How many water pumps can fill a single pipe conduct without losing efficiency?

Let's say I put 20 water pumps into one single pipe channel, will they always pump at full efficiency? What is the optimal ratio?

  • 1
    I cant quite understand what your asking. So you want to know how many offshore pumps are needed to keep a pipe at 10 units of water?
    – Timmy Jim
    Mar 5, 2017 at 2:40
  • Exactly what I'm looking for.
    – Galabyca
    Mar 5, 2017 at 2:50

3 Answers 3


Um... that answer doesn't exactly apply to this specific question? :)

The Offshore Pump produces... 60 units of water per second." Source: Offshore Pump

As we know, pipes can handle up to 150 units of water per second. Therefore it will take more than just 1 pump to achieve full capacity.

150/60 = 2.5, or 3 minimum pumps to achieve 150 "pressure".

In fact using the "pumping stations" from the other answer literally won't even work if your input isn't as high as your desired output. If you're putting in a single pipe from a single pump into any of those stations, the maximum output will still be 60. Those stations can't "increase" more water than they get in the first place through the single input pipe.

That being said, because the first 30 "pressure" drops off so quickly, it's probably best to just stick to 120 pressure. This will start you off with only 2 offshore pumps and pumping stations far less, if you're needing to transport water so far.

If power is your concern, consider the following:

My reasoning is based off this Wiki page that states that one pump can fuel 10 Steam engines and 14 boilers

1 pump on 1 pipe handles 10 engines, because it pumps 60 units per minute, and the engines consume 6 units a minute. 10 engines consume... 60 units per minute.

You can also use 2 pumps, 28 boilers, and 20 engines, etc. Basically if input/output = 1 then you're good.

(1 pump * 60 pressure = 60) / (10 engines * 6 consumption = 60) = 1
(2 pumps * 60 pressure = 120) / (20 engines * 6 consumption = 120) = 1

If you're going for the 150 it gets a little wonky and not a perfect 1, but oh well.

If you're pumping other liquids you'll likely need storage tanks as your output (since you can't "offshore pump" those liquids), as these "single" sources can actually have up to 3 small pumps draining them, and since smalls only add or "push" 30 "pressure" you'll need 5 in a small distance to achieve 150 pressure, or just 4 if you're fine with the 120 pressure.

Oh, and as a final note to the small pumps, be warned, they have a maximum pumping capacity of 30 pressure. MAX. That means if you put just a single pump anywhere in the length of your pipe you have created a maximum throughput of 30 for the entire length of pipe after that single pump. If you feed that pump 150 pressure it still only puts out 30 pressure. (As depicted in the first "pumping station" in the other answer's image.)

  • I think though that technically, one pump can finish the job, it will just be slower when the pipeline is larger (and there is nothing consuming the water).
    – Timmy Jim
    Mar 9, 2017 at 2:11
  • One pump can finish the job if you're only consuming one pump's worth of output. In one of my mega bases I use multiple pumps to feed less boiler lines, due to the geometry of the landscape requiring longer and thinner power setups rather than shorter, wider setups. One pump literally would not feed all of the steam engines in such a setup. In fact any setup that wants to output more than 60 fluid per second requires more than 60 fluid per second input... one pump is fine if you purposefully design a system that only needs one pump, of course. Mar 10, 2017 at 18:17
  • Oh, but if the pipe is larger, then no, one pump won't do the job. After a short distance the 60 fluid input will be reduced to 30 and you will never be able to increase the throughput of that pipe past 30 again, unless you introduce new inputs. Theoretically if you needed to transport water far, but still only wanted a 10 steam engine setup, you could use 2 pumps. The 120 would drop to 90 after 14 pipes, then to the desired 60 after another 224 pipes. You'd then still have 357 pipes of distance to maintain your desired 60 without pumps. Mar 10, 2017 at 18:24
  • All that being said, it all depends on one's map. In one of my maps I had water turned right the way down, so long distance pumping with high pressure was sort of needed just to fit everything in. The one small pool near my starting position just couldn't fit enough pumps for everything so I had to get water from far away. In my other base though, with lots of water? Long distance pumping can be omitted for water, though it might still have use for other liquids depending. For example in one base I don't use trains at all, so at oil fields I collect in tanks then pressurize the very long line. Mar 10, 2017 at 18:26
  • Based off the comments on the question, my understanding is that the OP asked how many pumps can keep pipes at 10 units of water (which they confirmed). There is no indication of whether or not they have things feeding of the pipes, which isn't relevant to the question at hand. 1 pump should be able to fill a pipeline of variable length to 10 units of water at all segments. It will just take longer to pump the water down the line as the pipe gets longer. There is no mentioning of steam engines feeding off the water pipes or any other objects.
    – Timmy Jim
    Mar 10, 2017 at 18:37

I believe the answer is technically just one. My reasoning is based off this Wiki page that states that one pump can fuel 10 Steam engines and 14 boilers. After that, you will start to run low on water (plus, in my time playing this game, I've never seen my water pipes drop below 10 units). But if we are talking about just pipes with nothing drawing on them, then one pump will satisfy filling up the pipes to maximum.

However, I think another thing needs to be considered, and that is the speed of fluids. A pipeline that leads to nothing (no matter it's length) will eventually reach 10 units of water in each segment. But, when you begin to construct long pipe systems, the speed of the fluid decreases, meaning it will take longer for all the pipes to reach 10 units. According to this Factorio forum page, the following speeds occur at:

  • 0 pipes - 240 fluid/sec
  • 4 pipes - 150 fluid/sec
  • 14 pipes - 120 fluid/sec
  • 224 pipes - 90 fluid/sec
  • 357 pipes - 60 fluid/sec
  • 759 pipes - 30 fluid/sec

To counter this, you can use underground pipes, as they count as only one pipe but stretch up to 9 spaces between each end. However, even this will eventually be impacted. The more efficient method would be using a small pump. Smalls pumps, as the Wiki words it, are like the inserters of pipes. They can be used to boost the speed of long pipelines. From the same forum page linked above, the following amount of pumps can be used to boost the speed of the fluids:

  • 30 fluid/sec - 1 pump - 759 pipes
  • 60 fluid/sec - 2 pumps - 357 pipes
  • 90 fluid/sec - 3 pumps - 224 pipes
  • 120 fluid/sec - 4 pumps - 14 pipes
  • 150 fluid/sec - 5 pumps - 4 pipes

They also have a screenshot showing some efficient ways to set up these pumps:



Beginning in 0.15 and current through 0.17.X pumps have a throughput of 200 fluid/tick (12000 fluid/s). Offshore pumps provide the same as pumps. The throughput of pipes varies with distance between pumps. 17 tiles of pipe between pumps is the max a pump can give you.


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