Best Still Kits for Moonshine and Home Distilling

by Karl | Updated: January 15, 2021

Have you ever bought alcohol from the store and thought, ‘I could do this better’?

Well, there’s a way to do that. And it’s not complicated at all.

Distilling your own alcohol, wine, moonshine, or even essential oils (yes!) can be a fun and rewarding experience. All you need is a still kit to get started.

We understand that this can be overwhelming since there are so many options in the market.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best still kits below. Let’s get to it.

7 Best Still Kits for Home Distilling

Clawhammer Supply

Clawhammer Supply 5 Gallon Copper Moonshine Still: Best Design

If you want a bit of fun and challenge, then this is for you.

This is a 100% DIY kit. It comes with all the necessary components you need to build your own moonshine kit.

Made in the USA, the parts are 100% copper and they have been machine-cut and pre-drilled. According to the distiller, it will take you about 6 to 8 hours to assemble the whole kit.

The end result is a classic old school design that also considers taste. Why? Because copper is the best choice for moonshine stills.

Depending on the purpose, you will most likely need to buy extra hoses or extension pipe.

This is a premium choice suitable for producing good spirits or water.

Specifications

  • Capacity: 5 Gallons / 18 L
  • Weight: 9.5 lbs / 4.3 kg
  • Dimensions: 30.3 x 22.2 x 2.5 in

Pros

  • High-quality, durable material
  • Pure and good distillate
  • Timeless design
  • Excellent customer service

Cons

  • Time-consuming construction/assembly
  • Soldering required
  • Extra accessories needed

Seeutek 3 Gallon 12L Copper Tube Moonshine Still Kit: Best Budget Pick

Don’t let the small price tag fool you. This moonshine kit comes as a complete, high-quality package.

Each of the materials in the kit is safe, non-toxic substances such as red copper and 304 stainless steel.

It features a built-in thermometer that displays both Celsius and Fahrenheit. The copper condenser reduces naturally-occurring sulfur.

It also acts as an outlet to make emptying or circulating water easier. To top it off, the buckle and one-way air valve, both of which provide a better seal.

Additionally, the pot is extra thick to withstand heat. As a result, it provides more versatility for heating methods. Choose from a gas stove, electric ceramic heater, induction cooker, or even firewood.

This moonshine kit is great for beginners, who want to make their own drink or essential oils.

Specifications

  • Capacity: 3 Gallons / 12 L
  • Weight: 7.7 lbs / 3.49 kg
  • Dimensions: 10.8 x 10.8 x 15 in

Pros

  • Complete kit
  • Easy to assemble
  • Affordable
  • High-quality materials

Cons

  • Weak/loose clamps
  • Unclear and confusing instructions

Still Spirits T-500 Boiler and Condenser System: Best Overall

This equipment is an excellent option for those looking for quality and technology. Suitable for both experts and beginners, this is a solid choice for those who don’t want to give up great taste.

What makes this equipment special is that it produces a clean and robust spirit. How, exactly? It has the ability to collect up to 93% alcohol by volume (ABV) and an extra 95% of the alcohol in your wash.

So even cheap alcohol can transform into something delicious and full-bodied.

Made with stainless steel, this equipment is rust-resistant and long-lasting. It will also save you from that tangy metallic taste that tends to occur in other substances.

The package includes a faucet adaptor, boiler, thermal cut out fuse, and a waste discharge tap.

Specifications

  • Capacity: 6.5 Gallons / 25 L
  • Weight: 21.1 lbs / 9.57 kg
  • Dimensions: 36 x 24 x 24 in
  • Price: Varying prices (price ranges from $450-700)

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Complete accessories
  • High-quality materials
  • High alcohol purity (up to 95%)

Cons

  • Expensive price
  • May need to replace water faucet adaptor over time

WMN Trulystep 3 Gallon 12L Stainless Steel Distiller

This equipment is a portable kit created with design and usability in mind.

