If you deal with basement flooding, a sump pump may be necessary to prevent damaging mold from forming. These systems kick in when the ground around your home becomes saturated following heavy rains and storms and can send water into your basement or home. Instead, the sump pump gets it to a better location, such as a storm drain or reservoir.
“Sump pumps are optimal with areas with standing water or where water can enter the structure,” says Vinny Lobdell, founder and past president of the Healthway family of brands and Intellipure Inc.
Our top pick, the Ridgid 1 HP Stainless Steel Dual Suction Sump Pump, delivers plenty of power while still being quiet. The durable construction means that it can protect your basement from flooding for years without early wear and breakdown.
Here are the best sump pumps.
Best Overall: Ridgid 1 HP Stainless Steel Dual Suction Sump Pump
Passes 0.5-inch debris
Similar products may cost less
Requires larger sump basin
This pump is our Best Overall pick, because its horsepower motor can pump up to 6,600 gallons per hour and pass debris up to 0.5 inches. It is also quiet, considering its large motor. The corrosion-resistant stainless steel pump is fully submersible and has a vertical float to kick on the pump when needed. The float guard keeps it from malfunctioning or getting bumped or tangled. The base is made of cast iron for even more durability over its long life.
Because it uses standard 1.5 inch National Pipe Tapered Thread, you can install it without special equipment or supplies other than plumbing tape. Note that it requires a sump basin with a diameter of at least 11 inches, so it isn’t suitable for smaller spaces.
Finally, we appreciate the 5-year warranty, which is a nice feature, since this unit is on the expensive side, compared with smaller models.
Price at time of publish: $329
Best Budget: Superior Pump 91250 1/4 HP Thermoplastic Submersible Utility Pump
No plumbing installation required
Not for large spaces
If you deal only with occasional flooding and don’t want to install an entire system, the affordable Superior 91250 sump pump is ideal for smaller spaces that don’t require a lot of pumping power but can still benefit from a sump pump setup. We recommend this budget alternative for smaller spaces, and for those homeowners who only occasionally have issues with basement water, but it is not suitable for a large basement.
The Superior 01250 pumps 1,800 gallons per hour and removes water down to ⅛ inch from the base. It also removes debris up to ⅛ inch, which can pass through the removable debris screen. The thermoplastic product can be carried by the built-in handle. It should be positioned close to a standard electrical outlet, which should be well above any potential water. The product connects to a standard garden hose to discharge the water.
Price at time of publish: $57
Best Smart: Wayne 3/4 HP Basement Guardian HALO Digitally-Connected Sump Pump
Monitors pumping through app
Large pumping capacity
Other products cost less
Requires a large sump basin
With this smart 3/4-HP stainless steel pump, you can monitor your basement from your smartphone, including when you are away from home. That's the real benefit that makes this product worth the expensive price tag. As long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, you can check the water level, pump activity, and any alerts that the pump needs maintenance or repairs.
The unit pumps up to 5,490 gallons per hour and can clear even larger spaces quickly. It uses standard 1.5-inch NPT plumbing connections and doesn’t require professional installation. However, it requires a sump basin with a 15-inch diameter or larger, so you may need to expand your existing space to fit this larger unit.
Price at time of publish: $450
Best Battery Backup: Basement Watchdog 0.33 HP Special + Battery Backup Sump Pump System
Connects to app
Good backup system
Can connect to home security system
Battery requires separate purchase
Control box needs maintenance
In an emergency that causes basement flooding, your power may go out; that’s where a reliable battery backup sump pump comes in handy. We note that this product's battery (sold separately) can last as long as 8 to 10 hours. The Basement Watchdog kit comes in a tough case and includes a battery box and charger. This model also has a Wi-Fi connection that lets you monitor your home and the pump around the clock. It also connects to some home security systems, so you can get an overall update on your home’s condition, even when away.
The system pumps up to 2,600 gallons per hour when placed at the water level. However, we note that this product’s control box requires maintenance in the form of adding distilled water every six months; the control system cleverly alerts you to do that. This combination of features could justify its somewhat higher price point.
Price at time of publish: $268
Best Submersible: Zoeller M53 Mighty-mate Submersible Sump Pump
Can move water quickly
Hard to move
This cast iron pump is a workhorse and is extra-durable, capable of pumping up to 15 feet of water out of your basement at a stated rate of up to 2,680 gallons per hour.
The pump is powder coated cast iron and, as such, is heavier than stainless steel or plastic models, weighing over 20 pounds. You may need two people to install it—not because installation is complex but because the product can be hard to move into place, due to its weight. We appreciate, though, that it lasts for years and doesn’t rattle or make any noise when operating.
Price at time of publish: $221
Best Pedestal: Superior Pump Pedestal 1/3-HP 120-Volt Stainless Steel Pedestal Sump Pump
Pump should clear most water levels
Lifts water up to 25 feet
Stainless steel and cast iron
Short cord can restrict power access
Large sump basin required
A pedestal sump pump keeps the motor elevated while still providing the same pumping power and function. The pedestal assembly means the actual pump is not submerged; this reduces the overall wear and tear on the pump, which can last longer than similar submersible pumps.
The ⅓-HP pump from Superior Pump has all stainless steel components, including the drive shaft and cover, float ball, rod, and rod guide. The base is made of cast iron to keep it in place and weighted down. The motor is air-cooled and pumps up to 3,000 gallons per hour. It can lift water up to 25 feet to remove it from the area.
