Buyer's Guide & Information

Best Hot Water Recirculation Pumps Reviewed

These are the top rated brands to have hot water delivered instantly.

by PlumberAndy

Buyer's Guide & Information

Best Hot Water Recirculation Pumps Reviewed

These are the top rated brands to have hot water delivered instantly.

by PlumberAndy

by PlumberAndy

We get it. You hate starting your shower, then going to walk the dog, cook dinner, watch the new movie, and finally having water hot enough to bathe. One of the reasons you have to wait so long for hot water out of the faucet is that your lines are filled with cold water. The water must first circulate to the water heater before returning to the faucet heated for use.

A hot water recirculation pump is a water pump installed in your home's plumbing lines. It will push the cold water to the heater when the faucet isn’t open. By doing so, you will have hot water instantly when opening your water faucet. This review will cover all you need to know about hot water recirculation pumps and the 8 best recirculation pumps for your home.

Preview

Product

Flow Range

Head Range

Check Price

Taco 006-B4 Bronze Circulator Pump 3/4-Inch...

Taco 006-B4 Bronze

0 – 10 GPM

0 - 9ft

Grundfos GRU-595916 595916

Grundfos GRU-595916

0 – 9 GPM

0 - 6ft

Watts Premier Instant Hot Water Recirculating...

Watts 500800 Instant

0 to 15.5 GPM

0 – 6 ft

Laing LHB08100081 Low Flow Circulating Pump...

Laing LHB08100081

0 – 8 GPM

0 – 6 ft

Grundfos 52722355 1/6 Horsepower Recirculator...

Grundfos 52722355

0 – 34 GPM

0 – 36 ft

Laing LHB08100092 AutoCirc Recirculation Pump...

Laing LHB08100092

0 – 10 GPM

0 – 5 ft

Grundfos 59896155 SuperBrute Recirculator...

Grundfos 59896155 SuperBrute

0 – 20 GPM

1 – 15 ft

Laing 6050E7000 E10-BCANCT1W-23 AutoCirc E10...

Laing 6050E7000

0 – 4 GPM

0 ft


Advantage of Using Recirculation Pumps

There are several advantages to using a recirculation pump. The most obvious benefit is that you have instant hot water in your sinks and tubs whenever you turn the faucet on. By not having to wait for hot water, you also run into the second benefit.

Saving money on your water bill is a secondary benefit since you won’t waste water letting it run. Once you turn the faucet on, you can begin using the water, so there is less waste, and the water runs for shorter periods.

Another advantage of a recirculation pump is they are relatively easy to install. While you may want to hire a professional to do the job, you won’t be spending huge amounts on labor costs. In general terms, the installation should take less than two hours.


Buying Guide: Hot Water Recirculation Pumps

When you decide to take the plunge and purchase a hot water recirculation pump, there are a few things you should consider. Before pulling out your wallet and clicking that buy-me now button, think about the following considerations.

Construction

The build quality of the pump is essential. You will want this to be a high-quality build, using components and materials built to last. There is a recirculation pump for every budget. However, sometimes, you will want to look at the next tier to see if saving for another paycheck or two can improve the overall quality of the pump you can afford.

Connection System

In most instances, whether using a traditional system, on-demand system, or even an instant system, you will have a few connection points. The three major points are the discharge valve from the water heater and the hot and cold supply lines to the sink furthest from the water tank.

These components will be under constant pressure and high temperatures. You need to ensure that the fittings, gaskets, and mounting hardware can withstand the duties they are designed for.

Pump Size & Flow Rate

Your pump size will be determined on how many feet of plumbing you have and the capacity of your water heater tank. If you purchase a pump that is too small, it will struggle to get hot water through the house. Likewise, it can work too hard for too long, resulting in motor burn out.

A pump that is too large will also cause problems. You can circulate water that doesn’t cool down, and in your sinks, you may not have enough cold water. The horsepower of the pump should be within range for the distance the water needs to travel as well as the location of the furthest faucet.

