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Ultimate Kegerator Guide
Welcome to SoBrewing where you’re never too far from the bar.
Here you will find everything you need to satisfy your thirst for the best beer and BBQ gear.
Perhaps you’re joining us today because you’re trying to figure how to install your new kegerator, or maybe you’re looking at kegerators for sale.
We’ve designed an easy to follow guide that will help you either way.
We’re going to take you through the following –
- What is a kegerator?
- How does a kegerator work?
- Is a kegerator worth the purchase?
- The difference between a kegerator and keezer
- DIY vs Pre-Fab
- Different types of Keg: Ball Lock vs Pin Lock vs Corny vs Sanky
So let’s get right into it.
What Is A Kegerator?
In the mid 1800s Wild Bill sat at the bar in the saloon of some frontier town pondering ideas that would revolutionise the alcoholic beverage industry.
Just as his head began to fall into his lap he sprang from his bar stool and just like the great poet Wild Bill was after a few beers he slurred, “kegerator”.
To which nobody had a clue what he was taking about.
Fast-forward 2 centurys and we now finally understand what good old Bill said….. thanks to Google translate.
But enough of the BS.
Essentially a kegerator is a blend of the words “keg” and “refrigerator”.
Basically, this is a device which you can install in your home that allows you to dispense chilled beer.
In the unit itself, the keg is kept cool which allows you to keep beer for an extended period of time without it losing that fresh feeling. Usually kegerators come with a pressurized CO2 tank and coupler to push the beer out of the refrigerated keg to a beer faucet where it can be poured.
You know yourself, there is no better feeling than a fresh cold one after a hard days work.
Types of kegerators
Kegerators come in all different shapes and sizes and there are commonly 4 different types on the market.
Firstly, if you’re not a fan of the large models or perhaps you might not have the room in your home you could check out the mini kegerators. These little gems are fun for your whole crew, trust me. Just keep it out of reach of the kids.
In addition, there are full-size home kegerators if you really want to go all out and impress your drinking buddies. Or perhaps you want to start a little business on the side, no problem, you could pick up a used commercial kegerator for sale. Maybe you like to drink your booze chilling under the sun, in that case you’re going to want an outdoor kegerator. Keeping your booze perfectly chilled on those sunny days.
We’ll go more in depth into these types of Kegerators later, but for now just be aware that you have options to work with. Just in case your wife starts complaining about the size of it.
How does a Kegerator work?
Above we briefly touched on the mechanics of these devices but will go into a little more detail. Just like any standard keg fridge, it works by applying carbon dioxide pressure on the keg. In turn, this will allow the beer to flow upward out of the keg.
In order to maintain a steady flow, the cylinder attached to the keg allows for a balanced pressure while it’s attached to the keg. If perhaps you wanted to vary the pressure for some reason. Perhaps one of your buddies would like to do a keg stand. In that case, you can adapt the pressure through the regulator.
The coupler, otherwise known as the tap which is attached to the keg uses a tubing mechanism to allow input and output. One tube leads from the regulator to the “in” part of the coupler, and another tube runs from the “out” part of the coupler and ends at the faucet, out of which the beer is poured into your cup.
All in all, the beauty of kegerators is that they’re insanely easy to use and set up. Regardless of which one you use or decide to build. To recap, these are the basic components that allow your kegerator to function.
- CO2 cylinder
- CO2 regulator
Is A Kegerator Worth It?
Let me tell you this, a kegerator isn’t something you want. It’s something you need.
Night-life has become too expensive and overrated. Invite your neighbours, friends, co-workers and make the party great again with your very own kegerator.
Seriously, there is no better entertainment than a house party and this is exactly what every great house party not only deserves but needs.
The fact that you’ve made it this far really tells us that this is exactly what your life has been missing.
Perhaps you’re still on the fence.
In that case, let us help you make up your mind by telling you why a kegerator is worth it.
Do you save money by buying a kegerator?
Would I be lying if I said that a kegerator practically prints money? Of course.
Would I be lying if I said that it could save you money? Absolutely not. Especially if you’re a fan of decent beer.
Whether you drink a lot or a little, it’s undeniably true that economies of scale can save you money in the long run.
You might be thinking that the upfront cost of a keg is steep but when you break it down per pint / glass you’ll start to see the difference in your savings.
In addition, you don’t have to worry about ploughing through your beer. The keg will keep it fresh for up to four months! How tasty is that!
If you add up all the savings you make from buying kegs then, in the long run, this device practically pays for itself.
In this instance, you can think of a kegerator more as an investment than an expense.
Kegerators are environmentally friendly
Yeah, you read that right. Sure, you’re probably wondering, “how can a refrigerator be good for the environment?”.
By substituting the keg for bottles and cans you reduce waste as all these storage containers will eventually end up in landfills or oceans.
Both the glasses you drink from and kegs are reusable.
Kegerators free up the fridge
If you currently store all your beers in the fridge you’re taking up space.
The more space that’s taken up in your fridge the more energy is going to be needed to keep your food cold.
