A good sump pump is invaluable in times of flooding or to prevent mildew. Sump pumps reside in a pit below the basement’s surface or sit on the basement floor. Once standing water reaches a certain level, the pump turns on and pumps groundwater outside of the home and away from the home’s foundation.
We used sump pump reviews and user experience to examine the features and benefits sump pumps offer and select some of the top-rated sump pumps on the market. Here’s what shoppers need to know before buying a sump pump and some of the best sump pump options available.
- BEST OVERALL: Wayne WSS30Vn Basement Backup Sump Pump
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Superior Pump 92250 ¼-HP Thermoplastic Sump Pump
- BEST ENERGY-SAVING: Basement Watchdog BW1050 ½-HP Sump Pump
- BEST BATTERY BACKUP: Wayne ESP25 Reinforced Battery Backup Sump Pump
- BEST COMBINATION: Zoeller Aquanot Spin 508 Sump Pump System With ProPak
- BEST SMART: Basement Watchdog BWSP Special Connect Sump Pump
- ALSO CONSIDER: Zoeller Mighty-Mate Model 53 Submersible Sump Pump
How We Chose the Best Sump Pumps
For basement flooding, power outages, or even keeping the house dry in high-moisture areas, a sump pump is an easy and reliable way to keep a homeowner’s mind at ease.
Many of our top picks have the ability to move thousands of gallons of water an hour, and some can achieve this whether they are on or off. Our top selections also have the reliability of durable construction, functionality at deep depths, and lightweight construction.
Some of these sump pumps go above and beyond in their user-friendliness by including long power cords, compatibility with various basin sizes, and double float power switches for ultimate control while using. Make sure that a battery is included with those models that do not have a plug-in feature, as some manufacturers sell batteries separately.
Our Top Picks
Our top picks of best sump pumps include some of the highest-performing units shoppers can buy from the industry’s most reputable manufacturers.
For wet areas that experience regular flooding and power outages, you need a powerful sump pump that will keep your basement dry whether there’s power or not. This combination sump pump comes equipped with a ½-horsepower (hp) motor capable of pumping out up to 5,100 gallons per hour when the power is on and up to 2,700 GPH when it isn’t. Operating off of a 75-amp hour battery, this submersible sump pump will continue operating for hours after the power goes out.
The unit conveniently switches over to battery power during outages, preventing delays in pumping. Among the top-rated water pumps out there, this system will work in basins 16 inches in diameter and larger. A waterproof case with digital display protects the battery (which can be purchased separately).
- Type: Combination
- Flow rate: 2,700 to 5,100 GPH
- Motor power: ½ hp
- Compact unit that’s easy to install in a crawl space; operates quietly
- Suitable for regular flooding and power outages; automatically switches to battery power during outages
- Compatible with large sump basins up to 16 inches in diameter
- Discharge outlet uses a less durable plastic thread; prone to breakage if not careful
Get the Wayne WSS30Vn sump pump at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Northern Tool + Equipment.
There’s no need to spring for a pump with firehose-like power for basements with minor water issues. A light-duty sump pump such as this one from pump specialist Superior Pump will do its job well. With a ¼-horsepower motor, this submersible-style pump is a great option for basements that face occasional light to moderate flooding. It’s capable of pumping out up to 1,200 gallons per hour to a height of 10 feet. It features a suction screen that filters out up to ⅛-inch solids.
The pump’s body is constructed of thermoplastic, which resists corrosion. An adapter allows for easy hook up of a 1¼-inch or a 1½-inch discharge hose or standard garden hose while a float automatically turns the unit on and off. This cheap sump pump option is highly functional for basements that experience minor flooding.
- Type: Submersible
- Flow rate: 1,800 GPH
- Motor power: ¼ hp
- Budget-friendly unit is far more affordable than other sump pump options in the market
- Lightweight build is compact, easy to install, and operates quietly
- Includes automatic turn on/off functionality and built-in 10-foot cord length
- This sump pump’s low horsepower makes it ideal for light-duty applications only
Get the Superior Pump sump pump at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Lowe’s.
Pumping water out of the basement with an electric sump pump can get costly, especially if you live in a wet area that forces your pump to work overtime. If you’re worried about energy costs, then check out the Basement Watchdog.
