The Best Hand Pump for a Deep Well

As my husband and I have really begun to feel an urgency to get our final emergency preparations in order, particularly before the end of this year, securing a source of fresh, convenient water is obviously high on our list of priorities.

Since our water is supplied through a personal well, when the power goes out so does our well pump. Meaning our water stops.

a Simple pump hand pump for deep well
a Simple pump hand pump for deep well

If the grid ever goes down for a long period of time, or electricity gets too expensive to afford, or if the power supply is rationed resulting in rolling black-outs, we would be at the mercy of the powers that be.

Obviously, that’s not good enough for us. We need an emergency backup plan.

We do have a pond on the property, but it’s a good walk down a steep hill, and we’d have a hard time getting that water back up to our house.

It would be so much nicer if we could just walk a few paces from our home and hand pump fresh water into a bucket, or even a hose that could gravity feed down to the house.

(Or better yet, have water pumped right through the faucets in our home! But more on that in a moment…)

What Are Deep Well Hand Pumps?

Hand pumps are used all over the world, working to lift water from the ground small amounts at a time. It’s drawn upward with the downstroke of a long handle. On the upstroke, a plunger is reset to a starting position, with a number of simple valves preventing water from falling back down into the ground.

These pumps are especially important for people who live in rural areas. When you lose power, you lose access to water – typically, if you live outside of a municipal water system, you rely on a drilled well with a deep-well submersible pump to pump water into a pressure tank.

If the wells aren’t that deep, you can use hand pumps as backups when the power goes out. Of course, as I’ll explain below, a deep well is an unfortunate exception that can make using a hand pump more challenging.

Water is essential for life! Without it, you can’t survive. If you’re dependent on an electrical grid (one that tends to be getting less and less reliable, as a matter of fact!) you should have a backup for getting water for drinking, cooking, washing, and other needs.

Hand pumps are the perfect solution. The best of the newest line of technology includes those that are meant to be installed alongside an existing electrical pump that is already inside a well. These technologies are game changers when it comes to survival and disaster preparedness.

Deep well hand pumps are designed to solve a common problem that arises from the challenge of drawing water from deep below the ground. The deeper the water, the more challenging it is to pump.

When you try to pump water more than 22 vertical feet upward, the suction can reduce the pressure in the pipe to where the water is essentially vaporized.

Deep well pumps, on the other hand, push water upwards rather than pulling it up by suction. All the “pumping” actually happens in a machined cylinder that is beneath the water level in the well. With this technology, it can push water 300 feet up to the surface, where you need it.

A deep well pump essentially contains three main components – a hand-powered mechanism that sits on top of the well, a pumping cylinder that pushes the water up, and a rod and rigid pipe that connect these first two components.

As you apply pressure to the handle, the rod moves the piston in the cylinder. The piston rises and forces water through the pipe and out the spout.

The Deep Well Exception

A couple of years ago I looked into the cost of putting a hand pump on our well. But there were two main problems that I kept running into:

1. Almost all hand pumps are not meant for deep wells, and will not work alongside your electric pump.

2. The very few hand pumps that actually can be used in deep wells require the use of special machinery to lift and lower the extremely heavy parts that go down into the well.

After learning that hiring a professional to install one of these pumps would cost us over $5000 (not even including the pump itself!), putting a hand pump on our well was just out of the question.

In despair, I gave up hope of ever being able to afford fresh, convenient water without the use of electricity. I’d resigned myself to filtered water from our rain barrels.

But recently I started looking again… there must be a solution!! I knew there had to be a product out there that was meant for situations such as mine.

I searched and read forums for hours. And I discovered two brands that actually sell hand pumps that can be installed in the same casing as your existing electric pump, and both can be installed without a professional’s help!

I’ll tell you all about these two pumps – Bison Pumps and Simple Pumps – but first, here are some tips on what to look for.

How to Find the Right Hand Pump


As with anything, it’s important that you invest in a pump with quality construction. Make sure the pump is built with stainless steel – most modern pumps use this metal as a rule of thumb, but there are some that contain plastic. These can become brittle and worn down over time.


This certainly isn’t mandatory, but if possible, see if you can purchase your hand pump from a local dealer. This will help you find a pump that’s designed to hold up to your local climate, and will also make it easier when it comes to servicing and installing your hand pump.

Depth of the Well

This is one of the most important considerations to make when you’re shopping for a and pump. Get an accurate measurement for the depth of your well (I’ll give you some ideas on how you can do this later on in the article, or you can consult a local hydrologist or well witcher).


Be sure to take a close look at the serviceability and warranty that come with your hand pump. If parts are challenging to find, you may have a hard time servicing your pump yourself.


You should also consider the design of your hand pump. One with a long handle will reduce the strength you need to pump – the opposite is true, of course, for a short handle.

You also need to consider whether the pump can run alongside your existing pump or needs to be installed in its own dedicated well.

One other consideration is whether you want a deep well or shallow well pump. Deep well pumps are expensive but necessary for many situations.

