Update: PBW Price Comparisons and Buying Guidance

PBW – Powder Brewery Wash is my go-to brewery cleaner. It is a non-hazardous buffered alkaline brewery cleaner and it.. works great.

Using the Spray Bottle Method for Star San means that I use so little Star San that it’s really not even worth price comparing.  I have used the same bottle of Star San, literally, for years.

Not so with PBW.  This is something that I go through relatively quickly.  Under the premise of “buy things in bulk, that you use in bulk” I thought I’d do some price comparisons.

First observation… Buy the bigger sizes (4 lb+).  Never buy the 2 ounce size of PBW.  It’s not even close to enough for one batch of beer.  I’m not including it in the results here, but, you can pay $20 per lb for this size.  I’m not even sure why they make it.  I guess as a sample.  Similarly, the 1 lb size doesn’t make a lot of sense at up to $10 per lb and is not included in this post.

A note about shipping fees.  If free shipping at a certain threshold is available, shipping costs are considered $0.  It’s more difficult to consider calculated and flat rate shipping.  $7.95 flat rate shipping could ship a bunch of stuff, so it doesn’t seem fair to include that entire cost in this comparison.  I’ve divided those figures in half.  50% of flat rate shipping fees are used when flat rate is available.  Calculated shipping is even trickier.  It doesn’t seem right to attribute the entire cost to a single PBW purchase.  Shippers have minimum shipping costs.  You may pay close to the same amount for two of something as for one.  To try and account for that, calculated shipping (in all but one case – as noted) is based on the average of shipping two items.  Cost = shipping for two containers of PBW divided by two.  Note that if shipping fees are calculated, they should be considered an estimate.  I can’t figure these for your location.  Check the retailer for actual shipping cost to you.

Results – 18 Offerings:

Quick Picks:

  • If you’ve got the budget or can go in on a group buy, one of the 50 lb offerings makes the most sense.
  • If you’re not ready to spend $200 on PBW, MoreBeer’s 8 lb PBW (with the prospect of free shipping) is a great choice.

Some Take-Aways:

  1. Retailers that charge calculated shipping have minimum shipping/processing thresholds.  Consider placing a larger order to offset that minimum.  Other items may ship for free or not much more.  Along the same lines, take advantage of sellers free or flat rate shipping offers.  Just get ingredients for your next batch or two.
  2. Never buy the 2 oz size of PBW.  If homebrew dentists existed… this size would be a free giveaway after you went to the homebrewing dental hygienist for your regular whatever-those-people-would-do.  Along those lines, the 1 lb size should also be skipped.
  3. Buy the largest size of PBW your budget allows for.
  4. Don’t disregard sellers that charge calculated shipping prices, with regards to cost… It’s the total to your door that matters.
  5. Shop around.  Prices change, sometimes quickly.  With calculated shipping cost sellers, your cost will vary based on your location in relationship to the retailer.

One thought on “Update: PBW Price Comparisons and Buying Guidance

  1. Shawn DeArmond

    How have you found other cleaners, like OxyClean and OxoBright compare in effectiveness? In my experience they’re just as good, and considerably cheaper.

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