Stainless steel filter press and plates
Stainless steel filter press and plates Filter Press with Long Platform, Thermometer and Air Diaphragm Pump Filter Press with Short Platform, Thermometer and Hand Pump Filter Press with Short Platform, Thermometer and Hand Pump The offset hangers make it immediately obvious if you are inserting a plate backwards. video video video video video
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Stainless Steel Filter Press w/ Hose Kit, Filter Aide and Filter Papers

(15 customer reviews)


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This is a handcrafted product, made just for you!


  • Hose Kit: Comes with food grade, heat-safe, non-collapsable inlet and outlet hoses with stainless steel fittings
  • 5-Gallon Resealable Bucket of DE: (also known as Filter Aide)
  • Stainless Steel Drip Tray: Keeps your workspace nice and tidy
  • Rubber, non-skid feet
  • Disposable Filter Papers: Enough quantity for 10 sessions

The Smoky Lake Advantage:

  • Indisputably Food Grade: 304 Stainless Steel (Our competitors use aluminum, plastic, or even brass which contains lead)
  • Expandable: Add plates/capacity as your business grows.
  • Positive Assembly: The hangers were designed in such a way to make it impossible to insert a plate backwards.
  • Non-Tilt: Unlike many competitors, you do not need to tilt the press on end to load the filter papers.
  • Two Pump Options: Choose from an economical plastic hand pump or a stainless steel air diaphragm pump.
  • Thermometer Option: Tapped into the top of a window plate so you can monitor syrup temperature at startup.
  • Cost will be comparable to our competitor’s aluminum filter presses.

NOTE: We are currently transitioning our Filter Presses over to using “Screen Plates” in lieu of our traditional “Waffle Plates”. The benefit of the new Screen Plate design is that they are lighter weight and offer enhanced support of your Filter Papers.

See chart at bottom of this page for help with sizing.


Optional Add-On: Monitor Temperature Inside the Press?

Optional Add-On: Heavy Duty Cart

Stainless Steel Cart

SKU: N/A Category:


Downloadable Filter Press Manual


The Problem with Competitor Filter Presses

I’ve always wondered why everything in our industry, particularly in the processing, was required to be food grade Stainless Steel; yet none of the filter presses were being built to those standards. A long time ago a representative of one of the major equipment manufacturers told me, “It’s too expensive to build filter presses out of stainless steel”… That’s always bothered me.

The Solution

Smoky Lake Maple Products has exerted great effort into the development of the best filter press in the maple industry. We’ve succeeded. And we are offering it for a cost comparable to the aluminum and plastic units currently on the market. We’re very proud of this achievement.

Food Grade

The press is 100% Stainless Steel. The frame is stainless steel. The plates are stainless steel. The air diaphragm pump is stainless steel. All fittings and hardware are stainless steel. All 304 Stainless Steel. We’ve created the only indisputably food grade filter press in the industry. And it looks as professional and beautiful as the rest of the equipment Smoky Lake has become known for. It’s easy to compare this press against any of the cast aluminum models and see how stunning it truly is.


Every unit is built to be expandable. A hobby producer can start with either the small platform or the large platform and chose the optional Hand Operated Plastic pump and load as little as 6 filters at a time. As this hobby producer grows they can expand the unit in increments of 4 filters to a total of 10 on the Small Platform or 20 on the Large Platform. That producer can chose to upgrade to the Stainless Steel Air Diaphragm pump at any time, all mounts and connections are in place and ready for such an eventuality. This system is meant to last a lifetime of syrup production, growing with the producer as they expand their crop.

Each window plate will hold 3 – 1/4 cup of DE.

Fool-Proof Assembly

Finally it’s literally impossible to put any of the plates in backwards, thanks to the foresight taken to offset the hangers on every piece. Most experienced producers know how frustrating it is when they accidentally put only one plate in backwards, not going to happen with the new filter press from Smoky Lake Maple Products.

Tilt Free

Some competitor filter presses require you to tilt the press on end in order to install the filter papers. This is NOT necessary with the Smoky Lake Filter Press. The Filter Papers are held in place on the support rods while you are assembling the press. Super easy.

Advantages of an Air Diaphragm Pump

  1. Soft Start (low psi and low flow for start-up)
    With soft start, the flow AND pressure are very easily controlled.  You can pump a few tablespoons at a slow, low pressure until you see that everything is correct. Then crank up flow by giving it more air.

    In contrast, with a gear pump/electric motor, the pressure and flow start immediately/violently because a gear pump is a positive displacement pump.  That means that for every revolution of the pump, a defined amount of liquid MUST come out of the pump—every revolution!  And the outlet pressure is relatively MUCH higher. Because of this, there is no forgiveness if something is not hooked up correctly or some valve is not set right.

