Written by Terry Smith

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Best submersible pumps for dirty water, septic tanks, hot tub, ponds, and flooded gardens

This article was last updated on April 23rd, 2022 at 6:28 am

Water pumps have been around in some form or another since the ancient Egyptians invented the ‘Shadoof’ in 2000BC. There have been a lot of innovations and reworking of water pumps since then, but still to this day there are people in far off parts of the world using the more primitive designs that our ancestors came up with – we now have come along so far that the best submersible water pumps can just be dropped into dirty water, or a pool, will self prime themselves, draw water from 5 metres deep or more and be able to remove right down to the smallest amount of water. No more water will be left than a mop can handle after – this is how I empty my pool. if you don’t understand what self prime means then you really must read the buyers guide – you’ll learn a lot in a couple of minutes and save a huge amount of time.

As of now, especially here in the UK, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to water pumps. In fact one of the hardest things to do, is decide on what type we will go for. 
You have to work out if you want a pump that sits under the water (submersible pump), or if you think a non-submersible pump, also known as a surface pump, would suit the task better. You also have something known as a supply booster pump, this is generally for use with a water supply that lacks the pressure you require. If you need to move larger bodies of water I would draw your attention to more powerful petrol water pumpsotherwise read on for some tips from my 15 years experience using and testing these submersible pumps.

Katsu submersible water pump – what I’ve used and tested is the 400 Watt

For ease of use I’ve included a quick rundown of the best submersible pumps after whittling the list down and buyers guide incase you’re not quite sure what you need. I’ve only chosen the three best submersible pumps because in truth because they are so similar it’s pointless to make you read the same thing from a lesser known and potentially lower quality product:

Best submersible pumps – my top picks from 15 years use:

Best dirt water submersible pump: Heavy Duty Submersible Clean And Dirty Waste Pond Water Pump by Katsu Tools

Alternative to the Katsu: Veaton Submersible Water Pump and the Terratek Pro 400W Submersible Pump

Best submersible pump for hot tubs: Veaton Submersible Water Pump for hot tubs

Best submersible pump for ponds and flooded gardens: Heavy Duty Submersible Clean And Dirty Waste Pond Water Pump by Katsu Tools

Best submersible pump for septic tanks: Katsu 1100 Watt Submersible Water Pump

Best submersible pump for swimming pools: Heavy Duty Submersible Clean And Dirty Waste Pond Water Pump by Katsu Tools

Submersible pumps buyer guide

I want to share some of my experiences and knowledge with you from the last fifteen years using these pumps – they’ve saved me a great deal fo time but I’ve made a few mistakes along the way mainly due to the the fact I have not understood how to effectively use this tool – something I can help you avoid 🙂 Here’s a rundown but if you prefer a video:

A lot of people prefer submersible pumps for their convenience. They are hermetically sealed and designed to work for long periods of time without the need for regular maintenance like a surface pump. 
Choosing a submersible water pump also gives you more options when it comes to price range and features. They are also more efficient than surface pumps as they push the water up from underneath rather than sucking it up like a vacuum. This means that you don’t need a lot of power like with a petrol water pump.

To save you the time and effort it takes to search through all these options, we’ve compiled this short list of the best submersible water pumps for sale in the UK. 
If you just want the brass tacks, you can see the main points highlighted in our comparison table below. For a more in depth look, you can take a minute or so to read our individual reviews for each product.

How to take advantage of a submersible pump with a float switch

To avoid flooding areas you can run your submersible pump and just leave it with a power source. The float switch will lay harmlessly below the height of your unit in water until the level rises to around half way on the submersible pump. This will elevate the float and trip the switch inside the float to activate it. That pretty much guarantees you won’t get flooded and is exactly the same technology you’ll find inside boat hulls – the only difference being their floats are normally connected to the unit and don’t dangle on a power cable.

Submersible water pump float switch

How deep can they pump?

Most submersible water pumps will range from 5 metres to 7 metres and will have an uplift of 5 to 7 metres. This is very common and what you can expect from an electric submersible pump. If you need more draw then expect to pay out for a petrol water pump – that’s pretty much all there is to it, you don’t want a unit to struggle and not be able to actually pump.

Self priming

This is a big one, almost all submersible pumps are self priming. this means that you do not need to fill the unit or pipe with water to get the water to pull through. Obviously the lower depths take longer to pull through – so if it takes a minute don’t panic, especially if you’re emptying dirty water full of debris or a septic tank. This is perfectly normal.

