What is the Difference Between a Jet Pump and a Sprinkler Pump? Explained

There is a massive difference between a jet pump and a sprinkler pump. Although jet and centrifugal pumps may look alike, they are used for totally different things. Therefore, before using one, it’s best to know which is best suited for what kind of tasks.

A centrifugal sprinkler pump is a type of rotodynamic pump, using an impeller that rotates to boost the pressure of water. On the other hand, a jet pump is also similar to the former but uses a jet device to increase its ability to lift water.

Sprinklers are usually used for irrigation purposes, whereas a jet pump is used for pulling water out from areas that are below surface level. They function in different ways and sometimes in the same, but both of the pumps have their own usage. There a few types of jet and sprinkler pumps on the market. So, it’s best to understand what they are used for before actually using them.

Sprinkler Pump Vs. Jet Pump

Before discussing the two types of pumps, you must know that both the sprinkler and jet pump fall under this category. They are just different versions of centrifugal pumps able to accomplish specific tasks.

Sprinkler or Irrigation Pumps

People mostly use centrifugal for a sprinkler system or irrigation system. So, what does a centrifugal pump do? It’s quite rudimentary. All centrifugal model pumps have a rotating impeller inside of them. When you turn on the pump and allow water to go inside, the impeller starts to rotate, which creates a force. This is also known as the centrifugal force.

This force spins the water very fast and then discharges it through the outlet. However, for increased speed, some pumps use more than one impeller. If that’s the case, then the first impeller passes the water to the next, which only increases the speed even more.

All or most centrifugal types of pumps have something called a ‘wet inlet,’ and there is the outlet as well. The inlet takes in water and forwards it to the impeller, and the outlet discharges the water.

Usually, centrifugal require priming, at least the first time. Therefore, the intake pipe needs to be filled with water, and afterward, the pump is able to store the liquid to prime itself for further usage. If you have a cheap centrifugal pump, then you may need to prime it every time you plan on using it.

There are some other pumps that don’t require any sort of priming. These are known as self-priming pumps. Most of the time, portable pumps do not require priming as they can self-prime.

Types of Irrigation Pump

We already know that most sprinkler pumps are centrifugal; however, people also use end-suction centrifugal pumps for irrigation tasks. It is a type of centrifugal pump, and you can see it being used with a sprinkler system.

  • End-Suction Centrifugal Pumps

They are the most common sort of centrifugal pumps, and they are excellent for irrigation purposes. You can also use them as irrigation booster pumps. Such pumps are usually connected to the drive shaft of the motor. Water enters the pump through a suction inlet, which is situated on the opposite side of the outlet. You will notice that the inlet is at the bottom of the casing and the outlet is at the top; thus, whenever water reaches the bottom, the pump can start working.

This type of pump is made to push water with extensive force. They are not great at pulling water from a surface, which is below the casing. However, you will be able to witness the optimal performance of the end-suction centrifugal when you install them below or at the same level as the water source.

So, you must remember end-suction pumps are not efficient at pulling water. You shouldn’t install them in places where the pump water level may change frequently. There can be a maximum distance of 4 feet from the pump to water, but even then, the pump will lose its efficiency.

  • Jet Pumps

As you already know, centrifugal pumps lack behind at pulling water; therefore, to remove that issue, a jet pump is constructed with the combination of a centrifugal pump and a jet device. The jet device, combined with the centrifugal force, allows the pump to lift or pull water from a place that is situated substantially below the ground level.

Nevertheless, it cannot be all pros and no cons; hence, there is a massive drawback to the jet device. It cannot be used with sprinkler systems because of their flow rates. The water pressure you require for the sprinkler system is much more than what you get from a jet pump. Although jet pumps fail in pushing the water, they have their own uses. For instance, they are exceptional when it comes to pulling water from a shallow well or from a source where the water level changes frequently.

If you have a sprinkler and jet pump with the same horsepower, you will soon notice that the water flow rate of the latter is much lower than the former. Nonetheless, there are two types of jet pumps. Let’s have a look.

· Shallow Well Jet Pump

A shallow well jet pump has the capability to lift water from shallow wells. It means wells that are not deep. If we are more specific, then such pumps can lift water from a source, which is situated 25 feet below the machine.

· Deep Well Jet Pump

These sorts of pumps are able to lift or pull water from a depth of 75 or 80 feet below the machine; hence, the name deep well jet pump. However, the ability to cover greater distances comes at a cost, and that is efficiency. Deep well models are known to less efficient at lifting water than shallow-well ones. Although it also depends on the brand of the pump. A pump that costs more and comes from a reputable brand will provide better performance.


The significant difference between a sprinkler and a jet pump is their ability to push and pull water. A sprinkler pump has a greater flow rate and water pressure. Therefore, it is best suited for sprinkler systems or for the irrigation system.

On the other hand, a jet pump cannot be used for the same reasons, but it has its perks. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 15 million households rely on private wells for drinking water; the Well pump, which extracts water from underground water sources, is the heart of that electromechanical system.

If you use a sprinkler pump for your lawn jobs, then jet pumps for getting pure drinking water. So, choose wisely.

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