7 Best Bilge Pump Float Switches of 2021 (Buyer’s Guide!)

Ensuring your bilge doesn’t have excess water buildup is crucial to making sure your boat runs smoothly and efficiently. There are quite a few different switches that can be attached to your bilge pump, but we’re here to talk about the best bilge pump float switch and how it can help you and your boat.

Our bilge pump float switch reviews will make sure you know exactly what you’re purchasing in a float switch for your bilge pump, as well as crucial features it’ll need, how to install it, and some cleaning tips to make sure you’re keeping your bilge as safe as possible for your bilge pump float switch. It’ll even help prolong the life of your boat.

Though there are different kinds of switches for your boat’s bilge pump (we’ll explain the difference!), float switches tend to be an all-around better option. Most of them are automatic, meaning you won’t have to worry unless they start to fail. The only time a control switch is recommended is if you have a reasonably large boat.

We’ve searched the internet to find the best bilge pump float switches, so you don’t have to! Read on to learn everything you need when it comes to bilge pump float switches, and then make the best decision for you and your boat.

The Best Bilge Pump Float Switch Reviews (Top Picks)

We’re jumping right in here, outlining the best bilge pump float switches you could find for your boat. Though this is a numbered list, these items are in no particular order – that means they’re all excellent in their own ways!

1. Rule 35A Rule-A-Matic Bilge Pump Float Switch, Mercury Free, White

This bilge pump float switch is super lightweight yet powerful! It’s designed with sealed metal capsules for enhanced operation and marine grade “blocked” wire. It also features a mercury-free snap switch that is easy to remove from the base for cleaning and maintenance. 

This bilge pump float switch is designed to work with pumps that can draw up to 14 amps and will automatically activate the pump when the water level is about one inch high. It is waterproof, fully submersible, and compatible with the most popular brands of bilge pumps. It also comes with a 2-year warranty and a diagram for wiring instructions. 

There is an on/off switch available in this float switch that will allow you to use it in manual mode. This float switch’s wires are about three feet long, and they are 18 gauge stranded conductors. 

This bilge pump float switch works great in saltwater, freshwater, and rainwater. It is also the same size as most other float switches and can usually easily replace them in your set-up. Overall, it is reliable, easy to install, and is available at an affordable price.

Pros

  • It’s a reliable product and easy to install.
  • It’s made with a mercury-free snap switch and sealed metal capsules.
  • It activates the pump at a 1-inch high water level.
  • It’s an affordable price.
  • It comes with a 2-year warranty.

Cons

  • It doesn’t come with any screws.
  • It needs to be replaced every 4 years or so.
  • It’s slightly bigger than its older, previous model.

2. SEAFLO 03-Series Heavy-Duty Bilge Pump Float Switch for 12V, 24V, 32V

SEAFLO makes some of the best bilge pump float switches in the industry! This bilge pump float switch features a sleek new white and orange finish. It is made with newly designed ultrasonic sealing for robust reinforcement and high quality, heavy-duty, UV stabilized anti-aging ABS material for maximum longevity and durability. 

The brand new design of this float switch works with bilge pumps up to 25 amps, and the mercury-free electric reed switch system means it consistently gets activated for long-lasting performance. This float switch activates the pump to turn on when the water reaches a level of 1.77” and to turn off when the water reaches a level of 0.79”. 

It is made with marine-grade 14 gauge wiring, and the reinforced seals on this float switch prevent water entry and corrosion. This float switch is mercury-free, easy to install, and fits most industry standard mounting patterns. Unlike competitor float switches, this one will not corrode or rot out. 

This float switch’s rugged design will last for years or a capacity of up to 10 million activations. It is also available at an affordable price and comes with a 4-year warranty.

Pros

  • It’s heavy-duty quality at an affordable price.
  • The slim design won’t get in your way.
  • It’s easy to install and easy to use.
  • It’s a long-lasting product at a fraction of the competitor’s cost.
  • Its specially welded seals prevent corrosion and rot.

Cons

  • It’s only available in one color.
  • It doesn’t work for AC voltage.
  • Mounting screws are not included.

