Second post here. I'm sifting through how to get into kegging and have a few questions.
Firstly, is buying a used keg any more challenging then buying a kit? Eg, someone near me is selling a simple 20l keg for $50 but I'd need the Sankey/ senki, (spell ckeck) coupler, lines, Co2 tank...
What size Co2 tank would I need?
Or should I just buy a Keg kit from one of the many home brew stores in Ontario?
Or try to scoop one up online?
There's also a fellow that sells refurbished corny kegs in markham but happens to live in Alliston (where I live). They're $65 and pressure tested, so that sounds like a good start? It's certainly convenient to buy if I went this route.
I really like the idea of kegging. I've bottled extract kits in the past and really hated it.
I'll keep looking online for info but any advice and tips for purchasing would be appreciated. Seems a lot have kits and lowest costs are re-furbished. The Co2 tank seems to be a giant cost depending on size of course.
I use ball lock corny kegs. There are also pin lock style available, equally as good I'm sure, but I think the pin lock are a bit wider and shorter - both hold 5 US gallons or 18.9 liters. (Coke used pi lock, Pepsi used ball lock).
Repair parts such as posts ,O rings, poppets. lids, are readily available if needed at any time for either type.
Ball lock seems a bit more popular but either would work - probably best to standardize n one style of you plan to get multiple kegs or you will need to be changing your connectors all the time - they are of course different for each style.
A plus for the ball lock style is thatchy have a ring pull safety valve so yo can easily reduce pressure to remove the lid once empty. Pin lock kegs have a safety valve but I don't think it can be just pulled to open - you would need to put a loose connector on thetas post to receive the pressure I guess (Not 100% sure of this though - never seen a pin lock keg!
I have seven kegs at present, 4 I bought used and three new (I lucked out got a great deal on three new ones at a flea market or otherwise I would have just bought more used ones.
If you buy used ones from a source such as Ontario Beer Kegs (Where I got mine) they are generally tested and have new O rings as needed when you get them.
The only minor problem though is that used ones that have come directly from soda pop service will really need a good clean to get rid of the sweet soda smell - not really a problem, just work!
If you got your kegs used from a fellow home brewer, he/she would likely have done all the cleaning!
Also used kegs may be a bit banged up and have numerous stickers on them - you can remove the stickers, but not much you can do about dents - but again, not a problem, just cosmetic.
I bought ball lock kegs mainly because I knew I could fit two at a time into the kegerator I made from a bar fridge - two pin lock kegs would not fit. This might be important to you if you want a compact kegerator with two taps.
As for CO2 bottles - standard smaller sizes are 5#, 10#, and 20#.
You will save a little $ per lb of CO2 if you buy the larger sizes, but on the other hand, if you spring a leak someplace -as has happened to me a couple of times, you feel better losing just 5# of CO2 rather than 20# Even the 5# size lasts a long time, as long as you don't get a leak! Once have carbonated my beers and they are in the kegerator, I open the cylinder valves only when having a "session" then close them after t minimize chances of gas loss. Course if the session is too long, sometimes I forget!
I have three 5# bottles that I use. For me, another plus is that with the smaller size, i can throw one in my motorcycle bag and take it to get a refill rather than a more costly and less enjoyable trip in our 3/4 ton truck!
Hope that is some help!