Hand Pump Well Installation: How Much It Really Costs

When you’re in the process of installing a well on your property, you have a lot of options to consider. There are artesian wells that drill into an aquifer, deep wells and shallow wells, shallow jet pumps, constant pressure pumps, solar well pumps, and much, much more.

The number of options can be mind boggling! But for us, putting in a hand pump for off-the-grid living seemed to be the smartest move in our well installation journey. We don’t have access to municipal water and needed some kind of submersible well pump that could be operated without gasoline or electricity.

a Simple hand pump
a Simple hand pump

Unfortunately, after countless hours of reading, searching, and talking with professionals, it seems that putting a hand pump on our well is a much larger and more expensive project than we had anticipated!

Every installer I’ve spoken with has the same answer, “Just get a generator.” They obviously don’t understand. If things get crazy, and we can’t get gas for our generator, what good will it be?

To put a hand pump on our current well would cost us about $5000!

There are a few reasons for this, with the main reason being that they really don’t like putting a hand pump on an existing electric pump well.

Okay, well how much do you charge to dig a new well just for the hand pump? Oh, about $3800, and then another $2800 for the pump to be installed.

Lots of people have hand pumps on their wells. Surely it didn’t cost them an arm and a leg to do it!

What do we do? I need a practical option. We don’t have room for a wind turbine. Solar? I’ve had no luck trying to find a system that would work for us. Hydro? We do have a few small creeks on the property, but they are all a little ways from the house, and downhill at that. Ugh!

Our well is 300′ deep, but the static water level is 65′, so it’s considered a deep well. What can we do without breaking the bank?

Our solution was that we finally saved up enough money to buy a Simple Pump hand pump for our well. It actually wasn’t quite as expensive as we initially thought it would be. Definitely worth the investment. You can read a little more about our setup here.

But if you’re interested in putting in your own DIY deep well water pump – or perhaps a shallow well pump – you might be curious about how much this will set you back. In this post, I’ll take a deep dive into the ins and outs of hand pump well installation so that you have the answers it took me so long to find for myself!

How Much Does a Deep Well Water Pump Cost?

Installing a deep well water pump can be a significant investment, with prices ranging from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending on the size of the system and the type of sewage system being installed.

If you’re interested specifically in a hand pump well, you’ll pay anywhere between $50 and $2000 depending on a variety of factors. These include where you live, the location of the well, the depth of the private well, how difficult the terrain is to drill in, the kind of hand pump, and the cost of professional installation.

The good news is that a hand pump can be added to most wells – but many installers, as I mentioned, are hesitant to do so.

Fortunately, there are some tutorials online you can follow to figure out how to do this for yourself. Most wells can be equipped with a hand pump that is usable for both non potable and potable water.

What’s a Hand Pump Well and How Does it Differ From Other Types of Submersible Pumps?

If you’re thinking about getting a new well pump that can be hand operated or perhaps are just interested in well pump replacement for your electric model, you might be wondering what exactly a hand pump is and how it works in a well system.

A hand pump well is essentially a manually operated pump that can be used to extract water from subterranean depths. These wells are usually installed at least 8 feet below the ground and can draw up to 10 gallons of water per minute using a simple lever-type handle.

The most common type of manually operated pump is called the “bucket” pump. This type of hand pump works by using a large metal cylinder with an attached lever to create pressure and siphon water out of the well.

The process requires very little effort on the part of the user, making it ideal for those who don’t have access to electricity or want an alternative to electric-powered pumps.

The most obvious difference between hand pump wells and other types of submersible pumps is that the former is manually operated while the latter requires electricity or some other source of power to function.

This means that hand pumps are cheaper and easier to install than electric pumps, although they require more maintenance over time as they need to be regularly lubricated and checked for any signs of wear or tear.

Additionally, electric pumps tend to be more powerful than manual ones, allowing them to draw larger amounts of water with greater water pressure with each pull or cycle. However, this also means that electric pumps are usually much more expensive than their manual counterparts.

Despite being centuries old, hand pump wells remain incredibly popular today due largely in part to their affordability and ease of use.

For those living in rural or off-grid areas without access to electricity or running water, they offer an easy way to get clean drinking water without having to rely on costly (and sometimes unreliable) sources like bottled water or filtration systems.

Furthermore, because they don’t require any external power source, they can be easily moved if necessary—making them a great option for those living in areas prone to natural disasters like floods or hurricanes.

Price Variation Factors

Indoor vs Outdoor

There are some other factors that influence the cost of installation. For example, if you want to put an indoor hand pump well into your kitchen, using it like you would a faucet, you’ll pay more for this kind of installation than one outdoors. You’ll have to plumb into the existing water system for an indoor system.

Hand Pump Type

There’s also the type of pump you buy. We’ll take a closer look at that below, but know that most well pumps come in around $150 to $2000 before installation.

These pumps come in plastic, stainless steel, and cast iron models. Plastic shallow pumps are the cheapest, while larger stainless steel pumps are the most expensive (but also the most durable).

Again, the benefit of this kind of pump is that it will function regardless of whether you have utilities available or if the weather is bad – a benefit for many homesteaders.

