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There are a lot of aspects to van life that you don’t consider straight away. For instance, running water. It’s a common belief that running water isn’t a necessity for your campervan, as most campgrounds provide shower amenities and public bathrooms, and you can even hook up your van to a local water source. But if you’re on the road for an extended period of time, water can sometimes be hard to come by, and having a reliable water system is so useful.
A campervan (or RV) water pump lets you draw water directly from a portable fresh water tank that is attached to your van. This gives you enough water to use the restroom, wash your hands, shower, and wash your dishes if you’re camping or off the grid or boondocking away from water sources.
While a water pump isn’t the flashiest or most exciting piece of equipment you can buy for your campervan or RV, it is vitally important. Whether you’re interested in a simple mechanical pump or a hassle-free 12v electric pump, we hope that our top 9 picks will include the right water pump for you.
We’ve taken a few factors into consideration when looking at the best water systems and pumps, such as water flow and water pressure, as well as durability. Our handy buyer’s guide tells you everything you need to look for when buying a water pump for your campervan, and our FAQs go into more detail about installing and maintaining a water pump. But before we dive into our best picks, let’s take a closer look at the types of water pumps available.
Types Of 12V Water Pumps
When shopping around for the best 12v water pumps, you’re likely to come across three different pump categories. These are constant speed, variable speed, and high volume. A constant speed water pump is what is commonly found on most campervans and RVs. However, these pumps can only be turned on and off, and you’re unable to adjust the pressure or motor speed. This isn’t ideal for showering.
But for a more comfortable and smoother shower, consider a variable speed water pump. These have a pressure sensor that allows you to adjust the speed of the water. Variable speed pumps are a lot quieter and more efficient than their constant speed counterparts, but they come with a heftier price tag.
Meanwhile, a water pump with a water flow over 4 GPM is considered a high-volume pump. These pumps are designed to handle large volumes of water and are more commonplace in larger campervans or RVs.
However, there is another type of water pump we have to mention. It’s a common misconception that all water pumps rely on electricity. With a hand water pump you can still have access to freshwater, even if you’re travelling off-grid without any electric supply. The biggest advantage to these pumps is that they don’t need any power, and can work even without a battery, fuel tank or solar panel, which is very handy indeed!
Plus, thanks to their lack of motor, they are a lot quieter than an electric 12-volt pump.
There is one downside though in that to get it to work you have to pump it manually. But if you’re looking for a pump that saves you money as well as saves the planet, then a hand water pump is definitely worth considering.
9 BEST Campervan Water Pumps
The self-priming Shurflo 2088 is incredibly popular amongst van enthusiasts, and it’s easy to see why. It’s an excellent 12-volt water pump for campervans. The three-chamber diaphragm pump has a flow rate of 3.5 GPM and a pressure rate of 45 PSI, ideal for smaller to mid-sized campervans.
Thanks to its compact size, the 2088 can be mounted in a vertical or horizontal position, allowing it to squeeze into the tightest of spaces. To install the 2088 you just need to hook it up to your campervan’s electrical system and water pipes. Simple! But not only is it easy to install, but easy to maintain too.
However, the 2088 can be a bit on the loud side when switched on. But unless you plan to take a shower or do the dishes while your travelling companions are asleep, then this shouldn’t be a big deal.
- Compact enough to fit into small places.
- Easy to mount and install.
- Popular choice amongst van enthusiasts.
- Can be a bit noisy when switched on.
- Positive Displacement 3 Chamber Diaphragm Pump
- Check Valve: (1-Way Operation) Prevents Reverse Flow
- CAM: 3.5 Degree
- Motor: Permanent Magnet, P/N 11-173-01, Thermally Protected
- Voltage: 12 VDC Nominal
If you’re looking to install a variable speed water pump into your campervan, then look no further than the Remco Aquajet. It’s a high-volume water pump that can shift a staggering 5.3 gallons per minute thanks to its patented 5-chamber diaphragm pump. The automatically controlled water speed means you can enjoy a more comfortable and smoother stream of water whilst showering.
This mighty water pump is better suited for larger campervans to reduce water pump cycling. You also need 10 Amps of electric power, so a power circuit or battery that is capable of handling such a large amount of electricity is in order.
It is also one of the least budget-friendly RV water pumps on this list, but for a reliable and powerful water system, it’s worth every penny.
- Capable of moving an impressive 5.3 gallons of water per minute.
