Best Hot Water Recirculation Pumps of 2021

Have your hot water in a snap by installing a recirculation pump.

Are you on the lookout for new ways to make your water heater more efficient?

Hot water recirculation pumps assist your regular water heater by making it more efficient in delivering hot water and saving you money.

We’ve reviewed the best hot water recirculation pumps on the market and ranked them according to durability, size, flow rate, noise level, price, and features.

Our Top Picks

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Product Comparison Table

Product Image of the Grundfos GRU-595916 595916
Best Automatic Pump
Grundfos GRU-595916 Recirculation Pump
  • Built-in timer & aquastat
  • Flow rate of up to 9 gal/min
  • 25 Watt pump
Product Image of the Grundfos 59896155, UP15-42F, SuperBrute Recirculating Pump 1/25 HP,115 -Volt, SMALL RED
Best Budget
Grundfos 59896155 Recirculation Pump
  • Pre-programmed timer
  • 15.5 gal/min flow rate
  • Corrosion-resistant pump
Product Image of the Watts Premier Instant Hot Water Recirculating Pump System with Built-In Timer 6' X 6'
Best for Easy Installation
Watts Premier Hot Water Pump
  • No vibrations
  • Easy installation
  • Comes as a complete kit
Product Image of the Laing LHB08100092 AutoCirc Recirculation Pump with Timer
Best for Families
Laing Autocirc Circulator Pump
  • Includes temperature sensor
  • Auto-closure device
  • Resistant to scale build-up
Product Image of the Taco 006-B4 Bronze Circulator Pump 3/4-Inch Sweat
Best Always On Pump
Taco Bronze Circulator Pump
  • Flow rate up to 10 gal/min
  • Has a powerful, reliable motor
  • Can be fitted with a timer

What Is a Hot Water Recirculation Pump?

A hot water recirculation pump helps to get hot water from the heater to the faucet quicker. We often waste water running the faucet to get hot water. All that wasted water is not good for the environment or our bank accounts.

The pump will also return unused water to the heater to keep it heated and ready for you. This further reduces water wastage as we wait for our hot shower or clean the dishes (1).

A recirculation pump will provide you with hot water in the blink of an eye. Multiple types of pumps are available on the market. There are also different sizes, functions, and features, such as a timer.

Types of Recirculation Pumps

There are three main types of recirculation pumps.

Time Activated Pump

Product Image of the Watts Premier Instant Hot Water Recirculating Pump System with Built-In Timer 6' X 6'

A time-activated pump can be programmed to turn off automatically when not needed. It comes with a timer which you can set to suit your lifestyle.

For people who work away from home all day, it could be very beneficial. You can program the pump to turn off at 9 am and restart at 3 pm.


  • You can preset the pump: Set the timer so the pump will only work when you’re home. It’s a good idea to program it to restart an hour or so before anyone comes home. That way, you’ll have hot water waiting for you.
  • Energy-efficient: Since the pump won’t be working all day, you’ll save more energy.


  • Hard to predict: If you need hot water outside of your settings, it can be unpredictable whether or not it will work.

Always on Pump

Product Image of the Taco 006-B4 Bronze Circulator Pump 3/4-Inch Sweat

This type of pump is the least expensive and perhaps not the most efficient as it doesn’t turn off unless you do so manually. One of the first types of recirculation pumps produced is now mostly superseded by more efficient, automatic pumps.


  • Reduces water waste: As the pump is always on, you won’t have to wait for hot water to arrive.
  • Maintenance-free: Most always-on pumps are maintenance-free. Once set up, you’re good to go.


  • Prone to corrosion: Since water is constantly flowing through the pump, rust and other corrosive factors are likely. Always-on pumps won’t last as long either since they’re constantly working and can get worn out.

Temperature Activated Pump

Product Image of the Grundfos GRU-595916 595916

A temperature-activated pump monitors the temperature of the water within your home’s system. It maintains the heat of the water within set temperature limits. When the temperature drops below a certain point, the pump will activate to keep the water hot.

If the water heat rises above a predetermined temperature, the pump will shut off to save energy. This type of recirculation pump is very popular. It saves the most energy out of the three types available since it only turns on when needed.


  • Turns on when the water temperature drops: When the water temperature in the pipes drops to a certain degree, the pump turns on. It pumps the cold water back to the heater for reheating.
  • Turns off automatically: To save energy, the pump will shut off if the heat of the water rises above a predetermined temperature.
  • You won’t get burned: Since the pump shuts off when the temperature is high, you won’t have to worry about boiling water shooting out of the faucet.


