Best Homebrew Pumps

blichmann riptide best homebrew pump

Homebrew pumps make your brew day easier and more efficient in many ways. Transferring hot wort or water when sparging, recirculating, or chilling is also quicker and much safer when using a pump. Adding a pump to your system is a worthy upgrade that every homebrewer should consider.

The best homebrew pump is the Blichmann RipTide. Everything you need in a pump is included like the flow control valve, priming valve, and power switch. Plus, it’s a breeze to disassemble for cleaning. For a budget-friendly option, the MKII is a well-built and reliable pump that will meet all your homebrewing needs.

What is the best homebrew pump?

Blichmann RipTide

Our Pick
Blichmann Engineering Riptide Pump

The teams at Blichmann and March Manufacturing have created the RipTide to solve all of your pump problems!

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It’s clear that Blichmann designed the RipTide pump explicitly for homebrewers. Every feature of this pump has been carefully thought through and the end result speaks for itself. The RipTide is the best homebrew pump available.

The RipTide is well-built, with a stainless steel head and splash proof case that also keeps the operating noise to a minimum. The integrated air release valve lets you easily and quickly prime the pump without risk of cavitation. It also comes with a flow valve, power switch, and robust base.

As if these features don’t already set the RipTide apart from the rest, it’s also extremely fast and easy to disassemble. Just open one tri-clamp and you can take the pump apart in seconds. Perfect for deep cleaning or maintenance.

Pros Cons
Built in pump primer (pull pin) High price
Easy disassembly with tri-clamp 
Flow control, power button, and base included 

Features:

  • Tri-clamp fitting for quick disassembly
  • Pull-pin bleed valve for easy priming
  • Built in power switch
  • Rotating head for 360 degree operation
  • Built in flow valve
  • Maximum flow rate of 7 GPM and maximum head of 21 ft
  • 1/2″ NPT inlet and outlet

Where to buy: Amazon, MoreBeer

MKII High Temp Magnetic Drive Pump

Budget Pick
MKII High Temp Magnetic Drive

This is the perfect magnetic drive pump for your brew day.

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Our favorite budget homebrew pump is the MKII. Sacrificing a bit of power, the MKII still provides more than enough flow rate and head pressure for most homebrew applications. The water resistant casing is great insurance if you ever have a small spill and its fully plastic design is robust and well made. You can also upgrade to a stainless steel head if you’re worried about build quality.

For the price, the MKII can’t be beat. Its sleek and compact casing design is easy to clean and operates with minimal noise.

Pros Cons
Great value Lower power
Silent operation Plastic construction

Features:

  • Maximum flow of 5 GPM with a maximum head of 11.15 ft.
  • 1/2 inch fittings
  • Rotatable pump head in 60-degree increments
  • Water resistant casing
  • Optional stainless head

Where to buy: Amazon, MoreBeer

Chugger X-Dry Series

Chugger X-Dry Series

This pump offers the same great quality we've come to expect from Chugger but now has Run-Dry Protection.

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Chugger pumps are arguably the most popular homebrew pumps. They are affordable, reliable, and easy to use. The X-Dry Series is the newest upgrade to an already great workhorse pump. With this upgrade, the risk of cavitation damaging the pump is reduced, which ensures a longer life and consistent operation.

The Chugger is a very powerful pump at an affordable price point. It’s the closest pump to the RipTide that you’ll find, but does have a few shortcomings. There is no flow control valve included, so you’ll need to purchase a ball valve yourself. It doesn’t come with a power switch or a bleed valve for easy priming. It’s also very loud when operating, which can be a problem for some homebrewers.

Despite these shortcomings, the Chugger is a great pump with a reliable and consistent reputation.

Pros Cons
Good value Very loud operation
Compact design No priming valve
Good power No on/off switch

Features:

  • Run dry carbon bearing
  • Stainless steel inline pump head can be rotated 360 degrees in 90 degree intervals
  • 1/2″ mpt inlet and outlet
  • Maximum flow rate of 7 GPM with maximum head of 18.6 ft

Where to buy: Amazon, MoreBeer

March 815-PL Beer Pump

March 815-PL Pump

The March 815-PL is an American seal-less centrifugal magnetic drive pump perfect for home brewing.

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Another very common homebrew pump, the March 815-PL is a great mid-priced option. With a polysulfone (plastic) head, the March pump is made of budget-friendly materials but, still, maintains a great build quality. Many homebrewers speculate that these are almost identical to the Chugger pump – so you can’t really go wrong with either.

March pumps have been used for years in the homebrew community and, like the Chugger pump, don’t come with any bells and whistles. For a basic and reliable pump, the March is a safe bet.

Pros Cons
Good value Very loud operation
Compact design No priming valve
Good power No on/off switch

Features:

  • Maximum flow of just over 7 GPM with maximum head of 18 feet
  • 1/2″ mpt fittings on both inlet and outlet.
  • Face unscrews and rotates at 90 degree intervals to adjust to your application.

Where to buy: Amazon

Brau Supply BR19

brau supply br-19 homebrew pump
source: brausupply.com

For an affordable, compact, and great quality pump, the Brau Supply BR19 is a really nice option. Composed of a casing of powder coated steel and a stainless steel head, the BR19 is fully sealed to limit any water ingress. It’s powerful, silent, and sturdy but with weaker power than some of the other pump options.

