best water pumps for cistern

5 Best Water Pumps for Cistern in 2023 Buying Guide

Looking for the most reliable way to move water from the cistern or well to your water supply lines? If so, a cistern pump might just be all that you need.

But how do you tell which pump is the best since many models are available on the market? Not to mention, these pumps are not equally made. For instance, some boast better discharge rates and horsepower than others. In addition, some models come with a pressure switch, but others don’t.

Don’t fret because we’ve compiled a list of the top-rated best water pumps for cistern on the market to help you.

5 Best Water Pumps for Cistern with Buying Guide

Cistern water pumps come in various types, designs, and sizes and with different power capacities. Below is our unbiased review of the top-rated pumps on the market, along with their pros and cons.

1. Franklin Electric C1- Best Submersible Cistern Pump

Franklin Electric C1 Septic Water High Head Submersible Effluent Pump, 20 GPM, 1/2 HP, 115V
  • 20 GPM
  • 115V
  • 2 year warranty
  • Warranty is for manufacture defects not misuse
  • warranty is only valid if new 13 amp float is bought with proof

Topping the list is this submersible and efficient cistern pump from the Franklin Electric brand. The pump stands out thanks to its higher flow rate of 20 (GPM) gallons per minute. Therefore, it will take less time to fill or empty your tank.

In terms of installation, this unit is relatively easy to assemble because it does not need to be primed. The best part is that the device has a removable base for reliable mounting.

You will be pleased to learn that the pump uses a powerful 1/2 HP motor designed to run on 115 volts. Therefore, the device can provide 20 Amp of current, making it a reliable unit for use in residential and commercial settings. 

Another thing you will love about this corded electric unit is its stainless steel construction. This, therefore, makes the pump resistant to corrosion for long-lasting durability. And for your peace of mind, the manufacturer offers a 2-year warranty against manufacturing defects.


  • Boasts cool and quiet operation
  • Ideal for commercial and residential applications
  • Offers maximum shut-off pressure of over 100 psi
  • Optimized hydraulic design for reduced power usage
  • Made of all-metal components


  • It does not include a control box or float switch
  • A bit of extra noise may disturb you

2. Red Lion 602206 RJS-50-PREM Jet Pump

Red Lion RJS-50-PREM 1/2 HP, 12 GPM, 115/230 Volt, Premium Cast Iron Shallow Well Jet Pump, Red, 602206
  • SHALLOW WELL JET PUMP: Red Lion Premium Cast Iron Shallow Well Jet Pump features a 1-1/4” FNPT suction intake and 1” FNPT outlet discharge; 1/2 HP pump can draw up to 12 gallons per minute
  • BUILT TO LAST: Rugged cast iron casing and volute for long life and high-efficiency; glass-filled thermoplastic impeller and diffuser for durability
  • HEAVY DUTY MOTOR: runs on either 115 or 230 volts; voltage must be selected to match incoming power source; Includes a capacitor for increased starting power; CSA listed in USA and Canada
  • INCLUDES: a factory pre-set 30/50 pressure switch that produces a working maximum pressure of 50 PSI and pressure gauge
  • SPECIFICATIONS: 1/2 HP, 11.8 Amps at 115 Volts; 5.9 Amps at 230 Volts; 1-1/4-inch FNPT intake; 1-inch FNPT discharge; Max Pressure = 65 PSI; Max Head = 150 Ft.

We’ve yet another high-performance cistern pump designed for use in shallow wells. One outstanding feature about this unit is that all its components that come in contact with water are NSF/ANSI 372 certified. This makes it ideal for pumping clean, drinkable water since it does not leach contaminants like lead.

Additionally, the device features a dual voltage motor that is CSA-certified to meet US and Canadian requirements. Simply, it comes set to 230 volts, but you can change it to 115 for the best performance. The motor is also heavy-duty to ensure long life.

In terms of power, the pump boasts 1/2 horsepower. However, it can only draw 12 GPM, which is a decent discharge rate. The good news? This unit comes with a capacitor to provide maximum starting power. Also included is a 30/50 pressure switch designed to produce up to 50 PSI maximum pressure.


  • Housed in a durable cast iron casing
  • Installation manual included for easy installation
  • Comes with a pressure gauge
  • Includes sturdy thermoplastic diffuser and impeller
  • Backed by a 3-year manufacturer warranty


