You love draft beer, and would like the convenience and cost savings of being able to enjoy it at home. You need a kegerator to store and serve your draft beer, but with so many models on the market, you're unsure of which one suits your needs. Some of the things you should consider consider to help your decision are:
- Will you use the kegerator indoors, outdoors, or both?
- Do you want it built into a counter or bar, or do you want a free-standing model?
- How much space do you have for the unit?
- How much beer do you want your kegerator to hold?
- Do you want to be able to serve more than one type of beer?
- Do you want refrigerated shelf space for bottled beer or wine?
- How much money do you want to spend on your kegerator?
Free-Standing Indoor Kegerators
The free-standing, single tap, indoor models of kegerators are the most economical, and most popular ways to serve cold draft beer at home. Most single tap models will hold a full or pony keg of your favorite draft beer. Typically, they will have casters for easy relocation, and come in multiple colors such as black, white, or stainless steel. Single tap models can cost less than $500 for a new unit. If you want a two tap version, so you can serve two types of beer at the same time, you can expect to pay closer to $1,000.
There are many stand alone, single tap kegerators available on the market today, but we recommend the Nostalgia Electrics KRS2100 model (shown in above picture). This kegerator has a capacity of 4.6 cubic feet, which holds a half keg of beer or 2 Cornelius kegs, and comes with a complete CO2 tap system. The tap system includes a D keg tapper (you will need another tapper to fit all North American beer kegs) a pressure gauge, a pressure regulator, and an arm for pulling drafts. A cleaning kit and beer FAQ guide are also included with the unit. The Nostalgia Electrics KRS2100 kegerator has a black exterior and compact size (48-1/2 inches tall, 25-3/4 inches wide, and 20-1/4 inches deep). It also has four casters on the bottom so you can easily move the unit to where you need it. The Nostalgia Electrics KRS2100 is a reasonably priced, but high quality kegerator.
Built in kegerators are designed to be built under your bar or counter top in a fixed position. Unless you're a skilled do-it-yourself type person, retrofitting a counter or bar with a built in kegerator can get a bit expensive. Not only do you have the cost of the kegerator itself, but the addition cost of labor should be taken into consideration before purchase. If you can do the job yourself, or don't mind paying somebody else to do it for you, built in kegerators do provide a much cleaner, professional look than a stand alone unit.
Single Tap - For built in, or under bar kegerators, we recommend the Summit Kegerator SBC490-BIFR for the single tap variety (shown in above picture). We feel this is the easiest and most attractive way to integrate a keg refrigerator into your kitchen, den, game room, or even your garage. This unit holds half or quarter kegs, and the size of the unit (34"H x 23.875"W x 24.375"D) allows it to be built into standard cabinetry without needing to create added clearance. It also accepts a custom front panel, so it seamlessly blends in with your existing cabinetry. The ease of installation will make the Summit Kegerator SBC490-BIFR Built-In Keg Beer Dispenser cheaper to install, and will give you a more professionally finished look in the end.
Dual Tap - For the dual tap models, we prefer the Marvel 61HK-BB-F Dual Faucet Built In Kegerator (shown in photo to left). This model holds up to 3 kegs of your favorite beer, and the dual taps allows you to serve two different types of beer at once. *Only 5 gallon Cornelius kegs can fit in 3 at a time. The unit features an over sized, factory balanced, refrigeration system. The exterior has heavy duty, laminated black vinyl front and sides with matching black aluminum back.Marvel's 61HK-BB-F features enhanced microprocessor technology provides superior temperature control.
This kegerator includes all necessary tapping equipment, 2 American "D" System Sankey lever handle couplers, and a Pro Series Grade gauge CO2 regulator with CO2 splitter. Marvel's entire cabinet structure and solid doors are foamed in place using high density, CFC free, polyurethane insulation. Overall, the Marvel 61HK-BB-F Dual Faucet Built In Kegerator Black Cabinet with Black Door is a well built, professional looking kegerator.
Upright Style Kegerators
Upright style kegerators are upright refrigerator units that have been converted into kegerators. The benefit of an upright model is that you have plenty of extra refrigerated space for food, or other drinks, along with your keg. Most units also have freezer space for ice, drink mixes, or frozen food. Uprights are perfect for those who like to entertain and have a little more space for their kegerator. This type of unit is a good choice for garages, shops, finished basements, and party areas where there is plenty of space to hold a larger unit.
Upright styles tend to be on the expensive side of the the kegerator market. It'd difficult to find a new upright model for anything under $1,000. However, if you get a kegerator conversion kit, you can buy a used refrigerator at a garage sale, and easily make your own for $300 to $400. Rather than buying individual parts and trying to convert the fridge yourself, there is a deluxe kegerator conversion kit that comes complete with everything you need, including detailed instructions and any specialized tools. You don't need to be a handyman to do this project. Anybody can complete the job in less than an hour. The Deluxe Door Mount Kegerator Conversion Kit with 5 lb. Co2 Tank comes complete with everything other than the refrigerator.
Kegerators designed to be used outdoors cost more than indoor use units. If you're wondering, "What's the difference?". The answer is outdoor units meet UL standards for outdoor use. The backs of outdoor models are typically sealed to protect the electrical components. They are also equipped with a ground fault interrupter (GFCI) to prevent possible electrocution if the electronics do get wet. Additionally, higher quality outdoor units have better insulation to help regulate the interior temperature when outdoor temperatures get extreme.
Using your kegerator outdoors, it is not a good idea if it's an indoor model. Instead, get yourself a good kegerator designed to be used outside, like the Marvel Outdoor Series 6OHK-SS-F Deluxe Half Keg Beer Dispenser (pictured above). This unit will allow you to enjoy draft beer at perfect serving temperature, without the need to go indoors. This deluxe model comes complete with casters, mug railing and drain kit. It also holds a half keg, and includes everything you need, such as a draft tower, hoses, CO2 tank and regulator, drip tray, and interior floor shield. The Marvel Kegerator 60HK-SS-F All Stainless Steel Outdoor Keg Beer Cooler - Standard Model is our choice for best value in outdoor kegerators.