Why Do Some Pans Have Dividers?

Flat Pan Vs Divided Pan

Comparing the Standard Flat Pan and Divided Flat Pan

You may have noticed that some maple syrup pans contain a series of channels (called “Divided Pans), and others are open (called “Flat Pans). This article will explain the differences between the two styles and will help you choose the best pan for your situation.

Standard Flat Pans & Batch Boiling

Flat Pan
Batch boiling is exactly what it sounds like. You are making one big batch at a time. You will be boiling until the entire pan of syrup has reached 66% or greater sugar density. 

Standard Flat Pan Benefits

    1. Standard Flat Pans are very economical. Great for entry level hobbyists.
    2. This style of pan is very straight forward to operate.
    3. On Badgerland Flat Pans, a thermometer can be added to monitor syrup progress. (Compare Badgerland to the competition.)

Standard Flat Pan Considerations

    1. Generally speaking, Batch Boiling creates darker, more robust syrup than Continuous Flow boiling. If your goal is to make lighter, more delicate flavored syrup, you may want to consider a Divided Flat Pan instead. Note: Regardless of what type of pan you use, late season syrup is always darker.
    2. If you are seeking the fastest boiling rate possible, you probably would be most interested in a Divided Flue Pan. Flat pans operate at a more relaxed pace compared to a Flue Pan. That being said, Badgerland Flat Pans are among the most efficient flat pans in their class. We have developed specialized tooling/processes which enable us to craft our Flat Pans with 22 gauge stainless steel. Our competitors opt for thicker, easier-to-weld metal which results in a comparatively lackluster performance.

Badgerland Flat Pans Instruction Guide

Divided Pans & Continuous Flow Boiling

Divided Pan for boiling Maple Syrup

The channels inside the Divided Pans enable “Continuous Flow” which basically means that you do not have to wait for the entire pan to reach desired density before you draw-off your syrup. Rather, you will you will draw off small amounts finished syrup periodically.


Here’s How It Works

Similar to a Standard Flat Pan, you will start out by filling the pan 2″ deep with raw sap. Then, while you are boiling, you will continuously add additional raw sap to the pan to maintain the 2″ depth.

When you add raw sap to a Divided Flat Pan, you will always add it in the back left corner (see diagram above), at the beginning of the channel system. As this raw sap is added, it displaces and “pushes” the existing sap further and further through the channel system toward the draw-off valve. Eventually, you will notice a “density gradient” forming. The sap by the inlet will be very light-colored/clear whereas the sap near the draw-off port will be much darker and higher sugar density.

The Badgerland Divided Flat Pan comes standard with Thermometer ports. Adding a thermometer will help you monitor syrup progress and will tell you when to open and close the draw-off valve. As soon as the syrup is drawn off, you can double check its density, filter and bottle.

Divided Flat Pan Benefits

  1. Generally speaking, Divided Pans can make lighter, more delicate-flavored syrup than Standard Flat Pans because the sap does not sit in the pan as long of a period of time. Note: Regardless the style of pan you use, the sap collected toward the end of the maple season will produce darker syrup.
  2. Adding colder raw sap to the back corner of a Divided Pan will not kill the boil within the entire pan. In that regard, a Divided Flat Pan is more efficient than a Standard Flat Pan.
  3. A Divided Pan allows you to boil for as long as you have sap. If you run out of sap, just shut ‘er down and pick up where you left off when more sap is available. You would not drain the pan unless it was the end of the season, or if you needed to clean the pan mid-season.
  4. The Badgerland Divided Flat Pan is reversible. Reversing the flow of your sap through the channels will help eliminate any sugar sand buildup on the bottom of the pans.
  5. Continuous Flow Boiling allows you to filter and bottle your syrup as you go rather than needing to wait and do everything at the end.

Divided Flat Pan Considerations

  1. If you are looking for the most efficient style of pan possible, a Flat Pan – with or without dividers – is probably not what you are looking for. (See Flue Pans) Pans that have flat bottoms are more relaxed compared to a flue pan.
  2. Some maple syrup producers are intimidated by the dividers or find them to be initially confusing. However, after you use a divided pan the first season, you won’t think twice about it. Plus, we’ll send you a Badgerland instruction guide to help you get started. No sweat.

