Different Types of Pump

What is a pump?

A pump is a mechanical device designed to transfer liquids from lower to higher levels. It achieves this by creating low pressure at the inlet and high pressure at the outlet, facilitating the movement of liquids. The prime mover provides the necessary power to convert mechanical energy into velocity and pressure energy, allowing the pump to function.

Different Pump Types

Pumps can be categorized into two main groups based on their operating principles: dynamic pumps and positive displacement pumps. Additionally, pumps are further classified based on their specific applications, such as chemical pumps, oil pumps, sewage pumps, slurry pumps, and mud pumps, among others.

Classification of pumps

Figure: Classification of pumps.

Dynamic Pump

Rotodynamic pumps utilize an impeller to generate pressure and propel fluid at high speeds. They include:

Centrifugal Pump

A centrifugal pump relies on centrifugal force generated by a rotating impeller to transfer liquids. It is widely used in various industries, including water supply, irrigation, oil extraction, chemical processing, sewage treatment, and more.

Centrifugal Booster Pump


  • Simple and compact design
  • Available in various sizes to accommodate different flow rates
  • High efficiency due to mechanical and pressure energy conversion
  • Easy installation, repair, and maintenance


  • Susceptible to cavitation, which can lead to damage and frequent repairs
  • Reduced efficiency when pumping viscous fluids like grease, paint, and honey

Radial Flow Pump

A radial flow pump discharges liquid at a right angle to the shaft, utilizing centrifugal force to propel fluid from its source to the desired destination. It is suitable for water and wastewater transportation, food and beverage processing, flood dewatering, chemical handling, and more.


  • Easy installation and repair due to simple design
  • Efficient energy conversion
  • High flow rates depending on pump size
  • Suitable for a wide range of industries and applications


  • Inefficient with high viscosity fluids
  • Risk of damage if operated without fluid

Axial flow pump

An axial flow pump moves fluid in an axial direction along the shaft axis, similar to a ceiling fan. It operates by rotating the impeller to generate the power necessary for fluid transmission. It finds applications in chemical supply, water supply, irrigation, power generation, sewage transportation, HVAC systems, and more.


  • Simple design for easy installation and maintenance
  • Compact design suitable for high thrust capability
  • High impeller speed results in high flow rates
  • Available in various sizes to meet different pumping requirements


  • Produces low discharge pressure, making it unsuitable for high heads
  • Requires priming before use

Mixed Flow Pump

A mixed flow pump utilizes a mixed-flow impeller, allowing for both axial and radial flow action. It is suitable for handling high flow rates and is capable of transporting clean and contaminated fluids. Applications include water supply, wastewater and sewage treatment, slurry transportation, chemical handling, irrigation, and oil supply.


  • High discharge pressure ensures fluid flow to the desired destination
  • Ability to handle fluids with suspended solids
  • Provides high flow rates and high efficiency
  • Simple design for easy repair and installation
  • Versatile in size and resistant to corrosion


  • Higher initial cost
  • Susceptible to cavitation and requires priming before normal pumping

Submersible pump

A submersible pump operates fully submerged in the liquid being pumped. Its motor is hermetically sealed to prevent water entry. This design allows for self-priming, as the pump is already submerged in the fluid.

Submersible pumps are commonly used in sewage and wastewater systems, as well as for pumping salty and fresh water. They’re also employed in oil transportation due to their ability to withstand corrosive environments.


  • Self-priming by virtue of being submerged in the fluid.
  • Made of corrosion-resistant materials, resistant to corrosion.
  • Easy to operate without removing the pump from the well.
  • Either automatic or semi-automatic operation.
  • Produces high flow rate despite high heads.
  • Does not cause noise as it operates while deep underground.
  • A control switch for turning on/off makes the pump safe to operate.


  • More expensive relative to other pumps of the same capacity.
  • Challenge to perform routine inspection and maintenance.

Fire pump

Fire pumps, with their distinctive red color, are indispensable in distributing water for firefighting systems, ensuring comprehensive protection in various settings such as residential and commercial buildings, warehouses, gas stations, manufacturing plants, and stores.


  • Available in various sizes to accommodate different flow rates and head requirements.
  • High efficiency, converting most power into mechanical and pressure energy, thanks to the high speed of the impeller.


