Sewage Grinder Pumps vs Ejector Pumps FAQ: What’s the Difference, and Which Do You Need?

We’ve reviewed a number of sewage pumps in the last year, including sewage grinder pumps and sewage ejector pumps. But what’s the difference between both kinds of pumps, and which kind is the better choice for your home or small business? We’ll answer both of these questions and more below. If you’re in a hurry, the long and short of it is that while both are designed to handle sewage (i.e., urine and feces), grinder pumps can also handle flushed trash, making them a better, though more expensive choice for crucial (e.g., commercial) situations; you can typically get away with an ejector for most residential situations.

What is a sewage ejector pump?

A sewage ejector pump is a submersible utility pump capable of processing solids. Essentially, it’s a beefed-up sump pump. They’re frequently described as high volume and low pressure solids handling pumps, because they can push sewage quickly  but without much pressure  from a home into a septic tank or a sewer main that operates by gravity flow. They don’t have grinding blades, but make use of quickly-rotating impellers that draw raw sewage vertically up and under pressure from the inlet to the outlet, which then connects to a discharge pipe.

A sewage ejector pump can typically handle solids up to 2 inches in diameter, and range in power from 3/10 horsepower to 2 horsepower. They can typically pump sewage at volumes of up to 10,000 gallons per hour (166 gallons per minute) for short distances (under 700 feet) with maximum head pressures of under 30 feet. They are sold as standalone models and as pre-assembled simplex or duplex systems (which include sewage basins). Pre-assembled systems are more expensive than equivalent standalone systems, but last longer due to their design and are also simpler to install. Overall, ejector pumps are cheaper than grinder pumps, which will be discussed in detail below.

Quality examples of standalone sewage ejector pumps include the Zoeller M267 and Liberty Pumps LE51A. Quality examples of pre-assembled systems include the Liberty Pumps P382LE51 and Liberty Pumps P372LE51.

What is a sewage grinder pump?

A sewage grinder pump is like an ejector pump on steroids.  Like ejector pumps, they’re designed to process sewage. However, unlike ejector pumps, they also include grinding blades (hence the name) designed to grind sewage and other objects into slurry and slush before discharging it. They’re frequently described as high pressure and low volume pumps because they’ll push sewage more slowly than ejector pumps but can do it for much longer distances, to much greater heights, and can support much higher pressures at the sewer main.

A sewage grinder pump can easily handle 2 inch solids, and will also be able to handle difficult artificial solids, like feminine hygiene products (pads, tampons, etc), rags, towels, diapers, diaper wipes, napkins, underwear, and a range of other things that shouldn’t be flushed down toilets but often are.  They range in power from 1 horsepower to several, and can typically pump sewage at volumes of up to 3,000 gallons per hour (50 gallons per minute) for very long distances (multiple thousand feet) with maximum head pressures of 40 to 120 feet or more.

Like ejector pumps, sewage grinder pumps are sold as both standalone units and as pre-assembled simplex or duplex systems with sewage basins. As with ejector pumps, pre-assembled systems will cost more but will also last longer and be easier to install. Overall, grinder pumps are more expensive than ejector pumps, but can typically do anything an ejector pump can do with greater longevity.

Quality examples of standalone sewage grinder pumps include the Liberty Pumps PRG101A and Liberty Pumps PRG102A.

Do I need a sewage ejector or grinder pump for my septic system?

The short answer is: it depends! As you can see, both types of pumps are used for handling sewage, but while their abilities can overlap to some degree, there are clear differences between the two that make them suited to different sewage environments.

If you own a single family home that connects to a municipal sewage system (the most common configuration), you won’t need a sewage pump at all unless you have a below grade plumbing system (e.g., a toilet or shower in the basement) that can’t drain into the city sewage pipes through gravity. In such a case, a sewage ejector pump will probably get the job done (pumping sewage against gravity) just fine. You might want to install a sewage grinder pump if whoever uses that toilet (e.g., your teenage children or in-laws) regularly flush things that shouldn’t be flushed. A grinder pump will keep such things from clogging the pump impellers.

Similarly, if you own a single family home but use a septic tank (a common occurrence in rural, out in the country environments), you’ll need a sewage ejector pump at the minimum to pump sewage to the tank. As above, you might want a full-on grinder if your family members are busy using your toilets as trash cans or garbage disposals. However, unlike with the below-grade toilet that runs to the municipal sewage system, your risk of clogging will exist with any toilet in your rural home, as they’ll all feed sewage to the septic tank through the sewage pump, making the pump much more important here than with the municipal below-grade scenario. This is the point at which we’d recommend most home owners buy a grinder pump instead of an ejector pump.

