Not everyone gets their water from a city water supply. 13% of Americans continue to rely on wells to get their water.

Whether you need to drill and set up a new well or maintain and repair an existing one, you’re going to need a well pump.

Not all wells are the same, and there are several types of well pumps to meet the needs of these various types of wells. Continue reading to learn more about the three most common types of well pumps and how they work.

Most Common Types of Well Pumps

A centrifugal well pump works in shallow wells that are no more than 25 feet deep. They are small in size, inexpensive, and easy to maintain.

Jet pumps come in deep and shallow well options. The shallow well jet pump has the same 25-foot limitation as centrifugal pumps. The deep well jet pump can operate at depths up to 120 feet. 

Submersible pumps work in deeper wells and are installed down inside the borehole itself. They are waterproof and self-contained.

If you need a well pump, check out the selection at

How Centrifugal Pumps Work

A centrifugal well pump sits outside the well in a metal enclosure. 

These pumps use an internal impeller fan that pulls water from the well and moves it through the pump to a pressure tank.

Specialized versions of these pumps can operate without a pressure tank. These work by sensing the PSI in the supply-side pipes and by turning the pump on and off as needed.

Centrifugal pumps are often used to draw water from water tanks or pools since their depth limitation makes them unsuitable for deep well installations.

How Jet Pumps Work

Jet pumps come in single-drop and double-drop varieties where the motor and electrical connections remain outside of the well.

Single-drop jet pumps use a single pipe running into the well for suction. Double-drop jet pumps use a suction pipe and include a second pipe to deliver water to the impellers to generate more power.

The impeller fan churns the water inside the enclosed unit, creating pressure. The pressurized water gets pushes through a venturi, which is a cone-shaped outlet based on the same concept as the exhaust on jet engines. Hence the term, “jet.”

How Submersible Pumps Work

These pumps look like skinny torpedoes and reside below the waterline inside the well. They are completely self-contained with all of the moving parts residing in the unit inside the well. These pumps can operate at much greater depths than other pumps.

These pumps also use impellers powered by a motor that pushes water up through a single pipe into a pressure tank topside.

The pump’s electrical connections run down the well and into the submersible pump through watertight openings. Topside a pump control box monitors voltage and protects the pump from too high or low voltage.

Every Well Needs a Pump

Some wells are shallow, others are quite deep, and others drain into water tanks. No matter the source, you need a well pump to move that water.

Fortunately, the three most common types of well pumps cover 99% of the applications you’re likely to encounter when constructing or repairing a well water delivery system.

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