Best Bilge Pumps For Kayaking

Best Bilge Pumps For Kayaking

Kayaks are parked low in the waters due to which water can enter inside during your kayaking trips. To avoid such problems, you should use bilge pumps. They help to expel water when your kayak gets inundated by water. Now, for driving back the water, you only have to drop the rear of the pump in the water and start pushing until all the water gets out.

A wide range in bilge pumps is available and you must base your choices depending on your requirements and preferences. Even so, during your kayaking expeditions in rough seas or Whitewater, an automated bilge pump can push back the water while you continue to paddle along. In calmer waters, a manual pump can help to remove the water.

Bilge pumps constitute kayaking essentials. They help in avoiding trouble by getting rid of the water from every corner of your kayak without much ado. Nonetheless, a wide variety of bilge pumps are available and choosing the one that is ideal for your kayak can get confusing.

So, to help you along the way, you can refer to this guide to know about the important considerations when making your selection among the different brands of bilge pumps.

Best 9 Bilge Pumps For Kayaking

1. NRS Kayak Bilge Pump

NRS Kayak Bilge Pump looks deceptively simple, but you should not judge it by its look alone. With it, you will easily be able to suck the water out of the kayak in a matter of a few minutes. Nw, you might be thinking that you might have to purchase a hose separately in order to drain the water out, but you could not be more wrong. NRS Kayak Bilge Pump does not require a hose to spray the water out. It floats on the water as it is stuffed with foam. It can pump 8 gallons per minute and that means, draining the water would not take long.

2. Perception Bilge Pump for Kayaks

Perception Bilge Pump for Kayaks is much bigger than what it appears in the above picture. This powerful bilge pump can help you get rid of the extra water from your boat. It removes water on both strokes (upward and downward) and thus allowing you to save precious energy while paddling in the middle of nowhere. You can attach a hose to it; all you have to do is to attach the hose to its ribbed output nozzle.

Use bungee rigging to get it attached to the deck. Perception Bilge Pump for Kayaks is resistant to both saltwater and corrosion. In just 13 pumps, it can remove 1 Gallon water. The handgrip is padded with foam.

3. Attwood (11595-2) 18″ Hand Bilge Pump

Attwood (11595-2) 18″ Hand Bilge Pump is a decent quality bilge pump that allows you to remove excess water from your kayak. You don’t have to purchase a hose to get the water removed from the bottom of your boat because Attwood (11595-2) 18″ Hand Bilge Pump is powerful enough to drain the excess water out. Attwood (11595-2) 18″ Hand Bilge Pump has got a plastic body and it is highly resistant to impacts and abrasion. It has got an impressive 8 gallons per minute of water removal capacity.

4. SeaSense Kayak Hand Pump

SeaSense Kayak Hand Pump is must-have gear for all the serious kayakers out there who just hate to see the water sipping inside their boat. So, the easiest way to get rid of the excess water is by getting your hands on this SeaSense Kayak Hand Pump. This sleek new bilge pump has got a nice 12 inches long removable hose and floating collar.  

5. Docooler Hand Bilge Pump

Made from EVA and Polypropylene, Docooler Hand Bilge Pump is a heavy-duty bilge pump that is designed to help paddlers get rid of excess water in a matter of few minutes. Weighs just around 380g, Docooler Hand Bilge Pump flaunts a compact design and it is very easy to carry around. Antiskid wrappage helps to increase the floating ability of the bilge pump. The handle has got a nice ergonomic design and offers a great grip. It pumps well and does not make you feel exhausted in the process.

5. Pelican Boats Paddlers Bilge Floating Hand Pump

Pelican Boats Paddlers Bilge Floating Hand Pump lets you drain the water out of your boat without making you feel tired in the process. Foam sleeve increases its floatability and also allows you to a better grip on it. Pelican Boats Paddlers Bilge Floating Hand Pump is highly resistant to shock and corrosion. Pelican Boats Paddlers Bilge Floating Hand Pump is made from strong and durable materials and that means, it will last long. It does great for the price, to be honest with you all. You don’t have to worry in case you drop it in the water because it floats on water.

7. Harmony Gear High Volume Bilge Pump

Harmony Gear High Volume Bilge Pump shoots the water high and that means, you don’t have to spend extra bucks on a new hose. With it, you will be able to drain out volumes of water very fast and effectively. It works like a charm and is known for removing a large volume of water in a matter of few seconds. Harmony Gear High Volume Bilge Pump has got a low-key design which is impressive and it can empty 1 gallon of water per 14 strokes.

Harmony Gear High Volume Bilge Pump has got a synthetic body and that means, it is highly resistant to corrosion and abrasion. The handle has got nice contours too.

8. Seattle Sports Paddler’s Bilge Hand Pump

Seattle Sports Paddler’s Bilge Hand Pump is very easy to use. Even when it is soaked with water, the handle allows you to make pumps comfortably. The handle is over-molded with rubber and this is what offers a solid grip. Its neon yellow body color makes it easier for the paddler to spot in the midst of mayhem. Seattle Sports Paddler’s Bilge Hand Pump is known for its buoyancy and it has an impressive 8 gallon-per-minute capacity. Strong aluminum shaft adds to its durability. It is a decent quality bilge pump that can empty a large volume of water without making you pay a premium price for it.

