Ridetheducksofseattle is reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

The Best Bilge Pumps

Leaky pumps, accidental spills, and rainwater accumulate on the hull, specifically in the bilge. When water gathers in the bilge well, it leads to serious problems, such as corrosion and instability. To address such, the best bilge pump is a must.

best bilge pump

A bilge pump uses vacuum suction or pressure to get rid of water accumulation. By pumping the excess water, the pump prevents the boat from sinking. Otherwise, the water can result in excess weight that the boat may not support.

Are you looking for the most reliable bilge pump? Read this guide and I will walk you through some of the top products.

Best Bilge Pump Reviews

1. Shoreline Marine Bilge Pump

Made by one of the most reputable brands in the market, I love how it has a secure clip, making it user-friendly. It is effortless to position in the hull. With the detachable clip, I can easily remove it from the surface for cleaning and inspection.

I enjoy flexible mounting options because of the universal base. I can position the unit whether in the bottom or side. It screws on a transom, stringer, or mounting pad.

The rugged construction of this submersible pump is also commendable. It has a tough plastic housing, which withstands the harshest marine environments. Meanwhile, the impeller shaft is made of tough stainless steel.

More than its longevity, the construction is also notable because of its safety. It has ignition protection to prevent electrical problems. The low-amp operating current is also a plus, as well as the marine-grade and tinned lead wires.

While it is a good bilge pump, one of the drawbacks is that it has weak pressure. It does not throw water far from the place where it accumulates. Even with the maximum pressure capacity, it does not seem to redirect the water more than a foot away.
Pros
  • Easy installation with a clip
  • Removable design for effortless cleaning and installation
  • Comes with a universal base for flexible mounting options
  • Rugged construction to withstand many years of use
Cons
  • Does not throw water far
With its secure clip, flexible mounting position, and durable construction, there are plenty of reasons to choose this Shoreline bilge pump.

2. MAXZONE Automatic Bilge Water Pump

With its compact design, this automatic pump is a great choice if you have a small boat. It does not take too much space on the hull, also making it a great backup pump. It has a fixed float switch. Despite its space-efficient design, it does not compromise performance.

Another thing that I love about this auto bilge pump is its energy efficiency. The pump uses no power when it is idle. It works only when the float switch activates, which is when the water reaches a critical level.

The durable construction of this boat bilge pump is worth commending. It has a tough plastic housing that withstands high impact. The housing also protects against rust and corrosion. It has tight seals that will keep the water out of the motor. The stainless steel shaft and water-cooled motors also help prolong the pump’s functional life.

Equipped with a reed sensor, it has an intelligent electronic control for a smarter operation. This feature allows a seamless operation without requiring too much from the user.

While the manufacturer markets this product as an automatic bilge pump for boats, the float switch is not sensitive enough. At times, I have to manually turn the switch on before the pump starts dumping water out of my boat.
Pros
  • A great option for small boats
  • Energy-efficient operation
  • Has a tough plastic housing that resists impact
  • Comes with a reed sensor system for a more intelligent functionality
Cons
  • Float switch does not easily activate
From its energy-efficient automatic operation to durable construction, this bilge pump offers plenty of benefits.

3. Johnson Pump 28552 Marine Pump Cartridge

If you have an existing electric bilge pump that needs a new cartridge, this is an excellent option. I love the user-friendly plug-and-play design. The customer does not need any technical knowledge for its installation. All that you need is to remove the old pump and impeller and replace it with this unit.

Speaking of easy replacement, I also like how this Johnson bilge pump cartridge comes with color-coded wires. This way, I am not left guessing where to connect the wire. The wires are effortless to snap on the existing frame of the pump.

Buying a new pump can be an unnecessary cost. If the problem is only with the cartridge, you can just purchase this product instead of changing the entire pump. It is economical, making it a great option for people on a budget. Despite being cheap, I love how it does not compromise quality and performance.

The ignition-protected body of this pump is another notable feature. This prevents water from getting into the internal components and causing electrical problems. The pump will not ignite a flame when it is near ignition sources, which is one of the product’s exceptional safety features.

