How Much Does It Cost to Drill a Well?

Elisa Greenberg
Written by Elisa Greenberg
Updated July 22, 2022
Groundwater well with pvc pipe and system electric deep well submersible pump water
Photo: Engdao / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • The average U.S. homeowner pays $1,500 and $6,000 to drill a well.

  • The deeper you go, the more expensive your project will be.

  • Most wells are between 100 and 400 feet deep. 

  • A professional well installer will consider depth, casing diameter, ground conditions, and more.

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Whether you need to tap into new, undeveloped land, or you’re seeking a more self-sufficient lifestyle, drilling a well can give you access to a natural water source—no water-treating chemicals included. The initial cost to drill a well can be steep, but you’ll save hundreds each year in water bills. 

For homesteaders and those living off-grid, you can expect to spend $1,500 for a shallow well and $25,000 to drill a deep-water well system. 

How Much Does It Cost to Drill a Well Per Foot?

The average cost to drill a well ranges from $15 to $60 per foot, although $15 to $30 per foot is a good guideline for most projects. You should expect to pay more when digging in remote areas or through rocky, sloped, dry, or low-quality soil. In these conditions, budget at least $50 to $60 per foot.

Many residential water wells require digging at least 50 to 200 feet deep with a four- to-eight-inch pipe casing. With an average of $30 per foot, you could pay between $1,500 and $6,000 to drill a typical residential well. If your use a larger eight-inch pipe casing, your project budget will increase to roughly $4,200 to $25,000.

Depth (Feet)4” Diameter PVC Casing6” Diameter Steel Casing
50$1,800$3,100
100$3,600$6,100
150$5,300$9,200
200$7,100$12,200
250$8,900$15,300
300$10,700$18,400
350$12,400$21,400
400$14,200$24,500

PVC Casing is lightweight and corrosion-resistant. Steel casing is for heavier digs with higher heat content but is not corrosion-resistant.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Drill a Well?

Many factors determine the cost of drilling a well. These components include materials, well depth, piping type, and your project's complexity.

Location

The soil conditions and water levels where you live will affect your overall price. In California, for example, you’ll need to drill a deeper well to reach the water table (located beneath the groundwater level). The desert climate in Arizona is home to rocky and dry soils that make it more challenging to drill a well.

Sometimes, the water table could be as shallow as 25 feet or as deep as 1,000 feet. Digging each foot will add $15 to $60 to your bill, which means your final price can vary widely.

Well Depth

Pinpointing exact costs for well projects is tough because averages vary greatly based on the depth of the well. You’ll need to speak to a local well pump expert to determine the ideal digging depth for your home.

  • Most projects drill between 100 to 400 feet

  • The project cost will increase for every additional foot you must dig to reach groundwater. 

  • Shallow water sources are typically more contaminated and may not be suitable for use.

For example, at $30 per foot, a 200-feet deep well would cost $6,000. If groundwater is available at 50 feet, it would only cost $1,500.

Distance to the Home

The closer the well is to your home, the less you’ll pay. A shorter distance decreases the length  of water and electric supply lines that run between your home and the well—which cost between $50 and $150 per foot.

Well Pump

A well pump extracts water from the ground and brings it to your home. It’s one of the most essential pieces of a water well. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have a local well repair service pro in your contacts list should the pump fail.

Well pumps range from $300 to $2,000. Your total cost will depend on whether you need a shallow or deep well pump, the distance to the storage tank, any special inclines, and whether your pump is above-ground water or submerged below the water table.

Casing Pipe

Well casing pipe supports the wall of your well and prevents loose rock or soil from penetrating or collapsing your system.

The most common casing material is PVC pipe casing, which is the most affordable at $6 to $10 per foot. Expect to pay much more for galvanized or stainless steel pipes ($33 to $130 or more per foot).

Most residential wells use casing four to six inches in diameter, but older wells might need an eight-inch diameter pipe. The wider the pipe, the more expensive your materials budget. 

Storage Tank

A well water storage tank extracts clean water from your well and pressurizes it until you need it. 

