A Chill Draft: The 8 Best Kegerators

Aug 2, 2015

Category: Gear

You probably haven’t thought about a kegerator since your days at Delta Tau Chi where you had some repurposed Frigidaire that you’d cut up with a pair of tin snips and ran a hunk of industrial hose through to keep your Miller High Life cold. Well, whether you’re a long way from that life or still chanting “chug” at the toga party, you can do better than a cooler you chopped up yourself. You deserve a kegerator that can keep your imported brews fresh and cold, will hold the number and size of kegs you require, and works in the environment you choose.

One of the first things to think about when picking a kegerator is whether you want it to be freestanding – that is, modular – or whether it’s going to be a permanent fixture at some place in your house. You’ll also need to decide whether it’s meant for indoor use or outdoor fiestas. Whatever environment it is in, it also needs to hold a temperature below 38 degrees and 29 degrees Fahrenheit because otherwise you will get cloudy, skunky, frozen, or foamy beer. For products that hit the spot, we’ve got the 8 best kegerators.

EdgeStar Mini Kegerator TBC50S

EdgeStar Mini Kegerator TBC50S

Pro: Peltier thermoelectric cooling system
Con: Regulator on CO2 kit is terrible

Tiny Titan: Craft beer enthusiasts, or those who just like the mini kegs made by Heineken and Newcastle Brown Ale, will find this suits their fancy to a T. Out of the box, it will work with tiny kegs that have their own built-in Draughtkeg pressure system. If those don’t get your motor running, you can get the optional CO2 tank and hook this up to any small, 5-liter keg, whether produced at home or by your friendly neighborhood microbrewer. Since it is meant for the tiny kegs, the temperature runs from 38-54 degrees. A little warmer than standard, but fine for the wee ones.

Purchase: $150

Midea HS-199B

Midea HS-199B

Pro: Fits easily into smaller homes and spaces
Con: Tends to be noisy

Conversion Reaction: This slender sipper looks and feels more like a converted mini-fridge than a stand-alone kegerator, and that is by design. It can easily be re-purposed to act as a standard fridge then changed into kegerator mode when the conditions call for it. It won’t always hold a full size keg, due to the slim build, but most 1/2 and 1/4 sized models go in without a hitch. Simple mechanical controls make it easy to operate, though you’ll need an independent thermometer to get the temperature right where you want it. A removable drip tray increases efficiency and cleanliness, especially when used as a regular ol’ ice box.

Purchase: $550

Smart Products SPP155BDSS

Smart+ Products SPP155BDSS

Pro: Includes 1-year warranty and outstanding customer service
Con: Requires some know-how to set up correctly

Most for the Money: Starting at 34 degrees and moving up to the mid-40 range, this might not befit those who like a truly icy mug or require that their stout or lager languish at a higher temperature, but it hits the sweet spot for the majority of users and those who don’t change their drinking habits often. Wide and tall enough for a slim 5 gallon or full sized kegs, the CO2 mounts on the inside which lets this be placed flush against a wall or slip under a counter should the need arise. Included in the price of admission are a couple of wire shelves if you need this to become a 6 cubic foot bar fridge.

Purchase: $576

Versonel VSL155TDSS

Versonel VSL155TDSS

Pro: Cools and changes temperature quickly
Con: Temperature readout can be inaccurate

Show Off: For most kegerators that fall in the low to mid price range, you’ll need to tack on a 3rd party thermometer to get that ideal pinpoint temperature. Not so with this Versonel model. Here you have an external LCD display that will let you know precisely how cold your keg is without needing to crack the seal on the front. The temperature range is not dissimilar from the Smart+ listed above, which isn’t a surprise since this is the same essential model. As such, it accommodates everything but oversized kegs and houses the CO2 under the hood, though you’ll need to yank everything out to adjust it.

Purchase: $615

Kegco K309SS-2

Kegco K309SS-2

Pro: Superchill mode allows kegs to be cooled rapidly
Con: Some parts are cheap and will need to be replaced

Twofer: Were this a single tap kegerator operation, it would still be high on our list. With the dual tap capability, it’s one of our favorites. The fan forced cooling is adept at hitting the mark and sticking to it even if moved from room to room or taken out on the back deck when drinking away your summer days while your BBQ smoker does its work. It can drop to 32 degrees, and sometimes even below, so you can get beer that will freeze your brain should you so desire. A digital temperature gauge makes keeping it cool easy.

Purchase: $710

EdgeStar Full Size Triple Tap

EdgeStar Full Size Triple Tap

Pro: Even air distribution even when packed with kegs
Con: Needs a little more space to get 3 kegs inside comfortably

Triple Threat: Built around a front ventilation system, this can go under the counter and be mounted permanently or ride around on its casters for draft beer on the go. The temperature starts at 32 degrees and gets up to 50 or 60 should that be your desire. A digital, front-mounted temperature display makes hitting the sweet spot easy. Though you have the hat trick option of triple-fisting three beers at a time, you’ll need to squeeze to get three 5-gallon kegs into it.

Purchase: $900

EdgeStar Full Size Built-In Outdoor Kegerator

EdgeStar Full Size Built-In Outdoor Kegerator

Pro: Freestanding or mounted operation
Con: Only comes in industrial stainless steel

External Fixture: If it is an outdoor keg you crave, then don’t skimp. You’ll spend more replacing a cheap unit than you would just going for gold right out of the gate. It has a safety lock so hooligans won’t be able to easily get your sweet ambrosia without a fight. The insulation is incredible and holds the cool air in even when mounted right next to your grill. The interior is massive and can hold an oversized keg without making a fuss. For the addition of a few more taps, the same basic model can be had in dual or triple style if you add about $100 per tap.

Purchase: $1,800

Beverage Air DD68C-1-S

Beverage Air DD68C-1-S

Pro: Holds kegs, cans, and bottles simultaneously
Con: Expensive

Old Pro: Yes, you could literally save a cool G and get a similar professional bar-grade kegerator, but you’ll almost assuredly pay more than that in care and feeding of your boozy new pet. When you need something that is a lifetime investment, go with the tried-and-true Beverage Air. You can fit not only a keg but canned and bottled refreshments from the same cooler so that whatever your guests or patrons prefer, you have them covered. The capacity is good for three half sized kegs in the dual door system, while a pair of taps let the bounty flow forth without pause.

Purchase: $3,328

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