Masontops Pickle Pebble & Pickle Pipe {Product Review}

Choosing the right fermentation weight and airlock for your fermentation project is an important step for stellar results without loss of brine or mold growth. The Masontops Pickle Pebble and Pickle Pipe are innovative tools designed to make the process of fermentation easier and more efficient. Discover when to use them and… when NOT to use them.

In this guide, I review the Pickle Pebble and the Pickle Pipe and share:

  • What they are?
  • How they work?
  • If they work?
  • And, what type of ferments that they work best with?

During twenty-plus years of fermenting sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, pastes, relishes, and chutneys, I’ve tried homemade devices, along with testing just about every fermentation weight and airlock on the market.

Some weights work best with sauerkraut, keeping everything safely under the brine, but not so great with pickles. And, vice-versa.

Read on to discover when to use Masontops Pickles Pebbles and Pickle Pebbles, and… when NOT to use them.

My reviews on other weights, along with airlocks. for fermenting include:

The PickleHelix Fermentation Kit by Trellis Review [INNOVATIVE]

Kraut Source Fermentation Lid REVIEW [Solid Design]

ViscoDisc Canning Buddies REVIEW [Simple & Affordable]

Pickle-Pushing No-Float Jar-Packer Review: Ingenious

For homemade weight options, see: Fermentation Weights: Keep Your Ferments Below the Brine

Quick Summary: What I Use

Select a fermentation weight based on what works best with what you’re fermenting (explained below). The lid (airlock) is not as important as the weight. You can use the airlock that comes with the weight or another airlock that you already own.

Sauerkraut: Favorite Fermentation Weight

Trellis + Co. Stainless Steel Fermentation Jar Kit | 3 Waterless Fermenter Airlock Lids & 3 Pickle Helix Fermentation Weights, For Wide Mouth Mason Jars | Recipe eBook Included With Fermenting Kit
Ball Fermentation Lids and Springs, 32oz, Metal
3-Pack of Stainless Steel "Pickle Helix" PLUS Airlock Lids
2-Pack of Stainless Steel Fermentation Lids & Springs PLUS Airlock Lids
Trellis + Co. Stainless Steel Fermentation Jar Kit | 3 Waterless Fermenter Airlock Lids & 3 Pickle Helix Fermentation Weights, For Wide Mouth Mason Jars | Recipe eBook Included With Fermenting Kit
3-Pack of Stainless Steel "Pickle Helix" PLUS Airlock Lids
Ball Fermentation Lids and Springs, 32oz, Metal
2-Pack of Stainless Steel Fermentation Lids & Springs PLUS Airlock Lids

Pickles: Favorite Fermentation Weight

The ViscoDisc Canning Buddies (my review HERE) are often out of stock on Amazon but can be found at Fermentation Revolution and HeyDay Fermentables.

Masontops 8 PC Pickle Pebbles Glass Weight & Pickle Pipe Airlocks Kits - Large Wide Mouth Lid - For Pickling & Canning
ViscoDisc Canning Buddies- Wide Mouth Mason Jar Inserts
Masontops Glass Weights & Airlocks (4-pack)
Canning Buddies (12, No Lids) Great for pickles.
Masontops 8 PC Pickle Pebbles Glass Weight & Pickle Pipe Airlocks Kits - Large Wide Mouth Lid - For Pickling & Canning
Masontops Glass Weights & Airlocks (4-pack)
ViscoDisc Canning Buddies- Wide Mouth Mason Jar Inserts
Canning Buddies (12, No Lids) Great for pickles.

Masontops Fermentation Weights and Airlocks

Masontops Complete Mason Jar Fermentation Kit - Pickle Kit, Sauerkraut Making Kit Kimchi Container - Fermentation Airlock Lids Wide Mouth Mason Jars

What are Pickle Pebbles and Pickle Pipes?

The Pickle Pebble is a glass fermentation weight that sits on top of the vegetables in the jar, designed to keep them submerged in the brine and prevent spoilage.

The Pickle Pipe is a silicone airlock that fits onto the lid of a wide-mouth (or, regular-mouth) Mason jar, allowing for the release of carbon dioxide during fermentation while preventing oxygen from entering the jar.

Together, the Pickle Pebble and Pickle Pipe create a simple and effective system for making delicious and healthy ferments at home.

Pros and Cons of the Pickle Pebble

A jar of fermented carrot sticks held under the brine with a Pickle Pebble (the diagonal line indicates the bottom of it) and sealed with a Pickle Pipe airlock which will allow gases, created during fermentation, to escape.

