With the resurgence of craft beer and homemade brews, it’s hardly surprising that kegerators are also rising in popularity. Craft beer is often best enjoyed on draft, and for homemade brews, it’s often the only way to fully taste and savor each product.
The beauty of a keg fridge is that it allows for freshly poured, cold drafts to be enjoyed right in your very own home. Rather than load a fridge up with heavy glass bottles, it’s often a much more economical—and much tastier—option to keep a kegerator handy.
As kegerators continue to increase in popularity, there are a few things that beer enthusiasts should keep in mind. Below, we aim to strike clarity throughout the phenomenon of kegerators and offer a guide for new and seasoned users alike.
In a Hurry? Here are Our Top Choices
This article will cover the basics of how to purchase a kegerator, important features of a kegerator, the best ways to use your kegerator, and the top six kegerators to consider investing in. If you don’t have time to go through the whole guide, our top pick is the Versonel VSL155TDSS with a digital thermometer. We love it for the balance of functionality, sleek design and price point.
What to Consider Before Purchasing
Purchasing a kegerator is certainly an exciting process, though there are a few important considerations to take before doing so.
Keep the following components in mind as you think about installing your own kegerator at home.
Type of Kegerator
There are generally three types of kegerators for sale to consider: mini, free-standing, and built-in. Before looking for your own kegerator, you’ll need to determine which model is best suited for you.
Although a mini kegerator can only hold 5mL of beer at a time, its draw comes from extreme portability and storage capabilities. A built-in kegerator requires an extensive installation process, as its unique design allows for it to be installed into countertops, like a dishwasher.
Of the three, the most popular model is free-standing, which essentially looks like a small keg refrigerator. It’s easy to install and much more affordable than built-in versions.
Size & Space
Naturally, a kegerator needs to be as large as a standard keg. Many will be slightly larger to allow for easy installation and removal of each keg. If the kegerator has a draught tower on the top, the height will increase, so make sure to keep that in mind, too.
A simple one-keg system will need about three or four square feet of space. Whether you put it in your kitchen, a spare room, basement, or garage is up to you—just make sure that you have enough room to comfortably keep and use the kegerator.
Just like with any other appliance, owning a kegerator comes with a certain amount of responsibility and maintenance.
Beer lines determine the quality and taste of the brew, and as such, they need to be regularly cleaned. Most experts recommend cleaning the beer lines at least once every two weeks.
Regular cleaning and maintenance are two of the most important components of keeping kegerator performance high, and it should certainly be considered before purchase.
If you find the right supplier, you can get kegs for just about anything, from experimental craft beers to traditional domestic varieties. They say variety is the spice of life, but it can be a complication when it comes to kegerators.
When purchasing a kegerator, the key is to understand that different kegs will require different attachment hardware—couplers— to connect and flow properly.
The good news is that most kegs are compatible with 95% of all domestic and craft beer kegs. Still, there may come a time where you need a different coupler to enjoy a new brew. Understanding keg types and couplers can help prepare you for any adjustments or extra hardware purchases later on.
The Most Important Features of a Kegerator and What to Look For
When it comes to kegerators, there are a few crucial components that each model depends upon. Not only are these important pieces to keep the kegerator functioning, but they also provide guidance on what to look for when purchasing your own kegerator.
The following, are the most important features that come with a kegerator or keg refrigerator.
The CO² Tank
Unless you want a flat, stale beer, you’ll need a reliable and effective CO² tank. This is what carbonates the beer and provides pressurization, allowing for fresh and efficient pouring.
You’ll want to make sure that the CO² tank is easily refilled and installed. Depending upon the model, this may influence the positioning of the kegerator itself. The last thing you want is to accidentally block the CO² tank with a shelf or other home fixtures.
Brewing and storing beer is an art, and a lot of that comes down to simple science. To get the best taste, foam ratio, and long-lasting freshness, beer needs to be kept at certain temperatures. Most experts suggest keeping a kegerator between 36°-40° Fahrenheit.
Unless you are an expert at estimating temperature, you’ll want to have a thermometer for your kegerator. The best kegerators will come with beer thermometers to regulate the temperature of the beer inside the keg.
This boils down to whether you want more than one option at a time. Standard kegerators come with enough capacity for one keg at a time, while others may leave room for two or three.
Of course, not only does this affect your range of options and convenience, but it also has an impact on size and space. Additional kegs prompt the need for additional area space and multiple taps. Depending upon your needs, you may want to look for kegerators with larger or smaller keg capacities.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Kegerator
Now that you’ve narrowed down the type of kegerator you are interested in and you understand the important features and functions of a kegerator, it’s time to think about how to get the most out of your kegerator.
