I just bought this chugger pump:
I have only used it once, but it worked well. It has some drawbacks, as most do. It can’t self prime, which means that if you turn it on without liquid flowing inward to the pump, you can burn it out or damage it. The reason that stinks is… to clean it out and make sure you get all the wort back out… you basically have to feed hot/clean water into it after you are done with pumping wort. Now… that’s not a huge deal, you’re going to sparge immediately afterwards anyways… but for me, I have built a small-ish brew stand that has all the fixings of an electric brewery. So, it’s not great to have to use two hoses for the inlet, one that I connect to the lauter tun, and the other to the hot liquor tank. The hot liquor tank is located (obviously) higher on the stand than the lauter tun, so I needed to use a different/linger piece of hose. Not a huge deal, just had to buy a longer overall piece of hose to make the two separate hose lengths. Once the water entered the pump, I shut off the power, blew some compressed air into the hose, then disconnected everything and started my sparge.
Also, the mounting holes on the base are located a little too close to the actual pump for my liking. This means that mounting the pump is a little harder. I mounted mine vertically, and I had to do some fancy finagling to get it to mount nicely. Taking it off these mounts is also a slight challenge, so again… cleaning after use is a little tough if you happen to actually mount it to something. I still wanted to clean out any residues and eliminate any water inside the pump head, to prevent mold and bacteria for whenever I use it next.
Overall I like it. I bought a ball valve for the outlet, so I can only partially open it if the pump can’t get the water up to a height I desire. It’s basically like sticking your thumb over the end of a garden hose… however, Northern Brewer just came out with a smaller, cheaper option that can actually self prime. In the future, if I need any more pumps, possibly for a chiller or to make transfers easier, or whatever floats my boat, I might try it out. I don’t think it’s stainless steel but it’s like 1/3 the cost and is obviously still food grade but it can’t handle boiling temps