Water Pumps - Submersible and Centrifugal (2023)

A pond pump is an important part of a fish pond or water feature. Each feature requires the water to circulate via a water pump. There are a few types of pond pumps available, each with their own feature and performance chart. We'll help you decide which type of pump may be best for your application.

Water Pumps - Submersible and Centrifugal (1)
High Volume Submersible Pond Pump

First, there are two types of pond pumps. A submersible pump needs to operate while submersed in the water. If it is brought up above the water while in operation, the pump will burn out and stop working. This type of pump may be used in a fountain, a pond or a variety of water features that require a pump to push water from one point to another. There are a variety of submersible pumps based on the type of volume needed. This is mostly used for very large submersible pumps and not your typical backyard pond pump.

The second type of pond pump is a non-submersible pump also known as an external pump or a centrifugal pump. All terms are used interchangeable. Some folks even refer to it as an above ground pump. Whatever you call it, these pumps do not operate while being submersed.

So, why would you decide on a submersible or centrifugal pump? You would first need to decide why you want the pump and how best to achieve it's purpose. A submersible water pump can be easily hidden in a pond or a skimmer. Conveniently located in the water, it simply sucks in water from the pond and pushes it to a waterfall, a fountain, a fountain spitter, a pond filter or some type of water feature. The advantage of having a submersible pump is that it can be hidden and you won't hear it operating. Most pumps are also black in color so they can be hidden within the fish pond easily. The disadvantage of having a submersible pump is that you will most likely need to get into the pond whether reaching your hand down in the skimmer to get it or plan on getting wet by getting in the pond to retrieve it should something ever go wrong with it or you need to remove it for the winter.

Water Pumps - Submersible and Centrifugal (2)
Centrifugal Pond Pump

The advantages of having an external pond pump or non-submersible pump is that it is located outside of the pond, can be easily worked on or removed without having to get wet. Plumbing it to a pond UV filter or other type of apparatus is also easier if it's located outside of the pond. The drawback, is that you very well may hear it hum while it works. There are however, fake rock covers that work very well in not only camouflaging the pump but in eliminating or reducing the hum noise while it's operating.

(Video) Why Submerged Pump is better than Centrifugal Pump ?

A non-submersible or centrifugal pump also have a unique advantage in that for very large pond waterfalls or water features, centrifugal pumps offer a much higher volume or higher pressure than what submersible pumps can offer. So, if you want a very large water feature or if you're into fish farming and raise a variety of fish, then a centrifugal pump is definitely what you will need.

Water Pumps - Submersible and Centrifugal (3)
Small Fountain Pump
There are also fountain pumps which can be for small statuaries or small fountains or those for large lakes that shoot a huge spray pattern up in the air. We often refer to these as just fountains but they do come with a pump that is needed to push the water through.

To install a pond pump, you will need to make certain that you have an electrical outlet that has enough amps to power your water pump. This outlet will need to have a GFI or GFCI (Ground Fault Interupter) feature. This is to protect anyone coming into contact with the water should the pump from electrical shock should the pump ever short out.

Typically, manufacturers make the electrical cord for the garden pond pump up to 20 feet long. Be sure to check with your city ordinance how far away from the pond's edge you can install electricity and then take into account exactly where you want your pump to make sure the cord is long enough to reach the outlet.

Every pond pump comes with a performance chart that will indicate how much water flow that pump will provide at a certain distance and height. Typically, this is referred to in gallons per minute (GPM) or gallons per hour (GPH). There is a bit of math you need to go through in order to know what type of water pond pump you will need for your application. We cover all of this in our online course, 'how to build a pond'. Be sure to check it out.

(Video) How do Submersible pumps work?

In jist, you will need to determine what size of pond pump you need for your application. This is determined by how far you want the pump to push the water and how high you want to push it. It's very, very important to know that manufacturer's will list their pump on the front of the box usually at the highest GPH that pump provides. This performance will NOT be the same if you want that same pond pump to push water 50 feet away and 10 feet high - if it would even make it. So, be sure to check out the performance chart for the garden pond pump in order to make sure you get the correct size.