There are a few easy ways to make sure that your kegerator is working to the best of its ability, and that each pour is as wonderful as possible. Getting the most out of your kegerator is as simple as adjusting a few habits and installation techniques.
You might be tempted to say that making the most of your purchase could involve hosting more football parties or entertaining more often. While that may be true, for now, we’ll focus on the basics of kegerator performance.
Ensure Proper Ventilation
Freestanding kegerators need a small amount of space between the back of the unit and the wall. This space allows for ventilation, which aids in proper temperature control and beer flow.
If you want your kegerator to sit directly against the wall, you’ll need to invest in a kegerator that has built-in ventilation in the front of the unit.
Keep a Manual Handy
Any kegerator should come with an operational manual, either included in the package or available for download online.
Keep this manual handy so that you can learn how to identify and resolve any issues that may hinder the performance of the kegerator.
Clean Your Kegerator Regularly
As previously mentioned, having a clean kegerator has a direct effect on the quality and taste of the beer. This applies not only to the beer lines, but also to any component that comes into contact with the keg and its contents.
Alkaline-based cleansers are very effective in preventing bacteria, mold, and mineral deposits from altering the quality and taste of your beer. Regular cleaning also ensures that your kegerator will be running as efficiently as possible, helping you get the most out of your purchase.
The Best Kegerators to Buy
After covering the basics of kegerator performance, features, and purchasing considerations, it’s time to take a closer look at the top-rated free-standing kegerators that are currently on the market.
Each of these six kegerators has gotten high amounts of praise for their performance, quality, and ease of use, making them great options for a home unit.
In this section, we’ll take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of each kegerator, and highlight the features that make each unit stand out amongst the competition.
By looking at the top-rated models on the market, beer aficionados of all tastes and skill levels will find themselves well-equipped to pinpoint the best kegerator for their needs.
1. Nostalgia KRS2100 5.1 Cubic-Foot Full Size Kegerator Draft Beer Keg Dispenser
This kegerator from Nostalgia is perfectly suited for providing a dependable, fresh flow of beer from home. The kegerator itself features 5.1 cubic foot capacity, a spring-loaded tap, and an American Sankey “D” Double Tap system to ensure widespread keg compatibility.
Its sleek, black design is sophisticated enough for indoor or outdoor kegerator use. With four rolling casters, this kegerator is easily transported from one place to another, making it an entirely versatile at-home unit.
- Lockable rolling casters for easy transportation & sturdy placement
- Suitable for indoor or outdoor use
- Includes a 13-inch beer tower for easy dispensing
- Lockable output valve for CO² tank to ensure steady CO² levels
- At 96 pounds, installation or transportation may be challenging
- Can only fit one keg at a time
- The tower must be installed by hand
- Adjustable thermostat
- CO² and temperature settings are easily controlled and monitored
- Fits 1/6, 1/4, or 1/2 keg barrel
- Includes a stainless steel removable drip tray
2. EdgeStar KC2000SS Full Size Kegerator and Keg Beer Cooler
For those who like their beers frosty, the EdgeStar Full Size Kegerator is a great choice. This model boasts the coldest temperatures possible, with temperatures easily reaching down to the low 30s. Not only does it come with rolling casters for easy mobility, but it also features a reversible door, making installation and placement much easier.
A chrome safety rail around the top helps keep beer mugs in place, preventing slips and spills. As an added feature, the metal floor plate provides enhanced protection and durability, making for a long-lasting and dependable kegerator.
- Two-piece drip tray for easy cleanup
- Domestic “D” system Sankey coupler for maximum compatibility
- Holds one 5-pound aluminum CO² tank
- The streamlined design is 4 inches less wide than competing models
- Does not fit Coors, Miller, rubberized, or oversized kegs
- Only suitable for indoor use
- Some report difficulty fitting 1/2 keg inside the keg refrigerator
- Can fit two sixth barrels or Cornelius home brew kegs
- External tank mount for additional space inside the refrigerator
- Larger CO² tank means less hassle & time spent refilling
- Easy assembly and transportation from one room to another
3. Kegco Kegerator Digital Beer Keg Cooler Refrigerator
While perhaps larger than most of its beer-dispensing counterparts, the double-tap Kegco Kegerator is the best option for those who demand versatility from their kegerator. The large interior is built to hold a variety of different kegs, including those that other kegerators leave out, like Coors, Miller, and rubber kegs.