However, before buying this product, take note that this isn’t a full-packaged pump system. Instead, you will receive only the impeller and the motor. This is a replacement cartridge for an existing pump.
Pros
  • User-friendly plug-and-play functionality
  • Color-coded wires for easy installation
  • A good choice for budget-friendly buyers
  • Has an ignition-protected body
Cons
  • A package only comes with the impeller and motor
If you need an affordable and plug-and-play replacement for a pump cartridge, this is an excellent choice.

4. Rule 02 Marine Bilge Pump

For decades, Rule pumps have set the standards for high-quality marine products. As you search for the smallest bilge pump, this is a notable option worth considering. With a height of only 6.3 inches, it is compact enough to fit even on small boats.

One of the most notable assets of this bilge pump is its long-life motor. It has a completely submersible design, so water will not easily damage its components. Even in extreme marine environments, it is long-lasting. It has stainless steel shafts and excellent corrosion protection.

If you have used automatic bilge pumps before, you will know how noise can be annoying. Some models generate a loud sound as they suck water out of the bilges and throw it overboard. Thankfully, this model works silently. More so, it does not vibrate, which is one way to protect the motor and components against eventual damage.

Over time, dirt and debris will accumulate on the electric bilge pump. Getting rid of such isn’t a problem in this model as it has a snap-lock strainer. I just have to push the side tabs of the motor to pull the strainer out and clean.

While I have yet to test the longevity of this bilge pump, I have seen complaints about its durability. Some people were unhappy and saying that the pump lasted only a few months.
Pros
  • Compact enough to fit in small boats
  • Has a long-life motor that withstands the test of time
  • Operates quietly and without vibrations
  • Comes with an easy to clean strainer
Cons
  • Durability can be an issue
In sum, this small pump is a notable product because of its durable construction, quiet operation, and easy-to-clean design.

5. attwood 4505-7 Automatic Bilge Pump

Made by one of the most reputable manufacturers of marine accessories, this is another top pick for automatic bilge pumps for boats. It has a compact but durable body so that it won’t require a lot of space in the bilge well. I can install this unit even in tight spaces.

The motor of this small bilge pump is one of its best assets. It has a permanent magnet, so it stays in its position. Plus, it lubricates the ball bearings for a smoother function. By eliminating unnecessary friction, it is not only easier for the motor to work, but it also prevents wear.

Aside from the motor, the unit comes with other high-quality components that guarantee longevity. For instance, it has a stainless steel shaft that resists corrosion, even when I am using the pump in saltwater. Meanwhile, the high-impact polyester impeller has a glass filling for reinforcement.

More so, it has several user-friendly features. It has a test knob for operational checks, making sure that the pump works as needed. The tray also has an intuitive design that allows one-handed removal for cleaning.

Nonetheless, if you are looking for energy efficiency, this electric bilge pump may not be the best. The float switch easily sticks to the on position, which will activate the pump even when there is no water to drain. As a result, it drains the battery quickly.
Pros
  • Fits even in tight spaces
  • Has a permanent magnet motor for bearing lubrication
  • Durable components resist wear
  • Equipped with a large filter that resists clogging
Cons
  • Quickly drains the battery
Wrapping up, this compact automatic bilge pump has a large filter, durable construction, and user-friendly design.

6. MAXZONE Non-Automatic Bilge Water Pump

This bilge water pump from MAXZONE is a great option for any boater on a budget. This is one of the most affordable on our list, but that does not mean that it sacrifices its functionality. Despite being cheap, it has a pretty impressive performance.

It has an impressive flow rate of up to 1,100 GPH, which is roughly equivalent to 5,000 liters per hour. Meanwhile, it has a head of up to 13 feet, so it will throw the water that sucks out of the bilge well far from the boat. This minimizes the chances that the water will return and accumulate in the hull.

While the pump is powerful, it has a low amp draw. The latter means that it won’t consume significant power. This is not one of those electric bilge pumps that will drain your battery quickly.

Marine environments can be harsh, especially in saltwater. Luckily, this 12V bilge pump withstands even the toughest conditions. Plus, it has a water-cooled engine that keeps the motor cool while it runs, contributing to the pump’s longevity.