There are even aesthetic design considerations to be made! Most are pretty basic but you can even find some with decorative finishes- a nice touch if you plan on including the pump in your garden.


Pay attention to the ease of installation when you’re shopping for your hand pump. Some can be installed quickly without requiring the help of a professional – others may require drilling or help from a licensed pro.

If you choose a pump for which self-installation isn’t recommended, that’s fine – but you might want to have the gear on hand and get some help from a local professional. Another reason why it makes sense to buy your hand pump from a local dealer!

Flow Rate

The flow rate of various hand pumps can vary. This makes a big difference in how well your pump works, too. Look for a pump with the maximum flow possible if you need a pump for something with high water needs – like watering livestock. A lower flow pump is fine if you only need a few gallons of water each day.

Simple Pumps and Bison Pumps: The Similarities

So I went about determining which was the better option for us.

Both brands share some common characteristics. Both are made from top quality stainless steel.

Both can be used in the same well as your conventional deep well pump, so that you can use the electric pump in normal operation but also have a backup for when the grid is down. Most can bring water up from pretty deep depths.

And both have really great consumer reviews. But Simple Pump offers a couple of extra features which sold me in the end.


Bison Pumps can be installed in wells with existing submersible pumps, as can Simple Pumps. Bison Pumps can be set up with wires that protrude from the base of the pump or out of the casing. This can be done without the assistance of a professional installer.

The same goes for Simple Pumps. It’s quite simple, as the name implies! As with the Bison Pump, it can be installed alongside a working submersible.

Both the Simple and Bison pumps have standard-sized hose fittings, a plus if you’re trying to outfit them to deliver water to your home.

You can purchase potable water hoses from suppliers that deal in RV equipment. You do need to be careful about positioning and storing these hoses. They are usually made out of PVC and can’t be driven over, as this can crush or crack them.


Both kinds of hand pumps can be extremely expensive. Remember that the deeper the pump needs to go, the more expensive it will be to install it (and the more work it will require to pump the water).

A pump installed in a cold climate will also require some sort of freeze protection. This is usually done with a drain hole that’s located around ten feet below the ground.

Winter Readiness

Both the Simple Pump and the Bison Pump can be used in the winter. The key is in installing a drainage hole. It should be about ⅛” in diameter to allow for frost-free wintertime operation.

It should be drilled in the side of the pipe that comes up from the pumping cylinder, generally about a foot below the deepest level of frost penetration.

It’s a simple setup that requires water in the intake to drain down before it freezes.

Modern Design

It’s also important to note that these newer style pumps are different than the ones our grandparents may have used. The parts are precision-milled and the prime is maintained for several months.

Older pumps often used leather bushings that leaked water and had to be refilled with water prior to each use.

Simple Pumps and Bison Pumps: The Differences


Where the Bison states that their pumps can access water as deep as 200 ft., Simple Pumps can pump down to 350 ft.

Seeing as our well is 300 ft. deep, obviously we need a pump that could reach the water if it ever dropped that low.

Simple Pumps are the only hand pumps that pump into the pressurized water tank of your house, giving you full use of ALL your household plumbing.

You could pump water to run straight through your kitchen faucet, no buckets required! I don’t know about you, but I think that’s GREAT.

Solar Power

Simple Pumps can also be upgraded to work alongside solar power, if in the future we decided to go that route. I didn’t find anything anywhere on Bison’s website stating that their pumps can do the same.

I like that the Simple Pumps can be hooked up to solar power as it gives us yet another option for going off the grid.

Simple Pumps, as a company, has created an option that utilizes a ⅕ horsepower pump that is smaller, with a smaller flow of water, but is solar-powered and surprisingly affordable.


Simple Pumps are also less expensive than a Bison. And Simple Pump offers a 5 year warranty on their products, whereas I couldn’t find anything guaranteeing a warranty on any of Bison’s pumps or parts.

Usually, hand pumps can be anywhere between $1,600 and $2,000, but the cost range varies depending on where you are installing the pump and at what depth.

Upkeep and Maintenance

Another factor to consider when looking for a hand pump is the upkeep and maintenance expenses.

According to SP’s official website, the average Simple Pump customer can expect to pay $25 for a seal replacement every three to ten years. That’s it.

Here’s a note from Simple Pump regarding another company’s pumps (not a Bison):

One competitor’s pump is a little cheaper, but 25-30% of these pumps are inoperable after 2-3 years of service! Ongoing maintenance cost is a critical factor in making the best purchase decision.

Customer Reviews

Whenever making a large purchase like this, I put a lot of credibility in customer reviews. Emily at Eat Close To Home wrote about her experience with their Simple Pump, and seems very pleased with her purchase.

(I think it’s worth pointing out that they chose to hire a professional to install their pump, which ended up costing them quite a bit more. She also mentions her concern about drinking water from a PVC pipe, but Simple Pump actually uses Food Grade PVC.)

