Monday 9 May 2022

Duotight Integrated Ball Lock Disconnects - Hands on Review

KegLand recently released some Duotight integrated ball lock disconnects to their extensive range of fittings and disconnect options. Before this range of disconnects were available, Duotight integration with disconnects was accomplished by attaching a MFL (female) threaded Duotight fitting to a MFL (male) threaded gas or liquid disconnect. 

For the uninitiated, Duotight is a range of push in style fittings used for liquid and gas line connections - which in the homebrewing market are used for beer and CO2 gas line connections in draught beer/kegerator systems. Check out our full run down on Duotight fittings here.

KegLand's Duotight integrated ball lock disconnects

It was this older style of disconnect with MFL threading that we have been using for some time in our own kegerator setup. Admittedly, we haven't had any real issues with this type of disconnect after some initial setup difficulties - namely not having the MFL threaded Duotight adapter screwed on tight enough which resulted in some minor/slow leaking. However, even the smallest of leaks are a big deal when it comes to gas connections as a tiny leak can empty a CO2 bottle overnight. An expensive, wasteful and extremely inconvenient experience.

MFL threaded disconnect and Duotight fitting

The new integrated ball lock disconnects are a single moulded piece - meaning a much faster and simpler setup, and less chances of leaking. No more messing around with thread tape, or over/under tightening the thread. Just plug and play.

They are available in black/yellow for liquid/beer, and grey/red for gas connections, and as you can see from the comparison picture below, their profile is significantly lower or slimmer than the previous Duotight connected disconnects.

Comparison of old/new style duotight disconnects

The key to a secure and leak free connection with Duotight fittings is all in the cutting of your beer/gas line. Cuts need to be straight/square and not have any burrs or other rough edges. Any surface imperfections on the surface or edge of the line will effect the ability of the Duotight fittings to make a tight seal. We strongly recommend a line cutter like this one from KegLand - it only costs a couple of bucks and works really well.

Beer/gas line goes into this part - the integrated Duotight connection

Once you've cut your beer line, you simply insert it into the end of the fitting - being sure to push it in all the way to ensure both seals within the fitting are engaged against the line. The only thing to note is that you purchase the correct size fitting to match the external diameter of your beer line. We always use 8mm external diameter line for gas and liquid/beer.

We also recommend the use of locking clips (as pictured above) as an additional layer of security/protection against hose connections coming loose. It's not something we've ever experienced - even without locking clips, but the clip ensures that the collar of the Duotight fitting cannot be depressed which is required to release the tube/hose from the fitting.

Another great benefit of these new fittings is their slimmer and lower profile. Meaning if you need to stack kegs directly on top of one another, you can now do this without the disconnect getting in the way.

After several months of use of these new fittings they have been completely flawless. We're big fans of simple and innovative design. It's great to see KegLand simplifying their products over time - as the process for piecing together a homebrewing kegerator system can be a little overwhelming at time, with lots of hoses and connections required to get everything working together. No longer having to pair the correct threaded disconnect with the same threaded Duotight fitting is a massive win and will no doubt help future brewers more easily complete their setups. For experienced brewers, it's not a compelling upgrade, but if you're in the market for some new or replacement disconnects, they're definitely worth considering, especially considering the relatively low cost.

You can view the full range of ball lock disconnects on the KegLand website

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