What's So Good About Using a Plastic Carboy?
There are some distinct advantages of using a plastic carboy instead of glass:
- cheaper to buy
- lighter in weight so shipping costs are lower
- easy to move around - at least when empty
- you can buy them with a spigot so draining/racking is a breeze - though it's more nooks and crannies for beasties to hide in
- they will accept a bit of abuse on the outside without cracking
- they are made of "PET" which is the most recycled plastic in the U.S.
If you're just getting started in wine making these carboys will do just fine and are a great place to start. Here's a look at the pros and cons of glass carboys vs plastic in more detail.
Smooth-Sided Carboys VS Ribbed-Sided Carboys
The PET carboys with smooth sides are generally preferred. In my experience - there are no ribs to "catch" dead yeast and crud which makes them easier to clean.
Smooth carboys versus ribbed carboys
An added bonus
is being able to watch your fermentation through a completely unbroken
surface. I like that.
I get that the ribbed carboys are
designed for strength. That's what ribs do. It's just that this can also
be accomplished by going with a heavier wall thickness.
smooth sided carboy also has a better surface to attach a
heat pad to when fermenting. The pad can do it's job more efficiently because it sits flat on the entire surface instead of just contacting the top of each
A brew belt works fine on the ribbed models though because they're narrow enough to fit between the ribs.
And if you use a stick-on thermometer make sure the ribbed carboy has enough vertical flat surface to stick it on.
The pros and cons between wide-mouth and standard neck carboys can be found here under glass carboys.