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About Pumps

Centrifugal Pump. Image Credit: OMEGA Engineering, Inc. | Peristalic Hose Pump. Image Credit: Wilden Pump & Engineering, LLC. | Double Diaphragm Slurry Pump . Image Credit: Trebor International

Pumps are devices used to generate flow to move fluids and slurries from one point to another within a system. They vary widely in scope and function based on their design and mechanism. Selecting the right pump for an application requires an understanding and analysis of pump operation, components, performance specifications, features, and applications.

Pumps Categories

Axial Flow Pumps (81 suppliers)

Axial flow pumps or propeller pumps allow fluid to enter the impeller axially. They discharge fluid nearly axially, pumping the liquid in a direction that is parallel to the pump shaft.

Bellhousings (pump to motor) (20 suppliers)

Pump motor bellhousings are mounting devices used to connect dissimilar motor and pump bolt configurations.

Bladder Pumps (13 suppliers)

Bladder pumps consist of a flexible, squeezable bladder encased in a rigid outer casing. They are low-flow pneumatic devices used for sampling applications.

Booster Pumps (277 suppliers)

Booster pumps are used in applications where the normal system pressure is low and needs to be increased.

Cantilever Pumps (82 suppliers)

Cantilever pumps are centrifugal pumps used in sump pump applications. They are available in horizontal and vertical configurations. Many styles including submersible motors.

Centrifugal Pumps (1,169 suppliers)

Centrifugal pumps consist of a set of rotating vanes, enclosed within a housing or casing, that are used to impart energy to a fluid through centrifugal force.

Chemical Pumps (544 suppliers)

Chemical pumps are designed for applications requiring greater reliability and durability than conventional pumps.

Condensate Pumps (189 suppliers)

Condensate pumps are used to collect and transport condensate back into a steam system for reheating and reuse, or to remove unwanted condensate from an HVAC or appliance collection pan.

Cryogenic Pumps (41 suppliers)

Cryogenic pumps are designed to move coolants and cryogenic liquids. They are built to withstand and operate in extremely cold temperatures

DC Powered Pumps (149 suppliers)

DC powered pumps use direct current from motor, battery, or solar power to move liquids such as acids, chemicals, lubricants and oil, as well as water, wastewater, and potable water.

Diaphragm Pumps (569 suppliers)

Diaphragm pumps use a diaphragm that moves back and forth to transport liquids from one place to another.

Dosing Pumps (200 suppliers)

Dosing pumps are low-volume fluid pumps with controllable discharge rates used to inject additives into the mixing or pumping system.

Drum Pumps (258 suppliers)

Drum pumps are used to transfer materials from a container into a process or other container. They may be electrically, hydraulically, or pneumatically powered depending on the working environment or application.

Explosion Proof Pumps (94 suppliers)

Explosion proof pumps prevent internal or external explosions by enclosing parts that could ignite either the transfer media or the surrounding atmosphere.

Fluid Transfer Pump Systems (261 suppliers)

Fluid transfer pump systems are used in processing, water purification and desalination, or liquid handling applications.

Fountain Pumps (38 suppliers)

Fountain pumps are designed to supply flow to fountains, devices used for aesthetic purposes and aeration in residential, commercial, and industrial applications

Fuel Dispensing Equipment (102 suppliers)

Fuel dispensing equipment dispenses and monitors all types of liquid and gaseous fuel.

Gear Pumps (540 suppliers)

Gear pumps use intermeshing gears to pump various types of liquids. Typically, one gear is the driver and the other is free wheeling. The gears have very tight tolerances so that the fluid being pumped cannot pass through them. Common uses for gear pumps include high pressure, metering, and flow control applications.

Grinder Pumps (134 suppliers)

Grinder pumps are centrifugal pumps equipped with shredding systems to aid in the transport of solids filled media.

Hand Pumps and Foot Pumps (284 suppliers)

Hand pumps and foot pumps are manually operated pumps that can driven by hand or foot via a handle or lever. 

Hydraulic Pumps (677 suppliers)

Hydraulic pumps deliver high-pressure fluid flow to the pump outlet. Hydraulic pumps are powered by mechanical energy sources to pressurize fluid.

