Best 12 Volt RV Water Pump in 2023
(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)
By Marshall Wendler
Last Updated: February 5, 2023
Pentair Shurflo 4008
Best High Volume
Pentair Shurflo 4048
Best Variable Speed
So, you are likely here because your RV water pump isn't working or needs an upgrade, right (I'm a genius!)?
Well, please get a new one, because we want you to shower, hee-hee.
Indeed, you probably already know that an RV water pump pressurizes your camper's plumbing system when not connected to a water source.
The travel trailer or motorhome water pump provides filtration and moves water from the freshwater holding tank to the RV toilet, sinks, and shower.
So, you need a replacement for whatever reason. But how do you know what is the best RV water pump to fit your circulation needs?
RV Fresh Water Systems
A water pump is just one part of your RV's fresh water system.
If you want to learn more about a camper water system, you can read our Guide to RV Fresh Water Systems.
Here you will learn how to get water into your unit, where to find potable water, and how to care for your plumbing system.
RV Water Pump Reviews
There are a few manufacturers to choose from if you are looking for a 12-volt water pump for camping use.
Almost all camper water pumps work basically the same way - they are 'constant speed' pumps.
Some brands are popular in the RV market, including the Pentair Shurflo and Remco Aquajet.
Both manufacturers make a good quality unit and are reliable, though how the camper manufacturer installs the 12v camper water pump can affect its longevity.
Continue reading the RV water pump reviews and what we consider the best choices for a given category.
Best RV Water Pump
Pentair SHURFLO Pump 4008
The Revolution 4008 is the ubiquitous 3.0 gallons per minute pump used, well, everywhere.
It's affordable, durable, reliable (good quality), and it does a fine job pressuring an RV water system when you are not connected to water.
Continue Reading Shurflo Revolution 4008 RV Water Pump Review
Best Water Pumper For A Camper - High Volume
Pentair SHURFLO 4048
The 4048 is Pentair's high volume, constant-speed RV camper water pump.
With an output of 4.0 gallons per minute, this pump has a 33% higher flow rate than our top choice, the Shurflo 4008.
Continue Reading Shurflo 4048 12-Volt RV Water Pump Review
Best RV Water Pump - Variable Speed
The Remco Aquajet is a variable-speed RV water pump.
It is a high-volume pump with an output of 5.3 gallons per minute.
It is best suited for RVs where you want to greatly reduce water pump cycling and when you want constant water pressure when using your camper water pump.
Continue Reading Remco Aquajet RV Water Pump Review
Buying A New RV 12v Water Pump
What should you consider when buying a new RV trailer water pump?
Don't just get the first RV pump you see. There are a few things you need to consider.
Gallons Per Minute/(GPM)
You should know how many gallons of water per minute your pump needs to put out for your specific RV.
Check your RV owner's manual for this information. Don't get one that is too powerful.
Why? The bigger and harder working a pump is, the more electricity it draws from your batteries.
You must know what water pressure (PSI: pounds per square inch) is recommended for your rig so you can buy a 12-volt water pump for an RV that puts out the proper pressure, though most are in the 'safe' range of 60-75 pounds per square inch.
First, consider the mount location of your current camping trailer water pump.
In RVs, every square inch of space tends to be utilized.
Your pump is probably tucked away in an area with little or no extra room.
If your current installation is tight, you might not be able to upgrade to a larger capacity RV water tank pump as it will physically be larger.
It is also challenging to install a new unit if the space is tight.
Check your RV owner's manual for flow rate and maximum water pressure specifications.
If you can't find the information, call your RV manufacturer (hopefully, they are still in business!).
Camper 12v Water Pump Accessories
Travel trailer and motorhome water pump accessories are available that should be considered required (strainers).
Then, you can use others to make your rig's water pump a little quieter.
RV Water Pump Strainers
If grit, dirt, or other foreign material gets inside your RV electric water pump, bad things can happen to the diaphragm (the pump mechanism).
It will wear out quicker or develop catastrophic damage, and your pump will stop pumping water.
Below are two common filter strainers manufactured by Pentair.
One has fixed fittings on both ends (NPSM threads) and one with a fixed fitting on the inlet side (NPSM threads), and a swivel nut fitting (NPT threads) on the outlet side.
