If you are looking to get started or to improve your backyard maple syrup setup, I’m here to help. We’ve been tapping our trees for years now and have used many different maple syrup supplies over the years. Trying to find the best maple syrup evaporators for sale or learning to build your own is one of the more challenging steps to getting started making your own maple syrup, especially if you have more than a few taps.
If you’re looking for more information on making maple syrup, check out the following articles:
- A Complete Guide to How to Make Maple Syrup
- Maple Syrup Supplies (The Best Maple Syrup Equipment to Make Your Own at Home in 2023)
- How to Choose the Best Maple Taps and Spiles
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Where to Find the Best Maple Syrup Evaporators for Sale
You have several options for buying or building a maple syrup evaporator. You can build your own completely from scratch, do a partial build where you purchase just the tray, or find a maple syrup evaporators for sale. Either way, you will need to purchase a tray of some type to let the water evaporate from the sap. You can purchase these online or sometimes from a use restaurant supply shop.
There are several online shops that make and ship evaporators, but they can be heavy and expensive to ship. If you can finding a local store will be your best solution. If you’re just ordering evaporating trays these tend to be lighter and easier to ship. You can also find some favorite evaporators for home use here.
What to Look for When Buying or Building a Maple Syrup Evaporator
There are different types of evaporators available, including traditional wood-fired, oil-fired, gas-fired, and electric models. The type you choose will depend on your preferences, available resources, and budget. Traditional wood-fired evaporators are common among hobbyists, while commercial operations often use oil or gas-fired models for greater efficiency.
Size and Capacity:
Determine the amount of sap you plan to process to choose the right-sized evaporator. Consider the number of taps you have and your production goals. Evaporators come in various sizes, typically measured in terms of gallons of sap processed per hour. Ensure your evaporator can handle your expected volume without overloading or underutilizing it.
Look for an evaporator that is designed for efficiency. Efficient designs can help you reduce fuel consumption and increase syrup production. Check for features such as multiple pans, preheating systems, and well-insulated fireboxes that contribute to improved efficiency.
The materials used in the construction of the evaporator affect its durability and heat retention. Stainless steel and aluminum are common choices due to their resistance to corrosion and ease of cleaning. A durable evaporator will last longer and require less maintenance.
If you opt for a wood-fired evaporator, consider the type of wood you will use. Hardwood is often preferred for its even heat and long-lasting burn. Ensure the firebox is well-designed for efficient wood combustion.
Look for an evaporator with a design that maximizes evaporation efficiency. Multiple pans and an effective flue system can help maximize the removal of water from the sap.
See more about what to expect for a sap to syrup ratio.
The ability to control the temperature is crucial for producing high-quality syrup. Some evaporators come with thermostats or draft controls that help you maintain a consistent temperature throughout the evaporation process.
Mobility and Portability:
Consider the ease of moving the evaporator. Some units come with wheels or are designed to be portable, which can be useful if you have a mobile sugarbush or need to store the equipment during the offseason.
Price and Budget:
Determine your budget for an evaporator, keeping in mind that quality models can be an investment. Consider both the upfront cost and long-term operating costs, including fuel and maintenance.
Check local regulations and codes regarding the installation and operation of maple syrup evaporators, especially if you plan to build one yourself. Compliance with safety and environmental standards is essential.
Maple Syrup Trays for an Evaporator Set Up
Below are several options for an evaporator.
This evaporator pan is designed to go on top or a propane or wood burning stove. It is well built and can increase the rate of evaporation compared to a normal tray. IT also comes with a spigot for draining off the maple syrup and a thermometer to keeping tabs in the liquid. You can purchase this in several different sizes as well.
This is a slightly more basic design for an evaporator pan. It comes in many different sizes and can be places directly on an outdoor stove top or wood fire. It’s sturdily built from stainless steel.
Build Your Own Maple Syrup Evaporator
We’ve built 2 of our own maple syrup evaporators in the past and we’ve also boiled sap on the grill (very inefficient) and always finish our boil on the stove top in the house. We do on occasion put a pot of sap to boil on the woodstove.
Our first evaporator consisted on a simple rectangle of cinderblocks with a tray to evaporate the sap. This was moderately efficient but we ended up with a lot of smoke and debris in the syrup. We did put up a stove pipe to try to direct the smoke away, but we didn’t make the stove pipe long enough.
We then moved to a barrel evaporator and purchased some trays and some hardware to convert the barrel. You can see the set up in the image above. This is after many years of use, so you can see a fair amount of rust. I’m hoping to clean it up this season. This barrel works well and heats up much more that our original set up. We also keep another tray on the edge of the barrel as a warming tray. The height of this stove pipe keeps most of the smoke away and it is fun to sit around the barrel in the cold spring.
We are considering purchasing a more serious evaporator and are currently looking for the best maple syrup evaporators for sale here in NH. We are working hard to find the most efficient evaporator.