A common myth for newcomers to the espresso machine world is that rotary vane pumps are superior to vibration pumps.
When comparing Vibration Pumps vs Rotary Vane Pumps, we feel there are benefits and disadvantages to both types of pumps.
Vibration / vibratory pumps
Typically, vibration pumps are mostly found on tank / reservoir type espresso machines. In a few small cases, there are a few espresso machines with a direct water line connection hookup. Vibration pumps that connect to a water line must have a solenoid valve and/or water pressure restrictor located before the pump. This helps to reduce the risk of damaging the pump from the incoming water pressure.
Vibration pumps have the following benefits:
- The ability to draw water out of the tank without high risk of damage.
- A lower cost for replacing.
- Less susceptible to limescale buildup (calcium and magnesium).
- Can handle up to 40 espresso extractions every day.
- Smaller size and weight.
- Built-in passive pre infusion as the pump usually takes 4-7 seconds to achieve optimal extraction pressure.
- Brew pressure semi-controlled by an over pressure valve (when present in an espresso machine).
Vibration pumps have the following disadvantages:
- Noisy when refilling the boiler. However, these pumps do go quiet to a hum when under full pressure for extraction.
Rotary vane / permanent displacement pumps
Typically, rotary vane pumps are found on espresso machines with a direct water line connection. There are a few exceptions where tank / reservoir espresso machines use a rotary vane pump. Rotary vane pumps on tank / reservoir espresso machines run the risk of running dry / damaging. This can happen when the water extracts out of a tank faster than the espresso machine can turn it off, where the reservoir hose does not allow water to extract out of the reservoir, or extracting water from a reservoir.
Rotary vane / permanent displacement pumps have the following advantages:
- A more quiet operation when the pump and motor is on and running.
- Immediate ramp up of brew pressure when engaging the pump.
- The motor is separate from the pump.
- Brew pressure controlled by adjusting the built-in screw.
Rotary vane / permanent displacement pumps have the following disadvantages:
- Noisy when the incoming water line pressure is too low.
- Longevity diminishes when performing both extracting water from a reservoir and pumping water through coffee grinds.
So, the question is why are rotary pumps more common in cafes and coffee shops around the word. The reason is simply volume. There are 100 and 200 liter per hour rotary vane pumps. A rotary vane pump can extract many more espresso per day than a vibration pump. This is necessary for high volume cafes and coffee shops.
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