Purchasing a trash pump is easy, but determining which trash pump to purchase can be a daunting process. Especially there are several different types/sizes of trash pumps out there and it’s hard to know which is right for your needs.
We give you the facts so you can make the best buying decision on purchasing a new trash pump. As you know trash pumps are not cheap and repairing can be an expensive and time-consuming process, so it’s a good idea to soak in as much information as you can before making a final decision. We hope you find this guide helpful but if you’re impatient and need to know right now, here are our top picks of the best and top-rated trash, semi-trash pumps you can buy:
- Champion 66520 – 158 GPM (2″) Semi-Trash Water Pump — (Read our dedicated review)
- NorthStar Extended Run Semi-Trash Pump – 2in. — (Read our dedicated review)
- Generac ST20K Semi-Trash Water Pump, 5 HP, 2-inch — (Read our dedicated review)
- Tsurumi HS2.4S-62 Semi-Vortex Submersible Trash Pump with Agitator — (Read our dedicated review)
- Multiquip ST2040T Electric Submersible Trash Pump — (Read our dedicated review)
What Is A Trash Pump?
We usually use a regular centrifugal pump (such as a sprinkler pump) to pump water from pools, ponds or lakes and transport it to another area. Regular centrifugal pumps are very commonly used for water pumping because they are the most inexpensive solution. However, they are designed for supplying clear water only. If you want to use a regular centrifugal pump for pumping water containing trash or debris, you have to equip it with a strainer. A strainer acts as a safety net and stops unseen debris from entering the intake hose. But do you know that there is another type of pump exist specifically for moving that kind of water? That’s why we are here, to talk about trash pumps and semi-trash pumps.
So, what is a trash pump? A trash pump works in the same way as a centrifugal pump, but it has a thicker impeller vane and a larger volute discharge opening to pump large amounts of liquid that have solids. Solids in water are things such as sludge, mud, twigs, and leaves. Trash pumps are most commonly used at construction sites where after digging for the foundation water comes up the surface and cleaning pond sludge. And because they are able to pump a large amount of water, they can be used as a high-pressure water pump for cleaning purposes, draining the old water from swimming pools and are used indoors to clean any water that is collected inside the basement.
A semi-trash pump
A semi-trash pump is a type of trash pump with a smaller opening. It’s designed to pump a large amount of water that have small solids. Small solids here are everything that is hard or soft smaller than 0.75 inches. Semi-trash pumps are typically used to pump clear or slightly muddy and sandy water.
We recommend you use a semi-trash pump in any situation in which there is uncertainty that a regular pump will be able to handle the job. Water that appears a bit dirty or sandy should be moved using this type of trash pump. If there is even a hint of debris, err on the side of caution and go with a semi-trash pump. A semi-trash pump is also a better choice than a trash pump if you do not plan on having very large solids or a lot of solids go through your pump. In fact, semi-trash pumps are the most common type of trash pump on the market.
Submersible Trash Pump
Submersible Trash Pump, as the name suggests, is a type of trash pump which is submerged in the fluid to be pumped. The main advantage of this type of trash pump is that it prevents pump cavitation, a problem associated with a high elevation difference between pump and the fluid surface.
Unlike regular trash pumps or semi-trash pumps that pull fluids upward, submersible trash pumps push fluids out. Therefore, submersibles are more efficient. Most submersible trash pumps are integrated with an agitator which mixes and suspends solids and allows for pumping of sand and stringy material easier. They are the best solution for moving sand at the bottom of a pool or a pond. They also don’t need to be primed before using and can be submerged in water for months without causing damage.
Diaphragm trash pumps
Diaphragm trash pumps work entirely differently than other trash pumps. Instead of using centrifugal force, the pump has a diaphragm which is pushed up and down, creating a vacuum effect to pump water. A diaphragm trash pump is the one to choose when the water is so thick or dirty that the user cannot detect what may be lurking beneath the surface. It is capable of handling sticks, stones, mud, trash and other debris up to 2 in., or a bit larger than a golf ball. This type of trash pump is very expensive, a typical diaphragm trash pump can cost up to 4-5 times as much as a good semi-trash pump. For this reason, a diaphragm pump is typically used only when it is the sole machine that can handle the job. It operates at a slower rate than the others, so be prepared for the job to take a bit longer.