  • Relatively expensive compared to other pump types.
  • Requires frequent inspection and servicing.

Jet Pump

Jet pumps utilize a venturi nozzle to create a liquid jet, generating suction to draw fluid from its source. They find applications in marine, water supply, irrigation, and pipeline pressure boosting.

Jet pump

Figure: Jet pump.


  • Simple and compact design suitable for high-pressure pumping.
  • Lower initial cost compared to other pumps.
  • Capable of handling various fluids.
  • Lightweight relative to other pump types.
  • Well-designed for high flow rate and efficiency.


  • Requires priming before use.
  • Suitable primarily for pumping shallow depths.

Positive displacement (PD) pumps

Positive displacement pumps displace a fixed volume of fluid per cycle, ensuring a consistent flow rate. They find applications in various industries such as oil, food and beverage, chemical, and agriculture.

The Rotary Pump

Rotary pumps use rotating rotors to create suction pressure, drawing fluid into the pump and propelling it to the destination. They are suitable for pumping thick and viscous fluids, making them ideal for applications in oil, grease, and petroleum industries, food and beverage processing, chemical and paint manufacturing, agricultural applications, and mining.


  • Suitable for pumping both thin and viscous fluids.
  • Does not require priming like rotodynamic pumps.
  • Versatile in size, catering to various flow rates and head requirements.
  • High efficiency, increasing with pressure.


  • Produces pulsating flow.
  • Complex design, leading to time-consuming repairs.

Lobe Pump

Lobe pumps feature vertically aligned lobes inside the casing, operating without contact between lobes. They find applications in industries such as paper and pulp manufacturing, chemical and petroleum industries, food and beverage processing, agricultural use, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, and water supply.


  • Wide range of sizes to meet customer needs.
  • Suitable for diverse applications and industries.
  • High efficiency, reducing energy costs.
  • No priming required.
  • Gentle pumping action with accurate and constant flow.


  • Challenging to clean and repair.
  • Higher initial cost.

Gear Pump

Gear pumps utilize two gears rotating in opposite directions to transfer fluid, suitable for applications requiring constant flow rates. They find applications in metering, bitumen and oil industries, chemical, petrochemical, and paint manufacturing, water supply, food and beverage processing, manufacturing plants, and agriculture.

Advantages of Gear Pump

  • Provides consistent fluid flow.
  • Versatile in application and available in various sizes.
  • Suitable for highly viscous and low-viscosity fluids.
  • Self-priming capabilities.
  • High efficiency, leading to energy savings.
  • Bi-directional flow capability.


  • Operates at moderate speeds.
  • Requires regular maintenance.
  • Prone to noise.

Screw Pump

Screw pumps operate using two screws rotating in opposite directions to draw fluid into the pump and propel it to the discharge end. They find applications in mining, water supply, chemical and paint industries, food and beverage processing, oil and grease industries, and chemical and petroleum industries.


  • Versatile in size and application.
  • Suitable for a wide range of applications.
  • No manual priming required.
  • Compact structure suitable for high-pressure applications.
  • Simple design facilitates easy repair and cleaning.
  • Highly reliable with a constant flow rate.


  • Not suitable for abrasive fluids due to excessive wear.
  • Relatively expensive compared to rotodynamic pumps.

Peristaltic Pump

The peristaltic pump, also known as a hose pump, operates by squeezing fluid through a flexible tube or hose within its housing. This design ensures that the fluid never contacts the internal components of the pump, making it ideal for handling corrosive or toxic substances. Peristaltic pumps find applications in pharmaceuticals, chemical processing, beverages, and more.

Peristaltic pump

Figure: Peristaltic pump.


  • Fluid never contacts pump components, suitable for handling corrosive or toxic substances.
  • Airtight design prevents leakage, making it environmentally friendly.
  • Ideal for transporting viscous fluids with small particles.


  • Pulsating flow may be unsuitable for certain applications.
  • Tubes are prone to wear over time, requiring periodic replacement.

Diaphragm Pump

Utilizing compressed air for positive displacement, the diaphragm pump is suitable for low, medium, and high-viscosity fluids. With the ability to handle corrosive liquids and fluids with suspended solids, diaphragm pumps are widely used in various industries such as food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and chemical processing.

diaphragm pump


  • Capable of handling corrosive liquids and fluids with suspended solids.
  • Available in a wide range of sizes to fit various pumping demands.
  • Self-priming ability unlike centrifugal pumps.