With fan-forced cooling and a digital thermostat display, temperature settings can be evenly dispersed and controlled. This Kegco kegerator is built with efficiency and durability in mind, as a stainless-steel bottom ensures that kegs are easily installed and removed on a stable surface.
- Includes 5-pound aluminum CO² tank
- Attractive black & stainless steel styling
- Expanded interior to hold Miller, Coors, or rubber kegs
- Chrome guardrail to keep drinks safe
- At 97 pounds, transportation may be difficult
- Most reviews report replacing and upgrading the included taps
- CO² valve splitter is not included for dual keg use
- Wide temperature range between 32°-75° Fahrenheit allows for cooled storage or fermentation for home brewing
- Spacious interior & two tap handles for one full-size keg, two 5-gallon kegs, or three 5-gallon Cornelius home brew kegs
- Digital thermostat
- Fan-forced cooling to promote even temperature control
Keggermeister KM2800BK Kegerator Full-Size Single-Tap Beer Keg Refrigerator and Beer Keg Dispenser
No Longer Available
Whether you’re looking to develop a serious hobby or a casual appreciation, the Keggermeister Full-Size Singe-Tap model is one of the best models on the market. Kegs can stay chilled and beer can stay fresh for as long as 3 months inside this kegerator, making it a great option for those who prefer to take their time.
Its stylish, all-black design allows it to fit seamlessly into any room of the house without interrupting décor. With fully adjustable temperature control, users can ensure that the quality and taste of their beer is fully protected by the Keggermeister.
- Fits one full-size keg, one pony keg, or two 5-gallon kegs
- Adjustable temperature control to ensure taste & quality
- Approved for commercial & home use
- Clear, concise manual & directions
- Smaller CO² tank (2.5mL)
- Operational noises may be bothersome
- Extra-durable top features a chrome guardrail
- Easy temperature adjustments & monitoring
- High, stainless steel pouring tower to accommodate different drinkware
- 80-pound weight makes transportation easier
Versonel VSL155TDSS Freestanding Full Keg Kegerator Beer Fridge Dispenser LCD Temp, Black/Stainless Steel
No Longer Available
The Versonel Full Keg Kegerator has been setting a new standard for efficiency and versatility in storing beer. Not only is it large enough to fit a full-sized keg, but it also comes with two internal wire shelves to convert into a refrigerator when not in use.
As an updated version, this model features an LCD front temperature display to easily monitor temperature changes. Made of stainless steel, chrome, and black casing, this kegerator is an attractive addition to any household. Versonel kegerators are perfect not only for household use but also for commercial use in bars and restaurants.
- Four removable caster wheels for easy transportation
- Includes chrome guard rail around tap & drip tray
- Stylish & contemporary design
- Quiet and efficient operation
- Some reviews report inaccurate thermostat readings
- At 88 pounds, transportation may be difficult
- 6.0 cubic feet capacity allows ample room for 1/2 barrel, 1/4 barrel, or 5-gallon keg
- The LCD panel on the front allows for quick & easy temperature readings
- Can be placed flush to the wall without worrying about ventilation
- Extremely high customer service ratings
Versonel Freestanding Full Size Kegerator Keg Fridge Beer Dispenser Stainless Steel SPP155BDSS
No Longer Available
For those who want the same quality and performance of Versonel with a slightly lower price tag, the Versonel SPP155BDSS model is a great choice. Similar to the previously reviewed model, this kegerator comes with a wide range of compatible keg types, making for a versatile beer dispensing system.
With wire shelving included, this model can also easily convert into a bar fridge when not in use. The chrome tap front features snap-back springs to allow for easy removal and installation. The Smart Plus collection from Versonel features temperature adjustments between 34°-45°, allowing any household to have flavorful, high-quality draft beer.
- Comparable value at a lower price tag
- Large enough to hold 1/2, 1/4, or 5-gallon barrels
- Lockable casters allow for mobility
- Quiet compressor operation
- Temperature control is not digital
- CO² PSI is automatically set between 25-35, making immediate adjustment necessary
- Setup instructions may be confusing to follow
- Some report the thermostat reaching below 30°
- Extremely efficient customer service
- Variety of compatible keg sizes
- Can be placed flush to the wall if need be
Our Final Thoughts on the Best Kegerators
Without a doubt, having a kegerator at home is a great way to enhance the beer-drinking experience. Not only do homebrews and craft brews taste better, but purchasing by the keg often saves money over the long run.
For those who are serious about their beer, a kegerator is a must-have addition to the home.
After understanding the various components of kegerators, what to look for, and what features come with the top-rated models, beer enthusiasts across the board will be well-equipped to finding the perfect kegerator for them.