The Hand Well Pump – Pros, Cons and Benefits

The hand well pump has come a long way since it advent which dates back to 3000 BC. Some of the early recorded pumps were discovered in Mesopotamia where the natives used a counterweight and a level to draw water from troughs and rivers. Ever since then, the hand well pump has undergone major improvements. Current hand well pumps are made of cast iron or metal and are hardy. The hand pump is durable and may explain why it is so popular in the world over.

Investing in a Hand Well Pump

An excellent quality hand well pump does not come cheap. Therefore your decision to purchase one should be taken seriously. You should choose the right pump since the operation and maintenance of the pumps might have a heavy toll on you later on if you chose a bad one.

Some of the key things to look at when buying your hand well pump include: technical aspects, cost, ease of use, and maintenance. Many have made a bad choice from the start and that explains why you can see some innumerable wells, pumps, or even boreholes that have been abandoned. The main cause of this is poor choice, lack of spare parts, poor usage, lack of reliable technicians and lack of maintenance. The case of abandoned wells and pumps is extreme globally and they add up to the tune of millions.

While choosing your hand well pump seems easy on paper, in reality it requires analysis. The technical aspects of the pump and price must be considered. The economic environment should also be taken into account since in some areas it might not be easy to get spare parts and maintenance professionals. The other crucial factor is the social environment. It should be acceptable to have a pumping system in your area of interest. The pump should also be easy to use and maintain.

Some of the most crucial aspects to look at when buying a hand well pump include:

  • Usage, whether household, commercial, or for intensive use.
  • Borehole or well depth.
  • Desired pump flow rate.
  • The price range and what you can afford.
  • Water table quality whether clear, or laden with sand or any corrosive matter.
  • The delivery head.
  • The most common pumps used within your chosen area. Choose one that tends to last longer when used within that specific area. User satisfaction should also be evaluated when looking at the ones used mostly by people within the area.

Maintenance of a Hand Well Pump

According to well pump experts, it has been established through experience that it is difficult to maintain a hand pump than to install one. Therefore, by choosing the right pump from the very beginning you avoid unnecessary maintenance and recurrent costs later on. Use the criteria below when purchasing your hand well pump:

  • Buy one manufactured within the area of assembly or from an area where it is easy to get spare parts. It should also be easy to get a qualified technician in case of a problem.
  • The pump’s mechanism should be easy and hassle-free to access.
  • Light enough to make it easy to lift or carry.
  • Hardy mechanisms so as to withstand sand or corrosive elements of nature.

How the Hand Well Pump Works

As its name suggests, the hand well pump is manually operated. It relies on human effort or power to draw the water from the well.

The hand water pump ideally works using the principle of pressure theory. It has two plungers, one on the bottom and the other on top. The bottom plunger is sealed by a valve. When hand pressure is applied to the pump, the top plunger rises and draws the water upwards. Meanwhile, the bottom plunger which is tightly sealed prevents the water from flowing backwards.

The pump has a check valve which allows fluids to flow only in one direction. The valve also closes automatically so as to prevent flow of water in the opposite direction. The hand well pump has a hose on one side that acts as an inlet and another hose on the other side acting as an outlet. The up and down plunging mechanisms exerts pressure and pushes the water through the inlet and out through the outlet.

The three major components that make up the hand well pump are: the piston, outlet check valve, and an inlet check valve. The role of the piston is to exert the pressure required for drawing out the water. The two valves should be placed in the right places since water needs to flow in one direction and not the other. The check valve that allows the water to flow from the source allows the pump to suck the water. If you try to push back the water, the valve clogs up and prevents it from flowing back.

The second valve is connected to the pump and goes to the intended destination. It only allows the water to flow out of the pump and prevents it from being sucked back when the lever is pulled upwards.

Pros and Cons of the Hand Well Pump


  • The hand well pump is the most economical when compared to other pumps.
  • It is extremely hard to contaminate water drawn using a hand pump. Its components and pumping system is fully sealed and hence the water cannot be contaminated easily.
  • Easy installation. Does not require a genius to install.
  • Works well for both deep and shallow wells.
  • No need for electricity or power source to get the water when needed.


  • Quite tasking to maintain these pumps.
  • Requires a lot of physical effort to pump water from the well.
  • Spare parts are not easily available.
  • Difficulty in filtration of water drawn using a hand pump. Relies on other systems top filter the water.

A Final Word

The hand well pump can be an essential investment within your household. It is quite easy to install and is more affordable when compared to other pumps in the market. It does not also require electric power to operate and thus you do not lack water even if you do not have power. However, you need to get the right hand well pump otherwise you may end up abandoning your well.