  • Pulsating flow may be undesirable for certain applications.
  • Complex design due to the use of valves.

Cam Pump

Cam pumps employ two synchronous rotors to create suction at the inlet, allowing for gentle and efficient fluid movement. With low pulsation compared to other positive displacement pumps, cam pumps are favored in food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and biochemical industries.


  • Low pulsation compared to other positive displacement pumps.
  • Constant flow rate ideal for precision applications.


  • Complex design may result in time-consuming repairs and maintenance.

Piston Pump

The piston pump operates through reciprocating motion, making it suitable for a wide range of applications, including metering systems, oil hydraulics, and chemical processing.

Piston pump

Figure: Piston pump.


  • Robust and resilient design suitable for various applications.
  • Capable of pumping both low and high viscosity fluids.


  • Pulsating flow may not be suitable for all applications.
  • Relatively heavy compared to centrifugal pumps.

Plunger Pump

The plunger pump relies on reciprocating motion to create the pressure necessary for fluid transportation, making it suitable for high-pressure applications such as bitumen supply, petroleum, and mining.


  • Ability to handle abrasive and corrosive fluids.
  • Versatile in size to fit different pumping requirements.


  • Fluid flow is pulsating, resulting in high noise levels.
  • Requires frequent inspection and maintenance.

Other Pumps Types

Sewage Pump

Designed for transporting wastewater and sewage, featuring corrosion-resistant materials for durability. Versatile sizing options cater to varied flow rates and head requirements.


  • Easy and safe operation.
  • Resistant to corrosion and abrasion.
  • High efficiency and reliability.
  • Versatile sizing from small to large pumps.


  • Challenging routine inspection and servicing.
  • Prone to cavitation.
  • Higher initial cost.

Chemical Pump

Specially designed for handling corrosive chemicals, featuring corrosion-resistant materials and reliable seals to prevent leakage. Widely used in chemical manufacturing, petroleum, and pulp industries.

chemical pump


  • Suitable for high-pressure applications.
  • Wide range of sizes available.
  • High efficiency and reliability.
  • Leakage-free operation.


  • Requires frequent inspection and maintenance.
  • Higher initial cost compared to general-purpose pumps.

Oil Pump

Tailored for the oil industry, adhering to international safety standards for handling flammable products. Widely used in petroleum and petrochemical applications.


  • Wide range of sizes available.
  • High reliability and efficiency.
  • Fireproof design for safety.
  • Suitable for various petroleum products.


  • Higher initial cost.
  • Requires frequent inspection according to safety standards.

Vacuum Pump

Removes air or gas molecules to create a partial vacuum, featuring high suction power suitable for diverse applications. Widely used in electronics, food and beverage, and chemical processing industries.


  • High suction power for high heads.
  • Leakage-proof for pumping toxic materials.
  • Safe and versatile operation.


  • High power consumption.
  • Limited capacity for large-scale pumping.

Magnetic Pump

Utilizes magnets to seal the motor and impeller, ensuring zero leakage and contamination for hazardous fluids. Suitable for handling corrosive substances and toxic solutions.

Magnetic driver pump

Figure: Magnetic driver pump.


  • Lower life cycle costs.
  • Resistant to corrosion.
  • Easy maintenance and repair.
  • Versatile in applications and size.


  • Higher initial cost.
  • Energy losses in magnetic coupling.
  • Prone to cavitation.

Slurry Pump

A slurry pump is engineered to efficiently transport mixtures of liquids and solids, such as manure, cement, coal, and starch suspended in water. Notably, it boasts high resistance to abrasive and corrosive wear, making it indispensable in various industries, including mining, construction, agriculture, commercial dredging, oil and gas, wastewater treatment, dredging, and mineral processing.


  • Versatility across different applications, with wide-ranging sizes available.
  • Exceptional durability, minimizing maintenance needs.
  • Minimal noise and vibrations during operation.
  • Streamlined installation process, ensuring hassle-free setup.
  • Energy-efficient operation, contributing to cost savings.
  • Resilient against corrosion and abrasion, ensuring long-term reliability.