Also, do know that most businesses selling pond pumps probably don't know the first thing about determining what size of pump is right for your water feature. There is math involved. It's not just looking at the performance chart on the box and 'guessing'. Let us help you determine what size of pond pump you need.

Water Pumps - Submersible and Centrifugal (4)
Large fountain pond pump

Also, be wary of the horsepower of the water pond pump. Horsepower has almost nothing to do with what size of pump may be right for you. Manufacturer's are continually making pumps more energy efficient, thereby requiring less horsepower to do an even greater job. So, don't look at the horsepower for a pump when considering if it's large enough to do the job. Horsepower isn't quite like what it used to be.

Often times people look for solar pond pumps. They can be convenient because they don't require electricity to operate. This may be advantageous for ponds located quite a distance for a power source. Their drawback though, is that they are unreliable. If you have cloudy days, they don't get enough energy to provide power to operate. If you have pond fish that need oxygenation from this solar pump and the pump is not working because it's cloudy outside, well, you may very well lose your fish.

Some folks also try to use swimming pool pumps for their ponds or sump pumps. These pumps are not designed for either continuous use or for the particles of debris that is found in a fish pond compared to a much cleaner swimming pool. Be sure you get the right type of pump. Trying to cut corners in price may very well cost you in other places - particularly if you have fish that are dependent on the oxygenation that a pump can provide.

(Video) How to install a Submersible Pump

Water Pumps - Submersible and Centrifugal (5)As mentioned above about horsepower, another thing to note about pond pumps is that a more energy efficient magnetic drive pumps have been created that are very energy efficient. Some, can even be used as a submersible pump or as an external one. So, be sure to check out magnetic drive pumps.

Again, be wary of other sites on the internet who are selling pond pumps along with other pond supplies. Often times these folks don't know the first thing about how to calculate what size of pump you need or anything else regarding designing a pond. They simply steal text from other sites (such as ours), have someone else who doesn't know a thing about ponds write an article that is based on keywords for search engines and does not necessarily contain factual information. This is so their results will get higher in the search engines and they'll be able to sell you something like a pond pump or some other type of pond product. The internet is literally filled with such articles. Let us at Pond Solutions help you with your pond or water feature project. You'll sure to get expert advice and the best products to do the job right - the first time!

If you're feeling like you want to do a little math, I will quickly tell you part of the information on how to determine what size of pond pump you need for your water feature.

First, measure the horizontal distance you want your water pump to push water. Then, measure the height from the top of the pond's surface to the height of your waterfall, pond filter or wherever you want the pump to push water to.

Now, for every 10 feet of horizontal distance you want the pond pump to push water, you add one foot of something that is called a 'lift'. So, if you want it to push water for 20 feet, this equates to a 2 foot lift.

(Video) How to Choose the Right Well Pump System

For every foot in vertical height you want the pond pump to push water, you add 1 foot of lift. So, if you want to push the water 5 feet up in the air, this is a 5 foot lift.

Now, add all the 'lifts' for your pond pump together and this is your total. With the above example, we had a 2 foot horizontal lift and a 5 foot vertical lift. This equals to 7 feet of lift. Once you have determined how much pressure you need in GPH or GPM, (covered in our how to build a pond online course) you will need to add this 'lift' to the GPH. Just for the sake of an example, say you have calculated that your garden pond pump needs to push 750 GPH - but the critical information that most people don't know about (besides calculating the GPH they need) is that you need to add the lifts to this number. You may need a pump that pushes 750 GPH at a 7 foot lift. You will need to look at the performance charts of each water pump to see which one will provide this pressure. It 'may' be a box that is listed as a 1150 GPH pump because as I mentioned above, this is the optimal amount that pump may perform at a 0 or 1' lift - but, you need to pump water at a 7' lift - right? So, that 1150 GPH water pump may provide 1150 GPH at 0 or 1' lift, 900 GPH at a 3' lift, and 750 GPH at a 7' lift. So, the lifts and calculating out what size of water pump you need is critical to having enough pressure for your water feature.

