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.
There are a good number of differences between the two main styles of homebrew kegs, one of the big differences are the keg posts.
Ball Lock: There are two primary post sizes for standard ball lock kegs. 11/16″ and 7/8″. These can come in both 6 point and 12 point, compatible variations. For the larger 7/8″ posts I’ve seen both 6 point and 12 point styles. A 12 point socket will work on a 6 point post, but not vice versa. For the smaller 11/16″ posts I have only seen 6 point. Not to say that 12 point don’t exist, I just don’t recall seeing any. I have seen a couple other sizes – 5/8″ and 9/16″, but I would personally consider those more rare, and non-standard.
This is important from a tool perspective. I recommend a 12 point socket or wrench for larger 7/8″ posts. Smaller 11/16″ post should work with either 6 or 12 point tools.
Pin Lock: I’m aware of one standard size 13/16″. As previously mentioned this requires a special notched socket.
Finding Compatible Tools:
- Keg Sockets – Choose Your Sockets – via Keg Connection – choose from ball lock and pin lock compatible sockets
- Search Amazon for “Pin Lock Socket”
- 11/16″ 6 point: CRAFTSMAN Deep Socket, SAE, 3/8-Inch Drive, 11/16-Inch, 6-Point (CMMT43336) – note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link
- 11/16″ 12 point: CRAFTSMAN Deep Socket, SAE, 1/2-Inch Drive, 11/16-Inch, 12-Point (CMMT47524) – note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link
- 7/8″ 12 point: CRAFTSMAN Deep Socket, SAE, 1/2-Inch Drive, 7/8-Inch, 12-Point (CMMT47528) – note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link
- Hands on Review: Craftsman Deep Well Sockets for Ball Lock Keg Posts
- Hands on Review: “Ball Lock Keg Wrench” – 11/16″+7/8″ Ratcheting Wrench – via Apollo Tools Wrench Set
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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:ballvspinlockkegslnksto lnksto:ballvspinlockkegs rp:lnkspstsizes