5 Best Kayak Bilge Pumps to Keep the Cockpit Dry

The market is full of kayak accessories. So, sometimes you might not be sure which one you need to end up making your kayaking experience better. This time around, I would recommend you get yourself the best kayak bilge pump.

Take a bilge pump with the same seriousness you would when buying a paddle or life jacket. This is because it is an essential accessory you cannot miss during your next kayaking trip.

What is it all about? What are the top models? How do I get the best one? These are all important questions I answer in the guide below to help you learn more about the bilge pumps in the market.

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In a hurry? Check our best pick above, or keep reading for product reviews and buying guide!

What is a Kayak Bilge Pump?

A bilge pump is a specialized type of pump crucial for removing any water that might have accumulated in the kayak. Let us say you have been kayaking in choppy waters, and you end up with a lot of water getting into the kayak, a bilge pump will be necessary to remove this excess water.

So far, it is easy to see why a person would need such a pump as part of their accessories.

Types of Bilge Pumps

There are two main bilge pumps you can get in the market. They include;

i. Manual bilge pumps

The manual bilge pumps are great for kayaks since they are compact, lightweight, and easy to use. You can always take them with you on different kayaking trips.

These pumps work in a similar way as you would when pumping air into your tire. As such, you should have an easy time using this type of bilge pump.

The most common downside with the manual pump is that you can get fatigued easily if you are new to using it. Also, it is hard to paddle while at the same time pump out the water.

ii. Automatic bilge pumps

The other option to get is the automatic bilge pumps. These are electric bilge pumps that need a source of power to operate.

Since they are electric, they should generally pump out a lot of water at any given time. Some have a water flow rate of 1500 gallons per hour, making them suitable for rough waters.

You can also be paddling while at the same time using the bilge pump.

The common downside is that the pump will need some installation which can be tricky for some people. However, most manufacturers offer guidance on how to get it done right.

Why You Need Kayak Bilge Pump

The most common reason for a bilge pump is to help remove the excess water from the vessels. There is no doubt you would not want your kayak filled with a lot of water, risking sinking. Also, this might lead to the soaking of the different gear you might have in the kayak.

Since most bilge pumps are easy to use, you would not have an excuse not to have one for your vessel.

The same can come in handy for removing water from the storage hatches too. Let us say you end capsizing your kayak, and water enters the storage hatches. It would be easier to remove such water rather than tipping your kayak upside down.

As much as the kayaks can have scupper holes for water drainage, they would not be the best while you are still kayaking on the water. So, a bilge pump is a great option to remove as much water as possible from your kayak.

How to Choose a Kayak Bilge Pump

Kayaking Location

One thing is for sure; there is the need to get yourself the best kayak bilge pump that would make the overall use easy.

Let us say you go kayaking in whitewater or rough waters; there is the need to get yourself an automatic bilge pump. As much as the hand bilge pump can still do the trick, you should find it easy to use an automatic bilge pump to remove more water from the kayak due to the rough waters.

A manual hand bilge pump is ideal when you are kayaking in calm waters.

Power Source

The power source, in this case, I am talking about the automatic bilge pump. You will need to connect it to a power source if you want it to work correctly. Most models are 12V systems, so getting a battery to handle it should not be a problem.

Look at how often you might need to replace or recharge the battery. This will determine how you would enjoy using the particular bilge pump.

The Material

In most cases, the materials will be plastic for the body. However, the internal parts can vary a lot. Reading more reviews can help you understand how the pump works and if it can be durable.

Check out the product’s manual or description to learn more about the materials used to make the bilge pump.

Installation

You always have to consider the installation too. The last thing you want is to end up with a hard-to-install kayak bilge pump.

The hand pumps are mostly easy. All you have to do is attach a few hoses, and you are good to start using the pump.

The electric models would need more than attaching hoses, so make sure the installation is done right.

Product Reviews of The Best Kayak Bilge Pump

The first on the list is an electric bilge pump. Since it is electric, most people would love it for being easy to use. Once you connect it to a power source, it should be ready to start working in no time.

The overall output of this bilge pump makes it stand out as a great choice for most people. It has an output of up to 1100 gallons per hour. Well, it should be good to drain the excess water in your kayak in the shortest time possible.

You will also like the all-in-one pump and switch you get with the bilge pump. You do not need a float switch to operate this model. The pump will automatically turn on when the water rises beyond a certain level and shuts off when it has removed the water.

It also comes with a snap-off strainer. This allows for ease of cleaning generally.