3. AURELIO TECH Automatic Boat Bilge Pump Float Switch 12V 24V 32V Ignition Protected Mercury

This plastic float switch is made with solid ABS material for high durability and strength. It is mercury-free, ignition protected and is securely and reliably sealed to prevent leaking thanks to ultrasonic welding. This float switch is proven to be long-lasting, with a switching frequency up to 10 million times. 

It is made with 18 gauge wires and is compatible with up to 32-volt bilge pumps. This float switch is designed for seawater and freshwater use. Its wires are sealed to prevent corrosion with a waterproof marine sealant, and it operates with spring-loaded contact points. 

This float switch is easy to use and easy to install with the simple instructions and wiring diagram that comes with it. It can work automatically with your bilge pump or can be wired for manual use. It is fully submersible and can easily be removed from its mount for maintenance and cleaning. 

Overall, this is one of the best bilge pump float switches because it has a simple design, it is strong and durable, and it is available at an affordable price. This float switch lasts longer and operates just as well as competitor float switches that cost more.

Pros

  • It’s got a robust, durable, long-lasting design.
  • It’s mercury-free and specially sealed against leaks.
  • It’s easy to install and easy to use.
  • It’s a high value at an affordable price.
  • It can easily be wired for automatic or manual bilge pump use.

Cons

  • It doesn’t come with mounting hardware.
  • It might get stuck in the “on” position and drain the battery.
  • It’s lightweight, meaning it might not stay underwater if not correctly secured.

4. Ogrmar Automatic Boat Bilge Pump Float Switch Moisture Tight Seals 12/24/32VDC Ignition Protected Mercury

This bilge pump float switch is made with solid, heavy-duty ABS material and one meter long 18 gauge wires. It is compatible with up to 32-volt bilge pumps. This float switch can automatically turn the bilge pump on when the water reaches a level of 2” and automatically turn the bilge pump off when the water reaches a level of 0.7”. 

This heavy-duty float switch is environmentally responsible and specially designed for challenging applications. It is long-lasting and has a switching frequency of up to 10 million times. The ultrasonic welding used to seal this float switch makes it secure, reliable, safe, and drip-free, so you don’t have to worry about it leaking. 

This float switch can also easily be removed from its base for easy maintenance and cleaning. This bilge pump float switch also features ignition protection and enhanced flawless operation from the completely sealed metal capsules. It is strong and durable and can be used with both freshwater and seawater. 

The waterproof marine sealant used to seal this bilge pump float switch’s wires prevents rot and corrosion. This is one of the best bilge pump float switches because it is a high-quality product that is mercury-free and available at an affordable price.

Pros

  • It’s a good quality yet inexpensive bilge pump float switch.
  • It’s mercury-free and ignition protected.
  • It’s easy to use and easy to install.
  • It can automatically turn the bilge pump on at a 2” water level.
  • It’s got long-lasting battery life.

Cons

  • It’s lightweight, so it might get stuck in the “on” position.
  • It doesn’t come with mounting hardware.
  • It’s only available in one color.

5. Attwood 4201-7 Automatic Float Switch With Cover, One Size

This efficient and responsive float switch comes with a protective cover. It can convert manual bilge pumps to operate completely automatically. The unique compact design allows this float switch to be mounted on any surface horizontally, up to a 24-degree angle. This float switch is compatible with bilge pumps up to 12 amps of power. 

The sealed switch mechanism of this float switch resists electrical shock, fume-ignition, and moisture. This float switch is mercury-free and features a test knob to check the pump and switch operation manually. This float switch is easy to use, easy to install, and comes with a 3-year warranty. 

The reliable mechanical switch of this float switch activates the automatic bilge pump at a minimum water level of 2”. Unlike competitor float switches, this model’s wire leads do not hinge or flex, and the protective cover decreases bilge sloshing to prevent interference from debris and reduce pump cycling. This float switch is also marine ignition protected. 