  2. Easily Controlled Pressure (in filter chambers)
    As the filter press fills with DE and reduces or stops flowing, it’s very simple to twist the regulator knob up a bit to resume pumping. This can be done at any time, at any flow rate, from stopped to almost wide open. Of course, this is dependent on having an air pressure regulator in-line between the air compressor and the diaphragm pump.

  3. Variable Flow (less air pressure for less flow, increase air pressure for more flow)
    If you are pumping filtered syrup into your canner while you are filling small bottles, you can turn the pressure down low and slow. On the other hand, if you are filling barrels or 5 gallon containers, turn up the air and let it rip!

  4. Harmless Stall (if/as filter plugs)
    A HUGE advantage of air pump versus electric motor pump is that the air pump can remain “stalled” for hours (days!) without harm to your equipment. Try that with an electric motor driven pump!


How to Choose a Size

The below chart estimates how much syrup can be filtered in a single session based on the number of filters in your press. In other words, this is how much syrup could be filtered before the press needs to be cleaned. More Filters = Higher Capacity. The actual number of gallons filtered will depend on how much sediment is in your syrup to begin with. Dirtier syrup will clog/fill the press faster.

Number of Filters Gallons of Syrup Filtered per Session
6 filters 15 to 24 gallons
10 filters 25 to 40 gallons
12 filters 30 to 48 gallons
16 filters 40 to 64 gallons
20 filters 50 to 80 gallons

Main Principals to Understand

  1. The filter papers do NOT do the filtering. Rather, a natural, powdery, food grade material called diatomaceous earth (DE) does the filtering. The papers only provide a backstop to catch and hold a layer of DE. The DE builds a permeable layer on the papers, and keeps growing or building out as more DE, dirt and syrup are introduced to the press.
  2. The DE will hold a certain amount of “dirt” while still allowing flow. If too much dirt is deposited on the surface of the DE, the flow will slow or stop, and pressure will rise. If there is excess DE for the dirt load, syrup will simply flow faster and with less pressure.
  3. Many variables will determine how much syrup you can filter before needing to clean out the filters: The amount of dirt or nitre in the syrup, the temperature, the amount of DE being used, etc.The hardest variable to determine is how much dirt is in your syrup. Syrup that has settled for several days doesn’t contain nearly as much dirt as syrup from the bottom of a barrel. Syrup directly off the evaporator contains a dirt load somewhere in between these two extremes. Your press might only be able to filter 1 gallon of “sludge” from the bottom of a barrel, or it could do 20 times that amount if it is fed well-settled syrup. It all depends on the TOTAL amount of dirt in the batch, not on the number of gallons of syrup.

How much DE do I need?

Each 7” window plate can hold up to 3¼ cup of DE. The press will be “full” when enough DE has entered the press to fill each window plate.

When purchasing DE, you must make sure that it is food grade (also sometimes called “human grade”). You will find that it comes in many different particle sizes. Note that a larger particle size can hold more dirt. A 2017 article in Maple Digest suggested that having too fine of a particle size could actually filter out some of the good maple particles and affect flavor. In conclusion, we suggest using the coarsest grade available (For example, 5000 or 4200 Dicalite).

One 7” Window Plate = 3 ¼ cups DE

Two 7” Window Plates = 6 ½ cups of DE

Three 7” Window Plates = 9 ¾ cups of DE

This rough estimate equates to about ¼ cup – ½ cup of DE for every 1 gallon of syrup you are filtering. The exact amount depends on the amount of dirt and nitre in your syrup. (See the Main Principals section for more discussion on this topic.)

It is better to go heavy on the DE on the first two to five quarts of syrup that you run through the press so that you can build a nice layer inside the press.

How Much Syrup can I Filter Each Time?

We recommend filtering at least 3 gallons of syrup at a time. You will find that filtering larger batches will be more efficient. If your pressure exceeds 65 – 80 psi, we recommend stopping to change the filters and clean the press. (See the “Shortening the Bank” section for suggestions on filtering small amounts of syrup.)


  • Never touch the press with bare hands when it is hot.
  • Wear heavy rubber gloves and safety glasses while operating the press.
  • Inspect all hoses before starting to make sure they are secured and in good condition.
  • Inhalation of DE can be harmful to the lungs. It is recommended to wear a mask over nose and mouth when handling DE.
  • Handling DE may dry out the skin. It is recommended to wear rubber gloves when handling DE.
  • High pressure within the press could potentially cause syrup to unexpectedly squirt out from between the plates. If you are filtering at over 50 psi, throw a towel over the filter press as a precaution.