The swivel nut fitting makes threading the strainer in tight places easier.
Both strainers have fine 50 mesh filter screens with removable housing.
This way, the screens are cleaned without removing the entire assembly.
These filter strainers typically get mounted directly to the inlet size of the water pump.
NOTE: Strainer is included with the Shurflo 4048 high-volume water pump.
RV Water Pump Silencing Kit
Let's face it - there is no such thing as an absolutely quiet RV water pump.
Unless you are lucky enough to have your constant-speed RV or van water pump buried far away from you, it will be heard.
Even a variable speed RV pump will have a certain noise level unless it is insulated from the living compartment.
This pump silencing kit has two flexible hoses that fit between the pump and your RVs plumbing system lines.
Since the rig's water lines are usually rigid, installing a flexible water line reduces the transmission of the pump's vibrations to the plumbing system (which can cause rattling and other obnoxious noises).
Water Pump Accumulator
Most 12v RV water pumps are at a constant speed.
They are either on or off—full speed or nothing.
And this on/off state is controlled by pressure switches which sense the pressure in the water system lines.
At anything less than having your faucets or RV shower heads fully open, the RV fresh water pump will constantly cycle on and off, which is annoying.
Also, the on/off tends to cause vibration and increases your rig's overall interior noise level.
One way to reduce this cycling is to install an accumulator tank (pulsation eliminator) that uses a water diaphragm inside a pressure vessel.
The accumulator builds up an excess of water (think of it as a reserve tank) on your pump's pressure side (outlet side).
This allows reserve H2O to be used instead of the pump having to cycle as much.
This can reduce pump cycling and pressure spikes.
Below is a relatively inexpensive 24-ounce accumulator tank.
Installing A 12-Volt RV Water Pump
Motorhome and travel trailer water pumps aren't costly, but they can be a real booger to replace.
It's not the installation process that's so difficult.
Usually, it's the placement of the darn thing. Sometimes, you have to be physically flexible to get the job done!
Before you start, turn your pump switch off to cut the power from the RV battery.
Then depressurize the water lines by opening your faucets.
Have towels handy, as water will leak out from the water hose when you disconnect the clamps.
Follow the 12v RV water pump's instructions to make sure the installation process is done correctly (duh!).
Follow the instructions, see how the prior pump was installed, and installation will be a 'breeze.'
Replacing An RV Water Pump
Adjusting a Shurflo Water Pump
After installing your new pump, it may cycle too frequently or at improper pressure. Hopefully this is a rare occurrence as the pumps are adjusted at the factory.
Tweaking the bypass valve or the pressure switch may be required (though usually adjusting the pressure switch is all that is required).
An adjustment is needed if the pump cycles on and off too frequently, especially when a water fixture (faucet/shower) is fully opened.
Please only do it if it's completely necessary.
You have to be careful when making adjustments, as it is easy to over-adjust and get yourself in trouble.
Only adjust if you know what you are doing - otherwise, leave it to the experts.
Below are the exact instructions from their installation and operation manuals on adjusting the bypass valve and pressure switch settings.
If your pump turns on and off when you have fully opened faucets or an RV shower head, then most likely ONLY the pressure switch needs a slight adjustment.
If the [pressure] switch or bypass are adjusted too much, the bypass and [pressure] switch shut-off can overlap, and THE PUMP WILL NOT SHUT OFF. Screwing the [pressure] switch and screwing it clockwise will raise the shut-off pressure in your pipes. Unscrewing the [pressure] switch screw counterclockwise will lower the pump shut-off pressure. Screwing the bypass screw in will raise the pipe pressure at which the bypass starts and increase the full bypass pressure. Unscrewing the bypass screw counterclockwise will lower the pipe pressure at which the bypass starts and lowers the full bypass pressure.
WARNING: The pump will not shut off if complete bypass is reached before the [pressure switch] shut-off setting. The full bypass pressure setting should be at least 10 PSI higher than the pump shut-off pressure.
NOTE: A 5/64" Allen wrench (hex key) is required to make these adjustments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does The RV Water Pump Need To Be On When Connected To A Water Source?
No, you do not need to use your on-demand RV water pump when you are connected to an external water supply.
Is It Bad To Leave The Water Pump On In RV?