Badgerland Divided Flat Pans Instruction Guide


8 Comments on “Why Do Some Pans Have Dividers?”

  1. I am still torn between a flat pan and divided pan. Reading the instructions for each pan was a nice perk. I have been sappin for 4 years now and I want to upgrade for next year. I will have at least 50 taps. Once I decide what size pan I want I will be building my first arch evaporator. Any recommondations?

    1. HI Sam! Sounds like a 2×3 or a 2×4 pan would be the perfect fit for you. The 2×3 will evaporate around 6 – 9+ gallons per hours and the 2×4 will evaporate about 8 – 12+ gallons per hour. Please give us a shout if you have any other questions. Cheers!

  2. What type of flame do you recommend under the evaporator? I have been using catering pans over firewood which is hard to moderate the heat. I’d like to upgrade to one of your trays, I boil off 100-200 gallons a season.

    1. Hi Jon,
      The majority of our customers are using their pans with a traditional Smoky Lake wood-fired arch. (See their Corsair wood-fired arch here: https://www.smokylakemaple.com/product/2×3-corsair-evaporator-divided-pan) However, this pan could certainly be used with gas- or oil-fired arch as well. You just want the flame to be hot hot hot.

      How many taps do you have each season? About 20? If so, I would recommend a 2 x 3 flat pan. This will help you boil efficiently. At the same time, it gives you a little wiggle room to tap a few more trees if you ever desire to do so.

      Please contact us at (920) 202-4500 if you would like to discuss more! We can set you up with the perfect pan and/or arch to suit your needs/budget.

  3. HI Bart,
    We have a chart at the below link that shows the estimated evaporation rates and average tap counts for each size divided pan. You will see that a 2×6 divided pan is rated for up to 125 taps, so I do worry that you are going to outgrow a standard divided pan very quickly.


    Alternatively, I would recommend looking at pans that have flues so that you can process the sap quicker. To process the sap from 200 taps, check out the Badgerland Drop Flue Pan Set. Either the 2×5 or the 2×6 sizes could both be a good fit for you.


    Alternatively, our parent company, Smoky Lake makes a “2 x 6 Hybrid Pan” that could also be a great fit for your situation. A Hybrid Pan is a flue pan and finishing pan all in one. No need to link two separate pans together as is done with a pan set. Rather, it’s operation is very similar to a divided pan. The Smoky Lake Hybrid Pan also features a strengthened profile with built-in, full length handles. It comes in at roughly the same price as the Badgerland Drop Flue Pan Set. Smoky Lake does offer free shipping through their website. You can learn more about the hybrid pan option here:


    Last but not least, if you really wanted to stick to a standard divided pan, you could look at getting a reverse osmosis system. This would remove a great deal of the water in the sap before you start boiling and would drastically reduce boiling times. I invite you to reach out to Jimmy at Smoky Lake if you are interested in learning more about that option. (920) 202-4500

    Please let us know if you have any other questions. We are happy to help.

  4. Hi, I have been trying to find the best evaporator pan to fit my situation. I have an old wood stove that I will be using in a sugar shack that I am currently building. The stove has a 1×2 foot flat top, and I am hoping to buy one of your 2×3 foot flat pans to set on top and put to work! will it be okay that the pan will overhang 6″ on each side? I imagine with a nice hot fire that it shouldn’t make too big of a difference, but still thought best to ask the professionals. I had 12 taps last year, but I hope to have three to four times that this upcoming season. Thanks!

    1. Hi Nick
      If your Arch is only 2 square feet (1×2), and your pan is 6 square feet (2×3), that means 2/3 of the surface area of your pan is going to go unheated. So, I would say a 2×3 pan is going to be far too oversized for your existing Arch. There are definitely some better options available for you.

      OPTION 1: Currently, our smallest standard size Flat Pan would be a 16″ x 30″. You could try that though it would still be a little over-sized for your current situation. The benefit of trying the 16″ x 30″, is that if you decide to upgrade from your old wood stove, this pan is compatible with a StarCat Arch from Smoky Lake. This would REALLY help your efficiency compared to a wood stove. https://www.smokylakemaple.com/product/starcat-arch/

      OPTION 2: Your other option would be to have us build a custom 1′ x 2′ flat pan. This would be the same cost as a 16″ x 30″ flat pan. Please contact Angela at angela@smokylakemaple.com if you are interested in a custom size option.

      Best of luck whatever you decide!

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