If you have a home located a long distance from a gravity sewer main, if you need a lot of lift (max head), or if you need to pump sewage into a pressurized sewage system, you’ll need a grinder pump, as these are all specialties of grinder pumps.

The best sewage pumps for landlords

If you’re a landlord and have tenants in their own single-family home or duplex situation and need a sewage pump due to below-grade or septic tank scenarios, save yourself some time and install a sewage grinder pump from the start. When it’s not your family, but groups of strangers, you can’t trust them to use your sewage system the way it was intended to be used, and the first time you get a call about a clogged toilet, you’ll either have to come over yourself or get a plumber to do so, and you’ll regret not having gotten a pump that acted as a 24/7 on-call plumber ahead of time. That’s the kind of security a good grinder pump can provide. Similarly, if you need to pump sewage for a long distance to a gravity drain sewer main or to a pressurized sewer main, you’ll again want a grinder pump from the start.

Choosing a sewage pump for a small business

Finally, if you’ve got a small business (e.g.a, a restaurant, a dental office, a counseling center, an accounting or tax company) and need a sewage pump, there’s no question that you’ll want a sewage grinder pump instead of an ejector pump. Your time is your money, and your money is your livelihood; spending a few hundred extra dollars now can save you tens of thousands over the years in plumber fees, labor, and replacement ejector pumps. And again, if your business is located a significant distance from a gravity sewage main, if you need a lot of head, or if you’re pumping into a pressurized system, you’ll need a grinder pump.

You can read our reviews on a range of recommended sewage pumps here. You can buy the Liberty Pumps PRG101A grinder here on Amazon. You can buy the Zoeller M267 here.

If you find our work at PumpThatSump helpful, you can support our relentless reviewing of every sump pump on the market by shopping via our Amazon link for whatever you need to make your house a home. Despite being self-employed, we promise not to spend it all on health insurance.

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Tsurumi LSRA2.4S-60 Automatic Pitless Sump Pump Review and LSR2.4S-60 Comparison

Whether you’re looking for a dewatering pump to defend personal and commercial property (e.g., preventing or mitigating basement flooding after hurricanes and flash floods) or simply to drain pools, rooftops, or similar areas, you’re going to want a good utility pump, and preferably an automatic one. So what options are out there?

If you’re primarily interested in moving water instead of in removing it completely, a drain pump like the Tsurumi LB-480A-62 will get the job done quickly, automatically, and reliably. If you want water drained down to the last millimeter, you’ll want a strong low-level residue pump like the Tsurumi LSC1.45-61. However, it’s a manual pump, which requires a utility controller or constant monitoring. If you’re happy to drain water down to 1/4 inch (e.g., 6 mm) and want automatic, worry-free operation, you’ll be happy with the Tsurumi LSRA2.4S-60 Automatic Pitless Sump Pump. It’s the automatic version of the LSR2.4S-60 we recently reviewed and loved. The LSRA2 does just as good of a job without needing to be supervised. Our full review is below, and you can buy it here.

Key Features of the Tsurumi LSRA2.4S-60 Submersible Pump (60 Second Summary)

The Tsurumi LSRA2.4S-60 is an automatic low-level submersible dewatering pump; Tsurumi describes it as a pitless sump pump, which defines most drain pumps. Designed to be used indoors and outdoors, the LSRA2 is an electric utility pump designed to clear water from areas where sump pumps would be impossible or time- and cost-ineffective to install. It uses a 2/3 horsepower, 115 volt, 6.1 amp single phase motor capable of pumping water at up to 3,780 gallons per hour (63 gallons per minute) at 5 feet. The LSRA2’s pumping rate scales down to 3,000 gallons per hour at 15 feet with max head and shut-off at 40 feet. The minimum water removal level is 1/4 inch, or 6 mm above a flat surface, and the pump requires a minimum of 1/5 inch of water for continuous operation.

The pump is 11-15/16 inches tall, 8-1/4 inches in diameter, weighs 26 pounds, and has a power cord 32 feet long. It comes with a 2 year warranty from the purchase date and uses a 2 inch vertical (top) discharge outlet that requires a standard 2 inch hose (e.g., a PVC discharge hose); you won’t be able to directly connect it to a garden hose without an adapter. The pump includes thermal and amperage protection for the motor and a semi-vortex impeller to increase the usable life of the pump.

