The Bison Deep Well Hand Pump

Hand pump water with the Bison Deep Well Hand Pump, a great option for drawing water without electricity.

  • Hand pumps are great for those off-the-grid.
    Photo by Steve Maxwell

I have an old bored well on my property, but the windmill and pump are long gone. How can I pull water from the well without grid power?

If you want to hand pump water, Bison deep well hand pumps, made in a rural Maine shop, are electricity-free options for drawing water that’s more than 25 feet and less than 300 feet below the Earth’s surface. I just installed one at my place, and I’m impressed with the pump itself, the completeness of the kit, and the overall workmanship — the welds are beautiful! I’ve never seen nicer welds or a more impressive choice of fittings and hardware than those on the pump body and on the handle unit that sits on top of the well. The pipes and cylinder that let the pump draw water from such depths are carefully engineered and packaged. Even the fittings come with Teflon tape already applied to the threads for leak-proof connections.

Every deep well hand pump has three main parts: the hand-operated mechanism at the top of the well, the pumping cylinder that pushes water up from below, and a run of rigid pipe and rod that connects the two. While it could’ve been tricky to assemble the rigid pipe and pump cylinder while lowering them both into the well, the special tools that came with the Bison pump made it easy. The $1,800 price tag for a typical Bison deep well hand pump is high, but it does deliver the peace of mind that only reliable, electricity-free access to drinking water can provide.

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