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10 key pump industry terms you need to know

When ordering a pump, there are certain terms you should know that’ll make it easier when talking to your supplier. Here are 10 key pump terms.


Expressed as a percentage, efficiency is the ratio of total power output to total power input.

Best efficiency point (BEP)

This denotes the point at which the power generated by the pump is closest to the power used to run it.


Put simply, head is a measure of pressure and represents the height at which a pump can raise water up. Ten metres of water is equal to one atmosphere (one bar or 14.7 psi).

Friction head

This is the pressure of liquid necessary to overcome friction within pipes, valves and fittings. This resistance to flow must be considered when selecting a pump so that the desired flow is achieved.


A common occurrence, cavitation is a process in which bubbles or voids are formed in a liquid which then collapse in a high-pressure area of the pump.

Flooded suction

The fluid enters the pump inlet from above via gravity.


This measures the pump’s capacity and may be given in anything from litres per minute (l/min) to cubic metres (m³) per hour.


The force placed on the walls of a pipe from the liquid being pumped. It’s usually expressed in pounds/square inch (psi).

Pressure drop

The loss of pressure between two points of a pipeline. This often occurs when sections of the pipeline are elevated.


Denotes a liquid’s thickness, which affects flow resistance and in turn influences the type of pump required.

If you’re still unsure which pump you need, then fear not as help is at hand. Gibbons Engineering Group stock submersible pumps, swimming pool pumps, surface-mounted pumps and many more, and our expert advisers on hand to help you select the ideal pump for your application. So give us a call on 01621 868138 or email and we’ll get straight back to you.

Pumps & Controls

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