At least a few times a week we have someone ask "what is the difference between more expensive ballast pumps like Jabsco's Ballast Puppy and the cheaper bilge pump style options?". Since choosing a pump is the main determinant for ballast system design, we thought it would be a good idea to put together a guide that helps make this process easier and less time consuming.
When it comes to installing a ballast system, the first decision to make is which type of ballast pump you plan on using. This decision will impact the rest of the system design and layout, as well as the number of components required for proper functionality. There are pros and cons to each type of pump, which we have summarized in the following table:
|Pros||Reversible, act as check valve||Cheap, virtually indestructible, faster, can run dry|
|Cons||Cost more, slower, impeller can be damaged if run without water too long.||Pump one-way, require additional check valves|
|Example||Jabsco Ballast Puppy, Johnson Ultra Ballast Pump||Attwood T800, Attwood T1200|