At PondSolutions.com we're happy to help you select which type of pond pump you need for your application. There is a bit involved in deciding what type of water pump or waterfall pump is right for you but once this is determined, you'll be certain that the pond pump will perform just as you wanted it to and won't either be too powerful or have too little pressure to provide you with water feature or filtration you need for your pond.

(Video) What's the Difference Between Shallow Well, Deep Well, and Convertible Jet Water Pumps?


Are all submersible pumps centrifugal? ›

Submersible pumps are centrifugal pumps whose hydraulic components (pump casing, impeller, diffuser element) are flooded by the fluid handled. Usually, this type of pump is not fitted with a suction line.

Can centrifugal pumps be submerged? ›

Centrifugal pumps can't be submerged and need to be kept out of your body of water. This means that accessibility is much easier and can offer a higher-pressure level. These pumps are used to transport liquids that can include oil, chemicals, water, based on the centrifugal force used within your pump.

What are the two main types of water pumps? ›

There are two major types of water pumps; centrifugal pumps and positive displacement pumps, each with its subcategories. By understanding the different kinds of water pumps, and when they are used, project managers can make better decisions regarding which one to use.

Which is better centrifugal pump or submersible pump? ›

A submersible pump is installed underwater whereas a centrifugal pump is installed on the ground. Therefore, submersible pumps are used for groundwater extraction through deep wells and centrifugal pumps are ideal for water supply and drainage applications in urban areas or for industrial purposes.

What are the 3 types of centrifugal pumps? ›

Single-stage, Two-stage, or Multi-stage.

What is the major disadvantage of submersible pump? ›

There are a few disadvantages with submersible pumps, and two have to do with the seal. The seals can become corroded with time. When that happens, water seeps into the motor, rendering it useless until it is repaired. Also, that seal makes the submersible pump a bit difficult to get into for repairs.

What is a main disadvantage of a centrifugal pump? ›

The main disadvantage is that they use rotation instead of suction to move water, and therefore have almost no suction power. This means that a centrifugal pump must be put under water, or primed, before it will move water. Centrifugal pumps can also develop a phenomenon called “cavitation”.

What is submerged centrifugal pump? ›

A submersible pump is a centrifugal pump (Figure 1), which is attached to an electric motor and oper- ates while submerged in water. The sealed electric motor spins a series of impellers (Figure 2). Each impeller in the series forces water through a diffuser into the eye of the one above it.

Where is centrifugal pump used? ›

Centrifugal pumps are commonly used for pumping water, solvents, organics, oils, acids, bases and any 'thin' liquids in both industrial, agricultural and domestic applications. In fact, there is a design of centrifugal pump suitable for virtually any application involving low viscosity fluids.

What is a 3 stage water pump? ›

A 3 stage pump is a type of pump that can be used for water or oil extraction. It works by using three pistons to move the fluid up and down a pipe. The first piston is in the uppermost position, the second is in the middle position, and the third is at the bottom. This system was developed in 1795 by John Smeaton.

Which type of pump is used in house? ›

There are four primary types of pumps. There are sump pumps, sewage pumps, utility pumps and well pumps. Sump pumps remove water that collects in basins from around a home's foundation. Many are submersible sump pumps.

What is the most efficient type of water pump? ›

The most efficient type of pump is a rotary vane pump. This type of pump has a maximum efficiency when the fluid is moving in a circle. Other types of pumps have different efficiencies when pumping different fluids.

What type of water pump is most commonly used? ›

The two most common types of pumps used for pumping water are centrifugal pumps and positive displacement pumps.

Which type of pump is most commonly used? ›

Centrifugal pumps are the most common type, since they are suitable for handling water and relatively easy to manufacture.

Why is centrifugal pump most used? ›

Centrifugal pumps are one of the most common pumps in the world. They are used over a wide variety of applications because they have a simple design that produces high efficiency. They can handle a diverse range of head and capacity while producing a high flow rate. They rank high for ease of operation.

Why centrifugal pumps are better? ›

Centrifugal pumps benefit from a simple design with few moving parts, resulting in lower maintenance requirements and costs. This makes them suited to applications where the pump is used often or is even continuously run.

