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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: Jeff M on May 10, 2013, 09:14:15 PM

Title: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: Jeff M on May 10, 2013, 09:14:15 PM
So im starting to do research on kegging equipment.  The first real choice i seem to come across is pin lock vs ball lock.  Does anyone have an opinion to voice on this matter.  Id like to start with a few 2.5-3 Gallon kegs.

i have read http://www.homebrewing.com/articles/cornelius-kegs.php but am looking for people experiences.

Jeff
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: tygo on May 10, 2013, 09:18:36 PM
Either is fine. I have all ball locks because that's what i started with but they're getting harder to come by these days.
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: morticaixavier on May 10, 2013, 09:49:55 PM
Personally I wouldn't bother with 2.5 or 3 gallon kegs unless space requirements absolutely require it. you can put 2.5 or 3 gallons of beer in a 5 gallon keg but not vice versa.

Generally, at least from what I have seen they are comparable prices wise.
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: dllipe on May 10, 2013, 10:14:27 PM
Personally I wouldn't bother with 2.5 or 3 gallon kegs unless space requirements absolutely require it. you can put 2.5 or 3 gallons of beer in a 5 gallon keg but not vice versa.

Generally, at least from what I have seen they are comparable prices wise.

+1
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: realbeerguy on May 11, 2013, 01:05:12 AM
The 2.5/3 gal ones are almost 3x the cost of a 5.  Get mainly 5'ves and 1 or 2 smaller ones.  I typically use the smaller ones for barleywines and high gravity beers.
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: Jeff M on May 11, 2013, 02:33:43 AM
Well i want to play with a 2.5 gallon keg first and then when i have the correct setup(keezer etc) 5s will be the name of the game.  but for now 1 or 2 2.5ers is more economical space and quantity wise:)
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: duxx on May 11, 2013, 03:07:46 AM
I stopped by "The Home Brewery" in Springfield MO today.  I wanted to pick up a few more ball lock kegs.  The 12 I have are full.  They used to sell them (Last Fall) for $35.  Today, they were $49.99 and really beat up.  I didn't buy any because I thought it was crazy to pay for kegs that looked like they were in a tornado.  The owner's wife told me that most people will have to switch to pin lock because that is all they can find now.  So why is that?
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: Jeff M on May 11, 2013, 03:32:08 AM
Thats very strange.  all the literature ive read suggests that ball lock kegs where created in a far higher quantity then pin lock.  While the soda industry doesnt use them any more i guess we can assume that homebrewers have eaten up all the ball locks.
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: Jimmy K on May 11, 2013, 04:02:17 AM
The deal is Coke is still getting rid of pin locks, so they are more available. Quality doesn't matter, when is the last time you saw a homebrewer selling their ball lock kegs?

- Sent by my R2 unit

Title: Re: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: AmandaK on May 12, 2013, 01:36:09 PM
I stopped by "The Home Brewery" in Springfield MO today.  I wanted to pick up a few more ball lock kegs.  The 12 I have are full.  They used to sell them (Last Fall) for $35.  Today, they were $49.99 and really beat up.  I didn't buy any because I thought it was crazy to pay for kegs that looked like they were in a tornado.  The owner's wife told me that most people will have to switch to pin lock because that is all they can find now.  So why is that?

Steve, I think it's just supply/demand. Ball locks seemed to be the first choice for homebrewers, and now that Pepsi doesn't use them anymore, the supply is just drying up. When I first started only 3 years ago, you could find them on Craigslist all day long for $25-30. Now people want $50 for them.

You know what that means? Time to stock up! :)
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: corkybstewart on May 12, 2013, 02:24:18 PM
I have both kinds, in roughly equal quantities.  Pin locks are short and wide, ball locks are tall and skinny so that may matter when you design a kegerator for them.  I can put 6 of either in my 12.5 cu ft chest freezer.  My 18 cu ft fridge will hold 5 pin locks or 6 kegs if at least 2 are ball lock kegs.
You cannot force the wrong connector onto a pin lock keg, but you can with a ball lock.  With pin lock you don't even have to be able to see the post to put the proper connector on.
I use flared threaded connectors so that switching from one type to the other is simple.
I suggest you buy whatever you find and can afford. 
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 13, 2013, 02:18:06 PM
Of course, you can also get converted pin locks.  Ball lock connections, pin lock dimensions.  I see these more and more.