How to Choose the Best Trash Pump?
As you know trash pumps are not cheap. They usually cost around $300 – $600 for a 2-inch unit, there are models cost more than $1000. So it’s important to find the best one that will fit all your needs and your budget. There are a few things that you should keep in mind whenever you are looking to purchase a trash pump.
Type of Trash Pump
Choosing the right type of trash pump is very important. Because buying an incorrect pump can result in poor performance and damage to the pump’s components. Trash pumps should be selected based on the type of water being moved and the application in which they will be used. To accurately choose the best trash pump for the job, you must look below the surface and investigate what is in the water.
Most trash pumps are portable. A trash pump or semi-trash pump usually comes with a roll cage which provides convenient hand holds for carrying. Portable trash pumps are typically the most sought after as they are easy to take with you to different locations should you need one at a job site or just at home. Regardless of the situation or the job, you will find that a portable trash pump can typically handle the job.
While all trash pumps will move water containing trash or debris effectively from one location to another, they are not equal. You will find that there are features for trash pumps that also important to keep in mind, such as self-priming. The self-priming trash pump is designed to lift water from some level below the pump suction without having to fill the suction piping with liquid. The best trash pump to buy should have this feature. There are also trash pumps that come run dry capable. This means that they can operate without pumped fluid or external lubrication for an extended period of time. Some pumps offer adjustable speeds allow users to operate the pump at a speed that they want.
What size of Trash Pump do you need?
Trash pumps are available in 2″, 3″, 4″, 6″, 8″, 10″ and 12″ sizes with maximum capacity up to 6300 GPM. But if you are choosing a trash pump for home use, select from 2” – 3” models. 2” pump is by far the most common size of trash pump in use today.
A trash pump’s performance is also measured in flow rate and expressed in gallons per minute (GPM) or gallons per hour (GPH). The higher the flow the better the performance. The number of GPM (or GPH) of your trash pump all depends on how much water you need to pump and how quickly you need to pump it.
Best & Top-Rated Trash Pumps & Reviews
1. Champion 66520 – 158 GPM (2″) Semi-Trash Water Pump – Editor’s Choice
- 2″ semi-trash pump, able to pass solids up to 9/16″ diameter
- 196cc OHV Champion Engine with a 0.9 gal. fuel tank and 0.06 qt. oil capacity.
- 6.5 HP, 158 gallons per minute maximum delivery, 98 feet total head, 26 feet suction head.
- Self-priming pump
- Includes everything you need to start pumping – intake and discharge hoses, clamps, and screens (just add oil and gas)
- Heavy-duty steel frame protects the pump and motor on all sides
- Aluminum Pump Housing w/ Cast Iron Volute & Impeller
- 2-year limited warranty with FREE lifetime technical support
Champion Power Equipment is a market leader in power generation equipment. Champion has years of experience providing dependable and durable power products designed and engineered in the US for the North American and world markets. And the Champion 66520 2” Semi-Trash Water Pump is the best trash pump available. It’s small but very powerful pump, you will be impressed with how much water it can move.
This lightweight, portable semi-trash pump is a gas-powered pump. It comes ready for operation with a complete host kit that includes a 12 ft. intake hose, 20 ft. discharge hose, cam action quick coupler, intake strainer, and hose clamps, fittings and adapters. Everything you need to start pumping is already included. This semi-trash pump is designed to produce the highest level of performance in the smallest package possible. It pumps water quickly with 158 gallons per minute maximum delivery volume. Capable of passing solid waste up to 9/16 in. in diameter, it is a perfect solution for swimming pools, streams or ponds, water transfer, flood recovery and more.
