A hot water circulation pump gives you access to hot water on demand in an efficient and cost-effective way. Instead of storing unused hot water at the faucet until it cools, a circulation pump sends the water back to the heater, saving gallons of water, reducing energy waste, and lowering your utility bills.
Installing a hot water circulation pump in your home or commercial building is important for practical reasons as well as contributing to a more efficient premises.
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With an abundance of available options, it can be difficult to choose one to suit your budget and needs. When reviewing the products on our list, we found that they are all energy-efficient and capable of reducing significant amounts of water waste annually. However, a few products set themselves apart from the rest due to the quality, features, and performance capabilities.
Leading the pack, the Watts Premier excels in all areas. It boasts the highest water savings capabilities on our list, at 15,000 gallons per year. It is energy-efficient, saving you up to 10% on your annual utility bills. In addition to being the best performer on the list, the Watts Premier comes with a built-in 24-hour timer for added convenience.
The main thing standing in the way of this being a single product list is that the Watts isn't compatible with all heaters. It is not able to power certain tankless varieties.
If you're looking for a more durable, industrial type pump, the Grundfos SuperBrute UP15-42F is a perfect choice. This pump requires some additional piping and can cause rust to domestic systems, but for buildings that require a long-lasting and durable pump, it is hard to look past the Grundfos SuperBrute.
The Taco Circulator Pump is the ideal alternative to either the Grundfos SuperBrute or the Watts Premier. As the best of the rest item on our list, it contains a unique feature of a replaceable cartridge. This is hugely beneficial as it allows for device servicing instead of replacing the whole pump circulator when it's worn.
Although the Taco won't save as much water as the Watts or Grundfos, it is reasonably priced and serves as a perfect replacement pump.
If price is at the forefront of your pump decision, the Happybuy RS15-6 must be considered. It is adaptable and suited for domestic or industrial use. With 3 speed settings, it allows you to have control over the amount of energy that you consume. It is also very quiet while operating, something that many buyers love about this pump.
Choosing the Best Hot Water Circulation Pump
When researching what pump to buy, there are hundreds of options but very little guidance on what you should be looking for. Suitability and compatibility are essential considerations.
With this in mind, here are some key factors to consider when purchasing a circulation pump.
Effectiveness and Efficiency: The first and most important consideration is the potential savings information. While product and installation prices play a part, the annual water savings and efficiency could be more beneficial in the long-run.
Most of the leading circulation pumps claim to save a certain amount of water annually. Pay attention to these figures, as well as the energy efficiency of each one. The less effective devices don't always promote precise water-saving capabilities.
The leading circulation pumps on our list can save up to 15,000 gallons of water annually, and all are built with energy conservation in mind.
Timers: A 24-hour timer is a very useful feature for your pump because it allows you to schedule when you want to switch it on or off. This eliminates waste and ensures that you get hot water exactly when you need it.
It's worth noting that timers can generally be fitted to pumps, so having a built-in timer is not a necessity.
Build Quality and Durability: No matter what product you're purchasing, quality of materials, and durability are desirable characteristics. Circulation pumps are put under a significant amount of pressure daily, meaning high build quality is an absolute must for long life.
Look out for pumps made from stainless steel, cast-iron, and heavy-duty materials.
Pump Housing Material: If your budget doesn't allow for some of the more expensive and durable models, opt for a pump that's protected by good housing material.
Suitability is also critical in this regard. Cast iron housing materials can cause rust within a domestic heating system, meaning they aren't suited to most homes.
Type of Water Heater Tank: You're likely to have a traditional or tankless water heater on your premises. Certain pumps don't have the power to work with tankless water heaters, rendering them useless to some people.
Ensure the pump you choose is compatible with your water heater before making the purchase.
Priming: Many circulation pumps don't need to be primed and can operate with some air present in the lines. However, others require priming and will not work if any air is detected in the lines. Choose a pump to suit your needs and hire a plumber to assist in the installation if necessary.