After reading, reading, reading, and then watching their installation video to see just how doable a self installation would be, Jerry and I were sold on a Simple Pump:

Two Additional Options: Flojak and Lehman’s

Without a doubt, the Simple Pump and Bison Pumps are the two most common hand pumps for deep wells. But if neither of these fit the bill, you might want to consider a Flojak or Lehman’s pump.

Flojak pumps have unique T-handle grips that make it easier to pump the water with less work for the same volume. However, these pumps are depth-restricted, so if you’re looking for a deep well pump (one that can work at depths of 150’ or more), this one is not for you. It’s a good option for someone with a shallow well and a slim budget, though.

Another option to consider is Lehman’s pump. This one has a deep well and shallow option, both of which have unique rustic, cast-iron fixtures that are stylish and aesthetically-pleasing. It only has a one-year warranty and its flow rate isn’t as great as the Simple or Bison Pumps.

It’s also not as great when it comes to freezing protection. However, it’s pretty easy to assemble as long as you order the right parts (some customers recommend calling to make sure you get the right ones).

How to Install a Deep Well Hand Pump

Both the Simple Pump and Bison Pump are relatively easy to install. Before you do so (and before you choose from the options above) you do need to decide which pump is right for you.

You’ll also need to figure out how deep the water is – this will tell you how much pipe is necessary to extend the pumping cylinder beneath the water line. This measurement is referred to as the “static water level.”

You can figure this out by tying a weight to a piece of rope. Lower the rope into the well until you hear the weight splash into the water. Tie a knot in the rope, raise it, then measure the length. There are also special laser measuring devices you can use.

Once you know how deep you need to go, it’s time to purchase your pump hardware (one of the options listed above). The installation will vary depending on your existing setup and which kind of pump you choose, but in most cases, the pumping cylinder will have some sort of a lug that is tied to a safety rope.

You’ll then fasten your length of pipe to the cylinder. A stainless steel inner rod will connect to the cleaner, then the pipe will thread into the pumping cylinder.

close-up well components

Once assembled, you can lower the cylinder and pipe into the well. Support the very top end with the aluminum paddle. Repeat with your second length of pipe, thread the ends together, then thread the body into the lower pipe.

Finally, you’ll drill a drainage hole about five feet below the top of the upper pipe. This is necessary if you plan on using the well in the winter. You can then install the pump body on the top.. All in all, installing your new deep well hand pump shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours.

There are two good options for a deep well hand pump: Simple Pump and Bison. Find out which one I chose and why.

93 thoughts on “The Best Hand Pump for a Deep Well”

    • You don’t need to go all the way to the bottom of your well. Find your static water level (distance from the top of ground level to the water level in your well). Found mine on the tag attached to my well. You could then purchase enough pipe to go 50′ or 100′ below your static water level and should be ok.

  1. Warranty: Bison is life time.

    Bison uses stainless steel sucker rod, Simple Pump is fiberglass. Also I would not be concerned about plastic drop pipe since it is not exposed to light but I do use steel for the bottom section. I have a 280 well with the pump set at 100 feet and it has been in place for 30 years. The pump has been replaced but the drop pipe and wire are still good.

    Well depth
    You state the need to get and accurate measurement of the depth of your well. You talk about the water level later but this is a bit confusing. What is important is the static water level, which is always closer to the surface. Rather than trying to hear a splash on a windy day, lower a block of wood down the pipe. When it floats the line will go slack. Most well installations I am familiar with don’t use the topmost aquifer as being shallow they may be less clean and often have a poor flow rate. However when a deep aquifer is tapped the water level will rise to the level of the shallowest aquifer. My deepest well is 500 feet deep but the static water level is 40 feet. However I set the pump at 100 feet to give me 60 feet of draw down as the deep aquifer does not have a high flow rate. So this gives me 84 gallons of draw down plus what the deep aquifer makes (about 3 gpm), enough to wash cloths and take a shower at the same time.

    Test the pump section in a bucket of water before putting it down the well. I tie a nylon (ski) safety rope around any pump of any type I drop down a well. If a pipe breaks you can retrieve it or if it gets away from you during installation just step on the safety rope.

    After looking, thinking, and scratching I decided against a hand pump for my off grid application. A 12V DC submersible pump can be had for less than $400 that is capable of 150 ft of head. You can connect it to a roll of black ABS black plastic water pipe if you don’t like screwing together (galvanized couplings only) or gluing up schedule 40/60 PVC. To save wear and tear and extend the life of the submersible, I just have it fill a cistern and use another pump to pressurize the pressure tank. Cistern has a float switch that lights an LED lamp if it goes below 30%. If I see that I check voltages and check pump motor with an ohmmeter. I can make that 30% last long enough for a new pump to arrive.

    I love hand pumps but I am old and more pragmatic than romantic now.

  2. Hi, I have and electric pump well, I was wondering if it’s possible to connect a hand pump away from my existing well

  3. Did a lot of research on deep well pumps and base on a lot of reviews here went with simple pump. Installed it last week and so far no water. Been told I probably have a vapor lock and it should self correct in a couple of days. Of course each time I call I’m told to give it a couple of days. Will see if I ever get any more service but right now I have 3K worth of pipe in the ground and no water. They do not have a return policy if it doesn’t work.

