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The Effects of Oversizing or Undersizing When Choosing a Pump

Choosing the right pump for industrial or residential applications is one area where choosing the wrong size pump can cause serious issues. This article will go through some of these effects so you can keep them in mind when choosing a pump.

Every engineer worries about being too conservative or not conservative enough when designing a system. Choosing the right pump for industrial or residential applications is one area where choosing the wrong size pump can cause serious issues. This article will go through some of these effects so you can keep them in mind when choosing a pump.

An Oversized Pump Wastes Energy

A pump’s size is directly related to how much energy it uses. A bigger pump has larger and heavier internal parts and also consumes more energy because it’s designed to move a larger volume of fluid in a given period.

Knowing how to choose the right size pump will help you get one that is perfect for your use case while avoiding oversizing. Doing so will save you a lot of money due to the lower energy requirements of the smaller pump.

Oversizing Can Lead to Cavitation

Cavitation occurs when a motor exerts itself so much that bubbles form in the liquid it is trying to pump. The air pockets and bubbles formed can damage the pump if it continues running at a higher speed and pressure than it was designed for.

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Cavitation can cause an implosion, with the damage being slight or severe depending on how fast the pump was running and how much cavitation was present.

The Right Pump Has a Longer Lifespan

A direct result of the size of a pump is its lifespan. An oversized pump that operates inefficiently is more likely to get damaged, costing you a lot of money in servicing costs. One that is too small has to work harder to pump the fluid if you want it to pump the same volume a bigger one would.

This overexertion leads to tear and wear that directly impacts how long the pump lasts and how efficiently it runs.

The Wrong Pump Might Require Design Changes

A smaller pump has a much slower flow rate. For this reason, you have to use additional pumps or adjust the system to handle a higher flow rate. The latter is typically done by opening a discharge valve or adding one or multiple recirculation lines.

An oversized pump delivers more fluid than needed for your use case or application. You can reduce the flow rate by trimming the impeller or using a throttle valve.

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All the options above will cost you money when you redesign the system to accommodate the smaller or larger pump. You might also have losses in revenue when using a smaller pump because your output will be affected.

Let The Manufacturer Help You

If you do not know how to choose the right pump, it is always best to let the manufacturer help you. They will ask you questions, such as how you intend to use the pump, to ensure you get one that operates within its best efficiency point (BEP).


Choosing the right size pump is important if you want one that runs as well as you would like and helps you achieve your manufacturing goals. Ask a manufacturer to help you pick the right one.

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