Portable vs. Submersible vs. Towable Pumps

Portable vs. Submersible vs. Towable Pumps

If you need reliable and effective pump equipment for your construction, mining, drilling or irrigation project, it’s important to know the variety of pumps available and their uses. Different types of pump equipment are designed for specific capacities and situations, making some models more suitable than others depending on your project needs.

This guide to construction pumps will cover the differences between portable vs. submersible vs. towable pumps and how to choose the right one for your application. We’ll also explore the benefits of renting your pump equipment from The Cat® Rental Store.

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The 3 Types of Pump Equipment

If you’re looking to rent pump equipment for construction, agriculture or other applications, you first need to know what types of pump equipment are available to you.

While all pumps serve the same purpose 一 to displace large amounts of water or fluids 一 some pumps work for more unique situations. Certain types of construction pumps also have features that make them advantageous in specific settings. The pump's design matters when you’re looking to choose the right solution for your needs.

Below are three types of pump equipment to choose from:

1. Portable Pumps

If you need a pump that’s easy to transport between projects or around different areas of the same site, a portable pump can be the right solution. Portable pumps are easy to transport and set up without additional accessories or parts. As stand-alone units, portable pumps are smaller than many other models and can be carried and moved around by one or more people.

While portable pumps provide mobility, the trade-off is that they generally offer lower output capacity compared to mounted or permanently installed pumps. However, because they’re portable, these machines are easy to reposition as needed to ensure you get the thorough dewatering you need. Small portable pumps are also sometimes called self-priming because they do not need a separate pump primer. However, the pump casing does need to be filled with water to prime it before pumping.

Portable pumps range in size, with smaller ones being much easier to position precisely. You can choose from a range of maximum flow rates and discharge head sizes to get the right functionality you need.

2. Submersible Pumps

Submersible pumps are positioned underwater to push water to the surface, where it gets collected and removed. The pump motor is hermetically sealed, making it waterproof so that it can operate directly within a body of water. To operate a submersible pump, you submerge the entire assembly into the water, making it useful for confined spaces. A submersible pump must remain completely submerged during operation for it to function properly.

Being submerged, a submersible pump operates more efficiently than other types of pumps that use jet-streams because it doesn’t require priming. This is because it operates directly in the water. Without needing separate priming, submersible pumps can save your operation time and effort.

Because submersible pumps push rather than pull water, they conserve more energy and reduce power costs compared to units that remain near the body of water. For this reason, submersible pumps can be used as basement sump pumps in commercial and industrial buildings.

3. Towable Pumps

When you need a heavy-duty construction or industrial pump that can be easily transported between job sites, consider a towable pump. Towable pumps are mounted to a two-wheel chassis with a hitch that can attach to your truck or utility vehicle for towing across job sites.

Towable pumps range in design, from self-priming models that only need water added to the pump casing to high-pressure pumps that require separate priming to operate. Coming in a range of maximum flow capacities, towable pumps are available for every size application. With different discharge heads available for a range of pumps, you can find the right towable machine for your situation. Some towable pumps can also handle solids and are rated as trash pumps to help you remove debris in the water and prevent clogging.

Portable vs. Submersible vs. Towable Pump Uses

When choosing between a portable, submersible or towable pump, it’s important to understand the different uses and applications each type is suited for. When deciding between types of pump equipment, consider whether you need a temporary or permanent solution, what the size of the area is and whether the water in question is saltwater or freshwater, among other factors.

Portable Pump Uses

Depending on the size and capacity, portable pumps can be suitable in a range of project sizes, from residential construction to industrial oil and mining jobs. Below are some different portable pump uses:

  • Dewatering: In numerous industries, dewatering is an important undertaking that restores a location after flooding and allows improved access to terrain. In agriculture, quarry and aggregates, oil and gas, wastewater management and construction industries, portable pumps remove unwanted water overrun and flooding effortlessly.
  • Firefighting: In a firefighting scene, emergency responders need a quick and effective pumping solution. Portable options allow firefighters to position the pump precisely and strategically to deliver large quantities of water in fire suppression efforts.
  • Water damage restoration: Flood and water damage restoration technicians need fast and efficient ways to remove standing water. When taking on major flooding in large buildings, basements and other large areas, technicians use portable pumps to quickly remove harmful standing water before it causes more damage.
  • Trash and sewage removal: For fast and effective debris removal, a portable pump can help with sewage cleanup, draining and unclogging efforts. Whether clearing septic tanks or unclogging drainage systems, portable pumps can help with various debris and solid removal efforts.

