Pedestal vs. Submersible Sump Pump: Six Differences Homeowners Need to Know About

Kenneth Wilson

If you’re looking into buying a new sump pump, you’re probably aware that there are two types that you can install at your home – pedestal or submersible sump pumps.

Some homes are suited to pedestal pumps, while others require submersibles. But how do you know which is the best option for your home? And what are the differences between the two?

This guide examines the main differences between pedestal and submersible sump pumps to help you decide which is the best pump for your home.

Why do I need a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is a key component of your home’s flood defense, as it successfully diverts water away from your basement. (Related: How To Waterproof Basement Walls From The Inside) If your pump is old or damaged, it’s a good idea to replace it, particularly if a rainy season is around the corner.

As you might be aware from your research, there are two main types of sump pumps that you can install in your pit: pedestal or submersible pumps.

Although they perform the same function, they’re notably different. And to help you decide which is best for your home, we introduce six differences that you need to be aware of in the section that follows. But first, here’s a brief description of each:

What is a Submersible Sump Pump?

As the name suggests, submersible sump pump is designed to be submerged underwater, and its motor operates fully beneath the surface.

It sits at the base of your sump pit and is generally highly stable and has a long life if you regularly maintain it.

What is a Pedestal Sump Pump?

A pedestal sump pump sits in the sump pit, but its motor is raised and can’t get wet. It’s ideal for narrow sump pits that can’t fit a submersible pump and is a good alternative for many homeowners.

Following these brief descriptions, we dive into six of the biggest differences between the two types of sump pumps below:

Six Differences Between Pedestal & Submersible Sump Pumps

1. Price

According to Home Advisor, it costs between $639 - $1,977 to install a sump pump, with the national average being $1,527. The pump itself only accounts for a small portion of the costs, and each is priced as follows:

  • Pedestal: $60 - $170
  • Submersible: $100 - $400

It’s important to realize that installing a submersible sump pump will incur more labor and material costs, as the process of installing it is a much more significant undertaking than that of a pedestal.

So, from a financial perspective, a pedestal sump pump is cheaper than a submersible.

2. Noise

Although a sump pump isn’t the loudest thing in the world, it can get annoying after a while, particularly if you regularly use your basement. And because a submersible sump pump is underground, it is much quieter than a pedestal pump.

So, if the potential noise of a sump pump is likely to bother you for whatever reason, it’s best to opt for a submersible pump.

3. Performace

Submersible sump pumps operate with more Horsepower (HP) than pedestal pumps, which means they can pump the water out more quickly. You can buy submersible pumps between ¼ - 1 HP, whereas pedestal pumps are limited to 3/10 – ½ HP.

Therefore, if you live in an area that is prone to heavy seasonal rainfall, you’d be better served with a submersible pump that’s capable of pumping large volumes of water away from your basement quickly.

4. Ease of Maintenance

Maintaining your sump pump is so important if you want it to last for several years. You need to regularly inspect and clean it and remove any debris that has stuck to the pump while it has been lying in the pit.

Due to the fact that a pedestal pump sits predominantly out of the water, it’s easier to clean and maintain than a submersible, which you need to carefully remove from its position at the bottom of the pit to clean successfully.

If you’re not sold on the idea of having to remove your submersible pump from its pit for maintenance, you might be better suited to a pedestal pump.

5. Longevity

In almost all instances, a pedestal sump pump will last longer than a submersible. The reason for this is that it doesn’t work as hard, and it’s not submerged underwater! The result is less wear and tear, which contributes to its longevity and durability.

Pedestal pumps are ideally suited to homes that don’t experience a great deal of rainfall and can be drawn upon when necessary. Submersibles, on the other hand, are suited to situations where they’re in almost constant use at times and have to work extra hard to divert water away from your home.

Naturally, this means they don’t last as long. While a pedestal pump should be good for 5-7 years, you may need to replace a submersible after 2-3 years, depending on its use.

6. Installation & Storage

The final difference to consider is installation and storage. A pedestal pump needs to sit out (typically in the basement) and won’t be hidden from view. This means it’s easy to install and costs much less, as we’ve already mentioned.

A submersible sump pump needs to be installed underground and underwater, which essentially means more labor and time is involved in the installation process. But from a storage perspective, you won’t know it’s there as it will be hidden from view.

The Verdict – Is a Pedestal or Submersible Sump Pump Better?

It’s hard to categorically say which is the better type of pump, as they both have their pros and cons. For instance, if you’re looking for a sump pump that’s cheap, easy to install, and easy to maintain, you should opt for a pedestal.

However, if you want a high-performing sump pump that works overtime to divert water away from your basement, you should go for a submersible.

The bottom line is that you need to consider which is best suited to your home and install the sump pump that will successfully prevent your basement from flooding.

Kenneth Wilson
October 27, 2021
Contractor Tips, Interior

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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