Last updated: September 3, 2021

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Nobody knows when they will need a water pump, but the chances are always there - whether it would be to extinguish a fire, to install an irrigation system, to pump water from wells or to remove wastewater. In this article, we have prepared a detailed guide so that you know everything there is about water pumps.

A water pump is, without a doubt, one of the most effective tools to move fluids, especially water. Water pumps are increasingly sophisticated and are essential in many Spanish gardens and homes. A water pump is a complex machine, but very versatile and useful for all kinds of situations.

Key Facts

  • Water pumps, also called motor pumps, are indispensable tools to move large amounts of water from one area to another in a controlled manner. These machines are fast and efficient and can be used for domestic use, fish farms, and swimming pools or for emergency use to remove clean or dirty water.
  • Water pumps are powered by either electricity  (for electric pumps) or fuel. It is useful for increasing water pressure and therefore letting us make the most of this precious resource.
  • These days, manufacturers have developed water pumps to be compact and light and in order to comply with the appropriate safety requirements at home while also saving on energy consumption.

Our selection: The best motor pumps

It's not easy to choose the most appropriate water pump, as there is a great variety available on the market today. You need to consider what tasks you need to do and what benefits it should have. It is not the same if you want to empty a swimming pool, compared to if you want to drain dirty water. We have carefully compiled this selection of water pumps to help you find the right one for you.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about motor pumps

Water pumps are essential to supply some areas with water. There are many different models which are specifically designed for different uses. It is, therefore, understandable that prospective buyers might be confused. Below we have tried to answer any questions you might have.

Irrigation water pumping system

The amount of water you are looking to process should be equivalent to the capacity of the pump you want to buy.
(Source: Scalatore1959: 49918642/

What is a motor pump exactly?

A water pump is a machine used to move or transfer fluids such as liquids, sludge and even gases, but especially water. Water pumps displace a volume of liquid through a motor that is powered by electricity (in the case of electric pumps).

How do water pumps work?

The principle of operation is the same as that of any normal hydraulic pump: it transforms mechanical energy into kinetic energy. The big difference is that the water pumps are driven by a gasoline or diesel combustion engine. This engine activates a rotating paddle rotor immersed in the liquid.

A very common mistake about water pumps is to think that they create pressure. Actually, they only displace the liquid causing it to flow from one area to another.

Did you know that water pumps increase water pressure through use of a hydraulic pump to apply force in order to move water or a liquid from a lower height to a higher height?

Why would you need a water pump?

Water pumps are used in businesses, industrial operations and for agricultural purposes. Recently it has also grown popular for domestic use in gardens, orchards and homes with swimming pools. It can be used to:

  • Drain water from a basement
  • Extract water from a well
  • Move water from one place to another, even at different ground levels
  • Increase the pressure or water flow
  • Empty and fill pools, ponds or whirlpools
  • Drain shallow areas that are flooded or contaminated by dirty water
  • Water lawns or agricultural areas in a traditional way or by sprinkling.
  • Distribute fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Perform various tasks in the area of construction.
  • Help in catastrophes such as fires or floods.

 How do you measure the efficiency of a water pump?

The water flow in a water pump is measured in unit of liquid over unit of time.  Normally, this measure is expressed in two ways either litres per minute or cubic meters per hour. It would be good to first decide how much water or liquid you need to move.

In the case of domestic systems (irrigation or swimming pools), it is necessary to make sure that the flow and pressure supplied by the water pump are sufficient for the installation to work properly. If you are unsure, it would be better for a professional to calculate it for you.

What types of water pumps are there?

Water pumps are usually manufactured for a specific purpose but there still are some models that are produced for multi-purpose use. Although there are more and more types available on the market today, there are certain models which continue to be common thanks to their usefulness and value. You will see information on each in the table below.

Type of water pump Uses
Surface Let you remove water from wells or tanks which are several metres deep.
Submergable Extracts water from very deep place which are inaccessible by surface pumps.
Pressure Allows greater irrigation and better circulation of water in order to reach all taps.
Bail pumps Used to evacuate and transfer water. Runs on a system which automatically turns the pump on or off depending on the water level in order to stop it from working when dry and overheating.

Why do you need different pumps for dirty and clean water?

When the pump is suitable for clean water, it refers to all clear water, from water for domestic consumption, seawater or water treated with chlorine, ozone or other liquids. On the other hand, dirty, used or loaded water contains sewage from a toilet or a septic tank but also refers to water that has been polluted or stagnant.

Thomas KlenckWriter, Popular Mechanic
"No matter what kind of system you have, the components on the output side of all pumps are similar".

Can I use the same pump for clean and dirty water?

