Chemical Pump Encyclopedia

What is the difference between a horizontal centrifugal pump and a vertical centrifugal pump?

a horizontal centrifugal pump and a vertical centrifugal pump

Centrifugal pumps can be found in many industrial applications for pumping fluids such as water, chemicals and petroleum products. They offer excellent operating efficiency and versatility in terms of pressure and fluid flow.

There are two main types of centrifugal pumps: horizontal and horizontal. Although these two types work based on the same principles, they are designed and applied differently.

What is the difference between these two types of centrifugal pumps? And, which one is suitable for your process application? These are the questions that must be answered by centrifugal pump suppliers.

Basic design differences

The first and most obvious difference is the orientation of the shaft. The shaft of a horizontal centrifugal pump is placed horizontally, usually between bearings or suspended. Meanwhile, the shaft of a vertical centrifugal pump is oriented vertically. The shafts are designed to be radially dissected and overhanging.

Advantages and disadvantages of horizontal centrifugal pumps

Horizontal centrifugal pumps are the most commonly used type of centrifugal pump. As the name implies, they are designed to be mounted horizontally, with the impeller shaft parallel to the floor. These pumps are typically used for high flow, low head applications.

Horizontal centrifugal pumps can be easily and safely connected to external accessories such as turbines, electric motors or fuel-powered engines. Finally, the low headroom of horizontal pumps makes them ideal for indoor applications where vertical space is often tight.

Because they are mounted horizontally, the motor and bearings are easily accessible, which makes maintenance and repairs easier. In addition, horizontal pumps tend to have lower operating costs than vertical pumps.

The disadvantage is that if plant floor space is an issue, horizontal centrifugal pumps swill take up more space.

Advantages and disadvantages of vertical centrifugal pumps

Vertical centrifugal pumps are designed for vertical installation with the impeller shaft perpendicular to the ground. These pumps are typically used for low flow, high head applications.

One of the main advantages of vertical centrifugal pumps is their ability to pump fluids from deep. Because the impeller is mounted at the bottom of the pump, fluid can easily be pumped from a storage tank. In addition, vertical pumps tend to take up less space than horizontal pumps, making them a good choice for applications with limited floor space.

With vertical pumps, you need a lot of headroom, which makes them more difficult to install and maintain. Most also require a storage tank. Vertical centrifugal pumps are also only compatible with electric motors. Some operational challenges arise at high suction pressures, as the cantilevered shaft design makes it difficult to balance axial thrust. Similarly, liquids containing high concentrations of dissolved gases are difficult to handle and can lead to mechanical seal failure.


In summary, the main difference between horizontal and vertical centrifugal pumps is their orientation and application. Horizontal pumps are best suited for high flow and low head applications, while vertical pumps are best suited for low flow and high head applications. Both types of pumps have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of pump will depend on the specific application and requirements.