You can leave the water pump on in your RV as long as you have enough water reserve in your tank to keep it from constantly cycling. It may be best to leave it off when you leave the rig in case of a leak.
What Size Water Pump Do I Need For My RV?
Size is only a small factor of what you need to look for when picking up an RV water pump upgrade. Pressure per square inch and gallons per minute are also factors that should be considered. Sure, make sure the motorhome or van life water pump you are looking at fits into the existing space, but also get one that appropriately outputs for your setup. Read the section above for more detailed information on these factors.
How Do I Know If My RV Water Pump Is Bad?
There are three indicators that something is amiss with your RV water pressure pump.
1. The pump won't turn on.
2. Pump is making excessive noises.
3. Your water pump for a campervan is leaking.
Of course, there are ways to troubleshoot these issues beyond this article's scope, so do your homework/due diligence.
If you have a camper, you need the best water pump for RV use to consume what is in your onboard water tank.
Because there are times when you are not hooked up to water.
You cannot run ANY water in your RV without a pump or external water connection.
For example, you decide to stop at a rest stop to feed your family. No hookups there.
Undoubtedly, you need a corrosion-resistant 12v RV water pump to wash hands, wash dishes, or use the toilet.
Furthermore, being self-sufficient is one of the biggest perks of being in an RV. Having a nice quiet 12v water pump helps make this possible.
You may even want a replacement RV water pump onboard if yours dies on your trip.
RVing aims to get out there and enjoy it without worrying about your water pump for a travel trailer, van, or motorhome.
Author: Marshall Wendler
As the co-founder of Camp Addict, Marshall Wendler is a seasoned expert in the world of RVing, with years of hands-on experience living the full-time RV life in his travel trailer. From 2014 to 2020, Marshall learned the ins and outs of the lifestyle and has enjoyed sharing his knowledge and expertise with others. After a brief hiatus as a part-time RVer in 2021 and 2022, Marshall is back on the road full-time, embracing the vanlife and all the exciting possibilities it brings. He particularly enjoys the freedom and flexibility of boondocking and is excited to share his technical insights with the Camp Addict community. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the RV world, Marshall has valuable insights and information to share, and is here to help you navigate the exciting world of RVing with confidence and ease.
We boondock alot. I would like a quieter pump, but also would like lower amp pull. It looks like an on/off pump plus accumulator would use less amps but a variable pump (w/o accumulator) would be quieter. Would you agree?
Thanks for the comment and for checking out Camp Addict!
A variable speed pump should definitely be quieter, as it has the ability to run at less than ‘full on’ if the water demand isn’t that great.
As far as the bit about a normal (either full on or off) pump with accumulator drawing less amps than without an accumulator… I’m not really sure on that. In theory, the pump itself will be running overall the same amount. It just does it differently.
What I mean is that instead of coming on in ‘pulses’ as you use water (when you don’t have an accumulator), it will come on for a longer continual period as the accumulator gets recharged. But since ultimately the same amount of water is being drawn from your fresh water tank, I don’t know that there is any appreciable amperage savings one way or the other.
Considering that in the grand scheme of things, a water pump isn’t being used that much, it really isn’t a huge amperage draw in total. Especially when you compare it to other things like overhead roof fans, a propane furnace, charging computers, using an inverter to run a TV, etc. So I’m not sure you need to worry about figuring out which water pump setup will pull less amps. Instead, go with what should be quieter (if you want to spring for the extra for a variable speed pump – if not, try an accumulator and see if that helps with the overall noise).
Please advice: I want to use one of these 12 v. pumps to circulate water between a simple black pipe water heater on my roof into my hot tub 18 feet below. Close loop kind of setup. My thought is that when the sun is in the sky it will generate power to run the pump and circulate the water between the solar water heater and the tub with the regular electric water heater / filter already installed as a backup. Would that work? any experience there?
We only have experience using RV water pumps in RVs. No experience using them in other applications.
But a couple things to keep in mind. These pumps are only designed for intermittent duty (not being ‘on’ constantly). With the setup you are thinking of, it sounds like the pump would need to be on all the time. Not the right application for an RV water pump.
Also, RV water pumps like to be fairly close to the source of water (fresh water tank). The installation manual states the pump should be within 6 feet of the water tank. They will draw from a farther distance, but will work harder and make more noise. I’m not sure how well they will perform trying to move water 18 feet vertically. Never mind issue #1 above.