Speaking of harsh conditions, this is a submersible pump. Even if it gets in contact with the water, no need to worry that it will break. Since it has a stainless steel body and sealed components that will prevent water damage to the pump.

However, if you are looking for a quiet bilge pump, this isn’t for you. It produces a loud and annoying noise as it operates.
Pros
  • A great choice for people on a budget
  • Has a good flow capacity of 1,100 GPH
  • Built to withstand harsh environments
  • Water-cooled engine for long service life
Cons
  • Generates a loud noise
In sum, this 1,100 GPH pump has a durable engine and is designed to withstand even harsh marine environments.

7. Onechoices Automatic Submersible Bilge Pump

If you are on the lookout for bilge pumps for small boats, this product should be on your radar. It has a flow rate of 750 GPH and a 12-volt, 3-amp motor. The pump has a high-capacity output while maintaining a low-current draw, which makes it energy-efficient.

The body is ignition protected, which ensures safety even if it touches a combustible material. This will protect the motor from premature wear. Additionally, it resists rust and corrosion, making it durable even after years of use.

One of the best things about this model is that it has a built-in float switch. I do not have to install a third-party switch. The switch automatically activates once the water reaches a critical level and needs to be thrown out of the bilge well.

The anti-airlock protection of this pump is another impressive feature. This will prevent air from being trapped in the pump. Otherwise, the pump will not function if there is an airlock that is blocking the system.

Cleaning this pump is straightforward. This is possible because of the intelligent design of the strainer. With a quick-release mechanism, it is a breeze to detach it from the pump, so I can easily remove dirt and debris that can clog it.

Take note that this works best only for small boats. It has short battery wires, which might not be enough if you have a long vessel.
Pros
  • Has an ignition-protected body
  • No need to install a separate float switch
  • Comes with an anti-airlock feature for continuous pumping
  • Easy to clean with the quick-release strainer
Cons
  • Short battery cord
With a built-in float switch, quick-release strainer, and ignition-protected motor, this is another great pick for the best boat bilge pump.

8. SEAFLO Automatic Bilge Water Pump

Like most of the bilge water pumps in this guide, it is fully automatic. It immediately turns on when the water rises at a certain level. Meanwhile, it shuts down after completely removing the water in the bilge well. More than being convenient, the automatic function is also a great way to save battery. Not to mention, it has a low-current draw that makes it efficient.

With the tough pump design, I am confident that it will last through the years. It comes with tight seals that protect against water and moisture penetration. This prolongs the functional life of the motor and other components. It is also a good thing that it is vibrationless, which protects the motor against potential damage from excessive movements.

Cleaning this bilge pump isn’t a headache. With the snap-lock base, removing the strainer is effortless. This makes it easy to get rid of the debris that has accumulated at the bottom of the pump to prevent clogging.

If you want peace of mind, it is also good to know that the manufacturer offers a four-year warranty.

One of the drawbacks is the absence of a manual knob on the side. I prefer bilge pumps with an option for manual activation to drain the water even if it has not reached a level that the float switch can detect.
Pros
  • Delivers a fully automatic functionality
  • Has a battery-saving low-current draw
  • Tight seals protect against water and moisture
  • The snap-lock base is easy to remove for cleaning
Cons
  • Does not come with a manual knob
This submersible and automatic bilge pump has a smart design that prolongs motor life while making cleaning uncomplicated.

9. Rule 25DA Bilge Pump

This option for the best bilge pump for a small boat has a flow rate of 500 GPH. It is not as powerful as many others on my list. It requires only 12 volts to operate and has a low-power draw, making it energy-efficient.

One of the best features is the check valve, which prevents backflow. This means that once the water is thrown from the bilge, it won’t return to the pipe or pump. It keeps the water flowing, preventing the pump from cycling on and off. This also requires lesser effort for the motor to carry out the intended function.

The inobtrusive air vent is another notable feature of this pump. This is an effective solution for air locking. When airlocks are present, it may be difficult for the pump to work continuously.

With a built-in thermal cell and electromagnetic suppression, it prevents damages from excessive heat. It protects not just the pump but even the vessel.