Best Submersible Pump reviews

Here we will take a closer look at the top submersible pumps out there on the UK market at the moment.
 Kicking off our best submersible water pump reviews is the Katsu 400W submersible pump:

Specification: Power: 400W, Max. Flow: 7500 L/h, Max. Lift: 5 m, Max. Depth: 5 m, Discharge: 1″ G1″ 1-1/2″, Speed: 2800 rpm

Another popular submersible water pump is our next review- the heavy duty submersible pump from Katsu Tools and it’s certainly a contender for the best submersible water pump. This is the one I use to empty my swimming pool personally and have tested it on ten of thousands of litres – but I wouldn’t recommend it for for septic tanks, you want to go for the Katsu 1100 Watt Submersible Water Pump instead, but for dirty-ish water, garden flooding, ponds, and any bodies of water no deeper directly than 5m or lifting higher than 5m then this is the submersible pump for you.

Before I really get into this review, you’ll notice you can get 400w, 750w, 900w, and 1100w models though I would be clear the 1100 watt is still a fair way off the 2 to 3 inch bore of the best petrol pumps.

At just £39.99, the Katsu Tools heavy duty pump is the cheapest of our top 3.
 Although it is a ‘no frills’ kind of product, it still delivers good performance, with the 400w motor producing 2800rpm and being able to pump a maximum 7500 litres per hour.
 At 3.8 kilograms, it is the lightest of three reviews and sports a large carry handle like its closest competitors.

Here’s a sensible idea of flow rate:

Heavy Duty Submersible Clean And Dirty Waste Pond Water Pump by Katsu Tools: Cheap, efficient, solid performer and very light to use.

Also like our previous two reviewed products, it has an automatic float switch and can be used to pump clean or dirty water without any major issues. Unfortunately it also shares the same drawback of not being able to pump the last inch or two of water, but this common with pumps of this type.
 This is a decent submersible water pump that does what he needs to and does it well. It can lift water 5 metres like the Terratek submersible pump, and has the same maximum depth.

Two years ago when I first bought this it didn’t come with any fittings to connect to a hose pipe and the outlet connection can be fiddly – that has now been rectified and hence why i’ve moved it up to the top slot. 
The Katzu Tools heavy duty submersible water pump offers good performance at a very good price and is worth some serious consideration.

Heavy Duty Submersible Clean And Dirty Waste Pond Water Pump by Katsu Tools Review

Best Heavy Duty Submersible Clean And Dirty Waste Pond Water Pump by Katsu Tools Features

What needs work on the Heavy Duty Submersible Clean And Dirty Waste Pond Water Pump by Katsu Tools

Cheapest of our top 3 pump choices The connector to the outlet needs improving
Performs solidly in clean and dirty water
7500 litre per hour pump rate
Lightweight at only 3.8 kilograms
Automatic float switch works well
5 metre maximum depth and lift height
One year guarantee

Could they improve the Heavy Duty Submersible Clean And Dirty Waste Pond Water Pump by Katsu Tools?

It’s hard to ask for much more from the Heavy Duty Submersible Clean And Dirty Waste Pond Water Pump by Katsu Tools. If you think about the price point the only argument I would put forward is the connector outlet is really not great. It should be pointed out though, this isn’t a tool designed for commercial work and within its range, its a very good little submersible pump for cheap!

Heavy Duty Submersible Clean And Dirty Waste Pond Water Pump by Katsu Tools

2. VEATON 400W Electric Submersible Water Pump, Automatic or Continuous Manual Operation by Float Switch, Pool Water Drainage Pump with Max Flow 7000L/H for Hot Tub Empty

Specification: Power: 400W, Max. Flow: 7000 L/h, Max. Lift: 5 m, Max. Depth: 7 m, Discharge: 1″, 1 1/4″, 1 1/2″

This award winning VEATON product is our choice for best submersible water pump.
 It offers the right blend of affordability and practicality, and this has made it a best seller – if you’re looking at price and hot tubs, and light weight work you really can’t go wrong with this reliable unit if you don’t fancy the Katsu.

It is capable of pumping 9000 litres per hour thanks to the reliable 400 watt electric motor and the unique 8 bladed impellers. 
The VEATON submersible water pump has a maximum depth of 6 metres, a maximum lift of 5 metres on top of that, and can operate in water temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius. It is almost certainly the best submersible pump for hot tubs and deserves its position and a mention aside from the Katsu 151652 model.

