I was looking around for some low-cost alternatives to conical fermenters, and I came across inductor tanks. Has anyone used or heard of someone using these tanks? Is there any danger/downside to using them (aside from scratching the inside and risking contamination)?
They're made out of medium-density polyethylene, is this the same material "Ale Pails" are made of? For around $55 for a 15 gallon, this seems like a really cheap way to get into making larger batches (as opposed to the $600 NB chargers for a 15 gallon stainless).
Check out shipping on those tanks. I looked into placing an order of five of their 35-gallon tanks and it would cost $450 to freight them to me.
Don't forget (or "have you heard") about Mini-Brew plastic conicals. They're a little more expensive, but you get a racking port and a side port for temperature probe. I found mine on eBay for about half the list price.
Both the Tank-Depot and Mini-Brew conicals have threaded fittings, which may harbor bacteria. I got an infection in one of mine that ruined four batches in a row. I put it on the shelf and haven't touched it. (I'll sell it to ya cheap!)
Ale Pales are normally HDPE (high density polyethylene), for what its worth.
You could always ferment in a half barrel for 10-12 gallon sized batches for cheaper than the NB conical, but maybe not cheaper than $55 for one of those plastic conicals.
Those would be perfect, one of the biggest home brew shops in the UK sells a range of plastic conical fermenters like these. As stated the risk would be in getting a scratch and thus an infection. But if you are careful with it you should get 2-3 years out of it. For $55 I think its a no-brainer.