With seemingly endless variety of sizes and type of pumps on the market, it can be very confusing. We aim to clear up the confusion.

pump classification crop

A pump is a device which moves fluids by mechanical action, from one place to the other. It is, essentially, the earliest form of machine, dating back to ancient Egypt.

The shaduf is the first device used for lifting water in several civilisations and thus the earliest form of pump.

egypt shaduf

Image coutsey of MDPI

Since pumps have been around for such a long time, it is no surprise that there are a seemingly endless variety of sizes and types used in multiple applications across industries.

Classification of Pumps

Pumps are divided into 2 major categories: Dynamic and Positive Displacement (aka Displacement).
pumps classification

Following is some of the pumps under both categories (it is impossible to list all):

Dynamic Pumps

Centrifugal pumps

griswold centrifugal pump
Centrifugal pumps are the most used pump type in the world, due to simple working principle and relatively inexpensive manufacturing cost.

How it works

centrifugal pump working principle
An increase in the fluid pressure from the pump inlet to its outlet is created when the pump is in operation. This pressure difference drives the fluid through the system or plant.

Submersible pumps

Submersible pumps (also known as stormwater pumps, sewage pumps, septic pumps) can still operate when being fully submerged in water.

How submersible pump works


Fire hydrant systems


Fire hydrant pump system (also known as fire pump, hydrant booster, fire water pump) is technically not a pump but a system by itself. The hydrant booster pump usually consists of 1 centrifugal pump and other components such as control panel and coupled with either a diesel or electric driven motor.

Positive Displacement Pumps

Diaphragm pumps

Aluminium Wilden AODD pumps

There are 2 main types of diaphragm pumps: Air-operated and Mechanical.

As the name suggested, air-operated diaphragm pumps (aka AOD pumps or AODD pumps) are powered solely by air making them suitable for dangerous and tough environments. They are also used for chemical transfer, de-watering underground coal mines, food manufacturing or where the liquid being pumped has a high solids content or high viscosity.

How AOD pump works


Gear pumps

Tuthill Gear Pumps

Gear pumps transfer fluid by gears coming in and out of mesh to create a non-pulsating pumping action. They are able to pump at high pressures and excel at pumping high viscosity liquids efficiently.

How gear pump works


Internal and external gear pumps are the two basic types of gear pumps. The main differences between the two types of gear pumps are the placement of the gears and where the fluid is trapped.

Peristaltic Pumps


Peristaltic pumps creates a steady flow for dosing and blending and is able to pump a variety of fluids, ranging from toothpaste to all sorts of chemicals. They are widely used in water treatment, chemical processing and food processing industries.

How peristaltic pump works


Lobe pumps


Lobe pumps offer superb sanitary qualities, high efficiency, reliability, corrosion resistance, and good clean-in-place and sterilise-in-place (CIP/SIP) characteristics. Thus they are very popular in F&B and pharmaceutical industries.

How lobe pump works


Piston pumps

piston pumps

A piston pump is a type of positive displacement pump where the high-pressure seal reciprocates with the piston. Piston pumps can be used in multiple applications and can be used to transfer paint, chocolate, pastry, etc.

How piston pump works