal effort.
The Rule 2000 bilge pump is a very compact model and is more portable, especially for smaller boats, and easy to install. On top of that, it packs a lot of power into such a small package.
Are you always worried about the durability of your bilge pump? The construction of this pump is very sturdy. Housed in a solid plastic casing, this pump will serve you for a couple of years before you need to replace it. It also has a stainless steel shaft that is rustproof for durability.
As nothing is perfect, the Rule bilge pump is not automatic so you will have to turn it on yourself before going to sea, but the good thing is that it can run dry for a short time without burning out the motor.
The Rule brand has been in the marine world for years, so when you decide to purchase this model, you will do so with great confidence due to the great track record of this company. Plus, the pump comes with a three-year limited warranty against manufacturing defects and poor workmanship for your peace of mind. Click here to see the best price.
- Non-automatic pump
- 2022 GPH pumping capacity
- 1⅛-inch discharge hose
- Stainless steel shaft
5. SEAFLO Bilge Pump – Best Manual Bilge Pump
The Seaflo appliance is a great bilge pump as it features a stainless steel shaft that is durable and corrosion-resistant. The rest of the components are also resistant to rust and corrosion because the pump is fully submersible.
In addition, it has a long-lasting motor that is capable of running dry for a short period without burning out. To top it off, the motor is compact and runs quietly, so you probably won’t notice the pump’s presence in your small or large container.
This manual, but electric pump belongs to the category of submerged pumps. The strainer is removable to facilitate the maintenance of this device. Versatile, you can install it in a cellar as well as in a boat. Completely submersible, it features a sturdy design and waterproof seals to fight against humidity.
Very accessible in terms of budget, you will have to add a few euros if you plan to make it automatic with a float switch.
The pump comes with a snap-lock filter base to keep out any debris that could damage the pump. Plus, it’s easy to disassemble the motor, allowing you to clean the impeller cavity and filter.
It uses a 12 volt DC motor that efficiently pumps 2000 gallons per hour. The motor runs quietly, nonetheless, allowing you to concentrate on cruising. It has heavy-duty motors, which makes it possible to produce a high level of output.
The motors are water-cooled and ignition-protected, so you don’t have to worry about the device failing. Not all electronic pumps are automatic and this is the case with this pump from Seaflo. But it will turn on whenever it feels like it needs to get rid of bilge water.
Once installed, you can quickly remove any excess water and, thanks to its wide range of safety and security features, you can leave the pump turned on, knowing that it will work whenever you need it. Click here to see the best price.
- 2000 GPH pumping capacity
- Manual bilge pump
- Submersible pump
- Stainless steel shaft
Things To Consider Before Buying a Bilge Pump
The bilge pump is basically a water pump that is used to remove bilge water that accumulates inside your boat.
We’ve taken a look at the best bilge pump on the market. And in this section, we will tell you the main characteristics that make them stand out, such as pumping capacity, the type, among many other characteristics.
Diaphragm Pump vs. Centrifugal Pump
A diaphragm pump transports liquid by catching a limited amount of it and forcing it into the pressure line. The movement is triggered by two or three spindles moving in opposite directions, thus displacing the liquid.
This pump uses a flexible diaphragm that flexes in and out. The movement of the diaphragm changes the volume inside the pump which, in conjunction with valves, allows liquid to flow in and out of the pump. Diaphragm pumps are ideal for vacuum, air, and low-pressure corrosive liquids.
Centrifugal pumps are the most commonly used. It is available with either an open impeller and mechanical shaft seal or as a solid or deep-drawn model.
In the case of centrifugal pumps, the volume flow is determined by the size of the integrated sockets and the depth of the housing.
The pressure on these pumps, on the other hand, is determined by the speed of the built-in impeller.
A large number of applications require a pump that can generate a relatively high pressure despite a low flow rate. In these cases, either multi-stage centrifugal pumps or large single-stage centrifugal pumps are used.
There are three types of bilge pumps: the manual hand pump, the manual electric pump, and the automatic pump.
Manual Hand Pump
As its name suggests, the manual hand bilge pump does not require any connection to the socket and is not usually battery-powered. Depending on the model, they operate with or without a lever to be operated completely manually. Some models run on batteries, however. It can be a good choice if water or something else has damaged the electricity onboard. Easy to use, they are also versatile, since they can be used in a domestic setting.