This kit measures about 10 inches in diameter, so it’s easy to store or travel anywhere. On top of that, this kit not only comes almost fully assembled but also has all the accessories you need.

As for the materials, they are food-grade materials with zero lead. The fermenter pot is 25% thicker which makes it durable and suitable for all types of heat sources.

This distiller kit comes with a free stainless steam plate and gauze bag.

These materials prevent burnout and improve distillation. Other features include a water inlet/outlet, built-in thermometer, and integral seal O-ring.

With its completeness, this is another product that is suitable for beginners.

Specifications

  • Capacity: 3 Gallons / 12 L
  • Weight: 6.39 lbs / 2.9 kg
  • Dimensions: 24.9 x 24.9 x 24.9 in

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Easy to store/carry
  • Affordable
  • Generous warranty and replacement policy

Cons

  • Rusting materials over time
  • Overflowing issue due to heat

OLizee 8 Gallon 30L Stainless Steel Distiller

The first thing you notice about this equipment is the thumper keg. The thumper keg is suitable for adding more flavors. As a result, this creates a stronger and cleaner final result.

The independent airway design allows the distillate to rise faster. In return, it delivers higher purity in the batch. This makes it great for all purposes, whether it’s distilling water or alcohol.

This equipment is pretty much complete. It includes a thermometer, air valve, two silicone hoses, cooler, stainless cup, and pipe.

Specifications

  • Capacity: 8 Gallons / 30 L
  • Weight: 14.3 lbs / 6.49 kg
  • Dimensions: 16.5 x 16.5 x 16.1 in

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Bubbler airlock
  • High-quality materials
  • Includes thumper keg for more flavors

Cons

  • Inaccurate thermometer
  • Condenser is too small
  • Leaking seals

North Georgia Still Company 5 Gallon Copper Moonshine Still

A veteran-owned business handcrafts this moonshine kit, made with 100% USA copper.

It comes with a worm condenser with a water inlet and outlet for cycling cold water in the can. This is a great addition as it cools down the alcohol faster.

Another accessory is the thumper. The thumper acts like a second distillation, making the distillate purer and stronger.

In particular, this thumper inlet will run all the way to the bottom of the pot to cover all bases. It is also cut into a 45-degree angle to maximize effectiveness.

There are two things that make this equipment stand out.

First, the opening is wide enough for your arm to fit inside. Keep in mind that most do not have this design.

Second, it features extra thick bottom seams. This means the pot can withstand over double the weight that you will load it with.

Specifications

  • Capacity: 5 Gallons / 18 L
  • Weight: Unknown
  • Dimensions: 30 x 16 x 16 in

Pros

  • High-quality materials
  • Outstanding construction
  • Easy to assemble
  • Pure and good quality distillate
  • Large opening for easier cleaning

Cons

  • Extra supplies required (e.g. connectors and tubing)
  • Expensive price
5 Gallon Copper Alembic Still
$399.99
Detail Page
08/03/2021 12:58 pm GMT

Alchemade 5 Gallon Copper Alembic Moonshine Still

The Alchemade Alembic Moonshine Still is carefully handcrafted for a timeless design.

The kit is fully equipped when you purchase it. It comes with a copper pot, built-in thermometer, soldered union construction, swan-shaped neck lid, and a condensing recipient with a serpentine coil.

All parts have been meticulously soldered using copper, brass, and 100% lead-free tin or silver.

Afterward, they have been hammered by hand. This allows a better seal and a higher resistance to make sure the equipment is long-lasting.

Since it’s made of copper, it helps reduce sulfur found in distillates.

This will produce an end result that tastes and smells better. That’s why alembic pots are suitable for all kinds of alcohol, and even essential oils.

Specifications

  • Capacity: 5 Gallons / 18 L
  • Weight: 10 lbs / 4.5 kg
  • Dimensions: 25 x 30 x 13 in

Pros

  • Classic alembic design
  • Pure and good quality distillate
  • No extra construction needed

Cons

  • Condenser and bucket are too small
  • Problematic soldering causing leakage

Q&A: All About Still Kits

What is a Still?

