CO2 Charger or Sodastream Adapter – Which is The Best gas system for 5 Litre Kegs?
In the previous 5-litre mini keg guide we covered the main euqipment you’d need to get set up. Now we’ll look at two options for the gas for mobile kegging.
For avid homebrewers, the quest for the perfect gas system for 5-litre kegs is an essential part of the brewing journey. When it comes to carbonating and dispensing your homebrew, the choice between a CO2 charger and a regulator with a Sodastream adapter can significantly impact your brewing experience.
In this article, we’ll explore the features of each system and compare them based on set up cost, ongoing cost, ease of use, and portability to help you make an informed decision for your homebrew setup.
Understanding CO2 Chargers
CO2 chargers, also known as mini regulators, are compact devices designed for small-scale applications like homebrewing. These chargers utilize small CO2 cartridges to carbonate and dispense beer from your keg. They are easy to use and offer a convenient solution for those looking to maintain a simple and cost-effective setup.
Regulator with Sodastream Adapter
On the other hand, a regulator with a Sodastream adapter allows you to use larger CO2 cylinders, often the ones used in Sodastream machines, for your homebrew system. This setup typically involves a standard CO2 regulator that is adapted to connect with Sodastream cylinders, providing more control over carbonation levels and dispensing pressure.
Brewkegtap have a full kit to get you set up with everything you need including the 5-litre keg, tap, regulator, gas line and adapters. It’s usually around £165 but is sometimes on special offer. Similar kits are also available from TheMaltMiller.
Set Up Cost
When it comes to set up cost, CO2 chargers have the upper hand. These compact devices are affordable and require minimal investment to get started. A basic CO2 charger kit can be purchased at a reasonable price, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious homebrewers.
On the other hand, a regulator with a Sodastream adapter may involve a slightly higher initial cost. The need for a quality CO2 regulator and an adapter can add to the setup expenses. However, the investment in a larger Sodastream CO2 cylinder may pay off in the long run.
Winner: CO2 Charger for lower set up cost.
In terms of ongoing costs, CO2 chargers may seem economical initially, but the price of replacement cartridges can add up over time. These cartridges have a limited lifespan and will need frequent replacement, which could impact your long-term budget. The cartridges are readily available but you can easily get through 2 per 5-litre keg.
Regulators with Sodastream adapters, on the other hand, can offer a cost-effective solution in the long run. Sodastream cylinders generally have a higher CO2 capacity than small chargers, reducing the frequency of replacements and lowering ongoing expenses. A swap scheme where you get money off a new cylinder helps reduce the cost. Just hand the empty one back when you buy the new one for you discount.
Winner: Regulator with Sodastream Adapter for lower ongoing cost.
Ease of Use
CO2 chargers are known for their simplicity and ease of use. The setup involves screwing in a CO2 cartridge, adjusting the regulator settings, and connecting it to the keg. This straightforward process makes them ideal for beginners and those looking for a hassle-free setup.
While a regulator with a Sodastream adapter may have a slightly steeper learning curve, it provides greater control over carbonation levels and dispensing pressure. Homebrewers with more experience may appreciate the precision and flexibility offered by this system.
Winner: CO2 Charger for simplicity and ease of use.
When it comes to portability, CO2 chargers take the lead. Their compact size and lightweight design make them easy to transport, making them an excellent choice for homebrewers who enjoy sharing their brews.
Regulators with Sodastream adapters, while still portable, may be bulkier due to the larger CO2 cylinder and the gas line. However, they are still a viable option for those who prioritize the benefits of a larger capacity cylinder over ultimate portability.
Winner: CO2 Charger for enhanced portability.
Choosing between a CO2 charger and a regulator with a Sodastream adapter ultimately depends on your brewing preferences and priorities. If you’re looking for a cost-effective and straightforward solution with minimal setup, a CO2 charger may be the best fit. On the other hand, if you value long-term cost savings, precision control, and are willing to invest a bit more upfront, a regulator with a Sodastream adapter could be the ideal choice.
Consider your budget, brewing goals, and preferences when making your decision, and remember that both options can deliver excellent results for your 5-litre keg homebrewing adventures. Cheers to finding the perfect gas system for your brewing needs!
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