Best Siphon for Pumping Water, Gas, and Other Liquids

Water and fuel aren’t any good to you if you can’t get to it. With larger containers, like 55-gallon drums or fuel tanks- that can be a difficult task. A siphon pump can make it easy. Whether you have to pump, prime, or even shake it- the best siphon pump is the one you have on hand that reliably gets the job done.

There are many types of siphons and pumps to pick from. This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best siphons, put them to the test, and now the results are in: the overall best, a self-priming option, and a drum option. If you want to quickly transfer some liquids, one of our picks will help you stay fluid.

Contents (Jump to a Section)

Pennzoil Multi-Purpose Siphon Pump

The Best Siphon

Pennzoil Multi-Use Pump

Versatile, Proven, and Effective

If you are moving liquid or air around, this multi-use pump can help in an endless variety of scenarios.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Move water out of a drum, fill a car’s fuel tank, inflate a bike tire, and fill your kid’s favorite kickball- all in the same day with one tool. This Pennzoil beauty can tackle pretty much anything. It’s not the best at each individual task, but it can handle so many different tasks for its low cost.

Here is how the pump measures up:

  • Includes multi-use pump, intake hose, output hose, air hose, and three air nozzles
  • 0.5″ hose quick connects
  • 9″ x 3″ pump
  • 1.25 pounds

With plenty of versatility and reliable quality- it’s easy to see why the Pennzoil Multi-Use Pump is the best.

Shaker Siphon

Best Auto Siphon

Shaker Siphon

Simple, Versatile, and Compact

A tried and true ‘jiggler’ can get any job done with just a little know-how despite its simple setup.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

The best solution for mobile kits and one of the least-hassle solutions once you figure out the ‘jiggle’ method, this shaker siphon makes moving liquids easy.

Here is how it measures up:

  • 0.5″ diameter hose
  • 6 feet long
  • 3.5 gal/min high flow rate
  • Anti-static copper primer
  • 13.8″ H x 11″ W x 14.3″ L
  • 9.6 ounces

If you are looking for an inexpensive and simple siphon hose, a Shaker Siphon is what you need.

Tera Pump TRDRUM40

Best Drum Siphon

Tera Pump TRDRUM40

Powerful, Proven, and Effective

Get the drum flowing with this bunghole attaching pump that will let you easily access your water reserves.

*Each price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Tera Pump gets the drum pump right with this inexpensive but reliable option. It has a high flow rate and an easy-to-use pump handle to prime the siphon tap. Directing the flow is easy, and controlling it is just a button away with the pump handle venting. Don’t rely on electricity for your emergency situations, get the best manual drum pump on the market.

Here are the full specs:

  • Adjustable tap length up to 34″ for 55-gallon drums and smaller
  • 47″ corrugated flexible discharge hose
  • 2″ bung adapter
  • 5.5 gal/min high flow rate
  • 17″ H x 6″ W x 3″ L collapsed
  • 1 pound

If you are looking for a reliable high-flow drum pump, get a Tera Pump TRDRUM40 for your water storage barrels.

Everything We Recommend

Pennzoil Multi-Purpose Siphon Pump

Pennzoil Multi-Use Pump

If you are moving liquid or air around, this multi-use pump can help in an endless variety of scenarios.

Where to Buy

$17* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Shaker Siphon

Shaker Siphon

A tried and true ‘jiggler’ can get any job done with just a little know-how despite its simple setup.

Where to Buy

$11* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Tera Pump TRDRUM40

Tera Pump TRDRUM40

Get the drum flowing with this bunghole attaching pump that will let you easily access your water reserves.

Where to Buy

$40* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

The Siphons We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to several brands and types of siphons and pumps that we compared: Hopkins, Tera Pump, Pennzoil, ULine, FloTool, Hyper Tough, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We considered a wide range of siphons but ended up comparing the more compact manual ones. There are situations where powered siphons make sense, especially if you can power them in an emergency. But for the sake of simplicity and cost, we focused on the siphons that required manual priming- whether through a pump, bulb, or other siphon method.

We’re always looking for new and better gear, so if you have a siphon that you swear by, let us know in the comments. We review most of our tested gear annually so we can try to get it in the next roundup round and see if it will beat out our top picks.

What to Look For

The best siphons have several important features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Siphon Method
  3. Flow Rate
  4. Size & Weight
  5. Quality

When you get the right blend of these, you can find a siphon or a pump that you can rely on to transfer any liquid. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the siphons that truly set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like a siphon hose or pump shouldn’t blow out your entire budget. When it comes down to it, any hose would work- the added cost comes in the form of priming, pumping, and safety.