- The variable speed feature makes water flow more smoothly.
- Ability to use multiple faucets.
- Not the most budget-friendly option.
- Requires 10 Amps of electricity to power it.
- Aquajet Variable Speed RV Water Pump - The Aquajet RV pump employs state-of-the-art electronics to automatically control motor speed - the pump actually adjusts its speed as you open and close water fixtures
- Aquajet's soft start feature eliminates annoying rapid cycling, and its exclusive 5-valve design can deliver twice the flow and pressure of conventional RV industry pumps
- Greater flow - The Aquajet automatically overcomes pressure drops typically caused when multiple fixtures operate at the same time. AES: 10 feet (3 m) , ARV: 13 feet ( 4m)
- Aquajet's patented 5-chamber design displaces substantially more water per motor revolution than typical 3 and 4-chamber models currently used in the RV industry, making it one of the highest-flow diaphragm pumps available
- Positive shut-off at 75-85 psi, to keep up with today's sophisticated filtration systems and extensive plumbing systems; ES delivers a 3.5 gallon per minute flow rate. Liquid Temperature- 140°F (60°C) Max
A more rugged version of the 2088, Shurflo’s 4008 has a slightly lower water flow rate of 3 GPM (the 2088’s water flow rate is 3.5 GPM), but the 4008 is much quieter. Plus, the pump’s pressure is 55 PSI, creating a strong, powerful stream of water. This is a constant speed water pump requiring 7 Amps of power, which is ideal if you’re running the water pump on low-power battery packs or solar panels.
The backend of the 4008 has a bypass low cycling system, which lets it run dry without any damage to the mechanics. So if the low water flow isn’t a concern, the 4008 is a more reliable and more affordable alternative to the 2088.
- Compact enough to fit in a small campervan.
- Easy to mount and install.
- Quieter than Shurflo’s 2088 model.
- Can run dry without damaging the mechanics.
- It has a low water pressure of 3 GPM.
- Created with a unique one-piece diaphragm and internal by-pass, this pump is durable and reliable for all plumbing systems. Designed as the next legendary pump to exceed the expectations of our customers, the Revolution Pump is constructed for high flow demand, low noise, and no rapid cycling.
- The 4008 Revolution fresh water automatic demand pump is super quiet, thermally protected, and can run dry without damage. With this quality assurance, you can relax in your RV without needing to worry about your water pump.
- With the built-in check valve, backflow is prevented so that you can make sure you’re getting all of the water you want to the fixture you’re using. While the pump runs at about 55 PSI, the pressure at which the pump will shut off is 45 PSI.
- Please Note: E65 and A65 is the Same Pump. Pump Listed Does NOT Come in Retail Package
One of the more robust 12-volt water pumps on this list, the flow capacity of the Seaflo 55 is 5.5 gallons per minute, which is a pleasant surprise considering the size and the affordability of this pump. It’s also capable of producing 60 PSI with an enclosed pressure shut off switch which automatically starts and stops the pump. This new and improved water pressure switch is definitely an improvement from previous Seaflo models.
The Seaflo 55 is also self-priming up to 9 feet, which comes in handy if you have a large water tank system attached to your water pump. Like the Shurflo model above, Seaflo pumps are able to run dry, meaning you don’t have to worry about how much water you have left.
We also have to mention how impressed we are by the 4-year warranty offered by Seaflo, although with a water pump as durable as this, we don’t think we’ll be needing it!
- Delivers high water flow and water pressure.
- Backed by a generous 4-year warranty.
- Durable pressure switch.
- Only has a 0.5-inch water hose.
- 12V Self-Priming Water Pressure Pump
- 5.5 GPM and 60 PSI
- New robust pressure switch
- Thermal overload and ignition protection
- 4 Year Warranty
One of the most powerful high-volume water pumps on the marker, the 4048 is an excellent water pump for a large campervan. It delivers an impressive 5 PSI and 4 gallons of water per minute, which is a massive upgrade to previous Shurflo models.
The 4048 is super versatile too, as you can use it with multiple faucets at once, including a toilet, campervan sink, and shower. However, because it’s a high-volume water pump it does require more electric power (10 amps), and the large motor does it make it noisier than other water pumps. However, it can be made quieter with an accumulator or water pump silencing kit.