How Does the Tsurumi LSRA2.4S-60 Submersible Compare to Other Drainage Pumps?

Compared to the LSR2.4S-60, the advantage of the LSRA2 instead is its inclusion of an automatic float switch that lets it turn itself on and off automatically. Since you won’t need to plug or unplug it in or connect it to a utility pump controller, you can simply turn it on and let it get to work. The minimum water draining level appears to be slightly lower at 1/4 inch vs 2/5 inch, but practically speaking, they’ll both drain water to the same level (very low) and at the same maximum speeds and to the same maximum head.

Compared to the Tsurumi LSC, the main advantage of the LSRA2 is the fact that it’s an automatic pump; you won’t need to constantly watch it the way you would with the LSC. However, the LSC, as a low-level residue pump, will drain water down to 1 mm instead of down to 6-10 mm.

Our Short and Long Term Experiences Installing and Using the Tsurumi LSRA2.4S-60 Submersible Pump

The LSRA2 will pump water in a range of situations and down to very low levels. you can use it as a water pump in both fresh and salt water environments (e.g., 15,000 gallon koi ponds or swimming pools). You can use it with streams or waterfalls, and you can also use it in rental situations or to defend property against flooding. A number of people simply buy them when moving to the gulf coast (e.g., Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana) to help keep things dry during hurricane and flood seasons. If you live in a flood zone, you’ll already want to have a good sump pump (e.g., the Zoeller M267 for an AC pump or the Basepumps CB1500 for a water-based pump). A quality dewatering pump will also pay for itself again and again if water does get past your sump pumps or if you’ve got standing water outside your house and don’t want disease-carrying mosquitoes breeding around your family and property.

Reliability appears to be high; we’d expect the average user to get several years out of a given pump. Compared to the manual LSR2, we’d expect reliability to be the same or slightly higher due to the automatic float switch negating the potential for the pump running dry if left unattended.

Troubleshooting and Installation Tips to Get Your Tsurumi LSRA2.4S-60 Submersible Working Sooner

The only issues we’ve ever come across with the LSRA2 have included the potential for the lower intake holes to become clogged with debris (e.g., sand, leaves, mud, or gravel). You’ll want to either use clean water, filter the water going into the pump, or simply check the holes and clean them out on a somewhat regular basis (e.g., monthly). You won’t damage the pump with dirty water, but if the intakes get clogged, that will slow the pump down and reduce its efficiency until they’re cleared.

Remember that if you want to use the LSRA2 with a generator, you’ll preferably want a generator with at least 3 times the amperage-delivering ability. A typical 2,700 or higher watt generator should be able to power it without trouble. We’d recommend the Champion 75537i 3100 watt generator so you can keep the pump (or any other utility or AC-powered sump pump) going when you have a power outage. Finally, remember that you’re also going to need a 2 inch discharge hose to drain water from the pump.

Tsurumi LSRA2.4S-60 Submersible Pump Pros, Cons, and Value Comparison

In conclusion, the LSRA2 resolves the main issue we had with the LSR2: needing to either manually supervise it or connect it to an automatic pump switch. As the LSRA2 is automatic, you don’t have to do anything more than plug it in, place it in water, and walk away. There are cheaper pitless sump pumps (or drainage pumps) on the market, but there are few from companies as reliable as Tsurumi. In the end, we’d rather spend twice as more on a pump that takes four times as long to break down than spend half as much on a pump that breaks twice as often. Remember that you won’t be able to completely drain water the way you would if you had a Tsurumi LSC (down to a millimeter or less), so if having every last drop gone is a priority, you’ll want the LSC instead. However, if you’re happy removing water down to a quarter of an inch and want it done automatically, you’ll be happy using the LSRA2 for many years.

You can buy the Tsurumi LSRA2.4S-60 here on Amazon. You can buy the Tsurumi LSR2.4S-60 on Amazon or here from Tsurumi. You can buy the Tsurumi LSC here. You can buy the Tsurumi LB-480A-62 here. You can buy a 2 inch PVC discharge hose here. You can buy a 3100 watt inverter generator here or a 3000 watt large-capacity generator here.

If you find our work at PumpThatSump helpful, you can support our relentless reviewing of every sump pump on the market by shopping via our Amazon link for whatever you need to make your house a home. Despite being self-employed, we promise not to spend it all on health insurance.

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A married plumbing team review the best sump, drain, sewage, utility, and trash pumps for families and small business owners who want water (or worse) gone for good.