LAST UPDATED: February 26, 2021
The Best Electric Fuel Pumps (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Keep that puppy running with these electric fuel pumps!
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PUBLISHED ON February 26, 2021
Fuel delivery is essential to making an engine run. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to breathe new life into a carbureted big block or get the lawn equipment moving, the engine needs a steady supply of fuel, and that’s precisely what a fuel pump is for. If you’re dealing with most classic designs, you’ll have the option to work with the mechanical or electric pump.
There are many reasons to stick with the mechanical pump, and they stem beyond merely keeping the vehicle as it was when it rolled off the show room floor. But this guide is all about electric pumps to help you choose one for your application. We list some of our favorites to keep things as simple as possible.
Universal in-tank pump with high-power compatibility. This pump works with naturally aspirated or forced induction EFI applications and can support more than 1,000 horsepower.
- Can support applications with more than 1,000 horsepower
- Universal design
- Excellent price point
- Comes with everything for installation
- Complicated installation
- May require slight modification to work
Universal inline pump with an excellent price point. This pump is perfect for small motors or temporary use in carbureted vehicles.
- Excellent price point
- Universal design
- Easy to install
- Comes with everything for installation
- Reliability is questionable
EFI compatible pump that can support up to 1,000 horsepower naturally aspirated or with forced induction. It also is a universal pump that is compatible with race fuels.
- Can support applications with up to 1,000 horsepower
- Universal design
- Compatible with gasoline, methanol, and ethanol
- Comes with everything for install
- Complicated installation
- May require slight modification to work
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Electric Fuel Pumps
- Availability. It’s no secret that parts fail. If you’re working on a vehicle that you rely on, it is wise to run the pump style that’s most readily available to you. Investing in spare parts is a way around this, but you’re far more likely to find a universal pump at the local parts store in many cases.
- Higher flow rates. If you’re dealing with high power levels or a fuel injection swap, higher fuel rates are essential. There are mechanical pumps that can supply the necessary fuel flow, but electric pumps with the same capacity are often easier to install and are more readily available.
- Safety. The factory location of a fuel pump can be a call for concern. They almost exist near the exhaust manifold or header. The residual heat can cause vapor lock or boil fuel in the system, which may lead to a fire. The use of an electric pump is one way around these issues.
- Efficiency. Electric fuel pumps have an edge in terms of efficiency because they overcome some of the issues a mechanical pump struggles with. That said, they don’t boost engine efficiency but help to create an optimized fuel delivery system. If you’re interested in learning more about fuel delivery, you should check out our reviews of Most Fuel-Efficient Cars and What is Flex Fuel to get up to date.
Types of Electric Fuel Pumps
An inline fuel pump is a style that exists in the fuel lines between the engine and the fuel tank. One of the advantages of this style of pump is the ease of installation and maintenance. But because they are meant to push rather than pull, you have to find or fabricate a location to mount the pump, so it doesn’t have to work too hard to pull fuel from the tank. Locating it as low and near as possible is ideal as it will use gravity to its advantage.
In-tank pumps are precisely that, fuel pumps that live within the fuel tank or fuel cell. They are more costly than an inline pump but do many things better. For one, they don’t create the issue of finding a proper mounting location but you may need to update your tank to accept one. They also won’t starve as quickly under acceleration or low fuel levels. These pumps are generally much more powerful and meant to work with fuel injection systems. And because they exist within the tank, they make for a much better-looking final product. Our guide to Fuel Pumps has an emphasis on OE style pumps of this configuration and is worth the read for those who need a new fuel pump for late-model applications.
Holley is based out of Bowling Green, Ky., and has been hard at work since 1903. If you know anything about classic American cars, you know Holley is a master of fuel delivery. The brand’s claim to fame may be carburetors, but the Holley (12427) Fuel Pump is an excellent example of its other offerings.
Headquartered out of Hawthorne, Calif., AEM Electronics is a known supplier of racing solutions. The company has been in the business of supplying racing components since 1987. It is in the business of outperforming the competition in any way possible. The AEM 50-1200 E85 In-Tank Fuel Pump is but one example of what it can do.
Since 1909, Carter has been hot on it with fuel delivery solutions. Over the years, it has been a leading supplier of components for fuel delivery systems. The company is headquartered in Rochester Hills, Mich., and produces fuel pumps of all shapes and sizes. And while we do love the Carter P4070 In-Line Electric Fuel Pump, it’s not all it has to offer.
Electric Fuel Pump Pricing
- $10-$50: Universal inline pumps dominate this price range. The further up you move in pricing, the quality will raise.
- $50-$100: In this price range, you can find a mix of inline and in-tank pumps. Depending on the style of pump, you can expect to see a fluctuation in quality and performance.
- $100 and up: Premium in-tank pumps dominate this price range. Depending on performance and features, you can expect to see these pumps climb well above the $100 mark.