Gravity plays a significant role in making these pumps efficient. You can use a smaller horsepower pump if the gravity feed.

The flow rate will also be determined by the size and type of plumbing you have. The pump should be able to push water through the pipes as expected.

Temperature Settings

Most of the pumps in our review below will have temperature sensors. This will help the instant and on-demand systems know when to shut off and when to open the release valves. You can adjust the temperature sensor range.

During installation, you should find a relatively warm setting. Once the installation is complete and you are using the water, you can adjust the temperature. Many pump systems will have a wireless remote, so you don’t have to head out to the pump to make the change.

Ease of Maintenance

Hot water recirculation pumps have motors, moving parts, and components exposed to extreme temperatures. As such, you will need a pump that is easy to maintain. Replacing gaskets, o-rings, and cleaning out the motor area should be a simple process.

If the pump you are looking at makes this difficult or requires a professional maintenance routine, you may want to look for another brand. If you can't do the simple tasks yourself, the pump system isn't the right one for you.

Price & Warranty

Finally, you will want to research the warranty and the final cost of the recirculation pump system. The warranty should be at least a year-long, and one that covers the system and the pump motor separately is ideal.

One thing to note is what the warranty claims require of you. Some will want you to hang on to the proof of purchase and serial numbers. Some may require that you have the pump professionally installed before the warranty goes into effect. Read all the fine print before making a purchase.


8 Best Hot Water Recirculation Pumps Reviewed

Here we review the 8 best hot water recirculation pumps for you. Below you will find the ideal options for your new hot water pump and circulation system.

1. Taco 006-B4 Bronze

Flow Range

0 – 10 GPM

Head Range

0 - 9ft

Voltage

115v

Fluid Temperature (Min-Max)

40 – 220 F

Connection Size(s)

¾ inch sweat (threaded and union available)

Max Pipe Distance

300 feet

If you are looking for top-quality construction, look no further. The Taco circulator pump is one of the most durable builds around. Struck from bronze, cast iron, or flanged steel, you can choose your material as well as your connections. Each model, including the Taco bronze circulator pump, comes in either sweat, threaded, or union ¾ inch connections.

With a 9-foot head, you won’t have to worry about gravity being an issue for your pump line, either. The 1/40 horsepower motor adjusts to a flow range between 0 and 10 gallons per minute (GPM). Ideal for hot water circulation, potable water applications, and solar open-loop systems.

Once installed, you never have to remove the pump again. The easy access cartridge removes with a single screw and holds all the moving parts and seals. If the pump goes bad, you can easily swap the cartridge out for a new one, leaving your lines intact.

This pump does run hot, though. If you check it during operation, it will be notably hotter than the other pumps. This is normal and should only cause you concern if it becomes noisy.

Pros
  • Replaceable cartridge for simple maintenance.
  • Near silent operation.
  • Self-lubricating for maintenance-free operation.
Cons
  • Low head range compared to most.
  • Runs hot during operation.

2. Grundfos GRU-595916

Flow Range

0 – 9 GPM

Head Range

0 - 6ft

Voltage

115v

Fluid Temperature (Min-Max)

45 to 150 F

Connection Size(s)

¾ inch threaded

Max Pipe Distance

250 feet

Grundfos pumps are small and mighty. They don’t require a lot of space to install, and the threaded connectors make installation a snap. The kit comes with the comfort valves used to put on the supply lines at the furthest faucets. No special tools are required, and you can have this system up and running in less than half an hour.

After installation, you must make sure you purge all of the air out of the pipes before powering on the pump. Open as many hot water lines as possible until they stop sputtering to ensure the pump is full of water, and no air will get into it.

This pump also comes with a 24-hour timer; you can opt to leave the timer off and run the pump all the time. However, the water bill will increase if this is the case. It may be a small price to pay for the instant hot water, though.

