A spiral pump is a low lift pump which is composed of a a long piece of metal plating, which is wound into a coil and sealed at the top and back extremeties so as to resemble a cylinder. The outer cavity serves as the inlet, while the inner (partial) tube serves as the outlet. The outlet pipe is fixed to a engine or animal which is capable of rotating the pump quickly. Due to this rotation, water is picked up by the outer cavity and pumped upwards in the hose.
The spiral pump, as many low lift pumps, is commonly used for irrigation purposes and for drainage of lands.
The spiral pump is an alternative to the Archimedean screw. Unlike the Archimedean screw, it can pump while horizontal. The Archimedean screw must be tilted at an angle. The spiral pump, if fitted with a suitable rotating seal, can deliver water to a greater height, typically 5-10m, above their discharge opening.Despite the emergence of new pumps that operate on other principles, the spiral pump remains an important tool as some of it other benefits are that they can be built and repaired easily at a very low cost. This is possible as all the components can be built from local resources such as sheet metal bent into the desired form with or without machine tools.
As mentioned before, the pump only allows the lifting of water over a small height. Such an inhibiting factor makes it unsuitable for use in water drainage or irrigation situations that require water to be lifted over larger heights.