House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

5 Different Types of Sump Pumps (With Pictures)



Waking up to a flooded basement is never fun. The best way to prevent this from happening is installing the right sump pump. The role of the sump pump is to pump out the excess water from the basement so that you don’t have to worry about flooding.

If you start looking at sump pumps, you will quickly find that there are a variety to choose from. It is best to know your options so you can make the best decision for your home.

In this article, we look at the 5 types of sump pumps. We also compare the pumps so you can hopefully find the best model for your basement!

The 5 Different Types of Sump Pumps

1. Submersible Sump Pumps

Submersible sump pumps are designed to be fully submerged within the sump pit. These sump pumps are more powerful, making them a great option for homes that are prone to flooding. However, the submersible sump pump might not be the best option for those on a strict budget.

DEKOPRO Submersible Sump Pump


If you live in an area that is prone to heavy rainfalls or your basement floods often, you might want a submersible pump. These pumps are designed with high powered motors so that they can move a lot of water at once. Some models are so effective that they can move thousands of gallons in one hour.

Another benefit of the submersible sump pump is that they can filter out debris. This is beneficial because it means that your system won’t get clogged. As you know, a clogged system is one that floods and overflows, meaning that the sump pump does exactly what it is supposed to prevent.

On top of the practical advantages of the submersible sump pump, this type of sump pump is also more attractive. Since it sits within the pit, you don’t have to worry about the sump pump affecting the visual appeal of your basement.


Even though submersible sump pumps are highly powerful and filter out debris, they do come with some setbacks. Most notably, this high performance comes at a cost. Expect submersible sump pumps to cost more than others sump pump types. Those on a budget may find most submersible sump pumps outside of their budget.

Another major setback of submersible sump pumps is that they are more difficult to access. Difficulty of access means that it will be more difficult to replace or service your sump pump in the case that it should break. This is because you actually have to get into the pit in order to make any changes.

Since submersible sump pumps are exposed to much more water and debris than other sump pump types, they are also shorter lived. Most submersible sump pumps only have a life expectancy of 5 to 10 years. Leaks, housing damage, and motor failure are all common issues associated with submersible sump pumps.

Best For

If you live in an area with heavy rainfall and/or low elevation, the submersible sump pump is going to be your best bet. Even though it is more expensive, the enhanced power will help prevent your basement from flooding, even during heavy rainfall.

2. Pedestal Sump Pumps

In contrast to the submersible sump pump, a pedestal sump pump is one in which the pump motor is raised above the sump pump, much like it is on a pedestal. An extension shaft reaches into the sump pit so that it can access the water and filter it out.

Superior Pump 92333 Thermoplastic Pedestal Sump Pump


Most of the advantages of the pedestal sump pump lies in the disadvantages of the submersible sump pump. Most notably, pedestal sump pumps are much easier to access. Since they stay above the pit, you can easily access it in the case that there should be a need for a repair or replacement.

Additionally, the fact the motor is on a pedestal means that the sump pump is longer lived. It is not exposed to as much water or debris, making the life expectancy between 25 to 30 years, which is over twice the life expectancy of some of the most durable submersible sump pumps.

Pedestal sump pumps also tend to be less expensive than submersible sump pumps. This makes them a great option for those on a budget. This is especially true if you don’t foresee your income changing dramatically in the upcoming years. Because of the long lifespan, you don’t have to worry about replacing your sump pump in the near future.


Just like the submersible sump pump, the pedestal sump pump comes with pretty notable disadvantages as well. Most notably, the pedestal design can make it an eyesore to the basement. Even worse, it can be a hindrance in that people may trip over the device while walking around.

Since the sump pump is not encased in the ground, the pedestal sump pump is also very noisy. Especially when it is working hard, expect to hear it working.

The biggest disadvantage of the pedestal sump pump is its power. This sump pump type will be notably less powerful than the submersible sump pump. As a result, those with a basement prone to flooding might not find the pedestal sump pump powerful enough for their needs.

Best For

Pedestal sump pumps are best for those with low flooding basements or those on a budget. Anyone who lives in a high rainfall area or low elevation may find the power offered with this sump pump lacking.

3. Water-Powered Sump Pumps

One factor that you may need to think about is the power source for your sump pump. Most regular sump pumps run on electricity, meaning that they will not work if the power goes out. If you live in an area that is prone to power outages or intense storming, it may be wise to consider a sump pump that uses something other than standard electricity for power.

Liberty Pumps SJ10 SumpJet Water Powered Back-Up Pump


The water-powered sump pump can be a great option for those who often have power outages due to intense storms. Whenever the power goes out, this sump pump will still work from the water pressure of your municipal water source. The water pressure creates a vacuum, allowing the excess water to be sucked out.

Since these sump pumps do not have motors or small parts, they often last a long time. You don’t have to worry about the motor going out or small parts being damaged by the water.


Water-powered sump pumps require enough water pressure to work properly. This means that your water source must be from your city or town. Well water does not provide enough pressure for a water-powered sump pump.

