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Forums Brewing Equipment Forum Ball Lock vs. Pin Lock Kegs

  • Ball Lock vs. Pin Lock Kegs

    Posted by John on January 30, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    Does anyone have a strong opinion about whether ball lock or pin lock corny kegs are better? I just got my first keezer and I’m going to be kegging my homebrew for the first time in a few weeks. I’m finding that it’s much easier to find the pin lock ones, and they seem to be a little bit cheaper on Craigslist. Is there any reason I should choose one over the other?

    Jim replied 4 years, 5 months ago 7 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • Dave

    January 31, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    My very limited understanding about ball-lock vs. pin lock:
    1. Ball locks are slightly taller and narrower than pin locks.
    2. Ball locks have a manual pressure relief valve, pin locks do not.
    3. Ball lock posts can be removed with a standard wrench socket, pin locks require a special one.
    4. Pin locks can be converted to ball locks, and vice versa.
    My keezer lines came with ball lock fittings, so I am looking for ball lock kegs, but I understand that there are adapters you can attach to your kegerator lines to switch from one type to the other.

  • John

    January 31, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    I’ve done a little more research and it doesn’t look like there is a difference in quality or usefulness –

    Corny kegs are originally for soda, and Pepsi used the Ball Lock style while Coke used the Pin Lock style. Ball lock ones seem to be easier to find in most areas, although in mine I’m finding more pin lock ones. Pin lock kegs are a little wider in diameter, too, but just by a half-inch. So I’ll probably just get whatever I can fastest/easiest/cheapest.

  • Ramesh Pandey

    December 14, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    I have a question, can you change a pin lock keg to a ball lock keg? By changing the connectors?

  • Jim

    December 14, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    You can switch the posts and it will work, just check the threading. I recommend asking your question as a new thread for more answers – this is an old thread.

  • Ramesh Pandey

    December 14, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    sorry i will ask on a new thread

  • William

    December 14, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    in terms of ball lock vs pin lock, its really just a matter of personal preference and what you have access to. Both work the same, just a different post fitting on the kegs. Ramesh – conversion and replacement posts are readily available if you run into a deal on either style.

  • Peter N

    December 14, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    Either. The only two actual differences in ball (shorter/wider) and pin (taller/narrower), is the dimensions of the kegs (good to know if sizing a keezer) and the availability of fittings (good to know based on your LHBS and what parts they stock). Just pick one type and stick with it.

  • Arthur Reed

    December 14, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Can you fit more kegs in your kegerator or keezer if they are short and wide or if they are tall and skinny? Ball locks are tall and skinny so that sometimes helps squeeze in an extra keg to the same size keezer. Ball locks are 8″ in diameter, pin locks are 9″ in diameter. I can fit 3 ball lock kegs in my kegerator only 2 pin locks no matter what.

  • Jim

    December 14, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Ok I take it back Ramesh, you brought the thread back to life. I’ll still answer your question on your new thread but I may as well weigh in on the great ball lock vs. pin lock debate.

    There are no new pin lock kegs. They’re all old Coke kegs but they still work fine. So while there’s nothing wrong with pin lock, a reason to go with ball lock is that you can buy brand new kegs instead of searching for old ones. Ball lock are the accepted standard, they are still made new, there are a ton of parts and accessories and gadgets designed for Ball lock kegs.

    Pin lock are about 20-25% cheaper, but have basically none of the advantages above.
    I’d rather have a PIN lock keg than no keg at all, but long term, you are going to be much better off being on the ball lock standard.

    I went with and would go with ball locks again. Inevitably, you’ll want to serve beer at a friends or at a homebrew club event or something and its just easier when everyone has the same equipment.

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