Which kegerator is best?
A kegerator is a special type of refrigerator designed to chill, store and dispense kegs of draft beer. Kegerators have a tap on top and use carbon dioxide to pressurize and dispense the beer.
Because the beer is exposed only to carbon dioxide, it stays fresh for weeks and even months. If you are looking for a kegerator that chills and dispenses a full-size keg of beer at close to freezing temperatures, take a look at the Ivation Full-Size Dual Tap Kegerator.
What to know before you buy a kegerator
Draft beer is fresher than bottled or canned beer because the kegs’ metal walls protect the beer from sunlight. Kegerators keep those kegs cold and taps are the way the beer gets from the keg to the cup.
Most manufacturers list which kegs fit inside their kegerators, so you won’t need to take measurements. Here are the names and sizes of the six popular types of beer kegs that are made to fit inside kegerators:
- Half barrel kegs are what most people think of as a keg of beer. They are popular at parties and large events because they hold 15.5 gallons of beer, which is nearly 2,000 ounces.
- Quarter barrel kegs are short and stubby. Also called pony kegs, they are the same width as a half barrel, but half the height. They hold 62 pints of beer, a bit less than 8 gallons.
- Slim quarter kegs are tall and thin. They are the same height as half barrels but much thinner, making them an excellent choice for dual-tap kegerators. They hold 7.75 gallons of beer.
- Sixth barrel kegs, also called torpedos because of their slim shape, hold just over 5 gallons of beer.
- Cornelius kegs hold 5 gallons, or about 40 pints. This size is popular among homebrewers because they are easy to fill.
- Mini kegs hold about 10 pints of beer. Weighing only about 13 pounds, they are great for taking along camping or to the lake.
- Mini kegerators are made to sit on a countertop or picnic table.
- Freestanding kegerators are made to be used anywhere indoors or out. They need to be vented and so should not be jammed into small spaces.
- Built-in kegerators are permanent parts of in-home bars. They generally have a cabinet base with interior shelving and the tap is at the same height you would find in a neighborhood pub.
What to look for in a quality kegerator
Kegerators come with either analog or digital displays and controls.
- Analog kegerators are controlled by turning a dial.
- Digital kegerators are operated with the touch of a button, where one click raises or lowers the temperature precisely one degree at a time.
Most kegerators have a single tap. If you want a larger kegerator for serving large numbers of people, look for one with two taps that can be connected to different kegs. That way no one has to wait and everyone gets to choose their favorite beer.
A half keg of beer and its kegerator will easily weigh more than 100 pounds. This is a lot of weight to wrestle around, so look for a kegerator with wheels. For added safety, make sure the wheels have locking mechanisms.
CO2 is the pressurized gas used to move the beer from the keg through the beer line to the tap to your glass. A 5-pound CO2 tank will last long enough to dispense six or seven kegs of beer.
How much you can expect to spend on a kegerator
The price of a kegerator is determined mostly by its size. Mini kegerators cost about $100 while most midsized kegerators cost from $500 to $1,000.
Why do kegerators use CO2?
A. The beer needs to be pressurized to be moved from the keg to the tap. CO2 is the choice because it does not affect the freshness or taste of the beer.
Why do I get so much foam from the tap?
A. The usual culprit is having the CO2 pressure set too high. Try setting it a bit lower, which will also extend the life of your CO2 cartridge.
What’s the best kegerator to buy?
Ivation Full-size Dual Tap Kegerator
What you need to know: The deep chill technology and fan-forced cooling let you set and maintain a temperature as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit with the touch of a button on the digital display.
What you’ll love: With two gas and beer lines, you can chill and dispense full kegs, quarter kegs or two sixth-barrel kegs. The hardware is stainless steel and the faucets are chrome, both easy to keep clean. This dispenser is set up to help you homebrew your own beer, too.
What you should consider: Some users said it would be better if the taps were upgraded.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top kegerator for the money
Nutrichef Pressured 64-ounce Mini Keg Beer System
What you need to know: You get all the benefits of a full-sized kegerator at a fraction of the price.
What you’ll love: The small size makes it easy for you to bring it along when camping, tailgating or heading to the beach. This stainless steel kegerator is compatible with standard CO2 cartridges and has an adjustable pressure control and a pressure relief valve for safe removal of the tap.
What you should consider: The CO2 cartridges are not included.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Edgestar KC1000SS Craft Brew Kegerator
What you need to know: This stainless steel kegerator with a reversible door is made to hold slim sixth barrels.
What you’ll love: This refrigerator has a quiet self-cooling system, chromed faucet, gauge regulator and 5-pound CO2 tank. The slim design is 4 inches narrower than the standard kegerator and fits easily into a corner. The internal LED lights add a nice touch.
What you should consider: Coors, Miller and rubberized kegs are not supported.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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