Let’s create some segregation by keeping both partys happy. So when you’re kicking back in your yard keeping your eye on the smoker, you have a steady supply of the cold stuff to keep you and your guest entertained.
Wait, how long does beer last in a kegerator?!
Perhaps you skimmed over an essential detail I just mentioned.
When controlled at the right temperature beer inside a refrigerated keg can last for up to 4 months!!!
So don’t worry about having to drink it all at once unless that’s what you want to do but we wouldn’t recommend it.
How much electricity does a kegerator use?
It won’t cost any more than your traditional refrigerator to keep your keg cool. In fact, it might even be less with the fact that it’s storing less content.
Overall, it’s said that the average consumer can save up to $50 in beer over the course of two months.
With these type of savings the consumer can recoup the cost of there kegerator within 2.25 years! (Assuming you purchase a model worth $700).
Kegerator vs Keezer
Another quite similar gadget is the keezer and yes, that is a blend of the words “keg” and “freezer”.
The only difference between the two is that one is a freezer and one is a refrigerator. However, the is a simple question you need to ask yourself, which is the better way to store your beer.
As we’ve already outlined the mechanics of the kegerator above we won’t dwell too much on it. However, let’s talk about the keezer.
First of all, do you want your beer cool or extra chilled? Maybe some of you reading this guide have travelled to Amsterdam and are familiar with the ice bar. If not, add it to the bucket list.
If you’ve ever drank a beer out of a cup made from ice inside a massive freezer you know just how refreshing that beer tastes and how damn cold that room is. Now imagine if you could isolate yourself from the freezer and simply just drink that ice cold beer.
Sounds good right? This is exactly where the keezer steps in.
But which is better kegerator or keezer?
While there is not much difference the keezer can come with some but not a lot of added benefits. For instance, in our kegerator vs keezer stand-off this is what we found;
- Keezer can preserve beer for a longer period of time than a kegerator
- Keezers were found to make less noise
- Overall, Keezers were found to be less costly than kegerators
In terms of appearance the keezer was more stylish however from a practical standpoint the kegerator was more ample for household usage.
All in all, it really comes down to personal preference and how you want it to look in your home.
If you’re a die-hard fan of the beer than go with a keezer.
If on the other hand you just want something to show off at your house parties or want to enjoy a beer on the tap when you get home after a long days work then go with a kegerator.
Either way, they’re both great purchases.
DIY vs Pre Fab
This is part where we determine where men are made. Do you want to build it yourself or get it pre-done.
We’re aware that there are people out there who take pride in carrying out craftsmenship around the house.
If you’re one of those people then by all means go a head and build your own kegerator. However, if you just haven’t got the time because you’re too busy then simply go out and buy one.
In this section, we’re going to speak more so to the latter. It is beyond the scope of this guide to provide a tutorial on how to build your own kegerator. However, having said that, be sure to watch this space for future guides on how to build a kegerator.
How much is a Kegerator?
At this point we’re aware that you’re eager to go out and buy one but you’re unsure of how much they might be. Well, don’t worry in this section we’re going to cover the general cost of buying a kegerator and the best brands to choose from. Here at SoBrewing, we’ve got you covered.
As we’ve already mentioned above a kegerator could cost anywhere between $200 to $2000. On a side note, remember what we said? Think of this as an investment that pays for itself more so than a cost.
On top of this initial outlay, you will also have to consider future outlays but like we said the savings that you make will offset these purchases. In addition to your kegerator, you’re going to need to purchases a carbon dioxide canister which is about $20.
Furthermore, this canister will need to be refilled from time to time and this will cost about $7 – $15. Also, you’re going to need cleaning supplies to properly maintain your device, this will probably cost $25.
Finally, you will have your own beer keg which will cost about $60 – $80 but once you own it you own it. All you will need to do then is fill it up from time to time.
Different types of Keg: Ball Lock vs Pin Lock vs Corny vs Sanke
Before we delve into discussing what’s the best kegerator, it’s important to understand that the kegs that fit into your kegerator come in all different forms.
It’s important that you understand this so let’s just briefly explain the differences because we know you’re eager to figure out what the best one is.
While all of these kegs pretty much do the same thing there are small differences that distinguish them from each other.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BALL LOCK KEGS AND PIN LOCK KEGS
Both these phrases “ball lock kegs” and “pin lock kegs” originated from the soda industry and are actually called Cornelius kegs.
The only difference between these two containers lies in the dimensions and features. Generally, the pin lock kegs are manufactured in smaller sizes than the ball lock kegs but just in terms of size but not capacity. The real difference lies in the connection.
On the top of each keg you’ll notice one has a pin while the other has a three hole connection.
The biggest differences is the pressure relief value (PRV) function on both containers. These PRV valves act as a safety function if the pressure were to ever get too high.
On the ball lock kegs, it’s a manual function to release pressure which comes in handy if you were ever to remove the lid. This will allow you to release excess pressure before removing the lid where as on the pin lock systems its automatic.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SANKE AND CORNY KEG?
The real main difference between the two is that sanke kegs are really for commercial use whereas corny kegs are used for home brewing use.
