The Best Swimming Pool Cover Pumps For 2020

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 a tarp and solid pool covers on above and in-ground pools isn’t removed.

Contents

★ The 5 best pool cover pumps ★

Top picks at a glance

Image Product Details
sample-table__image★ Top pick ★Little Giant APCP-1700
  • Removable intake screen for easy cleaning and maintenance
  • Integrated float switch for reliable automatic operation
  • Built in handle. 25' power cord. Activates in 2" water
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sample-table__imageWayne WAPC250
  • Plug in and leave the pump unattended for worry-free water removal
  • Strainer base filters debris to minimize clogging and keep pump from tipping over
  • Automatic freeze protection 
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sample-table__imageLittle Giant 5-APCP
  •  Pump is submersible and can operate in automatic or manual modes
  • Powerful 1200 gal/hr flow rate. 25' cord included
  •  Includes a stabilizing plate and automatic switch. 2 yr warranty
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sample-table__imageLittle Giant PCP550
  •  Removable intake screen for easy cleaning and maintenance
  • Manual pump with 550 gal./hr flow rate
  • 25' power cord + 3/4" garden hose connect.
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sample-table__imageUnder $65Superior Pump 91250 Utility
  • 1/4 HP Utility pump moves up to 1,800 gallons per hour
  • Removable suction screen and handles up to 1/8 inch solids
  • Built to Last, engineered with quality components and are 100% factory tested
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Each and every pool cover pump has different strengths. 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.

Detailed pool cover pump reviews

1. Little Giant APCP-1700

Little Giant APCP-1700 pool cover pump

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

Feature Notes
Max Flow Rate 1700 GPH A maximum flow rate of 1700 GPH is possible with a 1” discharge hose but the standard diameter is ¾” resulting in a lower output.
Automatic On: 2”
OFF: .50″-1.50″
The 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.

User Feedback

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, even though it is not recommended to leave the pump out in freezing temperatures.

Even so, it usually comes back to life after freezing up.

Reliability

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:

  • Medium and large above-ground tarp covers
  • In-ground tarp and automated solid/ mesh covers.

Not suitable for:

  • Small tarp pool covers (due to its weight)
  • Performance might be overkill

My honest opinion? It’s a definite best buy pool cover pump!

An automated, set and forget pool cover pump that can remove water quickly and is certainly well suited for larger pool covers. It’s reliable, durable, and spare parts are readily available.

A 3 year limited warranty adds extra peace of mind – and I really like that.

Find out more for yourself! Head over now and see the great reviews and current price at Amazon.

2. WAYNE WAPC250 1/4 HP Automatic

WAYNE WAPC250 pool cover pump

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:

Feature Notes
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
Submersible Yes

User Feedback

A lot of people buy it after their old pump has given up – in many cases an old (now discontinued) Rule 1800 or a cheaper cover pump.

People are 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.

Reliability

The pump comes with a 3 year limited warranty. Customer service is pretty good and helpful too. The strainer at the bottom prevents clogging even when there are lots of leaves.

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:

  • Large above ground pools and automatic solid and mesh covers
  • In-ground pools thanks to its performance, reliability, and more

…and not suitable for:

  • Smaller tarp pool covers: due to its weight and the flow rate may be overkill
  • Small areas and amounts of water.

It’s a great automatic pool cover pump with one of the highest flow rates money can buy!

It’s also a snap to use once it’s set up, too. An automated, set and forget pool cover pump that gets rid of water build-up fast. Excellent for larger pool covers and heavy rain or snowfall.

You get a fantastic 3 year limited warranty for extra peace of mind.

Head over now to check out the great reviews and current price at Amazon.

3. Little Giant 5-APCP Automatic

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.

The Little Giant doesn’t reach the pump capacity of the APCP 1700 or the WACP250 I covered earlier, but it’s by no means short on performance!

Thanks to its much lower weight it’s great for smaller pool covers as well as a utility pump to empty hot tubs and spas.

Specifications and Technical Data

Feature Notes
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
OFF
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 A light-weight coupled with a large footprint makes this a stable pump for smaller tarp pool covers.
Submersible Yes

User Feedback

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.

Reliability

As mentioned above, reliability and durability is the biggest strength of this automatic pump.

My opinion? It’s a great choice thanks to its proven design that delivers lasting midrange flow rates. Perfect for medium and smaller sized pool covers.

(The choice of manual and automatic mode make it popular for versatile maintenance and utility pump use too.)

Find out now why it's one of the best rated pumps under $250 at Amazon.

4. Little Giant Pool PCP 550

Little Giant Pool PCP 550 pool cover pumpIf 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’ll definitely remove water a lot faster compared to just siphoning it off.

Specifications and Technical Data:

Feature Notes
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 remove water fairly fast; much, much faster compared to siphoning it 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 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. It just takes longer.

Weight: 3.45 lbs Small and easy to handle. No muss, no fuss operation too.
Submersible Yes

User Feedback

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

  • Above ground pools and spas.

…and not for

  • Large pool covers and unsupervised operations

For us, it’s a great budget by for manual pool cover pumps with a decent flow rate. It’s really affordable, too, as I’ve seen it selling for less than $50.

Simple, cheap, and reliable – what more can you ask for?

Check out the great buyer reviews and see current low price at Amazon.

5. Superior Pump 91250, 1/4 HP Multipurpose

Superior Pump 91250 pool cover pump

There are a few lower-priced manual pool cover pumps available, but most of these 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

Feature Notes
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.

Submersible Yes
Lowest remaining water level: ⅛” Works with 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 that come with a 25’ cord.

User Feedback

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.

The Superior Pump 91250 is best for:

  • Smaller pools
  • Spas
  • Various applications around the house

…and not for

  • Large areas and volumes of water
  • Frozen/freezing temperature areas

Verdict for Superior Pump 91250
Good buy.

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.

It’s a smart choice if you’re looking for a nice all-around utility pump rather than a dedicated pool cover pump.

Check out the great buyer reviews and see current low price at Amazon.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The basics of pool cover water pumps – why do I need one?

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 add big extra costs to replace or repair a damaged cover.

That’s true for solid as well as tarp and mesh pool covers.

A water pump for a pool cover is placed on top of the cover of above or in-ground 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 get relieved and removal becomes a lot easier.

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 can 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.

That’s where a pool cover pump comes in. The larger the pump flow rate, the faster this happens.

Which pool cover pump is the best?

Right now my 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 differences

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.

Your comments are welcome!

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