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Best Boat Bilge Pumps Buying Guide & Reviews of 2020

Getting a large amount of water in the bilge of your boat causes major destruction and may eventually leave it out of order. Rain, snowfall, unnoticed water, there are a number of reasons that trouble your boat every now and then; therefore, experts advocate using suitable pumps to dewater your bilge. So, how do you find the best boat bilge pump among a heap of various brands? Although the installations and conditions are a bit complicated, let us see what are the things to consider before you sail in your boat with a brand new bilge pump.

Types of Pumps

There are two types of pumps; electric and manual bilge pumps. Manual one should not be your primary pump. The primary one is electric and along with it, get a manual one. Any boater can understand how exhausting to dewater manually. But, it always can be used as a secondary one in case your electric power is down. Even though you cannot use it efficiently for a longer time, you can use it in urgent cases.

There come two major sub-types of electric pumps; Centrifugal and Diaphragm. Both pumps function differently. The technology of centrifugal is very ingenious. The Diaphragm pump can run dry and has a better capacity to push water even uphill than centrifugal, but a bit of debris may affect the working badly. However, it is advisable to not to run the pump dry.


You cannot get a pump with full capacity what a brand offers but can expect 400 gallons per hour if it is an 800 GPH pump. The capacity is calculated based on the horizontal pumping. But pumping the water out does not happen horizontally all the time. The most used pump is of 1500 GPH and 2000 GPH; however, you can pick the one, which suits your requirements the most.

Number of Pumps

Is it a good idea to have just one pump in your bilge? Certainly not. You should get at least two, and you need to increase the number according to the length and type of your boat. For the minimal length of 16-20 feet, two small bilge pumps are more than enough. As the length increases to 27 - 35 feet, it will be better to increase the number of pumps to 3. Undoubtedly, a class 3 vote deserves more pumps.

Automatic or Non-Automatic?

Automatic and non-automatic bilge pumps can be differentiated by float switches. On one hand, a float switch inside, meaning automatic needs not to be checked every by and then.  On the other hand, an external float is manual, and you need to work according to the situation. What makes the internal float difficult is it should be cleaned frequently to ward off from nuances that lead to the death of the pump.

An external float will be more useful since it reduces energy consumption too. Buy the external float switch along with bilge pump also and install for and aft. Such an installation can regulate the wasting of energy.

Why Emergency Boat Bilge Pump?

Expert boaters suggest for a large emergency boat bilge pump in case if some major leakage comes up in your boat. It is not always a necessity, but you cannot depend on a bucket or manual bilge pump if your regular pump stop working, especially for a larger boat. Based on the type of your boat, you can choose the minimal or large emergency pump.


Installation of a  bilge pump is a matter of DIY with a specific idea about it. If you have two pumps, you can install both at the same hight. At the same time, locate the float switch a bit higher. If you have a secondary or back up pump, it is better to install higher than the primary one. Coming to the float, go with enclosed one for better functioning.


Compared with the diaphragm, a centrifugal pump is cheaper and convenient to use, but the former pumps more water. The very popular and frequently used Rule bilge pump of 1500 GPH costs around $78. Depends on the GPH, the price varies.


To keep your boat afloat on the water needs very cautious maintenance, especially of bilge area since it may lead to sinking. Despite using the high-quality bilge pump, there are chances your boat stops functioning because of poor maintenance. So, always try to check your bilge area and change the pump if it gets weary.