Choosing the right type of pump for your fluid and air flow needs is an important decision. It requires knowing the difference between centrifugal and positive displacement pumps and how they impact your application.

Centrifugal pumps are the most popular type of pump in the world. They are effective, robust, and relatively easy to use. Positive displacement pumps are commonly utilized in high pressure hydraulic systems.

Basic Comparison

There are several key differences in the way these two types of pumps function and operate.

The mechanical component of centrifugal pumps imparts velocity to the liquid, resulting in a pressure at the outlet. The pressure changes as flow varies, which drives performance. Efficiency decreases as viscosity increases due to frictional losses inside the pump.

On the other hand, positive displacement pumps capture a confined amount of liquid and transfer it from the suction to the discharge port. Flow remains constant under changing pressure.


Their individual qualities make each type of pump ideal for separate uses.

Centrifugal pump applications include air conditioning, boiler feed, irrigation, light fuel transfer, petrochemical, sea water transfer, water circulation, and general water supply.

Positive displacement pump applications include fuel, dewatering, lubrication oils, waste oils, hydraulics, and mediums containing high levels of solids.

The Pump Experts

Glauber Equipment Corporation will provide answers to any of your fluid and air flow questions. Our staff of highly trained engineers and mechanics offers efficient on-site and depot evaluation and repair services.

Contact our experts today to find your next fluid and air flow solution.

To read more about an optimal pump configuration for your next fluid or air flow solution…

Download our newest eBook, Positive Displacement vs. Centrifugal Pumps: The Key Differences





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