This ½-horsepower submersible pump will keep your carbon footprint in check thanks to a split capacitor motor that only pulls 4.2 amps of energy— that’s about half the amount of amps that similarly powered sump pumps use. And while you might think the trade-off comes in power, it doesn’t—this sump pump can move up to 4,400 gallons per hour or 3,540 GPH at 10 feet.
The Basement Watchdog features a double-float power switch system for redundancy and a compact design—this sump pump will fit in pits as small as 7 inches in diameter.
- Type: Submersible
- Flow rate: up to 4,400 GPH
- Battery power: ½ hp
- Energy-efficient option at just 4.2 amps of power used
- Despite lower power, can still pump up to 4,400 gallons per hour
- Water cooled instead of oil cooled; no oil leaks in water system
- Cannot fit in spaces smaller than 7 feet in diameter
- Lower horsepower than competing models; may not be suitable for larger projects
Get the Basement Watchdog BW1050 sump pump at Amazon.
When the storm is raging, and the power goes out, unless you have enough family members to form a bucket brigade, you’d better have a quality battery-powered sump pump to keep your basement from filling with water. This 12-volt battery backup system is your stopgap against a flooding disaster.
It uses a 75-amp hour battery to produce up to 2,500 gallons per hour of pumping volume—It can pump up to 10,000 gallons of water on a single charge. Cast iron construction makes this a durable pump while top suction design prevents airlocks from happening. The kit comes with a waterproof protective battery case that features an LED display and emits an audible alarm when the pump switches on.
- Type: Battery backup
- Flow rate: 2,500 GPH
- Battery power: 12 volt, 75 amp hours
- This model’s durable cast-iron construction will last longer than plastic alternatives
- Can move 2,500 gallons of water per hour; suitable for most uses
- Includes a 12-volt 75-amp-hour battery in a corrosion-resistant waterproof case
- This model’s durable, corrosion-resistant construction means it costs a bit more than similar models
Get the Wayne ESP25 sump pump at Amazon or The Home Depot.
For high efficiency and flood protection in a combination unit, look no further than the Zoeller Aquanot Spin 508 combination primary and backup sump pump system. This nested unit features a primary ProPak pump that can move 72 gallons per minute (GPM) of water at a 5-foot lift and a backup pump that can move 35 GPM at 10 feet on its 12-volt battery.
This combination unit features an engineered thermoplastic exterior, and the housing is filled with oil and sealed hermetically to protect the pumps. The battery charger has an LED screen that displays the voltage left in the battery and other essential system information.
When the power goes off, the Zoeller combination pump system emits an audible alert. The unit works on AC for the primary pump and a 12-volt battery (not included) for the backup pump.
- Type: Submersible
- Flow rate: 72 GPM (ProPak); 35 GPM (backup)
- Battery power: ⅓ to ½ hp (ProPak); 12 volt (backup)
- Has a sturdy, thermoplastic exterior that is sealed hermetically for durability
- LED screen is easy to read, providing all necessary information
- Flexible battery options; can operate using all group size 27, 29 and 31 batteries
- Pricier compared to similar options, considering that the battery is purchased separately
Get the Zoeller Aquanot sump pump at Amazon, Sump Pumps Direct, or Ferguson.
Receive notifications when the power goes out with the Basement Watchdog battery backup sump pump with Wi-Fi. This submersible, backup-only pump is designed to sync with your home’s Wi-Fi system and send notifications directly to your smartphone via a downloadable app. You also can monitor the pit’s fluid level and the remaining battery charge from your phone.
This battery backup system is designed for use with an existing primary sump pump. When the power goes out, it springs into action, pumping up to 1,850 GPH water to a 10-foot lift (2,600 GPH at a 0-foot lift). In addition to sending notifications to a smartphone, the backup pump emits an audible alarm when the power goes out or when maintenance is needed.
- Type: Battery backup
- Flow rate: 2,600 GPH
- Battery power: 115-volt AC
- Great for tech homes; syncs with smartphones and sends alerts via Wi-Fi
- Comes with downloadable app that’s easy to set up and use
- Emits audible alarm in power outage for added peace of mind
- The primary pump is not included; neither is the battery
Get the Basement Watchdog BWSP sump pump at Amazon, Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, or Lowe’s.
