API Bucket Heater Test

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:


Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2014
Reaction score
I know there are other threads on this farm supply API Bucket Heater, but I figured I'd buy one and test it. I think it cost $36 plus shipping. Here are my results:

I started with 5 gallons of 68* water from the tap, into my 10 gallon orange cooler mash tun. With occasional stirring, it took 70 minutes to raise the temperature 82* to 150*. That's an efficiency of 1.17* per minute, but the efficiency decreases as temperature increases.

Next I hooked up a small, 12v recirculation pump to keep the water constantly moving across the heater. 25 minutes to 100* (1.28* per minute), 50 minutes to 130* (1.24* per minute), and 69 minutes to 150* (1.19* per minute, compared to 1.17* per minute). The addition of the pump added negligible help.

It took 94 minutes to raise the temperature 102* to my mash out temperature of 170*.

Summary: Heating on my propane burner is faster, but I've never timed to to get an exact comparison. I do like the convenience of doing this in one vessel on my countertop indoors. No burner, no trips outside to check temps, no hot kettles. I'll probably bust out the smaller, 5 gallon cooler and heat a smaller volume of water, strike and sparge separate. I think it will actually work well that way. I'll save the burner and gas for boiling wort. This would be near useless for batches more than 5 gallons.