High Pressure Water Pumps

We often have customers ask for “high pressure water pumps.” While the term seems pretty simple, there are many different types of high-pressure water pumps, and getting the right one requires a solid understanding of the purpose or application for the pump.

Before we get into high-pressure pumps, it may help to take a step back and discuss water pumps on a more fundamental level.

At their core, water pumps are designed to move water from one point to another. As such, the core metric for measuring water pumps is the flow rate. Flow rate in the US is typically measured in gallons per minute (GPM), or gallons per hour (GPH) for lower flow rate pumps. Outside the US, the measurement is usually in liters per minute or hour. Roughly, there are 4.24 liters to a gallon for comparison purposes. When you are discussing a specific application, you’ll want to be sure of your metrics.

For high-pressure water pumps, we now have to look at the exit hose and nozzle. Assuming the same power input, the same flow rate, the exit pressure of the water increases as the exit opening decreases.

The smaller the orifice through which the water must flow, the more pressure it creates when it is forced through at the same GPM, or flow rate.

Typically, high-pressure water pumps are measured in pressure per square inch (in addition to flow rate).

Depending on the required application, you will also see the measurement of Pump Head (in GPM at “x” feet), which is the height to which the water is pumped at a specific flow rate. We have more on Pump Head here.

Examples of two very different high-pressure water pump applications.

Low Flow, High Pressure Water Pumps

High pressure power washers

Generally, when using power washers, you want to use as little water as possible to achieve your task. This kind of application has a low flow rate. You simply don’t want extra water standing around when you’re done cleaning the deck or porch.

In addition to less water, you don’t need the water to be ‘pushed’ too far; most power washer applications are done within a few feet of the user.

These types of pump are usually gauged only by the PSI, with the low flow rate being assumed and not important to most users. Garden hoses typically provide a sufficient volume of water for these pumps to be effective.

Similarly, yard sprinkler systems tend to be low flow, high-pressure applications. Well pumps may also fall into this category (needing to push water up, creating more pressure).

High Flow, High Pressure Water Pumps

Portable High Pressure Fire Pumps

With fire pumps, the requirements are typically pushing a lot of water up high and out far. These tend to have more powerful pumps that can handle both the high flow rate as well as withstand the pressure created by nozzle restrictions required to push that water a greater distance.

The key performance metrics on these pumps are about GPM and Pump Head, with the understanding that to achieve the right flow and distance, the pump will withstand the PSI generated.

For these applications, water sources need to go beyond typical household supplies. From large tanker trucks to fire hydrants, or even open bodies of water, these pumps require minimum amounts of water to operate properly.

Large-scale irrigation systems (farming) often use high flow, high-pressure systems to project the water over crops with as little hardware as necessary.

High Pressure Dewatering Pumps

Of course, there are times when you are not seeking to use the water for any particular purpose, but you just need to move the water itself; you need to dewater an area. Do you need a high-pressure water pump to do this? Quite possibly.

If the water is in a pit, or very low relative to the high point over which the water is pumped, then you’ll need a pump that can generate sufficient flow (GPM) and a certain height (Pump Head), to remove the water. This could very well require a high-pressure water pump. The faster you want to move the water (GPM), the more powerful the pump will be, increasing the pressure.

Keep in mind that as the pump pushes the water vertically, it must fight against atmospheric pressure trying to force the water back down. To overcome this, a high-pressure pumps will be needed.

If you have any questions about the pump specifications need to meet your application, please give us a call. You may only buy a pump once in a while, but we work with them all day, every day. So, we’re happy to help make sure you get the right pump.