4 Best Water Pumps For Food Trucks

4 Best Water Pumps For Food Trucks

See 4 of the best water pumps to get clean water running in your food truck or trailer

4 Best Water Pumps For Food Trucks

For food trucks, preparing and serving food is your business and you need to ensure the food you are selling is not only tasty but safe for consumption and not laden with nasties!

Therefore, the ability to have running water to enable correct food preparation and the cleaning of equipment and hands is one of the most vital elements for your successful food truck business.  

Your running water system can be supplied either by tanks suspended and elevated at a high level or by means of an electrical water pump connected to your pipework to provide suitable pressure. 

With such a choice on the market, it can be hard to know which water pump is most suitable for your food truck- So I’ve done the hard-work for you and carried chosen 4 of the best water pumps for your food truck, along with a handy buyer’s guide for things to look out for, including, tank and pump sizes, power requirements, and pressure and flow rates. 


Contents:

  • Buyer’s guide
  • Water System Equipment
  • Water Tanks
  • Piping
  • Caravan Marine Shurflo Water Pump 
  • Shurflo Trail King 10 Water Pump, 2095-403-443
  • Flojet Water System Pump, 3526-144A
  • SEAFLO 33 Series DC Diaphragm Pump 
  • Key Takeaway

Buyer’s guide:

Water System Equipment

Whether it’s from pressure from a pump or from gravity, your water system cannot function without some important pieces of equipment:

Water Tanks (fresh & grey water)

To provide water, you will need somewhere to store it.  Ensure water tanks are suitable for use and constructed of non-corrosive, food-grade material.  They need to be of a suitable size for your needs – not too big to cause water stagnation from standing water and bacterial growth but not too small, as to require filling whilst in the middle of service.  

A typical fresh water tank for your food truck needs to hold approximately a 30 – 35-gallon capacity – remember water adds to the weight and this may be a factor to consider in your food truck.

Be aware, that what goes in must come out, so ensure you have a suitably sized grey water tank to hold the waste without disrupting your service times. 

Greywater tanks need to be bigger than your fresh water tank as it is likely that there will also be other waste liquids and food particles that will find their way down the sink. A typical food truck grey water tank should be capable of holding approximately 50 – 55-gallon capacity. 

Most US States and UK counties have limitations and regulations that must be adhered to regarding water tanks and their disposal, acceptable gallonage and the minimum water pressure or flow rate required is dependent upon the classification of your mobile food unit.  So always check with your local county health department or council offices and they will be happy to assist and advise what would be required. 

Piping

The piping from your tanks to your tap needs to be of good quality and able to withstand the pressure of the flow, garden hose pipe with a thousand joints is unsuitable for the job.  

Ensure all your joins and pipework are secure and ensure all leaks are dealt with, a solitary drip from a joint can easily turn into your water tanks flooding the inside of your truck.  A costly experience that can be avoided with routine checking and maintenance. 

Equally, ensure that your water system is cleaned and sanitized regularly, and all water is emptied overnight and when the system is inoperative. 

Pump system

There are advantages and disadvantages to having either a gravity-fed or a water pump system for your food truck.  I prefer having a water pump as you get more consistent water pressure and a better choice of end fittings, it minimises water usage and you get the added benefit of not having tanks of water sloshing about at head height. 

Most pumps have an average life span of around 7 – 10 years, dependent upon factors including the amount of use it gets and the water quality and chalk/sediment contents etc.  When the time comes to replace your pump, it is an ideal opportunity to ensure your next purchase is suitable for your current, as well as possible future requirements.


Before you buy

Before making that purchase, here are some things to consider:

The physical size of the pump

Bigger is not always better and space is at a premium in food trucks so every inch counts.

You, therefore need to consider where the pump will be fitted and the ease of access to enable it to be fitted securely and in a location that is easily accessible, whilst also being somewhere that isn’t going to be interfered with, in the day to day running of your business.  

If you opt for a pump that requires switching off and on when required, it is not always convenient to be getting on your hands and knees mid food service, reaching around cupboards, and moving a ton of equipment every time you want to run the water to wash your hands!

Power requirements of Pump

If you are upgrading your pump and considering your future requirements, check your current wiring is suitable for the job and ensure your existing generator or electrical source can handle the additional power required – the bigger the pump the more power demand.

Damage and overheating can be caused to the wiring and/or the pump by using insufficient wiring, this can at worst cause an electrical fire hazard. 

Flow Rate

This is measured in GPM or Gallons per minute and indicates the amount of water that could potentially come out of your tap or faucet.  To give an idea an average tap in a house would deliver a flow rate of 1–3 GPM (or 4 – 8 litres per minute). The higher the flow rate of your pump, the quicker your freshwater tanks will be depleted, and your greywater tank will need emptying. 

Water pressure

This is different to the flow rate and measures the force of the water that is pushed through the pipes. Generally measured in PSI, normal household water pressure is around 40 – 60 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch), with most homeowners having it set somewhere in the middle around 50 PSI. 