You never want to spend too much money on one thing when it comes to tools. It’s better to diversify your spending and budget to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios.

Siphon Method

There are a lot of ways to move liquids between containers, whether it is siphoned or pumped. A few of the more common siphon methods include:

  • Compression Pump – An in-line handled pump (like a bike pump) that forces the liquid to move through the chamber, starting and continuing the flow.
  • Bulp Pump – An in-line bulb, that when compressed, creates a vacuum to pull the liquid through the hose.
  • Shake Siphon – A fitting is on the end of the hose that you put into the liquid you want to move. When you move the fitting up and down, the shape of it creates a vacuum in the hose which draws the liquid through. Also called a jiggle siphon.
  • Gravity – position the source container above the receiving container and use a dropping motion and gravity to prime the siphon.
  • Your Mouth – Plenty of people have siphoned gas and water using their mouths for suction. Not the best idea, but a way to move liquid if you need to.

Safety Tip: Using your mouth to siphon gas and other fuels can easily cause gas poisoning, as well as have serious long-term effects.

Flow Rate

Flow rates in manual siphons are just a factor of tube diameter- gravity is your pump and it has a constant acceleration. If you are powering an actual pump you may get some higher flow rates through a 1/2″ tube.

Size & Weight

Size, weight, and practicality ruled out the powered siphon pumps for us, but size and weight are also a big consideration for manual siphons.

You don’t want a bulky pump bogging you down or taking up a lot of space in mobile kits, so our auto siphon pick fits the bill here best.


Leaks, dry rot, and degrading plastic are all things you don’t want to contend with when you are siphoning something like gas. Skip all of this by getting quality equipment that is meant to be used for a variety of fuels, water, and other liquids.

You don’t want to get the cheapest shaker siphon that has been known to have the fitting fall off- get the one with proven quality and reviews to back it up.

How to Use a Siphon

With the right tools for the job (and the right length of hose), siphoning is pretty easy. Here are the basic steps, regardless of equipment:

  1. Position containers – place the containers so that the one you are feeding from is higher than the receiving container. For example, if you are moving gas from a gas can into a car you can put the full gas can in a stable spot on the roof to gravity siphon. Other siphon methods will create a vacuum for you if you aren’t using gravity to prime the siphon.
  2. Clear the tube – make sure the siphon tube(s) are clear of debris. Blow it out and unwind it making sure it’s not kinked if it was coiled up.
  3. Prime the siphon – Put the end of the siphon tube in the container and prime it with a gravity drop, pump, or shake.
  4. Watch the flow – Control the flow rate by raising or lowering the receiving container or collapsing the siphon hose.
  5. Stop the siphon – Break the flow of liquid by kinking the hose or pulling the siphon end out. If you are gravity siphoning, you can also raise the receiving container above the source to stop the siphon.

Here is a good visual of auto siphoning and a bit of physics on how it works.

Who Needs a Siphon?

A siphon isn’t really a necessity unless you have emergency water storage containers or just drive a fuel-powered car. The ability to transfer liquids at any given time is worth the low cost of investing in a siphon.

We consider a quality siphon essential for these survival kits:

We suggest you consider a siphon for these kits, based on your specific situation:

Siphons are always useful, and our suggestions can come in handy for a variety of tasks around the house.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best siphons are useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical survival experience:

Jean, J. (1996). Pumping testing using a siphon well. Water Resources Management. Volume 10. Pages 81-105. (Source)

Potter, A., et al. (1971). The Siphon. Physics Education. Volume 6. Issue 5. Page 362. (Source)

Yenphayab, C. (2019). Study the engineering aspect of an advance siphon pump for a small farm irrigation. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science. Volume 301. (Source)

The Final Word

Water and fuel aren’t any good to you if you can’t get to it. With larger containers, like 55-gallon drums or fuel tanks- that can be a difficult task. Use a siphon to manage your fuel and water containers and get to your resources when you need them.

Here are a few other guides and reviews our subscribers have found helpful:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing found the Pennzoil Multi-Use Pump to be the best option given its value, siphon type, flow rate, size/weight, and quality.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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The Best Siphon

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer, Air Force veteran, emergency manager, husband, dad, and experienced prepper. I developed emergency and disaster plans around the globe and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

One thought on “Best Siphon for Pumping Water, Gas, and Other Liquids

  • I have the “Shaker Siphon” it does NOT fit into the “Unleaded/Ethanol” smaller car/truck gas tank openings. I confronted the manufacture a while back & they said, “They do Not want to encourage stealing unleaded gas out of vehicles”. My comment is, what about me wanting to transfer (from reserve gas cans) my own bought unleaded gas into My Vehicle!


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