Pictured: Used 5 Gallon Ball Lock Keg via Adventures in Homebrewing
The containers we call Ball Lock and Pin Lock Kegs come from the soda industry. Also called Cornelius Kegs, Corny Kegs and Corney Kegs, they were originally intended to store and distribute soda pre-mix. The big soda companies decided on different style containers for their pre-mix. Pepsi landed on the Ball Lock style while Coke uses the Pin Lock style.
Homebrewers have since re-purposed these as homebrew beer kegs.
Kegs are available in ball lock and pin lock variations in a a variety of sizes.
Here’s a roundup of some of the best available sources for homebrew kegs along with some comparisons on types of kegs, features and benefits and a list of suppliers.
In this post:
- Used Ball Lock, 5 Gallon Cornelius/Corny Style Ball Lock Kegs
- MoreBeer’s Used Ball Lock Kegs Explained
- Rebuilding Used Kegs
- Tip: Single strap handle vs double rubber handle kegs
- What’s the Difference Between Pin Lock and Ball Lock Kegs?
- Brand New 5 Gallon Ball Lock Cornelius/Corny Style Ball Lock Kegs
- 5 Gallon Pin Lock Cornelius/Corny Style Ball Lock Kegs
- New Pin Lock Kegs?
- Smaller Kegs – 1.5 to 3 gallon
- 10 and 15 Gallon Ball Lock Kegs!
- One-Offs – Unique keg offerings or configurations
- Keg Deals!
- eBay – Various Offerings
- Amazon – Various Offerings
- Kegging Systems
- Compare Suppliers
Used 5 Gallon Ball Lock Cornelius/Corny Style Ball Lock Kegs
- Adventures in Homebrewing: 5 Gallon Cornelius Keg (Ball Lock) Used – Adventures in Homebrewing is one of the most reliable sources for used 5 gallon kegs. Also available in a four pack
- Loose Handle 5 Gallon Ball Locks from Adventures in Homebrewing – one of the best deals in homebrew kegs, when they’re available.- how to fix loose handles and bases
- Cornelius Keg “or Firestone”, 5 Gallon, Ball Lock – Pepsi Style for Homebrew/Soda – RECONDITIONED Ball Locks – via Keg Connection
- Keg Connection: Used 5 Gallon Ball Lock Kegs – Keg Connection can have some pretty stellar deals on kegs, especially when you factor in their flat rate shipping. As of this posting, that applies to… everything.
MoreBeer’s Used Ball Lock Kegs Explained
MoreBeer has a bunch of ball lock keg options both new an used. Most of those are self explanatory, but the used offerings can be a bit confusing.
- Used Cornelius Keg – Ball Lock 5 gal. KEG430 – these are raw kegs – no cleaning, no rebuild, sold “as is”
- Rebuilt Used Corny Keg – Ball Lock 5 gal. KEG420 – cleaned and checked in house. Gaskets are replaced as needed. Pressure checked and guaranteed to hold pressure.
- Used Corny Keg Ball Lock 5 gal. – Pressure Tested KEG423 – these are cleaned, sanitized, de-labeled and refurbished by a third party service. Pressure checked and guaranteed to hold pressure.
One great thing about kegs at MoreBeer is that they fall under MoreBeer’s $59 free shipping program. Many shops exclude kegs from free or flat rate shipping programs. That’s a big bonus.
Rebuilding Used Kegs
Tip: Single strap handle vs double rubber handle kegs
Double handle kegs offer a couple of advantages. First, and most obvious… you have two handles to use when picking it up these kegs. Second, these allow you to easily invert the keg so that you can allow it to drain and dry after cleaning. This only applies to ball lock kegs, although they may exist, I’ve never seen a single handle pin lock keg.
What’s the Difference Between Pin Lock and Ball Lock Kegs?
Brand New 5 Gallon Ball Lock Cornelius/Corny Style Ball Lock Kegs
When this post was originally published back in 2012 brand new kegs were very expensive or poorly made. Since that time new kegs have become a viable option. Prices have come down dramatically while quality has, generally, gone up. In my opinion, the widespread availability of economical new kegs has contributed to the continued availability of used kegs.
- AIH New 5 Gallon Corny Keg Ball Lock [Hands on Review] – This brand new, NSF certified ball lock keg lists for $119.99 but can regularly be found on sale at around $75. Check out my hands on review for my information, but… this is a great keg.
- 5 Gallon Kegland Kegs at William’s Brewing – Kegland kegs have a unique feature. The lids have an integrated stainless steel hang tap on the inside of the lid. This is for easily suspending hopping bags and hop infusers. From the description: “Precisely made with smooth robotically welded interior welds for ease of cleaning to stringent NSF standards.”
- 5 Gallon Kegland Kegs at MoreBeer
- Torpedo Ball Lock Kegs at MoreBeer available both in their original design and a slimline version in a variety of capacities. The original design has dimensions similar to pin lock kegs (shorter and wider) where the slimline versions more closely resemble traditional ball lock kegs. Both versions feature a stackable design. The nice thing about these is that all sizes ship for free to addresses in the lower 48 states. See: Hands on Review: Torpedo 10 Gallon Ball Lock Homebrew Kegs
- Brand New Italian Made Ball Lock Kegs via MoreBeer. If I had to generalize, my guess would be that Italian manufacturer kegs are a higher quality than Chinese made kegs. Have said that, I think that’s less true now than a time ago. Quality standards are now (again in my opinion) more similar than they were a few years ago.
