Whether you need a utility pump for recreational purposes (e.g., pumping water through your backyard fish pond, fountain, or personal waterfall) or to preserve personal or commercial property (e.g., controlling flooding after a hurricane or tropical storm), you’re going to want a good dewatering pump that lasts more than one season. In our books, that means buying something better than whatever you’ll find at the local box store. So what are your options?
If you need every last inch of water drained, instead of getting a regular drain pump, you’ll want a quality low level residue pump like the Tsurumi LSC1.45-61. However, if you don’t need a minimum clearance down to 1 mm and just want to move a lot of water quickly from a flat surface or from within a tube or piping, you’ve got a few different options. We recently reviewed the Tsurumi LB-480-62 and found it to be an excellent dewatering pump for the money. Today we’ll review the automatic version of the LB-480-62, the Tsurumi LB-480A-62 Compact Submersible Dewatering Pump. It’s almost as narrow as the LB-480-62 while having the huge advantage of not needing a float switch. Our full review is below, and you can buy it here.
Key Features of the Tsurumi LB-480A-62 Dewatering Pump (60 Second Summary)
The Tsurumi LB-480A-62 is an automatic electric submersible dewatering pump. Built for indoor and outdoor use, the 480A is essentially an electric utility pump designed for water removal and drainage in environments where sump pumps would not be usable. It is powered by a 2/3 HP, single phase, thermally protected 110 volt 6.1 amp motor and can pump water at up to 3,744 gallons per hour (62.4 gallons per minute); the maximum head is 39.5 feet. Water removal is 3,420 GPH at 10 feet, 2,580 GPH at 20 feet, 1,380 GPH at 30 feet, and shut-off occurs at 39.5 feet. The 480A will pump down to 5 inches (127 mm) above a level surface and needs at least 4.5 inches of water to continuously run. The pump is 8-3/4 inches in diameter, 11-1/4 inches tall, and weighs 30 pounds. It includes a 32 foot power cord and Tsurumi’s standard 2 year warranty.
The 480A uses a 2 inch top discharge bore that can be oriented vertically or horizontally. It takes a standard 2 inch hose (e.g., a PVC discharge hose) and won’t work out of the box with a garden hose, although you can adapt it to fit one. It will fit in a 9 inch diameter pipe or enclosure and features a semi-vortex pump design to increase longevity after long term degradation of the internal impeller.
How Does the Tsurumi LB-480A-62 Compare to the LB-480-62 and Other Dewatering Pumps?
Compared to the LB-480-62, the main difference is that the 480A has an automatic float switch allowing it to work automatically. In other words, it doesn’t need to be physically plugged in and unplugged; nor does it require a utility pump controller. Because of the float switch, it’s a touch wider than the 480A, and won’t fit into 8 inch pipes, although it will slide into 9 inch ones. The float switch includes internal electric sensors to detect water levels; as a result, it isn’t at risk of malfunction due to blockage by debris, unlike with mechanical float switches. The 480A also has slightly higher minimum water running levels and drainage levels (down to 5 inches instead of down to 4 inches). Besides these differences and minor weight and amp draw variations, the pumps are essentially the same.
Compared to the Tsurumi LSC, the 480A is faster (3,744 GPH vs 2,700 GPH), but it won’t pump to quite as much head (39.5 feet vs 40 feet), and it also won’t drain water nearly as completely (it drains to 127 mm instead of to 1 mm). The 480A, however, is automatic, while the LSC is manual.
Our Short and Long Term Experiences Installing and Using the Tsurumi LB-480A-62 Submersible Pump
We’ve seen the 480A at home in a range of situations alongside the 480. It’s quite happy as a water pump in fresh and salt water ponds (e.g.,10,000 gallon koi ponds). It can power streams and waterfalls. It does good work in rental fleets and is frequently chosen by rental companies due to its ability to take a beating and keep on pumping.
The 480A also shines in property defense against flooding. We’ve seen it used before, during, and after hurricanes and tropical storms along the gulf coast from Texas to Florida in the panhandle and beyond. It’s a good way to get water out of your home quickly without dealing with the hassle of a gas-powered pump. If you’re living in a flood zone, we’d hope you already had a good sump pump (e.g., the Zoeller M267 for an AC pump or the Basepumps CB1500 for a water-based pump); a good dewatering pump is an essential component of your anti-flood kit if water does make it past your sump pumps, or if you’ve got standing water outside your home and don’t want it getting inside (or becoming a breeding ground for West Nile- and Zika-carrying mosquitoes).
Troubleshooting and Installation Tips to Get Your Tsurumi LB-480A-62 Working Sooner
The main issue we’ve seen with the 480A has involved the intake holes; they should be larger than they are, and they have a tendency to get clogged frequently if you use the pump in environments involving sand, mud, leaves, or other debris. You’ll either want to stick to clean water, stick a filter in front of the pump, or simply clean the intake holes on a frequent basis (we’d suggest checking them weekly). It won’t damage the pump to have dirty water running through it, but clogged intakes will slow it down until they’re cleared.
Beyond the potential for clogging, you’ve got a solid pump that shouldn’t require any maintenance whatsoever.
Tsurumi LB-480A-62 Pump Pros, Cons, and Value Comparison
In conclusion, the 480A addresses our main issue with the LB-480-62: the need to either manually watch it or connect it to a utility pump controller. Because the 480A is automatic, you simply plug it in, set it in water, and walk away. It’s not the cheapest dewatering pump on the market, but it’s definitely one of the most reliable, and in the end, a pump that costs twice as much but takes four times as long to break down is twice as cheap as one that costs half as much and breaks twice as often. Keep in mind that you’re not going to completely drain water the way the Tsurumi LSC can (down to 1 mm or less), so if you absolutely need water gone, you’ll want that pump instead. However, if you primarily want to move and remove water rather than to eliminate it, you’ll be happy with the LB-480 series.
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