Submersible Pump Uses

Submersible pumps have a unique design that allows them to be used in special circumstances where other types of pumps won’t be as effective. Because submersible pumps can be submerged directly in the body of water, they’re used in large drainage and underground projects. The following are some common ways that submersible pumps are utilized:

  • Irrigation: Below-ground irrigation systems require effective and reliable pumping mechanisms to distribute large quantities of water under pressure. In many irrigation systems, technicians will install submersible pumps to operate below-ground within water reserves. Submersible pumps can be used in farmland, golf courses, nurseries, parks and other large landscaped areas.
  • Deep-well drilling: In well-building projects, submersible pumps must pump well water. These machines can be submerged within the drilled well and push water to the surface. This ability makes submersible pumps especially useful when retrieving water from deeper depths, such as deep underground aquifers.
  • Seawater handling: Seawater is a corrosive substance that can damage conventional pumps over time when these machines must consistently handle large quantities of saline. Submersible pumps are protected from water and are effective in seawater handling capacities to prevent the motor's parts from corroding.

Towable Pump Uses

For immediate pumping needs, a towable pump can be the right solution for easy transportation and temporary use. A towable pump can easily hitch to a vehicle and be transported to a site, making it easy to move from location to location to perform dewatering as needed. Some common towable pump uses include:

  • Agriculture and farming: When seasonal flooding hits, having a temporary and accessible pumping solution is critical to preserving land. Farmers and agricultural workers can rent a towable pump and easily transport it to the body of water that needs dewatering.
  • Construction: When large amounts of water accumulate from rain-related flooding during construction, a towable pump is a convenient solution to immediately and effectively dry out construction sites. A towable pump allows workers to temporarily set up a solution during an emergency and dewater the area effectively.
  • Disaster relief: Buildings and areas affected by stormwater need immediate dewatering solutions. A towable pump allows disaster relief workers to access an effective machine quickly to begin emergency flood relief efforts.
  • Sewage removal: When sewage becomes backed up, a towable pump can help you remove it and dewater the contaminated area quickly and effectively. Towable pumps provide a temporary and immediate solution for sewage removal.

Things to Consider When Choosing Construction Pumps

In addition to the different uses for each type of pump, there are many other factors to explore when choosing a construction pump model. The type of construction pump you select depends on your specific job requirements. Keeping these considerations in mind can help you choose the right machine for your application:

  • Pump size: The first thing to consider is how large the area is where the pump will be set up. For small and confined areas with minimal amounts of water, portable pumps are a convenient choice because of their more compact size. Towable pumps are larger and bulkier and work where space constraints aren’t an issue.
  • Transportation: Another consideration when choosing a pump type is the level of transportability you need. Towable pumps are the easiest to transport when working on multiple job locations. Additionally, portable pumps are easy to move around and reposition as dewatering occurs. 
  • Type of fluid: Some pumps can handle certain types of substances over others. When choosing a pump, consider the fluid you are pumping. If the fluid contains solids, sewage and debris, it’s important to choose a trash-rated pump that won’t clog. When handling chemicals or corrosive substances, look for a pump that can manage these substances without its motor parts being harmed. Additionally, the fluid's temperature is another important consideration, as some pumps cannot handle very hot fluids.
  • Flow rate: Pumps are rated for their flow rate, which is typically measured in gallons per minute. It’s important to know the volume of fluid you must pump and how quickly it must be done, as this will determine which flow rate to choose. Keep in mind that pumps that handle higher flow rates are more expensive, larger and more difficult to move.
  • Discharge head: Before choosing a pump, calculate the vertical distance where you’re able to pump liquid. This measurement will determine the size of the discharge head you'll need, which is measured by the space between the discharge pipe outlet and the pump. Choose a discharge head suitable for your application so that it won’t exceed the maximum discharge head size listed for the pump.
  • Power source: Consider the pump's power source — these machines can be powered by gas or electricity. To run an electrical pump, you need an electrical power source nearby, meaning these machines can run indoors. For applications that don’t offer a nearby power source, gas-powered pumps are a convenient solution. Gas-powered models emit fumes while operating, so they are suitable for outdoor applications only.

To find out which water pump is best for your application, it is helpful to speak with knowledgeable professionals who can adequately assess your situation and make an informed decision.

Portable, Submersible and Towable Pump Rental Options

No matter your equipment needs, The Cat Rental Store has the right construction pump for your application. Whether you choose a portable, submersible or towable pump, you can find the right one for your next job. 

In addition to our different pump models, The Cat Rental Store carries pumps made by several top brands, including Wacker NeusonMultiquipGodwin and Gorman-Rupp. Easily pick the appropriate model for your needs by selecting from various flow rates, discharge head sizes and other critical features.

Portable Pump Rentals

For all your portable pump needs, choose The Cat Rental Store. Whether you require a short- or long-term portable pumping solution, trust our equipment experts to help you find the ideal solution.

At The Cat Rental Store, you can select a model from the following portable pump rentals:

  • Godwin-HL80M: This model is a portable pump with a 100-foot discharge head and a maximum flow rate of 440 gallons per minute.
  • Gorman-Rupp T6A71S-C4.4T/S1: The Gorman-Rupp is a portable pump with a 152-foot discharge head and a maximum flow rate of 1,650 gallons per minute.
  • Multiquip QPT405SLT: This pump has a 377-foot discharge head and a maximum flow rate of 210 gallons per minute.
  • Wacker Neuson PTS 4V: With this model, you get a portable pump with a 105-foot discharge head and a maximum flow rate of 689 gallons per minute.