Champion 66520 2” Semi-Trash Water Pump | Video by Champion Power Equipment
This semi-trash pump is equipped with a 196cc OHV Champion Engine 6.5 HP. This small but mighty engine is widely used in pressure washers, air compressors, cement mixers, snow blowers, log splitters, water transfer pumps and power generators. It comes with a 0.9-gallon fuel tank and a 0.6-quart oil capacity. When a fuel tank is full, it allows running the pump at least 3 hours continuously. This engine is also designed for safety with the fuel shut-off valve and automatic low oil shut-off sensor.
This Champion 66520 is one of the cheapest trash pumps we’ve ever seen. So it’s the best choice for anyone who is looking for an economical and reliable solution for pumping water.
2. NorthStar 109161 Extended Run Semi-Trash Pump, 2in.
- Provides more than 10 hours of continuous pumping without the need to refuel
- 2″ inlet size, able to pass solids up to 5/8″ diameter
- 200cc Honda GX200 Engine, 5.5 HP, 164 gallons per minute maximum delivery
- Long-life silicon carbide mechanical seal resists corrosion, wear and heat better than a standard seal
- Fully welded industrial 1 1/4in. steel roll cage with durable black wrinkle TGIC Polyester electrostatic finish holds up to job site abuse
- Silicon carbide seals are 2 times harder, 15% tougher, and 50% stronger than common aluminum oxide seals
- Long-lasting cast iron impeller and volute reduce vibration for semi-trash applications
- Utilizes a check valve to hold a prime while the pump is not running
- 2-year limited warranty
If you’re looking for a reliable and powerful pump that is able to run all day without refueling, the NorthStar 109161 Extended Run Semi-Trash Pump is a perfect choice. This pump provides more than 10 hours of continuous pumping without the need to refuel, up to 4 times the runtime of typical pumps. The longer running time means one less thing to worry about.
NorthStar 109161 Extended Run Semi-Trash Pump | Video by NorthStar
One of the best features of the NorthStar 109161 is a powerful, dependable Honda GX200 engine. Honda GX200 engine is legendary for superior reliability and performance. It will give you the industry-leading fuel efficiency, quiet operation and most importantly, power that you need to get the job done. Combined with Honda Oil Alert Warning System that alerts you or shuts engine down if oil reaches an unsafe level, an improved 4-vane impeller/volute design that provides enhanced durability against wear & tear and isolation mounted engine & pump rubber feet to minimize vibration for quieter operation, this is one of the better pumps you will ever find and at a very competitive price.
This semi-trash pump can move up to 10,000 gallons of water per hour and is able to pass solids up to 5/8″ diameter. It comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
3. Generac ST20K Semi-Trash Water Pump, 5 HP, 2-inch
- 2-inch inlet size, pumps up to 158 gallons per minute, able to pass solids up to 1/4″ diameter
- 26feet suction lift, 108 feet head lift.
- Large 3-gallon steel fuel tank with incorporated fuel gauge provides up to 5 hours runtime
- Generac 208cc OHV engine with low-oil shutdown
- Hose kit includes 25ft. discharge hose, 12ft. reinforced suction hose, strainer, connections and engine oil
- Self-priming, easy prime custom funnel design for quick and easy priming
- Folding handle for easy transportation
- Durable silicon carbide mechanical seal provides protection from abrasive materials
- Durable 1-in frame to withstand the harsh environment
- 1-year limited warranty
You can never say that you have never heard of Generac! Just like their portable generators, home standby generators, wood splitters, trimmer mowers, and other power equipment that they produce, this semi-trash pump is made with the same quality and reliability in mind.
The Generac ST20K Semi-Trash Water Pump is powered by a 208cc Generac engine which is one of the most efficient engines for pumping on the market. This engine features the Low Oil Protection which protects the engine from damage due to improper lubrication. It senses oil pressure and will shut down the engine if the oil level becomes dangerously low, or if the oil overheats and loses viscosity. This system is far superior to other systems that only sense oil level.