You’ll get a great pump at an amazing value if you go with the Brau Supply B19.

Pros Cons
Sealed casing provides water resistance Lower power
Compact and sleek design 
Silent operation 
Great value 

Features:

  • Powder coated casing with 304 stainless steel pump head
  • Maximum flow of 5 GPM and maximum head is 11 feet
  • 1/2″ male NPT fittings
  • Rotatable pump head in 60-degree increments

Where to buy: Brau Supply

Topsflo Homebrew Pump

Wort Hog Homebrew Pump

This pump has a 24v magnetic drive, is very compact, quiet, and safe to use around liquids.

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A powerful pump in a very compact size, the Topsflo homebrew pump, also sold under brand names such as Steelhead™ and Wort Hog™, is a great option if you’re short on space. It can even be mounted directly onto piping or on an all-in-one brewing system. Made from food-grade stainless steel, the Topsflo is very well-built and runs with almost no noise.

For a mid-priced, compact pump, the Topsflo will reliably help you get through a long brew day.

Pros Cons
Compact size Weak mounting bracket
Quiet operation 

Features:

  • 1/2″ NPT inlet and outlet
  • Maximum flow rate of 6.4 GPM with maximum head of 19 ft
  • Small compact design
  • Automatic over voltage shutoff

Where to buy: Amazon, MoreBeer

What to look for in a pump

Pumps should be built to last, with quality materials and good manufacturing. The last thing you want is for a pump to malfunction mid-brew day and have to scramble to find a workaround to finish the brew.

Homebrew pumps should always be rated for hot temperatures (at least 212F) as you’ll be pumping boiling wort. They should also be made with food safe materials to eliminate potential hazardous chemicals from getting in the wort.

The pump head should be made of very durable material. Plastic can be used at a minimum, but stainless steel is better. As you’ll be connecting threaded fittings, plastic threads have the potential to strip or crack.

Most homebrew pumps come with minimal accessories. Flow valves need to be purchased separately. Most brewers connect a stainless steel ball valve to the outlet of the pump. On top of that, an on/off switch and a sturdy base are often convenient additions. The Blichmann RipTide is one of the only homebrew pumps that comes standard with these features.

The most practical and economical choice is a centrifugal magnetic drive pump. All of the pumps on our list are this type. For these pumps, priming them before use is necessary. This means running liquid through the pump first to prevent cavitation – which can damage the pump. The RipTide comes with a self-priming feature, which saves a bit of time and headache when starting up the pump.

What are the benefits of using a pump?

Most homebrewers start out with basic equipment and slowly but surely build onto their systems. Pumps are an eventual upgrade that can make brewing easier, faster, and more efficient.

Think about your brewing process and all the times you rely on either gravity or muscle-power to move liquid. Whether it’s transferring strike water to your mash tun, sparging, or filling your fermenter, chances are you’re relying on gravity. Or worse, you’re lifting hot and heavy liquids and dangerously pouring them from vessel to vessel.

A pump makes transferring liquid – be it water or wort – quick, effortless, and safe. Instead of relying on gravity, just turn on a pump and transfer liquid in seconds. Fly sparging can be also done on a single tier – no more multi-level systems. Moving sparge water into the mash tun and wort out, simultaneously, is a breeze when using pumps.

On top of transferring, pumps can be extremely useful when chilling wort. Pumps are almost always essential when using a counterflow or plate chiller. Even with immersion chillers, pumps can be used to recirculate hot wort to speed up the cooling process.

If you have your eyes on a RIMS or HERMS system, pumps are required to recirculate heating water and wort. Same goes for certain modern brew in a bag all-in-one systems. Pumps help recirculate wort through the grain bed to increase efficiency and speed up the brew day.

Pumps even help with cleaning! You can use a pump to recirculate cleaning products to effortless clean equipment like kettles, fermenters, and even kegs.

There is really no downside to incorporating pumps into your brew day, if you’re ready to make the investment.

Final Thoughts

You can’t beat the performance and reliability of the Blichmann RipTide. Designed specifically for homebrewers, this pump has all the features you can ask for. From the priming valve and easy disassembly to the simple convenience of the power switch, the RipTide is the best homebrew pump on the market.

The budget friendly MKII pump is also a great option that will suit the needs of most homebrewers.

Whichever pump you go with, you’ll love the added convenience of having a powerful helping hand during your brew day. Say goodbye to dangerously transferring hot liquids between vessels – use a pump to make your day quicker, easier, and safer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prime my homebrew pump?

With the pump outlet closed, attach your pump inlet to the liquid source outlet. Open the outlet valve on your liquid source – like the brew kettle. Open the pump outlet valve. Drain some liquid until the inlet tubing is free of all air pockets. At this point, close the outlet valve and attach the outlet tubing. Your pump should be primed and safe to use.

How do you control the flow rate of a homebrew pump?

Most homebrew pumps are centrifugal with a magnetic drive. Flow rate is controlled using a valve attached to the outlet of the pump. In the open position, the valve will allow the pump to flow at full volume. Limiting the valve causes back pressure which slows down the flow rate.

Most homebrew pumps do not come with a control valve. Using an inline stainless steel ball valve is the most practical and economical way to control the flow.

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