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What Are The 3 Best Pool Cover Pumps?

Keeping your pool cover free of water during the off-season is necessary to prevent your pool from overflowing.

Fortunately, you can use a pool cover pump, which helps remove water from the surface of your swimming pool cover – even in the cold winter months.

If you’re looking to get one yourself, we’ll be going over the best pool cover pumps, including the various types available for both above ground and inground pools.

Our Picks For Best Pool Cover Pump

We researched the best pool cover pumps for draining swimming pools, and whittled it down to the top 3 picks.

Best Overall (Recommended)

Little Giant 577301 APCP-1700...
Little Giant 577301 APCP-1700...
  • EASY CLEAN with its removable intake screen for...
  • EASY ACCESS to pump float for cleaning requires no...
  • ERGONOMIC BUILT for portability and ease of...

Best For Small Pools

FibroPool Electric Swimming Pool...
FibroPool Electric Swimming Pool...
  • Designed for both in ground and above ground...
  • Pumps at a rate of up to 600 gallons per hour
  • 16 foot power cord plugs into any standard 110...

Best Large Pools

Wayne 57729-WYNP WAPC250 Pool Cover...
Wayne 57729-WYNP WAPC250 Pool Cover...
  • iSwitch technology turns pump on and off by...
  • Plug in and leave the pump unattended for...
  • Strainer base filters debris to minimize clogging...

Are Pool Cover Pumps Worth It?

Are swimming pool sump pumps always a good investment for pool owners? Let’s go over the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Removes the buildup of water, rain and snow on your cover (including safety covers)
  • Prevents damage to both the cover and the pool
  • Prevents dirty water getting into the pool when removing the cover
  • Available in either manual or automatic models
  • Removes stagnant water that can be a breeding ground for mosquito larvae

Cons:

  • Not very useful if your pool is open all year
  • Not the cheapest piece of pool equipment
  • Not the highest priority buy if you’re on a budget
  • Requires running lines (hose, extension cord) that can be trip hazards

Types Of Pool Cover Pumps

There are two main types of pool cover pumps you can buy; manual or automatic.

Manual Pool Cover Pumps

Little Giant 14942702 PCP550 Pool...
Little Giant 14942702 PCP550 Pool...
  • POOL COVER PUMP: Manual pool cover pump removes...
  • THERMOPLASTIC PUMP: It has removable intake screen...
  • MANUAL POOL PUMP: It has 25' power cord 550 GPH at...

A manual cover pump works by siphoning the water off the cover. Most of them are hand-operated, making them non-reliant on electricity or batteries for power. 

As implied by the name, manual cover pumps involve you having to go outside, turning it on, waiting for it to drain, going back outside, and then… turning it off. (I can hear you groaning, and I don’t blame you.)

But they are cheaper. If your finances are a limiting factor, you’re always better off with a manual pump if the alternative is not having one.

Benefits of this type:

  • Portable and lightweight
  • Good choice for smaller covers like above ground pools or spas
  • Can also be used to pump water out of a hot tub
  • Financially viable option starting at $50

Automatic Pool Cover Pumps

Wayne 57729-WYNP WAPC250 Pool Cover...
Wayne 57729-WYNP WAPC250 Pool Cover...
  • iSwitch technology turns pump on and off by...
  • Plug in and leave the pump unattended for...
  • Strainer base filters debris to minimize clogging...

Automatic pumps do the same job, but instead of relying on user input to know when to start pumping, they’re able to detect water buildup and get to work on their own accord.

That means you can just rest the pump on your cover and it will handle everything else by itself. No need for you to step outside for days or even weeks to oversee the process.

Automatic pool cover pumps are also safer because they stop pumping when the water has been drained, whereas a manual pump will continue and potentially damage the cover.

Benefits of this type:

  • Fully automated, detecting and removing water without constant monitoring
  • High flow rates quickly remove water and prolong cover life
  • Automatically turns on and off for round-the-clock protection
  • Can be used for all pool and spa cover sizes
  • Some models can be used as a drain pump for smaller pools and hot tubs

Manual Vs Automatic Cover Pumps

Both manual and automatic cover pumps do the same job of removing water from your pool cover. However, automatic cover pumps are the overwhelming favorite among pool owners.

Time is crucial when it comes to moving water off your pool cover, in order to protect it from caving in, water damage, or becoming a stagnant water source for bugs to breed in.

Automatic cover pumps sense water on the pool cover, turn themselves on, and remove it immediately, whereas a manual pump only works when you’re around to initiate water removal.

If you’re on a tight budget, a manual cover pump is better than no pump. But for the nearly negligible price difference (usually an additional $50 to $100), we’d recommend upgrading to an automatic cover pump.

Features You Need To Consider

Below is what we consider the important features to look for when it comes to choosing a cover pump for your swimming pool.

What’s The Flow Rate?

Pool cover pumps are rated by their maximum flow rate, also referred to as gallons per hour (GPH) or gallons per minute (GPM).