I like my 3 gallon kegs, but the price of those things is crazy.  You can get two 5 gallons for the same price, even on fleaBay.

For me, the wider dimensions of the pin lock kegs is the deal breaker.  I can just barely fit two ball locks in my Sanyo mini fridge.  I don't think I could do two pins.

You know what that means? Time to stock up! :)

I really don't need more, but I keep cruising eBay and Craigslist looking for deal... $50 is looking like a deal these days.
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: Jimmy K on May 13, 2013, 03:37:06 PM
Hopefully the price of new ball locks will fall as people start to buy more. I've already seen them sold for ~$90 in multi-packs. Given the hastle of some used kegs, I'd pay a premium for new. I think if it dropped to $75 or so it would be great.
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 13, 2013, 03:42:18 PM
I'm seeing some pretty beat-up used kegs on eBay selling for around $50 plus shipping which puts them at $70+ all in.  If you need new poppets, gaskets and/or a PRV you're looking at a total cost in the ballpark of new kegs.
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: Jimmy K on May 13, 2013, 04:00:01 PM
Even worse if you never get it to seal at all.
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 13, 2013, 04:25:44 PM
Hopefully the price of new ball locks will fall as people start to buy more. I've already seen them sold for ~$90 in multi-packs. Given the hastle of some used kegs, I'd pay a premium for new. I think if it dropped to $75 or so it would be great.
The ones I have seen for $90-100 new are made in China.

I picked up a nice 3 gallon ball lock in S. TX for $30, at a flea market last month.
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 13, 2013, 04:37:54 PM
NB has single handle new 5 gallons for $120.  I believe they are the Italian ones, not the Chinese.

I've got a couple 2.5 gallon Chinese kegs.  They work just fine but have noticeably thinner steel and no rubber bottom.

BTW, that's a score on the 3 gallon keg as I'm sure you know.  Wish I had more of those.
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 13, 2013, 05:26:49 PM
BTW, that's a score on the 3 gallon keg as I'm sure you know.  Wish I had more of those.
Disn't bother to negotiate on the price, just said I would take it.  :)
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: beersk on May 13, 2013, 08:28:01 PM
I've got one that is very difficult to seal. I've been using my used kegs for fermenters and bought a couple new Italian kegs for serving. If I buy more kegs in the future, they'll be new.
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: Jeff M on June 11, 2013, 03:51:12 PM
So my decision was made due to finances.  i scored 8 5 gallon pinlocks for 250 bucks.  now i just need to research the rest of the equipment i need.  ill probably use them as fermentors to start and work my way up:)
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: Joe Sr. on June 11, 2013, 04:08:58 PM
That's a very good price.  Be aware, kegs seem to reproduce.  More is never enough.
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: Jeff M on June 11, 2013, 04:14:47 PM
yeah and unfortunately thats very true for my personality, but right now im looking at purchasing an electric brewery style setup, so 8 is what ive got for now:)
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: micsager on June 11, 2013, 09:28:48 PM
Thats very strange.  all the literature ive read suggests that ball lock kegs where created in a far higher quantity then pin lock.  While the soda industry doesnt use them any more i guess we can assume that homebrewers have eaten up all the ball locks.

The small Pepsi distributor in my town still uses ball lock kegs, but will be starting the switch in a couple months.  As I already own about 50 ball locks, I'm hoping to get their industrial keg washer.  That thing cleans 5 at a time.  (Woo Hoo)
Title: Re: Pin lock VS Ball Lock
Post by: rlester on July 20, 2013, 07:54:07 PM
Either is fine. I have all ball locks because that's what i started with but they're getting harder to come by these days.
+1

Personally I wouldn't bother with 2.5 or 3 gallon kegs unless space requirements absolutely require it. you can put 2.5 or 3 gallons of beer in a 5 gallon keg but not vice versa.
+1