Given that submersible pumps spend their lives in murky, damp sump pump pits, durable materials are necessary for them to hold up to wet environments. With its cast-iron construction, this green sump pump from Zoeller is built for these conditions. It features a 3/10 horsepower motor capable of pumping out more than 1,550 GPM, ideal functioning for basements with moderate flooding problems.
The Zoeller M3 is also powerful enough to pass solids up to ½ inch in diameter. A large float regulates the on/off switch at a water depth of 19¼ inches. The pump also includes a built-in thermal overload to prevent damaging the motor from overheating.
- Type: Submersible
- Flow rate: 1,550 GPM
- Motor power: 3/10 hp
- Good longevity; strong cast-iron construction is built to last
- Can move solid material up to ½ inch in diameter; ideal for bad storms with debris
- Functions comfortably at 19¼ inches in depth without losing pumping power
- Heavier than comparable models; may be more difficult to install
Get the Zoeller Mighty-Mate sump pump at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Grainger.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Sump Pump
Knowing the types of sump pumps that are out there is crucial ahead of buying one. It’s also important for shoppers to understand the features to consider when choosing among the most reliable sump pump options, including materials, power capability, and ease of installation.
Types of Sump Pumps
When shopping for a new sump pump for a home, there are four main types to consider: submersible, pedestal, battery backup, and combination.
A submersible sump pump is designed to work in a pit called a sump basin, located below your basement floor’s surface. When water enters your basement, it flows into the pit. Once the water in the pit reaches a certain level, it triggers a sensor on the sump pump. The pump then turns on and begins pumping water out of your basement via a pipe running to the home’s exterior.
Since the pump sits in a sump basin, submersible pumps are quieter than other sub pumps and are out of the way of other activities that take place in the basement. Typically, they are more expensive than other sump pump types.
If you plan on going with a submersible pump, keep in mind you’ll need to have a sump pump basin dug in your basement floor, which can be an arduous and expensive endeavor.
Unlike submersible pumps, which live in a sump pump basin, pedestal pumps sit on the basement floor. They draw in water from the pump’s base and, like a submersible pump, pump the water through a pipe leading to a drainage area outside the home.
The pump’s motor, which is not waterproof, is located at the top of the unit. Pedestal pumps are less expensive than submersible pumps and don’t require the costly expense of digging a sump pump basin; however, the motor’s position on the unit’s exterior makes them noisier than submersible pumps.
Pedestal and submersible sump pumps cannot work without electricity, which is significant given that flooding often occurs during storms that knock out power. A battery backup sump pump works similarly to a standard sump pump but uses a battery instead of an electric outlet for power. When a power outage sidelines your sump pump, the battery backup pump will step in to pump water out of the basement.
The average battery-powered sump pumps can pump up to 100 gallons of water on a single charge. Since battery life is limited, a battery backup will eventually give out during extended power outages.
The best sump pump brands include a built-in backup. These versatile units combine a standard electric sump pump with a battery backup, offering max protection for all flooding hazards. Combination pumps use a single pump and are more cost-effective than purchasing two separate pumps.
They also tend to be larger than standard submersible pumps, so if you have an existing sump pump basin, a combination unit may not fit. Check the minimum basin size requirements for the unit before you make a purchase.
A standard sump pump basin is 30 inches deep by about 18 inches to 24 inches across, giving it a capacity of around 26 to 30 gallons. A smaller basin causes the unit to work harder, as it will fill more quickly, causing the unit to turn on more often. Different submersible sump pumps require different minimum basin sizes. Those sizes can vary significantly, ranging from 7 inches to 16 inches, so make sure you purchase a submersible pump that will fit the basin in your home.
As with any motorized tool or appliance, durability is always an important factor to consider. Sump pumps are built with a surprisingly wide variety of materials. More affordable pumps are made with high-grade plastic that resists wear, while higher-end sump pumps feature stainless steel or heavy cast iron construction. Stainless steel has anti-corrosion properties, while cast iron maximizes cooling ability to better distribute heat from the motor.