There’s no “perfect” number here, but if you have a large pool and ultimately a large pool cover, you’ll want to get a pump that can move more water in a shorter period of time.

If you have a smaller pool, you could also get by with a weaker/slower pump which will be significantly cheaper.

Is It Fully Submersible?

Not all pumps are able to operate while fully submerged under water.

The design of a cover pump allows it to sit in a shallow pool of water, but that doesn’t mean it can operate under 2 or 3 feet of water.

You should check the product specifications if you want a cover pump that’s fully submersible.

This will allow the pump to work if a lot of water is present on the cover (consequently caving it into the center of the pool), and you’ll also be able to use it for draining small bodies of water such as a hot tub or above ground pool.

Does It Have Freeze Protection?

While no pump will be able to run through freezing conditions without breaking, some will be intelligent enough to *not* turn on when temperatures plummet.

This is a real money saver if you forget to unplug it on a particularly cold night.

Freeze protection is a feature that you’ll have to pay for, but it could make the difference between saving your pump, or buying a new one.

Does It Have A Debris Strainer?

Pretty self-explanatory but equally important. This is used to prevent leaves and other debris from getting inside and messing with your pump.

Depending on when you’re using the cover pump, you may have more or less debris accumulating on the cover. Another variable is how much foliage is in your backyard.

A season like autumn sees a marked increase in the amount of leaves that fall. If your backyard has heavy foliage, it can easily accumulate on your pool cover and lead to issues with the pump if not promptly removed.

What’s The Cord Length?

Most people wouldn’t give this a second thought, but it’s crucial to ensure your pump’s cable will be able to reach your power socket from your pool area.

Cover pumps, on average, provide a power cord that’s anywhere between 20 and 30 feet in length. If this is too short for your backyard, connecting it to an extension cord should give you the proper length needed.

Also take into account the weather your pump will be used in when buying the extension cord. Cold temperatures will require an all-weather model to provide electricity year-round, especially during the winter months.

How Long Will It Last?

A good pool cover pump will typically last you several years before needing to be replaced, though this depends on a few different factors.

The most important being:

  1. A reputable brand. In the pool cover pump market, the top brands are Wayne, Little Giant and Superior. Unknown brands are a riskier play, and can sometimes fail within months.
  2. The price. These machines are typically not the cheapest anyway, but spending more will make a HUGE difference in terms of overall quality, so don’t hold back on cost if you can help it.

Finally, pay attention to the warranty period with these devices, as any electrical products can die prematurely regardless of who makes them and how much they cost. You ideally want something with a 2-3 years warranty.

How To Use A Pool Cover Pump

Using an automatic pool cover pump isn’t difficult, and in this section we’ll walk you through the process:

1. Attach And Direct Your Hose

The cover pump requires you attach a hose to it, so the water has a place to go. A simple garden hose will do the trick, and most pumps come with the proper adapter for hooking it up to the unit.

We’d recommend investing in a heavy duty hose that can withstand all types of weather. It will also last a lot longer than your garden variety hose, being subject to things such as pool water chemicals and long hours in the sun.

Also, after attaching the hose, make sure you are running the water to an area where it’s safe to do so, as you don’t want to cause a flood in your backyard.

2. Place The Pump On The Cover

Step 2 is to simply place the pump on the cover, and position it as close to the center of the pool as you can. 

Pro tip: Attach a long rope to the pump if you can. This will allow you to drag it around the cover for perfect positioning. Some pumps may include a rope as a bonus feature.

If you can’t get the pump in the middle of the cover, gently push down on the pump to create a basin for the cover water to pool toward.

3. Let It Do It’s Thing

All you have to do now is turn on the pump and let it work it’s magic.

The nice thing about an automatic cover pump is that it senses when water needs to be removed, turning itself on, and turning off when it’s finished.

Alternative Option: A Sump Pump

Superior Pump 91250 1/4 HP...
Superior Pump 91250 1/4 HP...
  • 1/4 HP Utility pump moves up to 1,800 gallons per...
  • Tough thermoplastic construction; 10' cord length
  • 1-1/4 inch NPT discharge for high capacity...

A submersible pump or sump pump can also be used to move water off your cover. 

The difference with this type of pump is that it’s designed to be fully submerged in water, which makes it an excellent option to use when doing a pool or hot tub drain.

These pumps are usually larger in size. They require more powerful motors than a dedicated pool cover pump, which allows for a higher flow rate for large bodies of water.

If you do go this route, make sure the sump pump has a float switch feature, with a switch that senses when there isn’t enough water surrounding the pump. 

This will protect the motor from damage, and your bank account from another purchase that could have been avoided.

Our Top Pick

Little Giant 577301 APCP-1700...
Little Giant 577301 APCP-1700...
  • EASY CLEAN with its removable intake screen for...
  • EASY ACCESS to pump float for cleaning requires no...
  • ERGONOMIC BUILT for portability and ease of...

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