Pros
  • 24-hour timer built-in.
  • Everything needed for install included with purchase.
  • Long, 2-year warranty
Cons
  • Not the most durable construction
  • Cold water line may be warmer longer than normal

3. Watts 500800 Instant

Flow Range

0 to 15.5 GPM

Head Range

0 – 6 ft

Voltage

120v

Fluid Temperature (Min-Max)

40 to 150 F

Connection Size(s)

¾ inch threaded

Max Pipe Distance

250 feet

The Watts system is a compact pump that will install on the tank with a ¾ inch threaded connector. You will also receive the comfort valve to connect under the furthest sink from the water tank.

After connection, you will need to purge the air to the system before supplying power to the pump. There is a 3-setting time that will operate in 15-minute increments (minimum). You can also select the pump to be always on or always off.

The 1-year warranty is fairly low in the industry but will cover the entire pump and assembly as long as you have professional installation. Without professional installation, the pump motor and gaskets are covered, but labor, comfort valve, and damage from burn out are not covered.

The small pump has a considerable flow rate, maxing out at 15.5 GPM with a head rage of 6 feet. You can even install this further from the outlet than usual as it comes with a 10-foot power cord. The only problem with this unit is that it is not compatible with all water heater tanks. Unfortunately, Watts claims to be compatible with all brands, but not all models.

You won’t find a list of compatible water tanks, either. However, the best way to check compatibility is to see if your water heater tank has a heat trap. If you are unsure, you can call the manufacturer to find out. It will be a lot easier than calling Watts for a compatibility check.

Pros
  • Instant hot water from every faucet.
  • Simple installation, less than 45 minutes to hot water.
  • Runs for less than five cents per day on average.
Cons
  • Cold tap is hot for up to 10 seconds.
  • May not work with your water heater tank.

4. Laing LHB08100081

Flow Range

0 – 8 GPM

Head Range

0 – 6 ft

Voltage

120v

Fluid Temperature (Min-Max)

40 to 230 F

Connection Size(s)

½ inch sweat in-line

Max Pipe Distance

Up to 200 feet

Laing offers a low flow pump designed just for recirculation systems. It is compatible with a timer, though a timer is not included with the purchase. Installation is in-line brass with a sweat fitting for ½ piping (threaded female output).

This pump is not designed for on-demand services. Instant hot and always-on systems will make the most use of this low-flow pump. If you require an under-sink installation, Laing does make other models.

There isn’t a lot of pressure, because the water is always flowing through. Up to 8 GPM flow rate when in operation, you can install a check valve and timer on the in-line side for a more on-demand style pump system.

The warranty is tricky, and you need to pay attention to the dates. The pump is warrantied for 2-years from the date the pump was manufactured or 1-year from when you purchase it, whichever is sooner. In essence, you have a 1-year warranty. However, if the pump was made 18 months before you bought it, your warranty will only be valid for six months.

Pros
  • Low-flow designed for always-on systems.
  • Withstands temperatures up to 230 degrees (F).
Cons
  • Tricky warranty period.
  • Sweat and threaded installation required on a ½ inch line.

5. Grundfos 52722355

Flow Range

0 – 34 GPM

Head Range

0 – 36 ft

Voltage

115v

Fluid Temperature (Min-Max)

35 – 230 F

Connection Size(s)

½ inch flange

Max Pipe Distance

Up to 600 feet

This Grundfos model is more powerful than the previous model. With a 1/6 horsepower motor, you can move up to 34 GPM of hot water. It also improves the head range by allowing vertical flow up to 36 feet. If you don’t want to mount this directly on the water tank, you can put it closer to the floor or off to the side.

The one downside is that this is only designed for flange mounts. Sweat and threaded options aren’t available. The ½ inch flange mount (two bolts) is simple to install and comes with rubber gaskets for a reliable, waterproof fit.

The cast iron pump is also preprogrammed with usage times. You can change the operational timer, but it will take some electrical knowledge as you will be changing the wiring. The warranty covers the entire pump assembly for 2 years, which starts with the date of install, not the date of purchase. You should read the entire warranty agreement before installing it to make sure you follow all the guidelines for making a claim.