They are generally light, but it is important to be at the bilge whenever you want to get rid of water and pump it using the lever. They can be placed on deck for quick use or fixed to a bulkhead in a cabin. With a manual bilge pump, it is possible to scoop up to 100 liters per minute, but they will be ineffective if the water level rises quickly. We recommend having a manual pump to override an electrical problem, in addition to a more efficient electric model.
Manual Electric Submersible Pump
The submerged bilge pump even works underwater which is not the case for all. Be careful, however, while choosing your product. Some devices are not waterproof enough to withstand continuous submersion.
However, starting them is easy: If there is water, just press the ON button and stop them once the water has been removed. Better to put them in hard-to-reach places where water tends to go. Their motors are usually available in 12 or 24 Volts.
They use batteries or can plug into your marine battery. Submersible pumps can suck in and turn out up to 40 gallons of water per minute or 2500 GPH. They are to be chosen for use when you are sure you’ll be close to your boat and when you can act quickly.
Automatic Electric Pump
The automatic electric bilge pump operates as soon as the float switch senses the presence of water. The contactor does not contain any hazardous product, such as mercury.
The engines must be designed in a way such that they can withstand corrosion. They are generally made of stainless steel for this, anyway.
When the water reaches a certain level, the pump starts. No need to be present. It is possible to check the operating status of the device by testing them manually or even activating them manually if you feel that your boat is going to be invaded by water. A submerged pump, if fitted with a contactor, can fulfill the same role. Being both completely waterproof, the transformation is quite possible.
The flow rate capacity depends on the size of your boat. The bigger it is, the more you should opt for a pump capable of removing as much water as possible.
The performance of a bilge pump is given as a flow rate in gallons per hour (GPH). A flow rate of 2,000 GPH or more is recommended for large boats.
You don’t see the flow rate capacity on a manual bilge pump, as its capacity depends on how fast it is pumped.
Now for small bilge pumps, you get values ranging from 500 gph up to 750 gph. However, this is not accurate for real-world conditions. Just because a bilge pump has a 500 gph capacity doesn’t mean it will empty a 500-gallon tank in just an hour.
The pumping capacity you need will depend on the size of your boat. For boats up to 18 feet long, a 500 gph bilge pump is sufficient. On those up to 22 feet, you need 700 gph. To head up to 26 feet, you may need to go up to 1,200 gph.
Not all bilge pumps come with a float switch. Hand pumps and manual pumps don’t usually have float switches and will not automatically start or switch off. But you’ll find a float switch on automatic bilge pumps.
A float switch on the bilge pump ensures that the device switches on and off again at certain water levels. They are thus able to maintain and control a certain water level over a longer period of time. If you want this function, you should make sure that the device of your choice has an automatic float switch.
Some pumps can be submerged continuously into the water, while some can only be submerged for a short time. Some cannot be submerged at all.
In addition, some bilge pumps can only be immersed in fresh water and not in saltwater. Models made of steel, including stainless steel will not be suitable for saltwater due to possible corrosion and rust issues. However, plastic housed pumps are the best for this as they can resist corrosion well and are more waterproof.
Is a bilge pump necessary?
A bilge pump should be installed on every boat for safety, even when the boat is in port. A small amount of bilge water often evaporates on its own. However, if bilge water collects up to a height of more than 2 cm, you should use the bilge pump. You should also check the origin of the bilge water and rectify the problem.
How do you maintain a bilge pump?
An electric bilge pump is maintenance-free. Disturbances can primarily be caused by dirt and blockages. Therefore, you will often find a strainer on the bilge pump that can catch the main dirt. The strainer should be cleaned regularly so that the bilge pump can function properly when needed.
Is a bilge pump the same as a sump pump?
Sump pumps and bilge pumps do the same type of jobs. They both sit in the water, suck the water in and push it up to the discharge line. It's often common to find some sump pumps doing the jobs of a bilge pump. A bilge pump can also be used for removing water from the basement. How often should a bilge pump run? A bilge pump doesn't have to run all the time. If your pump has a bilge pump, you will only have it running when it detects that the water level is rising and will switch off when the water has been evacuated. Meanwhile, you can choose to also start your manual pump when you find water in the bilge and turn it off when it's pumped out.
When you have a boat, it is very easy to overlook the importance of a bilge pump. But a bilge pump may be able to keep up with a small leak so your boat doesn’t sink before you can fix it. These pumps are so affordable that you can consider getting a large-capacity pump.
Even if you have a small boat like a kayak, a small manual bilge pump can come in handy. So get one for a small boat or even as a manual backup for your other pumps. You never know, that is the real reason why the best bilge pump is needed.