Storage tanks range in price based on size. A smaller two-gallon tank averages $100, and a larger 44-gallon tank averages $700

Purification System

Most wells use a reverse osmosis system to purify the water so it’s safe for consumption. Purification systems cost between $800 to $2,600 for the unit and an additional $200 to $400 for the labor required to install it.

Electrical Components

Depending on the intricacy of your project, you may need two-wire or three-wire electrical configurations to control tank pressure and help regulate the amount of water coming to your home. These configurations cost between $50 and $150, with an additional $160 to $500 for labor.

Water Testing

Before consuming any drinking water, It is necessary to test water quality for safety once you drill your well. Before drinking, you should test your well water for bacteria, contaminants, chemicals, metals, and pollutants. 

You can purchase a DIY testing kit for $30 to $150. Or you can pay between $100 to $650 to hire a pro to submit your sample to a lab for a full analysis.

Permits

Most states require a drill permit and restrict how much water you can pump over time. According to HomeAdvisor, residential permits to construct a well can reach $500.

How Much Does It Cost to Drill a Well By Type?

Depending on where you’re building a water well, you’ll need to choose one method—drilling, driving, or digging to reach groundwater.

You can expect these methods to cost:

  • Drilled Wells: $5,500+

  • Driven Wells: $4,000+

  • Dug Wells: $2,500+

Driven wells (a well built with a smaller diameter) and dug wells (wells dug by hand) are generally more shallow than drilled wells and are only available for homes where the water table is 50 feet or less.

How Much Does It Cost to Drill a Well Near You?

The state you live in can also affect the average cost to drill a well—depending on your soil content and water levels. 

  • California: $25–$50 per foot

  • Colorado: $20–$40 per foot

  • Florida: $15–$30 per foot

  • Montana: $25–$45 per foot

  • Oklahoma: $20–$40 per foot

  • Texas: $30–$55 per foot

  • Washington: $30–$50 per foot

  • Wisconsin: $20–$45 per foot

  • Wyoming: $30–$50 per foot

How Much Does It Cost to Drill a Well Yourself?

Drilling a well by yourself is difficult, time-consuming work. While we don’t recommend tackling this project alone, enlisting a team of helpers could save you lots of money on labor. All told, you’ll spend about $2,500.

To drill your own water well, you’ll need:

  • Well drilling rig kit (purchased or rented) ($700 to $2,400)

  • Well pump (starting at $600)

  • Water storage tank (starting at $500)

  • PVC pipe (50+ feet, or more depending on depth; $600+)

You might also consider renting a well drilling rig kit, which costs between $600 and $800 per day.

DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

Groundwater well with pvc pipe and system electric deep well submersible pump water tank
Photo: Engdao / Adobe Stock

Drilling a shallow well could be a weekend project if you use a post-hole auger. But for safety reasons, you should hire a local well installation pro with the tools, knowledge, and experience to get the job done correctly—especially if digging a deep-water well. 

A licensed well installation professional typically charges by the project, not per hour. Depending on the depth of your well and location, labor costs can range between $1,500 and $10,000+.

FAQs

Should I buy or build a well?

Buying a well drilling kit will save you money over hiring a professional. That said, digging a well is risky. If you make an error, you may have to bring in help to fix it. Also, the costs to DIY are still pretty hefty when you consider all that’s needed to complete the project successfully. You’ll need to account for the permit, pump, and water tank. 

For safety purposes, you should dig a well with at least one other person around (or in the vicinity). In the event the well caves in, it’s essential that someone else be there. If you don’t feel comfortable taking the precautions you’ll need to tackle this on your own, you should go with a pro.

What should I consider when I drill a well?

When considering the price of your project, be sure to factor in how much you’ll save in water costs per year. The average family of four uses 100 gallons of water per person per day in the U.S. With your own private water well, you’ll save hundreds each year.

Wells are also environmentally friendly. You don’t need to worry about drinking water treated with chemicals which is common in public water sources.

You should talk to at least three well pump contractors near you. They will be able to tell you more about the options in your area and give you different price quotes and considerations.

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