Battery Vs Water Powered Backup Sump Pumps – Which One Is Best?

If you are indecisive about whether to purchase a water powered backup sump pump or a battery-powered one, this guide will help you to identify the characteristics of both types. It is important to have a backup system so that you don’t need to worry about your basement flooding during a power failure. Let’s compare the two main types of backup sump pumps.

water powered backup sump pump

Battery Backup Sump Pumps

Battery-powered backup sump pumps were introduced to the market long before the water powered pumps. The concept of battery backup is easy to understand. They run on battery power once the electricity goes off. It has its own float, which will rise as the water level increases in the sump. It will then activate the pump as it exceeds a specific preset level. Here are some of the common features found in most battery backup sump pumps.

  • Has an advanced 5-stage charging system
  • Charging depends on the time
  • Reverse battery and short circuit protection
  • Audible alarm in-use alarm and light
  • Works with marine-type deep-cycle batteries (not included with system) type M27 recommended.
  • Easy wiring with slip-on connectors and terminal block
  • Fully assembled float switch
  • A warranty of 3 years

Water Powered Backup Sump Pumps

It is necessary to have a municipal water line with the required pressure and a steady flow to power a water backup sump pump. The pumping mechanism of this type of sump pump is not straightforward. But it is very simple, where the water runs through a pipe at high speed to generate suction which will remove the water. These are very useful during power outages and even last longer as the pumping will continue as long as there is a proper water supply. The most common specifications of a water powered sump pump is as follows.

  • Adjustable stainless hose clamp for easy mounting
  • Removes 2 gallons of water for each 1 gallon used based on a 5′ lift
  • Has a fully assembled and compact design
  • Consists of a built-in screen with a removable foot valve
  • Constructed of durable PVC
  • A warranty of 3 years

Key Factors That Determine the Difference

To identify the better option between these two, it is necessary to compare both pumps. You can find out which pump does a better job based on the following criteria.


This refers to the compatibility of the backup sump pump with the existing system. Almost every home can use battery-powered sump pumps without any restriction. But water, powered pumps need a steady water supply connection. Therefore, people in rural areas without a municipal water supply will not be able to use water-powered pumps.

Pumping Power

Backup pumps are usually 1/4 HP or 1/3 HP. The pumping rate depends on how powerful the pump is. Most brand new fully-charged batteries can pump between 800 and 2,000 GPH. 

Some battery-powered sump pumps are quite powerful, and they can pump about 300 gallons per hour at a lift of 10 feet. The batteries used in a backup pump will usually last between 4 – 7 hours of continuous running. But the pumping rate of these pumps depreciates significantly over time. This is similar to the fact that the battery’s ability to hold a charge reduces over time. After a few years, the battery backup pump’s rate will reduce. The battery will drop its charge quickly, reducing the useful lifespan of the pump.

Most powerful water powered pumps can pump over 2,000 gallons per hour at a 10 feet lift with a water supply pressure of 90 PSI. These pumps will usually use a ¾” or 1″ water supply depending on the water pressure available at home. The ability of the pump increases when the water pressure increases. It is important to check the water pressure in your region to make sure that it is compatible with the sump pump. Regardless of the time elapsed, the power of these pumps remains the same. They have fewer mechanical parts and hence less depreciation.


Installation of battery-powered sump pumps is fairly easy since they use the same discharge pipe as the primary pump. But there is more work in the installation of water powered pumps when compared to the other type. This pump should be connected to the home water supply system and therefore requires more plumbing. You might even need the help of a plumber as it is important to ensure that the sump pump is installed correctly. They usually come with an installation kit and a guide to help you in the process.

Run Time

There is a limit to the run time of battery-powered pumps as they can run only until the battery dies eventually. Then the battery needs to recharge again before it can pump water. There are certain ways to optimize the function of this type of pump, such as by using an extra battery. You can find extra batteries allowed by the optional Dual Battery Case for Hydropump battery backup pumps. However, they will have to limit their operating time ultimately. This is a significant drawback during power outages that last many hours or even days.

Water-powered backup sump pumps have unlimited run time as long as they are connected to a suitable water supply. These pumps are driven by the municipal water pressure under a constant flow. So, you can keep your basement safe from flooding even if you don’t have power for a few days. 

Battery Life

The batteries used in sump pumps must be replaced every 3 – 5 years. You should monitor the health of the battery so that you know when to replace it. This will enhance the reliability of your backup sump pump system. Giving the attention that your pump needs could be an easy task for some homeowners, while some will find it exhausting. 

There is no battery to monitor when it comes to water powered sump pumps. So, you have to worry less about potential battery failures during emergencies. You don’t need to charge the batteries, replace them, or maintain them. 


Battery backup sump pumps are usually available in most local stores. The cost of a backup pump kit will be around $200 to $900, depending on the pumping power. You need to buy the battery separately in addition to the backup pump kit. They utilize one battery, similar to a car battery, and the cost of this battery is from $150 to $250. This may vary depending on the quality of the battery. Since you need to replace the battery every 2 or 3 years, it will also add up to the total cost of the pump during its lifespan.

The cost of a water powered sump pump will also vary with the model and quality. High-end pumps with better performance will be more costly than a low-end design. But since you have to install it to the water line, there will be more labor costs added to this. So, if you are looking for an affordable and reliable backup solution, water powered pumps are more desirable.


Even if you replace the batteries and perform the necessary maintenance, battery powered sump pumps are more likely to fail after a few years of use. But you can use water powered backup sump pumps for over 20+ years without having to replace any components. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is Better Battery or Water Backup Sump Pump?

Water powered sump pumps offer a lot of advantages over battery powered ones. They can run continuously for an unlimited amount of time since they will never run out of battery. They even wear out less due to having minimal mechanical parts. 

Can You Add Battery Backup to Existing Sump Pump?

You can add a battery backup into an existing sump pump. They are easy to install, and you just need to follow the instructions provided in the manual. If you are not experienced in the field, you can always get it done by a professional technician.

What is the Alternative to a Sump Pump?

There are many alternative water discharge methods that you can try out. You can install a French drain both indoors and outdoors to prevent water from flooding your basement. A dry well is another practical solution to prevent your land from getting soggy due to surface water. Also, you can install a catch basin as a mechanism to cope with excess water during adverse weather.

Do I Really Need a Sump Pump?

If your basement has flooded before, it indicates that you need a sump pump. Water accumulating near the basement of your house is another sign that you should consider buying a sump pump. If you already have a sump pump installed and the basement keeps flooding, then you need to replace it with a new sump pump with better performance. Find out how to remove crawl space water to be more aware of keeping your house safe from water damage.

Is It Normal to Have Water Under Basement Floor?

Water should not seep under a basement floor under normal conditions. The common reasons for this are backed-up or collapsed drain systems, leaking pipes, or appliances. This can also happen due to a cracked foundation, clogged gutters, and poor drainage. Check the area to find the reason behind the basement water and turn off the respective pipeline. Then take the necessary steps to repair it and prevent more water from seeping into the basement.


Depending on your personal preference and requirement, you can pick one of the two options. The choice will be easy as you are aware of the pros and cons of both types. Go through the brands and models of your preferred type of backup pump before you purchase. The user reviews and feedback will help you to determine the best.