  • A bit challenging to prime
  • Few complaints about faulty pressure switch

3. Lanchez 1.6 HP Shallow Well Pump

Lanchez 1.6 HP Shallow Well Pump Garden Pump, Portable Water Transfer Draining Irrigation Pump for Water Removal, Lawn Fountain Pump, Irrigation Pump 1162 GPH 147 Feet Height
  • 【Strong and Reliable Performance】The UL-certificated shallow well pump with a 1.6 HP powerful motor of updated copper coils, which is more stable, durable, and quiet than other aluminum wires, ensures strong performance in a low energy consumption. can offer a maximum flow rate of up to 1162 GPH and max lift water to 147 feet.
  • 【Portable and Durable Design】This Lawn Pump is with a easy-to-carry handle for portability. Corrosion-resistant stainless steel of the portable electric pump head for against corrosition and abrasion extends product life and is easy to clean.
  • 【Safety Ensure】The draining irrigation pump pay attention to safety. Full corrosion-resistant and reinforced thermoplastic construction with thermal overload protection for continuous duty use in water removal application.
  • 【Wide Application】The sprinkler pump come with a pressure gauge and thread seal tape is a versatile pump for pressure boosting, small underground sprinkler systems, operating lawn sprinklers and a multitude of other general purpose applications. Suitable use in garden, lawn, farm and rural house.
  • 【Installation Notice】The garden pump should be installed in a dean, dry and ventilated location which provides adequate room for servicing and protection from freezing temperatures. It should be bolted to a good foundation, preferably concrete and provided adequate drainage.

With a 1.6 HP motor, this is a mighty cistern pump for the price, capable of lifting water up to 147 feet. On the other hand, its maximum flow rate is around 1162 gallons per hour or 19.3 GPM. This makes it ideal for dewatering, sump service, and other home water removal applications.

In terms of construction, this shallow well cistern pump is made of stainless steel, aluminum, iron, and ABS materials. As such, you will find it easy to clean and resistant to abrasion and corrosion.

As if that’s not enough, the pump comes with a waterproof safety switch and cover to hinder accidental startups. You also get detailed manual instructions, Teflon tape, and a pressure gauge for easy assembly.

Additionally, this unit features a maximum pressure of 65.25 PSI. Therefore, you can use it as a sprinkler, booster, or well pump.


  • Uses an energy-efficient and low-noise motor
  • Portable design with an easy-to-carry handle
  • Made of high-strength materials and UL-certified
  • Powerful with wide application
  • Backed by a one-year limited warranty


  • Requires priming, which can be a little hard
  • Missing hardware

4. Superior Pump 91570 0.5 HP Thermoplastic Submersible Pump

Superior Pump 91570 1/2 HP Thermoplastic Submersible Utility Pump with 10-Foot Cord
  • 1/2 HP Utility pump moves up to 3,300 gallons per hour; pump will lift water up to 25' of vertical height
  • Tough thermoplastic construction; 10' cord length
  • 1-1/2 inch NPT discharge for high capacity pumping; includes 3/4 inch garden hose adapter; Amps:4.9
  • Removable suction screen and handles up to 3/8 inch solids
  • Superior Pumps are Built to Last, engineered with quality components and are 100% factory tested

Are you on a tight budget and searching for a relatively powerful cistern pump? This product might just be what you need. It is not only affordable but also boasts a 1/2 HP motor with 4.9 Amps of output designed to move up to 3,300 GPH.

You will also be happy to know that the pump can easily handle high-capacity pumping. This is thanks to its 1-1/2-inch NPT discharge. Not to mention, the device comes with a 3/4-inch adapter for use with a garden hose.

Something else you will love about this product is its construction, designed to offer years of reliability. The hardware and impeller are made of rust-resistant stainless steel, while the pump is housed in a thermoplastic casing.

Furthermore, the device is engineered with a suction screen to keep large debris out of the impeller. Even better, you can easily remove the screen to clean it.


  • Built-in carrying handle for portability
  • Powered by a thermally-protected motor
  • Comes with a 3-year warranty
  • Broad base for enhanced stability
  • Powerful enough to lift water up to 25 feet


  • Lacks automatic shut-off pressure switch
  • Not fast enough in pumping out water

5. Simmons No.2 1160/PM500 Pitcher Pump

Simmons 1160/PM500 No.2 Pitcher Pump
  • Designed for rugged long life service
  • All parts are made from close grain cast iron for optimum strength
  • All bolt lugs are reinforced for maximum strength
  • Cap can be adjusted for a wide range of handle positions

If working with a tight budget, this is yet another durable and efficient cistern pump worth considering. The best part about this product is that it is constructed from lead-free components. Therefore, you can safely use it to pump out drinking water.

Besides that, you will be happy to learn that the entire device is built from close-grain cast iron. This is to ensure it offers long-life service. On the other hand, the bolt lugs are reinforced for optimum strength and long-lasting performance.

In addition, it boasts an adjustable cap to allow different handle settings for added comfort. You just need to loosen the set screw in the lid and rotate the handle to your preferred position.

On the flip side, though, this is a manual pump. Therefore, it is not as powerful as corded electric units and might take longer to pump out the water. The good news is that you can utilize it even during a power outage.


  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Easy to install and prime
  • Constructed from heavy-duty cast iron
  • Competitively priced
  • Wide application, including in wells and cisterns


  • Does not have enough suction power
  • Backed by a 30-day warranty only

What Is A Cistern Pump?

This is a device used to pump water out of water storage tanks, wells, or cisterns. After lifting the water, the pump distributes it via your home’s water supply systems to the required usage points. Therefore, you can even use the device with your garden hose.

