If you’re a homebrewer and you’re stuck trying to decide between a copper wort chiller vs. stainless, you’re not alone. Copper wort chillers are a newer addition to the homebrewer’s arsenal, and they offer some serious advantages over traditional stainless steel wort chillers. Ultimately, your choice of wort chiller is going to come down to your personal preference and brewing process.
While some people will tell you that copper wort chillers are superior to stainless steel wort chillers, the reality is more complicated. Copper wort chillers are more comfortable to bend and articulate than stainless steel chillers, stainless steel chillers are more resistant to corrosion and will last a lifetime.
This buyer’s guide will give you a clear perspective as you conduct your research about this vital tool. Whether you’re leaning toward brewing with a new copper wort chiller, or if you’d like to keep brewing with an old-fashioned stainless steel wort chiller, we hope this article provides some much-needed clarity as you make this decision about your homebrewing setup.
Copper Wort Chillers
- Material Type: Copper, Vinyl, Brass
- Included Components: Wort Chiller, Tubing, Garden Hose Fitting
We found the W3850 to be affordable and easy to use. With its traditional coil design, each coil sits in such a way that this wort chiller can cover the maximum amount of surface area. This wort chiller comes out of the box with vinyl tubing and a durable brass hose adapter.
This wort chiller is ⅜ inches in diameter and is available in both 25-foot and 50-foot models, with most users saying that the 25-foot model is long enough to clear the lip of a standard keg kettle. What stands out about this copper wort chiller is its rapid heat transfer and quick cooling, with many users saying that it cooled hot wort by one hundred degrees in just minutes.
- A choice between 25-foot or 50-foot models.
- Comes out of the box ready to use.
- Rapid heat transfer cools wort quickly.
- Hose adapter included.
- Several users complain that inadequate packaging causes damage during shipping.
- Coils kink or break easily.
- Premium 25-foot chiller made with 3/8-inch OD USA Copper tubing
- 2x4-foot lengths of 3/8-inch vinyl tubing
- Strong stainless steel hose clamps. Hose clamps need to be checked for leaks before each use. Tightening the hose clamps while the vinyl tubing is warm will create a tight, leak free seal.
The Coldbreak CB1 ships with 25 feet of copper tubing and the coils are 6.75 feet in diameter and 5.5 inches high. This copper wort chiller is only available in a 25-foot model. While it won’t handle larger batches like the W3850-CV, the reviews for this model all stressed its ability to cool five gallons of wort in minutes, while many novice users liked the easy setup.
The CB1 comes out of the box with three stainless steel hose clamps, two (2) four-foot lengths of vinyl tubing, and one reinforced female hose adapter. The CB1 is a model that prides itself on cooling your wort fast so you can pitch your yeast.
- Cools boiling wort to room temperature in 15 minutes.
- Comes out of the box ready to use.
- Easy setup works well for novice brewers.
- The 25-foot length of copper tubing confines users to making smaller batches.
- Several users complained that the hose clamp connectors leaked, and this ruined many batches of beer.
Stainless Steel Wort Chillers
- A simple tweak, adding barbed fittings and a drop-angle to our favorite immersion chiller, spawns a new best-in-class product. Introducing Silver Serpent, the most sanitary immersion chiller on the market.
- Simply drop your clean chiller into the kettle a few minutes before the end of the boil and it will be ready to go.
- Brew with peace of mind like never before. Drop-angle connections keep surprise leaks outside your kettle and away from cooling wort.
Northern Brewer’s Silver Serpent comes out of the box assembled and ready to brew. Unlike many of the stainless steel wort chillers currently on the market, this one has a hassle-free brew in mind. While the 25-foot stainless tube confines the brewer to smaller batches, Northern Brewer’s specialized drop-angle connections mean no more leaks, no more kinks, and no more contaminated batches.
The Silver Serpent is an immersion-style wort chiller that comes equipped with uniquely designed fittings that eliminate the need for hose clamps. It comes with both hose and faucet connectors. This model is self-sanitizing, which means you can drop the entire unit into your kettle five minutes before the end of the boil and it’s clean.
If you’re still stuck trying to choose between a copper wort chiller vs. stainless, and you like everything about the Silver Serpent except for the fact that its stainless steel, check out the Copperhead, also by Northern Brewer.
- Both garden hose adapter and faucet adapter allow for versatility in terms of your cold-water source.
- Custom-made proprietary drop-angle connections and fittings mean minimal leaks and hassle-free brewing.
- The Silver Serpent is self-sanitizing.
- The 25-foot length of stainless steel tubing confines users to making smaller batches.
- All of the proprietary connections and fittings make repairs, adjustments, and upgrades difficult, if not impossible for some homebrewers.
- With 2x the SS tubing of our standard chiller, this unit provides faster cooling for larger batches
- Made from 1mm wall stainless tubing to provide better heat transfer
- Coils can be elevated to increase the efficiency of the cooling process
This bad boy is our large-batch option. BACOENG’s Stainless Steel Wort Chiller comes with 50 feet of tubing that will cool even the largest batches of homebrew in 15-20 minutes. The BACOENG also features unique 0.5-millimetre tube walls that allow superior heat transfer.
This wort chiller also features specialized clamps that allow for flexibility in coil alignment. The coils themselves can also elevate to speed up the cooling process. One brass hose adaptor is included, along with two (2) 5-foot lengths of oxidation-resistant hose.
- Fifty feet of stainless steel tubing is ideal for quickly cooling large batches of homebrew.
- Unique, extra-thin tube wall allows for fast heat transfer.
- Specialized clamps allow for flexibility in coil alignment.
- Several users complained about confusing specifications. BACOENG advertises 10 feet of plastic tubing included in the box, when this wort chiller comes with two (2) separate five-foot lengths of plastic tubing.
- Several users also complained about hose and faucet adaptors that didn’t fit properly.
What’s Better, Copper or Stainless Steel Wort Chillers?
So in the debate over a copper wort chiller vs. stainless, both kinds of wort chiller have their own distinct advantages. Copper wort chillers are more comfortable to bend and adjust as needed. This flexibility is especially crucial for homebrewers making do with smaller brewing spaces.
The big drawback with copper wort chillers is that after enough time, they can corrode. They can also develop verdigris, a green patina that shows up after enough exposure to the open air. Stainless steel wort chillers won’t corrode and are much more resistant to kinks and breakages than copper worts.
Stainless steel wort chillers aren’t as flexible, but with basic maintenance, they last a lifetime.
Related: How to Clean Your Wort Chiller