Finding the right hand pump for a well can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. There are so many options to choose from, and all claiming to be the best.

Fortunately, there are several reliable pumps available on the market today from brands such as Bison, Simple Pump, Flojak, and Lehmans. Each pump offers its own unique features that make it suitable for different types of wells.

For instance:

  • Bison pumps have just one moving part for easier maintenance than similar models
  • Simple Pump is strong yet lightweight and can pull up more water per stroke
  • Flojak pumps operate quietly with fewer parts to burn out
  • Lehman’s pumps provide an economic solution but require extra effort when pumping. These are best suited for shallow wells.

Here’s a breakdown of the average cost for each type of deep well hand pump, but keep in mind these costs can vary (especially with installation costs factored in, which are variable depending on your unique landscape conditions and where in the world you live):

  • Bison – $1800
  • Simple Pump – $2200-$3850
  • Flojak – $1079
  • Lehman’s – $1500

Depth of the Well

Another factor that influences the cost of deep well hand pump installation is how deep the well is. A deeper pump must be bigger and more robust since it will need to be able to handle the forces that are necessary for bringing up water from greater depths.

They need a longer stroke to access the water and often have to be placed directly next to the well instead of inside your home (a downside if you wanted in-home pump installation).

The cost of well-drilling a deeper well for your hand pump will also increase as the depth of the well increases. You’re going down further into the ground, which takes more time and labor costs, but there are also more materials involved (like the pipe, casing, and other components).

Again, the terrain plays a role here, too. If you have rocky soil, you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll pay a lot more than someone with sandy soil. Pump Replacement Costs and Pump Repairs Later On

When looking to install a hand pump well, it is important to remember there will be additional costs associated with it.

Beyond the cost of installation, you must also take into account the cost of pump replacement as well as pump repairs which may occur in the future. Installing a hand pump well requires careful consideration of these factors because regular maintenance and repairs are likely in order to keep the system reliably pumping throughout its lifetime.

Taking proper care of your hand pump well not only ensures reliable access to vital water resources but can help contain costs by avoiding more extensive repairs down the line.

How Much Does a Shallow Well Pump Cost?

An alternative to putting in a deep well hand pump system is to go with a shallow well. Obviously, this will be a lot cheaper, for the reasons we mentioned above.

However, you need to be careful about doing this, since drinking untreated water from a shallow well isn’t always safe. The more shallow the well, the easier it is for the water to become contaminated.

Therefore, if you plan on eschewing the deep-well submersible pumps and going for shallow well pumps instead, make sure you invest in regular water testing so you can ensure the water quality is up to snuff – and if it’s not, be prepared to purchase some water treatment equipment to make sure the water is safe to drink.

So there you have it! The average costs associated with hand pump well installation, broken down for you so you can understand all the options that are out there. Good luck!

28 thoughts on “Hand Pump Well Installation: How Much It Really Costs”

  1. Hi. I have 2 comments.

    First many houses are plumed with plastic already if you are concerned about food grade PVC. In an emergency I would rather had regular PVC which is cheaper and have water than no water at all. You won’t use it enough to matter if it is only for emergencies.
    Second here is a site I found with a good stainless steel pump for 500.00 – 600.00. It is a different format but I think it is a good option to consider. It isn’t that hard to put in either. Here is the link http://flojak.com/flojak-plus-50-foot-stainless-steel-pump-kit/
    God Bless, May He keep you safe in the days ahead.

  2. Thanks. Will have to look that one up. We are in the same boat, so to speak, on being able to afford it. We would love to install it ourselves, but like you feel very unsure about doing it. We really do not want to do more harm than good.

  3. Have you ever found a solution to your manual hand water well pump? We are currently researching this and was just wondering if you have found a solution yet or not.

    I guess we are way behind schedule in trying to get this done compared to most people.

  4. you will be surprised at the things that country high schools will do… when i was in school our boys built a house. now they do wood working and automotive stuff. give the school a call and see what they do? the pump might be a project for them during the year. who knows,

  5. Look online for simple hand pumps. They install into your existing well and can even be used to prime your pump in case of a power outage. Looks like its about $900+. It looks like you can install yourself. Simple option if your husband will let you hook into existing well. Mine won’t. We are still looking into driving a new well just for hand pump. I’ll let you know what else I find out on that matter when I do. 🙂

  6. Hello! Lehman’s sells a DVD called: “From the Ground up: How To Install Your Own Water Pump.” It shows you how to install a hand pump on an existing electric well. Sounds like just what you’re looking for. If you can’t find the DVD on their web site, give them a call!

  7. Kendra,

    To answer your question, yes we did use PVC pipe. My husband first
    watched the on-line videos at the Bison site. Then he took our
    measurements of the well and emailed Bison. They told him what he
    needed to do the job. We ordered from Lehman’s during their one day sale. It shipped to the house 3 weeks later. He read the instructions (yes, he READ the instructions first). He asked if I
    wanted to raise the height of the pump (my back sometimes gives me fits.) He unboxed the pump and set it up on a few cinderblocks and I would go through the pumping motion. He measured exactly how much
    higher I wanted the pump and asked a welder from our antique car club to make an extendion platform that raised the heigth about 14 inches.
    This cost us $150 to customize. Husband primed and painted the extension piece made of steel and assembled the whole thing in one hour. Piece of cake! If you want to email, I’ll privately give you our phone number where you can speak with my husband about the ease of installation. Also could email you pictures of it installed.
    This pump has been a joy! Hope this info helps!