  • Hot and cold get mixed: A common complaint with this type is that homeowners suddenly have to wait for cold water to arrive. However, this problem depends on the model and manufacturer.

How to Choose the Best Hot Water Recirculation Pump

Before you head out to get a recirculation pump, here are a few things you might want to consider.


When buying a pump, you want one which will last. A recirculation pump will be working in high demand, with most people requiring a steady hot water supply.

The first thing you should consider is the durability is the material the pump is made from. It has to be strong and resistant to rust and breakage (2).

Stainless steel is the best choice when it comes to material. Although it can be a little more pricey, it will be worth it.

Size and Flow Rate

You don’t have to go out and buy the biggest, strongest pump unless you actually need it. It’s a good idea to consider the flow rate of the pump. A good flow rate will eventually give you good water pressure.

Type of Water Heater

How the pump will work depends heavily on the type of water heater you have. Recirculation pumps tend to work the best with regular tank heaters since these store water and run at all times.

Keep In Mind

If you have a tankless heater, certain pump models may not even be able to activate the heater. Before purchasing a pump, make sure it’s compatible with your heater.

Type and Features

We’ve already covered the different types of recirculation pumps available, but which one should you choose?

Having a timer on your pump can be very beneficial since it is fully manageable and only works when needed. But this doesn’t mean you have to buy a time-activated pump. Maybe you like the idea of a temperature-activated pump more?

What you can do is buy an aftermarket timer and fit it to your pump. In this way, you can get the best of both worlds. Just make sure the pump you purchase can be fitted with a timer before buying.

Noise Level

Pumps can be rather loud, which can become a bother after a while. You might want to check the noise levels of the pump you’re considering before buying.

Apart from being annoying for you, if you live close to your neighbors or in apartments, it may disturb others. The good news is that most modern pumps — and all of our selections — are almost silent and vibrationless.

The Best Hot Water Recirculation Pumps of 2021

Here are the top hot water recirculation pumps on the market.

1. Grundfos GRU-595916 Recirculation Pump

Best Automatic Pump

Having an all-automatic pump means once it’s been programmed, you won’t have to worry about turning it on or off. This pump has a built-in timer as well as an aquastat. The aquastat controls the pump depending on the water temperatures.

With a water flow rate of 0 to 9 gallons per minute, this pump will deliver hot water effortlessly. It will also be compatible with a tankless water heater.

The pump only uses 25 watts of power, which is less than most light bulbs, to give you an idea. It also comes with a two-year warranty which can give you a little more peace of mind.

The pump itself is constructed out of stainless steel, bronze, and aluminum. It’s a powerful pump that will last you for many years to come.

The motor is super quiet, so you won’t have to worry about bothering you or the neighbors.

Why We Love It

Features a Timer and Aquastat

The timer and aquastat features come with the top models. They allow you to save even more energy by only working the pump when it’s actually needed.

Good Water Flow Rate

The pump has a good and strong flow rate of 9 GPM. It should be able to work with any type of heater — regular or tankless.

Energy Saving

Not only will the timer and aquastat save you energy, but the pump itself doesn’t require a lot of energy either. All it needs is 25 watts of power, about the same as an energy-saving light bulb.

Durable Material

Most parts of the pump are made of stainless steel. Since the pump is working with water, it’s crucial the material can withstand moisture. Stainless steel won’t rust away, so you won’t have to worry about rupture or stained water.

Keep In Mind

Might Heat the Cold Water in Mixer Taps

The pump may be working a little too well. Some customers mentioned how they have to wait a few seconds for cold water. However, this is only if you have a mixer tap faucet.

Additional Specs

Weight 6.85 pounds
Dimensions 10 x 10 x 10 inches
Material Stainless steel, aluminum, bronze
Voltage 115 volts

2. Grundfos SuperBrute Recirculation Pump

Best Budget

This recirculation pump has a pre-programmed timer which saves energy. It also has temperature sensors, so the pump will automatically kick in to maintain the temperature level whenever the water temperature drops.

The pump is strong and durable, made of bronze, stainless steel, and aluminum. One of the best things about this pump is that it prevents and eliminates any corrosive effects on your freshwater (3).

The pump is self-sufficient and doesn’t require any maintenance. It has a good flow range of 0 to 15.5 gallons per minute, making it good for regular and tankless heaters.

