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The best bilge pump in the world wont keep your boat dry if its not properly installed and maintained. While bilge pump installations are fairly straightforward-and definitely within the scope of DIY projects-there are several factors to consider (capacity, wire size, hose diameter, fuse size) before you begin, and there are some good rules of thumb to follow.
All the familiar denizens—Shurflo, Rule, Lovett, West and more—showed their stuff.
On the heels of its performance evaluation of electric bilge pumps rated at 1,600-gallons per hour (GPH) or more, Practical Sailor bench tests 10 smaller pumps rated at 1,500 GPH or less. These smaller centrifugal pumps are a good fit for small boats or as a primary bilge pump when installed in conjunction with a high-capacity bilge pump. When selecting the best overall pump from such a diverse group, a number of factors have to be considered to make the choice meaningful as it relates to the real world. In addition to performance, all of our top picks rated well for price, wiring, quality of construction, and warranty. Testers evaluated automatic bilge pumps and pumps without float switches from Shurflo, Attwood Marine, Johnson Pumps, and Rule Industries.
Three major brands - Whale, Fynspray and Wilcox-Crittenden - and three major types -lever and vertical hand pumps, plus three foot pumps - are evaluated.
The trend toward “smart” freshwater pumps has expanded into the realm of “intelligent” pumps. Today, sailboat water pumps monitor and respond to variations in freshwater systems and even identify problems and alert users. Practical Sailor tested 11 electric water pumps for boats from five manufacturers: Shurflo; Jabsco / ITT; Johnson Pumps; Whale Pumps; and Groco. We looked at pump performance, amp-usage, ease of installation, durability, features, and cost.
Our test of 19 diaphragm pumps finds the Guzzler 2600 a Best Buy, and the Henderson Mk V a good choice for its excellent design and performance.
Top performers from Attwood, Lovett, Rule, West Marine and Whale vary considerably by model, but when all is said and done, we like the Whale Supersub, Rule-Mate and Lovett 1200.
If you need a lot of flow-and have the dough-get the Groco. Otherwise, we like the two models from Johnson and the $85 SHURflo.
Practical Sailor evaluated washdown pumps capable of performing high-pressure cleanup chores on boats ranging in size from a weekender to a mid-size cruiser. We looked at eight pumps from four manufacturers: the C-60 Deck Wash Kit from Groco Marine; two pumps from Jabsco / ITT; two from Shurflo; and three from Johnson Pumps. With gallons-per-minute ratings ranging from 3.5 to 7 GPM, the pumps were evaluated on their free-flow and restricted outputs, outflow distance and pressure, power draw, price, warranty, design, and construction quality.
The Johnson Aqua Jet Uno 3.4 is impressive in a combination of ways. But it's a whopper. Check the Flojet Quad II—good price and performance.