Grundfos manufacturers incredible pumps, but their customer service is a bit of a hassle. If you need to make a claim, you should ensure everything on your end is prepared and ready to go before making the call.

Pros
  • Cast iron pump with built-in timer fits many applications.
  • 2-year manufacturer warranty from date of install.
  • Enormous 34 max GPM flow rate.
Cons
  • Customer service slow and difficult.
  • Flange mount only.

6. Laing LHB08100092

Flow Range

0 – 10 GPM

Head Range

0 – 5 ft

Voltage

120v

Fluid Temperature (Min-Max)

45 - 230F

Connection Size(s)

½ inch

Max Pipe Distance

300 feet

The under sink pump from Laing comes with a built-in timer so you can keep the hot water flowing when you need it most. It also comes with an auto-shutoff valve that will turn the pump off when the water temperature reaches 91 degrees and on when the temp drops to 85 degrees.

Professional installation is not needed for this model. However, Laing recommends that you hire a professional for the installation. It is unclear if a DIY install will void the warranty. The warranty, though, is the trick Laing warranty that covers the pump for two years from the date of manufacture, or one year from the date of purchase, whichever is sooner.

Double-check your manufactured date when you open the box to know when your warranty expires. This under sink recirculation pump doesn’t require a return line and installs on the furthest sink from the water tank.

Once installed correctly, the hot and cold water won’t mix at the faucet, so you won’t run into the warm water coming from the cold tap issue most other above-tank models have.

Pros
  • No need for a return line.
  • Single-bearing design resists scale build-up.
  • Built-in timer and temperature controlled valve.
Cons
  • Manufacturer suggested professional install needed.
  • Tricky warranty can end up being far less than 1-year.

7. Grundfos 59896155 SuperBrute

Flow Range

0 – 20 GPM

Head Range

1 – 15 ft

Voltage

115v

Fluid Temperature (Min-Max)

36 – 230 F

Connection Size(s)

¾ inch flange

Max Pipe Distance

300 feet

Grundfos enters the list again with its third entry into the fray. The manufacturer knows how to build a high-quality, long-lasting pump assembly. The SuperBrute isn’t the most powerful model, and it doesn’t have the most powerful motor. However, with a bronze and stainless steel body, it might well be the strongest.

The build also boasts a brass pump housing, graphite impeller, and tungsten and stainless steel rotor. The full 2-year warranty will meet your expectations while the pump continues to surpass them for up to 20 years more.

The pump is designed for heating systems but works perfectly well for the recirculation of hot water. With a maximum of 20 GPM flow rate and able to handle water temperatures up to 230 degrees, you won’t have a single issue getting hot water to your faucets in mere seconds.

Installation should be done above the water heater tank with a comfort valve put on the furthest sink from the tank. The return line then will complete the loop and allow you to have instant hot water. There will be some warm water from the cold tap for up to 10 seconds when you first turn it on, though, so be warned.

Pros
  • 2-year full warranty from installation date.
  • Simple DIY installation.
  • Durable build material and expert construction to last decades.
Cons
  • Can make cold tap more than just warm for a few seconds.
  • Flange style connections won't work for under-sink installations.

8. Laing AutoCirc E10 Series

Flow Range

0 – 4 GPM

Head Range

0 ft

Voltage

115v

Fluid Temperature (Min-Max)

40 - 230 F

Connection Size(s)

¾ inch threaded

Max Pipe Distance

N/A

The Laing AutoCirc E10 is designed for all tankless water heater systems. This system is installed under the sink and doesn’t require anything else. The motor is electric-magnetically rotated and prevents corrosion.

Laing requires that professionals install this pump; however, it is a simple DIY project that should take you less than 30 minutes to complete. You don’t need to purge the system after installation since water will fill the pump as soon as you open the supply valve.

The low 4 GPM flow rate is needed for the potable water systems and tankless water heater lines. Because of the low flow rate, there is also no head range. However, since you are installing under the sink, there isn’t a need for a head range in this application.

