How to Choose a Submersible Sump Pump for Your Basement

April 7, 2024
How to Choose a Submersible Sump Pump for Your Basement

Written by: Deane Biermeier / Facts Checked by; Ryan Cullenward / Products Tested by Licensed Interior Designers

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If you have a basement, ensuring its protection against flooding and water damage is essential. One vital component in basement waterproofing is a submersible sump pump. In this guideline, we will help you choose the best submersible sump pump for your basement. Learn about the essential factors to consider and follow our step-by-step instructions to make an informed decision.  

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Submersible Sump Pump 

1. Assessing Basement Needs

Assessing the needs of your basement is crucial for choosing the right submersible sump pump. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Basement Size and Water Intrusion Risk: Determine the size of your basement and the level of water intrusion it experiences during heavy rains or flooding. Larger basements or areas with frequent water issues may require a more powerful pump with higher capacity.
  2. Water Table Level: Understand the water table level in your area, as this will affect how frequently the sump pump needs to operate. A higher water table may require a pump with a higher pumping capacity to effectively manage water infiltration.
  3. Pump Capacity and Head Pressure: Consider the pump's capacity (measured in gallons per hour or minute) and head pressure (the vertical distance the pump can lift water). Choose a pump with sufficient capacity and head pressure to handle the expected volume of water and discharge it safely away from the foundation.
  4. Backup Power Options: Evaluate the reliability of your power supply and consider investing in a submersible sump pump with a backup power system, such as a battery backup or water-powered backup, to ensure continuous operation during power outages.
  5. Durability and Quality: Look for sump pumps made from durable materials and equipped with features like a cast iron or stainless steel construction, reliable float switches, and corrosion-resistant components to withstand harsh basement environments and ensure long-term performance.
  6. Installation and Maintenance Requirements: Consider the ease of installation and maintenance of the sump pump. Choose a model that is easy to install and maintain to minimize downtime and ensure proper functioning when needed.

By carefully assessing these factors, you can select a submersible sump pump that meets the specific needs of your basement and provides reliable protection against water damage.

2. Pump Capacity and Power 

When selecting a submersible sump pump, consider the pump's capacity to handle the water volume in your basement. Calculate the required pump capacity based on basement size, water table level, and potential water inflow. Additionally, evaluate the power requirements of the pump to ensure compatibility with your electrical system.  

3. Automatic vs. Manual Operation 

Decide whether you prefer an automatic or manual submersible sump pump. Automatic pumps are equipped with float switches that activate the pump when the water level rises, while manual pumps require manual activation. Consider your convenience and the frequency of basement water issues to make the right choice.  

4. Pump Material and Durability 

Choose a submersible sump pump made from durable materials like cast iron or stainless steel. These materials offer longevity and corrosion resistance, ensuring the pump's effectiveness even in harsh conditions. Avoid pumps with plastic components that may break or wear out quickly.  

5. Float Switch Type 

Select the appropriate float switch type for your needs. Vertical switches are standard and suitable for most basements, while tethered switches work better in more bottomless sump pits. Electronic switches offer precise control but may be pricier. Consider your basement's requirements to choose the most suitable float switch type.  

6. Battery Backup System 

Consider investing in a submersible sump pump with a battery backup system. In case of power outages, the backup system ensures the pump continues to function, preventing basement flooding. Look for pumps with reliable battery life and automatic charging features.  

7. Alarm System 

Some submersible sump pumps have built-in alarm systems that alert you to pump malfunctions or water level irregularities. This added feature provides peace of mind and helps you promptly address any issues with your sump pump. Evaluate the alarm system's functionality, such as audible or smartphone notifications, and choose a pump that offers the level of monitoring you desire.  

8. Noise Level 

Check out the noise level of the submersible sump pump, mainly if your basement is used as living space or if noise disturbance is a concern. Look for pumps designed with noise-reducing features or consider models known for their quiet operation.  

9. Warranty and Customer Support 

Check the warranty details and customer support options provided by the manufacturer. A reliable warranty ensures that you are protected in case of any defects or failures. Choose a brand that offers responsive and helpful customer support for any inquiries or troubleshooting needs.  

Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing a Submersible Sump Pump 

Step 1 

Assessing your basement's needs: Examine your basement to understand its specific requirements, such as its size, water table level, and the severity/frequency of water issues. This assessment will help you determine an adequate sump pump's appropriate features and capacity.  

Step 2 

Calculating the required pump capacity: Based on your assessment, calculate the required pump capacity. Consider factors such as the area of your basement, the average water inflow during heavy rains, and the water table level. This calculation will guide you in choosing a pump with adequate pumping capacity.  

Step 3 

Determining the power source and requirements: Check the power source available in your basement. Most submersible sump pumps require an electrical outlet. Ensure that your electrical system can accommodate the needs of the power of the pump you intend to purchase.  

Step 4 

Choosing between automatic and manual operation: Consider your convenience and the frequency of water issues when deciding between automatic and manual processes. Automatic pumps with float switches are recommended for most cases, as they activate the pump when the water level rises. Manual pumps require you to start them when needed.  

Step 5 

Evaluating pump material and durability: Select a submersible sump pump made from durable materials like cast iron or stainless steel. These materials resist corrosion and ensure longevity, making them ideal for basement environments prone to moisture.  

Step 6 

Selecting the appropriate float switch type: Select a type that suits your needs. Consider the depth of your sump pit and the desired control level when selecting. Vertical switches are commonly used and are suitable for most sump pits. Tethered switches work well in deeper pits, while electronic switches offer precise control.  

Step 7 

Considering the need for a battery backup system: Evaluate the risk of power outages in your place and the potential impact on your sump pump's functionality. Investing in a submersible sump pump with a battery backup system ensures continuous operation during power failures, safeguarding your basement against flooding.  

Step 8 

Examining the inclusion of an alarm system: An alarm system can provide added security by alerting you to pump malfunctions or abnormal water levels. Choose a submersible sump pump with an alarm system with features such as audible or smartphone notifications for prompt awareness and action.  

Step 9 

Checking the pump's noise level: Consider the pump's noise level, primarily if your basement serves as a living or recreational space. Look for pumps designed with noise-reducing features or models known for their quiet operation to minimize disturbances.  

Step 10 

Researching warranty and customer support options: Thoroughly review the warranty provided by the manufacturer. Look for pumps that offer a reasonable warranty period, covering potential defects or failures. Additionally, research the brand's customer support reputation to ensure responsive assistance.  


Following these step-by-step guidelines, you can confidently choose a submersible sump pump that meets your basement's needs. Remember to consider factors such as pump capacity, power source, automatic or manual operation, pump material and durability, float switch type, battery backup system, alarm system, noise level, and warranty with customer support.  You can effectively protect your basement from potential water damage and flooding with the right submersible sump pump. Make an informed decision by carefully evaluating each factor and selecting a pump that suits your requirements.  

Disclosure: receives an affiliate commission on some, but not all, of the products we recommend—but only if you decide to click through to the retailer's site and make a purchase.

Deane Biermeier - A senior contractor and an experienced freelance writer - expert for reviews

Deane is an amazing freelancer with wide range of skills. He has good ideas and a prominent passion of writing. He is currently working on many websites including Sanitary Supply.

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