Impellers (138 suppliers)

Impellers are rotating devices that force liquids, gases and vapors in a desired direction. They are widely used in pumping, blowing, and mixing applications.

Injection Pumps (108 suppliers)

Injection pumps are designed to inject measured amounts of fluid into a reservoir or production system.

Jet Pumps (121 suppliers)

Jet pumps are typically used for drawing water up from a well. These pumps can be used for either shallow or deep well configurations. 

Lift Stations (79 suppliers)

Lift stations contain pumps, valves, and electrical equipment necessary to pump water or wastewater from a low elevation to a high elevation.

Liquid Handling Pumps (2,236 suppliers)

Industrial liquid handling pumps are classified in many different ways, and are distinguished by the media pumped and the fluid motive mechanism (dynamic or displacement).

Magnetic Drive Pumps (260 suppliers)

Magnetic drive pumps are sealless pumps that use a coaxial magnetic coupling to transmit torque to an impeller. A standard electric motor drives a set of permanent magnets that are mounted on a carrier or drive assembly.

Mechanical Vacuum Pumps and Systems (245 suppliers)

Mechanical vacuum pumps and systems contain devices such as pistons, claws, scrolling spirals, and diaphragms to isolate and compress air.

Metering Pumps (464 suppliers)

Metering pumps are positive displacement pumps designed to dispense precise amounts of fluids and measured flow control.

Mud Pumps (86 suppliers)

Mud pumps are large, reciprocating pumps that are used to circulate the mud on a drilling rig. A typical mud pump is a double- or triple-acting, two- or three-cylinder piston pump whose pistons travel in replaceable liners and are driven by a crankshaft.

Peristaltic Pumps (314 suppliers)

Peristaltic pumps use rotating rollers pressed against special flexible tubing to create a pressurized flow.

Piston Pumps and Plunger Pumps (599 suppliers)

Piston pumps and plunger pumps are reciprocating positive displacement pumps that use a plunger or piston to move media through a cylindrical chamber.

Plastic Pumps (180 suppliers)

Plastic pumps are designed to move fluids that would corrode or damage other types of pumps. They provide broad chemical resistance and are less costly and lighter in weight than metal pumps.

Positive Displacement Pumps (659 suppliers)

Positive displacement pumps use a mechanical force such as gears, bladders, pistons, plungers or diaphragms to push liquid through and out of the pump.

Progressing Cavity Pumps (191 suppliers)

Progressing cavity pumps are a type of rotary positive displacement pump designed to transfer fluid or media with suspended solids or slurries from the suction side of the pump to the discharge side of the pump, from storage tanks or through pipelines. 

Rotary Lobe Pumps (139 suppliers)

Rotary lobe pumps are positive displacement (PD) pumps that use rotating lobes to direct flow.

Rotary Vane Vacuum Pumps and Systems (178 suppliers)

Rotary vane vacuum pumps and systems move media through the pump using a rotating assembly in the pumping chamber. Typically, there are two or more rotating vanes that move the media from inlet to outlet. Rotary vane vacuum pumps are positive displacement pumps.

Sampling Pumps (75 suppliers)

Sampling pumps are used to monitor liquids, air, and gases. They are usually portable and developed for specific tasks.

Sanitary Pumps (189 suppliers)

Sanitary pumps are used to transport and meter solutions, slurries, and colloids of food and agricultural materials in operations such as food processing that require cleanliness. There are four basic types of sanitary pumps: centrifugal, positive displacement, jet, and airlift.

Screw Pumps (158 suppliers)

Screw pumps are rotary, positive displacement pumps that have one or more screws to transfer fluids or materials along an axis. 

Self Priming Pumps (358 suppliers)

Self-priming pumps create and maintain a sufficient vacuum level to draw fluid with no external assistance

Sewage Pumps (391 suppliers)

Sewage pumps are used to pump effluents, semi-solids and small solids in liquids.

Slurry Pumps (131 suppliers)

Slurry pumps increases the pressure of a liquid and solid particle mixture (slurry) to create flow.

