If you have a water pump / well pump in the United States, you have a Square D pumptrol switch that looks like this:


I own several of these and I understand very well how to set and operate them.

However, they are almost comically primitive and there are times when a normal person (like my in-laws, or my wife) need to restart a water pump and it's very frustrating to have this weirdo finger-bar mechanism that you can't describe in one sentence or less ...

Can I just start and stop my pump with buttons ?

I have searched all evening and I don't see any alternatives to the sad, lame old pumptrol - unless I want to buy oddball units off of alibaba that have metric threads, or other weirdness.

Seriously - if I work in a water treatment plant am I really restarting my pumps by "pulling the little lever just a little bit but not too much oops you pushed it too far ..." ? This is how pumps are controlled in industry ? Little finger bars ?

My wife needed to restart our pump for the water in our home once while I was away on a trip and it was very frustrating to try to talk her through this ridiculous little device on the phone.

What are my alternatives ? I need something UL Listed, standard inch threads, made for the United States and ... has actual buttons that you press.

Does this exist ?

  • To clarify - I am not looking for a VFD ... I don't need variable drive ... I just need a pumptrol that has a non-silly control mechanism. I just found this item: geoquipwatersolutions.com/t-kit-switchmatic-1-and-2.html which seems to fit the bill but, again, it is a foreign device, not UL Listed ... why is there nothing in the United States market other than the pumptrol ?
    – user227963
    Dec 14, 2019 at 6:57
  • "If you have a water pump / well pump in the United States, you have a Square D pumptrol switch that looks like this" -- I'm in the US, I have a well, with a pump, and I don't have a switch like that. You really need to clarify what the issue is here and what you're willing to do to change/fix it. There are lots of options for well pumps and their controllers. Dec 14, 2019 at 13:22
  • Well, don't buy anything off Alibaba. In fact it's illegal to connect anything off Alibaba to mains power. The places to look for things like that are Grainger, McMaster-Carr, and Galco. Dec 14, 2019 at 17:27
  • @PeterDuniho I am looking for a non-VFD pump switch that behaves exactly like a square-D pumptrol switch but has normal control interfaces (like buttons or switches) as opposed to a weird finger-bar-thingy that nobody has ever used before and is impossible to explain to people in emergencies. I would also like it to be designed for US power and UL listed. Doesn't seem like much to ask but if you search for such a thing there are basically pumptrols and some competing devices that are identical to pumptrols.
    – user227963
    Dec 14, 2019 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


If you look around online, you'll find a huge array of products for pump control but I think you're right, there's really just the Flowtrol / Square D or very similar products available at low cost for home use.

(By the way, good for you insisting on a UL listed product from a trustworthy, reputable source.)

If I understand your question, your problem is you occasionally have to use the tiny little override switch to get the pump to start after pressure drops below the low threshold, probably after a power outage.

You could wire a manual override switch to bypass the pressure switch, but I'd hesitate to do this. This would ideally be a double pole, single throw switch, horsepower rated for the pump's voltage and load, in a standard switch form factor so you could mount it in a regular electrical box. That's definitely not an easy to find hardware store / big box item, but the major manufacturers make this kind of switch in their industrial product lines. I'd want a momentary switch so that you can't accidentally leave it on, which could overpressurize the system, run the pump dry and burn it up, etc.

The reason I'd hesitate is because I don't know if this would override some other protection that is built into that simple looking Flowtrol switch. For example, it might limit the override action so that it stops the pump when you reach the upper pressure limit, preventing the pump from over-pressurizing the system.

If you shop the industrial pump / control products, I am sure you can get what you want, or at worst build it, but for a suitable product UL listed and approved for potable water, the cost would probably be prohibitive. That's how pumps are controlled in industry, but it's EXPENSIVE.

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