VEATON Submersible Water Pump: variable connector widths, powerful submersible pump, and automatic float switch

A nice feature of the VEATON is that it has been designed with connectivity in mind, and has fittings to attach it to 25mm, 32mm, 1 inch, and 1.5 inch pipes and connectors. This for me is what gives it the edge over the Terratek submersible pump l.
 It has built in thermal motor protection that will sense when the water pump is getting overheated and automatically switch it off. Once the device has cooled down it will start up again on its own.
 Another handy safety feature is the automatic float switch.

This stops the submersible water pump from dry running by sensing where the water level lies.
 As for durability, the dual seal thermoplastic casing feels strong enough so that you don’t have to worry about it too much, but then again, it is still plastic and won’t take hard knocks like a metal cased pump can. 
For light to medium duties such as emptying a hot tub, or a small pond, this pump is more than up to the task, but for larger, heavier duty jobs I’d suggest looking at our petrol pump reviews here.

VEATON Submersible Water Pump Review

Best VEATON Submersible Water Pump Features

What needs work on the VEATON Submersible Water Pump

Reliable 400 watt motor Won’t remove the last inch or so of water
8 bladed impellers for horsepower
Maximum pumping rate of 9000 litres per hour
Versatile connectivity
Automatic overheating protection
Automatic float switch prevents dry running

Could they improve the VEATON Submersible Water Pump?

As with all submersible pumps there are certainly improvements that can be made. The biggest issue is the last inch of water that it can’t get. The problem is this applies to almost all submersible pumps so hard to blame the VEATON Submersible Water Pump for that alone. Overall, for the price, it’s a good buy. Our next review is of a very similar product to the VEATON that is priced slightly higher, the Terratek Pro 400W submersible water pump.

Specification: Power: 400W, Max. Flow: 7500 L/h, Max. Lift: 5 m, Max. Depth: 5 m, Discharge: 1″, 1 1/4″, 1 1/2″ Speed: 125 Litres per minute

The Terratek Pro shares a lot of the features of the Heavy Duty Submersible Clean And Dirty Waste Pond Water Pump by Katsu such as the automatic float switch and thermal cut out that will turn off the pump when it gets to 35 degrees Celsius to avoid accidentally damage.
 I will say though that the float switch didn’t work as well as the VEATON and had to be placed in a central ‘sweet spot’ in order to work optimally. 
This submersible water pump can be used with dirty water as long as the particles don’t exceed 35mm in diameter, and the makers say it will pump up to 7500 litres per hour which is slightly less than our number one product.

Terratek Pro 400W Submersible Pump: Quiet submersible pump, long power cord, lightweight, and easy to move around.

Its maximum lift height is 5 metres the same as the VEATON, but it gives away a metre in depth to its rival.
What this product has going for it is that it runs very quietly, even more so than our previous review which is already quiet.
 It also has a nice long power cord, 10 metres to be exact and comes fitted with a three pronged plug to use in the UK.
 Moving this pump around is no hard task thanks to a large carry handle and the fact that it only weighs about 4 kilograms. It’s compact size make it easy to store away too.
 The VEATON Pro 400W submersible water pump is a very good product. It’s just that it is matched or outdone in nearly every aspect by the VEATON model.

Terratek Pro 400W Submersible Pump Review

Best Terratek Pro 400W Submersible Pump Features

What needs work on the Terratek Pro 400W Submersible Pump

Quiet in operation The float switch could be improved
Overheating protection feature
Can work in dirty water with particles up to 35mm
Long power cord
Lightweight, Easy to move around and store
Made from corrosion proof materials
Two year guarantee

Could they improve the Terratek Pro 400W Submersible Pump?

I think for the price point, the Terratek Pro 400W Submersible Pump is pretty good. The float switch can be a little temperamental and you need to get it just right in shallow water but apart from that it does it’s job well. It’ll clear water quickly and quietly so for the price it’s hard to go wrong here really.

Terratek Pro 400W Submersible Pump

Best Submersible Water Pumps

So there you have it, our top 3 picks for the title of best submersible water pump. We chose these 3 because we thought that they offer the right combination of low price, so as to be affordable by most people, and enough performance to be able to complete every day needs. 
Larger jobs need larger more powerful pumps, so if you require more horsepower, you should probably look into a surface water pump. The most powerful of these are petrol pumps and they come in different sizes and power output. Prices vary quite a lot with petrol pumps but we have chosen the best few to review here.

UK Submersible Water Pumps

Like with most power tools, the UK is a place that thankfully offers us a lot choice when it comes to water pumps.
 Whether you are looking for a submersible pump or a surface pump, you can be sure that there are a stack of products waiting for you to take a look at. To top up your knowledge on this subject, as well as seeing some more product reviews, you can read our very comprehensive water pump article here.


About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

View all posts by Terry Smith

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