  8. I see where your hand water pump post was from the month of June.
    I am new to your site and thought I would share what my family has recently done… even if my comments are late.

    We live in a 104 year old house (built before Okla. became a state) and our old house has a hand dug well and the walls are brick lined.
    Our well is about 33 feet deep. We are on city water but use our well to water the fruit trees and the garden…and this is pumped from the ground using electricity and a Little Giant submersable pump that we dropped in the well years ago.

    I wanted a way to hand pump water in case we ever lost electricity. We know of two families who bought the Bison brand (Made in Maine). They have on-line video demonstrations/info. My husband emailed our specifications and questions to the Bison manufacturer and found out what parts we needed. About 10 days later, Lehman’s sent out a one day sale email and we ordered all of the needed parts from Lehmans at a 10% savings (direct from the manufacturer priced out the same as the everyday price at Lehmans…so the one day email 10% off sale was nice). My guys installed everything in one hour and we were pumping H2O!!! I felt a sense of relief to have this in place. It’s a beauty!

    This pump has a “nail” on the spighot that holds a bucket OR you can thread a garden hose onto the spighot and pump water thru the hose to where you want it to go. At age 48, I can pump for 10 minutes straight before I need to take a break. I think I get one gallon of water to every 8 stokes, so maybe that is about 4 gallons per minutes, or about 40 gallons in 10 minutes.

    Hope this info helps.

    • Saving The Canning Jars,

      Thank you so much for your info! I have checked out a Bison, but it looked to me like I’d need a professional to install it. Do you know if you used PVC pipe instead of steal to go into the well? Also, your well is much shallower than mine. I think that is going to be my main problem. Thank you for sharing what has worked for you though! I am still looking.

  9. I think the installer you talked to was trying to scare you out of doing it yourself.

    You can drop the pipe right down the hole, and use plastic so it’s lighter. The hand pump pipe only needs to be 20 feet lower than static water level, and the electric pump is typically towards the bottom of the well, so you won’t hurt anything, unless you drop something all the way down there…which is why you have safety ropes.

    Seriously, check out some installation videos and instructions on the Bison or Lehman site, and you’ll see how easy it really is. I bet you could even call Bison and they’d give you some positive responses.

  10. OK. Do the Lehmans deal–you will need the pump and the proper length of draw pipe–make sure your pipe will go further than your water level as wells sometimes have their water table drop. Either get the video and do it yourself or if you are in the right part of the country, find a Mennonite or Amish man do install it for you.

    The Amish use them, and although the Mennonites are more modern, they are usually well versed in them as they do a lot of disaster relief and in areas where the power is out, they first drop in a handpump.

    It really isn’t that hard–I have seen my dad, and uncles do it. We have one as well that my husbad did.

    Good luck-
    Just sign me “been there, done that, and you can too”

  11. Kendra,
    Check with Lehman’s. They have a ‘well/hand pump’ specialist at their store. Bonus is, they are truly helpful and polite.

  12. I just wanted to let you know I just looked on e-bay and under ‘well hand pump’ there are some (new). (Not as pretty as the Bison brand!) Do you know anyone you could barter with for the work?

  13. It isn’t even legal to install a hand pump in the town we live in. Thankfully we have a creek, but it is dry much of the year. At this point we are looking at a few options. First is getting out of town. Best option we have. Followed by installing a massive rainwater collection system in our current house. And third praying for the second coming 😉 We are toying with installing a hand pump even though it isn’t “legal”

  14. Hmm I’ll have to ask Clay. He’s planning installing a deep well hand pump on ours soon. I’ll see what research he’s done because from what he’s read he was going to do it himself but… now I wonder if he can. Oh and you can buy a deep well hand pump for about $2000 instead of $3800.

  15. Isn’t it amazing the price you have to pay to get free from the control. I want to check into solar panels, wind turbine, solar oven, getting our well to work again (the old man filled in the well head…duh) and a number of other projects. I know it will save us money and regain some freedom that has been lost, but the expense is enormous. 🙁

  16. Installing your hand pump is a little more costly because you have a low water table, but it still should only cost $500 at the most. Lehmans has a video that shows you how to install it…I’d be willing to part with my hubby for a week if you want to fly him out there (from Providence, RI) for him to install it for you. It’s totally something you should be able to figure out though.


    85′ (twenty feet lower than static water level to account for seasonal changes) of 1-1/4″ plastic pipe
    Some Connectors (the company you get the hand pump can tell you the size you’ll need)
    a hand pump (I recommend
    hole saw

    You can even see where the pipe connects to the pump on Bison’s home page.

    • Amanda,

      Thanks so much for the help. The well guy said something about I’d have to get a new 2″ cylinder for the electric pump (or something like that?), and that the steel pipes would weigh too much to try to lower by hand. Know anything about that?


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