Fuel Transfer Pumps are used to move fuel, whether diesel, petrol or another type of fuel, from one place to another. This may be from one storage container into another or, more frequently, from a storage container into a vehicle via a dispensing nozzle.

Many fuel transfer pumps are either mains or battery powered, particularly for larger or heavily used refuelling stations, but hand pumps are also available and can be a good solution for certain types of use.

Why use a hand fuel transfer pump?

Manual, or hand fuel transfer pumps have two great advantages over powered pumps. Firstly, they are much cheaper to purchase and run, meaning that they can be highly cost-effective when dispensing or transferring small amounts of fuel. Secondly, of course, they don’t require any power, which means they can be used anywhere without worrying about a power source or whether batteries are charged.

As a result, hand fuel transfer pumps are ideal for moving small amounts of fuel from one container to another or, for example, dispensing fuel from a drum when there is not a huge quantity to be moved.

Types of manual fuel transfer pumps

Manual pumps come in a variety of different mechanisms, with different advantages and disadvantages.

Amongst the most common are rotary and semi-rotary hand pumps; these work in a very similar way, by turning a handle to move the fuel. Both tend to be very rugged and hard-wearing, particularly the semi-rotary design, which has a simple straight handle, while the rotary handle is mounted at 90 degrees to a crank-shaft, making it slightly easier to turn rapidly.   

Another option for manually moving fuel are diaphragm pumps, which could be hand or foot operated. These operate by using a handle or a foot-pump to squeeze and release a diaphragm to move liquids. They benefit from being very light and easy to transport and set up, and they are also very cost-effective. They also tend to be reliable and hard-wearing, although the diaphragm can occasionally require replacement.

Level barrel pumps, whether made of metal or plastic, are another simple and extremely cost-effective solution for mounting to the top of barrels, and work by simply raising and lowering a handle. They are suitable for a range of low-viscosity fluids including petrol, and require very little maintenance.

One other extremely simple option is a syphon pump, which will transfer fuel from any higher container to a lower one using only gravity; all the user needs to do is prime it by pumping a bit of fuel through first by hand. Pumps like this cost negligible amounts, although they can be less convenient to use and are not as robust as other types of hand pumps.


What type of manual fuel pump do you need?

The kind of pump that is best for you depends on a number of factors such as the type of liquid you will be transferring, and the containers you will be transferring from and to.

Type of fluid

Different hand pumps will be suitable for different types of fluids, for example diesel, petrol, oil or water. This can be down to materials, for example some plastics may be degraded by petrol but can be safely used by water, or it may be down to the viscosity of the fluid. Even within a particular category, different models may be more suitable for a certain liquid so it is always important to check before you purchase. Others may be suitable for a wide range of fuels, so can be more flexible options.

Type of container

Certain pumps are best for particular types of containers. Many hand fuel transfer pumps are designed to be mounted on drums, as there are the types of small containers often used with manual pumps. However, you may have a need to user a manual pump with a different type of container in which case you may need to use a particular type of pump. Rotary and semi-rotary pumps, for example, can be placed on almost any kind of container.

Flow rate

Depending on what container you are trying to fill, you may need a particular flow rate. Although hand pumps are generally used to transfer relatively small amounts of fluid, even within that category you may want a pump with a higher flow rate if you have a large container to fill, so it is worth considering that and checking the flow rate of various pumps before you purchase, as otherwise pumping the liquid can become a difficult and time-consuming task given that it has to be done by hand.

ATEX certification

Another vital thing to check before buying is whether you will require your equipment to be ATEX certified and, if so, whether the pump you plan to buy has the relevant marking. ATEX certification, shown with the EC and Ex marks, demonstrates that the pump has met standards set out in a European directive for being safely used in an explosive atmosphere, such as that created by vapour from petrol or diesel.


Hytek manual fuel pumps

Hytek sells a range of manual fuel pumps of different types, suitable for various different fuels and associated fluids including petrol, diesel and AdBlue®. A number of Hytek’s pumps have ATEX certification for use in explosive atmospheres. It also sells complete kits with hoses, nozzles, and the parts to mount to containers such as an IBC, as well as spare and replacement parts.

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