If there’s a potential issue with this model, it would be that the water needs to be too deep before the switch activates. In some instances, it might be too late before it starts pumping water.
Pros
  • A low-amp motor makes the pump efficient
  • Discreet air vent prevents air locking
  • Includes a check valve for preventing backflow
  • Built-in features for protection against excessive heat
Cons
  • Does not work unless the water is too deep
To conclude, this Rule bilge pump has a low flow rate that makes it more ideal for smaller boats instead of larger fishing vessels. It prevents air locking and backflow for uninterrupted pumping.

10. attwood Tsunami Manual Bilge Pump

The brand name alone is already a compelling reason to choose this cartridge for boat bilge pumps. It is made of top-notch materials, so the durability is second to none. From the ball bearings to brushes, it has superb components that contribute to its first-rate functionality.

Even if it is your first time installing a cartridge in a bilge pump, things don’t have to be difficult. No complicated wiring is necessary. It fits perfectly and the installation will take only approximately three minutes.

As a self-contained unit, this cartridge has everything that you will need. The most important components are sealed into the housing of the motor, protecting it from external damages. The cartridge comes with a 29-inch wire, which is long enough for most boat installations.

This 500 GPH cartridge delivers excellent efficiency. It does not consume a lot of power, but this does not mean that the performance is dismal. The 12-volt motor delivers outstanding performance sans the need to be power-hungry.

Nonetheless, this isn’t the pump itself. Instead, it is just the cartridge that you can use as a replacement to the motor of the Tsunami manual pumps from Attwood. You must already have a compatible pump before buying this cartridge. This specific model works with the Tsunami T500.
Pros
  • Made using high-quality materials
  • Easy installation even for beginners
  • A self-contained unit with everything you will need
  • Excellent efficiency without giving up capacity
Cons
  • Only a replacement cartridge, not a pump
Overall, this self-contained cartridge offers easy installation and has high efficiency to save power without compromising performance.

11. creatorele Bilge Pump

This is one of the most affordable products included in this bilge pump review. Despite being an economical option, it does not mean that it lags when it comes to performance. This 12-volt pump delivers a high efficiency while maintaining a low current draw. If efficiency is an important consideration, this is a great pump.

While it is a small pump, it is big in terms of performance. This 1,100 GPH pump has an excellent flow rate given its size.

With its versatility, I can use this pump beyond fishing boats. It is also good for larger vessels, including cruise ships and yachts. Outside marine applications, I can also use them in solar water systems, aquariums, and fountains.

It comes with a 29mm nylon pipe opening for the discharge port. This allows the pump to accommodate different types and sizes of joints, depending on what you are using.

The pump has an ABS plastic housing, which is known for its impact resistance. Even in tough conditions, the case does not easily break, protecting the motor and the other components of the pump. The shafts, on the other hand, are made of stainless steel.

The manufacturer advertises this pump as rust and corrosion-resistant. In reality, however, the casing isn’t. Especially when it is used in saltwater, the signs of external wear are easily apparent on the unit.
Pros
  • High capacity while using low current
  • Small size with a good flow rate
  • Has an impact-resistant housing
  • Nylon pipe outlet accommodates different joints
Cons
  • Metal parts are easily prone to corrosion
Made of ABS housing and a stainless shaft, this versatile bilge pump performs well while being efficient.

12. SEAFLOBilge Pump

This is a traditional bilge pump with a standalone switch. This means that the switch is separate from the pump. When the switch is damaged, you do not have to replace the entire pump, which is a great way to save money.

Even the bilge pumps accumulate debris over time. Fortunately, this model has a removable strainer. I can easily snap the strainer out of the pump when it is time for cleaning. This will prevent dirt from gathering, which can reduce the pump’s effectiveness in getting the water out of the bilge compartment.

Aside from debris, moisture is another enemy of bilge pumps. Excess moisture puts a strain on the motor, making it prone to damage. Thankfully, it comes with a tight seal, which prevents moisture from getting in.

The wire of this pump is also praise-worthy. It has a marine-grade construction to withstand even harsh environments. The wires ensure optimal conductivity and safety even when used in the water.