In addition, the sanke keg would have a single connection whereas the corny keg would have a double connection.
On the corny keg one connection will pump in CO2 and through the other connection the beer will flow out.
However, on the sanke keg the coupler attached to the single connection will perform both these functions.
HOW MUCH ARE KEGS?
Just in case you glanced over our cost analysis in the previous section, beer kegs vary in price from manufacturer, size and type.
For instance, a keg issued from Budweiser would cost in the range of $100 which would be 992 ounces (a standard keg contains 1984 ounces).
If we were then to compare it to 24 cans of bud which costs $23 (224 ounces). By the time you buy the same amount of cases to match the volume contained in a single keg, you will have spent $55 dollars extra.
That’s $55 dollar savings if you stick with the keg.
HOW MANY CANS OF BEER ARE IN KEG?
Perhaps our quick math above may have confused you. Well then let’s break it down into relative terms,
Generally speaking there is about 12oz in each can of beer meaning that in a standard keg there is 165 cans. (1984oz standard keg divided by 12oz per can). You would need to buy 7 slabs before you reached the volume in a standard keg and those 7 slabs would all come to a total cost of $161 dollars.
What is the best kegerator?
We know just how boring it can be sprawling through reviews of the best kegerator trying to find correlations between all the sites before you settle on one within the top five.
At SoBrewing there is no need. Our team has carefully selected the best kegerator on a rating system that meets the needs of every type of end user.
In addition, we’ve also compiled a list of the best tools and resources that you will need to build your very own kegerator.
Without further delay, let’s check out the top 5 best kegerators!
1. PHILIPS HD 3620/25 PERFECT DRAFT BEER DISPENSER
A simple, elegant and convenient beer companion that will fit ideally in any home. Not only that but the price is ideal for a surprise birthday or Christmas gift. Furthermore, this is considered one of Amazons best sellers with an average rating of 5 stars! Want to know the best thing about this device, there’s no gas cylinder required! How awesome is that! Even more savings straight into the pocket. On the downside, you do have to buy particular types of kegs to refill this device but they’re half the price of the larger kegs.
2. THE SUB DRAUGHT BEER TAP FOR HOME BY KRUPS, BLACK EDITION
Another modern sleek looking kegerator that fits perfectly on your countertop. One that is not only stealthy but will also keep the wife happy. Providing you clean up after yourself. It comes in an array of different colours to match the environment you plan to put it into. Just like the Philips model it takes a particular type of keg called a korp which usually store up to 2 litres of beer.
3. EDGESTAR KC2000SSTWIN FULL SIZE STAINLESS STEEL DUAL TAP KEGERATOR & DRAFT BEER DISPENSER – STAINLESS STEEL
Perhaps you want to up the ante and go all out on this beast! This monster can store up to a full sized half shell Sankey standard keg or two sixth kegs. However, it does not support the use of Coors, Miller rubberised or other oversized kegs. If you have a perfect slide and slot place in your kitchen than you need to pick up one of these bad boys asap!
4. KEGCO DUAL TAP FREESTANDING BEER DISPENSER
This is one for the high rollers, the ballers or the money men. With it’s premium price the kegco dual tap provides more ease of use for the end user. The interior of this keg beer refrigerator is spacious enough to easily hold any full-size keg, including Coors kegs, Miller kegs, and rubber kegs. It can also hold up to two 5 gallon D system kegs or up to three 5 gallon Cornelius ball lock home-brew kegs, allowing you to dispense more than one type of beer at a time.
5. NOSTALGIA KRS2100 5.1 CU.FT. FULL SIZE KEGORATOR DRAFT BEER DISPENSER
Maybe you’ve got no patience waiting to pour the perfect pint well than this kegerator is the answer to your problems. This device comes with a spring-loaded tap for easy pull and release dispensing. In addition, it holds the following keg sizes: 1/6 Barrel (5.23 Gallons), 1/4 Barrel Short (7.75 Gallons), 1/4 Barrel Slim (7.75 Gallons), 1/2 Barrel (15.5 Gallons). Unfortunely the downside to this device is that it does not offer a dual tap.
Now that we’ve covered the top 5 kegerators from low-end budget models to high-end beasts. Let’s get to the DIY parts you’re going to need if you plan on building your own kegerator.
Essential Kegerator Parts
From our research we only found one brand to be the most dominant player in this field and that’s Kegco. The following kegerator kit that Kegco provides we found to extremely easy to use and implement when building our own kegerator.
1. KEGCO KC 2KHBBLK TWO HOMEBREW KEG DOOR MOUNT KEGERATOR KIT WITH NEW BALL LOCK KEGS.
Everything in this kit will enable you to ditch those old bottles and help accelerate your own home brewing experience. This kit includes all of the high quality commercial-grade parts you’ll need to convert a refrigerator or freezer into a high performance two product beer dispenser, including ball lock couplers and a pro series dual gauge regulator that allows you to easily monitor both the output pressure and the volume of CO2 left in your tank.
Now that you’re equipped with knowledge and know-how of what kegerator to buy or build we will leave you with the biggest challenge of all;
Convincing your wife to let you have one.