Submersible Pool Pumps

A submersible pool pump is designed to keep your pool cover free and clear of water all winter off season and is worth every penny if you experience a lot of rainfall. The advancements in pump technology make the best pool cover pumps on the market today virtually maintenance free with auto on and off features. The only thing you'll have to worry about this rainy off season is when you are going to open the pool once the rain stops and the weather warms up. 

submersible pool pump

If you've tried to go a winter without a submersible pool cover pump you are probably wishing you didn't. The accumulated mess of water mixed with organics like leaves and twigs that can collect on the cover is not fun to deal with during spring opening. If you were unlucky you maybe ended up with algae, mildew or a host of other organisms growing on your cover. Most pool owners don't realize that a pool cover that collects even a few inches of rain is a safety hazard for small children and pets.

Top Rated Submersible Pool Pumps

The affordability of the best submersible pumps makes them a must have if you are using a non-porous winter cover and you get any amount of rain. If this is your first time considering purchasing a pump for your cover you're at the right place. We are going to go over everything you need to know so you can buy online with confidence and get exactly what you need. There are a few must-have features including automatic operation and freeze protection if you live where temperatures drop below freezing. 

The top rated submersible pool pumps are designed specifically to remove water from pool covers and they do a really good job. The best pumps remove water automatically for the ultimate in low-maintenance and safety. If you want to purchase a submersible pool pump online from Amazon they arguably have the best selection in North America supported by hundreds of satisfied customer reviews. 

Little Giant Automatic Submersible Pump

The Little Giant 1700 Automatic Pool Cover Submersible Pump will keep standing water from collecting on your cover all season long. This simple and reliable pump will activate in as little as 2 inches of water and won't stop until the water is down to 1 1/2 inches. The 25 foot power cord, 3 year warranty and upwards of 2000 gallons per hour make this one of the best submersible pool pumps. 

1745 gallons per hour

little giant submersible pool pump
Buy Now

Wayne Submersible Pool Cover Pump

The Wayne Automatic Submersible Pool Cover Pump is a close second on our list of top rated submersible pool pumps. It will activate in about 2 inches of water and won't stop until the water is below 3/4 inches which exceeds the Little Giant. It also features iSwitch technology for automatic operations. Add to that the auto freeze protection and you have a superb pump. 

3000 gallons per hour

wayne submersible pool pump
Buy Now

Wayne WaterBug Submersible Pump

The Wayne WaterBUG Submersible Cover Pump is the latest in a long line of pumps from arguably the biggest and best pump manufacturer in the world. This pump isn't automatic but it makes the list because of its Multi-Flo Technology that allows for easy selection of different discharges. It is extremely versatile and can be a handy addition to help out with a waterlogged basement or flooded yard. 

1350 gallons per hour

wayne waterbug submersible pump
Buy Now

FibroPool Submersible Winter Cover Pump

The FibroPool Submersible Winter Cover Pump makes our top 3 on the list because of the price combined with its reliability. This pump is not going to move a ton of water but it will get the job done. It won't turn on and off automatically but it will move water from just about anywhere. If you own a small pool or an above ground pool you can't go wrong with this small cover pump at this affordable price.

600 gallons per hour

fibropool submersible pool pump
Buy Now

How Does a Submersible Pool Pump Work?

A submersible pool pump works by pumping water from wherever the pump is located and draining it to a predetermined location away from the area being pumped. The motor pulls water into the pump from the bottom or side and expels it through a regular rigid garden hose. A submersible pool pump designed for pool covers should have an automatic water detection sensor. This means it can be placed on the cover and it will automatically turn on when it senses water and turns off when all the water is removed. 

Some top rated submersible pool pumps are equipped with an auto shut off feature that detects when freezing temperatures are present. This protects the pump from overheating or causing damage to the impeller blades and internal motor. A pool cover pump should never be used when temperatures drop below freezing. Store the pump inside or in a heated shed until temperatures remain above freezing. 

How to Use a Submersible Pool Pump

A submersible pool pump can be relied upon to remove water down to 1/4" - 1/2" in depth. This means that if you leave the pump on your winter cover, it will monitor the water depth 24/7 and keep it clear as long as power isn't interrupted and temperature remains above freezing. The Wayne WAPC250 Submersible Pool Pump features iSwitch technology that automatically engages the pump when it senses water and then shuts off when it's done, it doesn't get any easier than that. 

Submersible Pool Pump Features

Not all pool cover pumps are created equal and operate on their own, unlike typical inline pool system pumps. With a cover pump it's the little things that make it so much easier to use while avoiding headaches along the way. The following features are definitely worth considering and are available in most of the top rated models. 

  • Automatic water sensing for worry-free monitoring and removal 24/7
  • Freeze protection for cold climates
  • Pull cord for easy placement and removal
  • Extra long power cord for increased versatility

Performance Rating

Every submersible pool cover pump has a rating for how fast it pumps water. It's not overly important for a pool cover pump unless you live in an area that's gets a lot of heavy rainfall. The pumps performance is measured in gallons per hour and while this might not mean much, it's a great way to compare pumps to one another. The average submersible pool pump will move 1500-3000 gallons per hour off an inground pool cover

If you are pumping water from your cover and running it over a vertical incline a rough estimate is it will reduce the pump flow rate by half, every 10 feet of elevation.