Having a lower water pressure will mean the water will trickle out and will take longer to fill the sink or the kettle which is not so good if you have a queue of hungry and thirsty people waiting to be served. 

Equally, low water pressure means cleaning equipment like juicers or blenders will take longer and won’t provide the pressure required to remove food residue from those hard-to-reach areas.

Taking into consideration your personal food truck requirements, here are four of the best water pumps and what I think are the pros and cons to help you decide which is going to be most suitable for you.  


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1. CARAVAN MARINE SHURFLO WATER PUMP

4 Best Water Pumps For Food Trucks - CARAVAN MARINE SHURFLO WATER PUMP

*Best Budget Pump if starting out

  • 10-year life span 
  • Voltage: 12 Volts
  • Amps: 4.6 amps
  • Weight: 2 KG
  • Dimensions L: 35 cm x W: 10 cm x H: 15cm
  • Pressure:  20 PSI
  • Flow Rate: 2 GPM / 7 LPM
  • Noise Level: 61 dB – (equivalent to the noise of a vacuum cleaner)

Pros:

  • Operates automatically on demand 
  • Inbuilt safety features, integral circuit breaker to protect against overloading. 
  • Built-in check valve and integral pressure switch to maintain smooth water flow 
  • Robust and heavy-duty die-cast alloy housing with twin ball bearing drive
  • Low amp draw
  • Quiet in operation 

Cons:

  • Additional parts are required to install and run this pump – not simply plug and play. 
  • Requires crimp connectors to allow installation of the pump which must be purchased in addition to the pump. 
  • Requires a filter which is sold separately – if used without the filter this will void the manufacturer’s warranty
  • A large pump may hinder where it is located in the truck.

This large robust pump is a great budget buy especially if you are starting out. Shurflo pumps are thought to be one of the best brands available for water pumps.

With their robust and heavy-duty engineering, it means even if your tanks run dry your water pump will handle the abuse and won’t suffer lasting damage.

The pumps are also built with an automatic on-demand switch meaning no scrabbling around under cupboards to switch on and integral circuit breakers to prevent overload and provide a steady flow rate without backflow to the tank whilst working quietly for its size.  

The main downsides I have found with this pump are its size and lack of additional parts. You need parts which don’t come in the box to ensure it is running and It’s quite a chunky bit of kit which means it may not be suitable for some food trucks where pump space is limited

In addition, the pressure it provides is suitable for hand washing and cleaning up most equipment, however, it may not give the force required to clean those hard-to-reach areas that some equipment may require.  


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2. Shurflo 2095-403-443 Trail King 10 Water Pump

Best Water Pumps For Food Trucks - Shurflo 2095-403-443 Trail King 10 Water Pump

* Great mid-range buy with more pressure and better flow rate

  • 10-year + life span 
  • Voltage: 12 Volt
  • Amps: 4.0 amp
  • Weight: 1.8 KG
  • Dimensions: L: 4.72 cm x W: 5.75 cm x H: 11.5 cm
  • Pressure: 30 PSI
  • Flow Rate: 2.6 GPM / 10.6 LPM 
  • Noise Level: 70 dB (equivalent to the noise of a washing machine) 
  • 1-year Warranty supplied by the manufacturer

Pros:

  • Operates automatically on demand without the need to manually switch on
  • Inbuilt safety features, integral circuit breaker to protect against overloading.  (Thermal cut out switch)
  • Automatic triple diaphragm self-priming pump with integral pressure switch to maintain smooth water flow  
  • Built-in check valve prevents backflow to the tank 
  • Robust and heavy-duty die-cast alloy housing with twin ball bearing drive
  • Energy Efficient Low amp draw – 
  • Standard ½” bps screw inlet/ outlet
  • Complete with 2 x adaptors for use (1 x straight and 1 x angled) 
  • Compact pump suitable for quite small spaces
  • Easy to fit 
  • Long life span

Cons:

  • Requires crimp connectors to allow installation of the pump which must be purchased in addition to the pump. 
  • At very low flow rates may encounter some cycling issues i.e pump will come on to adjust the pressure on the system automatically
  • Not suitable for 240 v systems. 
  • Does need to be ventilated 
  • Noisy 

If you have a bigger budget, the Shurflo 2095-403-443 Trail King 10 Water Pump, is a better option for your food trailer water pump. 

With all the advantages of the Caravan Marine Shurflo pump, the Trail King 10 is just as robust with its die-cast alloy housing and its ability to run dry without damage to the pump. 

With many Shurflo pumps lasting longer than the advertised 10 years, with regular maintenance and good care, this pump can last a considerable time. 

It has integrated safety features such as automatic on-demand switching, and thermal cut off to prevent damage and overload to the circuit, whilst also having the integral pressure switch and built-in check valve to ensure a steady water flow of 2.6 gallons per minute.

