Universal Poppets Tips and Tricks!
I use universal style poppets exclusively when rebuilding kegs. Finding the right OEM specific replacement poppets can be a chore. Beyond finding the right part number, these can be prohibitively expensive. Paying $10 to $14, or more, for an OEM poppet isn’t fun. In fact, if you really had to pay that, it may not even make sense to keep the keg.
Enter universal poppets. These can be picked up at a reasonable cost, regularly under $2 each, and fit the vast majority of kegs.
Tip: Immediately Replace Universal Poppet O-Rings
I remove and discard the o-rings that come with universal poppets. That may sound a little odd, but there are a couple issues. First, I have no idea what these are made of. They are probably okay, but I’m not sure. This is one spot that has a lot of contact with beer. I want to make sure these are food grade. Second, when it comes time to replace these o-rings I want replacements that won’t change fit. I’m aware of a single source for bulk food grade o-ring replacements for universal poppets. Size may vary slightly compared to OEM, so I replace these before adjusting for fit so that the replacements won’t change the way these fit. The stainless parts of universal poppets should last a long, long time, having a reliable source for replacements that you know aren’t going to change anything is a big benefit. Beyond that, being sure you’re using food grade materials at this point is worth a few cents.
Update… Universal Poppets – 304 Stainless + Food Grade Silicone! & Reliable O-Ring Replacements
Since this guide was published, Valuebrew has released a 304 Stainless Steel + Food Grade Silicone Universal Poppet option!
I’m excited that there’s finally there’s an option that comes with quality o-rings made from the right materials out of the box! Beyond that, Valuebrew has pledged to always carry replacement o-rings, so you’ll always have a source when the time comes for replacements.
Issues With Fit
This picture is from my Step by Step Keg Rebuild How-To – Jump To: Section on Poppets. The far right and far left poppets are the “OEM” poppets that came with this particular keg. The center poppet is the universal poppet I used to replace these.
The “OEM” poppets have some problems. Beyond reeking of soda pre-mix, they are different sizes. They should be the same size. Getting a mish-mash of parts on non-rebuilt keg is common.
This photo illustrates the biggest problem I’ve had with universal poppets. Fit. Whichever of the two “OEM” poppets is correct, it’s obvious the universal poppet is too large for this keg. That means these will be too tight. This will make engaging QDs difficult, potentially impossible.
There’s an easy fix.
Adjusting Universal Poppets for Proper Fit
Pictured: Bates Nipper Pliers – Photo from my Keg Rebuild Post – Jump To: Tips on Installing and Adjusting Universal Poppet
- Use a pair of wire cutters or Nipper Pliers to trim the universal poppet. Search Amazon for “nipper pliers”. Look for a tool that’s designed to cut nail heads.
- Important: I suggest trimming a half coil or less and testing. You want the QD to slide on easily and for it to reliably hold pressure when the QD is off. Taking off a half of a coil and testing helps make sure you don’t end up making the poppet too loose.
- For an illustration of this process see Tips on Installing and Adjusting Universal Poppet from my Keg Rebuild Post
Finding Universal Poppets
- My Pick: Universal Poppets – via Valuebrew – These are made of 304 SS and come with food grade silicone o-rings. Valuebrew has committed to always carrying replacements.
- Learn to Brew 5 Piece Cornelius Type Universal Poppet Valve
- 8 Poppet Valve Universal Poppet Valve Keg Poppet Valve Ball Lock Poppet Valve Pin Lock Poppet for Homebrewing
- ApplianPar Universal Poppet Valve with Springs for Homebrewing Draft Beer Ball and Pin Lock Keg Post Set of 8
- 8 PCS Poppet Valve,Universal Poppet Valve,Keg Poppet Valve,Ball Lock Poppet Valve,Pin Lock Poppet For Homebrewing (8 PCS)
- Universal Poppet offerings can come and go quickly. Search Amazon for Universal Poppets – to shop around and see what’s out there.
Bulk Food Grade Replacement O-Rings
Universal Poppet Replacement O-Rings – Food Safe Silicone via Valuebrew – note because of variations in design, there is no guarantee these will fit every design – Complete Lineup
Removing Stubborn Poppets
Some poppets seem to be almost installed permanently in keg posts. I think this is by design and that the reason they seem to be is because they… are. I don’t like those because they’re more difficult, potentially impossible, to clean and sanitize.
I use a center punch to help dislodge hard to remove poppets the old poppet. It usually doesn’t take a whole lot of force. See: Removing Hard to Remove Poppets – Part of Our Keg Rebuild How-To
Rebuild Your Kegs!
Also: Kegerator Tips & Gear | Keg Repair Part #s | Recent Keg Finds
Our Top Draft Resources!
- The Most Difficult Spot to Check for CO2 Leaks
- Keg O-Ring Materials Selection! – EPDM, Silicone and Buna-N?
- Why Do I Have Bubbles in My Beer Line? Diagnosing and Fixing Kegerator Foam Problems
- Five Benefits of Using Corny Kegs As Fermenters
- Rebuilding & Reconditioning Homebrew Kegs!
- Food Safe Replacement Keg O-Rings in Bulk
- Hands on Review: Kegland DuoTight Fittings & EVABarrier Tubing!
- Why Won’t My Homebrew Keg Carbonate? Fixing Draft Beer Carbonation Problems
- What Does a Flow Control Faucet Do?
- Upgrade Your Kegerator – 6 Improvements!
- Serve Homebrew on Any Kegerator & Convert Commercial Kegerator to Homebrew
- Tips and Gear for Growler Filling
- What’s the Difference Between Ball Lock Kegs and Pin Lock Kegs?
- Checking for Draft System CO2 Leaks – Using The Pressure Gauge Method
- Tip: Consider Oetiker Stepless Clamps for Kegerator Gas and Beer Lines
- Hands On Review: Inkbird ITC-308 Dual Stage Temperature Controller +WiFi Version
- Universal Poppets Tips and Tricks!
- Convert Your Mark II Keg & Carboy Washer to a Recirculating Draft Line Cleaning Pump!
- Step by Step: Finding and Fixing Keg CO2 Leaks
- Kegerator Beer Line Temperatures & Reducing Foam with a Recirculating Fan
- Kegging CO2 Use Estimations and Calculations
- Step by Step: Balancing Your Kegerator Draft System
- Building a Simple Ball Lock Draft Line Flushing Setup
- Build a Recirculating Draft Line Cleaning Pump
- Home Brew Keg Roundup – New & Used, 5 and 2.5 Gallon & More!
- Damp Kegerator? Fix Kegerator Condensation
- Portable Draft Beer Serving Options!
- Homebrew Temp Controller Roundup! – Kegerator and Fermentation – concepts, applications and models
- Bulk Keg Orings and Keg Repair Part Numbers
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:poppets rs:6 tag:tpr