Pool Mesh Safety Cover for Inground Pools

Buy Now

If you click on this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission.

pool cover

Submersible vs External Pumps

What's the difference between a submersible and non-submersible external pump? A submersible pump is designed to live underwater and pump the water around it. A non-submersible pump or external pump is designed to live out of the water and needs to remain dry to operate. A submersible pump pulls water in through a bottom or side intake while an external pumps pulls water through a hose attached to the suction intake. 

Submersible Pumps Alternatives

If you are shopping for a pool cover pump keep in mind there are a few different types of submersible pumps out there that aren't designed for pool covers, and should be avoided. Most of the pumps on the market are not automatic which means you have to physically move the pump every time it's used. It also has to be plugged in while it pumps and then unplugged when the water has been removed. The following types of submersible pumps should not be used with your pool cover:

Utility Pumps

A utility submersible pump is small, lightweight, versatile and often has a very low flow rate. In addition to not being an automatic pump it just can't remove water from a cover fast enough during a heavy rain. It's designed to work just about anywhere but it's not ideal for pool covers. 

Sump Pumps

A sump pump is a large and heavy pump that's often used in basements and crawl spaces in homes that are susceptible to flooding. Submersible sump pumps aren't ideal for pool covers because they are big and heavy and require a solid base to sit on. They use a float switch to trigger pumping as water levels rise similar to how a toilet works. 

Effluent Pumps

An effluent pump is similar to a sump pump except that it's designed to pump dirty sewage water. This means that the pumps are often larger, have a higher flow rate because they deal with a higher total dynamic head or TDH resistance. Effluent submersible pumps are heavy, cumbersome and not ideal for pool covers. 

Submersible Pool Cover Pump Installation

Installing your submersible pool cover pump will take a bit of planning to ensure that it removes water as effectively and safely as possible. You want to avoid using an extension cord but if you do use one make sure the connection is well away from where it might contact water. Most top rated submersible pool cover pumps come with power cords longer than 20 feet in length. 

  • Set the pump in the middle of the cover to ensure that the pump is always at the low point when it receives water. 
  • The pump needs to sit as level as possible to prevent the pump from not working. You may need to place a thin base under the pump to ensure that it sits properly. The base should not have any sharp edges and be thinner than a 1/4 inch. 
  • The pull cord should be used to set the pump past the appropriate location. Never use the power cord to position the pump. 
  • Ensure that the garden hose is set up to drain in an area that can handle the water runoff. 

Most pumps available today are built to withstand extreme temperatures including ice and snow but they won't operate in these conditions. It's not recommended that you leave the pump on your cover over the winter. Find more pool closing and winterizing tips and helpful information about off season pool preparation. 

Submersible Pool Pump Troubleshooting

If you have been using a submersible pool cover pump and had issues with it we can help you troubleshoot the problem. If you aren't comfortable working with electrical equipment we don't recommend trying any of the following suggestions. The following problems and solutions may help solve minor problems with your pump. Always disconnect the power before attempting any repairs. 

Pump is not working

  • Keeps tripping breaker. Reset the breaker and call an electrician if this keeps reoccuring.
  • GFCI tripped. Check the wiring for damage or moisture and reset GFCI. 
  • Low line voltage. Contact a certified electrician.
  • Motor is defective. Replace the pump or contact manufacturer if under warranty.
  • Dirty switch. Clean the switch with fresh clean water. 
  • Impeller jammed. Clean the impeller plate and remove all debris.
  • Screen or strainer clogged. Clean the screen and remove debris from the strainer.
  • Priming hole is plugged. Clean the hole with a paper clip or something similar. 

Pump is starting and stopping too often

  • Back-flow of water. Install a check valve to prevent water from returning to the pump.
  • A dirty switch. Clean and rinse the switch with clean water.
  • Priming hole may be plugged. Clean the hole with a paper clip or something similar. 
  • Pump is not level on the pool cover. Reposition the pump so it sits more level on the cover. 

Pump won't shut off and runs continuously

  • There may be debris in the switch that can be remedied by rinsing the switch with clean water. 
  • Discharge height is too high and you may need to reduce the height or a more powerful pump.
  • Frozen water is stuck in the discharge hose and needs to be thawed or replaced. 
  • Pump is air-locked and remedied by shutting the power off and restarted for 1 minute intervals. 

Pump is operating but there is no water flow

  • The impeller may be jammed or obstructed. Remove the strainer, base, impeller plate and clean.
  • The primer hole is blocked. Clean the hole with a paper clip or something similar.
  • The hose may be obstructed. Check the hose for kinks.
  • Strainer is clogged. Power off the pump, remove and rinse stainer. 
  • Vertical discharge height too extreme. Reduce the discharge height or you may need a more powerful submersible pool pump.


Please use all appropriate and proper safety precautions when attempting projects on this website. All projects are attempted at the reader's own risk.

Salt Water Pool and Spa™ participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, as an Amazon Associate we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.