If you’ve ever thought about ditching the campgrounds, you need to think about your RV water pump. It isn’t something you usually need to worry about when you’ve got a city water connection, but it is an absolute necessity to get the water out of your RV’s freshwater tank. You need to select the right pump if you’re building a new rig or replacing a pump on its last legs. Keep reading to find out how to pick the best RV water pump. We’ll also share a few of our favorites!
What Is an RV Water Pump?
Your RV water pump has an essential behind-the-scenes job. When you’re not hooked up to city water, your water pump is critical. It transports pressurized water from your fresh water tank to all the water lines in your RV. This is how you get water at all your faucets, showerhead, and even your toilet.
Even if you don’t frequently camp off-grid, having a good RV water pump can be a lifesaver. If you take long hauls across the country, having running water makes the trip so much more enjoyable. After all, one of the biggest benefits to an RV is not having to worry about disgusting gas station bathrooms!
In some RVs, the water pump also has the capability to pump water into the water tank from an external source. This is a great feature if you want to pump water into your RV from a separate tank. Many RVs also have a valve that can be switched to use the water pump to draw antifreeze into the RV’s water lines. This is used when winterizing the RV so that the lines will not freeze and break.
Lastly, RV water pumps have the ability to run in conjunction with low water pressure. If you have some water in your tank and low city water pressure, you can run the water pump at the same time to boost the water pressure.
How Do They Work?
RV water pumps work by running off of 12-volt power. This means you can use your pump even without a generator running. This is because the RV’s batteries power the 12-volt system. When you open the faucet, your water pump detects the pressure drop. When this happens, the electric motor will kick on.
Most 12V RV water pumps are what’s called a diaphragm-style pump. These pumps use a flexible diaphragm that moves in and out to squeeze water into the pipe. A set of valves allows the water to flow in only one direction. This pressurized water moves through your lines and out the open faucet.
What To Look For When Buying an RV Water Pump
To get the best 12V RV water pump, there are a few things to look for.
Water Pump Flow Rate (Gallons Per Minute)
The first factor is gallons per minute. This tells you the flow rate of the water. A higher flow rate means a more consistent stream of water and it enables more faucets to be on at one time. Some pumps can deliver up to 5.5 gallons per minute.
While a higher flow can deliver water to more faucets, it also requires more power and will use more water. It’s important to research the power requirements of the pump you are thinking of installing to make sure your current wire sizing is compatible. A lower flow rate pump may also help you save water.
Water Pressure (PSI)
Another consideration is PSI (pounds per square inch). This refers to the water pressure. When purchasing an RV water pump, you want a PSI between 40 and 70 for almost all rigs. If you go higher than 70 PSI, you could cause water leaks.
This is also why you should have a water pressure regulator when hooking up to city water. Anything lower than 40 PSI won’t have sufficient pressure for a steady flow of water. So shoot for the sweet spot for the best pump.
You also need to think about the size of the pump. Not all water pumps will fit in your existing space. While you may be able to make modifications, it is best to get the right size to start with.
Noise is a big consideration for 12V water pumps in RVs as well. Some water pumps can be very noisy and vibrate a lot, which can be very unpleasant to listen to in a small space. Water pumps with good vibration damping and more diaphragm chambers tend to be quieter.
We also recommend you take some time to read reviews online. This will give you a feel for how each pump works for real customers. The better the ratings, the happier you’ll be. Although keep in mind, the best performers may also cost a bit more.
→ Wondering why your RV water pump keeps running? Try these troubleshooting tricks.
One last feature that is good to look for is thermal protection. This means that if the pump gets too hot, it will shut down. This is important to protect the motor and controller as well as to minimize fire risk.
5 Best RV Water Pumps
Below are our top 5 picks for 12V RV Water Pumps:
1. Shurflo 2088
- Positive Displacement 3 Chamber Diaphragm Pump
- Check Valve: (1-Way Operation) Prevents Reverse Flow
- CAM: 3.5 Degree
The Shurflo 2088 is a solid choice. This pump has been made for many years, and we’ve seen some of these models that are 20 years old still working well. For its price, this pump delivers reliable performance overall, especially for one faucet at a time operation.
It has a PSI of 45 and delivers 3.5 gallons per minute. The Shurflo 2088 also includes a check valve to prevent reverse flow. With 4.6 out of 5 stars, you can’t go wrong with this pump.
2. Remco Aquajet RV Water Pump
- Aquajet Variable Speed RV Water Pump - The Aquajet RV pump...
