Submersible vs Pedestal Sump Pump: Which One to Pick?

If you live in Nebraska, Kansas, or Oklahoma, you may be familiar with frequent flooding issues. Having a proper sump pump could be a life-saving thing. Before you purchase a water pump, you should know which one is better for your needs. Submersible vs pedestal sump pump?

It’s important to remove water as soon as possible. Standing water causes extensive damage to basements and foundations and causes mildew growth.

In short, submersible pumps are not only quieter, but they are more portable as well. They are suitable for larger volumes of dirty water (up to 6000 gallons per hour). On the other hand, pedestal pumps use clear water and are placed outside. That being said, the submersible pump is better for basement floods.

Why would you need a sump pump?


A sump pump is a motorized device that is immersed in a sump pit in your basement floor. The sump pump sucks the water out and transports it through a hose safely away from your home.

The sump pit is a low space under your basement floor where liquid is collected. Also called an infiltration basin may need a pump that moves water outside and away from the foundation.

A sump pump that stays in the sump pit permanently is required if you regularly have water flowing into the sump. You cannot empty it without a pump because the pit is located deep. The high depth enables the drainage pipe to fully evacuate collected water without it remaining in the pipe system.

Drain pipes extend into the pit, creating a perfectly sealed union. Water is fully collected and does not erode under the foundation.

If you live in an area with heavy rainfalls, you may have a perimeter drain tile. This can be legally required in some jurisdictions and is added underground around the foundation. The drain tile communicates directly with the sump pit.

It conducts excess water from the foundation to the sump pit. This way, water does not have an opportunity to seep in through the foundation. [1]

What is a submersible sump pump?


As its name suggests, a submersible sump pump is meant to be submerged in water. Such pumps are placed underwater in a building’s sump pit, below the basement floor.

The engine goes underwater too, but it is secured inside a container together with the pump for protection.

Oftentimes, submersible water pumps are installed during the building’s construction due to their positioning in your crawlspace.

Submersible sump pumps are the most common type of pump installed in residential homes.

Advantages of using a submersible sump pump include

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  • Suitable for larger volumes of water

Submersible sump pumps are more dependable. You don’t need to worry about basement floods whenever heavy rains start. You know you can rely on the submersible water pump. [2]

Their higher average horsepower makes them more suitable for large volumes of water. Thus, you know for sure your basement will stay dry because you can remove water quickly.

  • Can handle solids and particles

If water has flooded your basement, it will probably not be clean water. It may also contain debris and mud. A submersible sump pump can suck everything out without becoming defective.

  • Is quieter than pedestal pumps

A submersible sump pump is very quiet and you will not hear it when operating. Spending time in your basement does not have to be irritating because of the noise caused by the sump pump.

Being immersed in water muffles the pump’s sound and also helps to keep the motor cool!

  • No need for permanent placing

Unlike pedestal sump pumps, submersible ones simply go underwater and leave more space for furniture and storage. There is no need to build a special rack to hold the engine of your pedestal sump pump. A submersible water pumps provides excellent performance while also saving up space in your basement.

  • Battery backup

Many submersible sump pump models have a backup battery. In case of a power outage, you will still be able to pup water out of the flooded basement.

Cons of submersible sump pumps:

  • More expensive

Both purchasing and installation costs are higher for a submersible sump pump.

  • Harder to replace

Being stored deep inside the pit can complicate matters in case of malfunction. These pumps are placed beneath the floor, sometimes during the construction phase.

If you need to repair the pump, you may have to tear up the floor to access the sump pump.

What is a pedestal sump pump?


Pedestal sump pumps are external sump pumps. Their motor is located on a rack above the sump pit and is connected to an extension submerged into the pit. So, they are a two-unit device, with a hose connecting the pump to the water reservoir.

Advantages of using a pedestal sump pump include:

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  • Longer lifespan

A pedestal sump pump can last 2 to 5 times longer than a submersible pump. This is because the motor never touches water and is more protected from damage.

  • Cheaper

Both the purchase and installation costs are lower for pedestal sump pumps. If you are on a budget, this aspect can be quite important.

What is best pedestal sump pump? For some consumers, it is the one they can afford.

  • Suitable where water level is narrow or shallow

A submersible pump can be too bulgy for some sump pits. You may not be able to extract all the water with a submersible sump pump as it needs to be immersed into water in order to function.

On the other hand, a pedestal sump pump can be used without any problems even if the water level is low.

  • Easier maintenance

Part of the pedestal sump pump is located outside the pit, which makes it easier to maintain and repair the device.

  • Consumes less

Pedestal sump pumps run on less energy, saving you money on electricity bills.

Cons of pedestal sump pumps

  • Cannot handle solids or particles

If the water you want to suck out contains debris, the pedestal sump pump will get clogged. The last thing you need is a defective sump pump when the basement is flooded.

  • Cannot handle large amounts of water

Do you live in an area susceptible to flooding? A pedestal sump pump may not be able to handle high water levels. For heavy floods, submersible sump pumps are recommended.

Many homeowners choose the pedestal sump pump because it is cheaper. But if you need to pump out large volumes of water, go for the submersible, more expensive version. Water damage repair costs will be higher than the extra money you spend on a submersible sump pump.

  • Can be invasive

Is your basement finished? And do you use it regularly? A pedestal sump pump can occupy a lot of space and represent an eyesore to your basement. Also, the noise of the exposed motor can be heard throughout the home, bothering homeowners.

You will need to make a permanent place on your flooring for a pedestal sump pump. They can be tripping hazards, and they definitely do not improve the aesthetics of your basement.

What sump pump issues can you deal with?


The average life span of a sump pump is seven years. Typical sump pit and pump issues you can encounter are:

Another aspect to consider is choosing a pump that activates and operates automatically. A system that is manually operated has a higher risk of failure.

Submersible vs pedestal sump pump – which is more effective?

When having to choose between two different options, many homeowners think in terms of effectiveness. The performance of a product is often one of the main criteria when making a new purchase.

So, if you wonder what is better, submersible or pedestal sump pump, we can tell you the former is more effective. However, it is also more expensive and consumes more energy. The actual question is: do I really need the extra power and performance of a submersible water pump?

Read Also: Should There Be Water in My Sump Pump Pit


Both types of sump pumps do the same thing: suck all the water gathered in your sump and pump it out above the ground.  Many people ask ‘What is better, submersible or pedestal sump pump?’

The answer depends on the amount of water you need to suck out. For large volumes, go for the submersible. A cheaper pedestal sump pump could also be suitable if you expect reduced amounts of water.