I also love how it operates quietly and without vibrations. It is almost impossible to notice that the pump is doing its job in the bilge well because it does not make a loud noise.

One of the issues with this pump is the weak connection between the outer shell and housing. The glue could have been stronger to make it more durable.
Pros
  • Separate pump and switch
  • Effortless debris cleaning with a removable strainer
  • Has a tight seal to prevent moisture
  • Blocked wiring withstands harsh marine environments
Cons
  • Weak glue between the outer shell and housing
Overall, this compact and affordable bilge pump is an outstanding option because of its removable strainer, marine-grade wire, and tight seals to keep moisture out.

13. SEACHOICE 19481 Aeration and Pump System

While I use this as a bilge pump, it is designed for other applications. It is built specifically for keeping bait fresh in an ice bucket or cooler. It can also function as a wash-down system. This pump works well, whether in fresh or saltwater.

If you are looking for value for money, I highly recommend this product. More than being multifunctional, it also comes with several accessories for intuitive set-up. It includes 12-volt battery clips, which are missing in the other pumps mentioned in this guide.

Another good feature of this product is its low power use. It consumes minimal energy while delivering a decent performance. This is a good way to save my battery for other important applications during a fishing or boating trip.

With a flow rating of only 360 GPH, this is one of the least powerful on this list. I suggest using it for small boats to match its capacity. This also makes a good option if you need a bilge pump for kayak.

Pack a bit of patience when it comes to the installation of this pump. It is not the most straightforward to assemble, especially if you are using it for the first time.
Pros
  • Versatile design for multiple marine applications
  • Comes with the accessories you will need
  • Efficient power usage to save battery
  • Ideal for both fresh and saltwater
Cons
  • A bit difficult to install
In sum, the versatile design of this product makes it useful not just as a bilge pump but also as an aerator for keeping bait fresh.

14. SeaSense 50010425 Automatic Bilge Pump

This fully automatic pump has ignition protection. This means that it does not ignite a hydrocarbon mixture when used near an ignition source. It will prevent internal explosion while also releasing enough electrical energy depending on the pump’s function.

It has several features that ensure longevity, even when I use it in tough marine environments. A good example of this is the rigid ABS housing that resists impact. It may be made of plastic, but it won’t easily crack or break.

Aside from the housing, the tinned wire is also designed for marine environments. Tinning makes the wire marine-grade, allowing it to resist corrosion even with water exposure. This will also make the wire flexible without affecting the flow of current.

The flexibility of the pump is also worth emphasizing. With its universal holes, I can position it in different ways depending on what is most suitable for my boat’s set-up. When you affix this pump, I suggest that you put it in the lowest possible position. So it can easily siphon water out before it is too high and too late to act.

If you have a small boat with a shallow bilge well, this might not be the best choice. Some automatic bilge pump reviews note that it is quite too high.
Pros
  • Comes with ignition protection for safety
  • Impact-resistant housing for longevity
  • Tinned wires are built for marine environments
  • Universal hole positions for flexible mounting
Cons
  • Can be too high for some boats
This bilge pump is built to handle the toughest marine conditions from its ignition protection to the tinned wires.

15. Dontmiss Automatic Bilge Pump

Hate using manual pumps for getting water off the bilge well? This product is a great alternative. It has a fully automatic function, so there’s no need to activate a switch to turn it on. It has a float switch that detects the water level in an instant, automatically starting the pump.

With a flow rate of 1,100 GPH, this is one of the most powerful on this list. This allows it to draw more water in a short time. Despite such, it has low power usage. It is unlike other pumps that are running continuously, and hence, draining the battery. It starts only when it senses that the water is beginning to rise.

The longevity of the motor is also notable. It has a high-impact plastic housing, which protects its internal components from wear. Even when it is subjected to frequent vibrations, the motor remains unbothered. It also comes with tight seals to prevent water and moisture penetration.

More so, it has anti-airlock protection, which ensures the continuous functionality of the pumps. It will prevent bubbles and air from obstructing the suction power of the unit. This makes it dependable in different conditions.