As a “bigger” pump it provides a greater steady flow rate and pressure making cleaning up a doddle, whilst taking up a smaller space. This compact pump is easy to fit and even comes with adaptors in the box, to allow for easy fitting. 

The biggest disadvantage to the pump that I have found, is the noise, although advised to be only 70 dB, it does seem noisier than other pumps of its size.  

The crimp connectors are also not included in the box so these need to be purchased separately and ensure wherever fitted that the pump has enough ventilation space around it. 

3. Flojet 3526-144A Water System Pump

4 Best Water Pumps For Food Trucks - Flojet 3526-144A Water System Pump

* Best for larger food truck operations using multiple outlets

  • Voltage: 12 Volt
  • Amps: 4 amp
  • Weight: 1.18 KG
  • Dimensions: L: 22.86 cm x W: 10.16 cm x H: 10.16 cm
  • Pressure: 50 PSI
  • Flow: 2.9 GPM / 11 LPM 
  • 2-year warranty

Pros:

  • ½ inch hose barb attachment with 4 snap-in port fittings included 
  • Suitable for running several taps
  • Built-in pressure switch providing automatic switch-on 
  • Automatic triple diaphragm self-priming pump with integral pressure switch to maintain smooth water flow and pressure
  • Vertical or Horizontal mounting
  • Soft noise absorbing mounts reduce background noise whilst running
  • Corrosion-resistant materials
  • Can run dry without damage 

Cons:

  • 10-amp fuse recommended to be fitted on positive lead (not included)
  • Inlet strainer not included – damage caused by debris intake not covered by warranty 
  • No manual override switch to switch off the pump 
  • Noisier than advertised 

If you are looking for a food trailer water pump that delivers even more water pressure, the Flojet 3526-144A Water System Pump delivers a steady flow and pressure and is suitable for running several taps in your food truck. This water pump is a real workhorse with its corrosion-resistant materials making it more suitable for the larger food truck or trailer.

It has all the inbuilt safety features such as automatic on-demand switching, integral pressure switching and the ability to run dry that you could want from a water pump. 

A distinct advantage of this pump is the contents of the box, with the inclusion of the 4 snap-in port adaptors that are included and the standard ½ inch hose barb attachment. This gives versatility in mounting options, either horizontally or vertically.

The only element missing from the box is the inlet strainer and 10 amp fused required to connect this water pump up. These can be purchased separately and without the inlet strainer, which can void the warranty which makes this an annoying disadvantage but not a deal-breaker.

The only real disadvantage of this water pump is the inability to manually override and switch off the pump.  Indeed, the only way to switch this off is by disconnecting it from the electrics. 

4. SEAFLO 33 Series DC Diaphragm Pump

Best Water Pumps For Food Trucks - SEAFLO 33 Series DC Diaphragm Pump

*Various power supply options and suitable for multiple outlets

  • Voltage: 12 / 24 Volt / Solar Powered Option
  • Amps: Max 4 amp
  • Weight: 1.9KG
  • Dimensions: L: 20.25 cm x W: 13.0 cm x H: 12.3 cm
  • Pressure: 17 – 60 PSI
  • Flow: 3 GPM / 26.5 LPM
  • Noise: Approx 60 dB
  • 2-year warranty
  • Robust German engineering

Pros:

  • Adjustable pressure switch
  • Thermal Overload protection: automatically stops the motor should it overheat due to overload
  • Automatic restart feature
  • Can run dry without damage
  • Wired connections 2 pin leads
  • Nylon/Polypropylene housing material
  • Quiet – no louder than a/c 
  • Threaded connections with multiple fittings to allow connection to any outlet 
  • Automatic on-demand 

Cons:

  • Varying models allowing fitting to 12 – 220-volt system – ensure you order correct model 
  • Lower Flow rate than advertised
  • Cycling issues in Pump 
  • Requires 12-amp fuse
  • Max 8-amp draw 

The SEAFLO 33 Series DC Diaphragm Pump is another robust pump, this time German made with a nylon–polypropylene housing.  It similarly has the integral safety features that feature in the other pumps; the automatic on-demand switching and the automatic cut out to prevent damage to the pump.

This Seaflo self-priming pump has the advantage of being available in a variety of voltages to allow it to be added onto any system from your 12volt food truck to your 240v catering trailer – just ensure you order the correct model for your needs.

The Seaflo 33 series has been designed for use in a variety of industries such as marine, agriculture and manufacturing so is a very versatile workhorse pump.

One of the main advantages to this pump is the ability to customise the pressure on the pump, allowing greater pressure if your needs require it, and as it is self-priming, you won’t get the cycling that occurs in other pumps whilst they re-pressurise the system. 

In the box, you get all you need to get this fitted quickly and easily, even including the 15 mesh in-line strainer as well as a variety of fittings. 

The only real disadvantage I can find is the cheap imitations that are being sold by some stockists. So ensure you are buying the correct voltage required for your needs and paying for the authentic German-made pump from Seaflo.