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The Difference Between Horizontal and Vertical Centrifugal Pumps

Apr. 28, 2021

Centrifugal Pumps can be found in many industrial applications. They offer excellent operating efficiency and versatility when it comes to pressure and liquid flow. Inline centrifugal pumps will come in different configurations: horizontal and vertical.

Centrifugal Pumps

Centrifugal Pumps

What is the difference between these two types of inline centrifugal pumps? And, which one is right for your process application? These are the questions Centrifugal Pump Suppliers have to answer.

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 vertically oriented. Shafts are designed to be radially split and overhung.

Deciding which pump to use in your operation may come down to several factors. These include the overall ease of operating and maintaining the pump, installation space and functionality. With that in mind, let's now take a look at some of the pros and cons of each pump design.

Horizontal centrifugal pumps - advantages and disadvantages

On the plus side, horizontal centrifugal pumps are easier to install and maintain, and their internal parts are easily accessible. You can choose the proper shaft design to provide the desired pump pressure. Low suction applications are best served by a suspended shaft, while for high suction applications you will need an internally supported shaft. 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.

The downside is that if floor space in your plant is an issue, horizontal centrifugal pumps will take up more space. In general, horizontal pumps operate at lower temperatures and pressures compared to vertical pumps. You also don't want to use a horizontal centrifugal pump for applications that require more NPSH than that pump can provide. In this sense, it has a limited capacity.

Horizontal applications

High temperature

Spray systems

Water circulation

Liquid conveying

General Purpose

Vertical Centrifugal Pumps - Advantages and Disadvantage

When you have a limited surface area and need a pump with a smaller footprint, vertical centrifugal pumps will certainly take up less floor space. They are great for high temperature and high pressure fluids, and the NPSH can be changed to handle a wider range of applications.

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

Vertical Applications


Catch basins

Booster stations

Boosting stations

Selecting and configuring the right horizontal or vertical pump for your application is critical, plus the company also offers Magnetic Drive Pump and self-priming pumps, so let us help you find the best pump for your needs. Contact us or visit our website to learn more about centrifugal pumps and accessories.