The lowest compartment of a kayak or any other watercraft for that matter is known as the bilge. Since Bilge sits below the water level, it is quite obvious that over time, it will accumulate some water due to leaks or waves. Now draining out of this bilge section of the kayak with a bucket or a mug is hard work and soon it will make you feel exhausted. This is the reason why it makes sense that you should invest some of your hard-earned dollars on a powerful bilge pump to get the job done.
Bilge pump makes the entire process of draining out water from the bilge super easy. All you have to do is to stick the end of the bilge pump in the water and then push the other end to get the water out of the kayak.
Best 8 Kayak Bilge Pumps
Affiliate Disclaimer: This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions (at no additional cost to you) if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.
Since the market is getting flooded with different varieties of kayak bilge pumps, it is becoming even more difficult for people to choose the best kayak bilge pump for their exact requirements. To help you out, here we have listed the best bilge pumps that money can buy –
The simplicity of use is what has helped this bilge pump gained immense popularity. It comes with a two feet long hose that can be attached to both ends and the best part, this bilge pump floats on water.
Since the hose of this bilge pump is very flexible and pliant, you can use it to reach the most inaccessible areas of the bottom of your kayak. Weighs just around 1 pound, Best Marine Bilge Pump for Kayaks is probably one of the lightest bilge pumps available in the market as of now.
You don’t even have to stop paddle to get the water out. Just make sure that this bilge pump does not end up sucking some gravel because that can cause some damage. Overall, it is a well-made bilge pump; worth every single penny spent.
Seattle Sports Paddlers Bilge Pump is a no-nonsense bilge pump that is super easy to hold and extremely comfortable to use. Pumping made easy thanks to over-molded Handle. Even when the handle gets wet, you will not face any trouble while pumping it.
Neon Yellow color adds to its extreme visibility. To increase its buoyancy, foam collar is included in the design. To drain the water out, you just follow a simple mechanism and that is – pull and push the handle.
Amarine Made Kayak Bilge (Hand) Pump is a reliable hand bilge pump that can prove handy when water starts seeping in your kayak. It has got a nice red exterior which is easy to spot and has a robust structure.
To stop the water from gushing out of the water inlet, Amarine Made Kayak Bilge Pump has embraced anti-leak design. Antiskid EVA wrappage adds to its already impressive floatability. It sports an elegant and ergonomic design which is easy to handle and easy to grip.
Attwood 3005.2674 (11596-2) 32″ Hand Bilge Pump is another cool manual bilge pump that helps you drain water out from the bottom of your kayak. Attwood 3005.2674 (11596-2) 32″ Hand Bilge Pump is extremely easy to use and does not make you feel exhausted after using it for an hour or two. It can easily withstand corrosion. With this hand bilge pump, you will easily be able to pump out 8 gallons of water per minute.
Attwood 3005.2674 (11596-2) 32″ Hand Bilge Pump is made from impact-resistant plastic and this is what has added to its impressive strength and durability. Since this bilge pump is extremely lightweight, you can carry it around with you wherever you go.
Seasense Hand Bilge Pump Hose flaunts anti-leak design and its hose can be removed and reattached easily and effortlessly. It has got a Corrosion Resistant body and it is extremely lightweight as well. It offers good grip on handle.
Unless you are taking it too far like pulling hard on the upstrokes, it will not develop any leak. Its Long discharge hose makes it super convenient to pump out all the water. What makes this Seasense Hand Bilge Pump Hose probably the best bilge pump out there is the fact that it can pump water astonishingly fast.
Better Boat Manual Bilge Pump has got a massive 39 inches long hose. This manual bilge pump makes it super easy to reach the bottom of the kayak and drain out water easily. This bilge pump has got a 1.25-inch diameter hose and 1-inch intake nozzle that make it easier for paddlers to pump out excess water fast.
The best thing about this Better Boat Manual Bilge Pump is that it is extremely lightweight and that means, you don’t have any problem carrying it around. It does not take too much space when it comes to storage and therefore, it is considered to be an ideal bilge pump for smaller boats and kayaks.
Premium quality rubber seal has been applied to this water pump to make it watertight and this is what makes this manual bilge pump superior to other traditional bilge pumps that are available in the market.
The coolest thing about this NRS Kayak Bilge Pump is that it does not need any hose to drain the water out from the bottom of a kayak or boat. Water will get sprayed out over the side of the boat and it also enjoys higher visibility as well. With this hand bilge pump, you will be able to pump gallons per minute, which is more than enough.
Harmony Gear High Volume Bilge Pump is a powerful manual bilge pump that allows the paddler to pump more water without getting themselves exhausted in the process. It can pump 1-gallon water in just 9 strokes. The handle is easy to hold and offers good grip. Since it sports a Synthetic construction, it can easily withstand corrosion.