What is the main advantage of a centrifugal pump? ›

Centrifugal chemical pumps rank high in energy efficiency compared to other pumping technologies. This puts them at a significant advantage over other pump styles. Their efficiency reduces costs both short term and over the lifespan of each unit. This high-efficiency operation also reduces the strain on energy systems.

How do you identify a centrifugal pump? ›

What are the Characteristics of a Centrifugal Pump? Head, performance curve and affinity laws all contribute to the efficiency of centrifugal pumps. Pumps are generally grouped into two broad categories—positive displacement pumps and dynamic (centrifugal) pumps.

Which pump is used for high pressure? ›

The high-pressure pump is a centrifugal pump with a head of between 200 and 1200 m, which is used, for example, in pressure booster systems, Low-pressure, medium-pressure or super-pressure pumps are used for other areas of application.

How long can a centrifugal pump run continuously? ›

A continuous-duty motor can function non-stop for up to 24 hours under high demand to move water out of your home, but the motor does not last as long as an intermittent-style sump pump motor.

Can a submersible pump run 24 hours? ›

The MH series is manufactured by APP and is part of our aquatics range of submersible pumps that are designed for 24 hours running in domestic and commercial applications.

Can I use submersible pump run continuously? ›

Yes, you can run a submersible pump continuously for as long as you require if you have the suitable source of water. Saying that, it is imperative that you do not run a submersible pump dry. Running the majority of submersible pumps dry can cause significant damage to the inner motor and components.

What is the life of a submersible pump? ›

The main factors affecting the longevity of your submersible well pump are: the water quality, the quality of pump selected, the competency of the installation and the quality of the power provided to the well pump motor. Industry averages show that submersible well pumps last, on average, about 7 years.

Can centrifugal pump handle dirty water? ›

Centrifugal pumps have narrow impeller vanes, which means that clear water virtually free of debris is the only type of water this pump is able to handle.

What causes a centrifugal pump to fail? ›

Centrifugal pumps, which are a common pump used in industry, are known to fail as a result of problems that arise within the fluid, such as cavitation, and mechanical faults, such as found in bearings and seals. Vibration monitoring has been found to be suitable in determining faults within pumps.

What are the two types of submersible? ›

Four common types of submersible pumps include:
  • Effluent/Sewage Pumps. These submersible pumps are designed to handle wastewater. ...
  • Water Pumps. Submersible water pumps are built to push water without large particles or contaminants. ...
  • Dewatering Pumps. ...
  • Sump Pumps. ...
  • Submersible FPS and Goulds Pumps Solutions.

Are submersible pumps better? ›

Unlike above-ground water well pumps, which experience a higher rate of mechanical problems due to the challenge of pulling water from a well, submersible pumps generally encounter fewer problems. Since submersible pumps lie under water, they never lose prime, which can be a problem for above-ground pumps.

What are the types of centrifugal pumps? ›

Accordingly, radial, Axial, and Mixed flow are three types of centrifugal pumps.

Why centrifugal pump is used in house? ›

Centrifugal pumps are often chosen for their high flow rate capabilities, abrasive solution compatibility, mixing potential, as well as their relatively simple engineering. A centrifugal fan is commonly used to implement an air handling unit or vacuum cleaner.

Can we use centrifugal pump for home? ›

Centrifugal pumps also have numerous building applications. They are used to provide booster service into homes. They are also used in fire protection sprinkler systems or to circulate hot water. They can also be used for drainage and air conditioning systems.

Why are centrifugal pumps used for water? ›

Centrifugal pumps are commonly used to transfer water, chemicals and light fuels because they're well suited for transferring large volumes of low viscosity liquids.

What is 5 stage water pump? ›

This is a PTO Multistage Pump. This pump is available in 3 Stage, 4 stage , 5 Stage Thus pump is used where water has to be taken to hilly area and areas which are in Slope. This pump is also used in Sprinkler.