    • HI Ken,
      I too am considering a simple pump. I live off grid and have had to bring in water. Have you been able to solve the ‘no water’ problem? How deep is your well?
      I am fairly handy and hope to install it myself. What are your thoughts?

    • How much pipe does 3K buy?

      Did you test the pump section in a bucket of water before putting it down the well?

      How does it feel when you work the pump handle? Does the handle pull back when you release it?

  4. My submersible pump is 25 years old. My wife and I installed it, but we’re 74 now, not as capable of replacing it as we were then. We would call a well guy when needed, but who knows if/when they could get to it. Meanwhile, WE’RE OUTTA WATER!
    We have read about these pumps until we’re glazed over. I think for our peace of mind, I will just buy a cheap submersible pump, some 1 1/4″ water line, some well wire, a couple of ball valves and a tee. WHEN the well motor goes out, I could be up and running in 30 minutes.

  5. I want to make sure that I have the right pump for my well. I didn’t know that you could get hand pumps like this! That seems like a good way to get water up. I’ll have to see if I can get one installed.

    • Before buying any of these pumps, if you have an existing well with pitless adapter and submersible pump, check with a local well driller to see if you have enough room in the casing to accommodate the manual pump equipment. In our area, they drill 4″ wells – not 6″, and there is not enough room for either a Bison or Simple Pump to be added. I would have to excavate to more than 8 feet, cut off the 4″ casing, and replace it with 6″ casing! This would cost as much as installing a new well ($6K).

  6. I didn’t know the price to maintain a hand pump was so cheap! I wouldn’t mind paying $25 every year or three to maintain it. The more I read about this option, the more it seems like it would be a great option for me.

  7. We’re thinking of digging a well on our land, and we need to find a good pump to use. I think I would be ok hiring a professional to do the installation for me, even at that high price. I wouldn’t want to do it the wrong way and have it break when I really needed it. You could also use that same professional to help with any future repairs since they will be familiar with the system.

  8. I actually ran into the same problem as you when looking to install a hand pump on my well. Thank you for listing the two products. I will give them a try and see if they work. It would be nice to save money by being able to install them myself!

  9. Hi, I have a standard (shallow?) well hand pump. We have a well on our property that isn’t being used. I dropped a line down and hit water at 32′. I would love to hook the hand pump to this well for watering garden/outside use. Could I and if so, how would I go about doing this? Is there a way to check the water quality without hooking up a pump first? Thanks for any in-put/suggestions…

    • If you can get some of the water from the well you can have it tested at a lab for water quality. There are also home kits you can use, though they aren’t quite as detailed in results.

    • Your shallow well pump won’t lift water past 25 feet. What you need is a deep well pump. That’s where the pump part goes in the bottom of the well and is supported by the drop pipe it”s connected to. There is a shaft that goes from the pump to the top of the pump and it will pump water to about 200 feet. they use them in State and National parks for water on hiking trails. Google it and pick you one out. There is a company in Tennessee that sells them but I can’t remember their names right off hand. The rods that used to connect the pump to the pitcher part on top used to be made out of wood. My grandfather’s was pine with brass inserts squeezed to each end of the rods which were about 6 or 8 feet long.

  10. Kendra–Thank you so much for doing all this research!! I still have a question that I can’t find the answer to……We share a 300′ well with 10 other homes/families–is there a solution for us?
    I don’t suppose any of the “directly to the house” options of the Simple Pump would work here; maybe only the “at the well/into a bucket” approach would work. What are your thoughts?
    I sure appreciate your time and efforts!

  11. We are happy that you are excited with your hand pump. Please let us clarify a few misconceptions about the Bison Pump, so that blogs like this do not continue to provide incorrect statements about our product.

    1. Bison Pumps does pump into a pressurized system
    2. Bison Pumps can reach static water levels as deep as 300′ like Simple Pump, but ask the question, how much water will I get when I do?
    3. Bison Pumps has a 4″ inline hand pump for well casings that are 4″ and have an electric submersible
    4. Bison Pumps has a lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defects
    5. Bison Pumps does not use fiberglass lift rods
    6. Bison Pumps has (4) cylinder sizes available
    7. Bison Pumps offers the ONLY stainless steel SHALLOW WELL hand pump on the market. If your static water level is less than 25′, you can plumb into the existing system prior to the pressure tank. This pump, as well, is a pressure pump.

    Thanks for letting me clarify. Enjoy your fresh water which we should all have access to! Bison Pumps – the Power of Water In Your Hands.

    • I have one of Bisons first models (pre-improvements) mounted on my kitchen counter. Works great, have used it to pressurize my plumbed system,showers and toilets, hard work but it WORKED.

    • Let people share their experiences. If your product is so great. Let it stand on its own merits. Furthermore, Bison pumps are way overpriced compared to competitors who offer the same quality.