Some cistern pumps are fully automatic with internal controls for ease of use, while others are manual. As for mechanical units, they feature potent motors with different horsepower. Therefore, you will discover that some models can pump the water faster than their competitors.

How Does A Cistern Pump Work?

How Does A Cistern Pump Work
Image source:

This system works by pushing water out of the cistern or storage tank. As a result, you get pressurized water at various points in your house.

Basically, this pump features a pressure switch. Therefore, when the pressure in the cistern drops below a predetermined level, the controller activates the pump. The pump will then run until the proper pressure in the water tank is restored. After that, your cistern pump will automatically shut down.

A cistern pumping system also features a check valve to prevent backflow as pressure changes in the piping. Also included is a pressure gauge to help you monitor the pressure in the system.

However, pumps designed to be mounted above the ground draw water from the cistern via suction. These units feature an impeller that moves the water from the tank or well through a narrow jet. The water is then discharged into your plumbing systems at high pressure. Like submersible units, these pumps also utilize a check valve to prevent water from flowing back to the cistern.

Why Would You Need A Cistern Water Pump System?

So, why invest in a cistern type of pump? Below are some benefits of buying this system and not any other kind.

Consistent water pressure: Water from the well, cistern, or your local water company does not flow at a consistent pressure. A cistern pump ensures water flows through the supply line at the highest pressure daily.

Pumping sewage: This pump is also efficient for pumping out fluids from septic tanks. It is a more cost-effective option.

Constant water supply: If you live in a household with high water demands, a cistern pump can come in handy. The device will ensure you have enough water supply throughout.

Gardening: If you love gardening, you could use a submersible cistern pump to supply your plants with water. The water could be from a convenient source like a well or cistern.

For emergency: During a disaster, you can use this type of pump to pump out water from the sump pit. This way, you won’t have to worry about your basement flooding.

How Many Types Of Cistern Pumps Are There?

Overall, you will find two major types of cistern pumps on the market: submersible and above-the-ground. Of course, each style has its pros and cons.

1. Submersible pumps

As the name suggests, this type of pump is designed to be submerged in water. For this reason, it is relatively easy to install since no priming is required.

Also, these units are super quiet and more energy efficient than their counterparts. However, repairing and performing maintenance work on these devices can be challenging.

2. Above-ground or jet pumps

For this pump, you just mount it above the cistern or well. Therefore, you won’t have a problem accessing the system whenever you want to make some repairs.

The pump is also relatively inexpensive to maintain and boasts longer life since its components never get into contact with water. On the downside, though, the pump is not as efficient as the submersible type.

How to Install a Cistern Pump?

Buying Guide of Best Water Pump for Cistern

With so many cistern water pump models available on the market, how do you choose the best one for your needs? Here are some things to consider before making your purchase.

Discharge or flow rate

The flow or discharge rate indicates the gallons of water this pump can move per minute or hour. Therefore, it is often shown as GPM or GPH. A unit with a higher discharge rate is always better because you get to spend less time pumping the water out. So, we recommend investing in a device with not less than 10 gallons per minute of flow rate.

Horsepower (HP)

Besides the discharge rate, you should also consider the horsepower of your device. A good pump should have higher horsepower if your household has high-volume water demands. Generally, a device with at least 0.5 HP can offer powerful performance.


Cistern water pumps are made from different materials, including stainless steel, thermoplastic, cast iron, and aluminum. All these materials offer long-lasting durability.

However, stainless steel and cast-iron units offer better durability than thermoplastic options. This is because stainless steel is rust and corrosion-resistant.


If you want peace of mind after making your purchase, we suggest investing in a pump with a good warranty. The warranty is usually proof that the system boasts excellent build quality. So, be sure to buy a pump with a more extended warranty period of not less than one year.

Type of pump

These units come in different types, including submersible and above-ground. Submersibles are known to be more efficient and boast a better flow rate than their above-ground counterparts. However, these models are not easy to repair when they break down.

Above-ground or jet cistern pumps, on the other hand, are more affordable and boast better durability. However, their efficiency is not as good as that of submersible units.


Another thing you might want to consider is the portability of the pump. This feature will come in handy if you use the device for many applications and at different locations. In this case, you should get an above-ground unit that is lightweight, compact, and carrying handles.

Ease of installation

Overall, above-ground cistern pumps are the easiest of them to install. This is because they don’t need coupling. You just need to know how to prime the device.

On the other hand, submersible pumps are a little complex to install and involve a lot of labor. However, if you get a product with clear instructions, you can still install this type of pump yourself.

Availability of pressure switch

If you decide to invest in a submersible unit, we suggest getting a device with a pressure switch. This is because, without this switch, the pump will not automatically shut itself down once it’s done pumping out all the water. As such, your device could get damaged.


There are several benefits to investing in a cistern water pump. But before buying, there are several things to consider, like build quality, flow rate, horsepower, and type of pump.

Keeping the above in mind, our top pick is the Franklin Electric CI Submersible Pump, which features a high flow rate of 20 GPM. But if you prefer an above-ground type of system, we recommend the Red Lion 602206 RJS-50-PREM Jet pump.

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