Maintenance Requirements: Some pumps are low or no maintenance guaranteed for several years. Once installed, they are verified not to leak.
While this can be an asset, most of these devices don't have a return line, meaning that hot and cold water mix when it is being sent back to the heater. Cold or lukewarm water will flow from the faucet until the process has finished. The sensors also tend to wear quite quickly, requiring regular replacements.
Noise Levels: Depending on where you fit your pump, the operational noise may or may not be important. If it's located near bedrooms or a bathroom, a loud operational volume may be disruptive, particularly if used frequently.
Some pumps on our list are virtually silent, making them perfect options for your home.
Below are some frequently asked questions that help people to choose the right hot water circulation pump.
How do water circulation pumps work?
In a standard plumbing system (without a water circulation pump), when you're finished using hot water at the sink or in the shower, you simply turn it off. However, water remains at the faucet, and over time it cools.
When you run hot water again, the cool water is pushed through the system before the hot water emerges. This is the reason it often takes several seconds or minutes for hot water to come through your faucet when you first turn it on.
When a circulation pump is installed, it pumps the leftover water from the faucet back into the water heater, ensuring that you have fast access to the hot water. It eliminates the need to waste water while waiting for it to heat up.
Are water circulation pumps easy to install?
In most cases, they are relatively easy to install, taking less than an hour and requiring very little equipment. With decent DIY skills, good instructions, and a wrench, you should be able to complete the installation yourself. However, it's always beneficial to hire a plumber if you're unsure of your piping or just want the professional install's know-how.
How many pumps do you need to install per home?
In most cases, you will only need one pump for your entire home. However, if you're installing a pump on a large premises with multiple water heaters, you will probably need several devices. It's also important to consider that pumps come in different sizes and capabilities and are best suited to certain homes or buildings.
How long do hot water circulation pumps last?
Depending on the quality of the build and the amount of work they're required to carry out, the life expectancy of a pump can vary. As a guide, best-in-class pumps can last from 10 to 15 years. However, many have a lifespan of somewhere between 5 and 10 years.
Do hot water circulation pumps require any accessorial items?
In general, pumps come with everything that you need, apart from a wrench to use for the installation. However, some heating systems require you to have plumbing carried out prior to the install. For example, you may need a return line to be fitted.
Temperature valves and timers can be added to your pump if you wish.
Do hot water circulation pumps take up a lot of space?
No. All pumps are generally small, although some are significantly more discreet than others. Most homes and buildings have more than adequate space for a pump to be installed under the sink or near the water heater.
What are the main benefits of installing a hot water circulation pump?
The core benefits of installing a circulation pump are energy efficiency and cost savings. You could potentially save up to 15,000 gallons of water each year. What's more, circulation pumps are generally efficient in terms of energy use. This can save you a lot of money on utility bills every week, month, and year.
Top 10 Hot Water Circulation Pumps Reviews
Watts Premier Instant Pump
The clear winner of our product reviews is the Watts Premier. In terms of price, value for money, features, and functionality, it outperforms every other product on our list. If you aim to increase efficiency and reduce utility bills (up to 10%), the Watts Premier is the top choice.
One of the greatest assets of this water pump is that it includes everything you need, such as a timer, 10' electric cord, 2 adaptors, valve mounting screws, sensor valve, and 2 12" supply lines. It is easy to install and doesn't require any additional piping.
The built-in 24-hour programmable timer allows you to switch on the pump precisely when you want to. This is particularly useful if there are multiple users of hot water within one household.
Performance-wise, the Watts Premier sets itself apart from competitors. While it is on the higher end in terms of price, it can save up to 15,000 gallons of water annually. In turn, this is likely to save you a lot of money over time. Investing now for future gains is an intelligent approach to home efficiency.
It is quite compact (6.25" x 6" x 5") and lightweight (6.4 lbs.), allowing you to install it easily and discreetly wherever it is needed.