Additional information

Pump Option

Economical Hand Pump, Stainless Steel Air Diaphragm Pump

Platform Size

Short Platform – 21 inches long, Long Platform – 30 inches long

Starting Capacity

6 Filters (15 – 24 gal/session), 8 Filters (20 – 32 gal/session), 10 Filters (25 – 40 gal/session), 12 Filters (30 – 48 gal/session), 16 Filters (40 – 64 gal/session), 20 Filters (50 – 80 gal/session)

15 reviews for Stainless Steel Filter Press w/ Hose Kit, Filter Aide and Filter Papers

  1. Greg Michne

    I bought the 7″ short bank filter press, and although the season has not yet begun for me, I wanted to post my initial impressions. First, it is extremely heavy duty. The picture doesn’t give you the full impact of how “beefy” this press is. For me the selling points were the stainless steel construction, temperature probe, reusable filters, and of course the price. I can’t believe shipping is included at this price point. Also, the holes are pre-drilled for the electric diaphragm pump and I can add more plates later if I want to upgrade.

    You can really understand why these do have a fairly hefty cost to them when you see the amount of material used in construction as well as the complexity of the machining. I now know why filter presses are not cheap.

    I will post an update when I actually filter syrup, but for now I give it 5 stars. I’m looking forward to crystal clear syrup and fast filtering.

  2. Jason Klous

    I have the air pump driven 7″ long bank press. It is an amazing unit. I added quick couplers similar to the YouTube video on the Smoky Lake site. It performed flawlessly and is extremely well constructed and easy to assemble.

    I have owned other filter presses in the past and this unit is superior in quality and design. I am 100% satisfied with this filter and would highly recommend it.

  3. K. Morrison

    Hi Jim & Angela,

    Just wanted to let you know that I received the filter press from Smoky Lake Maple Products.

    I have to tell you I was really impressed with the quality and workmanship – you have done an outstanding job.

    I know that I won’t be tapping trees for several months, however I took a bunch of last years syrup and ran it through the filter press…I was too excited to wait until I had 2018 syrup…. (the syrup wasn’t totally clear and there was some sediment on the bottoms of the glass bottles.). I poured my syrup back onto the propane finisher, heated it up and added the diatomaceous earth. Stirred it all up, heated the filter press and then ran it through the filter press to get absolutely clear syrup…..the syrup came out the best I have ever seen – way easier (and better quality) than trying to filter through the cone filter!

    I am extremely impressed with the filter press and can’t thank you enough. I am looking forward to February when I will back out in the forest and tapping trees – thinking about getting that filter press going again!

    Thanks again!!!

  4. Valley Springs Maple

    If I could give this less then one star I would. Do not buy this it is just a waste of time and money not to mention syrup. It has been nothing but problems since the day we got it unless you can find the right DE to run through it, which is the stuff that comes with the press when you order it but that is $45 for 12 lbs in a 5 gallon bucket (highest priced stuff out there). We’ve wasted atleast $100 running around and getting different bags of DE. We follow the directions exactly according to the book and it still doesnt work. We’ve called smoky lake and they’ve ran us around with different suggestions and we’ve tried them all but the syrup still comes out cloudy and filled with DE. Over the last seven days we’ve wasted atleast 3-4 pints a day trying to get the press to work which adds up to a lot of money lost and syrup wasted over the short season. I definitely would not recommend this to anybody after all the trouble we have gone through.

  5. Valley Springs Maple

    *Update*. We were finally able to figure out the press. If you follow the directions exactly like the book says you will get very frustrated and upset at how it does not work. Basically just completely disregard the book and you will figure it out and be much happier with the unit. After further research and talking with other producers that use filter presses, just add a cup of DE for every gallon you will be filtering and it works fine. If we wouldn’t known that and ignored the book it would’ve saved us lots of time and money. So I will give it 4 stars now until the book gets updated and the process that is described is corrected and better explained that anybody can get this press and start filtering syrup the right way.

  6. D Burke

    We bought the filter for some lab work. It worked great.

    We are not in the Maple syrup business, but in the sugar purification equipment business.

  7. M&S Maple Farm

    We have had ours for three years now and have filtered over 1500 gallons of syrup with it. The first year we had a problem with the air pump a call to Jim and a new one war in the mail the next day free of charge no questions asked. Super great people Jim and Angela. The only thing we don’t like about the press is the weight. Just a note to those that hasn’t done it yet you can put the end plate on backwards and the syrup does not get filtered.

  8. Jon Dahlke

    I have tried to give Jim & Angela the benefit of the doubt on my filter press but it is a lemon! I have had the press for over 3 years and every spring I have issues with filtering new syrup. I follow their directions and it takes over an hour to try to filter 10 gallons of syrup with the hand pump. When I inquiry about my issues, they pawn me off saying it is the wrong DE, or the wrong amount of DE, or the syrup is too think, etc. for every 10 gallons of syrup filtered I blow out a rubber membrane (10 membranes in 2019), and this morning I blew out the bottom of the pump. I have mentioned to Jim and Angela numerous times about the inconsistencies in the holes in the waffle plates but refuse to address my concerns about that.

