Pump Types

There are dozens of different pump types available on the market. Understanding which pump type you need for your job is a very important to help reduce pump maintenance and operating costs and extend the life of your pump.

We've done an analysis of the 50 most popular pump types. Simply browse the list of pump types and descriptions below and click on a pump type name for more details.

In addition, we have developed detailed descriptions on more than 40 pump applications. If you clearly understand your application, but don't quite know what pump type you're looking for, this is the guide for you.

Finally, we highly recommend reviewing our quick reference Pump Types Guide to help you better understand the advantages and specifications for each pump type.

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  • Air Operated Double Diaphragm Pumps (AODD) - also known as AODD pumps, incorporate compressed air and diaphragms to move fluid through a pumping system.

  • Axial Flow Pumps - use an impeller with vanes that direct the flow axially. They create less pressure (head) than radial flow centrifugal pumps, but they are capable of producing higher flow rates.

  • Bellows Pumps - use a bellows device to pump fluid through a piping system. A bellows is a compressible container with an outlet nozzle. Bellows pumps are considered a positive displacement pump type.

  • Booster Pumps - used to increase the pressure of liquid that is already flowing in a system. They are considered centrifugal type and are often used in combination with vertical turbine or vertical submersible pumps to further boost the pressure (head) in a system.

  • Canned Motor Pumps - built to pump fluids with no chance of leakage. The pump contains a hermetically sealed chamber that eliminates any chance of leakage.

  • Cantilever Pumps - a type sump pump built to be installed in a tank or sump but with no bearing located in the lower part of the pump. The impeller is cantilevered from the motor, rather than supported by the lower bearings.

  • Centrifugal Pumps - are often the best choice for low viscosity (thin) liquids and high flow rates. The pump uses one or more impellers that attach to and rotates with the shaft. The rotation of the impeller creates energy that moves liquid through the pump and pressurizes the liquid to move it through the piping system.

  • Chopper Pumps - used to move solids-laden water through a system. They include a component that chops solids so the fluid can more easily flow through a system.

  • Close Coupled Pumps - Close coupled pumps do not have a separate coupling between the pump and motor. This eliminates the need for coupling alignment, which saves time and money.

  • Cryogenic Pumps - used to pump very low temperature liquids.

  • DC Powered Pumps - use a direct current charge for power. They are often used in rural locations where an electric grid power source is not available.

  • Diaphragm Pumps - use a flexing diaphragm to move fluid into and out of the pumping chamber. They are a type of reciprocating positive displacement pump.

  • Dosing Pumps - can deliver fluids at a very precise flow rate. They allow for manually adjustment of the flow rate.

  • Double Diaphragm Pumps - a type of positive displacement pumps that use flexible surfaces to expand and contract a pumping chamber to move fluid. They use a diaphragm on each side of the pumping chamber.

  • End Suction Pumps - a type of centrifugal pump that has a casing with the suction coming in one end and discharging out the top.

  • Explosion Proof Pumps - built to prevent the pump from becoming ignited and exploding. Within explosion-proof pumps the motor and wiring is designed to eliminate the possibility of a spark which could cause an explosion.

  • Flexible Impeller Pumps - involve a rotating rubber impeller with vanes that bend and then straighten as the impeller rotates to conform to the internal cam in the pump casing. They are considered rotary PD pumps.

  • Gear Pump Operation and Maintenance - article explains the details of gear pump operation and maintenance tips.

  • Gear Pump Types - article provides additional details on the two main types of gear pumps.

  • Gear Pumps - a type of rotary positive displacement pump in which liquid is pumped by passing between two meshing gears and the surrounding casing. They are available as both internal and external types.

  • Grinder Pumps - used to grind up sewage solids from buildings or homes.

  • Horizontal Split Case Pumps - incorporate a single double suction impeller supported between bearings. The pump casing is split horizontally for easy maintenance and the suction and discharge flanges are opposed to each other.

  • Hose Pumps - Hose pumps, or peristaltic pumps, are a type of positive displacement pump that use a roller to move fluid through a tube or hose.

  • Hydraulic Pumps - a type of PD pump used to pressurize hydraulic fluid. The fluid is then used to do work by operating pistons in a hydraulic system. There are many different types, including: piston, gear, screw, plunger, and vane pumps.

