Types of Water Pumps and Their Uses

Water pumps are a boon to modern human society and it is undeniably true.

The numerous types of water pumps and the vast applications and uses in so many different fields tell the importance and significance of such technological marvel. We take things for granted. But if you think about it, you would know how water pumps are helping us in many ways, shapes, and forms.

However, with the ever-increasing types of water pumps, it’s really easy to get confused about which one to choose for your specific needs.

Worry not. Here’s a detailed guide that discusses the various types of water pumps and their uses so you know what to get for your purposes.

Note: The following classifications are high-level classification over-view and are not comprehensive in listing all the various types of water pumps available.

Types of Water Pumps

Water pumps can be classified and categorized into two main classes, based on some criteria such as

  • Location of the pump
  • Mode of operation

Location of the pump

This is the top-level classification. Based on the location of the pump, all water pumps can be classified into two major sections.

Above-the-ground or Surface Water Pumps

A surface pump or generally called above-the-ground water pump is one that is stationed above the surface and usually, it pumps from a shallow deep well at a depth of 25 feet or 7.62 meters or less. It is typically used for domestic purposes to draw water from well to the household.

Underground or Submersible Water Pumps

submersible pump is one that is located deep into the ground at least a depth of 25 feet or 7.62 meters. As the name implies, submersible pumps are designed to function under immersion in fluid media, often water and oil either in a well, tank, or other containers.

These pumps are made suitable for immersion and are specially designed to be enclosed in an oil-filled enclosure that prevents the fluid substance that it is submerged in, to get into the delicate motor parts.

Some of the benefits of submersible pumps are that it never needs to be primed as it is already submerged underwater. Another good thing about submersible pumps is that it is quieter than most other above the ground well pumps.

Mode of operation

Based on these criteria, water pumps can be classified into


Electric pumps are more commonly used in modern days as they are lightweight, compact, and portable yet powerful.

Single-stage or multi-stage pumps

Single-stage pumps have one impeller which draws water through the suction end and pumps the pressurized water through the discharge end.

A multi-stage pump operates similarly to a single-stage pump but has several impellers and does the pumping more efficiently, faster, and in a more affordable way. These pumps are often referred to as centrifugal pumps.

Single-phase or multi-phase power supply

Based on different levels of power and specific characteristics, some electric water pumps operate on a single-phase power supply and some on a three-phase power supply.

Engine-Driven pumps

The combustion engine-driven or gasoline (diesel and petrol) powered pumps are the most commonly used types of water pumps and the most powerful kind. Based on the type of engine it is either 2-stroke or 4-stroke. This is suitable for an extended period of use and has numerous applications ranging from pumping to draining floodwater and more.

Solar Powered

Unlike combustion engine-driven water pumps, solar-powered water pumps are the new trends as they are more environmentally friendly and use solar power to generate electricity it requires to operate. This is mainly used in areas where grid electricity is not present. However, they are not as sturdy as engine-driven pumps.

Uses of Different Types of Pumps/Applications

Water pumps are most often used in the homes for pumping water from a nearby well and also during flooding season to pump water out of a basement.

Water pumps are used in nearly all domestic and industrial settings. It is almost impossible to list all of the applications and use cases. However, the following is a list of applications of water pumps.

List of major applications and uses of water pumps (incomprehensive):

Types of Water Pumps and Their Uses Conclusion

I’ve tried to include the most common and major types of water pumps classified based on some key criteria and their uses and applications.

However, the list and details are by no means comprehensive and exhausted.

But it is evident that almost in every field where there are water and other fluid substance, water pumps are being used widely. No wonder there are so many variations in types of water pumps available and engineers are developing more and more innovative water pumps based on demand and need.

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