Everyone needs a good, consistent water supply for drinking and hygiene. Towns and cities rely on urban water supplies, but rural communities often rely solely on water supplies from their own wells. This means that you need a pump to help you move water from your well into your home and/or farm. This short article shows the different types of water well pumps commonly used for residential and rural applications.

Submersible Pumps

A submersible well pump is completely submerged in a well and uses a motor to draw water from the well up through the pump and into an above-ground reservoir.

Submersible well pumps can operate at a variety of depths; if you live in a dry area, wells can reach hundreds of feet in depth, so a submersible pump will work well for you.

Because they are located underwater, the motors of submersible well pumps always stay cool, meaning they last significantly longer than other pumps whose motors can burn out quickly. Submersible pumps can last up to 25 years, whereas other pump types may only last five or six. However, although submersible well pumps are well-sealed around the motor, over time, the seal can corrode and allow water to get into spaces where it isn’t supposed to be, getting the interior of the pump damp. A wet motor is useless until repaired.

Submersible well pumps are the most expensive type of well pumps available, but with a long lifespan and relatively little maintenance, the high price tag can be worth it.


  • Energy efficient
  • Excellent for deep wells
  • Durable


  • Susceptible to corrosion over long periods
  • Expensive

Jet Pumps

There are two types of jet pumps:

  • Shallow well jet pumps work similarly to submersible well pumps, but only work for wells at a depth of 25 feet or less.
  • Deep well pumps are more powerful and can function in wells as deep as 100 feet, but become less efficient as the well gets deeper because the pump motor needs to work harder.

Both types of jet pump can be offset from the well site to give you easy access to the pump when needed. This comes in handy when repairs are necessary, which is beneficial since jet well pumps are very susceptible to damage from sand and debris.

Not only can they supply your home’s plumbing system with well water, but a jet well pump can also be used for things like irrigation and gardening.


  • Inexpensive
  • Can be offset from well site in a pump house
  • Can be used for irrigation


  • Efficiency lowers with increased depth
  • Susceptible to damage from sand & debris

Centrifugal Pumps

Centrifugal pumps are simple well pumps that use the kinetic energy of a motor to transport water from one end of the pump to the other.

Unlike submersible well pumps, a centrifugal well pump does not have drive seals which eliminates the risk of corrosion and costly repairs.

Centrifugal pumps are much smaller than other types of well pumps, which means they are easy to access and maintain. They’re much less expensive than other types, but their small size limits them in the amount of power they have to suck up water. They work best in shallow wells no deeper than 25 feet.


  • Low-maintenance
  • Inexpensive


  • Only work in shallow wells

Traditional Hand Pump

A hand pump uses a hand-cranked lever that draws water out of the well into a holding tank to be sent to your home. Manual pumps are not as common as other well pump types these days, but they come in handy for off-the-grid installations and backup use.

Hand pumps are the least expensive of all well pump types, but using them can be physically tiring.


  • Inexpensive
  • Function regardless of weather or utility availability


  • Inconvenient

Which Well Pump is Best for Me?

When figuring out which type of pump is best for you, you first need to consider the depth of your well. If your well is more than 25 feet deep, you can ignore centrifugal and shallow well jet pumps. If it’s less than 25 feet deep, you lots of options.

You should also calculate how much water you’ll need at any given time. Pumps are typically rated in gallons per minute (GPM). On average, a four bedroom home needs 8-12 GPM. You can figure out this number roughly by adding one GPM for every fixture requiring water.

Talk to a professional like Cascadian Drilling to help you determine what’s best for you.

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