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Gravity Drain vs. Drain Pump: Which Should You Use?

Condensate Removal Pump

Often times, customers will purchase an undercounter ice maker without considering how the unit will drain. Most built in ice machines need to have a drain, and there are two basic ways to accomplish this. You can either utilize a gravity drain, or use a pump to help drain the machine.

Gravity Drain

A gravity drain uses the earth’s gravity to help drain condensate from the ice machine. Basically, if your drain is within 2 feet of the ice machine and the actual drain is physically lower than the drain port from the ice machine, a gravity drain will work well for you. Keep in mind though, you will run into problems if the drain is further than 2 feet away, or if at any time, the excess water has to travel “uphill.” If either of these is the case, then you will need to use a pump.

Condensate Removal Pump

A condensate removal pump helps to move excess water from the ice machine to a drain. If your drain is further than 2 feet away, then you will need a pump. In addition, if the water has to flow uphill at any point, you will also need to have a pump. There are two basic types of pumps. One is external, which you simply run the drain line from the ice maker to the pump, and then another line from the pump to the drain. Also, there are a few ice machines that have pumps built into them.


We know that there’s nothing worse than getting a new appliance, installing it, and then realizing you need something extra to make it operate correctly. So, whether you will be using a gravity drain or a pump, it is important to know what you need before purchasing and installing your ice machine.

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