Overall, this bilge pump float switch is one of the best because of its durable design, compact size, and moderate price tag. It is compatible with the most popular bilge pumps and received some of the highest customer review ratings compared to other similar bilge pump float switches.

Pros

  • It’s specially designed with a protective cover to keep out debris.
  • It’s easy to use and easy to install.
  • It automatically activates the bilge pump at 2” of water.
  • It’s moderately priced and made with a compact design.
  • It comes with a 3-year warranty.

Cons

  • It doesn’t come with mounting hardware.
  • There is slight mechanical resistance when trying to activate the switch.
  • It might not fit on all bilge pumps.

6. Shoreline Marine Bilge Pump Float Switch

This is one of the most inexpensive bilge pump float switches out there. It is waterproof and fully submersible. It automatically activates bilge pumps at a water level of 2” and is compatible with DC bilge pumps. It is easy to use, easy to install, and comes with a wiring diagram for easy set-up. 

This float switch is compatible with most popular bilge pump brands and can be mounted vertically or horizontally. It works just as its packaging suggests and is built to last long. Overall, this little bilge pump float switch works great and at a very affordable price. 

Pros

  • It’s compatible with DC bilge pumps.
  • It’s fully submersible and easy to use.
  • It’s easy to install and can be mounted vertically or horizontally.
  • It’s got a very affordable price.
  • It automatically activates bilge pumps.

Cons

  • It cannot be used with AC bilge pumps.
  • It doesn’t come with mounting hardware.
  • It’s lightweight, so it might get stuck in the “on” position.

7. Rule 40A Rule-A-Matic Plus Bilge Pump Float Switch, 12, 24, or 32 Volt, Moisture Tight Seals, White, Small

The Rule 40A bilge pump float switch is an excellent purchase if you’re looking to replace an old float switch or just looking into buying one for the first time. Installation is pretty standard across all bilge pumps, so just make sure you know which wires to attach to the float switch and how to keep them waterproof with heat shrink tubes.

This bilge pump float switch can be a bit bigger than people are expecting, so if you’re replacing an old float switch, make sure you pay attention to the measurements of the Rule 40A. It’s a quality pump, but it might be a little difficult to attach to an old mount fitted to an older model.

This pump is slightly bigger than previous Rule-A-Matic Plus models because this one is mercury-free. It’s also built with marine-grade, highly-abrasive material, and wiring as well as an impact resistance cover that protects against jamming and debris.

This bilge pump float switch is also easy to test, thanks to its built-in test feature. That way, you’ll know in no time whether or not the float switch is functioning as it should. It’s also got a 2-year warranty, so you’re covered if it starts to short circuit and goes haywire.

Pros

  • It’s made in the USA.
  • It’s sleek but also rugged and built to last.
  • It works on pumps that draw up to 20 amps.
  • It will turn the pump on when the water level gets to 2” and turns it off when it reaches ¾.”
  • It’s got a 2-year warranty.

Cons

  • It’s slightly bigger than other models.
  • It’s advertised as having a removable base, but it doesn’t.
  • The water level trigger is a bit high compared to other float switches.

Bilge Pump Float Switch Buyers Guide – Your Guide to Selecting the Best Product

Now that we’ve shown you the best bilge pump float switches, it’s time to get educated on what these bad boys are, how they can help you maintain your boat, and what makes them so different from other bilge pump switches.

Types of Bilge Pump Switches

There are two critical types of bilge pump switches: float switches and control switches. Each one has its own unique set of skills that help keep excess water from building up in the bilge of your boat. It’s all a matter of what you’ll prefer more, though we’re partial to float switches.

Float Switches

Float switches are something you install and don’t have to worry about again. Most bilge pump float switches will activate when the water reaches a certain level and then deactivate when the water has subsided to a different, lower level. 

Float switches are easy to install and are typically made with high-quality, marine-grade materials to make sure they can withstand being in the water for so long and so often. You really don’t have to worry about float switches until they start to falter.

Control Switches

Bilge pump control switches function similarly to float switches but are very different products from each other. Control switches allow you to control the bilge of your boat from the helm – this is beneficial for bigger boats.