Much like the other Shurflo models we’ve covered, the 4048 is self-priming, allowing you to vacuum water from your fresh water tank even at low levels. But while the 4048 isn’t the cheapest water pump on our list, it’s definitely value for money.
- High-volume capabilities.
- Versatile, letting you use multiple faucets at once.
- Able to run dry.
- Not budget-friendly.
- Requires 10 Amps of electricity.
- 4 GPM, 55 PSI, 10 Amps
- Smooth, high-powered flow
- Reduced cycling with flow reaction technology
- Self-priming to six vertical feet
- Built-in check valve prevents back flow
For a less powerful and rugged alternative to the Seaflo 55, the Seaflo 33 is lighter, more budget-friendly and more energy efficient, making it ideal for a small campervan. The Seaflo 33 can produce 3.3 gallons of water per minute with just 1.2 Amps of power and 44 PSI. It has quite a lower self-priming reach of 6 feet rather than 9, but this isn’t a big deal if you’re hooking this water pump up to a smaller water tank.
However, the Seaflo 33 isn’t totally ready out of the box, and to use it you will need to buy additional parts including findings, hose clamps, screws, and workable threads. But once you have all the extras, installing this pump is pretty simple.
- Backed by a 4-year warranty.
- Has a built-in pressure switch.
- Not the easiest to install.
- Need to purchase extra hardware to install it properly.
- UL 778 & CSA 22.2 Certified
- Self-Priming up to 6 vertical feet
- 3.3 GPM Flow Capacity, 115V AC Current Draw .75 amps (1.2 Max Amps)
- Built-in Adjustable Pressure Switch that turns on/off at 45 PSI
- Plugs into standard wall outlet with pre-installed power plug
If you’re shopping for a water pump on a budget, look no further than the Flojet 03526-144A. One of the cheapest water pumps on this list by far, the Flojet is an energy efficient, three-chambered water pump that you can connect directly to your freshwater tank. It delivers a constant flow of 2.9 gallons of water per minute and can achieve a maximum pressure of 50 PSI, ideal for leisurely campers, though may not be enough for larger campervans.
But the water system pump produces a smooth flow for a constant speed pump, and you may not need to attach an accumulator tank.
But the most impressive feature of the Flojet is the soft noise absorbing mounts. So while you’re never going to find a silent motorized water pump, this is one of the quieter ones out there. If the lower water output isn’t a big deal, then this reasonably priced water pump from Flojet might be for you.
- Not as loud as other models.
- You don’t need to attach an accumulator tank.
- Has a lower water output.
- A genuine Flojet product, don't settle for anything less
- Self-priming up to 9 feet suction lift , dry running, three chambers
- Soft noise absorbing mounts. Pressure switch setting: 3.4 bar
- Snap-in port fittings, built-in bypass for less pulsation
- Reduces need for accumulator tank.Corrosion resistant materials
If you’re camping off-the-grid with little to no access to electricity, then the Whale Babyfoot Pump is a great manual water pump. It’s aptly named, as it’s a small and compact water pump that can be easily installed and stored, perfect if you’re camping in a small van or have limited space. Just connect the pump to a 0.5-inch water hose and voilà! Instant access to water inside your campervan.
To pump water, you just press down on the pedal with your foot. The flow rate has a maximum of 2.2 GPM, although one pump is all you really need to wash your hands or clean a couple dishes.
However, its manual operation doesn’t make it ideal for larger campervans. But if you’re looking for a water pump on a budget that doesn’t need electricity to operate, then the Whale Babyfoot Pump is ideal.
- Easy to install.
- User-friendly operation.
- Compact enough to fit in smaller campervans.
- You don’t need electricity to operate this pump.
- Manual pump not ideal for larger campervans.
- Needs additional hose.
- Foot-operated galley water pump makes it easy to draw water in a galley for a wide variety of applications
- Simply pump on this unit with the bottom of your foot to draw water
- Conveniently angled top design for easy operation
- Connects to ½-inch flexible hose
- Provides a max flow rate of 2.2 GPM
For those who don’t want to install an electric system in their campervan, then the Valterra Rocket hand pump faucet combo may be for you! It’s a manual pump that is easy to install, you just need to drill it into your countertop and connect it to your water tank.
To operate the pump, rotate the handle back and forth to pump water through the faucet. This can be difficult if your hands are full while washing dishes, but if your hands are full you can turn on the faucet’s prime lock feature that keeps the water in the line and means you don’t need to manually pump the water.