Due to the automatic nature of the pump, it’s highly efficient, so you get great energy-saving benefits. It also only needs 25 watts of power to operate.

When set, you won’t have to worry about turning it off in the morning before heading out the door. You’ll also be confident that there will be hot water when you come home.

The pump is virtually silent while operating, only giving out minor sounds when working — nothing that will bother anyone.

Why We Love It

Fully Automatic

The timer and temperature regulators save you energy as the pump only turns on when it’s needed. It also makes sure you always have hot water when you want it as it sends unused water back for reheating.

Durable Material

Stainless steel is definitely a material you should look for if you want a durable pump. The rotor and impeller are also made of strong material. These are made of hard plastic, which consists of graphite fibers.

Provides Clean Water

The pump prevents any harmful metals from leaking into your clean water. Corrosive water can do a lot of damage, not only to your health but also to your household. It can cause annoying stains on clothing and a metal taste in your drinking water.

Can Work a Tankless Heater

Recirculating pumps won’t always work on tankless heaters since they require a stronger flow of water. However, this pump can circulate 155 gallons per minute, making it capable of operating a tankless unit.

Keep In Mind

Cast-iron Housing

While cast iron is highly durable, it was a concern for a few customers. Some feared it would give their water a rusty tint. However, only a few reported such cases, and they mentioned it was due to an old water heater.

Additional Specs

Weight 6.7 pounds
Dimensions 5.2 x 4.2 x 6.5 inches
Material Cast iron, stainless steel, bronze, aluminum
Voltage 115 volts

3. Watts Premier Instant Hot Water Recirculating Pump

Best for Easy Installation

Being able to easily install a new feature in your home on your own can be a freeing feeling. This pump is incredibly easy to install, and it shouldn’t take long either — even for people with minimal experience.

What makes it so easy to install is that it doesn’t require any extra piping. All you have to do is fit it to the top of your water heater. A drawback, though, is that it won’t work with a tankless water heater.

This is more than just a pump; it’s a full-on recirculating kit. It includes:

  • Two adapters with rubber washers.
  • Valve mounting screws.
  • 10-foot electric cord.
  • 2 inches by 12 inches of supply lines.

This pump also features a timer to help you further to save water and energy. The 24-hour timer will allow you to set the desired working hours to fit your needs.

The pump is very quiet, despite how strong it is. You won’t feel any vibrations through the floor as it’s working either. It also comes with a one-year warranty and is maintenance-free.

The pump is made from cast aluminum, a strong and durable material, with the bonus of being lightweight.

Why We Love It

24-Hour Timer

The 24-hour timer allows you to completely control whenever the pump should be activated. You can set it to shut off when the house is usually empty and restart before peak usage. Managing the pump effectively like this can save a lot of energy and water and reduce your annual utility bills.

Easy Installation

The pump only has to be mounted to the top of the water heater. You then have to install the sensor valve under the faucet farthest from the heater. The installation doesn’t require any piping, which makes it so simple.

Comes as a Kit

Everything you need to install the pump quickly comes in the kit. Many customers were impressed with how easy it was to install.

Super Quiet

You won’t have to hand out earplugs to your neighbors just yet. This pump is near-silent when it’s activated. It also won’t produce any annoying vibrations.

Keep In Mind

Won’t Work with a Tankless Heater

Unfortunately, if you have a tankless water heater, this pump is not suitable. A few customers stated they mistakenly bought this pump thinking it would work with their tankless heater. We’re glad we can forewarn you, so you don’t make the same mistake.

Additional Specs

Weight 6.4 pounds
Dimensions 6.2 x 6 x 5 inches
Material Cast aluminum
Voltage 120 volts

4. Laing Autocirc Recirculation Pump

Best Recirculation Pump for Families

There’s always a need for hot water in a family home, even though we may not realize it.

This pump comes with a 24-hour timer. You can make sure your family will have enough hot water when it’s really needed. The pump is also fitted with a temperature sensor which automatically starts the pump whenever the temperature drops to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

The temperature sensor works the other way around as well. Whenever the temperature reaches 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the pump automatically shuts off. This system ensures you will have hot water ready whenever you need it.

There’s also an auto-closure device within the system. So, whenever the thermostat turns off the pump, the device will prevent hot and cold water from mixing within the pipes.

The auto-closure device will further provide you with immediate hot water, as well as immediate cold water. This reduces the amount of water wasted as there’s no waiting for the desired temperature.