Once installed, you will experience instant hot water without much mixture on the cold side. The cold water will take a few seconds to reach its coldest temperature, though.

Unlike the other Laing models, this model comes with a 1-year manufacturer warranty that isn’t dependent on when the pump was made. The E10 also has a timer built-in so you can program the best times for it to be operational within 24 hours and at 15-minute minimum intervals.

Pros
  • Works with all tankless water heater systems.
  • Designed specifically for potable water systems.
  • 1-year warranty from Liang without the worry of when the pump was built.
Cons
  • Low flow rate won’t be sufficient for over-tank installations.
  • It must be installed by professionals. (According to manufacturer)

Pros & Cons of Hot Water Recirculation Systems

Hot water recirculation systems have their advantages. Each type also has its disadvantages. Let’s take a look at the good and the bad with each system type.

Instant/On-Demand

There are two sub-types of the Instant-on On-Demand style pumps. Both of them are simple to install, which is a significant benefit. Another pro of these systems is the relatively low maintenance. For both the over the water heater and below the sink types, once they ware installed and verified not to leak, you can have years of maintenance-free operation.

There are some downsides, though. First, there generally isn’t a return line with these units. This means that the hot and cold water mix during return, so when you turn the faucet handle, the cold water will be warm for a few minutes. Also, the sensors placed at the furthest sink tend to wear out fairly frequently (about every 24 to 36 months). Having to change them so often can be a pain.

Temperature Vs. Time Activated

Over time the temperature and time activated can save you money on your water bill. However, the initial cost may be a little high. Especially if you have the professional installation done, the cost can easily exceed $1000.

You may also experience heat loss. Since the hot water is continually traveling through the pipes, heat escapes into the colder ambient air around the plumbing lines. You can combat this by having your pipes insulated, but this, too, comes at an additional cost.

“Always On” Pump

The always-on pumps are lower in initial costs and will possibly lower your monthly water bill over time. However, they are generally noisier than just your water heater kicking on when hot water is needed.

Another con is that there is more of an energy draw. While this can be equivalent to an incandescent light bulb being left on, the extra energy costs can thwart any savings in the water bill.


How Do Hot Water Recirculation Pumps Work?

Hot water recirculation pumps are simple in their operation. To understand how they work, it is important to understand how your system works without a pump installed. If we assume you just finished taking a shower or doing the dishes, then you have hot water coming from the tap when you shut it off.

In a conventional plumbing system, the water stays at the faucet, waiting for you to turn it on again. As it sits, the water in the pipes begins to cool off. When you do come back to open the faucet, the colder water must be pushed through the system before the water heated by the water heater reaches the tap.

After you install a recirculation pump, the water left at the faucet when the tap is closed is continually circulated through the plumbing to the water heater and back again. When you return to the faucet and open the tap, the hot water is already there, resulting in near-instant hot water.


Installation of Recirculation Pumps

Installation is a relatively straightforward process, requiring minimal tools and only a basic knowledge of plumbing. While it is beyond the scope of this article to cover the correct installation of every type of pump system, brand, and possible placement, we will explain the procedure for a generic recirculation pump.

Before you begin, this DIY project does deal with electricity and hot water. Safety should be taken to protect yourself and the equipment from shocks and burns. Also, we assume that your water tank uses the copper flex tubing. If you note that your system has the solid, rigid copper pipes, it would be better to call in a professional for the installation. While still achievable, it is a much more involved process.

You can watch this video for a quick glance at proper installation. Our detailed steps are outlined below.