It may seem obvious, but one of the most essential features of an electric fuel pump is its intended mounting configuration. Whether you want to mount something in the tank or outside of the tank does come down to a balance of performance demands and personal preference. How powerful an application is, whether it has a carburetor or fuel injection, and your budget all come into play when deciding what to install and run.
The rate at which a pump supplies fuel is significant. How much is appropriate depends on power output and the type of fuel delivery system you’re working with. In all cases, a carbureted system requires a low-pressure pump, unlike fuel injection, which relies on high rates of fuel flow. You need to select a pump with a flow rate that matches the needs of your engine.
- Fuel Compatibility. Gasoline isn’t the only thing an engine will run on. Even though our guide is more tailored to someone working with a relatively stock to mild applications, different fuel types are still a concern. For example, if you intend to use E85 in your application, you need to make sure the fuel pump will allow it. Otherwise, you may damage it.
Best Electric Fuel Pumps Reviews & Recommendations 2021
Our top pick is a pump that works with electronic fuel injection systems. It’s an in-tank design meant to make for the neatest possible finished product and is designed explicitly to work with most applications. Best of all, this product will work with naturally aspirated and forced-induction applications and can support over 1,000 horsepower. But despite being in league with many other high-dollar pumps, it reserves a relatively low price point. This pump is not a plug-and-play set up, but it does come with pretty much everything you need to get it up and running as quickly as possible.
Seeing that this is a universal in-tank pump and works with the factory sending unit, it’s not the most simple to install. Its installation process is quite a bit more extensive than most others. Some users even indicate small modifications are necessary, depending on the application. However, that is something to anticipate due to the design.
Not everyone’s running a supercharged EFI monster, and electric fuel pumps aren’t reserved solely for that purpose. Here is the polar opposite of that kind of pump, and it just so happens to be one of the most affordable options available. This little pump is a perfect quick fix for anyone who needs the most basic pump for the most basic job. It’s universal and will work with gasoline or diesel and has an output pressure rating of 3 to 6psi. Installation is simple with the integrated mounting bracket and the pigtail for the power supply. Furthermore, it has easy-to-read indicators of the flow to prevent any issues with setup.
As you might guess from the price, this pump isn’t one you want to use on anything serious and has some concerns regarding its reliability. But when it comes to simply getting the boat up and running or temporary use in a car, it should do just fine.
If you intend to run ethanol, methanol, and gasoline, you have to check this pump out. It’s a universal in-tank pump that you can use to work with many of your factory components. That’s a big plus for anyone who needs to save money while chasing big power. And as you may already expect, the price tag is higher than much of the competition. That said, this pump is compatible with naturally aspirated and forced induction EFI systems on engines producing up to 1,000 horsepower. Again, it’s a universal pump, but it is meant to work with most applications, and it comes with virtually everything you need to get up and running.
As with the other entry from AEM, this isn’t the most simple pump to install. You need to tear down the factory sending unit to get this in place. Furthermore, some applications require slight modifications. But that’s part of the deal when saving a ton of money on such a capable pump.
Little engines need some love too, and this is an excellent pump for small engine-powered machinery that doesn’t rely on gravity for fuel delivery. It’s super affordable and perfectly capable of aiding these applications. The pump has an operating pressure of 2.5 to 4 psi, features a built-in bracket, and has a pigtail for simple installation. That pigtail also helps to create a water-proof seal that you need on any form of equipment. And because it can work with gas and diesel, there are many uses for it. That low price point is perfect for someone looking to create a liquid transfer system.
Like any low-dollar pump, you can expect some drawbacks. While it doesn’t seem to have as many reliability issues as direct competitors, it is something to be aware of. It’s also worth noting it’s pretty noisy despite how small it is.
With over 100 years of experience, it’s only natural to include a Carter product on our list. This pump is an excellent example of what one stands to learn when they’ve been around a time or two. While it may be another universal pump, it has a few features that set it apart from many others. For one, the mounting bracket makes a massive difference in the installation process. Rather than struggling to find or fabricate a mounting location, you just put the bracket where you need to for the pump to be in the proper position. There’s a lot to love about the thoughtful design features of this particular fuel pump, and the 4 to 6 psi operating pressure makes it an excellent choice for any carbureted application.
The price is relatively high for a pump like this, but it’s worth it for all that it comes with. But you do need to be careful with the factory mounting studs. They’re a little weaker than you might expect and tend to fail relatively easily.
Here we have a great pump with a middle of the road price point for an inline pump. The most notable difference between this and many of the others is its square design. And while that may appear aesthetic, it may be desirable if space dictates it. But under the square housing, you’ll find a system that offers respectable performance. This pump is compatible with gas and diesel and can provide operating pressures of 4.5 to 7 psi. Aside from performance, that price point gets you a few essentials. It comes with the necessary fittings you need to hook it up and even includes a filter to save you an additional expense.