Pickle Pebbles are clear glass weights designed to hold your ferment below the surface of the brine thereby eliminating exposure to oxygen, one of the main causes of failure when fermenting various vegetables and fruits.

Made from lead-free, non-iridized soda glass. This is the same material glass canning jars are made from, a material that guarantees nothing will leach into your ferment.

Won’t absorb odors. Glass is non-porous and won’t stain or pick up odors as plastic or silicone will. 

Durable. Like Mason jars, Pickle Pebbles will last forever and do not easily break.

Compact. The Pickle Pebble does not take up a whole lot of space in your jar, leaving more space for brine.

Available in Two Sizes. Pickle Pebbles and Pickle Pipes are available in both regular mouth and wide mouth sizes to meet all your fermentation needs.

❌ Can be difficult to grab. Masontops has updated its design to include a round knob to make it easier to remove from the jar. Slippery brine and the size of your hands can still interfere with the easy removal of glass weights.

❌ Not heavy enough for all types of ferments. The weight of the Pickle Pebble will determine how well it is able to hold a ferment below the brine.

During the fermentation process of sauerkraut and kimchi, gases build up in the packed mixture and cause it to “heave,” or move up and out of the brine. There is not enough weight in a Pickle Pebble to keep sauerkraut and kimchi safely below the brine.

Pickle Pebbles, and other glass fermentation weights, were designed to mimic the traditional process of fermenting sauerkraut in large crocks where weight (a plate with a large jar filled with water) was used to hold everything below the brine. In a small canning jar, there is not enough room to place a heavy enough weight.

They don’t work well with sauerkraut, kimchi, pastes, chutneys, or relishes.

They work great with pickles (loose vegetables packed into a watery brine) where gases easily escape and don’t cause the packed vegetables to “heave.”

They don’t work well with fermented pastes and relishes where typically no brine is created which the Pickle Pebble can do its job.

Pros & Cons of the Pickle Pipe

Top view of fingers squeezing the nipple of a Pickle Pipe with the the slit in the middle is slightly exposed. | MakeSauerkraut.com

Pickle Pipes are a unique one-way silicone valve designed for use with any sized mason jar. A cross-hatch cut into the nipple of the top releases the gasses created by fermentation while preventing oxygen from getting into the jar.

Waterless. Many fermenters first started with the 3-piece airlocks used in the beer and wine industry which need the water in them topped up.

Made from BPA-free and phthalate-free silicone, substances that may be harmful over time when inadvertently consumed due to leaching out of the silicone.

Low profile. The Pickle Pipe protrudes above your jar by just about a half-inch, leaving you space to keep jars under cabinets, a nice feature if you are fermenting in tall jars.

No little pieces to keep track of. There is no need to fumble with multi-piece airlocks that are difficult to clean and store.

Provide visual feedback. My favorite feature! Gases, produced by the bacteria during the fermentation process, build up and create a slight bulge in the lid. A nice assurance that something is happening in your fermentation jar.

Two sizes. Available for both regular-mouth and wide-mouth jars.

Easy to care for. Both the Pickle Pebbles and Pickle Pipes can be washed in the dishwasher.

❌ Absorbs odors. Silicone will absorb odors, especially garlic, onions, and hot peppers, but I have you covered: Best Way to Remove Odors from Plastic and Silicone [2 ESSENTIAL KEYS]

❌ Airlock can become clogged. During fermentation, brine can bubble up into the Pickle Pipe, crust over, and clog, thus becoming difficult to clean. 

❌ Lose color. Over time, the nice colors of the Pickle Pipe fade.

❌ Must use your own metal band. The metal band needed to secure the Pickle Pipe is not included but most of us have them around the home.

❌ The Pickle Pipes need to be stored flat, so keep the case they came in and make use of it.

❌ The metal band used to hold the Pickle Pipe in place can stick to the jar and be very hard to remove. Something about the combination of the metal band with dried and sticky brine.

Lastly, resist the temptation to give the colorful little Pickle Pipe a squeeze when checking your ferments. Doing so would let in air, defeating the purpose of the Pickle Pipe.

Masontops Weights and Airlocks Options

Pickle Pebbles and Pickle Pipes are sold separately or in kits. They come in two sizes: regular-mouth and wide-mouth. Be sure to select the correct size for your jar.