Some control switches allow you to change between an automatic or manual mode, so your switch runs automatically when necessary or when you tell it to. These will also come with fail-safe switches, so the pump isn’t kept on in manual mode.

Benefits of Using Bilge Pump Float Switches

Like we mentioned before, it’s imperative you make sure water doesn’t build up in the bilge of your boat. If it does, you’re looking at extensive water damage that might even cause your boat to sink. We both don’t want that, and that’s why using a bilge pump float switch is so essential.

Bilge pumps, and switches that turn bilge pumps off and on, keep water out of the bilge of your vessel. Keeping water out of the bilge means your boat runs smoothly, and no one is at risk during the use of the boat! You just also need to make sure your bilge pump and float switches are in working order; that way, everyone is consistently safe.

Installation of a Bilge Pump Float Switch

Despite its name, a float switch does not actually float in the water. You must fasten it down in order for it to function correctly. If it’s not, it can suck in air and burn out quickly, meaning you’ve wasted money and no longer have a usable float switch. Don’t do that – install it correctly!

How you go about fastening the float switch down is up to you, as you can use brackets or even just epoxy some of the switch’s bolts to the bilge’s bottom as a way to mount it. When choosing a discharge hose, make sure you choose one that’s smooth and try to install it so it’s as short and straight as it can possibly be.

Whether you have the hose go through the side of the hull or the transom, there is one crucial thing you need to remember; you always need to place the discharge hose above the waterline. If you don’t, the water will get sucked back into the bilge and create a never-ending cycle until the float switch burns out and water starts filling the bilge at an alarming rate.

Though bilge pump float switches are built to endure water, it doesn’t mean the wires need to stay submerged. In fact, you need to keep them away from the water as much as possible and run them upwards to avoid any chance of them slipping back into the water.

Maintaining Your Bilge Pump Float Switch

Ensure you keep your bilge clean and in tip-top shape because that will help ensure your float switch is also working correctly. Your bilge needs to have no oil, buildup, or residue – you can even wash away usual wear and tear with some elbow grease and dedication. 

During your cleaning, you’ll also want to turn your float switch on by hand to make sure it still functions as it’s supposed to. If not, it might be time to replace it.

Best Bilge Pump Float Switch Comparison Chart

Product NamePriceMaterialWarranty Period (Years)Unique Features
Rule 35A Rule-A-Matic Bilge Pump Float Switch, Mercury Free, White$Plastic2Completely sealed metal capsules enhance flawless operation
SEAFLO 03-Series Heavy-Duty Bilge Pump Float Switch for 12V, 24V, 32V$ABS Material5Mercury free electric reed switch system for consistent activation performance
AURELIO TECH Automatic Boat Bilge Pump Float Switch 12V 24V 32V Ignition Protected Mercury$Plastic2Can easily be wired for automatic or manual bilge pump use
Ogrmar Automatic Boat Bilge Pump Float Switch Moisture Tight Seals 12/24/32VDC Ignition Protected Mercury$ABS Material4Can automatically turn the bilge pump on at a 2” water level
Attwood 4201-7 Automatic Float Switch With Cover, One Size$Plastic and ABS3Automatically activates the bilge pump at 2” of water
Shoreline Marine Bilge Pump Float Switch$Blend3Easy to install and can be mounted vertically or horizontally
Rule 40A Rule-A-Matic Plus Bilge Pump Float Switch, 12, 24, or 32 Volt, Moisture Tight Seals, White, Small$Acrylic2Works on pumps that draw up to 20 amps

Wrap-Up

As you can see, having a bilge pump float switch will help you maintain your boat and bilge very effectively and even relieve some of the headaches that comes with boat ownership. With our guide, you’re sure to have a better understanding of what exactly you need to look for when picking a bilge pump float switch.

Heck, we may have even shown you a float switch you knew you needed immediately! As long as you know what to look for, you’re sure to find the best bilge pump float switch that you can easily install onto your boat and prevent water from building up in the bilge. That way it’s smooth sailing for you and your passengers.

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