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May 19, 2022

My Best Co2 Regulator For Beer Dispensing

My Best Co2 Regulator For Beer Dispensing

If you are a beer lover, you know that the taste of your favorite beer can be affected by the co2 levels in a beer line or gas line. Too much co2 and your beer will be over carbonated. While too little co2 will make it flat and unappetizing.

That's why it's important to have a good co2 regulator for your beer. But with so many different types and brands of co2 regulators on the market, how do you know which one is right for you?

Are All CO2 Regulators The Same?

No. There are different types and brands of co2 regulators. Each with its own features, benefits, and drawbacks. Some are better than others. Some have a dual gauge regulator. Others have one. There are a lot of cheap ones, but we will talk about 2 that will work for you and my personal favorite.

But we are talking about the best co2 regulator beer-wise. These primary regulators read tank pressure using a dual gauge. While controlling the (psi) pressure per square inch delivered downstream to the beer system.

Co2 regulators can come in a single gauge regulator and control the gas pressure through gas lines. Often referred to as secondary regulators.

They also come in dual gauge regulators. Also known as your primary regulators, and these are the ones will be talking about further in this post.

Is a Co2 Regulator the Same as a Nitrogen Regulator?

The answer is no. A co2 regulator is not the same as a nitrogen regulator. There are two different fittings on each of these regulators that correspond with the type of cylinder tank inserts.

To break it down easily. A primary co2 regulator regulates co2 and a nitrogen primary regulator regulates nitrogen. Both control working pressure psi and send the appropriate pressure downstream through a gas line or airline. The output pressure is regulated by a gauge on both of the regulators so that one can read the psi, and adjust if neccessary.

These regulators come in a low-pressure regulator. Have a shut-off valve. A regulator body and a pressure relief valve.

Micromatic Primary Regulator
Micro Matic Nitrogen Regulator

What is a Good Co2 Regulator?

A good co2 regulator has a readable and accurate pressure gauge. A gas shut-off valve, a pressure check valve and regulates carbon dioxide. Helping draft beer and a draft beer system pour properly.

Some of the premium regulators come with an adjustable wrench to manually increase the pressure on the regulator or decrease the pressure on the regulator. Some use a flathead screwdriver to adjust the psi.

These regulators can be used commercially or also used on a home draft system, but the importance of a co2 regulator is to regulate the right carbonation levels found in draft beer. So we achieve a 2 oz per the second pour.

Another important part of good regulators is the material, and what it's made of.

Taprite has a model that's highly reliable. There are also similar products. Like Micro Matic's version, I'll talk about later in this post.

Can I use a CO2 Regulator For Beer Gas?

This depends if you're using co2 regulator to attach to a CO2 cylinder to feed a gas blender. Then yes you can use one. But if you're using a co2 regulator to mount into a premix gas cylinder the answer is no. The premix gas cylinders take a nitrogen primary regulator to attach because these premixed cylinders have a nitrogen primary regulator fitting.

What to Look for in a Beer Keg CO2 Regulator

When looking for a quality CO2 regulator look at the pressure gauge. Make sure it's readable but more importantly, that it's accurate. Check out the material. A heavy-duty regulator typically works better than the lighter plate ones. They'll also have a check valve safety blow off for higher pressure.

Another factor to look at is the quality of the materials. The ones from MicroMatic are made with high-quality material. These types of regulators will be a lot easier to maintain down the road.

They're also easier to install in my opinion. Price can be a determining factor. But usually, with the these higher quality regulators, a premium price is required. When it comes down to it. Price is outweighed by the quality and the longevity of a premium regulator, and is worth the investment.

How Do I Attach a CO2 Regulator to a Keg?

Start by grabbing either a crescent ranch or a CO2 wrench. What you want to do is take off the plastic piece on your CO2 cylinder. And then look inside your primary co2 regulator and make sure that there is a gasket or a washer inside.

Most of the premium models have them already built-in. Next, screw on the nut onto your CO2 cylinder. You want to turn that clockwise using a crescent wrench until everything is nice and tight.

You don't need a ratchet down. You just want to make sure it's nice and snug and you can check to see if your connection is secure. By opening the CO2 cylinder. Turning the primary regulator into the shut-off mode. Open the cylinder completely and if no gas leaks you're good to go.

The Best CO2 Regulator

Now we're gonna talk about the best primary regulator for the money in my opinion and my experience in the field.

Single or Dual Gauge Regulators?

This is kind of an interesting discussion. Single or dual gauge regulators and it just really depends. If we're talking about single gauge regulators. We are probably talking about secondary regulators and these are definitely very important to your system. Used downstream from a primary regulator.

Primary regulators are usually the starting point of where your gas enters your draft beer system. So they're both very important. I wouldn't say more important than the other if we're talking in terms of single gauge versus dual gauge regulators.

However, if we're talking in regards to single gauge versus double gauge or dual gauge primary regulators. There's no comparison. Dual gauge are supremely better because not only can you monitor the psi pressure coming out of your tank but you can also see where your CO2 level is in your tank.

Secondary Regulator Picture

CO2 Regulator (Taprite) - Dual Gauge

This has been my go-to primary regulator for years in the beer industry. I've used this gauge and had a lot of success. They have a simple shut-off valve at the bottom and they regulate tank pressure correctly. like I said they've been my go-to.


Co2 Primary Regulator Micromatic- Dual Gauge

Enter Micromatic's new premium primary regulator. This is now my go-to primary CO2 regulator. It's got a very heavy duty outer body and this CO2 regulator is great for any type of draft beer system whether you're using quarter barrel units, half barrels, beer kegs you name it. It also comes with replacement parts if you need but the pressure is accurate and just the quality of the product is something that I really appreciate. Cost wise this primary regulator from Micromatic is usually around $100 mark. Taprite's, gonna be a little less. Around $70-$80 mark and one last thing the other reason I like Micromatic. The service they have at the company. Make them stand out compared to Taprite in my personal opinion

Micromatic Primary Regulator

Conclusion

Wrapping this up. We talked about defining a quality co2 regulator how to install one. How to connect and what to look for and compare two of my favorite primary regulators are CO2 regulators that I've used exclusively in the field, but at the end of the day, my go-to now will be the Micromatic premium primary CO2 regulator. I'll continue to use this for a commercial installs moving forward. If you have any other questions please feel free to reach out to me here.

Also, I've got a bunch of other educational blog posts regarding draft beer dispensing. Equipment techniques and other things that I've seen over the past decade. That I've talked about on my blog. If you're looking for some products I also have a recommended products page. You can take a gander at it. Some quality components in the draft beer industry. Thanks for reading

Cheers!

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About the author

I've been a draft beer technician for over 10 years  building, designing, and installing large commercial beer systems. Through the years I've worked on breweries, tap houses, casinos and stadiums around the country.

I enjoy sharing my passion for draft beer dispensing by talking about it, recommending dispensing equipment I've used in commercial installs, or private settings. 

Cheers!

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