- Aquajet's soft start feature eliminates annoying rapid cycling,...
- Greater flow - The Aquajet automatically overcomes pressure drops...
The Remco Aquajet 12V RV water pump comes with the highest price tag on our list, but for good reason! It is a variable-speed pump. This means as you open the faucet more or less, it changes the flow speed to deliver the amount of water expected. This helps provide the smoothest flow and quietest operation.
This pump comes in at 3.5 gallons per minute. It also comes with a higher PSI than the other pumps on our list. And it has a positive shut-off at 75-85 PSI. You must make sure your RV plumbing system is up for the task before purchasing. The Remco Aquajet would be best for a newer rig that is designed with higher pressure in mind.
Amazon has deemed the Remco pump worthy of 4.2 out of 5 stars.
3. ProGear 3200
- USA Adventure Gear is a small business based in Loveland,...
- Benefits: RV Replacement Water Pump. Works with most RV brands....
- Automatic shut off pressure switch. Approved for use with potable...
The ProGear 3200 water pump is self-priming, which makes it more convenient to use. It works with most RV brands and can run dry without ruining the pump. This is an excellent feature to have as a “just in case” option. You never know if your cat will bump the faucet while you’re out and about after all.
This is a solid choice with a PSI of 55 and 3.3 gallons per minute. It also includes a 2-year warranty and has 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
4. Lippert Components RV Water Pump
- PREMIUM PRESSURE - Flow Max averages 50 PSI with an average of...
- DURABILITY - Designed with a heavy-duty, corrosion-resistant...
- COMPATIBILITY - Choose from a 12V or 115V configuration...
The Lippert water pump is self-priming, runs quietly, and draws up to 9.5 amps. It has an average PSI of 50 and delivers 3 gallons per minute. This pump, like the ProGear, can also run dry (although, we still don’t recommend it).
It has a universal fit type, so you should be able to use it on any rig. Finally, it comes with rave reviews and 4.6 out of 5 stars. You can’t go wrong when choosing the Lippert Components pump.
5. Seaflo 55 Series RV Water Pump
- ALL NEW Heavy Duty Pressure Switch
- 12 Self Priming On Demand Water Pressure Pump
- 5.5 GPM and 60 PSI
Last but not least, is the Seaflo 55-series 12V RV water pump. This pump packs a punch. It delivers an impressive 5.5 gallons per minute. The PSI is up to 60, which is as high as you would want it to be in most RVs – anything more and you might damage your lines.
But the Seaflo pump is right in the sweet spot, and you will love the powerful water flow! It is self-priming, ignition and thermally protected. Amazon users give it 4.4 out of 5 stars. Seaflo also backs it with a 4-year warranty, so you can buy with confidence.
Buying an RV water pump doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Any of the pumps on this list would be a great addition to your rig. You’ll love the added freedom of being able to boondock with reliable water flow.
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Friday 23rd of September 2022
"you want a PSI between 40 and 70 for almost all rigs. If you go higher than 70 PSI, you could cause water leaks." As a RV tech I don't recommend any pressure over 60psi in any RV unless you want an indoor sprinkler system.
Friday 21st of January 2022
Thanks so much for sharing! I have no complaint about this article. I love it!
Thursday 30th of December 2021
I bought a Bayite pump to replace a 'd' battery pack/shower pump for an instant hot water camping shower. The feet are all rubber which was good for me as the mounting holes on my sprayer were not the exact same footprint. This allows for some wiggle room if it's not the exact dimensions.
Monday 27th of December 2021
I used other pumps in my off-grid cabin that were all broken after no time and were very loud. The Flojet 03526-144A water pump is literally one of the best finds I have ever come upon. It is quiet, but most importantly, it is very reliable. I have had it for 3 years and could not be happier. What I like about it is that it makes use of an automatic triplex diaphragm, which allows it to operate in a smooth manner without the need for an accumulator tank. It is because it already comes with a pulsation eliminator.
Sunday 2nd of January 2022
Furthermore, it can operate safely even if it is in its dry state. Hooking it up is easy, too. One more advantage is the fact that it is constructed out of corrosion-resistant materials. With that in mind, there is a great chance for it to last longer even with the least maintenance.
Friday 3rd of September 2021
You talk about having enough gpm but then recommend 3.5 gpm pumps. My 21' 1986 Fleetwood 5th wheel has a 10 gpm pump.
Mortons on the Move
Saturday 4th of September 2021
Wow thats alot of flow. Its really going to depend on the original wiring how much the system can handle. An upgrade may require upgraded wiring in some RV's.