Masontops Complete Mason Jar Fermentation Kit - Pickle Kit, Sauerkraut Making Kit Kimchi Container - Fermentation Airlock Lids Wide Mouth Mason Jars
4,796 Reviews
Masontops Complete Mason Jar Fermentation Kit - Pickle Kit, Sauerkraut Making Kit Kimchi Container - Fermentation Airlock Lids Wide Mouth Mason Jars
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Masontops 8 PC Pickle Pebbles Glass Weight & Pickle Pipe Airlocks Kits - Large Wide Mouth Lid - For Pickling & Canning
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  • 8 PC SET INCLUDES: 4 Wide Mouth Pickle Pipes & 4 Pickle Pebble Glass Weights. The waterless...
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Masontops Pickle Pipes - Waterless Airlock Fermentation Lids - Wide Mouth Mason Jar Fermenter Cap - Premium Silicone Top
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About the Masontops Company

Masontops—a company located in Toronto, Canada—whose name includes the inventor of the glass canning jar, is all about making the canning jar work better for you by providing unique and helpful tools to convert your canning jars into powerful workhorses.

Phil Baron, the inventor of the Pickle Pipe and founder of Masontops, launched his company in 2013. Production of Pickle Pipes was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign in October 2015.

MasonTops Pickle Pebbles and Pickle Pipes in Action

Three jars of different sauerkraut with MasonTops Pickle Pipe & Pickle Pebble. | MakeSauerkraut.com
I tested Masontops Pickle Pebbles and Pickle Pipes with three types of ferments: carrot sticks in brine, sauerkraut, and a thick relish.

The Pickle Pipe airlocks can work with just about any ferment. Through years of making various types of ferments, I found that the Pickle Pebbles weights work great in some setups and not so great in other setups.

It all has to do with the nature of what you’re fermenting and whether or not the Pickle Pebble can keep everything safely under the brine.

Do Pickle Pebbles Work with Sauerkraut?

Three image collage, top left showing top view of the Pickle Pipe attached to the rim of the jar, bottom left showing the metal band securing the Pickle Pipe to the jar, right image showing the front view of a filled sauerkraut with the Pickle Pipe. | MakeSauerkraut.com
A batch of sauerkraut ready to ferment with a Pickle Pebble for a weight and a Pickle Pipe for an airlock.
Best fermentation weight? Pickle Pebble? | makesauerkraut.com
Day one picture of a batch of sauerkraut with a Pickle Pebble for a fermentation weight. I know you can’t really see the glass weight, but it’s in there.

During the first week of fermentation, when there is plenty of brine, the Pickle Pebble works to hold everything under the brine.

However, once the active first week of fermentation passes, the packed sauerkraut is no longer below the brine.

Best fermentation weight? Pickle Pebble? | makesauerkraut.com
Day 7 and the brine level is now below the Pickle Pebble fermentation weight.

I use a fermentation spring when making sauerkraut. Everything stays below the brine for the duration of fermentation.

Best fermentation weight? Pickle Helix? | makesauerkraut.com
Day 28 for a batch of sauerkraut with a fermentation spring for a weight. The packed mixture is still below the brine.

Use a fermentation spring for sauerkraut and save the Pickle Pebble for pickles.

Can You Use Pickle Pebbles with Pickles (Fermented Vegetables)?

Three image collage, top left showing fingers about to insert Pickle Pebble into the jar of fermented carrots, bottom left showing the Pickle Pipe secured with metal band over the jar. right image showing fingers securing the mental band over the jar. | MakeSauerkraut.com
A jar of fermented carrot sticks that use a Pickle Pebble as a weight and a Pickle Pipe for an airlock.

When I was putting together my In A Pickle! course and developing recipes using a range of vegetables, I found that the Pickle Pebble worked with most of them.

The gases created during the fermentation of vegetables find their way up and out of the brine, thereby not causing the packed vegetable to “heave.” The weight of the Pickle Pebble is enough to keep everything safely under the brine.

I tried using my trusty fermentation spring but found that it squished softer vegetables such as cucumbers and zucchini.

When using a Pickle Pebble, be sure to use the recommended 1-inch (25 mm) headspace to leave enough room for your brine.

How Well Do Pickle Pebbles Work with Pastes and Relishes?

Four image collage showing the Pickle Pebble being inserted into the jar of Cranberry Orange relish, securing the Pickle Pipe with the metal over the jar, and finished product. | MakeSauerkraut.com
A batch of Cranberry Relish with a Pickle Pebble for a weight, and a Pickle Pipe for an airlock.

With a thick relish, paste, or chutney, you usually do not end up with brine.

For these types of ferments, I use a folded piece of parchment paper to keep surface air at bay. No weight is necessary, though I sometimes use the Kraut Souce fermentation lid that has a small plate to push down on the paste.

Can You Use Mastontops with Watery Ferments?

