The Best 12V RV Water Pumps (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Enjoy high water flow to multiple fixtures with our 12V RV water pump selection.
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BY Jesus Garcia / LAST UPDATED ON June 22, 2020
Without a proper water pump, an RV is essentially just a rolling port-a-potty. A water pump allows an RV to have running water, which is key for experiencing all the perks an RV has to offer, like showers, toilets, and cooking. Most RV water pumps run using the RV’s 12-volt battery. It is recommended that you test and inspect your RV water pump before every road trip — especially if the RV it's been parked or stored for a long period of time between uses. The middle of a cross-country adventure is a bad time for the toilet to stop flushing. RV owners need to research their RV model for specifications on the right water pump for their model. They need to look at water specifications, water pressure, and the size of the current water pump. Check out some of the top options below.
This is a 12v RV water pressure pump that can also be adapted for marine, filtration, and solar water systems. It can flow water pressure ranging from 17 to 55 psi, thanks to internal bypass technology that reduces cycling controlled by a switch. Seaflo took extra steps to make sure it was quiet. According to Seaflo, the 42 series is no louder than an air conditioner running, thanks to the semi-rigid rubber floor mount to reduce vibrations.
Adjustable water pressure switch. Designed with multiple fittings to allow connections with most outlets. Runs dry without damage. Includes thermal protection. Seaflo offers a four-year limited warranty.
Compact size may be too small for certain RV models. Check the owner’s manual before buying.
This smooth-flowing 12v RV water pump features a built-in pulsation eliminator which allows water to flow smoothly without the need for an accumulator tank. Flojet designed it for easy installation with snap-in, half-inch port fittings. It is also protected against rust, thanks to its durable corrosion-resistant construction.
Self-priming up to nine feet of suction lift. Able to run dry without damage. Totally enclosed permanent motor with ignition protection. Adjustable water pressure switch. Noise reduction soft material mounts. Protected against corrosive materials. Built-in bypass technology for adjustable pressure. Works great with Eccotemp L5, L7, and L10 tankless water heaters.
Check the owner’s manual to ensure it meets specifications for your RV.
This 12v RV water pump delivers reliable performance in high flow, moderate pressure applications. This water pump can be used in a variety of transfer and dispense-on-demand applications. It can also be mounted in any position and is designed for easy maintenance, which is ideal for all types of recreational vehicles.
Has a 3.0 GPM flow rate. 45 psi on-demand switch. Self-priming with nine feet of suction lift. Can be mounted in any position. Designed for easy maintenance. Thermally protected motor.
One-way operation prevents reverse flow. Check the owner’s manual before buying to ensure it meets vehicle requirements.
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Best 12V RV Water Pumps Buying Guide & FAQs
Having a working water pump can be the difference between a miserable, spartan RV holiday you’d rather wipe from your memory, and a dream road trip you never want to forget.
An onboard water pump makes it possible to shower, fill the sink, flush the toilet, and carry out many other tasks you take for granted at home. It’s very likely that your RV will have an existing water pump and, with a little luck, you’ll never have to give it a second thought. But if you’re looking to upgrade your water pump, or desperately need to replace a faulty one, there are some things you need to know.
Do You Need a 12V RV Water Pump?
If you’re planning to spend all your time in the RV parked at a single campsite with water or electricity hookups, you might not need a 12V water pump. But if you’re going to be in the RV for any length of time, either camping off-grid or even just stopping for lunch by the side of the road, a 12V water pump is a must-have. It's even more important if you have children on board.
An on-board water pump opens up all kinds of possibilities in terms of travel and freedom. You don’t have to be tied to a campground and, with your own consistent water supply, you don’t have to worry about access to a water supply.
Benefits of 12v RV Water Pumps
- Having a reliable running water supply in your RV makes everything from cooking to cleaning a lot more convenient.
- Camping with children is a much nicer and much easier experience when you have running water and a flushing toilet on board.
- Avoid the line for the campsite shower in the morning and use your own.
- RV living is the definition of freedom and self-sufficiency. It’s difficult to be self-sufficient when you’re reliant on a city or campground water supply.
