5 Best Bilge Pumps [For Kayaks & Boats]

Even if your boat does not have any leaks, accidental spills, rainwater, and waves will cause water to accumulate in the bilge. When water gathers there, it can turn into serious problems quickly. It can cause instability through corrosion. So, to address this annoying problem, it’s important to have the best bilge pump.

Bilge pumps use either a pulling or a pushing pressure to remove water from your boat. By pumping out any extra excess water, the bilge pump prevents the boat from sinking, ensuring that it is not taking on the extra weight that it would without a bilge pump.

Thanks to its strong, IPM (Internal Permanent Magnet) design, the Attwood 4505-7 is the best bilge pump. If you are looking for an easy to install model, then you may want to check out the Shoreline Marine Bilge Pump. The MAXZONE Automatic Bilge Water Pump represents the best value for the money, while the Johnson Pump 28552 Marine Pump Cartridge is great for those that don’t need to replace their entire pump. Finally, if you are looking for the most high-end model with all the bells and whistles, the Rule 02 Marine Bilge Pump has you covered.

In this article, we will detail the 5 best bilge pumps. We will go over the pros and cons of each bilge pump, and we will classify them based on their best use-case.

What Is A Bilge Pump?

A bilge pump is a device that removes water that accumulates in the bilge space. This pump removes the water and redirects it outside of the boat. This is helpful if you don’t want your boat to sink. In the case of a manual bilge pump, it needs to be activated by hand. In contrast, an automatic bilge pump, there is a float switch that turns on the pump when water is detected.

How Much Do Bilge Pumps Cost?

Bilge Pump Brand Price
Attwood 4505-7 Automatic Bilge Pump $47.89
Shoreline Marine Bilge Pump $28.29
MAXZONE Automatic Bilge Water Pump $29.99
Johnson Pump 28552 Marine Pump Cartridge $21.43
Rule 02 Marine Bilge Pump $141.89

Types Of Bilge Pumps

There are two main types of bilge pump, electric and manual. But there are a few common subtypes that we thought would be good to cover here:

A diaphragm pump works a lot like a vacuum because it sucks water out of bilges.

A centrifugal pump, on the other hand, rotates the water, more like a turbine.

Benefits Of Using Bilge Pumps

Using a bilge pump makes your boat safer. These devices remove water from your boat, which is always really helpful when trying to keep the boat afloat. Bilge pumps provide a convenient way to remove water that accumulates in the bilge space. Doing this also helps to protect the components of the boat by keeping them more dry.

Top Bilge Pumps for Kayaks

1.Attwood 4505-7 Automatic Bilge Pump

Most Powerful Bilge Pump

Attwood is one of the most well-known and most reputable manufacturers of marine accessories out there. This compact but well-built pump won’t take up too much of your bilge space.

This bilge pump has one hell of a motor. Unlike other pumps on this list, the Attwood 4505-7 Automatic Bilge Pump has an IPM (Internal Permanent Magnet) motor. Also, this motor has a lubrication system for its ball bearings, which provides for smoother and consistent operation.

The motor in this pump is not the only well-built part. For example, it has a corrosion resistant stainless steel shaft that will work excellently in saltwater. Also, it has a glass-filled high-impact polyester impeller.

This pump has several useful, user-friendly features. For example, it has a test knob that makes operational checks a breeze. Also, it has a tray with an innovative design that allows one-handed removal for cleaning.



  • Perfect for small spaces
  • Equipped with permanent magnet motor
  • Durable construction
  • Large, clog resistant filter

2. Shoreline Marine Bilge Pump  – Easiest To Install Bilge Pump

The Shoreline Marine Bilge Pump has a secure clip that makes it more user-friendly than other bilge pumps. It’s important for a bilge pump to be easy to position in the hull of your boat. So, if a pump has a detachable clip, it can be easily removed for cleaning and inspection.

It’s important for a bilge pump to be rugged. In this case, the construction and build quality of this submersible pump is exceptional. It’s got a hard plastic casing which can withstand the harshest of marine environments.

This bilge pump also includes the most notable safety features such as ignition protection and low-current operation. Also, this pump comes with marine-grade tinned lead wires pre-installed.

It’s not a perfect bilge pump, however, as this one is known to have somewhat of a weak operating pressure. That means that it is not able to throw the water very far from where it’s removed from. With this pump, you are looking at about 1 foot of movement. So, that is important to consider.


  • Easy Installation
  • High quality construction built to last
  • Removable clip makes cleaning effortless
  • Includes universal base and flexible mounting options


  • Unable to throw water far

3.MAXZONE Automatic Bilge Water PumpBest Value Bilge Pump

The MAXZONE Automatic Bilge Water Pump is designed from the group up to be compact. So, if you have a small boat, this automatic bilge pump is a great match for you. This tiny pump doesn’t take hardly any space in your hull, but has enough power to get the job done. This happens to make this pump a backup solution. It features a fixed float switch and a space-efficient design that does not not compromise build quality or performance.

Another great thing about this pump is how energy efficient it is. The pump uses basically no energy when it’s not pumping. The device runs only when the float switch is activated. So that means this pump is fully automatic and will work only when you need it to.