Whenever you use a water-powered sump pump, also expect for your water bill to go up slightly. This is from the water used to create the vacuum for the sump pump. More efficient models can pump over 2 gallons from your sump pump with each gallon of municipal water used.

Since these sump pumps are powered by water pressure, they are not as powerful as submersible sump pumps. Still, they can get the job done, especially if the power goes out.

Best For

Water-powered sump pumps are best for people who are prone to power outages during storms. Many homeowners like to add a water-powered sump pump in addition to a submersible or pedestal pump as a backup in the case that the power should go out.

4. Battery-Backup Sump Pumps

Battery-backup sump pumps are similar to water-powered sump pumps in that they don’t rely on the main electricity line. These sump pumps are a type of submersible pump, but a battery is included inside the case.

THE BASEMENT WATCHDOG Battery Backup Sump Pump System


Obviously, the biggest advantage of a battery-backup sump pump is that it can work whenever your main power line goes out. This can be a huge lifesaver in the case that your power should go out during a storm.


Battery-backup sump pumps come with the same disadvantages as submersible sump pumps. Since these sump pumps have a submersible design, they are expensive, difficult to access, and do not last very long.

In addition, battery-backup sump pumps are not as powerful as other submersible sump pumps. Since they are not connected to your main electricity, they simply cannot provide as much suction power. You should not use this as your sole sump pump.

Best For

Battery-backup sump pumps are best to use, as the name suggests, as a backup. Keep a battery-backup sump pump in your basement in the case that your power should go out.

5. Combination Sump Pumps

A combination sump pump is one that can both be used with a battery-backup and your main electricity. How these sump pumps work is that they will have a battery that can be accessed if the power goes out. This is a great option for home owners who want to fully protect their basement at all times.

Wayne WSS30VN Upgraded Combination Sump Pump


The biggest advantage of the combination sump pump is that it fully protects your basement. Whether you can access regular electricity or if the power goes out, your sump pump will work and continue to pump out the water.

Additionally, combination sump pumps provide maximum power whenever the power is on. Whenever your main electricity is operating correctly, a combination sump pump will provide just as much power and water moving abilities as a submersible sump pump.

Even though combination sump pumps cost more upfront, they are incredibly cost effective. You don’t have to worry about buying more than one part since all are included in the single sump pump.


Once again, all of the disadvantages of submersible sump pumps apply to combination sump pumps. This is because they are submersible in design. This makes them a little more expensive up front, more prone to breakage, and more difficult to access.

One disadvantage specific to combination sump pumps is that most systems can’t fit a single sump basin. Since it includes an additional battery pack, this type of sump pump will need a bigger pit or basin.

Best For

Combination sump pumps are best for those who want maximum protection. This will especially be a great option if you can afford it. The combination sump pump is generally the best option since it protects both when the power is on and off.

divider 6

Which Sump Pump is Best for You?

Submersible vs Pedestal


Edge: Submersible

Without a doubt, the submersible sump pump is the most powerful option. Submersible sump pumps can displace greater volumes of water, making them the better choice for those who need a high powered option.


Edge: Submersible

Once again, the submersible sump pump is superior in terms of noise. Since it is placed in the ground, the noise is muffled by the pit and container. Pedestal sump pumps, on the other hand, do not have the luxury of that sort of a casing, making them much noisier.


Edge: Pedestal

One way that the pedestal sump pump stands out is in accessibility. If you need to repair or replace your pump, the pedestal sump pump will give you easy access. This is because the motor is above ground and not submerged in the pit. This makes it much easier to reach.


Edge: Pedestal

Another way that the pedestal sump pump stands out against the submersible sump pump is in durability. Since submersible sump pumps are placed under the water and exposed to debris, they do not last as long as the pedestal sump pump. In fact, pedestal sump pumps can last 2 to 3 times longer than submersible sump pumps.


Edge: Pedestal

Pedestal sump pumps tend to be more affordable than submersible sump pumps. A lot of that has to do with the housing and protection that is required for the submersible kind. If you are on a strict budget, the pedestal sump pump will be best.

Water-Powered vs Battery-Backup vs Combination

It is always good to have a backup method in the case that your regular electricity should fail. Water-powered, battery-backup, and combination sump pumps are all great options for sump pumps that will work even when the power is out.

Between the three of these options, we recommend the combination sump pump. This sump pump will give you maximum power and be more cost effective since you don’t have to buy two separate sump pumps. Still, you can go with water-powered or battery-backup if you would prefer.

If you select a water-powered model, make sure that you have city municipal water, not well water. Well water does not provide enough pressure for the job. Select a different option if you have well water.

divider 1


Since water damage is incredibly costly and a headache, invest in a sump pump. There are five popular types of sump pumps: submersible, pedestal, water-powered, battery-backup, and combination.

Of these five sump pump types, we recommend the combination sump pump because it gives you the power of submersible sump pumps when connected to your main power line, but it also works if the power should go out. These two factors will leave your basement most protected when using the combination sump pump.

See Also: 

Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools