This post was last updated on April 16th, 2019 at 09:50 pm
A Pool cover pump is an essential part of your winterizing kit. Opening a pool for the season can become impossible if the water that accumulates over time on tarp and solid pool covers on above and inground pools is not removed.
Removing water from the cover is also necessary to prevent rips and tears in the pool cover and damage from freezing or when removing the pool cover.
If you live in an area with freezing temperatures you’ll have the added problem of ice threatening to damage the cover and inflicting hefty additional costs to replace or repair a damaged cover. This is true for solid as well as tarp and mesh pool covers.
Swimming pool cover pumps are placed on top of the cover of above or inground pools or hot tubs. When the water reaches a certain level the water is pumped away and discharged via a hose. As a result stress and weight on the cover is alleviated and removal becomes much easier.
See further below where we have reviewed the Superior Pump 91250, a similar pump by the same maker
This is a fairly long and in depth article, so we’ve put a nice little table of contents up here for ease of navigation.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- 5 Best Pool Cover Pumps on Amazon in 2018
- Pool Cover Pump Reviews
- Highest Rated Swimming Pool Cover Pumps
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Before we get to our top list of pool cover pumps, let’s quickly go over some of the most frequently asked questions.
Do I really need a pool cover pump?
You do have to remove water and debris from the cover before opening the pool. Otherwise you’ll risk damaging the pool cover. There is a slow, no cost solution. You could just take a garden hose, put one end into the standing water on the pool cover, suck on the other end to get a flow going and let physics do the rest. So you could siphon the water off that way. This is S L O W and can take days and would be downright silly to consider for larger pools.
This is where a pool cover pumps comes in. The larger the pump flow rate the speedier this process becomes.
Which pool cover pump is the best?
Currently our favorite is the Little Giant APCP-1700 Automatic. See our table below for a look at the rest of our Top 5 🙂
Do I need to remove all of the water on the pool cover?
There is no pump that can remove the water completely without risking the pump burning up (in the case of non automatic pumps). Automatic pumps will switch off at a certain level, somewhere around 1″. This is low enough to then remove the cover safely.
Manual vs automatic pool cover pump – what difference does it make?
Automatic pool cover pumps will detect when the water level has reached a certain depth and start pumping. Likewise, once the water level has decreased the pump will switch off.
For manual pumps it’s up to the user to switch the device on and off. These are therefore more suited for occasional use and smaller pools.
5 Best Pool Cover Pumps on Amazon in 2018
This article introduces and reviews the best pool cover pumps currently available on Amazon that have proven to be reliable and would be suitable for different budgets and pool maintenance needs, ranging from under $50 for manual pumps to high power automatic pool cover pumps at about $160.
- Little Giant APCP-1700 1/3-HP Automatic
- WAYNE WAPC250 1/4 HP Automatic
- Little Giant 5-APCP ⅙ HP Automatic
- Little Giant Pool Cover Pump PCP 550
- Superior Pump 91250, 1/4 HP Multipurpose Utility Pump
Each pool cover pump has different strength. The ones shown above, are those that sell really well.
Not only do they sell really well, but they have also maintained excellent buyer reviews, on a consistent and steady basis. You’ll find more information on each, or you can click through to the full review.
Pool Cover Pump Reviews
No 1: Little Giant APCP-1700
The company Little Giant specializes in pumps and has a range of very good swimming pool cover pumps. In fact, three of these made it into our top 5.
The APCP-1700 is an automated pool cover pump that has proven to be a very reliable, valuable piece of winterizing kit. It has received even higher average customer ratings on Amazon than the WACP250 (close second in our reviews) and offers high quality at this price.
Technical Data and Specifications
|Max Flow Rate 1700 GPH||A maximum flow rate of 1700 GPH is possible with a 1” discharge hose but standard diameter is ¾” resulting in a lower output.|
|Automatic On: 2”
|Minimum water level for the pump to kick in is 2″ and down to .50″-1.50″ to switch off. This removes enough water to safely remove a pool cover especially considering that the pump is quite heavy and pushes the cover down to form a valley.|
|Sideways discharge Hose ¾”||This means you can use your standard garden hose which most people already own. No need for extra adapter fittings. Sideways outlet reduces the risk of kinks in the hose.|
|Submersible||The pump is sealed to work properly when fully submerged.|
|Weight of Pump: 12 lb||This is heavy but still easy to carry and move about thanks to the built in handle. The weight helps to push a flexible cover down to sit at the deepest point for pumping.|
High ratings are earned because of the pump’s high flow rate, ease of handling and reliability. It’s often used successfully in freeze/ thaw regions and, even though it is not recommended to leave the pump out in freezing temperatures, it usually comes back to life after freezing in.
The pump comes with a 3 year warranty but has proven to be very robust and the float switch works well to prevent the pump from burning through when the water level has decreased.
|The APCP 1700 is best for||Not suitable for|
|Medium and large above ground tarp covers and in ground tarp and automated solid/ mesh covers.||Small tarp pool covers due to its weight and the performance might be overkill|
VERDICT for Little Giant APCP-1700
An automated, set and forget pool cover pump that can remove water quickly and is certainly well suited for larger pool covers. It has proven to be reliable, durable and spare parts are readily available.
A 3 year limited warranty adds extra peace of mind.
No 2: WAYNE WAPC250 1/4 HP Automatic Pool Cover Pump Review
Wayne Inc is based in Ohio where it manufactures and assembles its own pumps. High efficiency, output and reliability as well as the fact that it’s a set and forget pump thanks to its built in anti-freeze protection made this automatic cover pump THE BEST SELLER for cover pumps on Amazon.
Specifications and Technical Data:
|Max Flow rate: 3000 GPH||With a maximum flow rate is 3000 gallons per hour using 3000 GPH with a 1-1/4″ drain hose this pump easily leads the field and allows fast removal of water even in heavy rains or when a lot of water has already accumulated.|
|¼ HP||Achieving that kind of output with ¼ HP pump stands for high efficiency.|
|Automatic ON / OFF||The WAPC250 automatically switches on when the water level reaches a little above 2” (2 1/2” to be precise) and turn off by itself when the level drops below 3/4”, not quite as low as the Little Giant ACPC 1700|
This pump is often bought after an old pump has given up, quite often an old (now discontinued) Rule 1800 or a cheaper cover pump.
Users tend to be happy with the sturdy construction and amount of water it can transfer. It’s easy to use and moved about thanks to the pull to shore cable. This is especially true for solid + mesh covers. Pool owners also like that it’s amazingly quiet considering its power.
The pump comes with a 3 year limited warranty. Customer service tends to be prompt and helpful.
The strainer at the bottom prevents clogging even when there are lots of leaves about. However, the most common issue is frequent on and off switching when the vent hole is clogged up thereby preventing priming of the pump. This is usually caused by a clogged up vent hole and can be easily rectified.
|The WAPC250 is best for:||…and not suitable for:|
|for large above ground pools and automatic solid and mesh covers on in ground pools thanks to its performance, high flow rate, reliability and weight.
BEST CHOICE for maximum water removal in the shortest amount of time.
|Smaller tarp pool covers due to its weight and the flow rate may be overkill for small areas and amounts of water.|
VERDICT for WAYNE WAPC250
Automatic pool cover pump with highest flow rate.
An automated, set and forget pool cover pump that can remove water quickly and is most suited for larger pool covers and heavy rain and or snow falls.
BESTSELLER on AMAZON
No 3: Little Giant 5-APCP Automatic Pool Cover Pump
This is the second Little Giant automatic pool cover pump making it into the top 5. You will also find this under item number 505600 on the internet. This has been on the market for more than 15 years and still going strong. This pump doesn’t reach the pump capacity of the APCP 1700 or the WACP250 both of which were described above.
However, thanks to its much lower weight is perfectly suitable for smaller pool covers as well as a utility pump to empty hot tubs and spas.
Specifications and Technical Data
|Max Flow rate: 1200 GPH||This was one of the strongest cover pumps before the arrival of the APCP-1700 and WACP250. 1200GPH is only reached with a 1” hose. Smaller hose diameters will reduce the flow rate but normal circumstances like a ¾” hose and overcoming heights of 1’ to 3’ will still deliver flow rates capable of dealing with heavy rainfalls.|
|Automatic Mode ON and
|For automatic operation, the pump is plugged into a piggyback receptacle, which then plugs into the power outlet. Switches ON at 2 ½” and OFF under 1″|
|Manual Mode||For manual operation, plug the pump plug directly into a
properly grounded outlet. Manual means the pump runs continuously until the plug is pulled. Needs supervision to avoid the pump running dry and getting damaged.
|Weight of unit: 2.64lb||Light-weight coupled with a large footprint make this a stable pump for smaller tarp pool covers.|
This pump is often purchased by repeat customers who had this for several years and are happy with how durable and effective the 5-APCP is. So much so they are happy to buy a replacement when it does wear out eventually after several years of usage.
As mentioned above, reliability and durability is the biggest strength of this automatic pump.
Proven design delivers lasting midrange flow rates.
Great for medium and smaller sized pool covers.
Choice of manual and automatic mode make this a popular and versatile maintenance and utility pump.
No 4: Little Giant Pool Cover Pump PCP 550
If you don’t need an automatic pool cover pump the PCP 550 might be just the ticket. It’s not overly fast but it does the job in time without clogging. It will definitely remove water a lot faster compared to just siphoning it off.
Specifications and Technical Data:
|Max Flow rate: 550 GPH||As said above, this flow rate was measured with a 1” hose. In reality, there will be friction loss with the recommended ¾” standard sized garden hose. It will however remove water fairly fast, definitely much, much faster compared to siphoning off.|
|Manual||Manual means that it is not an automatic pump but needs to be manually plugged in or off to operate. It does require power for the pump. You can also switch the pump on to get going and then switch off and let the water be siphoned off without using electricity, just takes longer.|
|¾” garden hose||A 3/4 inch is the most common diameter for garden hoses. No extra fittings required.|
Buyers keep being impressed by the high quality at this price (under $70). High quality means the pump is very reliable, the housing is sturdy and durable and it doesn’t get clogged up thanks to a cone shaped cage at the intake.
The pump comes with a 1 year limited warranty.
|PCP 550 is best for||…and not for|
|for above ground pools and spas.||Large pool covers and unsupervised operations|
Best Budget Buy as Manual pool cover pump with a decent flow rate.
No 5: Superior Pump 91250, 1/4 HP Multipurpose Utility Pump
There are a few more lower priced manual pool cover pumps available most of which turn out to be just slightly better than a siphon. The Superior pump on the other hand stands out for its impressive power, workmanship and reliability.
Strictly speaking it’s not just a pool cover pump but a utility pump suitable to remove and transfer water elsewhere in and around the house.
Specifications and Technical Data
|¼ HP, Max Flow rate: 1800 GPH||This is with a large 1 ¼” hose. A standard ¾” hose will reduce the capacity.|
|Manual Mode||The pump plugs directly into a properly grounded outlet. Please be aware of the relatively short length of the cord. Manual means the pump runs continuously until the plug is pulled. Needs supervision to avoid the pump burn when running dry.|
|Lowest remaining water level: ⅛”||Will take water down to 1/8″ but needs to be closely watched around that level to make sure the pump doesn’t draw air.|
|Cord length 10’||Quite short compared to other pumps which come with a 25’ cord.|
Buyers have repeatedly commented on the high quality (Stainless Steel impellors) and high volume pump for its size. It does a very good job on pool covers as it pumps down to a very low level compared to other pool cover pumps.
However, the center of gravity is quite high in the pump. Coupled with a small footprint this makes for slight instability and the pump can tip over fairly easily and risks of running dry and burning the pump. So be prepared to DIY a solution if you have a flexible pool cover.
|Superior Pump 91250 is best for||…and not for|
|Smaller pools, spas and various applications around the house||Large areas and volumes of water. Not meant to be used in freeze/ thaw areas.|
|Verdict for Superior Pump 91250
High quality material and sealing ensure longevity. Although it’s not the most powerful compared to automated pumps it does deliver a decent flow rate to remove water from a tarp pool cover within a reasonable few hours.