The biggest drawback of this pump is that it is from a manufacturer that you will not recognize. It isn’t from a name brand that I can easily associate with high-quality. There are also few reviews available online.
Pros
  • Has an electric sensor for fully automatic operation
  • Efficient and high pumping capacity
  • Sealed motor for durability
  • Motor does not burn when dry
Cons
  • Not from a popular brand
To sum it up, this pump from an unknown brand has a high flow rate, intelligent automatic operation, and a long-life motor.

What is a Bilge Pump/ How Does It Work

best-automatic-bilge-pump

A bilge pump is an equipment that removes water accumulation from the bilge spaces. It sucks the water and redirects it outside of the boat to prevent sinking. With the best manual bilge pump, you have to activate it by hand, similar to pumping a bicycle. On the other hand, with the best automatic bilge pump, there is a float switch that activates the instant the water rises at a specified level.

Types of Bilge Pumps

Aside from electric and manual or hand bilge pump, below are the other common types of bilge pumps:

  • Diaphragm Pump: This type works like a vacuum to suck water out of bilges.
  • Centrifugal Pump: It uses kinetic energy to rotate water, similar to how a turbine works.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Bilge Pumps

Using a bilge pump makes you safer. It sucks the water out of the boat, which prevents sinking. It is a convenient way to remove water accumulation in the bilge well. This also protects the components of the boat that can get wet when water reaches a critical level overboard. Meanwhile, I cannot think of any other drawback aside from cost.

Buyer’s Guide

Below are some of the most important considerations as you narrow down your choices:

  • Capacity: Look at the flow rates to determine capacity and match it to the length or size of your boat.
  • Durability: Especially if you need a salt water bilge pump, look for one with rust and corrosion protection. It must have durable housing and long-lasting shafts.
  • Type: Decide if you need centrifugal or diaphragm pumps. Choose from a fully automatic or a hand pump that you have to operate manually.
  • Compatibility: Centrifugal pumps are best for large boats. If you want the pump to throw water uphill, go for a diaphragm bilge pump. For kayaks, portable bilge pumps will suffice.

Care and Maintenance

To ensure the peak performance and longevity of the bilge pump, below are some important things to do:

  • Check the strainer regularly and remove the trash. Dirt and debris can accumulate on the bilge pump strainer, resulting in foul odor, bacterial growth, and dismal performance. Remove the strainer periodically to prevent clogging.
  • Test the float switch often. See to it that it is working. Otherwise, it won’t activate when necessary, resulting in water accumulation.
  • Inspect the wires, making sure that they connect properly to the power source. Replace wires when there are visible damages before the problem worsens.
  • Look at the discharge hose. It should not have kinks, splits, or any problem that can disrupt the water flow outside the bilge.

Frequently Asked Questions

best-bilge-pump-reviews

Who makes the best bilge pump?

Shoreline, MAXZONE, Rule, Attwood, Seachoice, Whale bilge pump, and Harbor Freight bilge pump are some of the top options that should be on your radar.

How to install a bilge pump?

Start by mounting the pump in the desired position. Connect a hose to the pump and put it above the waterline. Wire the pump to the battery. Make sure that the wire runs straight and smooth to the power source. Depending on the type of pump, you might need to add a panel or float switch.

How often should you run the bilge pump?

Run the pump as often as possible or as soon as the water rises in the bilge swell. In most cases, the unit automatically determines when to activate.

How to care for a bilge pump?

The most important care requirement is regular cleaning. Remove the dirt and debris in the strainer to prevent clogging and optimize performance. Check the electrical connections and make sure that the copper wire is properly connected.

Where can I buy a bilge pump?

I recommend buying a bilge pump online from popular e-commerce sites, such as Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot. Make sure to check out the top-rated bilge pump reviews online as well to help you decide. More so, look for discussion forums like Hull Truth for advice on what to buy.

Conclusion

From recreational boats to cargo ships, the best bilge pump is a crucial piece of equipment. It frees the bilges of water and throws it overboard. As a result, the boat does not suffer from the burden of unnecessary weight, which can result in sinking when unattended. The right pump also maximizes a boat’s performance and prevents damage to its components.

Leave a Comment