Do you want to find the best hot water recirculating pumps?
In this review guide, we'll go over...
- My #1 top pick for the best hot water recirculating pump
- The main advantages of using a hot water pumps
- A quick guide on installation
When I performed home inspections, hot water speed was one of the most common worries from new buyers. Nobody really wants to wait several minutes to take a hot shower in the morning.
Hot water recirculators can give you instant hot water throughout the entire home and will save thousands of gallons of water over the year.
I have put together what I think are the best hot water recirculating pumps on the market. Check them out below or keep reading for our buyer's guide!
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A.O Smith APCOM UT1
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My Overall #1 Rated Pick
The Watts Premier hot water recirculating system comes with everything you need to get instant hot water to every bathroom in your home. The pump comes with two supply water lines, two adapters, and a temperature sensor valve. It also includes a 24-hour (3 position) timer so that the pump will turn on only when wanted. Homeowners can easily install this pump on top of the water heater and it's compatible with all types of plumbing.
Top 7 Best Hot Water Recirculating Pumps
Short on time? Check out our top 5 hot water recirculating pumps! Keep reading to get all the details of each pick.
What Is A Recirculating Pump?
An instant hot water recirculating system is basically a small water pump that is installed above the water heater at the hot water line. The hot water pump keeps hot water in the hot water pipe so that you will have instant hot water at any faucet in the house.
One of the biggest complaints of new homeowners is that it can take one to several minutes for the water to get hot at a sink or shower — especially in the morning. A hot water recirculating pump can decrease the time waiting from minutes to just a few SECONDS. Usually, you will get warm (rather than cold) water in the first few seconds, and it will become hot within 10 seconds.
According to one case study of homes in Palo Alto, a hot water recirculating pump will save about 900 to 3000 gallons of water a year per faucet. So let’s say a home has seven faucets, that can translate to a savings of 21,000 gallons of water each year!
What Are The Different Types of Water Recirculating Pumps?
There are just a few types of hot water recirculators for residential homes. Below is a short introduction and some of the pros and cons...
The most common and standard type of recirculation pump and is known as a comfort system. The pump itself is installed above or very near the water heater.
Comfort systems will use something called a sensor valve which is installed under the farthest sink in the home — from the water heater — which will close and open automatically based on water temperature.
How The Sensor Valve Works
If the water at this valve goes above around 90°F, then the valve will automatically close. If the temperature drops below that set point, then the valve will open, and the recirculating pump will activate — sending the lukewarm water back to the water heater through the cold water line.
This system does NOT require a dedicated return line for the recirculating pump and is very cost effective.
Under Sink System
Under sink hot water recirculators are becoming more popular and these pumps are installed under the sink.
The upside of these systems is that the pumps are typically less expensive and nothing needs to be installed at the water heater. Under sink hot water pumps also work with tankless water heaters and not just standard water heaters.
The downside is that these pumps are usually less powerful and noisier. Since the pump is installed underneath the sink, the noise will be much more obvious than if it was installed above the water heater and in the utility room.
How It Works
An under sink recirculator works as a single system — it includes the pump, sensor valve, check valve, and aquastat all in one. It works similar to a comfort system in that a valve opens and it sends the water sitting in the hot water line back to the water heater through the cold line.
The pump activates under the sink and pulls hot water throughout the entire home from the water heater. Homeowners may also need to install an outlet underneath the sink or nearby so it can have power.
Dedicated Return System
A dedicated return recirculating system has an independent return loop in the home's plumbing system. This means that a sensor valve isn't required underneath a faraway sink.
The recirculating pump is installed above or very near the water heater.
This is the best recirculation system you can have and the pump will turn on if needed or you can have it operate on a timer. Of course, the downside is the high cost of constructing a dedicated plumbing return loop. A building permit will also likely be needed.
Read Also >> What Are The Best Grundfos Hot Water Recirculators?
How To Install A Recirculating Hot Water Pump?
Here are the basic steps to install a standard hot water recirculating pump or comfort system. If you have any doubts, please hire a plumber. A local building permit may also be required if you modify the main water line.
- Shutoff Water To Water Heater: First shutoff water to the water heater at the closest valve, and drain the water heater from the spigot at the bottom. Turn on a far away faucet and leave it running until all hot water is drained.
