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Electric Bilge Pumps

All the familiar denizens—Shurflo, Rule, Lovett, West and more—showed their stuff.

Marine Systems: Low-capacity Electric Bilge Pumps Faceoff

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.

Manual Galley Pumps

Three major brands - Whale, Fynspray and Wilcox-Crittenden - and three major types -lever and vertical hand pumps, plus three foot pumps - are evaluated.

Electric Pumps for Freshwater Systems

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.

Whale Urchin and Edson 30 Most Efficient Manual Bilge Pumps

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.

20 Electric Bilge Pumps Tested

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.

Washdown Pumps

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.

Deck Washdown Pumps for Boats

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.

Freshwater Pumps

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.

Solar-powered Bilge Pumps Bail Out Small Boats

Practical Sailor tested two small solar-powered bilge pumps: the Easy Bailer (500 gallons per hour) and the SeaJoule Solar Bilge Pump (360 gallons per hour). Each self-contained unit has a small re-chargeable 12-volt battery, a fused low-capacity electric pump, and a pump switch, all housed in a plastic box with a 3/4-inch discharge hose and a remote solar panel. Testers evaluated each product’s performance and its components' quality of construction, features, how easily the unit could be maintained, and how well the electrical bits were wired and protected.