Yes, our sump pump review indicates Little Giant Sump Pumps are good.
They have stood the test of time. Back in 1960 Little Giant watched plumbers overwhelmed by calls from homeowners with flooded basements. Little Giant applied their experience with condensate pumps handling small water flow and applied it to their first ever electric sump pump in 1964, the 1/3 HP 8 Series cast iron sump pump. That sump pump is still used today. The demand grew so quickly Little Giant added more models, the smaller 1/3 HP 6 Series sump pump, which is the most popular on the market, and a larger 1/2 HP 10 Series.
What started as a 15 employee shop in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1941 with a condensate pump series is now a seven building campus in Oklahoma City totaling more than 400,000 square feet with a work force of more than 500 employees.
Little Giant sump pumps have evolved over the years, but their iconic 6 series continues as a top-performing sump pump throughout the industry.
Little Giant uses unique features to make them stand out. The diaphragm switch is unlike any other switch. There is no float to get caught and water pressure rather than water height is used to activate the switch which turns the pump on and off. This design is ideal for shallow, small basin applications. It can pump 46 GPM of basin water at 5 feet of head reaching its a maximum shut-off at 18 feet.
Since there is a demand for more powerful pumping performance, Little Giant has expanded their design to include the traditional vertical float switch.
Starting as a small company, Little Giant too is experiencing acquisition. In 1980 Tecumseh Products Company acquired them and since 2006 they are part of Franklin Electric.
Little Giant is in good hands with Franklin Electric, the world's largest manufacturer of submersible electric motors and a global supplier of water pumping systems. At the time of acquisition, Scott Trumbull, chairman and chief executive officer of Franklin Electric, had this to say about the Little Giant Pump Company.
'The acquisition of Little Giant Pump Company will solidify Franklin Electric's position as a global supplier of pumping equipment for residential and commercial markets. Little Giant's product lines - sump, sewage, effluent, condensate and industrial submersible pumps - will complement and broaden Franklin Electrics overall pump offering and allow us to expand our customer base.'
The 5.5 Series is only for very light water pumping needs during heavy rain storms.
There are some features that make this pump very desirable.
- For a ¼ HP motor it is very robust. At a 10 feet vertical lift height, its pumping performance is 30 gallons per minute or 1,800 GPH.
- It has a small footprint - 8.7 inches wide and 10.8 inches high so can be placed in a small basin or even in a tall 5 gallon bucket.
- The vertical float will not take much basin space and it will not get caught on the basin wall because of the float guard.
- The impeller is made of nylon which offers more durability. Nylon deflects heat better than thermoplastic. Nylon is also a better chemical and abrasion resistor and can operate under more pressure.
- The discharge port is 1-1/2 inches; however the output flow can be narrowed to ¾ inches because the manufacturer includes a garden hose adapter.
- The power cord is ten feet. A 25 foot cord is also available.
- Long continuous pumping can result in a hot motor because some mdoels of this series have aluminum or zinc housing with a base (volute) made of thermoplastic which does not dissipate heat as well as cast iron. Some models in this series are made of steel which is better than thermoplastic.
- The pump is very light weight and will move around a lot in the basin because it weighs only 11.5 pounds.
- At a 5 foot vertical height it can pump 35 GPM or 2,100 GPH and at a 25 foot vertical height the pump will not pump anything. Twenty-five feet is its shut-off height.
- To prevent clogging, a top intake screen is used. When used in basins with debris, it will need to be cleaned periodically.
6 Series Sump Pump
This is Little Giants Iconic series. It was first introduced in 1964 so it has been around a long time.
- The Series 6 uses cast iron for pump housing. This adds weight and keeps the pump more stationary in the basin during continuous pumping. It weighs 16.5 pounds. The cast iron is epoxy-coated to retard corrosion for long life and durability.
- At a 5 foot vertical height, this 1/3 horse power pump has greater pumping performance than the 5.5 Series. The difference is 46 GPM vs 35 GPM. For a ¼ HP motor it is very robust. At a 10 feet vertical lift height, its pumping performance is 30 gallons per minute or 1,800 GPH.
- Series 6 offers the many float switch options: the diaphragm, tether (piggyback mechanical) or manual without any float switch. A manual pump can be automated with any personal favorite float switch type including electronic switches which are more long-lasting.
- The Series 6 pump does not take much height in the basin: only 6 inches.
- For those who wish to have a manual option to run the pump in case the switch fails, a piggyback plug option is available.