What makes this pump even more appealing is its low energy consumption. It requires only 14 watts of power, which is less than a lightbulb.

The manufacturer claims the pump could save the average family (four people) up to 17,000 gallons of water annually. The pump is also maintenance-free and resistant to scale build-up.

Why We Love It

24-Hour Timer

The 24-hour timer allows you to set the pump to work only when needed. A timer is an essential part of a good recirculating pump. While making them more environmentally friendly, they also help you save on water and power bills.


The thermostat automatically shuts the pump off whenever the temperature reaches 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It also makes it turn on when the temperature drops to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Auto-Closure Device

A common problem with recirculation pumps is that hot and cold water are mixed. This pump has a closure device that keeps the hot and cold water apart. However, you may still experience lukewarm water at first when the cold tap is opened.

Resistant to Scale Build-Up

Scale build-up is very common within water heaters and pipes. This can be particularly problematic if you have hard water, which has high mineral content.

The scale is an accumulation of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. It can be difficult to get rid of, and it could potentially ruin your piping system.

Keep In Mind

Customers Had a Few Problems When Installing the Pump

Even though the installation should be straightforward, a few customers reported a common problem. The pump requires an outlet underneath a sink, which is a difficulty for some people.

Additional Specs

Weight 2.99 pounds
Dimensions 0.1 x 5 x 7.5 inches
Material N/A
Voltage 115 volts

5. Taco Bronze Circulator Pump

Best Always On Pump

This pump offers a highly reliable motor, making it one of the most popular pumps among plumbers. Unfortunately, it may not be the best-looking pump. However, it’s strong and quiet, so you won’t notice it while it works.

The pump looks quite different from the previous ones we’ve viewed. It has a unique cartridge design that holds all the moving parts. The best thing about the cartridge design is that it’s completely replaceable.

So, if anything breaks or stops working properly, you can simply replace it like you would a printer’s ink cartridge. This feature makes servicing super easy.

The flow range of the pump is 0 to 10 gallons per minute. It should be able to work fine with any type of water heater. The pump has a minimum fluid temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and a maximum of 220 degrees Fahrenheit.

A downside of this pump is that it doesn’t have a timer, thermostat, or aquastat. When you turn it on, it will stay on until you shut it off again.

However, it’s a reliable pump which is great for larger houses and families with high demands for hot water. And, you can easily fit a timer to it if needed.

Why We Love It

Strong, Reliable Motor

The pump has a powerful motor. It’s strong enough to bring water to a large building, and it’s also a go-to pump for plumbers.

Great Design

The cartridge design allows you to remove moving parts of the pump if needed. This is also less expensive than the complete pump, so it’s easy and less expensive to replace if necessary.

Quiet Motor

The quiet motor means there’s no intrusive noise or vibration when it’s in operation. Ideal if you live near others and noise can be an issue.

Can Be Fitted with Timer

If you wish to make the pump automatic, it can be fitted with a timer. The same manufacturer has designed a timer to suit this particular pump.

Keep In Mind

Runs a Bit Hot

Customers have noticed the pump runs a bit hot if it has been working for a long time. Since it doesn’t have an automatic off-switch, it constantly runs unless you manually manage it. Therefore, it tends to get hot to the touch.

Additional Specs

Weight 4.55 pounds
Dimensions 5 x 4 x 7 inches
Material Cast iron, bronze
Voltage 115 volts

Hot Water Recirculation Pump Comparison Chart

Product Award Weight Dimensions Material Voltage
Grundfos Comfort Automatic Pump 6.85 lbs 10″ x 10″ x 10″ Stainless steel, aluminum, bronze 115 V
Grundfos SuperBrute Budget Pick 6.7 lbs 5.2″ x 4.2″ x 6.5″ Cast iron, stainless steel, bronze, aluminum 115 V
Watts Hot Water Easy Installation 6.4 lbs 6.2″ x 6″ x 5″ Cast aluminum 120 V
Laing Autocirc Families 2.99 lbs 0.1″ x 5″ x 7.5″ N/A 115 V
Taco Bronze Always On Pump 4.55 lba 5″ x 4″ x 7″ Cast iron, bronze 115 V

Headshot of Peter Gray

About the Author

Peter Gray

Peter has been a homeowner for 35+ years and has always done his own repair and improvement tasks. As a retired plumber, Peter now spends his time teaching others how they can fix leaks, replace faucets, and make home improvements on a budget.