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It’s not quite a fridge, and not quite a keg: a kegerator is basically a re-designed refrigerator for keeping a keg cool inside, while dispensing beer out of the top tower through a faucet tap. When you store a keg or mini-keg in a refrigerated environment, and use CO2 pressure to serve from it, the contents are kept fresh and carbonated for longer – often even a couple months. For those who want the convenience and consistency of their fave brew on tap at home, a kegerator may be just what you need.
Regular refrigerators generally don’t have the space to fit kegs, nor do they have the built-in dispensing system (though there is a kegerator conversion kit available). And depending on how much, and what brand, of beer you consume, a kegerator can actually end up saving you money in the long run. It’s also great for those experimenting with home-based brewing, either for the first time or if you’re a master cicerone.
While beer is generally the go-to beverage when people think of a kegerator, they’ve recently become relevant for dispensing things like cold brew coffee, wine and kombucha too. However you may need some different types of taps though depending on the drink. Wine and cold brewed coffee use a CO2/Nitrogen blend to pressurize the kegs, so an all-stainless steel dispensing system is best, since the higher acid contents can often corrode the chrome-plated brass that comes standard. For wine, a silicone “wine-line” is recommended in place of the PVC vinyl beer line. Even for a few types of beers, a slightly different setup is required from what comes factory standard. A brew such as Guinness, requires a nitrogen tank or CO2/nitrogen adapter, as well as a nitrogen regulator. A different type of faucet, known as a stout faucet, is also a must for some brews, due to its small restrictor disc inside, which creates the creamy, rich head that nitrogen beers are so known for.
A good kegerator will keep your beer cool, and can chill down fast without crossing the line into freezing the keg. Most, if not all, units come with the CO2 tank included, as well as a decoupler to crack open the keg and start enjoying the contents. Some even let you tap two or three kegs within the same unit. The key to finding the right kegerator for you is adjusting to what your needs will be. Whether you’re throwing frequent parties, or trying out brewing as a new hobby, these options will keep your beverage cool and on tap all-day.
1. EdgeStar Full-Size Kegerator
At 81.6 pounds, the EdgeStar is pretty light for a kegerator, while still being completely mobile.
The dual faucets are made from shiny stainless steel, and chrome-plated for a perfect pour. The cabinet is also crafted from stainless steel and keeps all your beer — whether home-brew or commercial-grade — ice cold and ready to drink at around a steady 30°F-40°F (the gradient, six-setting manual thermostat lets you control the internal temp too).
Another very cool feature is the left/right opening door, meaning it can easily open from either side. This isn’t only convenient, but allows you to place the unit virtually anywhere and still be able to access what’s inside. And when you want to wheel it, the rolling casters let you move it from the kitchen into the living room for game-day or outside for summer barbecues.
It also features an external CO2 knockout option, leaving you more room for internal keg storage. Mounting a CO2 tank to the back of the cabinet is simple, and hooking it up to the professionally drilled tube holes is fast, as well as easy to replace whenever you change the keg.
The internal floorplate allows the keg to stand on a solid base, keeping things evenly balanced. And if you’d prefer to pack it up with food – no problem. Two included shelves let you turn it into a makeshift mini-fridge instantly.
2. Kegco K309SS-1 Keg Dispenser
At 100 pounds, the Kegco has a spacious interior that can hold up to three, slim-sized kegs or one oversized one.
Nickel-plated, copper-forged lever handles sit atop the tower made from polished 100% stainless steel, and the double-draft taps dispense up to two beverages at once.
The temperature is clearly displayed on a digital screen, and easily adjustable to your desired setting. A chrome guard rail and dishwasher-safe drip tray help prevent leakages, spills and other party-fouls from spoiling the good times. There’s a wide temperature range too, for either keeping the beer cold or fermenting it up to 75°F.
This can also quickly double as a mini-fridge, holding full-sized soda bottles and anything else that needs to chill before guests arrive, even giving you the option of mounting the tank externally to create more room inside. But possibly the coolest feature here is the Deep Chill Mode button, which can rapidly bring a room-temperature keg down to 32°F, and then keep it cold with their fan-forced technology.
3. COSTWAY Full Size Kegerator
CostWay’s kegerator contains over six liters of storage space inside, leaving plenty of room to fit various sizes of kegs. There are three easy temperature settings, and the eco-friendly compressor reduces energy consumption as it cools down to about 32°F.
While some buyers noted that assembly can be difficult, once it’s up and running, using it is as smooth as the pour from the tower’s tap. There are also four casters under the unit for easy mobility from the kitchen to the patio and back to the man-cave.