  • Step 1:
    Turn off the water supply. The first thing you must do is stop the water flow to the water heater tank. You will find the valve on the top of your water tank. Once it is shut off completely, turn on the hot water line at the furthest faucet from the tank. Once the water stops flowing, you can move to the next step.
  • Step 2:
    Disconnect the hot water supply line. ON the hot water side of the tank, use a pipe wrench to remove the flex-hose pipe that supplies water to the tank.
  • Step 3:
    Attach the circulating pump. If you have a rubber gasket on the female side, you won’t need to use plumbers’ tape on the threads. Make sure the pump is screwed into position tightly, and the timers, gauges, and readouts are facing outward and are easily accessible.
  • Step 4:
    Attach the water supply line. Screw the flex-hose pipe into the other port of the pump. Use the wrench to tighten the fit.
  • Step 5:
    Locate the furthest sink from the water tank. Shut off both the hot and cold water lines using the valve handles underneath the sink.
  • Step 6:
    Disconnect supply lines. Remove both the hot and cold supply lines from above the shut-off valves. Some residual water build-up may be present in the lines; this is normal. Use a towel to dry up any spills.
  • Step 7:
    Connect the check valve. Position the check valve to the hot and cold supply lines above the shut-off valves.
  • Step 8:
    Connect supply lines to the sink. Reattach the lines to the hot and cold lines you removed in step 6. Make sure the hot and cold lines are on the proper outlets. Generally hot is on the left and cold is on the right.
  • Step 9:
    Mount the check valve. You will need to mount the check valve to the wall under the sink. Make sure you have left enough supply line to reach without kinking of pinching.
  • Step 10:
    Turn on the water. Open the shut-off valves to the sink supply lines. Open the shut-off valve at the water heater tank and then open the cold and hot lines at the sink with the check valve.
  • Step 11:
    Test for leaks. With the faucet open at the sink, water should begin to flow after the air is removed from the lines. Once the water flows from the tap freely, check all connections and supply lines for leaks. If no leaks are detected, installation is complete.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now we will answer the more commonly asked questions about hot water recirculation pumps. Let us know if you have further questions.

How can I tell if my circulator pump is working?

Short of removing the pump and powering it on a bench test, you can get a good idea if the circulation pump is working or not. First, feel the pump. The pump and connecting pipes should be hot. However, if the pump housing is a lot hotter than the pipes, it is usually bad. You can also slowly close the supply valve. When the water pressure is low, the impeller will vibrate and hum. If it doesn’t, then, it isn’t spinning and the pump is bad.

Are there any additional accessories needed when installing circulator pumps?

Most of the recirculation pump systems listed here come with everything you need for the install and operation of the pump. However, you may want to install a timer or temperature valve for a single-speed system. You can purchase a timer and temperature sensor to add later if you prefer.

How many of these circulator pumps do I need for my whole house water heater?

Generally, you will only need a single pump for your whole house water heater. They do come in different sizes and capabilities, though. You will also need to know if your home has a single pipe or a return line and if you are using a tankless heater or not. Smaller pumps can handle up to 250 feet of pipe. For larger pipe lengths, the bigger pumps can support up to 600 feet of piping.

How long do these recirculation pumps last?

Build quality, and the amount of use will determine how long a recirculating pump will last. Most of the pump systems we covered in this article will last up to 15 years.

Where is the best place to buy replacement pumps?

When buying replacement parts, the best option is direct from the brand manufacturer. This will ensure you get the exact part needed for your specific system. If you know (or can determine) the part number for the item you need, you can purchase from Amazon with relative certainty you will receive the correct part.


Conclusion

If you are tired of waiting several minutes for your water to get hot before you can wash the dishes or take a shower, you need to install a hot water recirculation pump. After doing your research, three names will continually come to the top: Laing, Taco, and Grundfos.

Depending on your needed application, water heater type, and if you have a water tank or not, the model you select will vary. However, for most applications with a water tank and less than 300 feet of piping, the Taco 006-B4 Bronze Circulator Pump is one of the most rugged, durable, and easy to install pumps on the market.

With a moderate flow rate and a decent head rating, you won’t have to wait for hot water. The trade-off, of course, is that your water bill will increase slightly, and you may have to wait a few seconds for cold water from the tap. However, it is a trad-off worth making. Taco has the best recirculation pump around. Once you have it installed, you will see why.

Last Updated on

Top