- Has a built-in prime lock feature.
- Doesn’t need electricity to operate.
- Needs sink to work.
- Doesn’t deliver powerful, constant streams of water.
- COLD WATER RV FAUCET: Hand pump is ideal for RV's and campers with a holding tank that require a pump faucet
- EASY TO USE: Rotate the handle back and forth to pump water through the faucet
- FUNCTIONAL PRIME LOCK: Keep the water in prime hold position for immediate water release, or leave the line in drain position to return water to the holding tank
- EASY TO INSTALL: Simply drill a hole through the countertop, place pump, and connect hose to water tank
- REPLACEABLE PARTS: Valterra repair kit RP320 available for making quick and easy repairs
You may have noticed that there are a few factors to consider when buying a water pump for your campervan. Below, we’ll take a look at the features worth paying attention to when you’re shopping around for a water pump.
This is of course an important factor when looking for different types of campervan water pumps, and you’ll usually find this measured in gallons per minute (GPM). The lower the GPM, the weaker the pump is. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as weaker pumps tend to be more efficient as they use less water.
Most small to mid-sized pumps will have an average GPM of 3.5. But for larger campervans, look for a larger water pump with a GPM of about 5. However, it’s always a good idea to refer to your campervan’s owner’s manual to check how much GPM your van can handle.
Water pressure is another vital factor when buying a water pump, and this is measured by pressure per square inch (PSI). Pumps with an extremely high PSI can damage or rupture your campervan’s pump and water system, so PSI is always something to be mindful of. Generally, the best pipes and connections are designed to handle between 40-60 PSI.
But a pump with an extremely low PSI is no good either, as this leads to weak water pressure.
Amperage (power draw)
Most campervan water pumps need 12-volt electric power to work, and while these are pretty efficient at first, it’s also important to consider the amperage (Amps) needed to power the pump. If your pump is going to be powered by a small battery pack or solar panel, then the water pump you select should require fewer pumps. The more amperage you require, the more power you’ll be using.
You need to make the most out of all the space in your campervan, and that’s why choosing a water pump that can be mounted to your van is so important. Generally, the more powerful the pump, the more space it’s going to take up.
Of course, this isn’t a problem if your campervan is large enough to accommodate it, but if space is limited in your campervan then you’ll need a compact pump that can fit into tight spaces.
Of course, it’s important for water pumps to be efficient and durable, but they should be kind to your wallet too. Luckily it isn’t too hard to find budget-friendly water pumps, especially when compared to the other essential equipment you have to buy for your van.
A quality campervan water pump will set you back about $50-$100, and this will most likely get you a basic constant speed water pump from a good brand with a GPM of at least 3.
However, if you have a large campervan you’re going to need something more powerful than that.
Variable speed and high-volume water pumps are ideal for larger campervans, although they are a bit pricier. Pumps like this that have high PSI and GPM flow are usually over $100.
But if your budget is limited, there are water systems available for under $50, but these will have a GPM of less than 3 so are more suited to a smaller campervan. Hand pumps are also a good budget-friendly option, but aren’t exactly great for taking showers.
Unless your water pump is sold as part of a kit, most water pumps will only include the necessary parts to pump fresh water into the campervan. However, you can modify your water pump with various extras and accessories to upgrade your humble water pump.
For example, if your constant speed water pump is too loud, then an accumulator tank can soften the noise. This tank is installed alongside the pump and stores water that can be used before the pump’s motor kicks in. This doesn’t just soften the noise, but creates a more constant flow and reduces cycling.
We’ve talked a lot about using your water pumps for showering or washing dishes, but what about using your water pumps for drinking water? A water filter can make a huge difference to the quality and taste of running water, which is always useful for camping.
Meanwhile, if you want to connect your water system to city water, then you’ll need a water pressure regulator. This is because most campervans can only handle up to 60 PSI, so a water pressure regulator is vital to prevent damage to your water pump and plumbing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Are Some Pumps Called ‘On-Demand’ Pumps?
On-demand pumps are so named because they only run when needed, and this is the standard method of most RV or campervan water pumps. For the on-demand water pump to run, you have to turn on a switch that is often found within the campervan.
Once the switch is turned on, the pump will continue to supply water to any open faucets. Once the faucets are closed, the pump will keep running until it reaches the preset pressure rating. It will then automatically shut off until the faucets are opened again, and it notices a drop in pressure. If it detects a drop, the pump will begin pumping again.