      • I believe they did let them share their experience and even congratulated them on their
        hand pump installation. They just corrected a few misconceptions that were made about their product in a very respectful way and without bad mouthing the Simple Pump. I would say fiberglass vs stainless steel sucker rod is definitely not the same quality. How about YOU let people share their experiences!

    • If people who are looking for pumps end-up getting the wrong idea, then it is likely due to unclear or incomplete information on the website. Generally speaking, manual wellhead pump websites leave a lot to be desired.

    • Thanks, Kendra and Bison for your information. I really appreciate it and I’m trying to learn all I can about using a non-electric deep well hand pump.

    • I am glad you jumped in here to clarify because I have always been a Bison fan and would check out your products first. Thanks for the info.

  12. Can you hook this into the water line from your well in your basement and bypass the electric pump and pressurize your system that way?

    • Isa,
      You have a few options with a Simple Pump. You can pump water directly at the well, like into a bucket or something. You can pump into a pressure tank for pressurized water in the house. You can pump directly to the house (bypassing the pressure tank), however you’ll only get a squirt of water at the faucet with each pump. You can pump into a holding take, which can then gravity feed to the house. Or you can pump through a water hose to a desired location.

    • I looked at both brands and the Bison company sells a pump for what your looking for… It’s called the “Shallow Well” pump. Check it out I have one and it works great! Spendy but it really works awesome!

  13. Can this be hooked up, inside if you have a shallow well and a jet pump in the house. What I mean is if you valves it so the you shut off the pump and had the simple pump hoked up you could pump water thru the pump and the. Into your water system if you connected it into your water lines after your jet pump, which is not running because there is no power? We would only have a 25 feet vertical run of pipe and maybe 20-25 to water level, probably even less than that for static water.

    • The Bison pump is the only pump made for what you want. Their shallow well pump mounts INSIDE your home like an old style pitcher pump. Like mine I bolted to the countertop of my cabin next to the sink and plumbed it to go back down and tie into my faucet. I have one and yes you can plumb it into an existing plumbing system inside and draw from a shallow well and pump into your existing plumbing! It’s what sold me on my pump!!!

  14. How well do these external pumps last in freezing temperatures? Do you have to drain them or something and become unusable after it dips below a certain temperature? I’d love a hand pump for my well but being in northern Illinois I would hate to buy one only to have it be destroyed the next winter.

    • Jay,

      They are designed not to freeze, but in fact continue working even in freezing temperatures. No, you don’t have to drain them or remove the pump through the cold months. Ours has lasted through the winter just fine. 🙂 Hope that helps!

      • Hi Kendra,
        How about ALASKA cold? If this solution will work in AK, you may have a new sub-distributor for yourself.

        We just moved here from GA. Different and amazing world here.

        My concern is with wintertime pump/pipe freezing in severe climates like AK. In the Valley area of Anchorage, it is not as drastically cold as Fairbanks and Juneau but it still gets very cold. Dec/Jan = a little above zero.

        Any solutions for insulating a ground top waterline (that will probably remain buried in snow for the winter)?

        This system looks like a great solution for grid loss events.

        Let me know your thoughts.


        • Hi Bill,

          From Simple Pump’s website: “Simple Pumps are used throughout North America. And most are outside – with no pump house. One client wrote of pumping at -45°F. There are many operating in Alaska, the coldest states in the lower 48, 9000’ feet up in the Colorado Rockies, and Northern Canada. The picture halfway down on this website page shows an amazed neighbor operating the pump: (The awkward position is simply because he’s still standing on about 18″ of snow!)”

          You should probably talk to your plumber about the best way to insulate the pipes.


    • Jay, my son also lives in Northern Illinois and has two wells on his property, the one working more than the other to supply water to the house. What pump did you get? The Bison? Any other information you could give me about the installation and if you like it and got thru the winter with it would be helpful. I would like to see him have access to water with the hand pump if the electric goes out and hoping that can be achieved. Thank you! Linda

  15. Thanks for the information. I didn’t realize that pumps were different. I think this is great that there is an option for non electrical access to water from the deep well. Having options is great and I’ll have to look into this for emergencies.

  16. I have been in the water well industry for 41 years. I have frequently been asked to recommend a hand pump as backup for the usual electric submersible pump system. I hadn’t found one I would recommend, including the brands mentioned in the comments here.

    Two years ago I teamed with a very experienced (30 yrs+)owner of a local pump company to design and produce a hand pump we could both be proud to recommend. It took a year of design arguments and prototypes to finally produce our Storm Pump.

    It is made of stainless steel channel stock and fittings above ground, sched. 120 NS approved PVC for the drop pipe (cut and threaded in 10ft lengths for ease of installation), and stainless steel connecting rod and piston with redundant seals and check valves (cut and threaded in 6ft sections).

    The Storm Pump is new to the market. We have spread the word for about a year in county fairs and Expos by word of mouth and a website, It produces 8.5gpm at 100psi. It has been installed in very tight drilled wells with electric systems in place on pitless adaptors. It is designed for homeowner installation without professional help.