The interior of a sump pump is just as important. Impellers, the fan-like mechanism that draws water into the pump, can be plastic or stainless steel, with the latter being the more durable of the two. The shaft that spins the impeller should be made of steel for long lasting functionality.
Most sump pumps are electric-powered and feature 9-amp motors. Some energy-efficient sump pumps will operate at about half that amperage, saving you electricity and money. Battery backup sump pumps operate off of a 75-amp hour battery, which provides enough power to operate at a reduced pumping rate for a few hours before a recharge is needed. Combination sump pumps are electric-powered with a 75-amp battery backup that springs into action in a power outage.
Sump pumps range in power from ⅓ horsepower to 1 horsepower. The principle here is simple. The more powerful the motor, the more gallons of water per hour (GPH) the pump can remove. If you have a moderate to low accumulation of water in your basement, then a low flow ⅓-hp pump should suffice. However, if your basement is prone to flooding, it’s best to invest in a more powerful 1-hp sump pump.
When a basement floods, it typically isn’t with crystal clear water. Usually, there is a fair amount of debris floating in it. The sump pump trying to keep your basement dry will inevitably suck that debris into it. Lower-end sump pump brands feature screens that filter out this material. That helps keep debris out of the impeller, but screens also eventually clog, reducing the pump’s ability to move water until you manually clean it.
Some pumps feature no-screen intakes that can process that solid material and eject it along with the water. These higher-end pumps are worth the additional investment if you have a basement that floods periodically.
The switch is the part of the pump that turns it on and off. Switch types fall into two categories: digital and manual. Manual pumps use a float that attaches to the switch. When the water rises, so does the float, which flips the switch, turning the pump on. When the water level drops, the float drops, and the switch turns off.
These floats can work on a tether that hangs next to the pump or on a vertical rod, which hangs below the pump. While these are effective for most homeowners, this type of switch can sometimes get hung up, especially if the pump basin is small, causing it to malfunction.
A digital switch is mounted vertically in the basin and features two sensors: an on sensor and an off sensor. When the water rises to a certain level, it triggers a sensor that turns the pump on until the water level drops to the off sensor, which shuts the pump off. Unlike manual sensors, which switch on or off based on one set level, a digital sensor allows the pump to run until it reaches the second sensor before switching off. This allows the pump to operate until the basin is nearly empty.
Some sump pumps will sound an audio alarm when the pump turns on, letting you know there is enough water accumulating in the basement to require its services. There are even high-end “smart” sump pumps that will text you when they switch on.
You need more than just the pump itself when setting up a sump pump in your basement. If you’re using a submersible sump pump, you’ll need a sump pump basin and cover to hold the pump. Basins come in various sizes, so make sure you know what size the sump pump you are purchasing requires.
You’ll also need a discharge hose that carries the water from the sump pump to an area outside your home that drains away from the house. If you’re purchasing a combo kit or battery backup unit, you will need to buy a battery for the unit. Sump pumps typically run off of 75-amp hour batteries.
If you have lingering concerns about sump pumps, read on for the most common questions.
Q. Where should the extra water be drained by a sump pump?
Sump pumps use a drain hose to remove water from your basement. A drain hose should extend outside of your home to an area on your property that drains away from your house. This is crucial. You don’t want the water you just pumped out to run back into your basement, starting the cycle all over again.
Q. How often does a sump pump need to be cleaned?
You should clean your sump pump once a year. That said, when your pump tackles an especially hard job, such as removing water from a flooded basement after a bad storm, you should clean it as soon as possible.
Q. How often should you replace sump pumps?
On average, sump pumps last about 10 years. Keep tabs on older units as you likely won’t notice it’s no longer working until water is accumulating in your basement.
Q. How does a sump pump work?
Homes with below-ground basements usually have a pit underneath the floor where groundwater can collect. When this water accumulates to a certain level, the sump pump activates and removes it from the foundation of the home, keeping the basement dry and safe.
Q. How often should a sump pump run?
This can vary greatly depending on a home’s surrounding area and the landscape. Sump pumps should run whenever there is an accumulation of water, which can be quite often in wet climates or less often during drier months. Significant rain could cause a sump pump to run multiple times a day for a few minutes each time.
Why Trust Bob Vila
Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.
Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The BobVila.com team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.