This is one of the most durable bilge pumps, as it has a tough plastic housing that can withstand exceptionally high impact forces. The housing does not just protect against impacts, though. It also protects against corrosion and rust. It’s high-performance seals keep the water totally out of the motor, and its stainless steel shaft and water-cooled motor ensures a long pump life.

This pump also has a reed sensor and an intelligent electronic controller for a smarter, more efficient operation.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with this pump. It is billed as an automatic bilge pump for boats, but the float switch in this unit is not sensitive enough. You may find yourself having to manually turn the pump on.


  • Excellent option for small vessels
  • Low-Power, Energy-efficient operation
  • Tough plastic casing
  • Includes reed sensor system



  • Float switch is unreliable

4.Johnson Pump 28552 Marine Pump CartridgeBest Bilge Pump Cartridge

This is an excellent option if you already have a bilge pump that just needs a new cartridge. The Johnson Pump 28552 Marine Pump Cartridge has an easy, plug-and-play design. That means you won’t have to have technical knowledge to install it. You simply replace your old pump and impeller with this cartridge and you are good to go.

This Johnson bilge pump cartridge also includes easy, color-coded wires. So if you buy this cartridge, you won’t be left guessing how to connect the wires.

If you don’t have to buy an entirely new pump, you can save money. So, if you are just having a problem with your pump’s cartridge, you may want to consider picking this one up.

Also, this pump has a protected body that prevents water from getting into the internal components. Also, the pump will not ignite flammable substances that are near it.


  • Easy, plug-and-play design
  • Color-coded wires
  • Budget-friendly
  • Ignition-safe body


  • Not a complete pump

5.Rule 02 Marine Bilge PumpBest High-End Bilge Pump

Rule pumps are regarded as some of the best bilge pumps you can get. This is because the company has some of the highest quality standards out there. This is another compact pump, coming at only 6.3 tall. That makes it a great pick for small boats.

The best thing about this bilge pump is the fact that it uses a rugged, long-life motor. Also, as you would expect of the best bilge pumps, this one has a completely submersible design. Even when used in extreme marine environments, this pump is known to be among the longest-lasting. This is helped, in part, by its stainless steel shafts and excellent corrosion protection.

One of the most annoying things about automatic bilge pumps is that they are known to be quite noisy. We are pleased to announce that this model works nearly silently. Also, it does not vibrate that much, thanks to its excellent internal construction.

As with any device subjected to harsh marine conditions, dirt and debris will accumulate inside over time. So, to combat the annoyance of having to regularly clean your pump, this model has a snap-lock strainer. So, all you have to do is \push the side tabs of the motor to pull the strainer out and clean.


  • Compact, small design
  • Long-life motor
  • Quiet, near-silent operation
  • Easy to clean strainer


  • Too small for some boats

How To Find The Best Bilge Pump

Here are some of the most important aspects to consider when buying a bilge pump:

Capacity: How much water the pump can move is a critical factor. So, make sure to take a look at the flow rate.

Durability: This is especially important if you are dealing with salt water, as it is corrosive. So, make sure to look for a bilge pump that has corrosion protection.

Type: Depending on your application, you will have to decide if you need a centrifugal pump or a diaphragm-based pump. When it comes to fully automatic vs hand pumped, unless a manual pump is all that you can afford, it’s a no-brainer to go with an automatic pump.

Compatibility: This one is important. Centrifugals are more compatible with larger boats, while a diaphragm bilge pump generally has more power to send water uphill. For something small like a kayak, a portable bilge pump will do just fine.

How To Take Care Of Your Bilge Pump

To make sure that you get the most performance and the longest life out of your shiny new bilge pump, here are some important things to consider:

Step 1: Make sure to change the strainer regularly and remove any trash, dirt and debris that accumulate on the bilge pump strainer.

Step 2: Make sure to remove and reinstall the strainer every so often to prevent clogging.

Step 3: It is essential to perform regular tests of the float switch to make sure that it’s working.

Step 4: Do a general inspection of the wires to make sure that they have a good, sturdy connection to the power supply.

Step 5: Inspect the discharge hose to make sure there are no splits, kinks, or other problems.

How To Install A Bilge Pump

Step 1: Mount the pump in the desired position

Step 2: Connect the hose to the pump and put it above the waterline

Step 3: Wire the pump to the battery

Step 4: Depending on the type of pump, you may have to add a panel or float switch

How Often Do You Have To Run A Bilge Pump?

You are going to need to run the pump enough to be able to remove water from your boat faster than it takes water on. Otherwise you will sink. In most cases, the best bilge pumps will automatically determine when to activate.


The best bilge pump will keep your boat afloat by removing water faster than the boat takes more water on. Even if your boat is not going to sink as a result of the extra water, it will definitely be heavier. This puts more strain on your motor and can cause all sorts of knock-on problems.

The Attwood 4505-7 uses an Internal Permanent Magnet design, so its the strongest pump overall. Shoreline Marine Bilge Pump is known to be very easy to install and providing reliable long-term operation. If you are trying to get the most pump for your dollar, then look no further than the MAXZONE Automatic Bilge Water Pump. If you are only needing to replace your pump’s cartridge, the Johnson Pump 28552 Marine Pump Cartridge is an excellent solution. For those who are not on a budget and want the highest-end bilge pump, the Rule 02 Marine Bilge Pump is the way to go.

 We hope this article helped you find the best bilge pump for your boat. Thanks for reading!

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