    I am sorry that we have not reached everyone with word of this pump. Word of mouth is a slow way to go. I invite anyone to contact me for details by visiting our website. My contact information is on the opening page.

  17. i have a 4″ casing , well depth 120 ft, static level about 40 ft , electric pump at 70 ft, with pit adapter. Any suggestions about how to incorporate a hand pump, or am I just out of luck and need a new well. I read the earlier comment that Bison and Simple pumps can’t fit in a 4″ casing with a submersible.

  18. I’m looking for the same thing. I live in FL. On top of the second largest spring system in the state.My pump is outside above ground. I want a hand pump for back up.

  19. I have only experience with the simple pump. ours is 140 feet deep. hand operation yield is about 40 strokes per gallon. these are big exhausting strokes mind you. im 40 years old, good shape. we purchased the 12 volt geared motor in addition and run it of our truck via jumper cables and it is slow……… maybe a half gallon a minute maybe. you can increase the speed but the motor will not pull it. neat idea but would look elsewhere if you are very deep at all. my 2 cents

  20. I have a typo in my last comment. The amount of strokes that delivered the 17.5 gallons in one minute from a static water level of 80’ is 20 strokes. The WaterBuck Pump is also designed for two operators which can yield a lot more water per minute with more cycles.

    And with the use of a larger cylinder for a shallow well, one average man can yield 55 gallons during a sixty second sprint. Our pump can also be equipped with twin cylinders and two pump levers, doubling the capacity for irrigation, if needed.

  21. In response to Michele King

    I see you have an interest in Bison hand pumps and you stated the following:

    “6. Bison Pumps now has a commercial hand pump for agricultural or community needs which yields 13 gallons per minute.

    Be careful when researching any hand water pump. Call all the players, ask all the questions. Often these blogs only give part of the information or information received from uninformed sources.”
    End of Quote

    Pumping from shallow static water levels will result in much more water being pumped than from deeper static water levels. So, I am curious to know, what is the maximum static water level this 13 gallons per minute yield is being produced from with this new Bison commercial hand pump? In other words, at what greater static depth is the yield reduced from 13 gpm to 11 by the same operator?

    Can an average man yield 13 gallons per minute at the maximum static depth or does it take a much stronger man?

    What is the length of stroke, size of cylinder and size of drop pipe used for the new Bison hand pump? How many strokes per minute is required to yield 13 gpm?

    Well WaterBoy Products has a new hand pump for agricultural and community needs that yields 17.5 gallons in one minute with only 19 strokes. These current field test results are not produced from a shallow well, but are the yield from an 80’ static water level with a 2″ column of water and 4″ pump cylinder with a 16 inch stroke. These current test results were performed by an average man in his fifties.

    A video demonstration of these test results can be viewed from the following page.

    I would be interested in seeing the pump specifications for this new pump you speak of. Perhaps there is a video you can share of this new pump in operation yielding 13 gpm?

    Thank you in advance.

  22. I am pricing out a well for a new property; my requirements were to have only solar power (no grid!) plus a hand pump. The well guy was great, but he did caution that trying to pump by hand produced small volumes of water with a great amount of arm strength. I remember reading a book decades ago (title included the word “Gaviotas”) that used non-electrical water pumps. They made a teeter-totter to use with the pump handle and the village kids couldn’t wait to pump the water. I thought of it because while I have very little arm strength, my leg muscles are very strong.

  23. I too have been searching for a hand well pump for power outages and emergencies. I live on top of a big hill and my well is dug 368ft deep , my static water is at 300ft and my well pump is at 305ft. I was able to get this information by calling my county office and speaking to the sanitation and zoning department. they were able to pull up all my well info using my address. Hope this helps. I was unsuccessful getting the company who installed my well to help me with anything. They pretty much laughed at me and never called me back. Whatever type of pump I find that will work for my situation I will need it to be installed because my husband doesn’t want to mess anything up. 🙂

  24. Just to clarify:
    1. Bison Pumps are pressure pumps and can be used to pressurize a tank.
    2. A Bison Pump could pump from deeper depths as the competition claims, but in either case, it will be hard to pump and will yield very little.
    3. Bison Pumps has an inline hand pump for 4″ casings with a submersible in the well (as long as freezing isn’t an issue).
    4. In 6″ wells, a Bison can be installed with a pitless adaptor. Bison Pumps has cylinder sizes from 1 1/2″ – 3″ to accommodate this.
    5. Bison Pumps has a shallow well hand pump for inside the home (with static water levels less than 25′).
    6. Bison Pumps now has a commercial hand pump for agricultural or community needs which yields 13 gallons per minute.

    Be careful when researching any hand water pump. Call all the players, ask all the questions. Often these blogs only give part of the information or information received from uninformed sources.

    Good luck!