As for drawbacks, it seems reliability is a shaky subject for the pump. While most reviews indicate it has plenty of life in it, others state it will die in just a few months. And though the pricing might soften the blow, it’s still worth knowing it might be short-lived.
It’s time we tip our hat to yet another contender with over 100 years of experience. In the eyes of many, Holley Performance is the best in the business when it comes to fuel delivery. So, it’s only natural for it to be a supplier of fuel pumps. This particular pump stands out from many based on looks alone. It has a robust design you know will stand up to severe abuse. But, looks aren’t everything. As for performance, this pump will work with operating pressures of 4-7 psi, which is perfect for carbureted applications with up to 300 horsepower. It’s also self-priming and self-regulating to ensure the absolute best reliability you could expect. And because it comes with a filter and mounting hardware, you stand to simplify installation.
With that said, there are a few things to dislike about this particular offering. For one, it’s really loud. Once the engine is running, you won’t notice it, but you should know that upfront. And for the same price, you can purchase a more inclusive pump with slightly better performance.
Here we have another affordable universal inline pump. And honestly, we think this one is tough to beat with anything in its league. For one, it comes with everything you need to set it up. Many others do as well, but the filter, hose clamps, or some other small parts are often left out. But that’s not what has our attention. It’s that single-bolt mounting bracket. While it doesn’t look like anything extraordinary, it can make a huge difference in a tight spot. Only one bolt anchors the thing, allowing you to position it as you want. And because it bites onto the entire body of the pump, you don’t have to worry about it shifting around. Also, this pump has operating pressures of 5 to 9 psi, meaning it’s a little more power-ready than many others.
For what you pay, there’s not a lot to complain about with this pump. Even reliability is seemingly much better than others in its price range. However, if it does fail, you might be forced to spend more money on a new one. It seems that customer service is a little hard to work with.
And what if you want an in-tank pump but want to save some money? After all, you might just need a replacement pump that isn’t meant for a big-power application. Well, this is it. This pump comes in at a price similar to that of an inline model. However, it is intended to replace your in-tank setup. And despite the relatively low pricing, it does come with everything you’ll need to hook it up. It offers decent flow rates and is an excellent choice for stock to mildly modified vehicles. Also, all components meet OE standards to promise a long and useful life.
A few things to note is that even though it is universal, the fitment guide is a little off. Many users report not being able to make it work or having to make modifications despite it saying it will fit. However, you may expect this from a universal pump.
We are going to wrap things up by taking a look at one last inline pump. And, of course, it’s a budget-friendly option many consumers will want to consider. One thing we will note is that, like many, this pump is available in multiple configurations. This particular variant has an operating pressure range of five to nine PSI, making it an excellent option for a range of carbureted applications. We will also note that it comes with everything you need to install it, including a single-bolt mounting bracket. This bracket design is advantageous where space is limited, and it offers the flexibility others might not. And don’t worry, it has a great hold on the pump to prevent it from shifting around.
Reliability is a bit of an issue with this pump. Many customers leave great reviews, but there are more than enough to indicate it’s something to be cautious of. But, the customer service has excellent reviews, which helps to somewhat reduce the heartache.
- If you’re running an inline pump, keep in mind that it is meant to push fuel. It is essential to mount it as close to the gas tank and as low as possible to avoid damaging it.
- If you’re running an electric pump with a carburetor, you should install a pressure regulator. Doing so maintains ideal fuel pressure and prevents it from starving or flooding over.
- An electric fuel pump relies on fuel to lubricate and cool the internal workings. Therefore, you never want to let it run dry. An electric fuel pump relies on fuel to lubricate and cool the internal workings. Therefore, you never want to let it run dry. Consider reading our guide to Bad Fuel Pump Symptoms to prepare for incase the fuel system does begin to fail.
Q: Is an electric fuel pump better than a mechanical pump?
An electric pump does solve a few issues a cam-driven pump cannot and is necessary for many applications. But a mechanical pump can offer ample fuel flow and better reliability than a similarly priced electric pump can.
Q: Can you use an electric fuel pump with a carburetor?
Absolutely. Many electric pumps are designed to work with a carbureted application. You just need to verify that it is and match the fuel flow rate to the demand of the carburetor.
Q: Where is the best place to mount an electric fuel pump?
You must mount an inline pump as close to the fuel tank and as low as possible. These designs are meant to push fuel. So it is essential to eliminate as much distance to the fuel supply as possible while allowing gravity to aid in delivery to the pump.
Again, our top pick goes to the AEM 50-1000 High Flow In-Tank Fuel Pump. Trying to sum up all we love about it in just a few words is tough, but it’s ultimately an ideal option for almost anyone who is converting from a carburetor to fuel injection. The JDMSpeed Universal 12V Heavy-Duty Electric Fuel Pump is in an entirely different league, but it's still the best pump you can get at the lowest price possible. Let us know what your setup is and what pump you’re going to run!