Buying Guide

Best Sump Pumps for Your Basement or Crawlspace

Sump Pump Components
A diagram showing a submersible sump pump installed in a basement sump pit.

What is a sump pump? A sump pump consists of six main components:


  • Ground Water Collection System: This routes excessive groundwater to a sump basin.
  • Sump Basin: This collects liquid for removal.
  • Primary Sump Pump: 1/4-horsepower to 1-horsepower, submersible or pedestal variety.
  • Discharge Pipe/Hose: The open valve or pipe run carries discharge water away from home.
  • Check Valve: This prevents backflow through the discharge outlet.
  • Backup Sump Pump System (Optional): This provides added protection in case of a power failure or if primary pump fails.
Sump Pump Types
A corded sump pump against a white background.

Consult the chart below for information regarding the different types of sump pumps.



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Primary Sump Pumps
pedestal or column pumps
submersible sump pumps
battery back-up sump systems
Description Pedestal Submersible Battery Back-Up
Feature/Benefits Motor is mounted on shaft and is outside of the sump basin. The vertical float design is adjustable for specified on/off points. Ideal for smaller sump pits (10 inches or less). Motor is sealed within the sump basin and unit is installed below water level. Automatically begins pumping during power outages, when the main pump fails or when water flow exceeds the capacity of the main pump.
Other Considerations Pedestal sump pumps are economical. Should be positioned where motor cannot be submerged. Exposed motor can make repairs easier. Submersible sump pumps are quiet and less obtrusive. Best sump pumps if children are in the house as motor is not above basin. This is often considered the best sump pump for basements. Provides a cleaner and less obtrusive look. Battery back-up sump pump systems are easily installed in either a normal sized or narrow sump pit.
Pump Switches
A pedestal sump pump with its adjustable float.

Pump switches turn the unit on and off, and there are many different types.


  • Capacitive switches use a microprocessor to measure water level and engage the pump when the water level reaches a preset point in the sump basin.
  • Vertical switches are a mechanical device that automatically turns a pump on and off when water reaches a preset level.
  • Diaphragm switches are a mechanical device that uses water pressure levels to turn a pump on and off.
Installation Considerations
A person preparing to install a submersible sump pump.
  • Always read the owner's manual before installing.
  • Consult an electrician for rewiring.
  • Research local code requirements for water discharge.
  • Always disconnect power prior to working on a sump pump.
  • Install on a dedicated GFCI protected outlet.
  • Never use extension cords with pumps.
Features to Consider
A submersible sump pump next to a sump pit.
  • SSPMA Standards: Look for a pump that conforms to the standards of The Sump and Sewage Pump Manufacturers Association.
  • Water-Powered Pumps: Uses city water pressure to pump water. Not designed to handle large quantities of water.
  • Corrosion-Resistant Construction: Enables pumps to withstand the rigors of long-term use.

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