When choosing a pump for industrial systems, it’s important to select the right size for the system’s specific pressure and flow rate requirements. A critical factor to consider when sizing an industrial pump is the total dynamic head (TDH) requirement, which indicates the level of resistance that a fluid will face when traveling through the pumping system.

Learn more about how to select the right pump size for your application based on your unique requirements.

How to Choose the Right Industrial Pump for Your Application

The following factors will influence the selection of an industrial pump:

  • Flow Rate — Measured in gallons per minute (GPM), the flow rate will influence the proper pipe size relative to the system’s capacity. The maximum instantaneous flow that enters the basin of the pump also determines which pump is best to maintain the industrial system over time.
  • Solid Size — You must also consider the size of any solids in the fluid, which should be less than the pump’s impeller clearance.
  • Pump Style — Choose from various pump styles based on your needs, including positive displacement pumps, centrifugal pumps, and submersible pumps.
  • Friction Loss — Friction loss is a natural result of any fluid that moves through a pump system. As the fluid flows through the system, friction occurs between the walls of the piping and piping components and the fluid. The higher the fluid’s viscosity, the more friction it experiences in the pipe. Minimizing friction loss is important to optimize the efficiency of the pump. To calculate friction loss, use this formula: friction loss coefficient x (flow rate/100)2 x (hose length/100). Friction loss coefficients are calculated for the design and properties of each component in the pumping system and are readily available in multiple tables and charts.
  • Total Dynamic Head (TDH) — Another crucial factor to consider is the TDH, which indicates the total equivalent height that the pumping system can lift the fluid. To calculate the TDH, add together the vertical rise and friction losses of all piping and other components the fluid passes through before being discharged by the pump.
  • Horsepower — The required horsepower of an industrial pump depends on the type of pump. For example, to properly size positive displacement pumps, multiply the output pressure with the flow rate and divide the product by the constant for that specific type of pump.
  • Suction Head — Net positive suction head (NPSH) represents the difference between the lowest pressure level within the pump and the inlet pressure. It measures the pressure loss that occurs within the first part of the pump housing. If inlet pressure is too low, the lowest pressure inside the pump can fall below the pumped liquid’s evaporation pressure, causing cavitation and excess noise.
  • Discharge Pipe Size — Ensure the discharge pipe size matches the pump’s outlet.
  • Discharge Flow Rate (GPM) — You may also want to select a pump based on the discharge flow rate you need. This determining factor will require you to accurately estimate the capacity by looking closely at the required flow rate and pipe size. 

Why Calculating Pump Flow Capacity and TDH Is Important

It’s necessary to choose the correct pump size for your water or sludge pump because there’s a risk that solids may settle in the pipe when water ceases to flow once the pump turns off. As these solids settle, they can cause issues such as clogging and buildup that may compromise your pumping system. The right pump size will facilitate the resuspension of any solids that settle by ensuring that the flow and velocity of the liquids are sufficient.

Total dynamic head is the total pressure present in a system when water is flowing through it. TDH must be calculated accurately to determine the right scale and sizing of the pumping system you need.

With accurate measurements of both pump flow capacity and TDH, your correctly sized pumping system can benefit from optimized efficiency and prevent any potential issues from developing.

Types of Industrial Pumps Available

There are a few different types of industrial pumps you can choose from, depending on your application’s requirements.

Sludge Pumps

Many pumping applications require reliable equipment to pump various types of abrasive, dense or highly viscous substances, including sludge, slurry, muck, or certain solid materials. In these cases, sludge pumps can help prevent clogging and maintain the efficiency of your pumping processes.

Storm & Flood Pumps

Storm and flood pumps are critical for many flood defense plans, helping to effectively and efficiently remove water in various locations. These pumps are key infrastructure investments, as they can streamline decisions regarding pump station design, construction, and maintenance.

Vertical & Floating Water Pumps

Vertical and float mounted water pumps are key solutions to a wide range of water transfer applications.  We often recommend a vertical pump when a permanent pumping station is required, or when a small surface area is best accessed through vertical fixed installation.

Centrifugal Pumps

These pumps use centrifugal force to generate a high velocity that facilitates the efficient flow of liquid in the pumping system. They use fan-like rotating impellers and have a large outlet and small intake. Centrifugal pumps are durable, easy to operate, and come with minimal maintenance requirements.

Submersible Pumps

Systems may also use submersible pumps, which submerge entirely in the system’s liquid. Using level sensors for control, submersible pumps drain slurry or sludge.

Positive Displacement Pumps

These industrial pumps use a combination of impellers, gears, and rollers to displace liquid in the pumping system. Positive displacement pumps can pump liquids and solids.

Depending on your discharge flow rate, you can choose the right pump type and size for your system. Refer to this guide to help you get started:


Pump size/RPM Discharge Flow Rate (GPM)
0 ft (0 m)
15 ft (5 m)
30 ft (10 m)
45 ft (15 m)
60 ft (20 m)
 4″   540 RPM 1100 900 800 500 200
 6″   540 RPM 2100 2000 1800 1300 1000
 6″ 1000 RPM 2000 2000 2000 2000 2000
 8″   540 RPM 3000 2800 2700 2100 1800
 8″ 1000 RPM 4000 4000 4000 4000 4000
10″  540 RPM 4000 4000 4000 3500
10″ 1000 RPM 5000 5000 5000 5000 4500
12″  540 RPM 7000 6500 6000 4500
12″ 1000 RPM 6500 6500 6500 6000 5000
16″  540 RPM 13,000 13,000 10,500
16″ 1000 RPM 10,000 10,000 9000 8000 6200
24″  540 RPM 18,000 18,000 11,000
24″ 1000 RPM 16,000 16,000 12,000 7,000

Industrial Pumps by Gator Pump

If you’re looking for top-quality industrial pumps for your next project, you’ll find plenty of options at Gator Pump. We can help you select the right commercial pumps and pump sizes to meet your needs. We carry a variety of custom and specialty pumps, sludge pumps, storm and flood pumps, trailer pumps, and more.

To select the right pump for your system, request a quote from us today.