  • In-line Pumps - configured with the suction and discharge connections are in line. Opposed to end suction pumps that require a change in direction. In-line pumps are often used in situations where fluid just needs to be pressurized to a higher pressure.

  • Jet Pumps - a type of centrifugal end suction pump. Jet pumps incorporate a special attachment to generate a vacuum, which helps draw water up the well. Jet pumps are often used in the basement of the building or in a pump house.

  • Lift Station Pumps - A lift station, also called a pumping station, is a structure that houses a pump and motor. The type of pump used depends on the application.

  • Lobe Pumps - a type of PD pump that uses two rounded, interlocking, gear-like lobes that spin inside of an airtight chamber.

  • Magnetic Drive Pumps - a type of pump that is powered by the force of magnetism rather than a motor. They are generally considered centrifugal pumps, but there are also some versions of PD pumps.

  • Metering Pumps - considered a type of reciprocating positive displacement diaphragm pump that move fluids at precise flow rates. Most have the ability to manually adjust the flow rate.

  • Multistage Pumps - use multiple impellers to generate more head than single stage (single impeller) pumps. They are available in both horizontal and vertical configuration.

  • Peristaltic Pumps - use a roller or shoe that squeezes a tube or hose as it rotates. The squeezing action moves the liquid along the tube.

  • Piston Pumps - move and pressurize fluid using one or more reciprocating pistons, which are normally driven by an electric motor through a crankshaft and connecting rod.

  • Plastic Pumps - are made of plastic material that are ideal for transporting volatile or dangerous fluids.

  • Plunger Pumps - a type of reciprocating positive displacement pump used to move fluids and generate high pressures.

  • Positive Displacement Pumps - also known as a PD pump, does not have impellers, but instead uses rotating or reciprocating parts to push the liquid in an enclosed volume, until enough pressure is built up to move the liquid through the piping system.

  • Progressive Cavity Pumps - use a single screw rotor inside a rubber stator. The pump action creates a progressing cavity that moves the liquid through the pump and pressurizes it.

  • Reciprocating Pumps - a general category of positive displacement pump that use alternating force and suction to create a steady, pulsing flow.

  • Regenerative Turbine Pumps - uses a rotating impeller to move fluid through a circular pumping chamber. They are designed to apply force to a given droplet of fluid multiple times during the pumping process.

  • Rotary Pumps - a classification of positive displacement pumps that use rotating mechanisms to move fluid.

  • Screw Pumps - use two or more intermeshing screws to pressurize fluids through a piping system.

  • Self-Priming Pumps - are considered centrifugal pumps that can be located above the suction reservoir without an external priming system. To remove any air from the suction line or pump casing, they are designed to be primed before they are started.

  • Submersible Pumps - a centrifugal pump designed to function with the pump and motor submerged in the fluid to be pumped. The motor is sealed to prevent any fluid from seeping in.

  • Submersible Water Pumps - specifically designed for water applications. The pump operates from beneath the surface of the water.

  • Sump Pumps - used to remove water from basements or below a building's foundation, or from equipment or floor drains in manufacturing plants. They are either submersible or pedestal pumps.

  • Triplex Pumps - a type of positive displacement pump that uses triple mechanism, usually consisting of three pistons or plungers, operating in cylinders. They are often used to move heavy or viscous fluids.

  • Turbine Pumps - used to draw fluid from a deep well. Most are vertical centrifugal pumps with the pump submerged in the fluid to be pumped.

  • Vacuum Pumps - used to pull air, gas, or water out of an area in order to produce a partial vacuum.

  • Vane Pumps - uses the back and forth movement of rectangle shaped vanes inside slots to move fluids. They are considered positive displacement pumps.

  • Vertical Pumps - considered centrifugal pumps, and used to draw a liquid from a deep tank or well. They are long and narrow, and they commonly employ multiple stages.

  • Vertical Sump Pumps - built to be easily moved to different projects/jobs. They're often used in smaller applications such as de-watering, basement draining, and water transfer.

  • Vertical Turbine Pumps - used to move water from a well or reservoir that is deep underground.