You need to have access to power in the right place for the 10-foot cord. The base measures 12 inches in diameter, so make sure it fits in your sump basin.
Price at time of publish: $141
Best Compact: Wayne 1/4 HP Reinforced Thermoplastic Submersible Multi-Use Pump
Automatically starts and stops
Works on flat surfaces
Not very powerful
Leaves 1/2 inch of water remaining
For smaller spaces, the compact Wayne thermoplastic sump pump is just right. It is more affordable and has a smaller footprint overall than many similar products: At only 6.5 inches tall, it can even fit into crawl spaces. It works on flat surfaces and can handle everything from flat roofs to fish tanks.
When at the water level, it can pump up to 3,100 gallons per hour. It can pump up to 20 feet of lift, which lowers the pumping rate to 250 gallons per hour.
It does not have a float but uses a sensor to automatically turn on when the water rises above 1.75 inches, and to turn off when it falls below 0.5 inches. If you want to completely clear the water, this may not be the best option. However, it does mean you can leave the pump unattended and not worry about it burning out.
Price at time of publish: $170
Best Dual Float: Basement Watchdog 1/3 HP Primary and Battery Backup Sump Pump System
Inherent backup pumping system
Requires more space
Other products cost less
We like this product for its inherent backup capability: The dual-float controller kicks in if the first float fails. Because this sump pump, with its alert system, comes pre-assembled, it is easy to install, even for those with minimal knowledge of plumbing.
The pump can move up to 3,720 gallons per hour at 0-foot lift, and 3,100 gallons per hour at a 10-foot lift. It also has a backup system that can pump up to 2,000 gallons per hour, and 1,000 gallons per hour under power-outage conditions.
The monitoring panel operates 24 hours per day and alerts to a plethora of indications; for example, if the pump activates or fails, required battery changes, an interrupted power supply, water needed in the battery compartment, and whether the system is operating properly. It does require a battery, which is sold separately and adds to the system's high cost.
Price at time of publish: $332
Our top pick is the Ridgid 1 HP Stainless Steel Dual Suction Sump Pump (available at The Home Depot). Extra-powerful without making a lot of noise, it also uses standard plumbing connections, making installation a breeze. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Superior Pump 91250 1/4 HP Thermoplastic Submersible Utility Pump (available from Amazon). In addition to being affordable, it is easy to move and position as needed and requires little knowledge of plumbing for installation.
What to Look For in a Sump Pump
Submersible sump pumps are the most common, since they are built to pump water out of spaces. However, these can wear out more quickly than products that keep the pumps out of the water, such as pedestal style. Sump pumps also can have different floats and sensors that tell the units when to turn on and off, based on where they are positioned in the water.
The sump pump's base is almost always the heaviest part of the assembly and made of an extra-durable material such as cast iron. It is also the primary determining factor in how much space the sump pump needs on the floor or in another location. You need a sump basin, where the sump pump is located. Look at the required minimum sump basin diameter when determining which sump pump is right for your space.
Sump pumps can be made of stainless steel, which is light and durable. Thermoplastic is also light and affordable, but it can wear with time. Cast iron is the most durable, but it is heavy to move and expensive. All are good options for a sump pump, which can last for years with the right maintenance and care.
Many sump pumps run on corded electric power. For those, you need to have an electrical outlet nearby to provide power, and the outlet must be positioned above the pump, as well as above any anticipated water line. Electric cords generally can plug into GFCI outlets, following any building codes.
Helpful when the electricity goes out, battery-backup sump pumps run on specially made marine batteries. Some batteries are rechargeable; all require swapping out within three years or so.
Why is a sump pump necessary?
When water saturates the ground around your home during a rainstorm, and the basin fills, the sump pump is activated via a sensor or float. It pumps the standing water up and away from your basement. That is important, because water that accumulates in your basement fosters the growth of mold, which can damage walls, floors, and carpeting, as well as impart a nasty, musty odor to your surroundings. “FEMA states that mold will develop in as quickly as 24 to 48 hours and can rapidly spread if not cleaned up and addressed quickly,” says Vinny Lobdell, founder and past president of the Healthway family of brands and Intellipure Inc.
How long does a sump pump last?
A sump pump can last around 10 years, so it’s a worthwhile and even necessary expense, especially if you live in an area that is prone to receiving a lot of rain over a limited time. Many newer sump pump systems alert users to replace the battery or perform similar maintenance, but older models might not. If your system is more than 10 years old, it may be time to replace it.
How much do sump pumps cost?
You can buy a basic sump pump for $60 to $100, but a good-quality, reliable sump pump for most home systems that can last for years typically costs $150 to $300. High-end models with smart technology capabilities and backup systems can run $500 or more, when you factor in the cost of specialty batteries.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Katie Melynn, a freelance writer specializing in home and family products. Katie has been writing for The Spruce since 2019. When researching the best sump pumps, she considered cost and installation, as well as the power and speed that each pump offered. She also gathered insight from Vinny Lobdell, founder and past president of the Healthway family of brands and Intellipure Inc. Vinny is an air quality expert and global entrepreneur with more than 25 years of indoor air quality experience. He provided insight on the needs for a sump pump in certain environments.