Manual Bilge Pump Vs Automatic Bilge Pumps
Manual Bilge Pump
Pumping out water from, your kayak with a manual bilge pump may seem like a fun idea but believe me, it is not! You will soon be out of breath. Lifting the handle of the pump and pushing it down on a continuous basis will definitely make you feel miserable. This is the reason why you need to invest some dollars on a good quality automatic bilge pump so that the aforementioned process can easily be automated.
However, manual bilge pumps have their own set of advantages. For example, they are easy to carry around and they don’t eat up a lot of kayaking real estate. They also sport a compact design and they are less expensive too.
Automatic Bilge Pumps
Automatic bilge pumps can drain the water out without you doing the hard work. All you have to do is to press a button! Automatic bilge pumps are great for large boats. Sometimes big kayak gathers so much water that paddlers with manual bilge pumps have to stop paddling in order to pump out the water manually.
However, there are some minor downsides to automatic bilge pumps. For example, they are bulkier and therefore, they eat a lot of kayaking real estate. A major advantage of Automatic Bilge Pump is that they can be installed on a boat or on a kayak with little or no effort. As soon as the water level reaches a certain point in the kayak, the Automatic Bilge Pump starts working and the tanks get emptied out automatically so that you can concentrate on what you do best and that is – kayaking.
Just make sure that the automatic bilge pump is cleaned properly and if you notice any buildup inside it or identify the presence of any debris, you need to get it cleaned. Other than that, automatic bilge pumps need very little maintenance.
How To Choose The Best Kayak Bilge Pumps
Finding the right kayak bilge pump is not that easy. There are so many factors that you need to take into considerations before making the final move. Here we have listed some of those factors. Check them out –
Do you need a small bilge pump or a standard-sized bilge pump? That is the question. Well, in case, you are confused, you need to take a look at your kayak. Is it a 1 person kayak or a tandem kayak?
If it is a tandem kayak, a 20 inches long bilge pump would be needed to pump all the water out. But in case it is a 1 person kayak, a shorter bilge pump will do.
The bottom of the kayak will accumulate water over time. Since the bilge section of the kayak sits below the water level, it tends to collect water inside. Waves, leaks, rain or even drips from paddles can create a puddle inside. We all understand how uncomfortable it can get when you have to paddle for hours while water level inside keeps rising every minute.
Now in order to remove excess water from the bottom of your kayak, you have two options – Electrical Bilge Pumps and Manual kayak Bilge Pumps. When the weather is calm, hand bilge pump is more than enough to drain the water out of the bottom of the kayak. But if the weather turns for the worse and when your kayak gets battered by giant waves, manual bilge pump will prove ineffectual. In those extreme conditions, you need to use electrical bilge pumps.
So that means, manual bilge pumps are ideal for lake or river kayaking or any other recreational kayaking expeditions whereas electrical bilge pumps are ideal for whitewater kayaking expedition,
Now, as you have already noticed most hand-operated bilge pumps are made from plastic and the reasons are quite obvious. Plastic makes this hand-operated bilge pumps lightweight and also plastic is water-resistant. It does not rot if it comes in contact with saltwater.
But the internal materials/parts of a kayak bilge pump should be made from tougher and durable materials like stainless steel. The rod should be made from stainless steel as it will endow it with strength and increase its lifespan.
Another important thing that you should not ignore is the floatability aspect of the bilge pump. If the bilge pump does not float on water, it is just a matter of time that you will lose your pump. To ensure that the manual bilge pumps can easily float, foam sleeve coating is applied to it. However, battery-operated bilge pumps are heavier and their internal parts are made from metals and therefore, it is quite obvious that they will not float in case of capsizing. But there is a silver lining and that is – these batteries operated bilge pumps tend to be attached permanently to the kayak and therefore, there is no question of losing it.
4. Power Source
Muscle and battery are two primary sources of power of most kayak bilge pumps.
Battery-powered bilge pumps either use a sealed 12v acid battery or on alkaline “D” size battery. Sometimes, these sealed 12v acid batteries come equipped with an automatic shut-off function. Since the entire process of water draining gets automated thanks to Battery-powered bilge pumps, paddlers are free to do whatever they like to do – like paddling or fishing.
Battery-powered bilge pump continues to drain water out of the bottom of the kayak as long as it has a certain water level and when the water level drops below a certain point, this Battery powered bilge pump gets shut off automatically. Another major advantage of battery-powered Bilge pump is that it can drain out large amounts of water in a short period of time and the best part, you don’t have to stop paddle for that. It will get it done automatically and very little human intervention is required thus making it ideal for intense sports like whitewater paddling.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.