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It doesn’t matter if you are “popping the top” off a bottle of craft beer or root beer, there is no mistaking that distinct “pssst” sound that you are so familiar with. But the last thing you want to hear when you open a new bottle of your homebrew is the sound of silence.
It doesn’t get much worse than spending the time brewing your own beer, waiting four to six weeks before you can drink it, only to find that you created a dud instead.
A bottle capper is a tool that can often be overlooked, but in reality, it can be one of the most important pieces of homebrewing equipment that a home brewer can have.
So to duplicate that unmistakable hiss with your own home brewed beer, you need glass beer bottles, a bag of bottle caps, and the best beer bottle capper that will create an airtight seal between the glass bottle and the crown bottle cap.
Table of Contents
A Look At Our Top 6 Bottle Cappers
In this post, we are going to review our top 6 beer bottle cappers; 3 hand cappers, and 3 bench bottle cappers. But if you are in a hurry, these are the 6 that we recommend.
Red Barron Emily Wing Bottle Capper
This butterfly bottle capper is the “go to” choice for many homebrewers and one of the most popular hand-held beer bottle capper on the market. Though it is made of a red durable plastic, it has proven to be a reliable alternative to it’s bench capper cousin, and should last you for many years.
The Red Baron Emily Wing Capper feels very solid and seems like it would be heavier, but it weighs less than 1 pound. It comes with a strong magnet that holds a standard 26mm crown cap in place, and will work on any 12, 16, or 24 ounce glass bottle. Also, the bell can also be adapted to hold and crimp a larger 29mm bottle cap.
Emily Wing Bottle Capper Pros
- Sturdy design and construction
Emily Wing Bottle Capper Cons
- Does not work with twist-top caps
Black Beauty Bottle Capper
This Black Beauty Bottle Wing Capper is another good choice, especially if you are capping a smaller amount of beer bottles. It is specifically designed for 26mm caps only and does not have the option to use 29mm caps like the Red Baron.
Although it is also made of plastic, it does not seem to be as “heavy duty” as other popular wing cappers, which has been a concern for some homebrewers.
Black Beauty Bottle Capper Pros
- Easy and smooth lever action
- Simple to use
- Won’t leave a dimple in the bottle cap
Black Beauty Bottle Capper Cons
- Does not work with twist-top caps
- Can’t use on 29mm cap sizes
The Universal Rigamonti Hand Capper
The main body of the Universal Rigamonti Capper is constructed and made from solid-state steel. One noticeable difference between this product and other hand cappers is the length of the arms. The longer arms provide a bit more leverage which can make your bottling day go much faster.
Also, unlike other hand cappers, this particular item does not have a magnet to hold the caps in place. It is designed for the bottle cap to be placed on the bottle first, before capping.
There are two models to choose from if you want to seal different size caps. One is designed for 26mm bottle caps, and the other model is for 29mm caps
The Universal Rigamonti Capper Pros
- Longer handle for better leverage
- Solid construction
- Simple to use
The Universal Rigamonti Capper Cons
- Requires periodic oiling
- Can leave a small dimple in the cap
- Does not have a magnet to hold the bottle cap in place
Colt Strong Bench Capper
This sturdy Colt Strong Bench Capper from Home Brew Ohio is a sturdy, industrial grade product that is well suited for any homebrewer. As with all bench bottle cappers, it is designed to be mounted to a flat surface like a brewing bench or table-top, but can also do the job as a stand alone unit as well.
It doesn’t matter if you prefer 12oz, 16oz, or 22oz bottles, this capper is adjustable and will easily fit just about any size bottle ranging from 3″ to 14″ tall.
This bench model is easy to use, and makes sealing all glass bottles with 26mm crown caps a breeze with the easy pull lever handle and a magnet to hold the caps.
Colt Strong Bench Capper Pros
- Secure locking mechanism
- Quick and easy height adjustment
- Easy pull lever with less effort
- Creates a reliable seal
Colt Strong Bench Capper Cons
- Can be top-heavy if not secured to a table or bench
- Magnet can come loose
Ferrari Super Agata Bench Capper
The Ferrari Super Agata Bottle Capper is designed to be used with standard 26mm crown caps, but can be converted to handle larger 29mm caps if a bell housing adapter is purchased separately. This unit is adjustable and will accommodate 12oz, 16oz, 22oz, 375mL, & 750mL bottles, as well as champagne bottles too.
Of course all bench cappers will work better when mounted to a flat surface, but using it as a free standing unit still make the capping process easy. Like other competing models, it also had a decent magnet to help hold the bottle caps in place, and a nice product for the price.
Ferarri Super Agata Bench Capper Pros
- Easily adjusts to different bottle sizes
- Simple to use
- Can be used as a free standing unit
Ferarri Super Agata Bench Capper Cons
- Bottles can get stuck in the bell housing
- Some parts are made of plastic
- Can dent the top of some bottle caps
Professional Bench Bottle Capper
This is another bench style capper that is suited for high-use volume, and works best when mounted to a sturdy surface. If you are unable to mount this unit, it is best to use on a non-slip, textured surface for best results.
