Do You Need A Discharge Pump For Your Pedicure Chair?

Do you need a discharge pump for your pedicure chair?

This is the most important question to answer before purchasing your pedicure chair.

Do you need a discharge pump, or a drain pump, for your pedicure spa?

The answer is actually very simple, though many people will make it much more complicated than it needs to be.

So let’s keep it simple - just answer this next question.

Will you have a floor drain at your pedi spa?

  • If yes - you’re all set, you don’t need a drain pump.
  • If no - you’ll need a drain pump.

That’s really it.  I’ll provide more details and answer some frequently asked questions below.

But if a simple yes or no is all you need, feel free to stop reading here.

What Is A Discharge Pump?

You’ve probably noticed I use the terms discharge pump and drain pump interchangeably.  You’ve probably also figured out that they’re the exact same thing.

You’re smart!

Simply put, a discharge pump - pumps used water from a footspa to a drain.  The drain can be in a wall behind the chair, or it can be across the room.

Pedicure Chair Discharge Pump

Why Do I Need A Drain Pump If I Don’t Have A Floor Drain?

Usually, with new construction, your plumber will put drains in the floor, at the locations of each pedicure chair.  

Then gravity does all the work.  Dirty water from the footspa will flow straight down into the drain.

If your plumber can’t tear up the floor to add drains (usually in a renovation), he’ll probably put them in the wall behind each chair instead.  In that case, you’ll need a pump to push the dirty water all the way to the wall, instead of going straight down into the drain.

If your plumber installs the wall drain low enough to the floor, it’s possible that you won’t need a pump.  You’ll need to measure exactly how high the drain is off the floor and check with the manufacturer to find out if you’ll need a pump.  (We can help you find out, just ask us.)

But you’ll be safer to get the pump anyway.  Let me explain.

What will happen if I don’t get the pump?

If your spa won’t drain straight down and you don’t have a discharge pump, the bowl might not drain at all.

Or it might drain, but very slowly.  This is actually fairly common.  Often people think it’s a problem with the pedicure chair, but they simply need a drain pump.

Can I install the pump later?

Yes, but you won’t want to - it’s an incredible hassle, and expensive.

Pedicure chairs are made to order.  They’re assembled in the factory and shipped to you.  During assembly, the manufacturer will install the pump.

Here’s what you have to do to add one later:

  • buy a pump kit (more expensive than factory installed)
  • install the pump underneath the chair
  • connect lines
  • plumbing
  • drill a hole in the base of the spa and install a new button
  • don’t make a mistake
  • possibly void the warranty

Something could go wrong at any of those steps - and we’ve seen it happen.  

One customer created a leak that was very difficult to fix, and the manufacturer wouldn’t warranty his work. 

For those reasons it’s very important to order the pump when you purchase your pedicure chair.

Can I reuse the pump from my current pedicure chair?

Possibly, but it might not be compatible.  I wouldn’t recommend it for the same reasons I wouldn’t recommend installing the pump later.

What if I get the pump to be safe, but discover later that I don't need it?

Sometimes you don’t know how your pedicure spas will be plumbed, but you need to order them anyway.  That’s no problem.

Even if you don’t need the pump, your spa will work fine with it.  As a bonus, the bowl might even drain faster than it would without it.

You’ll be safer to get the pump and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

But My Current Pedicure Chair Doesn’t Have A Pump!

Older pedicure chairs were designed with different plumbing systems.  New chairs have different requirements and need to be plumbed correctly or they won’t drain properly.

Will My Clients See The Pump?

No. Discharge pumps are installed in the base of the chair, so nobody will see it.


Our customers have a clear favorite.

You might be surprised by what I'm about to tell you.  Last year one of our chairs sold more than all others combined.

Click below to find out what chair they picked, and the 5 reasons they chose it.

Best Pedicure Chair For Your Salon - J&A Cleo GX Pedicure Chair

Do You Still Have Questions?

No problem!  We’re happy to help.  Just give us a call at 1-888-454-ARIA (2742).