It is not ideal to use the same pump for both. It is important to know what kind of water you will be dealing with before choosing a water pump. The reason for this is that dirty water contains all kinds of solid particles. In this table, we will further explain what is needed for each case. A surface pump can be used for clean water. For dirty water, you need a pump that can filter particles of varying sizes.

  • Water pump for clean water: It is important to know if we need a piece of equipment to irrigate, to empty pools or simply to transfer clean water from one place to another. Surface water pumps are ideal for working with these types of water.
  • Pump for dirty water: Must be able to filter particles of different sizes. It is better to look for equipment with very large hose diameters, to avoid clogging. Submersible water pumps are ideal for working with dirty water.

What essential components do we find in a water pump?

The water pumps offered by the market for domestic use are, in general, quite similar. Knowing and understanding the different components is useful as is to learn about its operation and its installation. In this way, you can avoid dangers or possible accidents when handling them. Among the components are the following.

In general, water pumps have the following components:

  • Motor: This is a fundamental component that drives to move the shaft and the impeller to generate the movement of the water. Its power capacity will determine the speed at which the water will flow.
  • Housing: This is the body of the pump. It  covers the water feeding mechanism and is commonly made of stainless steel or cast iron to prevent corrosion and rust.
  • Conduits: These are the channels through which the water is circulated. Water or liquid comes in through the “inlet” and goes out through the “outlet.”
  • Control panel:  These are the switches and buttons used to switch the pump on or off.
  • Starting rope: This is a rope that must be pulled to start up the pump’s combustion engine.
  • Impeller or rotors: These can be blades, vanes or rotating vanes.
  • Seals and rings: These are used to sealing off the pump in order to generate internal compression.
  • Bearings: These are parts that adequately support the impeller shaft.

What safety precautions must be followed when using gasoline or diesel for motor-pumps?

These are highly flammable and explosive fuels. Stop the equipment before adding gasoline and do so only in sufficiently ventilated areas. Under no circumstances should you smoke near the machine while loading gasoline. Do not add or store gasoline in an area where there are sparks or near other operations that produce sparks or flames. Clean up gasoline spilled on or around the water pump before using it again.

FenacoreNational Federation of Irrigation Communities
"A hydraulic water pump is a smart investment when you consider that energy accounts for more than 40% of most farmers' expenses".

Shopping criteria

While there are many factors to consider it is essential to first be clear on what you want to use the pump for and how often it will be in operation. There are a few other factors to consider as well. These are:

Materials and safety

Water pumps are not dangerous machines in themselves, but reckless use can cause accidents. Many of these accidents can be avoided if the housing materials are of good quality. In general, it is recommended that pumps have covers made of stainless steel and cast iron. In addition to being robust, they prevent the water pump from rusting or corroding due to the action of water.

Water flow

It will be necessary to analyse the work the pump will have to do to make sure you buy one with the right capacity and power. The amount of water with which we want to pump must be equivalent to the pumping capacity of the water pump we are looking to buy. High water flow is not necessarily better, or even appropriate. To make the right decision, it is important to carry out a thorough analysis of your work site and determine how much and what type of water you will be pumping

Fuel efficiency

As almost all water pumps work with fuels like gasoline or diesel you should consider the equipment’s capacity. This will allow it to work at its greatest efficiency levels. It is recommended that the water pump must have at least a 1-litre tank.

Motor power

The engine of a water pump is an important factor to consider as this would determine how fast it can shift water or other liquidsThis is the part of the machine which most effects its quality. The more power the engine, the greater the rate of water flow. This makes it a critical factor when choosing a pump.

Ideally the motor pump will have a power level of 1000 watts or more.


Many water pumps are heavy but as they have become more popular for household use they have been designed to be easily transportable and easy to carry around. Make sure that the water pump you want to buy have handles and grips to make carrying easier.


Pumps are essential equipment for those seeking to transfer large amounts of liquids, especially water. Pumps with gasoline or diesel engines are easy to use,  easy to transport and can be used around the house.  Water pumps are designed for specific uses and specific models should be acquired depending on whether a surface or submersible pump is needed and also depending on the type of water that will be involved.

Surfaces, pressure, bilge or submersible, are ideal to deal with clean or dirty water, depending on your requirements. Water pumps are very useful for irrigation systems, emptying swimming pools, evacuation of septic tanks or cisterns, and can even be used to clean up or prevent flooding.

If you liked the article, share it on your social networks so that others can also find out everything there is to know about water pumps. You can also leave us a comment and we will be happy to answer any questions that you have. Thank you!

(Source of the featured image: Pacter Gudella: 40960263/