An on-demand pump pressurizes your RV’s water pipes based on the pump’s preset PSI rating and are normally preset to a pressure rating of around 30 PSI, but can be adjusted to your preference.
How Do You Install A Campervan Water Pump?
So you’ve bought your campervan water pump, now you’re probably wondering how you install it. Let’s work on the basis that you’ve bought an easy-to-install water pump, and you’re replacing the water pump that came with your campervan.
Locating the water pump: Firstly, you need to find the existing water pump. This is easier said than done, as often campervans will discreetly install the water pump, so it’s not visible. But the best way to find your water pump is to listen to the sound it makes when it’s running and follow it.
You’ll sometimes find the water pump outside your campervan and near the fresh water tank, but sometimes it’ll be inside the campervan, under a cabinet or table.
Drain the fresh water tank: Once you’ve found the water pump, you now need to drain the fresh water tank. Make sure it’s completely drained and remove any and all residue. A simple way to do this is to siphon the water using a water hose connected to the tank base.
To save this water, you can direct the hose to large pails or a drum.
Remove the existing pump: Now you can remove the existing pump and replace it with your new one. Firstly, switch off the power leading to the pump, then use a screwdriver to remove all the wires leading to the pump.
You’ll also need to disconnect all the hoses connected to the old pump. To do this, remove all the screws and bolts holding the pump in place and carefully remove the pump.
Replace existing pump with new pump: Now you can place your new water pump where the old water pump was, using a screwdriver to secure it in place tightly and firmly. Then wrap the pipe threads with some Teflon tape and connect the inlet and outlet hoses, securing them with the clamps supporting them.
Reconnect the fresh water pump to the pump link: To do this, make sure you fasten the fresh water pump to the pump link and the two wires correctly, before reconnecting the battery to power the pump.
Check that everything is in order: Start by testing if the pump is running correctly. Start your campervan and check if the pump is running. You can tell if this is the case by the sound the pump makes. If you don’t hear anything, check the battery is connected to the wires correctly. You should also check the entire water system. Fill the tank, turn the pump on, and open the faucets.
Check if all the lines and connections are working properly, and fix any leaks as soon as you can.
How Do You Maintain A Campervan Water Pump?
For your water pump to work for a long time for little to no problems, then you should regularly maintain it. Let’s take a look at some useful maintenance tips to ensure your pump stays in working order.
Always keep the water pump sanitized: Not sanitizing your water pump can lead to poor performance as well as your pump failing. It can also lead to a buildup of limescale on the pump valves and diaphragm, which can result in leak back and low flow. You should sanitize your water pump before you store it, and when you take it out of storage too, especially if it’s been in storage for a long time.
Get your water pump ready for winter: It’s important to winterize your water pump, since if water freezes inside the water pump, it can seriously damage the pump and your whole water system to the point it can longer be used. But you can avoid this by completely draining the water pump during winter storage.
Regularly inspect and clean the pump strainer: As well as inspecting and cleaning your pump strainer regularly, you should examine it regularly to avoid leakage and pump failure. To clean the strainer, first turn the water pump and campervan water supply off. Then, disconnect the water line running to the strainer, so you can remove and thoroughly clean it. Once you’re satisfied that the strainer is clean, return it to the pump.
Always remember to turn on the water supply and pump and look for any leaks around the strainer after you’ve reassembled it.
Prime your water pump: Priming your RV water pump after keeping it in storage for an extended period of time to ensure that the systems are all in working order and that there are no issues is so important. It’s worth noting though that most pumps fail to prime after they’ve been in storage. If this is the case with your pump, there are ways to troubleshoot this.
Your pump may not be running because the tank is empty, the suction line air is leaking, the intake strainer is clogged, the pump-drive belt is broken, or the pump diaphragm is defective. There are simple solutions to these problems, such as filling the water tank, cleaning the strainer, cleaning any debris, and replacing the diaphragm.
Always inspect the pump for damage: This may seem like common sense, but it’s crucial to examine the pump to make sure it’s not damaged, cracked, or wearing away. It’s best to do this ahead of a trip, as it will give you more time to get a new pump if the damage is severe.
Discover How To Use The Power of Authority Marketing To Make You Money While You Adventure!
No Experience, Existing Product Or Technical Skills Are Required
DO YOU BELIEVE ADVENTURES ARE WORTH CHASING?