  9. Damien Wolf

    I bought the the short platform, 6-filter size with stainless diaphragm pump. I’m a hobbyist making 20 gallons the last two years and 40 this year. This filter press was a godsend. After reading a couple of negative reviews above I wanted to share my experience.

    I have had amazing results with the press. I was a newbie to filter-presses, so the first time I did it I was a bit timid, but I followed the instructions, and even called Jim once with a question — on that note, Smokey Lake has always provided exceptional service.

    I use my press with an air compressor and it took me a bit to figure that out—mostly because I hadn’t really used air compressors or a diaphragm pump before. The DE I bought from Smokey Lake great. Someone above complained it was expensive, but when you compare buying basic filters and doing it by hand, that cost adds up, takes way more time, and doesn’t filter as well as the press.

    My very first batch filtered perfectly. The only rookie mistake I made on one batch was not looking closely at the clarity of the syrup coming out before I bottled it. It looked super clear to the eye, but when it was in the bottle and held up to light it wasn’t as clear as my earlier batch. It was an easy fix… just dumped back in, added more DE and it was fine.

    I’m not discounting other people’s experiences, but I’m thrilled with my press. It’s very high quality and worth every penny. There was a bit of a learning curve, but it’s very easy to use once you know how. Like everything related to making syrup, you just have to go for it.

    Best of luck.

  10. Lynn Rushing

    I received the filter press in the time I was told it would arrive. The people at Smoky Lake were helpful with the many questions I had. Along with the filter press, they include an information manual which is very easy to understand. I will try this press with apple cider, and definitely maple syrup when our season starts. Thanks for a great piece of equipment. Excellent construction.

  11. Patrick Diamond

    I just received my new hand pump 7″ short bank filter press. All I could say was ” WoW”. The way it was packaged left no doubt that there would be a perfect filter press inside. to make sure the catch tray didn’t slide they put a piece of 2 x 4 in there fully wrapped in plastic so in wouldn’t scratch or damaged anything. To me that shows how far the Smoky Lake team goes to not only get you a product that is quality built but to get it to you undamaged as best they can. I will complete a review of the filter press after I have used it on filtering later this year.

  12. Bill Oliver

    I just wrapped up filtering our 2021 crop with the short platform six sheet filter with the hand pump. It is a remarkable and capable little machine. I love the clever design features such as the complete impossibility of installing plates backwards. While I would have ordered the pneumatic pump if it were in stock, the hand pump works just fine. You just need an extra pair of hands. I suggest an eager teenager. But seriously, it is not hard to pump at all.

    I must add that the manual is one of the best of I have seen of any product anywhere. The instructions are clear and easy to follow, particularly in conjunction with the illustrations. Good job Smoky Lake!

    • Angela

      Thanks Bill! Glad to hear you are happy with your press. High five!

  13. Andy

    I purchased the short bank hand pump to add to my operation this year and WOW!! Having to filter only twice this year and not deal with cone filters was amazing!!! The setup and filter process was a breeze, Adding this to my 2×6 Corsair I purchased last year has made the season so much easier!!! The quality and customer service is amazing keep it up!!

  14. Dale

    What a great piece of equipment. We bought the 7″ short bank with hand pump this year for our operation as we were asked by a retailer if we would bottle our syrup into glass for her. We’ve been wanting one anyway, so we decided to go for it. All I can say is, WOW!.! It’s a beautiful piece of equipment and just like ALL S.L. equipment you can tell the quality and craftsmanship in it. I was concerned that cleaning the unit may be difficult and time consuming, but it is so easy. Just pump some hot water through it and then start to take it apart. Throw out the DE cakes and put your plates in the sink. It actually is easier to use and clean than most our flat filters or cone filters. I couldn’t be happier and now know that in the future I will be purchasing the air diaphragm pump to speed up the process even more. Thank you to the team at Smoky Lake, you have a loyal customer here.

  15. Collisi Farms Maple Syrup

    We have been making maple syrup for 5 years in Indiana and have always just used gravity filtering/cone filters. We definitely aren’t the largest producer out there but we take a lot of pride in the clarity of our finished product. That being said, cone filtering got to be pretty tedious and frustrating at times. Furthermore there were times it didn’t matter how many times we cone filtered, the finished product would still have some nitre/sugar sand form in the bottom of our bottles.
    We finally started the started the search for a filter press and the search didn’t last long. We had already bought a few different products off of Smoky Lake and really liked everything about their products from looks to performance. Well they didn’t let us down on the filter press. Right out of the box it was easy to assemble, no parts missing, and very straight forward directions. It looked and was built very nice and professional. We ordered it with the hand pump and after our first run of syrup through it we knew we had made the right choice. Crystal clear syrup every time we’ve used it, which is very important to us as we bottle everything in transparent glass bottles. Would definitely recommend to any hobby to small operation maple producers.

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