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New bucket heater

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by sunparakeet, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. Has anyone used one of these silicone wrap-around bucket heaters?


    They look like they'd be great for maceration and degreasing. There's a couple different brands but most of them go up to 150 degrees or higher. Only problem is the price...the cheapest one I found was $89. Still, it would be nice to have the heater on the outside of the bucket, and with a built in thermostat to boot.
  2. backcountrychad

    backcountrychad Active Member

    Cool, first I've seen of these. Where'd you get yours?

  3. DeeCee

    DeeCee New Member

    That looks interesting. I'd like to know a little more about those. Do you have a brand name?
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I have seen these. They are called "Barrel Heaters". I really like the idea of them but as you said, the cost has been scary with those. Still, they look really sturdy and durable and come in sizes and lengths to heat something as large as a 55 gallon drum.
  5. sgsmith

    sgsmith Member

    I have two that are identical to those although mine are for 55 gal barrels , they work great on plastic barrels. I also have two that are for higher wattage which will get a barrel of water anywhere from warm to boiling , like Sea Wolf says they aren't cheap. I have had them for 15 years or so never had a problem with them. I macerate with them outside even with the freezing weather, just cover the barrel with a blue tarp. Use them inside for degreasing. What I like about them is the temp is adjustable with the turn of a dial. I have even used them to cook boiled hams, stews for a large group of people, etc.
    You can get the heaters from U-line, I order stuff from them all the time.
  6. Never seen those, interesting.
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Interesting to note that you have had them this long without issue. If they last that long without problems it may well be a good investment. Replacing one every 5 or 6 years would be a nightmare. They seemed to be made out of a heavy rubberized material like the "pig blankets". How hard do you find that they are on electricity? Wondering if a larger one would heat the 100+ gallon steel stock tank that I use for bigger or multiple projects.
  8. blacktailhunter

    blacktailhunter New Member

    I'm using one for degreasing and so far I'm happy with it. It will easily get to 110 degs. I don't think its as efficient as a submersible heater but I have it wrapped up in multiple towels to insulate it. I added a small submersible aquarium wave maker pump to circulate the water and it really does a great job!

    Attached Files:

  9. It's cool to know that other people have used them. I was a little leery because of the price and because nowhere online have I seen any user reviews. They seem like they're for industrial applications so they've got to be pretty durable. I'm going to have my parents get me one for christmas. New maceration bucket, here I come!

    I just like the idea of not having the heater inside the bucket. The bucket heaters are nice but really it's a less-than-ideal setup, especially if you have a thermostat epoxied to a 5-gallon bucket like I do (per the very popular tutorial on this site). I have had skulls touch the bucket heater and get burns on them. Not to mention the nastiness factor of skull-water touching the heater (I put my skulls in bags inside the bucket but they occasionally "escape"), and the fact that you can't get a sealed lid on a container with a power cord coming out of it.
  10. sgsmith

    sgsmith Member

    Sea Wolf I don't know the cost that the heaters add to my electric bill. My normal monthly electric bill is around $ 700.00, usually a little more. I have three phase and use a lot of power as I have a meat processing plant along with taxidermy. There are quite a lot of items that I use in taxidermy that I get from meat supply houses. The heaters that I have had all of these years are 220 volt and have a metal band that goes around barrels. The ones like the one pictured above are 110 volt and I believe you could hook two together to go around a large diameter tank as long as the element makes complete contact with your container. I also have sterilizer heaters (meat processing) that I am going to put in 400 gal square chemical tanks for big heads, like big horned steers, big elk. etc and be able to do three or four at the same time. They cost around $ 80.00 each.
  11. Update on the wrap-around bucket heater:

    I have been using one to macerate a few coyote skulls and so far, it works really nice. I put my skulls in ziploc bags within the bucket and I can fit an extra head in there now that I don't have one of the big metal bucket heaters in the way.

    My only slight complaint is the temperature gauge seems off. It's in Celsius but I have to put it on about 60 to get it up to optimal maceration temperature. That is about 140F which normally would be too hot for maceration so maybe it runs a little cool. It goes up past 150 f which is way beyond the boiling point so I'm sure it will be great for degreasing too.

    I'll definitely be using these from now on. I have 4 or 5 bucket heaters I made "caveman style" with a thermostat and power cord wired to the bucket (like in the tutorial thread). These wrap-around bucket heaters are more expensive but I didn't have to do anything to use it - just wrap it around the bucket, plug it in, and set them temperature. I also don't have to worry about it shorting out like with the submersible bucket heaters - I took a couple of those out of the water for too long and shorted them out. Can't happen with a heater like this. Also none of it touches the maceration water so the whole operation stays cleaner.

    All in all a good purchase!
  12. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    All in all it does seem to be quite off. Rather than damage a skull you can't replace (or worse, someone elses) I would get a separate thermometer of some type and keep it in the water to monitor it.
  13. I wonder if maybe it reads so low because it's 7 degrees out and I have the bucket sitting in an unheated shed with no additional insulation on the bucket. Maybe it just can't quite keep up with the cold?
  14. Slate Run

    Slate Run Member

    Where can these bucket heaters be found?
  15. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Google search for "Barrel Heaters" ... not bucket heater. :)
  16. Or "pail heaters"
  17. terry13111

    terry13111 New Member

    I might try one for my first maceration setup...