This semi-trash pump is specifically designed to handle muddy or sandy water. It comes with a 12’ suction hose and a strainer to keep debris out of the pump and a 25’ discharge hose. It’s able to pump water up to 26 feet above the source and delivers up to 158 gallons per minute. This pump is equipped with a larger fuel tank than our top pick the Champion 66520. A 3-gallon fuel tank with incorporated fuel gauge provides up to 5 hours run time. Overall, for these and many other reasons, there is no doubt that the Generac ST20K is one of the best trash pumps available.
4. Tsurumi HS2.4S-62 Semi-Vortex Submersible Trash Pump with Agitator, 2″, 1/2 HP
- 2-inch inlet size, pumps up to 53 gallons per minute, able to pass solids up to 1/4″ diameter
- 110/220 volts
- Performance range capacity head: 5ft.-34ft.
- Semi-vortex urethane rubber impeller with agitator suspends solids and allows for pumping of sand and stringy material.
- Ductile cast iron housing for durability and corrosion resistance
- Tsurumi’s patented oil lifter provides lubrication of the seal faces down to 1/3 of normal oil level and extends seal life by ten times
- Urethane rubber-coated impeller is more abrasion resistant than cast iron impellers and has a life expectancy three times longer than cast iron impellers
- Built-in thermal protection prevents motor failure due to overloading, accidental run-dry and single phasing in three-phase units.
- 2-year limited warranty
This Tsurumi Submersible Trash Water Pump is the most popular and top-rated submersible trash pump on the market. One of the best features for this submersible trash pump is the strongest seal in the industry. This pump also has an oil lifter to keep the top face of the seal lubricated. This feature is exclusive to Tsurumi and provides a better pump life.
This submersible trash pump has a ½ HP motor, 2” discharge, handles ¼” solids, and will flow up to 53 gallons per minute. The 45-degree discharge is perfect to minimize kinks in discharge hoses. However, many users don’t like this 45-degree output because it caused a little inconvenience for dropping the pump down a narrow hole.
Another advantage of this pump is that it comes with a rubber Urethane impeller. The urethane impeller is incredibly tough and its recessed vortex design allows stringy material and organic sludge to pass right through it. And do you know that it can last 3 times the life of old cast iron impellers?
One of the most important features to consider when selecting an electric submersible pump is the safety features. This Tsurumi’s trash pump has a built-in thermal protection which prevents motor failure due to overloading, accidental run-dry and single phasing in three-phase units. The cables that carry power to the internal motor of this pump are also properly sealed in order to prevent the intrusion of water.There are also wicked electrical cords to prevent any seepage of water into the motor.
If you’re looking for a submersible trash pump to use at home, this model is the best option to buy.
5. Multiquip ST2040T Electric Submersible Trash Pump with Single Phase Motor
- 2-inch inlet size, pumps up to 79 gallons per minute, able to pass solids up to 1″ diameter
- 115 volts only, 6.5A
- Heavy-Duty Cast Iron Housing
- Internal Thermal Overload Protection
- Cast Iron Impeller w/ Neoprene Rubber Overlay
- 1-year warranty
If you plan on having very large solids and a lot of water go through your submersible trash pump, then Multiquip ST2040T Electric Submersible Trash Pump is the model that you should consider. This lightweight submersible trash pump is ideal for moving water approximately 79 gallons per minute with debris up to 1”. It is powerful enough to get the job done and compact to use in almost any setting, whether it’s at home, in the office or at a construction site.
Unlike the Tsurumi Submersible Trash pump, the Multiquip is compact so it will work well in a narrow space such as a small diameter sump pipe. Combined with a carrying handle, internal thermal overload protection, dual shaft seals, sealed ball bearings impeller, easy impeller clean-out, and molded 25 feet power cable with strain relief, this is a very good trash pump to buy. However, all of these features and a higher capacity mean a higher price tag for this pump.