- At a 10 foot vertical height, the series 5.5 has more pumping capability than the Series 6: 30 GPM vs 29 GPM and has a higher shut off height of 25 feet vs. 18 feet for Series 6 pumps.
6EC Series Sump And Light Effluent Pump
The 6EC series acts as both a sump pump and light effluent pump handling up to one-half inch spherical solids.
- Usage of a Permanent Split Capacitor Motor in the Series 6EC compared to the usage of the Shaded Pole Motor in the Series 6 pumps makes a big difference.
- The pumping performance of the Series 6EC is much greater than the Series 6. Though both Series are 1/3 horse power, the Series 6EC can pump 53 GPM at a 5 foot vertical height which is 7 gallon more per minute. In one hour of continuous pumping that is 42 gallons per hour. At a 10 foot vertical height the Series 6EC pumps out perform the Series 6 pumps by 21 gallons per minute or 126 gallons per hour which is significant.
- Less energy is consumed. The 6EC (Permanent Split Capacitor) motor in the Series 6EC consumes only 5.0 amps during continuous pumping while the Series 6 shaded-pole motor uses 9.0 amps.
- The shut-off height is also increased. The Series 6EC PSC motor has a shut-off height of 25 feet vs the Series 6 shaded-pole motor shut-off height of 18 feet.
- Like the Series 6 (CIA) pumps, the Series 6EC pumps offer multiple float switch options: the diaphragm, tether (piggyback mechanical) or manual without any float switch.
- Two cord length options are available: 10 foot and 20 foot. Purchasing a pump a long enough cord is important because an extension cord should not be used with a sump pump. The amp draw when the pump stops and starts frequently can easily blow a fuse.
- Two options are also provided for the pump base (volute) material: cast iron or thermoplastic. We highly recommend choosing the cast iron base to add weight to the pump and to help with heat dissipation.
The Series 9EC is a more powerful sump pump. It is similar to the 6EC series except for the following specifications.
- The horse power is slightly more at 4/10 HP vs 1/3 HP/ The solids handling size is larger at 3/4 inch solids vs 1/2 inch solids.
- The shut off height is much greater. The Series 9EC shuts off at 45 feet while the Series 6EC shuts off at 25 feet.
- The pumping capability is much greater. The GPM for the Series 9EC is 70 GPM at a 5 foot vertical height vs. 53 GPM.
- The impeller is thermoplastic rather than nylon as the other Series pumps are.
- Unlike the Series 6EC pumps, Series 9EC offers the tether (piggyback mechanical), vertical or manual (without any float switch) options, but not the diaphragm switch.
10EC Series Sump And Light Effluent Pump
The 10EC Series sump pumps are definitely for heavy water pumping and light effluent pumping. They are one-half horse power, pump 60 gallons per minute at a five foot vertical height and can handle solids up to three-fourths inch in diameter.
- Compared to the other pump series, the 10EC pumps are definitely built for durability. They are completely cast iron: the body housing and volute. This adds weight for stability during heavy continuous pumping and provides get heat dissipation for the motor. The pump weighs in at 38 pounds.
- The Permanent Split Capacitor (PSC) motor provides energy saving efficiency at 9 amps. This is considered good for the amount of pumping capacity it has.
- The impeller is made of thermoplastic elastomers as opposed to the other Series pumps, thus providing more heat-resistant, durability and yet flexibility.
- A 20 foot power cord is standard. Even a 30 foot cord is available.
- Like the Series 9EC, 10EC also provides the tether (piggyback mechanical), vertical or manual (without any float switch) options, but not the diaphragm switch. The diaphragm is effective for one-third or less horse power pumps.
- The shut-off height is greater at 60 feet while the shut off height for the 9EC is 45 feet.
- The pumping capability is slightly less than the Series 9EC. The pumping performance of the Series 10EC is 60 GPM at a 5 foot vertical lift and 55 GPM at 10 feet while the Series 9EC pumps 70 GPM at 5 feet and 63 GPM at 10 feet.
- The other Series pumps Little Giant makes are identified as Effluent Pumps. They include the Series 12E, 14EH, 16EH and 20EH. They are used for commercial applications.
Is A Little Giant Sump Pump Right For Your Water Pumping Needs?
Little Giant is a good sump pump because it uses cast iron for its pump housing to keep the motor cool and last longer. Then weight also keeps the pump stationary in the basin during heavy continuous pumping. All of the Series Models use cast iron housing except the Series 5.5.
