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Machine Compare

Pumped about pumps? Fundamental facts you should know

20 June 2021

They might not be the most exciting things out there, but rest assured they are helpful: Pumps. These devices enable the transportation of water and other fluids, becoming very useful in buildings and other applications. But their wide use can cause a lot of confusion. This is precisely what inspired us to compile this guide.

Despite their name, most people don’t get pumped about pumps – but they’re important in our everyday. And there are plenty of designs to cause the right amount of confusion.

Luckily, the majority of pumps can be classified into two main types: Dynamic pumps and Positive Displacement Pumps.

But before we dive into the details of these, let’s have a quick refresher on some basic facts.

Pumps are designed to operate at one point. What do we mean by this? This simply means that the hydraulic condition of one point of head and flow is the best efficiency point, also known as BEP and the best operating point.

Pumps are quite dumb. Centrifugal pumps are machines, where for a given set of fluid properties, impeller geometry and operating speed, it will react to the system into which it has been installed. It will operate where its performance curve intersects with the system curve. In other words, the system curve essentially dictates where the pump operates.

Pumps don’t suck fluids. Hate to burst your bubble, but this is a common misunderstanding. Some energy source other than the pump needs to supply energy so that the fluid can get to the pump. Typically, this will include gravity or atmospheric pressure. Pumps can’t reach and pull fluid into the suction.

metal pumps
The majority of pumps can be classified into two main types: Dynamic pumps and Positive Displacement Pumps

With some of the basics out of the way, let’s cover the different types, starting off with dynamics pumps…

What are dynamic pumps?

Let’s start with dynamics pumps. There are different types of dynamic pumps including Centrifugal, Horizontal Centrifugal, Vertical Centrifugal, Submersible and fire hydrant systems.

Centrifugal Pumps

These are the most common pumps around. Centrifugal Pumps are strong, efficient and relatively cheap to produce. When this type of pump is in action, fluid pressure increases from the inlet of the pump to the outlet. Here, the change in pressure drives the liquid throughout the system.

Centrifugal Pumps produce enhancement within force by transmitting mechanical power from the electrical motor to the liquid throughout the revolving impeller. Liquid flow enters the centre of the impeller, exiting along with the blades. The centrifugal power enhances the velocity of the fluid and the kinetic energy can be altered into force.

Vertical Centrifugal Pumps

These types of pumps are also known as cantilever pumps. Vertical Centrifugal Pumps use a shaft and are designed so that the volume falls within the pit as the bearings are external to the pit. They use no filling container to cover the shaft, instead opting for a throttle bushing.

Horizontal Centrifugal Pumps

Horizontal Centrifugal Pumps consist of at least two or more impellers and are used in pumping services. All phases are in a similar shelter and mounted on a similar shaft.

Submersible Pumps

Also known as stormwater, sewage and septic pumps, these pumps can be found in the following applications: building services, domestic, industrial, commercial, rural, municipal and rainwater recycle applications.

Fire Hydrant Systems

These systems are also known as hydrant boosters, fire pumps and fire water pumps. Perfect for fire fighting and construction, you can also find these pumps at work in irrigation and water transfer applications.

What are Positive Displacement Pumps?

On to the next category of pumps: Positive Displacement Pumps. This type of pump can also be divided into different types including diaphragm, gear, peristaltic, lobe and piston pumps.

Confused again? Let’s break it down nice and simple.

Diaphragm Pumps

Also known as air operated diaphragms (AOD), pneumatic and AODD pumps, you can find these pumps in the following applications: general plants, industrial and mining. AOD pumps are used where power is not obtainable, or in unstable and combustible regions. These pumps are perfect in chemical handling, food manufacturing and in underground coal mines.

Gear pumps

Gear pumps can be described as a rotating positive dislocation pump, meaning they force a stable amount of liquid for every revolution. These types of pumps can pump on high forces and surpass at pumping high thickness fluids effectively.

As this type of pump doesn’t contain any valves, it is compatible with handling thick liquids including fuel and grease oils.  These types of pumps should not be used for driving solids and harsh liquids.

Peristaltic Pumps

Also known as tube pumps, peristaltic pumps are also types of positive displacement pumps, found in applications such as chemical processing, food and water treatment industries. It creates a stable flow for measuring and blending and can pump a wide range of liquids.

Lobe Pumps

These pumps allow for high efficiency, rust resistance, hygienic qualities, increased reliability and more. Lobe Pumps are able to handle high thickness fluids and solids. They are made with stainless steel and are extremely polished.

Piston Pumps

These pumps are commonly used in water irrigation, where there is a need for high, reliable pressure and delivery systems for transferring, e.g. chocolate, pastry, paint, etc.

Popular pump categories on Marketplace

There’s a range of different pumps listed on Marketplace. Let the links below guide you or use the simple search tool on the site. Or why not take a shortcut? View all pumps currently listed on Marketplace by clicking here.  Don’t forget, as a first-time user on the site, you can claim an exclusive 5% off your first order – that includes the whole basket. Claim your discount here.

Or why not make life a little easier by discovering our 8 crucial tips on how to streamline the purchasing process and save money while doing so?

Brand or Seller Product name Manufacturer Code
DS Smith




LMI P153-85HV





JBS PUMP 3HP 3/60/208-30/460 2ST1H984












DS Smith ARO Membrane Pump