Bison water pump installed in tandem with an electric submersible pump on a 4 inch well

For more information on the Simple Pump, see the July 7, 2013 post.

When we decided to add manual pumping capability to our electric pump well, it came down to two alternatives – the Simple Pump or the Bison Pump. Both are designed for different uses, so one is not necessarily “better” than the other. They are, however, very different. We chose the Bison pump. Before we discuss the Bison pump, let’s look at the Simple pump.

The well and pump company that we use – Trentham Well Drilling in Orange City, Florida – has installed a number of Simple pumps over the years and has had very good results with them. The Simple pump is significantly cheaper than the Bison pump. The Simple pump is also designed to be fairly easy to install by a reasonably skilled homeowner with a helper rather than needing to be installed using professional equipment. The Simple pump might be a good choice if you want to have a complete system stored away in case it is needed in the future. The video instructions on the Simple Pump web site show how to install it. The drop pipe is lightweight plastic and the sucker rod is thin fiberglass that can easily flex to make assembly easy. That is great if you have to install it yourself without the tools of a professional pump company. The same light weight and component flexibility that make it easy to install also mean that it clearly lacks the solid design and construction of the Bison Pump. (See updated information in the Comments following this post.)

Where the Simple Pump is light weight and easy to work with, the Bison Pump is solid and very heavy duty. Everything about it is top quality and it is obvious that they spared no expense in making this the best hand pump available. The workmanship is flawless – welds are smooth and solid; machined parts are finished to a nice polish; moving parts work very smoothly. The material for the main pump body and the pump cylinder is solid stainless steel; the valve at the spout is brass (or bronze); the sucker rod is solid stainless steel; the drop pipe is Schedule 120 PVC. There is nothing that can rust, corrode, or deteriorate. For a hand pump installation that should last a lifetime, the Bison Pump is the hands-down winner. This is the kind of solid made-in-America craftsmanship that this country used to be famous for.

The Bison pump is not cheap (pricing information here). It is a piece of equipment that is built to last a lifetime, made from the best materials available, and designed and built by folks who truly know what they’re doing. There are some things in life where it makes sense to cut corners to save money. Bison does not cut any corners making their pumps, and when it comes to providing your family with a dependable source of clean drinking water, you shouldn’t cut corners either.

In the next post, we’ll cover the installation process for the Bison pump.

The spout is not just a pipe where the water comes out. It is a solid brass (or maybe bronze) valve with a washered screw-on cap to keep bugs out. Bison didn't miss anything in designing this system.

If water is needed farther away, a standard garden hose fitting screws directly to the spout of the Bison Pump.

Notice the hinge assembly on the Bison. Solid, machined stainless steel throughout.

The cap through which the rod extends holds the full pressure of the electric pump. It can be tightened to stop water from weeping through it, but I tend to keep it a bit loose.

A bucket hangs nicely from the integrated bucket hook on the spout.

Shown here is the well cap portion of the Bison pump. It is solidly secured to the well casing with four heavy screws. The water outlet to the right feeds into the normal house water system, while the electric cable for the submersible pump feeds straight down to the left of the pump.

A glass of cool fresh water from the Bison pump.

The bison is very smooth and easy to pump and produces a fairly constant flow of water.

This review was based on Bison Deep Well Hand Pump serial number 02214, date 03/26/2012. Installation was done by Trentham Well Drilling, Inc., in Orange City, Florida (phone 386-775-3571).

I understand that there is some federal law that requires a disclaimer for reviews like this, so here it is: I have no financial interest in Bison Pumps, in Trentham Well Drilling, or any pump company, for that matter, nor have I been compensated in any way for anything written here. This entire system was paid for out of my own pocket – every penny of it.