  • Initial investment cost is relatively high.
  • Requires significant energy consumption for operation.
  • Demands regular maintenance and repair to uphold performance standards.

Mud Pump

Also known as a drilling mud pump, this positive displacement pump plays a crucial role in recirculating drilling fluid at high pressure during drilling operations.

Engineered to meet API standards, it ensures efficient drilling processes in various applications, including tunnelling, mining, water well drilling, construction, environmental remediation, pipeline operations, geothermal operations, gas extraction, drilling operations, and hydraulic fracturing.


  • Enhanced safety features for reliable operation in demanding environments.
  • Highly productive and efficient performance, enhancing overall drilling efficiency.
  • Precision accuracy, crucial for achieving drilling objectives accurately.
  • Versatility in both applications and sizes, catering to diverse industry needs.


  • Relatively expensive compared to alternative pumping solutions.
  • Consumes substantial energy, contributing to operational costs.
  • Generates considerable noise levels, requiring noise mitigation measures in some settings.

Propeller Pump

A rotodynamic pump with an impeller design reminiscent of a ship’s propeller, offering high flow rates and low heads. This pump efficiently moves fluid axially along the impeller, catering to various applications, including dewatering, irrigation, water treatment, mining, chemical processing, sewage applications, and drainage.

Figure: Propeller pump.


  • High flow rates and efficiency, ensuring effective fluid movement.
  • Versatility in applications and sizes, accommodating diverse industry needs.
  • Compact and straightforward design, facilitating ease of installation and operation.
  • Capability to handle suspended solids in fluids, enhancing operational flexibility.


  • Vulnerable to cavitation under certain operating conditions.
  • Initial cost can be significant, impacting upfront investment requirements.
  • Limited pumping head compared to some other pump types.
  • Requires priming before use in many applications.

Solar Pump

Powered by solar panels harnessing energy from sunlight, this pump offers a sustainable and cost-effective solution for various applications, including fountain water features, crop irrigation, domestic water supply, water treatment and purification, fish farming, and swimming pools.


  • Portability due to universal availability of solar energy.
  • Promotes environmental sustainability by utilizing renewable energy sources.
  • Energy independence and cost savings, reducing reliance on traditional power grids.
  • Simple installation and maintenance requirements, minimizing operational complexities.
  • High reliability and efficiency, ensuring consistent performance.
  • Community development benefits, particularly in remote areas with limited access to electricity.


  • Relies on intermittent solar power supply, necessitating backup systems for continuous operation.
  • Requires ample space for installation of solar panels, particularly for larger pump systems.
  • Backup systems necessary for periods of low sunlight or inclement weather conditions.
  • Initial investment cost can be high, although long-term savings offset this over time.

Sump Pump

A sump pump is a specialized submersible pump crafted for utilization within sump pits, typically found in basements or crawl spaces. Its primary function is to evacuate fluids from these areas, thereby averting potential flooding. Equipped with an automatic float switch, the pump activates when fluid levels reach a predetermined threshold. This proactive measure not only safeguards the structural integrity of buildings but also contributes to maintaining indoor air quality.


  • Versatile sizing and applicability
  • Mitigation of property damage
  • Reduction of unpleasant odors
  • High efficiency and flow rates
  • Long-lasting service life and reliability
  • Automatic operation for convenience
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Prevention of basement flooding
  • Resistance to corrosion and abrasion
  • Minimal vibration and noise emission


  • Dependency on electricity
  • Challenges in inspection and repair within the sump
  • Requirement for regular maintenance

Transfer Pump

A transfer pump facilitates the movement of fluids between locations, typically installed outdoors and engineered with durable materials to withstand environmental elements like dust, wind, and sunlight. It serves diverse purposes, including water transportation, wastewater and sewage transfer, oil and chemical handling, slurry conveyance, marine applications, and food manufacturing.


  • Versatile sizing for diverse pumping needs
  • High efficiency and flow rates
  • Long-term reliability
  • Enhanced safety features
  • Adaptability across various applications


  • Susceptibility to noise generation
  • Initial cost investment may be significant
  • Occupies substantial installation space


There are various types of pumps that are classified based on working principle and the field of application. Each pump is designed for a certain range of head and flow rate. The pump should be used according to manufacturer’s instructions to enhance its service life and reduce unprecedented downtime.