Best 12 Volt RV Water Pump in 2022
(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)
By Marshall Wendler
Last Updated: November 19, 2022
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
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
Camp Addict co-founder Marshall Wendler brings his technical expertise to help explain RV products in an easy to understand fashion. Full-time RVing from April 2014 - December 2020 (now RVing about 50% of the time), Marshall loves sharing his knowledge of the RV lifestyle. Marshall spends the majority of his RVing life boondocking. He is the part of Camp Addict that knows 'all the things'. He's good at sharing his technical knowledge so you can benefit.