I think you should be looking for something other than an RV water pump for your particular application.
I’m seeing that sur flow is pretty popular. This may be a dumb question but I need a water pump replacement but this plugs into the wall with a three prong and the sureflo has to two wires. How do I go about powering this pump with this type of connection?
The water pumps shown on this page are designed for RV use (or other 12-volt applications). They require a 12-volt power supply, which is two wires.
If you have a water pump that plugs into the wall, then it sounds like that is a 120-volt application and you will need to get a water pump specifically designed for this. We don’t review 120-volt water pumps.
It shouldn’t be too hard to find what you are looking for. Best of luck!
Several of the Amazon reviews state that it blew their plumbing apart with high pressure? Do you have any thoughts on that?
Which RV water pump(s) in particular are the ones with these reviews?
Without knowing the exact situation, I have no clue what is going on. Did the people adjust the pressure settings on the pumps?
I have never heard of an RV water pump blowing an RV’s plumbing apart, and I know a lot of people who RV full-time. Just not a rampant problem.
And I find it hard to believe that an RV water pump set properly from the factory would do this.
For example, a Shurflo 4048’s pressure switch is set to shut off the pump at 55 psi. Which is below the pressure of some (most?) city water systems.
The 4048’s manual states the following:
“The by-pass is a spring loaded diaphragm that opens up allowing water from the discharge side back to the inlet side. The by-pass is set to begin opening at about 30 psi and creating full by-pass at about 65 psi. The pressure switch on the pump is set to shut off at 55 psi. If the switch or by-pass are adjusted too much, the by-pass and switch shut-off can overlap and THE PUMP WILL NOT SHUT OFF.”
This is why one shouldn’t adjust the pressure settings unless they know what they are doing (or are able to follow instructions and double-check things).
Thanks so much for this post! Did you install an on off switch to help conserve energy when you’re not using the sink? We will not be installing a toilet, so water will just be for the sink. Also, did you install a water filter on your water system?
You’re welcome! No, there’s no need for an on/off switch when you’re not using the sink. The pump will not run as long as the pressure doesn’t drop in the tank. The amount of electricity it uses to monitor is negligible.
I have not installed a water filtration system. Some people have. You can filter at the inlet hose and/or get a filter for your drinking water if you don’t want to deal with a water filtration system install. Or, install a filtration system! I’m just not the type to go that far. : )
My husband replaced our water heater pump on our 5th wheel, everything on the outside is working and there hot water in the tank but no hot water coming inside the faucet and shower.what could be the problem?
What do you mean by “water heater pump”? Are you saying that the main water pump was replaced? I’m not aware of any RV having a separate pump for the water heater.
Also, what do you mean by “everything on the outside is working”? What on the outside is working that is related to hot water?
Did the water heater bypass valve (on my water heater, it’s located right at the water lines by the water heater itself) get turned to the ‘bypass’ position?
How do you know there is hot water in the tank?
So. Many. Questions. 🙂
I installed a pump in a fire apparatus and I’m having a problem with the water pulsation out of the faucet. What can I do?
I have no idea what a ‘fire apparatus’ is. Is this an RV application?
Just bought my first RV a week ago. It’s a junker, Falcon Sport series 19 (ever hear of it?). No voltage at the Shurflo 8005-292-139 water pump, so I decided to remove the pump to test it. The pump indeed works great, but the contacts on the pressure switch are loose inside the housing (poor design and manufacture). Consequently, operation of the pump would be unreliable. So I decided to purchase a replacement pressure switch assembly. At an outrageous $37 that’s more than half the price of a new pump. Just not worth it. I’m looking for a separate pressure switch that I could mount in the water line. Have you or other people done this? Do you have a recommendation for a specific switch to use?
I have indeed heard of that brand trailer. You will notice that it did not make our best RV brands list.
I assume that this is a new-to-you trailer as opposed to being a brand new trailer. Otherwise, the water pump would be under warranty and there would be no sense in messing with it.
Unfortunately, RV water pumps are a disposable item. If something goes wrong, you just replace rather than try and fix. As you have found out, replacement parts are generally cost prohibitive, considering one of the recommended pumps above costs well under $100.