A still is a device that collects the alcohol created through the fermentation process of a mash. A mash is a combination of grains, yeast, sugar, and water.

Stills are usually made from copper or stainless steel, or a combination of both. It’s available in varying sizes depending on your needs.

How Do Stills Work?

Stills work by separating the water and impurities from a mash wash. To do so, it requires undergoing two chemical processes: fermentation and distillation.

The first process is fermentation. Stills will act as a container for the mash. The mash is heated and undergoes fermentation.

During this process, the ethanol is separated from the mash. This is because ethanol boils at a lower temperature than water contained in the mash.

The next process is distillation. This is when the collected alcohol evaporates.

The still collects the steam. And then, it condenses this back into liquid form to create alcohol, such as whiskey, beer, vodka, and brandy.

Are Stills for Alcohol Only?

Yes and no.

In the past, people used stills to produce bootleg alcohol. Since then, many people continue to use this device to brew their own alcohol at home.

But these products can be more than an alcohol-maker. You can distill water, essential oils, and even herbal medicine.

Is It Legal to Make Moonshine?

No, it’s not. You might be wondering why it’s anybody’s business that you’re making your own alcohol. Unfortunately, most countries do not allow this at all.

For example, in the United States, federal law states that it is legal to own a still of any size.

It is also legal for purposes such as decoration, distilling water, and so on. In other words, it’s only legal if it’s for non-alcoholic purposes.

But for alcoholic purposes, it is usually illegal. Some states “allow” you but you need a permit. For permits, usually, it’s a federal Distilled Spirits Permit (DSP) or fuel alcohol permit.

But there are also countries that have legalized making your own moonshine. Russia and New Zealand are some examples.

So before jumping into this hobby, make sure to stay legal!

Types of Stills

Pot Still

This is the simplest and most traditional still.

It consists of a large boiler or kettle placed on top of a heating element. The vapor from the ethanol gets transferred along a tube. It then moves into a condenser, where it turns back to liquid again.

These pots have the ability to capture and maintain the natural flavors of a mash. So, it makes them suitable for making flavored liquor, such as brandy, rum, schnapps, or whiskey.

But it only has about 40% to 60% purity. It is possible to increase the purity by using other equipment, such as a thumper keg. Running several distillations is also possible but at the risk of losing flavor.

Reflux Still

Also known as a column or compound still, reflux stills have many similarities to pot stills.

It has the same components as a pot still, including a heating element, a tube, and a coil.

The difference is the long and tall column with a condenser at the top. This long column has packing filling, which is usually made out of metal materials.

During the distillation process, the condenser will “catch” the vapor. This then trickles down into the column packing. From there, it will vaporize again to increase liquor content.

The end result is a high purity of about 95%.

While the alcohol is stronger and purer, the downside is that it has little to no taste. Why? Because it’s almost the same effect as distilling several times on a pot still.

Hybrid Still

Also known as a fractionating still, a hybrid still looks and works like a reflux still. The only distinguishing feature is that it has a much taller column (usually two to four feet tall).

The taller column packing has the ability to condense up to 90% of the ethanol vapor. Then, the vapor will move down to the column to increase liquor content.

Likewise, the end result is a highly pure alcohol with little to no flavor. The purity is about 95% as well.

Both reflux and hybrid stills are good for creating strong alcohol to mix with other ingredients.

Buying Guide for the Best Kit

Now that you’ve taken a look at our recommended list of options, you might be wondering what’s the best kit for you.

At the end of the day, the choice boils down to your preferences and needs.

But to help you choose, we created a list of important factors to keep in mind before you click ‘Add to Cart’.

Still Type

As described in the list above, there are three main different types of stills.

A pot still would be useful if you want to maintain the natural flavors from your mash. Set up is easier, as all you’ll need is a boiler and a condenser.