- Brand New AMCYL Kegs at Keg Connection
5 Gallon Pin Lock Cornelius/Corny Style Ball Lock Kegs
- Depending on current promotion and availability Adventures in Homebrewing has some of the best Pin Lock offerings available – Single 5 Gallon Pin Lock, Four Pack
- Much like their Ball Lock offerings Keg Connection’s Pin Lock Offering can be an outstanding deal, especially when you factor in their flat rate shipping. As of this posting, that applies to… everything.
- Pin Locks at MoreBeer – From my experience, MoreBeer seems to specialize in ball lock style kegs. Along those lines their pin lock offering is often times not the best deal out there. However… it’s worth a look as I have seen it offered at a great price.
New Pin Lock Kegs?
To my knowledge, new pin lock kegs are not readily available to homebrewers.
Smaller Kegs – 1.5 to 3 gallon
- Smaller kegs are great for splitting batches, small batch brewers, doing one-off beers from split from a 5 gallon batch… or for easily serving on the go. Purge with CO2, fill from your tap and place in ice in a 5 gallon bucket…. whammo!
- William’s Brewing has 2 to 3 gallon ball locks – Kegland Kegs have a unique feature. The lids have an integrated stainless steel hang tap on the inside of the lid. This is for easily suspending hopping bags and hop infusers. From the description: “Precisely made with smooth robotically welded interior welds for ease of cleaning to stringent NSF standards.”
- MoreBeer’s Torpedo Kegs are available in 1.5 and 2.5 gallon sizes. Note that these kegs are stackable with fittings on. The nice thing about smaller Torpedo kegs is that they are reasonably priced, less expensive that larger 5 gallon models. Although it’s counter-intuitive it seems like smaller kegs usually cost more. That’s not true for Torpedo kegs.
- Brand New Italian Made 2.5 Gallon Ball Lock at MoreBeer
- Keg Connection has new 2.5 gallon ball locks available, again flat rate shipping is in play
- AIH has 1.75,, 2.5 and 3 gallon sizes of their great NSF certified keg – Hands on Review
- Used Single Handle 3 Gallon Cornelius Keg (Ball Lock) from Adventures in Homebrewing
- AIH also has a variety of 2.5 and 3 gallon kegs – double and single handle and both ball and pin lock. The pin locks have been offered at stellar prices in the past, although availability varies. As of this posting, pin locks are out of stock.
10 and 15 Gallon Ball Lock Kegs!
These size kegs are handy if you’re a larger batch brewer wanting to keg larger batches and… they work great as fermenters. I’ve used a 10 gallon ball lock for years and years as a fermenter. It allows me to ferment under pressure [See: Spunding Valve Build], do fermenter to serving keg transfers under pressure, it’s food grade stainless steel and it’s easy to move around. I’ve been a big advocate of this application of these kegs.
In days past, generally, the only way to get these kegs was to find them used, usually on eBay. The prices were confiscatory and that was if you could even find one.
One-Offs – Unique keg offerings or configurations
- Loose Handle/Bottom Ball Lock keg w/PRV Lid via AIH – Double rubber handle 5 gallon ball lock with loose handles or bottoms. One of the cheapest ball lock keg options out there. See our Tips Page (#19) for a step by step on repairing loose handles and bases. Availability can be very sporadic. Also: Search AIH for “loose” to see if other offerings are available
- Low profile ball locks – Ball Lock kegs that are similar in size to pin locks. Sometimes you’ll see these out there as converted pin lock to ball lock kegs, although AIH’s product description says they do not convert pin locks to ball locks.
- Converted Ball Locks from MoreBeer – Pin lock kegs that have been converted to ball lock kegs.
- Racetrack Ball Locks – These are ball lock kegs that have a size lid and different replacement parts compared to standard ball locks. These kegs are difficult to find in stock. Replacement parts can be hard to find. AIH generally has the best selection and has even contracted the manufacture of some of these parts. Search AIH for “racetrack“
eBay – Various Offerings
eBay can be a good source for used kegs. Standard eBay caveats apply. Look at seller’s feedback and total cost delivered. Search eBay for Ball Lock Kegs.
Amazon – Various Offerings
Amazon can also be a good source for kegs, although much like eBay offerings can vary. Search Amazon for homebrew kegs
This post primarily covers kegs, however you may need a kegging system to get started. These generally contain a regulator, keg, tubing, fittings, disconnects and possibly a CO2 tank.
- Adventures in Homebrewing – huge selection of kegging systems
- Keg Connection
- MoreBeer – Most MoreBeer options include a CO2 tank. These systems also ship for free to the lower 48 US states.
- William’s Brewing – Kegland Ready Made Homebrew Kegerators | Kegging Systems
These are mostly links directly to vendors draft or kegging landing pages, when they exist
- Adventures in Homebrewing
- Amazon Kegs & Kegging Category
- Beer & Wine Hobby
- Great Fermentations
- Keg Connection
- Label Peelers
- William’s Brewing – good selection of mini regulators, Intertaps & more
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Make sure the components you use are compatible and rated for your intended application. Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application. Always read and follow manufacturer directions. toppost:kegroundup tag:tpr rs:2