Submersible Pumps (758 suppliers)

Submersible pumps can be mounted into a tank with the liquid media. The pump’s motor is normally sealed in an oil filled cavity that is protected from contact with the liquid.

Sump Pumps (311 suppliers)

Sump pumps are used in applications where excess water must be pumped away from a particular area. Sump pumps generally sit in a basin or sump that collects this excess water.

Syringe Pumps (65 suppliers)

Infusion or withdrawal syringe pumps provide high pressure and high accuracy for applications such as high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).  Used to deliver precise amounts of fluid at specific time intervals.

Trash Pumps (140 suppliers)

Trash pumps are designed to pump large amounts of water that contains hard and soft solids such as mud, leaves, twigs, sand, and sludge. Most devices are portable, heavy-duty centrifugal pumps that feature deeper impeller vanes and larger discharge openings than other pumps.

Triplex Pumps (69 suppliers)

Triplex pumps are positive displacement, reciprocating pumps that are configured with three plungers. Triplex pumps are the most commonly used pump configuration for drilling and well service operations.

Turbine Pumps (251 suppliers)

Turbine pumps are centrifugal pumps that use pressure in combination with a rotary mechanism to transfer fluid.  They typically employ blade geometry, which causes fluid circulation around the vanes to add pressure from inlet to outlet. 

Utility Pumps (126 suppliers)

Utility pumps are used in many applications such as dewatering low-lying areas, pool covers, and sumps. They are not designed for continuous use.  

Vacuum Pumps and Vacuum Generators (842 suppliers)

Vacuum pumps and vacuum generators provide sub-atmospheric pressure for a variety of industrial and scientific applications where a vacuum is required.

Wastewater Pumps (465 suppliers)

Wastewater pumps are used in the collection of sewage, effluent, drainage and seepage water.

Water Pumps (855 suppliers)

Water pumps move water that does not contain suspended solids or particulates. Applications include water supply, irrigation, land and mine drainage, sea water desalination, and condensate transport.

Well Pumps (191 suppliers)

Well pumps are most commonly used to bring water from wells and springs to the surface.

Pump Operation

Every pump can be classified to some extent based on its mechanism or method of operation. For more information on these classifications and what they mean, see GlobalSpec's Pump Types page.


Pumps are made up of a variety of standard and nonstandard parts depending on their type and application. GlobalSpec's Pump Components page provides an overview of these different parts.

Performance Specifications

Understanding and interpreting performance specifications is a crucial part of correctly sourcing a pump for a specific system or application. For an overview of the most important pump specifications and what they mean, visit GlobalSpec's Pump Flow page.


Pumps may have a number of different features that add or enhance operation and functionality in a given application. Features include accessories, construction methods, materials, performance aspects, and power sources. GlobalSpec's Pump Features page contains a complete list and explanation of these different features.


A number of pump categories on GlobalSpec are organized based on pump application. Specifically, pumps can be classified based on a specific function they perform, or on the type of media that they handle. The Pump Applications page on GlobalSpec examines these different types of pumps.

Other Information


Pump standards provide guidelines and consensus for the design and operation of pumping systems. A number of organizations provide these standards, some for specific industries or applications.

  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI) / Hydraulic Institute (HI) – ANSI is a private non-profit organization that collects consensus standards on different types of products. HI creates product standards that define all aspects of pump products. In conjunction, ANSI/HI standards help manufacturers and purchasers make informed decisions on pump design to enhance performance.
  • American Petroleum Institute (API) – API is the largest U.S. trade association for the oil and natural gas industry. They provide industry-specific standards for pumps in order to improve system efficiency and cost-effectiveness, comply with regulatory requirements, and ensure safety.
  • ASTM International – Formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, ASTM is a leading developer of international voluntary consensus standards. They provide a number of technical standards and specifications for different classifications of pumps.
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO) – ISO is the largest developer of voluntary international standards. They provide technical specifications and standards for numerous different types of pumps and components.


For definitions of commonly used terms used when dealing with pumps, see GlobalSpec's Pump Terminology page.


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