A reflux still would be useful if you’re planning to create strong and pure fuel ethanol. Note that the end product is flavorless and odorless. So, it’s suitable if you’re mixing your alcohol with other ingredients.

A hybrid still would be useful if you want to create neutral but potent ethanol. Hybrid stills tend to have a stronger purity than reflux stills. This is because the column packing has a taller height.

Material

Most stills are stainless steel or copper. Each has its benefits, so it boils down to your preferences.

Copper is useful if you’re planning to distill alcohol. This is because copper has the natural ability to remove sulfur, which is present in the mash. As a result, copper helps create a better tasting and smelling alcohol.

Stainless steel tends to be lower on the price. Plus, they’re more durable and easier to clean. Stainless steel also saves you from that tangy metallic taste that tends to occur in copper.

What’s more important is the quality of the material. To do so, check customers’ reviews.

A higher price doesn’t always mean better quality. Sometimes, paying a higher price unit results in saving you time and money in the future.

Buy or Build

Keep in mind that a distiller kit may require you to DIY it, especially if it’s a traditional one.

For example, the Clawhammer Supply Kit from our list is a prime example of this.

That’s why it’s important to check the manufacturer’s posting. Check if the kit requires extra assembly from scratch. Or if you need to put the different units together.

DIY kits can be a fun and rewarding experience. But it does take time. And you may also need to have extra tools (e.g. hammer, plumbing torch, lead-free solder, and so on).

If you don’t want to invest in assembling and soldering, make sure to go for ready-made products.

Capacity

Depending on your needs, the capacity is an important factor to consider.

For home distilling purposes, 3 to 5 gallon is usually enough. Majority of the kits in our list are within this range.

But if you need to distill in large quantities, consider a higher capacity, such as 8 gallons.

Keep in mind that a still with a 3-gallon capacity won’t produce 3 gallons of alcohol. The yield is usually smaller due to various factors, such as the amount of sugar and yeast used.

If you opt for a larger capacity kit, also consider how much storage space you have.

Maintenance

Maintenance is all about thinking long-term.

One thing to consider is the head of the still. A still with a big head will be easier to clean because you can reach all the way to the bottom. Thorough cleaning is important to make sure your distillate will continue tasting great.

Another is the fittings. Fittings are important as they’re related to leakage. Over time, fittings may become loose and may cause your distillate to spill over before it’s finished.

If possible, choose durable and high-quality fittings from the start. Regular inspection will help in making sure they’re still tight enough.

As mentioned above, type and capacity are other factors to consider. This is especially relevant if you don’t have a dedicated space for distilling.

For example, you can disassemble certain stills to store it away. Larger capacity stills are bigger, and hybrid stills tend to be very tall.

Attachments

Some products include all necessary accessories upon buying.

But for others, you may need to buy extra units (e.g. water pump, tubing).

Granted, the price tag won’t be too hefty for these. But it’s still something to consider, especially if you want to distill right away. There’s nothing worse than waiting for the units to arrive, right?

Heat source

Before you get started, think about what kind of heat source—or sources—you will be using.

Some manufacturers say their kit is compatible with all types of heating elements. But when you read customer reviews, that may not be the case. This is especially true for induction stoves.

So, make sure to go through the reviews. Or better yet, contact the distiller to confirm any doubts.

Warranty

While not intentional, it’s possible for you to receive defective kits. So make sure to check the return policy and warranty of the distiller.

Most manufacturers offer a 1-year warranty. Some offer exchanging components for free, and some provide a money-back guarantee too.

Price

Last but not the least, price is always an important factor.

The good news is that moonshine kits come in varying price tags.

For beginners, you might want to buy something affordable first so you won’t end up wasting any money.

Don’t look at the numerical value only. Keep in mind that sometimes a kit is cheaper as it lacks certain units, or due to lower grade materials.

Consider all the factors mentioned in this list so you can buy the best bang for the buck. Happy shopping!