There are many dimension options to accommodate any sized sump basin or even a five gallon bucket. The Series 6 is certainly low enough at 6 inches to fit into a five gallon bucket. The Series 9EC is eleven inches high but only 8.9 inches wide which leaves room for a battery backup sump pump in the same basin. And with a primary pump with a pumping performance of 65 GPM at a 10 foot vertical height, it would be important to install a battery backup up for protection if the electricity or the primary pump failed. It is so much cheaper to install a battery backup sump pump than clean up after a flooded basement.
There are many float switch options offered for each sump pump series. Of the options available, diaphragm, tether, vertical and manual, we would choose the manual pump because we prefer installing an electronic switch. Our favorite is the HC6000. Make sure to measure the diameter of your basin before purchasing a pump with the tether float switch because they take at least 4 to 5 inches more basin diameter than the vertical float switch.
There are many pumping performance options. To know which pump size is best for your water pumping needs it is important to know how much your current pump pumps during a heavy rainstorm. It is easy to measure the size pump needed. Here are the details.
The Series 6 has the lowest pumping performance curve at 29 GPM and the Series 10EC has the highest at 55 GPM at 10 feet vertical height.
Where Are Little Giant Sump Pumps Made?
Like many sump pump companies these days, except for Zoeller, Liberty Pumps and Red Lion, Little Giant gets many of its parts from Mexico and some from China, but the sump pumps are assembled in the USA Oklahoma City or the Fort Wayne, Indiana facility. Each pump is tested before leaving the facility which ensures it will work when installed.
Also note that each pump series model has a 3 year warranty period. The 3 year warranty for all of their submersible sump pumps is generous.
All Little Giant sump pumps, except the manual ones, depend on the switch to close the electric circuit and run the pump and shut the pump off when the switch disengages but how the switch is activated depends upon the switch type used.
Little Giant pumps use 3 switch types: the tether float switch, the vertical float switch and the diaphragm switch.
The tether float switch consists of a float that is attached to a tether which looks like a long cord with a buoyant float at the end. The cord houses the electrical wires and the switch resides in the hollow float. The tether and float hang by the side of the pump when the water is low. As the water in the basin rises the float at the end of the tether floats up, the tether extends out and eventually reaches its highest point, tips up, and activates the switch which closes the circuit and feeds electricity to the motor. The motor runs until the float lowers enough to disengage the switch and open the circuit. It is the float and switch working together that detect the level of the water and respond to its height thus a tether float switch is also known has a mechanical float switch.
The vertical float is comprised of an arm on the top and bottom of a vertical rod on which a float moves up and down as the water rises and lowers in the basin. When the float reaches a preset height, the force of the water causes a fast snapping action and the circuit closes and the electricity flows to the motor and runs the pump. When the water lowers, the float lowers, the circuit is opened and the current stops flowing to the motor. This type of switch is also known as a mechanical float switch because the float and switch work together detecting the height of the water and responding accordingly.
The diaphragm switch has a diaphragm, which is a thin membrne, attached to the sump pump body so it is exposed to the water in the basin. As the water in the basin rises so does the water pressure. An increase in water pressure causes the diaphragm to move in toward the switch. When the water in the basin gets high enough and the water pressure great enough the diaphragm pushes the switch which truns the pump on. As long as the water is covers the diaphragm, the pump contineus to run because the switch is engaged. When the water recedes, the diaphragm moves out, the switch is disengaged no the electrical circuit flows to the pump and the motor stops.
Little Giant choses to use a piggyback plug for many of its float switches. A piggyback plugs into the wall outlet and the pump motor cord plugs into the back of the piggyback plug. A piggyback plug gives the home owner a way to run the pump in case the float switch fails because the piggyback plug can be removed from the wall outlet and the pump motor cord can be plugged directly into the wall socket circumventing the switch. Such action does mean the motor will keep running unless the motor cord is unplugged from the wall outlet.
How To Install Little Giant Sump Pumps
Installing the Little Giant Sump pump is the same as installing other sump pumps. The basic steps are as follows.
1. Unplug the old pump.
2. Detach the discharge piping from the old pump.
3. Remove the old pump from the basin.
4. Place the new pump in the basin.
5. Attach the new pump to the discharge piping.
6. Plug the pump in the wall outlet and test for leaks.
7. No leaks means you are done.
Watch A Quick Little Giant Sump Pump Install
Here's a quick video from Little Giant Pump Company showing an installation of a Little Giant sump pump.