I'm wondering what others use for bulk chocolate melters as I'm finding the Savage and other melters insanely overpriced....I've seen some use soup warmers etc. Any new ideas out there? Looking for at least 25 - 50lb capacity. Can't believe the prices of the melters out there. There has to be some suitable substitutes...
The various Savage machines are high quality units that will last for many years. I've spoken to numerous chocolate and caramel makers who swear by them. But yes, they are expensive. If you're looking for an inexpensive alternative you might consider this: buy a heating cabinet or heater/proofer like bakers use. (If you get a heater/proofer make sure it can run just as a heating cabinet, because obviously you do not want to add water.)
Turn the temp up in the cabinet to a suitable temp to melt your chocolate, load in pans of different sizes with your chocolate, and come back in the morning to a cabinet full of melted chocolate. Takes longer than a good quality melter, and you're not going to be able to add despositors, etc. But on the plus side you can get brand new heating cabinets for about $1500-$2000, and used ones for half that much.