Using Moonshine Kits: A Guide for Beginners

You already have an ideal moonshine kit in mind. Or you’ve purchased a kit already, but the instructions are overwhelming.

So how exactly do you get started?

Worry not. We’ve created a list for beginners. All you need to remember are three things: prepare, check, clean.

Follow the list step by step, and you’ll be an expert in no time.

Step One: Prepare the Space

There are no hard and fast rules for setting up your space. That’s the beauty of home distillation.

But as a general guide, make sure to have the following:

  • Table: If your kit is small enough to fit in the kitchen, then make ample space on your kitchen island. If you’re distilling anywhere else, have a table to put all your equipment.
  • Heating element: Prepare your electrical, gas, or induction stove. Or if you want a more “camp-like” feel, go for a propane burner or good old firewood.
  • Extra space: If your table is large enough, skip this step. Otherwise, get another table or a stand to place your container or jar to collect your final product.

Step Two: Check All Supplies & Components

Once the space is ready, make a check-list to see if you have all the necessary components.

Some kits are complete, whereas some require you to buy extra units.

Even if your kit is complete, it might be a good idea to replace or upgrade your units. This is to ensure your distillate will turn out great.

Other supplies you need:

  • Heavy-duty gloves: The pot can get very hot, so make sure you have some gloves on.
  • Glass container or jar: This is for collecting your final product.
  • Water: If possible, avoid using tap water. Tap water contains chlorine and other possible contaminants.
  • Vinegar: Use white vinegar, which is low in acidity, for cleaning your kit.
  • Watch: To record how long it takes for the still to heat up, how long the whole distillate process takes.

Step Three: Clean the Kit

To clean your kit, put white vinegar to run through your kit. If you’re worried about the acidity of the vinegar, mix it with water.

When heating, don’t use high heat right away. You might think using high temperature will make the water-vinegar mixture boil faster. But this might impact the fittings and cause leakage due to the pressure.

Start with low heat, then warm it up to medium heat on a gradual level.

Repeat the distillation process a few times. Then as a finishing step, use water only. This will get rid of the vinegar taste.

How do you know when to stop? Taste the distilled water. If it tastes good, then you’re good to go.

Pro tip #1: Use your watch to see the time it takes to distill. You’ll be able to note how long each distillation takes.

Pro tip #2: Use your time effectively while waiting. Put the other components (such as tubing) in a different pot of hot water to disinfect them.

Top Picks

Still Spirits T-500 Boiler and Condenser System: Best Overall

Alcohol purity? Check. Durable? Check. Complete kit? Check.

The T-500 Boiler is an equipment suitable for beginners and experts alike.

This kit is easy to assemble, and it is complete with no extra components needed. It can collect up to 95% alcohol purity to provide a strong, full-bodied spirit.

Clawhammer Supply

Clawhammer Supply 5 Gallon Copper Moonshine Still: Best Value

This kit is perfect for those who want a classic, timeless design. And a bit of an adventure.

Made in the USA, this is a DIY kit. Use the precise-cut materials to have fun making your very own kit. But you will need to invest some time to finish.

This is a good choice for those who prefer something traditional. It’s also great especially for brewing, as you can take advantage of the benefits of copper.

Seeutek 3 Gallon 12L Copper Tube Moonshine Still Kit: Best Budget Pick

This product is a good choice for beginners who want something nice, but don’t want an item with a hefty price tag.

Created from food-grade materials, this equipment offers durability and versatility. This kit is easy to assemble and comes as a complete set for you to get started right away.

Final Words

As we’ve seen from this article, there is a moonshine still for each and every one.

What we’ve written is just a guide, so ultimately the choice is yours.

Choosing your kit, cleaning the pot, eagerly waiting for your first distillate, buying additional parts—all of this is part of your homebrewing journey.

Make sure to stay legal, and above all: Have fun!

Lead marketer, brewer, dad, and husband. Pretty much an all-round awesome guy.