We tested several high output models of both the Attwood and Rule Bilge Pumps.
A Rule bilge pump can be found in many new boat bilges. For our test of bilge pumps rated over 1400 GPH we pitted three Rule pumps against a pair of high-capacity Attwood pumps.
Our five pump field consisted of the Rule 1500, model 2, the Rule 2000, model 10, and gonzo Rule 3700, model 14A. Two Attwood HD series pumps rated at 1700 and 2000 provided the competition.
All five of these pumps have beefy vertically orientated motors and large bases designed exclusively for horizontal mounting. The base on each pump holds the motor housing and serves as an inlet screen to prevent any floating bilge water debris from entering and jamming the pump motor.
All the bilge pumps rated at 2000 GPH capacity or less are equipped with high-grade 16 AWG power wires and are fitted with 1 1/8-inch outlet pipes. On the Rule 3700 the power wire are upsized to 14 AWG to handle the extra power usage of this pump. Power wire length on all the pumps runs between 32 and 35 inches. The Rule pumps can be purchased with 6-foot wires for a few bucks more.
Bilge Pump Performance
As evidenced by our performance test results obtained with these high-capacity bilge pumps they all seem to have a more difficult time dealing with our low voltage test and the high lift designed into out test protocols when compared to most of the smaller pumps we’ve tested.
When we compare the Attwood HD1700 straight up against the Rule 1500 they pumped nearly identical amounts of water. Of course, since the Attwood carries a higher rating its percentage performance was lower. Its power usage was slightly higher too, at 5.3 amps to the Rule 1500s 5.0 amps. Both pumped just over 1000 GPH.
In the head to head 2000 GPH comparison the Attwood pumped an average of 68% of its rated capacity while using 8 amps. The Rule did slightly better by averaging about 71% of its rated capacity; it used more power though averaging about 9 amps.
The giant Rule bilge pump, rated at 3700 GPH, uses a 1 1/2-inch outlet and needs to be rigged with a 25-amp fuse or circuit breaker. This pump used nearly 15 amps of power to produce a maximum flow rate of 2400 GPH, far short of its open flow rating. All the pumps passed our dry run test without any glitches.
These are the big boys, in size, price, power consumption, and water flow. The least expensive pump in the group is the Rule 1500 with a street price of around $70, next up is the Attwood HD1700 at $95. The Attwood HD2000 and Rule 2000 are both priced around the $100 mark. The Rule 3700 is substantially more money with a street price of $175.
In our Contender test boat we opted to install a Rule bilge pump, to be specific the 2000 GPH capacity model 10, as our backup secondary pump. It offers good performance at a reasonable price.