If you want to share your already kegged and carbonated homebrew with family and friends, or entering a beer competition, a good beer gun or counter-pressure filler is needed when you want to transfer beer to a bottle or growler, without losing the carbonation.
A bottle filler is an important addition to your homebrewing tool-box, but like most brewing equipment, all bottle fillers are not created equal.
Let’s break down the best beer guns and counter pressure fillers for homebrewing, and how to choose the best value for your needs.
Table of Contents
The Top 5 Beer Guns and Counter-Pressure Bottle Fillers
Keep reading below to see a more detailed review of the different bottle filler. But if you want to skip all the fluff, here are the 5 that we recommend you have a look at.
Blichmann Beer Gun V2
As a homebrewer, you probably already know that Blichmann makes quality equipment. But before we get started taking a closer look, please note the V2 in the title here. If you’re offered the opportunity to purchase this beer gun second hand, make sure you’re buying V2.
I do not recommend buying version 1 of this beer gun. They ironed out the common complaints when they created version 2, and now we’re looking at a far superior product.
The Blichmann Beer Gun V2 is a powerful piece of equipment, so you’ll want to lower the pressure on your keg to about 5 psi to minimize excessive foaming. It also has a convenient thumb CO2 valve which makes for precise adjustments, and it’s easy to clean.
To minimize the risk of contamination, every part of this beer gun that comes into contact with the beer is made of stainless steel.
Previously, the main drawback of this beer gun was the tip would keep falling out. Now with a recent re-design, it includes a positively retained beer gun seal tip which means no more lost tips.
It comes with a nice carrying case which makes it easy to story and take with you. The accessory kit includes instructions, brush, anti-microbial beer hose, ball-lock and pin-lock, and a CO2 hose.
- Thumb CO2 valve for adjustment
- Accessory kit and carrying case included
- Can be used with one handed
- Made in the USA
- Must lower the psi of the keg
- Some parts can leak
WilliamsWarn Counter Pressure Filler
This top-of-the-line WilliamsWarn counter-pressure bottle filler is fast, efficient, easy to use, and specifically made for the small-scale homebrewer.
If you’re going to be bottling a fair amount of beer for a competition, or just to share, you’ll really appreciate how little CO2 and beer you lose in the process.
The adjustable height feature on this counter pressure filler offers a lot of flexibility for the type of bottles you’re filling. You can easily fill bottles ranging in size from 8″ to 14.5″, and growlers up to 2 liters in size.
Unlike with a beer gun, you can have your keg at a higher PSI and fill a full 5-gallon keg in just about 30 minutes.
This is the most expensive piece bottle filler you’ll find on this list. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want to consider how often you’ll be bottling beer and how many.
However, this counter pressure filler will definitely save you time if you’re bottling a fair amount. That much time and ease of use may be worth the cost of this for you.
The suction cup feet beneath the unit can be a hindrance or a blessing. They attach well to super-smooth surfaces, like stainless steel or granite. When you do that, it holds the unit steady and while you may have a tough time prying it back up, it does make the equipment easily portable.
- Fills bottles fast without excess foam
- Adjustable height for various bottle sizes and growlers up to 2 liters
- Easy to use
- Best counter-pressure filler for a small-scale homebrewer
- More expensive than a beer gun
- Suction cups not the most reliable on all surfaces
Northern Brewer Last Straw
The Last Straw from Northern Brewer is another quality built beer gun that only needs one person to use as well. The main filler tube and components are from stainless steel which makes it more sanitary.
It and is easy to take apart and re-assemble, so keeping it clean is not a problem at all.
The equipment comes with the stainless steel filler, tubing lines for the CO2 and liquid, gaskets, and your choice of ball-lock or pin-lock connection, depending on the type of keg you are using.
Just make sure you choose the right one when ordering. You will also need to get a “Y” splitter or two CO2 ports, which are not included.
Once you get the hang of using this beer gun, it fills bottles a lot faster than you might expect, especially if you’ve used inferior products in the past.
Unlike other systems, it is not necessary to purge or lower the serving pressure of the keg. Just attach the hose to the keg and you are ready to go. It should only take you about 15 seconds to fill each bottle.
One cool feature with this beer gun is the way the handle is designed. You can attach it to a plastic bucket to keep it clean and sanitary in between bottle fills, instead of laying it flat on a dirty surface.
- Can be used with one hand
- No need to purge keg
- Easy to take apart and clean
- Learning curve to avoid too much foam
- Have to choose between ball-lock and pin-lock when ordering
OneBom Beer Bottle Filler
The OneBom beer bottle filler is a solid product at a solid price. The bottling wand is easy to use. It’s also made of stainless steel, which makes it easy to clean.
There really aren’t any bells and whistles on the OneBom, but this is a solid piece of equipment, well-designed, that gets the job done.
More expensive pieces of equipment may be able to fill bottles faster, which is nice. But with the OneBom, the focus is on getting the bottle filled with less CO2, and with quality engineering that makes the bottle filler durable and easy to clean.
That’s what we’re getting here, and honestly, it does that very well. You’ll just need a little patience to make sure you’re letting the bottle filler do its job. This bottle filler works best if the beer is chilled to around 32°F to minimize excessive foam.
Of note, this bottle filler is wide. That means you may have a lot of head space after you fill the bottle due to displacement. You can get better at combating this with time and practice.
- Easy to clean
- Quality construction
- Stainless-steel for optimal sanitation
- Can leave excess head space in the bottle
- Can become clogged from sediment
Midwest Homebrewing Counter-Pressure Filler
This counter-pressure bottle filler will fill 12 ounce to 22 ounce bottles from a carbonated keg.
It will fit with most kegging systems, but all the parts and accessories are not included and must be purchased separately.
While this unit might be fine for a homebrewer that just want to try out a CPBF, there are certainly other options on the market available.
Although you can find this model for less money than the ones listed above, you will almost double the cost after you buy the hoses and fittings.
Also FYI, the picture shown here looks like it is mounted inside of a filter housing, but there is NO filter housing included.
- Budget friendly
- Simple operation
- No foaming if properly set
- Tubing, fittings, and stopper are sold separately
- Not as simple to use as similar items
What We're Looking For In Bottle Fillers
You know how important it is to bottle your homebrew properly if kegging is not in your plans.
But when you want to keg first, then do a transfer later on, you will need a reliable piece of equipment that makes it easy to take the already carbonated beer from a keg to a bottle or growler, without the loss of C02.
The right bottle filler will be designed with this in mind. It will reduce overflow, have a long narrow line, and it will make it easy to purge the bottle with C02.
Sounds simple, right? But some equipment does this a lot better than others.
Of equal importance: it needs to be easy to clean. This means it’s fairly easy to take apart and put back together. It also means it’s made of stainless steel. Plastic beer guns will accumulate bacteria in ways stainless steel, when properly sanitized, will not. Nobody wants that to happen.
A counter-pressure bottle filler is one of the best pieces of homebrewing equipment you can invest in to level up your game when you need to fill bottles or growlers from an already carbonated keg of beer.
Even though the price was virtually the same, it was a toss-up between the Northern Brewer and the Blichmann model, we chose the Blichmann Beer Gun V2 as our top recommended counter-pressure bottle filler.
Overall, we liked the construction and feel of the gun, how simple it was to use, and how easy it was to clean. We also liked that a ball-lock and pin-lock were both included in the accessory kit.
But, ultimately it comes down to personal preference, and how much you are willing to spend when deciding between a beer gun or a counter-pressure filler.
Beer Gun V2
If you are looking for something that will get the job done without breaking the bank, you really can’t go wrong with this beer gun from Blichmann.