Submersible Pump Rentals

The Cat Rental Store has you covered for all your submersible pump rentals. Renting a submersible pump provides a short- or long-term deep-well pump solution and allows you to test different pumping machines before installing a permanent assembly. Our various submersible pumps for rent can suit projects large and small, ensuring you complete a job well-done on every work site.

Choose from the following submersible pump rentals:

  • ABS-J 84ND: This submersible pump has a discharge head size of 178 feet and a maximum capacity of 665 pounds.
  • Flygt-BS2660.180 3 PHASE: This pump offers a 120-foot discharge head and a maximum flow rate of 920 gallons per minute.
  • Grindex-Salvador 3-PH: With the Grindex-Salvador, you get a submersible pump with a 49-foot discharge head and a maximum capacity of 214 pounds.
  • Heide-Turbo 55F: This submersible pump has a discharge head of 48 feet and a maximum capacity of 634 pounds. 
  • Magnum-MST 3101/A: For a more lightweight solution, choose a submersible pump with a discharge head of 59 feet and a maximum capacity of 100 pounds. 
  • Multiquip-ST6154: The Multiquip has a 93-foot discharge head and a maximum capacity of 790 pounds. 
  • Wacker Neuson-PSW3 1500: This Wacker Neuson model offers a discharge head of 69 feet and a maximum capacity of 110 pounds.

Towable Pumps Rentals

When you need an emergency pumping solution that’s easy to transport, consider a towable pump rental. Towable pumps come in a range of configurations, discharge heads and flow rates, providing plenty of options for your application. Get the right short- or long-term towable pump rental solution when you do business with one of our locations near you.

Find the following towable pump rentals:

  • ABS-5537 WTM: This model is a small towable pump with a 25-foot maximum discharge head and a maximum flow rate of 40 gallons per minute.
  • Ameripumps-GP200MC: Select a heavy-duty towable pump with a 175-foot maximum discharge head and a maximum flow rate of 2,400 gallons per minute.
  • Godwin-HL5M: This Godwin model offers a large towable pump with a 500-foot maximum discharge head and a maximum flow rate of 1,500 gallons per minute.
  • Multiquip-MQ600TD80: This model has a 150-foot maximum discharge head and a maximum flow rate of 1,600 gallons per minute.
  • Pioneer-PP88S12L72-C4.4T: With the Pioneer, you get a towable pump with a 145-foot maximum discharge head and a maximum flow rate of 3,800 gallons per minute for all the power you need.
  • Thompson-8HT-DPST-1104D.44T: This Thompson model provides a 168-foot maximum discharge head and a maximum flow rate of 2,600 gallons per minute.
  • Wacker Neuson-PTS4V: When choosing this Wacker Neuson model, you get a towable pump with a 106-foot maximum discharge head and a maximum flow rate of 705 gallons per minute.

If you need additional help with selecting the right towable, portable or submersible pump size and capacity for your needs, contact The Cat Rental Store near you to speak with a rental expert.

Benefits of Renting Construction Pumps

When you need a pump for an emergency, short-term or long-term solution, consider the benefits of renting your pump equipment from The Cat Rental Store. Renting your pump equipment provides many advantages, including getting expert advice from experienced rental representatives and receiving professional machine maintenance.

Some benefits of renting your construction equipment from us include:

  • Temporary use: If you need a pump for a temporary job rather than a lengthy project or permanent application, renting is the most convenient solution. Renting allows you to secure the equipment by the day, week or month so that you can get the solution you need without paying more than necessary or taking on ownership duties.
  • Affordable equipment: Equipment rentals are often an affordable solution for temporary or short-term applications. When you rent your pump equipment, you can access complex, expensive equipment at a less expensive rate, giving you access to machinery you might not have used otherwise. This advantage can also expand your range of capabilities on the job, potentially increasing your bottom line once clients know you can handle more specialized assignments.
  • Wide selection: By working with The Cat Rental Store for your pump equipment needs, you’ll have a vast selection of types and models to choose from. Our extensive inventory allows you to get the correct pump and size for your application. In addition to our own machines, we sell equipment and tools from over 70 other leading manufacturers.
  • Local availability: With over 1,300 global locations, The Cat Rental Store has the local availability you need to tackle your pumping project without delay. We are your locally owned and operated solution for all your rental equipment demands.

Discover more benefits of short-term construction equipment rentals by visiting our store near you.

Rent Construction Pumps From The Cat® Rental Store

If you need a short-term or long-term pump equipment rental, choose The Cat Rental Store for your solution. Known for our reliable, high-quality rentals, we can provide you with a high-performing and effective rental pump for the toughest jobs.

For a wide selection of portable, submersible and towable pump rentals, visit The Cat Rental Store location near you today. For exceptional customer service, call us at 1-800-RENT-CAT or fill out a Quick Quote online.

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