The main drawback to this item is that it isn't compatible with certain tankless water heaters. Ensure that your heater can be synced to the Watts Premier before buying one. While the timer is useful, the analog display makes it feel a little dated.
Built using ceramic, carbon, stainless steel, and cast iron materials, the Grundfos SuperBrute is the most durable option on our list. It is best suited for commercial premises as some additional piping is required for proper installation. However, if your premises was built with a second set of copper pipes, it can be fitted.
Considering the heavy-duty nature of the materials, this pump operates quietly. The impeller is corrosion-resistant, contributing to its sturdiness. Despite its hardiness, it is quite compact, measuring in at 5.25" x 4.19" x 6.5". This pump is truly built to last.
In terms of performance, it doesn't quite match the Watts Premier. However, it could save up to 12,000 gallons of water per year, meaning it's not far behind. It is energy efficient and doesn't cost a lot to run.
On the downside, having to install a second set of copper pipes can be costly and time-consuming. Although this product is advertised as being suitable for houses, some customers have reported that this pump will rust your domestic heating system.
Despite some negative reports, the vast majority of customers praise this product. Anyone looking for a dependable pump that will stand the test of time should consider the Grundfos SuperBrute.
The Taco circulator pump lags just behind our list toppers but leads the rest of the pack as the best of the rest circulation pump. It offers a high level of efficiency (due to the direct drive low power consumption design) at a reasonable price point. Installing the Taco pump in your home should save around 10,000 gallons of water annually.
It is self-lubricating with no mechanical seal, meaning it is maintenance-free. Built from cast iron and bronze material, it is durable and wear-resistant. Its compact design and quiet operating volume make it ideal for smaller households.
A unique feature of the Taco pump is its replaceable cartridge. This contains all moving parts of the device, allowing for quick and easy servicing rather than replacing the whole circulator.
Unfortunately, the Taco pump doesn't come with a power cord. If you're installing a new pump (and not replacing an old one), you'll have to buy this separately. This can delay the installation process. Another negative aspect of this device is that it becomes hot to touch after frequent use.
If you're replacing an old pump, the Taco is a great option. However, for a new install, an alternative pump may suit your budget better.
The second Grundfos pump on our list is another excellent product. It has many of the features and benefits that the other top pumps have, but it comes at a slightly higher price point. While this product is very good, there are better value items available.
The Grundfos GRU-595916 can be installed quickly and easily, typically taking less than an hour. Built from bronze and stainless steel, it is a quality product with a lot of durability. Its 2-year warranty makes it an attractive buy, but you more than likely won't need to use the warranty. It is maintenance-free, efficient, and can save you considerably each year.
One of the most useful features of this product is the built-in timer. You can preset the pump to heat within a 24-hour period. The Grundfos GRU-595916 is capable of producing heat instantly.
As a great product manufactured by a reputable brand, this is a good pump. However, its relatively high price places it below other competitors.
Another well-built pump, the Kolerflo is a durable piece of equipment. It comes in various colors, allowing for some stylistic choice. Although this has no effect on performance, variety is always welcome.
The Kolerflo performs excellently. It has 3 speed control settings and is extremely resistant to high temperatures. Installation should be quick and easy, needing only a single wrench to set up. It is quite efficient and compares well with other pumps within its price range.
One of the greatest advantages of the Kolerflo is that it takes a maximum of 15 seconds wait time for hot water. This is a major benefit for anyone who lives a fast-paced life, ensuring that they can get hot water almost instantly if they are in a hurry.
While there aren't many notable downsides to the Kolerflo pump, the main negative is that it can be quite noisy in operation. It won't wake your family during the night, but it is considerably louder than other products on our list. Some users also complained about a lack of instructions, meaning you may need a plumber to install it.
This is a powerful, efficient, and versatile pump manufactured by the highly regarded Grundfos brand. Built within a cast iron housing, this pump also boasts a 3 speed motor and removable check valve.