I don’t know what I was thinking when I tried to use a Pickle Pebble in my fermented cabbage juice (test recipe). Such a mixture is way too watery to support any weight. This jar is half cabbage and half brine!

Three image collage, left image showing close up of a Pickle Pebble over the rim of the a jar of fermented cabbage juice, top right showing how the Pickle Pebble sinking into the mixture, bottom right showing the bottom of the jar with the sliced cabbages sinking. | MakeSauerkraut.com
A Pickle Pebble weight placed in a jar of cabbage “juice.” You can see it at the top-right picture slanting and starting to sink. And though you might not be able to see it in the last picture, the Pickle Pebble is sitting at the bottom of the jar.

Other Fermentation Products to Consider

No one fermentation weight will be perfect for every occasion. Select the best fermentation weight for what you are making.

Trellis + Co. Stainless Steel Fermentation Jar Kit | 3 Waterless Fermenter Airlock Lids & 3 Pickle Helix Fermentation Weights, For Wide Mouth Mason Jars | Recipe eBook Included With Fermenting Kit
Ball Fermentation Lids and Springs, 32oz, Metal
Kraut Source Fermentation Lid
ViscoDisc Canning Buddies- Wide Mouth Mason Jar Inserts
PickleHelix (3-Pack, with Lids)
Ball Fermentation Spring (2-Pack, with Lids.)
Kraut Source (1, with Lid) with plate for pastes & relishes
Canning Buddies (12 Pack, No Lids)
$38.77
Price not available
Price not available
$19.95
Great for sauerkraut.
Similar to the Pickle Helix. Great for sauerkraut.
Best to buy direct. https://www.krautsource.com/
Great for pickles.
-
-
1,500 Reviews
145 Reviews
176 Reviews
Trellis + Co. Stainless Steel Fermentation Jar Kit | 3 Waterless Fermenter Airlock Lids & 3 Pickle Helix Fermentation Weights, For Wide Mouth Mason Jars | Recipe eBook Included With Fermenting Kit
PickleHelix (3-Pack, with Lids)
$38.77
Great for sauerkraut.
-
-
Ball Fermentation Lids and Springs, 32oz, Metal
Ball Fermentation Spring (2-Pack, with Lids.)
Price not available
Similar to the Pickle Helix. Great for sauerkraut.
1,500 Reviews
Kraut Source Fermentation Lid
Kraut Source (1, with Lid) with plate for pastes & relishes
Price not available
Best to buy direct. https://www.krautsource.com/
145 Reviews
ViscoDisc Canning Buddies- Wide Mouth Mason Jar Inserts
Canning Buddies (12 Pack, No Lids)
$19.95
Great for pickles.
176 Reviews

My reviews on other weights, along with airlocks. for fermenting include:

The PickleHelix Fermentation Kit by Trellis Review [INNOVATIVE]

Kraut Source Fermentation Lid REVIEW [Solid Design]

ViscoDisc Canning Buddies REVIEW [Simple & Affordable]

Pickle-Pushing No-Float Jar-Packer Review: Ingenious

For homemade weight options, see: Fermentation Weights: Keep Your Ferments Below the Brine

Masontops Pickle Pebble and Pickle Pipes FAQs

What are Pickle Pipes used for?

Pickle Pipes are used as airlocks for fermenting vegetables in Mason jars.

During the fermentation process, lactic acid bacteria break down the natural sugars in vegetables and produce carbon dioxide gas.

The Pickle Pipe is a one-way valve that allows gas to escape while preventing oxygen from entering the jar.

How do you clean Pickle Pipes?

Pickle Pipes can be washed in the dishwasher or gently washed by hand.

How do you remove odors from Pickle Pipes?

Silicone will absorb odors, especially garlic, onions, and hot peppers, but I have you covered: Best Way to Remove Odors from Plastic and Silicone [2 ESSENTIAL KEYS]

Are Pickle Pebbles and Pickle Pipes dishwasher safe?

According to the manufacturer, Masontops, both can be washed in the dishwasher.

If you have used Pickle Pebbles or Pickle Pipes, feel free to share your experience in the Comments.

Four Pickle Pipes with Pickle Pebble by Masontops. | MakeSauerkraut.com

Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Woman sitting with jar of sauerkraut on knee. | MakeSauerkraut.com

Holly Howe, Fermentation Educator

Holly Howe has been learning about and perfecting the art of fermentation since 2002.

Her mission is dedicated to helping families welcome the powerful bacterial world into their homes in order to ferment delicious gut-healing foods.

She is the author of Fermentation Made Easy! Mouthwatering Sauerkraut, and creator of the online program Ferment Like a Pro!

Read more about her HERE.

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