Types of 12V RV Water Pumps
Constant Speed Pump
As the name suggests, a constant speed pump delivers water through your system at a single rate of flow. It’s either on or off and it’s not possible to adjust the water speed. Constant speed pumps are the most common type of 12V RV water pumps because they’re the simplest and most affordable option.
Variable Speed Pump
Variable speed pumps deliver water in a manner you’re probably more accustomed to, in that the flow rate varies depending on what is required. The built-in pressure switch adjusts the speed of the motor in order to maintain a constant water pressure, which results in a varied flow rate. Variable speed pumps are usually quieter than constant speed pumps, but can also be more expensive.
High Volume Pump
The least common type of 12V RV water pump is the high-volume variety. They move water at a much faster rate than a standard pump, but this means they also require more power. For that reason, they’re usually only found on the biggest RVs and motorhomes, which can provide the necessary 50 amps. Any water pump listed as having a flow rate of 4 gallons per minute (GPM) or more is considered a high volume pump.
What to Look for When Buying a 12V RV Water Pump
Water pumps are usually 12V, 110V, or 120V. Regardless of its size, you’ll want a 12V water pump for your RV. The other voltages are for actual houses and are way too powerful even for the biggest rigs.
Now that we’ve narrowed it down to 12-volt water pumps, there are still a number of things to take into consideration before getting your wallet out. These considerations depend on the size, make, and model of your RV. If you can’t get your hands on the original owner’s manual, you should be able to find the information you need with a quick internet search.
The most important factor to consider when choosing a new water pump is the RV’s water pressure maximum capacity. This is important for performance and safety. Most pumps will be in the “safe” range of 60 to 75 pounds per square inch (PSI).
If you’ve spent any time inside an RV, you know that nothing is bigger than it needs to be and every square inch has been designed for maximum efficiency. The same goes for all the bits you don’t see, which is why it’s important to measure the space in which your current pump is installed. Chances are, there’s not going to be much additional room for you to fit anything bigger.
Water speed — or flow rate — is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). Your owner’s handbook will confirm what the optimal water flow rate is for the make and model of your camper. This is important because the higher the GPM, the harder the pump has to work. More powerful water pumps tend to be bigger and draw more electrical power, too. Many pumps are now available with adjustable speeds to combat this issue.
Related post: RV Water Filters
Best 12V RV Water Pumps FAQs
By now, you should have a pretty good idea about the benefits of having a water pump, what things you need to consider when buying one for your rig, and the different options you can choose from. Is there anything else you need to know?
Q. How does a 12V RV water pump work?
A: When you open the faucet or turn on the shower, the change in pressure causes the pump to switch on. This drags water from the tank through the pipes running around your rig to wherever it needs to be. Closing the faucet turns off the pressure switch on the pump head, and water stops flowing.
Q. How do I choose the best 12V RV water pump?
A: The best water pump for your RV is always going to be one that is compatible with your individual setup. Make sure you know your maximum water pressure, flow rate, and how much space you have for installation, and use those details to narrow down your options.
Q. Should I get a 12V RV water pump?
A: If you’re planning on spending any amount of time on the road, off-grid, or at ultra-basic campsites, then we’d definitely recommend investing in a water pump. If you’re confident you’ll always have easy access to a main water supply, you might not need to bother.
Our Top Pick
We chose the Seaflo 42 Series 12V Water Pump as our top overall pick because of its versatility. An RV water pump that can also be adapted to work with marine, filtration, and solar systems, it’s also capable of handling a range of water pressure from 17 to 55 PSI. It’s compatible with various fittings and connections while being remarkably compact, so it should be suitable for most rigs, too. Add to that the fact that it’s super-quiet, adjustable, and protected by a four-year warranty, and it’s not hard to see why it’s our favorite.
The super-quiet Seaflo 42 Series 12V Water Pump has a bunch of features, including thermal protection and an adjustable pressure switch, which add up to make it our best overall 12V RV water pump. Our Best Value pick is the smooth-flow, easy-to-install Flojet 03526 Triplex.