While not the best way, we used a rubber mat to keep this product from sliding around. Whether you are brewing beer, or wine, the spring-loaded adjusting knob made it easy to accommodate a standard beer bottle, up to a large wine or champagne bottle.
Professional Bench Capper Pros
- Handle is made of metal for extra durability
- Easily Adjusts to different bottle heights
- Strong magnet to hold the crown caps
Professional Bench Capper Cons
- Mounting base is thin and should be larger
- Caps can become stuck after crimping to the bottles
- Crown magnet can come loose
Why Not Just Keg Your Beer?
Many homebrewers would rather keg their beer rather than mess with the hassle of bottling. Kegging can be much easier than cleaning and sanitizing 48 glass bottles, filling these bottles with gallons of beer, and then having to individually cap each beer bottle too.
Yes, it’s pretty cool to have a keg of beer in your basement or man cave, but sometimes they are just not often practical unless you are having a party and plan on serving a lot of people. Not to mention they are not easy to move around, and it might be difficult to keep your keg cold.
We are not against putting your beer in a keg at all, but for some homebrewers, kegging is just not an option. Whether it’s because of the high price of buying extra equipment, simply don’t have the space, or just lack the overall knowledge, bottling beer seems like the logical choice for most home brewers.
What To Think About Before Buying A Bottle Capper
If you bought a beer making kit, it more than likely had a beer bottle capper already included as part of the package. But if you are buying all of your brewing equipment separately, or need a replacement, there are a few different styles for you to choose from.
A bench beer bottle capper and a standard hand capper are the two main styles you will likely come across when researching bottle cappers. But before deciding what type you should buy, there are few things that might make your decision a bit easier.
- What is your budget?
- How much space do you have?
- How many bottles will you be capping at a time?
- How often to you plan on brewing?
While bench cappers will cost slightly more than a hand capper, they really can be a useful to a homebrewer. However, if you are on a tight budget and want to spend the least amount possible on your equipment,
However, if you only brew small batches of beer, or only brew 1 or 2 times a year, a hand capper would probably be best for you. But if you brew larger batches of beer, or brew more often, getting a bench capper might be a wise choice.
How Much Space Do You Have?
A hand capper is quite compact and can be kept and stored in just about any place in your home. It’s not huge, but bench cappers are a bit larger in size than it’s wing-handled cousin, but as the name indicates, it’s designed to work best when it’s mounted to a bench or table-top.
Although bench cappers work best when mounted, they can sometimes be used as a stand alone unit as well. However, if you only do limited brewing and don’t have a place to securely mount a bench bottle capper, it might not be worth the extra cost. But if you have your home brew bottling station set-up in your garage or basement, it could be a worthwhile upgrade to make your bottling day go much smoother and quick
How Many Bottles Need To Be Capped?
You know that oxygen is bad for beer once fermentation is complete, so to avoid oxidation, which can lead to spoiling, you want to rack the beer to your bottles as fast and efficient as possible.
If you are doing a good amount of bottling, bench beer bottle cappers are great, and will get your crown caps on your beer bottles in less time than doing it by hand which can be time consuming, and exhausting too.
What's Your Brewing Schedule?
Again, if you really don’t brew that often and are comfortable with the basic hand model, there probably isn’t much of a reason to use anything else.
But no matter if you are brewing a new batch of beer a few times a month, or a few times a year, having a a well-made bench or hand capper as part of your homebrewing equipment should be high on your list.
Choosing The Best Bottle Capper
Just like most items, you always have a choice when it comes to finding the right product for your needs, and a beer bottle capper is no different. As you continue to brew your own beer, you will always be looking for ways to make your brewing and bottling day more efficient and run much smoother.
Although most bottle cappers are relatively inexpensive, there is no reason to buy one based solely on the price. The cheapest one in the bunch is often not the best deal, and will cost you more money in the long run.
Figure out your budget, how big of batches of beer you want to brew at a time, how often you plan on brewing, and make sure you buy a quality beer bottle capper based on that.
Remember, you don’t need an expensive bottle capper, you just need a reliable one that will do the job fast and won’t fail when you need it most. You certainly don’t want to waste all your time and effort to find that your beer is flat or spoiled because your bottle caps were not properly installed.
For whatever reason, no product is perfect and do fail at times. No matter what bottle capper you buy, it is always a good idea to have a spare backup in case one breaks during bottling day. It’s just one less thing you will have to worry about next time you are going to brew.
What Is Our Favorite Bottle Capper?
Any of these listed above should satisfy your bottling requirements. But, if your are wanting to start with a basic hand-capper to bottle your beer, our recommendation is the hand capper from Red Baron. The Red Baron is inexpensive, easy to use, well-made, and a reliable product that is perfect for all of your homebrewing bottling needs.
But if you are looking for bench cappers only, or to have a spare for an emergency, our top pick would be the Colt Strong Bench Capper by Home Brew Ohio. Even though the prices for bench cappers costs more than a wing lever hand-capper, you will be done in no time. The ease of use when capping a large quantity of bottles, is definitely worth the extra investment.
P.S. If this is the first time bottling beer and need a quick guide on how to bottle your beer, check out our post on this page here.