9. Seattle Sports Breakaway Bilge Pump

Seattle Sports Breakaway Bilge Pump is easy to use and clean. It has got an aluminum shaft and over-molded handle that makes pumping a less strenuous job.  Seattle Sports Breakaway Bilge Pump has got a nice ergonomic design and the handle offers a nice and comfortable grip even when it is wet. The mechanism is very simple. It just sucks the water when you pull the pump and then when you push it, the water gets dispersed. When not in use, you can break it down in 3 parts and then clean with cotton cloth inside out.

A modular bilge pump you can take apart for easy cleaning and plunger replacement. The breakaway bilge pump has an extra-strong aluminum shaft and 8 gallon-per-minute capacity, combined with an ergonomically contoured, over-molded handle for improved grip and comfort, and Lime foam grip for better visibility.

Bilge Pumps Buying Factors

Here are the important aspects to consider during your selection of bilge pumps for your kayak.

1. What About Power Sources?

Under power sources, you can avail of the manual or the battery-operated ones.

Manual pumps are cylindrically-shaped and look like bicycle tire air pumps. You have to invest the effort in pumping out the water when using manual pumps. They operate by tugging a plunger-like handle that drains off the water via the pump and over the edges of your vessel through an outlet hose.

Manual pumps are inexpensive, simple-to-use, and easy-to-install. More so, they have minimal parts that are breakable.

Battery-operated pumps, on the other hand, require a sealed 12v acid battery or alkaline ‘D’ size one. Most 12v pumps come with an automated switch-off function.

As such, the pump continues to operate until all the water has been evacuated from your kayak while leaving your hands and feet free to paddle or hold fishing poles.

And upon the water level dropping below a certain point, the pump switches off automatically while conserving battery.

Moreover, they are able to pump large water quantities within a short period, without you having to stop paddling or pulling to the shores for removing water from your kayak.

2. What Is Your Purpose?

Due to the low seating of kayaks in the water bodies, water tends to collect inside. Also, if you’re paddling on quiet waters, water continues to drip from the handle whenever you take a swipe. As such, a puddle is created within the kayak.

At times, only a little water accumulates where a manual pump to eject the water would serve your purpose well. However, in some cases, when drifting through rough waters and high waves, more water starts to collect inside the kayak. Also, this can occur when you’re paddling through tough water conditions where you’ve to paddle continuously and are not able to stop midway to pump water out.

So, the first step when making your selection among the different bilge pumps is to decide the type of kayaking you’re planning to indulge in.

Are you planning on going kayaking in lakes where the waters are calmer and wave smaller? Or do you intend engaging in more open water or white water kayaking along several waves where the water will splash over the edges of your kayak?

Will you have the time to stop at various junctions to pump out water from your kayak? Do you want the convenience of not having to worry about the rising water levels within your craft? Are you looking to invest in battery-operated pumps for the seamless evacuation of the collected water?

Make sure you consider all such aspects when comparing the varied bilge pumps.

3. What About Pump Size?

To assess what bilge pump size suits your requirements, you need to consider these questions. Can your kayak sit one (single) or two (tandem) people? Do you plan on kayaking in flat or rough waters?

A single person kayak is shorter lengthwise and a bilge pump measuring between 17.5 to 20 inches suffices for them. In the case of tandem kayaks, you will need a longer pump of 20” to remove water resourcefully.

The BoatsUS Foundation says that, on average, manual pumps require eight strokes for discarding a gallon of water, which equals 8 GPM; and battery-operated pumps work on an average of 8 GPM, which is equivalent to 500 GPH.

4. What Materials Are Used?

The body of most bilge pumps is made of plastic. Though, the internal parts can be composed of varied materials.

Mostly, manual pumps and made of plastic and contain a stainless-steel rod inside that is controllable via a handle. Moreover, manual pumps have a foam sleeve cover that makes them remain afloat when dropped through the pumping process.

Battery-operated bilge pumps contain internal metal motors that are covered via the plastic body frame. As compared to manual pumps, the battery-operated ones are slightly heavier. They do not float but are permanent fixtures in the kayak.

5. Are the Pumps Easily Installable?

Consider where the pump is to be mounted or strapped and whether the kayak is single or tandem.

In the case of manual pumps, you need to strap on the side of your kayak to reach for it easily.

You can have the pump under the edges of the coaming, which is the lip of the large-sized hole you’re seated in. And if the size of the pump is longer than required, then it will come in the way when you’re paddling.

As a safety precaution when using manual pumps, you must attack a coiled tether to the pump handle and your kayak through a secure clip to permit removal of water when traveling. Then, you do not have to go chasing to fetch it if the strap becomes loose.

To install a battery-operated pump, you do not need to have some electrical expertise. Though, the pumps come with directions and wiring sketches.

In the case of battery-operated pumps, you need to know where to mount them. Then, you do not have to battle for space or run the risk of the wires loosening, which results in disruptions during your water adventures.

6. Does the Pump Float on Water?

When choosing manual pumps, make sure that they’re floatable. Because if the pump falls in the water, or gets disconnected from your kayak, and sinks and gets covered in mud, you could get stuck in creeks without a paddle. Fortunately, manual pumps have brightly-hued foam sleeves and can float and be spotted easily.


Bilge pumps are essential to have a safe ride during your kayaking excursions. So, make sure that you evaluate all the available options carefully before purchasing such equipment. Surely, you have to consider your budgetary constraints too. A good strategy would be to draw your financial plan and look for options within the given limit.

In all, study all the related aspects carefully so you make a balanced decision when purchasing bilge pumps for your kayak.

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