- Install The Hot Water Recirculation Pump: Disconnect the hot water line from the top of the water heater. Insert female end of water pump into thread and tighten, and connect flex hose that you just disconnected to top of pump. The arrow on the pump should point away from the water heater.
- Turn Water Back On To Water Heater: Turn the valve back on to the water heater, and make sure that the water pump doesn't leak at any connections. Close the sink faucet and plug in the water pump into an outlet.
- Install The Sensor Valve: The sensor valve should be installed underneath the farthest sink in the home from the pump. Homeowners may need to get 1/2" to 3/8" adapters or flex water lines with 1/2" and 3/8" ends depending on the model. Most sink flex lines are 3/8" but the connections on the sensor valve are 1/2".
Read Also >> How To Install A Hot Water Recirculating Pump?
Our Reviews of the Best Hot Water Recirculating Pumps
Our overall top pick for the best hot water recirculating pump goes to the Watts Premier 500800 because it can be easily installed on top of the water heater and comes with everything you need.
This comfort system recirculator comes with a pump, two flexible water lines, sensor valve (installed underneath the farthest sink), 10-ft power cord, and valve mounting screws.
With the 24-hour built-in timer (and 3 timer positions), homeowners can set the pump to 24 hour to turn on only when wanted and don't have to install an independent timer.
The motor is made out of stainless steel and aluminum for maximum durability and longevity. It is highly energy efficient, quiet, and uses less energy than a 25-watt light bulb (5 cents per day). The flow rate is 6 liters per minute.
Best Under Sink
Our top pick for the best under sink hot water recirculating pump goes to PROZRTED. This recirculator is easily installed underneath a sink and it will quickly get hot water throughout your entire home. It is perfect for homes with tank OR tankless water heaters.
The cold water sitting in the hot water line is sent back to the water heater (through the cold water line) to immediately get you hot water.
The PROZRTED comes with supply lines, a 10-ft power cord, connectors, washers, and everything you need. There are three main modes with the PROZRTED pump: smart, manual, and energy-saving. It has a max flow rate of 6.1-GPM and a 39.3-ft max lift rating.
The PROZRTED has a powerful and brushless DC motor for quiet operation.
Our top pick for most longevity goes to the APCOM UT1 by A.O. Smith.
You may have heard of A.O. Smith because they are one of the biggest water heater manufacturers in the USA.
If you are looking for a long lasting and high quality under sink recirculator, the APCOM UT1 won't disappoint with its stainless steel construction.
This pump is designed to be installed under the sink at the farthest point from the water heater. It includes a built-in timer and all the supplies you need for the installation such as the braided hoses, tees, and required fittings.
Best By Grundfos
The Grundfos instant hot water pump is a high quality pump and a great alternative to the Watts Premier with a higher flow rate (but more expensive).
This comfort system pump comes with everything you need to get fast hot water and includes the pump, a built-in timer, 6-foot power cord, supply lines, and the sensor valve.
It is also installed above the water heater while the sensor valve is installed underneath the farthest sink in the home. This hot water pump is made from bronze and stainless steel parts — higher quality parts than many other water pumps.
Grundfos is one of the top manufacturers of instant hot water pumps. The flow rate is 9 gallons per minute.
Best Flow Rate
Our top pick for a recirculating pump with the highest flow rate (15.5 gallons) goes to the Grundfos SuperBrute. This power-packed circulator should be able to handle large households without a problem.
The SuperBrute doesn’t come with supply lines, the sensor valve, or any other materials for install except gaskets so homeowners will have to source the install supplies themselves.
It also does not come with a built in timer. The flow rate is 15.5 gallons per minute.
The housing is made from aluminum for a durable finish. The flow rate is max 5.28 gallons per minute.
The Laing is a very quiet pump and it comes with a built-in timer and a 6-ft extension cord. For an average family of four, this pump can save up to 17,000 gallons of water a year.
Our overall top choice for the best hot water recirculating pump goes to the Watts Premier 500800. Here's why...
1. Built In Timer
The Watts has a built in timer so you can have it operate only when you want such as during the day
The pump is very quiet, and the vibrations are minimal.
3. Ease of Install
This pump can be installed in less than an hour, and comes with supply lines and everything needed (except the wrenches of course).
4. Power Cord
The unit comes with a very long 10′ electrical cord, so you can just plug it into an outlet nearby.
Read Also >> How Does A Hot Water Recirculating Pump Work?