    • Hi Michele,
      I just bought and installed a Bison Shallow well pump in my basement to pump water during a power outage. I am not sure how deep my well is, but my static water level is 15 feet, so that’s all that should matter. I used two ball valves and tee’d off the main to go to the hand pump. I took the outlet of the pump to my accumulator tank to pressurize the system to my house. I pumped it today to 30 PSI just to test it and it ran my shower head for 7 minutes before needing to pressurize it again. This pump works great.


  25. But HOW does one find out how deep his well is? Please, someone, give me the step by step instructions for measuring the depth of a well–we have a little “pump house” built over our well (I guess that’s what it is), and whenever the electricity goes out we are totally without water. We need a hand pump for emergencies, but I don’t know how deep our well is.

  26. I’m a well driller and ran across your post when searching myself for hand pumps. There are lots of pumps that can build pressure and be connected to pump into your house pressure tank. There are lots of pumps that can be used with your existing electric pump…..none, including the simple pump or bison pump can be used with an electric pump in a 4″ cased well with a pitless adapter installed. In fact, many models that advertise they can be used with an existing electric pump CAN’T be used if a pitless adapter is installed on the well (all depends on size of well and type of pitless adapter). Also, many brands can lift from 350’…that’s more a function of the force required to lift the water than anything else. Also…ANY hand pump installed to a depth of 350′ will require machinery to install.

    • I have a simple pump installed at 240 feet. During the initial install, it took myself and a stout friend to do it and that was dry. We struggled with the last sections, lifting the line, pulling the safety tool and lowering it for the next section. Forget pulling it wet and full of water.

      Thankfully, I have a small well drilling rig that is 11 feet tall with an electric puller. I can pull the pump wet no problem, which I’ve had to do a couple of times to address piston seals problems over the past couple of years.

      Yes a small percentage of Simple Pumps have problems and at this depth, if I didn’t know what I was doing, I’d be SOL. The average person with no tools and knowledge would be in a bind in a SHTF situation, so be prepared and practiced to do maintenance on ANY system you install or have installed.

      Our growth has exceeded the Simple Pump or any deep well pump of this kind, and that’s with an electric option powered by solar. At this depth, it only pulls just less than a gallon a minute.

      I now have to installed a 2HP electric to run off my genny. What I will do if that fails and have to support many people and animals is yet to be seen?

  27. I’ve been searching website after website trying to figure out the best way to pump water from our well if we were in an emergency situation. So far as I can tell, all the products on the market are for wells only up to 350 feet deep, but ours is drilled to at least 800 ft. Anyone have suggestions? I’d just like to have something on hand so that if we were ever without power for an extended period of time, we’d still be able to hand-pump fresh water. But it sounds like it might not really be possible? Should I maybe contact the local well-driller and pump guy to see what he suggests?

    • I just hooked up a EZ well water pump in my well today. My well is 250 ft deep with a water level of about 40ft below ground. I put the pump in at about 80 ft deep. It is all PVC except the foot valve. It took us about 60 mins to install and start pumping water. The 100ft pump kit cost me just $169 including shipping!!!

  28. Been looking into hand pumps. The EZ pump seems good, because of price and was wondering if anyone has purchased and installed one and how well it works. Seems like a good idea to have galvanized pipe at the top. I have a 5 inch well OD and 4 and 3/8th ID. any info on the EZ pump, Flojak, or others would be appreciated. Just want something reliable without spending to much money. THANKS!

  29. Hi”
    I am green horn,from ,city mpls/
    have been interested in land Alaska”

    recently talking to land reality type person and mentioned about
    could put well in”
    my grampa and uncles had them on their farms”
    they laid into me saying can’t be done,
    that’s why Alaskans go to rivers and streams
    would cost like 15000 to do”

    My question is are they doing their self,herd people doing for like
    $5000 to $7000,
    and how does winter affect them,permafrost .
    any support is welcome

  30. I also researched deep well hand pumps and found most good ones to be extremely expensive. Then I ran across EZ Water Well Hand Pumps. They just sell the pump cylinder ($179), which is the the most important part. The rest of the system components can be purchased locally. This model utilizes pvc pipe for the sucker rod instead of expensive stainless steel, fiberglass, or brass. The entire unit can be built in a couple hours for $200+, depending on the depth of your well. They can be installed along with an existing electric submersible pump. The pump cylinders can be purchased from their website or from ebay.

  31. Gee. 2 grand. I was told I cannot have a $20K well on my mountain because the roads are not good enuf for the truck to come up, and anyway there is no place for a truck that size to turn around….we had the place witched before we moved up here with my tipi, there are 6 water veins and the closest was 12’deep so we started digging and when we hit bedrock, we rented a LeRoy and a rock drill and a 2man crew. At this point, a LONG time later, and after about 4 episodes of weeklong $1K drilling, are within a foot of SOMETHING according to the witch rods… it better not be oil!!! Maybe next summer we will finally finish it. Unfortunately, the hole is now about 15′ below the cottage….