The 3 speed (low, medium, and high) motor gives it its versatility. It is capable of being paired with almost every traditional heating application, including baseboards and fan coils. The 3 speeds enable the pump to match whatever requirements your system has. However, the wet rotor design makes for a very quiet operating volume.
This pump is easy to install, whether you're setting up a new system or replacing an old one.
As an older model, there are new and improved versions of this pump on the market. However, as a tried-and-tested design, it won't let you down. What's more, the price has reduced significantly over the years.
The Laing is a highly efficient pump, suited perfectly to a household that wants to save a lot of water waste. Installing this pump in your home could save you up to 15,000 gallons of water every year. Its low running costs mean it benefits the environment and your wallet.
As with a few pumps on our list, the Laing comes with a built-in 24-hour timer. While this should be an advantage, the timer lacks build quality and can be broken quite easily. Approaching the device with caution can prevent any serious damage from being done to the timer.
It is extremely lightweight (2.98 lbs.) and very compact (0.1" x 5" x 7.5"), making it easy to fit and install. When in operation, the Laing is virtually silent, making it highly desirable for smaller households.
Performance-wise, this pump works well. However, the flow and overall performance lack that of the higher-rated products on our list. It is also very expensive, giving it a lower ranking.
Bokywox has created an excellent circulation pump that's suited to a wide variety of uses, such as providing hot water to all faucets, radiators, water heaters, and syncing to solar heating systems. It is also capable of boosting water pressure, circulating water for industrial equipment, and increasing oxygen levels for rearing ponds and fish tanks.
The Bokywox is easy to install, needing just a wrench to connect the pump to the pipeline. The package contains everything else you need, including the flow switch, coupling, and sealing rings. DIY savvy people should have no problems getting it up and running.
This pump is built using quality materials, with a maintenance-free construction. The motor is environmentally protected and is IP44 insulation class F durable. Apart from the good build quality and being corrosion resistant, the Bokywox comes in a range of colors. While this doesn't affect performance, it can make for more discreet placement.
Overall, the Bokywox is a great all-around circulation pump for whatever your intended use is. It is not as efficient as other pumps, and it won't save as much water as some of the top products we've mentioned, but this is a good option within its price range.
For anyone with a home aquarium or large fish pond, this is the pump for you.
As one of the cheapest pumps on our list, the Happybuy Rs15-6 is a fantastic budget option. It is efficient with low consumption, temperature resistant, and leak-tightened. Adaptability is one of the best features of this product, as it's suited to city buildings, suburban villas, houses, and industrial equipment.
Installation is quick and easy, with clear instructions included. You'll need minimal equipment and should have the pump running in around an hour.
The Happybuy has 3 speed settings, operated by a circulating switch. This allows you to have more control over your energy consumption and water flow levels. You can have hot water flowing in a matter of seconds. This contributes to significant waste reduction, with some customers reporting to save approximately 3 gallons of water per shower.
The pump is fitted with aluminum housing and a corrosion-resistant turbine, making it suitable for drinking water. The motor is powerful but quiet. It is one of the most silent pumps on the market, so it is perfectly suited to small homes and apartments.
Despite being built using aluminum, there have been complaints about the quality of this product. At a lower price point, the Happybuy is likely to be less durable than some of the more expensive pumps. However, we haven't found a specific feature prone to breaking down.
The second Kolerflo on our list is another high-performing option that won't make a dent in your bank account.
The key feature of the Kolerflo is the adjustable power setting. It allows you to select from 46, 67, and 93 watts of power. You have total control over water flow and the amount of energy that you use.
The pump is built entirely out of quality materials. The pump housing is constructed using cast iron, and the impeller is corrosion resistant. It is categorized in the environmental protection class IP44, meaning it prevents water from reaching the electrical outlets.
Unfortunately, there are a few notable negatives associated with this budget pump. Although it is built from quality materials, there are reports of this product breaking down. The manufacturer even advises that you wrap tape around the pump threads in case of leaking.
While the booster pump is powerful, it can cause the device to run quite hot. It is also one of the noisiest pumps on our list.