Puddle pumps: worth it or a waste of money?

Karcher SP7 dirty water flood pump: £159.00

Makita PF0300 submersible drainage pump: £62.00

Einhell Dirt Water Pump : £88.00

Draper stainless steel pump : £102.25

Is a puddle pump right for you?

With good quality puddle pumps starting at as little as £69.99 puddle pumps can be a tempting option to rid yourself of problematic garden flooding during the wetter months. But are they worth the money and should you invest in one? We explore the pros and cons from the point of view of a garden drainage expert.

The mighty puddle pump

A puddle pump is an electric powered hand-held pump. You place it into a pool of water and it sucks the water through a hose you have attached to wherever the hose is pointed. Most puddle pumps work using an automatic sensor which means you can leave them in a puddle and they will stop pumping when it gets down to a certain depth.  

They can pump up anywhere up to 7000L of water per hour which is enough to drain a pretty severe flood.

Good points

Of course the number one selling point of a puddle pump is that it is cheap. You will struggle to find any form of drainage which is cheaper than a mid to low range puddle pump. Just make sure it’s really a puddle pump, there are lots of pond pumps being sold as puddle pumps. 

Most pond pumps are not built for this type of use and will break in dirty water. 

As well as being cheap they are incredibly easy to use with many only requiring that you plug them in and place them in the right location.  More complex ones might require you to Flick a switch as well.

Weighing anywhere from 2 to 5 kg, puddle pumps are very small and easy to carry around. Their small size means they can be tucked away in a cupboard or in the back of a shed only to see the light of day when they are needed.

Bad points

Cheap puddle pumps often can’t handle extremely dirty water and can break with large silt or other blockages which I find very common in most gardens. Make sure to read the technical specifications to find out if it can handle dirty water.  get something which can handle at least 2 mm particles to make sure it won’t break from use in normal puddles.

You are probably thinking, “hang on, wasn’t a good point that they are easy to use?”. Well yes but let me explain why that’s only part true

It is true that you can place them in a puddle and leave it until that puddle is gone. However this means that every time you want to drain a puddle you have to get it out, plug in in and place it in the puddle. Then you need to remember to get it in when it’s done.  

Given that puddle pumps will mostly be needed when it’s absolutely hammering it down this may be a very unpleasant and time consuming experience. 

They are easy to use but could need used so often that it becomes a major pain

Draining large puddles usually only solves part of a drainage issue. Most drainage issues are below the soil or ground level and require underground storage. A puddle pump could end up only treating the symptoms rather than the problem itself.

Conclusion: should you buy a puddle pump?

If you have infrequent and reasonably large puddles then a puddle pump could be a good option for you. It will mean that you can quickly get rid of these large pools of water when they pop up every now and again. It will be a bit of effort but will save a lot of money compared to a permanent drainage solution. 

On the other hand, if you have a waterlogged or frequently flooded garden then a puddle pump really will only treat the issue in a superficial way. Unless you are content to put in a lot of work and still have a large drain problem then you should look for other options and save the money for something which will work better.

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