  32. Hi Everyone, I wanted to throw my two cents in before anyone spent a bounch of money. You have to understand that just because your well may be 350 feet deep that is not where you water is. It is much closer to the surface. The static water line here is about 40 foot deep. Also depending on what kind of well you have makes a differance. If you have an old well, the kind with a big tile in it, it is probably only 50-75 ft.deep and could easily get water. The next type is a punched well, they are usually around 100ft. The newest is the air-drilled well and they are the most common type in the last 20 years.They can run up to 1000ft. In all these types the water line still rises to the statis water line in your area.If you have a punched or drilled well it will have a plate on it that will tell you how deep it is and how many gallons per minute you can pump from it. Also you will want to find out if you have a submerged or above ground pump,because if you have a submerged pump it will be harder to fit anything in becide it unless it is well below the water line. I know all this may be boring to some so I will slow down for now, but if you are really serious about you water supply(and you should be)do some home work. First find out what kind of well you have, how deep it is, and how many gallons per min. you have. You could also ask an old timer(most are full of wisdom we need)about the water level in your area. These are things you have to know before you invest in a pump. Kenda just give us a hollar if anyone wants to know anything else. If I don’t know my wonderful hubby will. Blessings Miracle Farm Homestead

    • Little confused on a couple of your Comment. all pumps should be well below the waterline.. if not soon as you use it it would pump the water Level down to the pump.. other words my will is 230 feet deep my pump hangs at 217 feet deep.. my water level is aprox 15 foot from the surface.. which means I have two hundred and two feet of reservoir….

  33. Kendra, nice! That price isn’t really all that bad then. Around here, wells are usually 250-400 feet (I think there’s a few 500ft ones around), so just getting them put in is like a $10K-$20K ordeal. $2K or less for a handpump doesn’t seem all that nuts.
    Now, to figure out how to convince my local water system we need one of these (we have private water districts, but with my plethora of young children, I haven’t had the time to get on the water board yet).

  34. Kendra, my Simple Pump was put into the same well as my electric pump and can be in the same well as the electric pump. That is one reason why they are so great. One thing though, a person should at least work the hand pump once a month to keep all the seals nice and damp.

  35. I have a Bison pump on a hand dug well, depth is only around 35 feet. Beautiful water, tested clean (better than city municipality water). I’ve had my Bison for about 3 years now and we love it! Glad to hear the great reviews on Simple Pumps as well. Nice to have choices! Glad you are hurrying to make this a reality.

  36. Thank you So much for this information. I gotta save up money for it myself but will definitely go through you to help you out.

  37. I had a Simple Pump a year ago and have been totally satified with the results. Within 200 yards, their are three neighbors that have installed hand pumps, so this little part of the desert will have water if needed. They are great.

  38. Hi, I was wondering, have you talked to any old-timers? I remember my grandpa having a bright orange hand pump on his well and his well was deep. Maybe there is another answer that really is cheaper?
    I found these pumps on ebay:

    I’m not sure if they’d work for you but you could ask the sellers about the item too. Sometimes I find the best information from the most unlikely sources. Either way, I hope you have fresh water whenever you need it!

    • Khadija,

      I’ve looked at those types in the past, but the problem with those is that even if they can pump deeply, the cannot be used alongside an existing pump. Which means you’d have to completely disassemble and remove the existing well components before you could install one of these. And it would take heavy machinery to lift all of that out. With these old fashioned style pumps you have to choose to either have an electric well, or only have a hand pump well, or dig a new well just for the hand pump. You cannot have both. Thanks for trying to help, though! Believe me, I’ve read and read and tried to find the best options out there. Simple Pump is it.

      • Hello Kendra, when you compare pumps to pumps, it’s like apples to Grapes! Simple has one cylinder 1-1/4” in size and on 1” pipe and no tech support!!! Bison on the other hand, has 4) 3”, 2-1/2”, 2” & 1-1/2” cylinders based on the depth of the static water level in the wells and 2) sizes of pipe 1-1/4” & 1”. And yes they can work down to 300 ft. Bison also has Deep and Shallow pumps that can pressurize a pressure tank ! They were the first to do so! They also, have a pump setup called “inline” that will work with a submersible pump, meaning that the submersible pump will pump water thru the Bison cylinder as everyday use but when the power is out you can operate the hard pump ad draw water the the submersible pump!! Static water level is the important thing t know when dealing with a well for a hand pump! Just because you’re well is 300 feet or more has very little to do with a hand pump install. The size of the casting and what’s in the well is the next important information on the wells! And the most important thing Bison has is a technical advisor who has years of experience in wells, plumbing and mechanical engineering! So next time compare, before you write a article!

    • Lanna- LOL, I hear ya 😉 They have a sample cost of a pretty basic example system on their site of a system for a 100 ft. deep well, and it’s priced at $1630 (shipping included). I know… they aren’t cheap. But as a comparison: the pump (including the well cap and arm lever/handle) of a Simple Pump is $650; the same products from Bison are $790. A pump cylinder from SP is $335; a Bison cylinder is $438.

      Expensive, but if your life depends on the water you get from your well… well, I figure you can’t put a price on that.


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