I don’t know how you would put in a separate switch. Sounds like a complete pain to me, and considering the cost of a new one, I don’t think it’s worth one’s time to track down how to do this, modify your plumbing system to allow for a separate switch, hope that the switch actually works, etc, etc, etc.
Best of luck with your ‘new’ trailer! I hope that the water pump situation gets sorted out.
Very complete article, thanks. A couple of questions, I am replacing the pump in my 2005 Fleetwood Bounder. I will be using the Shurflo 4008-101-E65. My unit has a whole house filter so I would assume I don’t need the strainer, is that correct? Also, old school me wants to add an accumulator. I’ve heard this pump doesn’t need one but would there be any advantages at all or just a waste of money.
Glad you found this page useful, Norm!
Pentair/Shurflo says the following in the Shurflo 4008 manual “Pump must use an adequate 50-mesh strainer [such as SHURFLO 255 series strainers].” It doesn’t let you off the hook even if you are using a whole-house filtration system. So it’s your call.
Shurflo says you don’t need an accumulator, but I’m here to tell you an accumulator will help. Greatly. I use the 4008 and about a year ago put in an accumulator. World of difference! Go with the accumulator, IMHO.
Hope that helps! Thanks for the question, and Camp On!
Thanks for the fast response. Your answers are great. Both items are not high dollar, so why not. Glad I found Camp Addict, I will put your in my favorites and visit often.
You are most welcome, Norm. And THANK YOU for your kind words. Kelly and I are happy you found us too.
One more thing about the accumulator – I didn’t install the Shurflo one (the 24 ounce one). Instead I installed a 2 gallon (no-name) version (that required some plumbing into the system, but overall not rocket science). It gives me a decent (but no where near 2 gallons) of water before having the water pump kick back on to refill it. If you go with a 24 ouncer, I’m sure it’s fine. It’ll smooth out the pulsing. You just won’t get a lot of water out of it before the pump kicks back in.
My water pump quit pumping. The pump runs but no water. The pump has easy access in the BR and on several occasions I have jiggled wires and hoses and after several minutes the pump starts pumping and will continue to work until i shut it off. Then it reverts to running but not pumping. It seems there may be a priming issue or an air leak. I have no idea how to go about looking for an air leak. If i install a new pump I’m afraid the same will happen if I don’t figure out the problem now. Any suggestions where to start?
I’ve been fortunate enough not to have run into this type of RV water pump issue. My ‘issues’ always have been solved by replacing the pump with a new one.
I’d start by doing a Google search for the term “rv water pump air leak”. There appears to be some good info using that search term, including some YouTube videos. I’m guessing one could go down quite the rabbit hole here, but I’m also sure you’ll come up with some ideas on how to tackle this problem.
Best of luck and Camp On!
Do you have any suggestions for a pump based on their decibel levels?
The quietest water pump is going to be the Remco Aquajet, which is a variable speed pump. The other pumps are either on (full speed ahead!) or off – they don’t have the ability to ‘be quiet’. The Aquajet’s variable speed means that at lower flow rates, it’s just ‘ticking over’ and can be quieter.
Keep in mind all water pumps are going to make some sort of sound. Depending on the location of the actual pump, you will either be annoyed by the sound, or it will just be a background noise. Camp Addict Kelly’s pump is under her bed and isn’t horrible to listen to, even though it is an on-off style pump. Camp Addict Marshall’s pump is under his kitchen sink and very obnoxious. It’s all about location, location, location. ?
Thanks for the question Jim, and Camp On!
Great web site with lots of useful info. Will definitely use your affiliate links to shop. I do have a question. I am considering a variable speed pump. In your review, you stated “DO NOT use an accumulator tank with a Remco Aquajet RV water pump. The variable speed design means an accumulator is not necessary, and using one will actually cause the Aquajet to not function properly.” I understand why a tank might not be necessary, but I didn’t see anything about causing a variable speed pump to malfunction on Remco’s site, nor any of the other manufacturers of variable speed pumps. Can you please point me to the source of this warning?
Thanks for the kind words, Pete!
In the following video meant for their dealers, you will notice they not only mention that an accumulator isn’t necessary, but to bypass an existing accumulator (do not use it): https://youtu.be/IbE6bWO5370
They should definitely make this more clear. Like putting it in their installation manual. Things that make you go hmmmm…