What is a 2 stage water pump? ›

The purpose of a double stage pump is to move a fluid from one point to another and also to increase the pressure of the fluid. A double stage pump uses two pistons, one after the other, to create the pressure increase. This type of pump is best used for higher pressure applications, as low pressures can damage it.

Is pump DC or AC? ›

There is no electronic components in AC water pump, which can endure high temperature. The volume and power of the same lift AC pump are 5-10 times that of DC brushless water pump. Pros: Price is cheaper than DC pumps, and more suppliers. Cons: Low efficiency, high power consumption.

How do I choose a water pump? ›

The most important factors to consider when sizing a water pump come down to GPM/PSI ratings, inlet/outlet size for water and hoses, how high you'll need to pump the water (measured in vertical feet), referred to as total head lift, and how far you'll need to pump the water horizontally.

How do I choose a pump size? ›

In pump sizing, two factors are needed to select a pump: flow and pressure. Flow is generally measured in gallons per minute (gpm). The max instantaneous flow that will be entering the pump's basin needs to be determined so that a pump can be selected to efficiently maintain the system.

Which pump is more efficient and why? ›

In general, a reciprocating pump is more efficient than a centrifugal pump. Reciprocating machines are generally applied on low-flow/high-head service. Centrifugal pumps can have efficiencies as low as 40 percent on low-flow/high-head service.

Which water pump is best for 2 storey house? ›

200 Watts pump is suitable for homes that are no more than 3 floors, which can use water at the same time, in total, including 1 water heater. If you choose to use a water pump with a size of 150 Watts, it should be used for a house that is no more than 2 floors, with 2 water points at the same time and a water heater.

What type of pump are submersible pumps? ›

Submersible pumps are a particular type of centifrugal pump designed to function with the pump and the motor completely submerged in the process media. The motor will of course be sealed in a way that prevents any ingress of the media from seeping into the motor casing and causing the motor to fail.

What are the two types of submersible pump systems? ›

The Different Types of Submersible Pumps

The two most common types are 1. Drainage submersible pumps and 2. Wastewater/sewage submersibles.

What are the two types of submersible grinding pumps? ›

Grinder Submersible Pumps: Submersible pumps that incorporate a mechanism to grind and reduce sewage particles. The slurry (reduced particles) is then pumped to a collection system where it is divided into two classifications: 2-hp and below and above 2-hp.

Which pump is mostly used in water services? ›

Most water distribution pumps are of the centrifugal type, in which a rapidly rotating impeller adds energy to the water and raises the pressure inside the pump casing. The flow rate through a centrifugal pump depends on the pressure against which it operates.

Which is better submersible pump or water pump? ›

Unlike above-ground water well pumps, which experience a higher rate of mechanical problems due to the challenge of pulling water from a well, submersible pumps generally encounter fewer problems. Since submersible pumps lie under water, they never lose prime, which can be a problem for above-ground pumps.

What is the most efficient water pump? ›

The most efficient type of pump is a rotary vane pump. This type of pump has a maximum efficiency when the fluid is moving in a circle. Other types of pumps have different efficiencies when pumping different fluids.

What are 3 types of submersibles? ›

Three main types of submersibles have been used on recent NOAA Ocean Exploration-supported missions: human-occupied vehicles (HOVs), remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).

Can submersible pumps run dry? ›

Answer: Dry running of the pump can damage the mechanical seal and the motor. For this reason, the float switches should be arranged so that the fill level in the shaft does not fall below the minimum level required to operate the pump.

Where do we use submersible pump? ›

The submersible pump is sometimes called a bell pump and is fully immersed in water to be extracted. These pumps are used in situations that involve flooding, such as rising groundwater in cellars or basements, flooded boats, or flooded areas.

What is a 3 phase submersible pump? ›

Three-phase powered submersible pumps are commonly used in commercial and industrial industries where you want a higher level of water pumping solutions. These have smooth, more balanced, and frequently less expensive motors so that you can fulfill all your water-related needs easily and at less cost.

What are the two main components of a submersible pump? ›

The submersible pump system consists of both downhole and surface components. The main surface components are transformers, motor controllers, junction box and wellhead. The main downhole components are the motor, seal, pump and cable.


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