The model has water-cooled motors to ensure you end up with a long-life design generally. It would be able to work for longer without performing too much maintenance on it. Its anti-airlock design should give the user the best performance in terms of durability too.

Pros

  • It is easy to set up and use
  • It has an all-in-one pump and switch
  • The pump has an impressive water flow

Cons

  • The body feels cheaply made

This is a manual best kayak bilge pump. Even if it is manual, it is still easy to use to get the excess water from your kayak. The model comes with a 39-inch long hose that will make it easier reaching to the bottom of the boat. You can use the same for canoes, motorboats, and dinghies to pump the water out.

The model features a no-clog filter and still a watertight gasket. This is thanks to having a premium rubber seal to ensure no leaks. If there are no leaks, you should end up with maximum suction ensuring you can always remove the excess water with ease.

The bilge pump also features a filtered nozzle that prevents seaweeds, debris, and leaves from easily clogging the transfer pump. As such, you should end up with a pump that offers maximum flow all the time.

The pump is lightweight and easily portable. Since it is light, you can always have an easy time carrying it with you during kayaking trips. Also, since it is manual, no need to worry about the power source.

Pros

  • It is easy to assemble
  • It has a no-clog filter
  • The pump has impressive suction

Cons

  • The hose easily gets kinks

This is another best kayak bilge pump you could get for yourself today. It is designed to offer an anti-leak design to have the best suction each time you are using it. The removable gasket is important to prevent the water from flowing from the water inlet.

The model has a skid-proof design. This is because the manufacturer uses EVA wrappage on the exterior to keep it from easily slipping each time you are using it.

Also, it features double drainage ability. Such a feature is good for enabling you to discharge more water at any given time. You can discharge a maximum of 0.4L from a single pull and push movement.

This hand pump has an extremely light and compact design. This should make it very easy to carry around. Since it weighs 0.77 pounds only, it should be something most people find easy to carry.

Pros

  • It is easy to set up
  • The model is easily extendable
  • It is a great survival device

Cons

  • The gasket easily fails after some time

This is another electric bilge pump for your kayak. It is designed to be a great option that people can consider getting today if they need the best kayak bilge pump.

Since it offers a water flow rate of 1500 gallons per hour, it should be a great option for most people. The manufacturer also includes long-life motors in the pump to ensure it works great too. You will not have to worry about replacing the motors soon.

The other reason to get the bilge pump should be its cleanable strainer. The strainer is easy on and off the pump. So, you can always remove it from the pump for a quick clean whenever it is filled with dirt.

The pump is also easy to set up. You can have it working in no time. Simply follow the set-up instructions to ensure that your pump is working great.

It is still a highly versatile boat. This is because you can use it for different applications and vessels.

Pros

  • It is compact and lightweight
  • It has an impressive motor life
  • The water flow rate is great

Cons

  • Its housing is made of cheap plastic

You should also consider this one as a great alternative to the electric bilge pump above. As much as it might be a hand pump, it does not need a power source as you would need when using the electric bilge pumps.

Users find it easier to set up than some other models in the market. Even if you are new to using such pumps, you will not have trouble working with this one.

The maximum discharge flow rate is 0.4L per pull and push movement. It might not be as fast as the electric bilge pump, but it should get the job done fast too. Since its output is good, it will also reduce fatigue most people experience when using the manual bilge pump.

Well, the design and construction make it lightweight and easily portable. The pump weighs 0.78 pounds only. For most people, this is a lightweight accessory they could use in their kayak.

Pros

  • The foam-padded hand grip reduces slip
  • It is easy to assemble and use
  • It helps keep the fatigue low

Cons

  • The flowrate could be better

FAQs

Is it hard to install bilge pumps?

No. Most pumps are designed to be easy to install. Once you attach the hoses, you would be able to start using the bilge pumps with ease.

How fast can bilge pumps remove water from a kayak?

It will depend on the pump. Some will have more capacity than others. Generally, the automatic bilge pumps will always have more capacity than the manual bilge pumps.

Where can I store my bilge pump?

Bilge pumps are often compact and lightweight. So, it should not be hard to find a place to store the pump in your kayak storage compartments.

Conclusion

The best kayak bilge pump will be an awesome accessory to get for yourself today. It will ensure you always get yourself a nice time paddling while keeping the water out of your kayak. Try to learn the difference between the various types of bilge pumps to always pick the right one for the kayaking conditions.

If it seems like an accessory you have always wanted, go ahead and get one for yourself.

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