Sump Pit vs Sump Pump What Are the Differences of Them

Sump Pit vs Sump Pump: What Are the Differences of Them?

The sump pit and the sump pump are connected in their working method and functions. Both works together to keep the basement protected. But these machines are different in many ways.

The comparison of sump pit vs sump pump comes up because of their almost similar features. But the sump pit is temporary storage for water that flows into it through pipes and channels.

On the other hand, the sump pump is an electric device that moves this water out of the pit. This is the basic difference between these two. But there’s more than meets the eye.

Let’s begin.

Comparison Table of Sump Pit And Sump Pump

ParametersSump PitSump Pump
Working PurposePrevent overflow of waterSqueezing out water
FunctionsDon’t have electric motorsPowered by electric motors
SizeDiameter- 2 to 4 feetDiameter- 2 to 6 feet

Sump Pit vs Sump Pump: In-Depth Differences

The first difference between a sump pit and a sump pump is that they have different purposes. Though they both move water out of basements, their functions, design features, and size are completely different. Hence, we’ll share all these details.


There are two types of sump pits: the standard sump pit and the safety sump pit. The standard sump pit is a large, open space under a basement.

You can clean this surface manually without a pumping machine. The safety sump pit is smaller and has a cover that closes off the space. It requires a pump.

Contrarily, there are many different types of sump pumps on the market today and they all do different things.

Some are designed specifically for basements, while others work great for the exterior of your home as well. But the submersible pumps and the pedestal sump pumps are the most common types of them.

Working Purpose

The sump pit is an ample space, placed under the basement of a house. It’s usually made of concrete or masonry and has a large diameter to accommodate all the water that enters it during rainy seasons.

On the other hand, a sump pump is a machine that discharges the water stored in that pit. Most of the time, this device is situated on the surface of the basement above the pit. The pipe of this device collects the water inside the pit and throws it away.


Sump pumps are designed to remove trapped water from the bottom of your basement or crawlspace. It is usually powered by electric motors, which means the pumps are very convenient for use in homes with wiring already in place.

Sump pits aren’t as effective at removing water from the ground. That’s because they don’t have electric motors and instead rely on hand-cranked pumps and a plunger to move soil around and suck up water.


The area of a regular pit is about six to eight feet wide and ten to twelve feet long. It may vary from house to house. There’s an alarming switch in most of the modern pits nowadays. When the water touches the ball inside the pit, it sends a signal to the alarm and notifies you to clean it up.

At the same time, when the sump pump receives the signal, it can automatically clean up the sump pit beneath the basement. Again, you can control the machine manually by turning the switch on anytime.

Usually, it collects the water with the help of a running motor and sends the water out of your house.


A sump pit is big enough to accommodate several gallons of water and has a diameter of 2 to 4 feet. The diameter can vary from pit to pit. But if you clear the pit regularly, it’ll never get stuck and reduce the space. 

On the contrary, a sump pump can discharge up to 100 gallons per hour and has a diameter ranging from 2 to 6 feet. The deeper you use the pump, the more time it takes to discharge the water.

The size and range of the sump pump pipe of this machine will depend on the brand you are using.


Another difference between these two objects is their shape. A sump pump has a rectangular shape whereas an elliptical shape for the sump pit.

This means you can install the pump anywhere in the basement above the pit without any problem! The shape of the sump pit may vary depending on the size of the house.


Does a sump pit need a pump?

Yes, it does. You can use an electric or mechanical pump to squeeze out the water from your pit. A mechanical pump will work fine for most people. But if you have an electric one, it’d be better to stick with it since it’s more reliable.

What is the importance of a sump pump and sump pit?

When it rains heavily, or you have excess water in your basement, this can cause problems for your basement and your home. That is because of potential damage caused by mold growth due to excess moisture. A sump pump works by pumping that water from within your home’s sub-basement to help keep it dry during these situations. On the other hand, a sump pit usually collects excess water squeezed out by the pump and protects your home by preventing the leaking of water.

Why is there always water in the sump pit?

The first reason is that there can be a leak in your plumbing system. If you don’t fix this leak, your sump pit will continue to fill up with water until you fix it. Another reason is rainwater coming down from the roof or gutters of your house. This rainwater gets into your drainage system through various cracks and gaps, eventually ending up in your sump pit.

Is there any alternative for the sump pump and sump pit?

There are some modern technologies and ways that can replace both the sump pump and the sump pit. The most common alternative systems for these two are a French draining policy and the ground grading system. They’re getting popular day by day because of their affordable installment and easy maintenance.

Final Thoughts

The confusion about the sump pit vs sump pump is a common issue. Their working purpose creates this confusion among the users. But the truth is, both are completely different in their features, shapes, types, and sizes. They work in different methods also.

So you use a sump pit to collect the extra water to protect the home and a sump pump to squeeze out the water in order to keep the sub-basement dry.

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