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At-home brewing, craft beer on tap, and cold soft drinks can benefit from a kegerator to keep the drinks flowing.
We conducted hours of research on the best kegerators, evaluating each model on performance, capacity, and portability. Our best overall pick is the EdgeStar KC1500SS 15" Built-In Stainless Steel Kegerator because it is packed with features like interior LED lighting, a digital display, and it has a slim profile so it can squeeze in a variety of areas.
Ahead, find the best kegerators to keep cold beer or soft drinks on tap.
Best Overall: EdgeStar Built-in Stainless Steel Kegerator
Sleek design and details
Built-in and front ventilation
If you want to create a full-time bar setup, the EdgeStar Built-in Kegerator is the way to go. Its stainless steel finish is sleek, and this single tap kegerator is a top-performing model. It's also packed with features like a digital display, interior LED lighting, and front ventilation. This is the choice for you if you're really wanting to invest in a quality product. For hobbiests, opt for a less expensive option.
This kegerator does have a small capacity given its high cost, but it works with a variety of kegs including a slim quarter keg, sixth barrel keg, or Cornelius keg. If you want something that looks and performs great but doesn't need a lot of space, this is the best choice. You'll just have to keep some extra kegs on hand in another fridge if you're looking to host a large party.
Best Budget: NutriChef Pressurized Growler Tap System
Works in fridge
Perfect for individual use
Doesn’t include CO2 canister
If you need to tap a growler, the pressurized system from NutriChef is perfect. It will keep your growler from going flat for up to two months after it has been tapped, making it ideal for your at-home bar craft beer selections.
This model doesn’t take specialty CO2 cartridges, so you can find replacements easily. The Pressurized Growler Tap System only works with growlers and isn’t compatible with any larger kegs. You also need to provide your own CO2 canister in order to start using it.
Best Countertop: Koolatron Outdoor Single Tap Mini Kegerator
Compatible with most mini kegs
Expensive for small size
If you are displaying your kegerator on the counter, the Koolatron Outdoor Single Tap Mini Kegerator is a stylish choice that works well and won't be an eyesore in your kitchen. This kegerator mimics the shape of a traditional keg and has two available spots from which to dispense your beverages. It fits 5-liter mini-kegs and can also be used indoors or for an outside bar. Given its capacity, it is a bit pricey, but customers note this model is great for parties.
Best Outdoor: Summit Appliance Outdoor Dual Tap Kegerator
The Summit Appliance Outdoor Dual Tap model is made from superior materials like stainless steel and features a specialty design that keeps a tapped keg cold no matter the outside temperature. It is also waterproof, a key feature that is a must-have for an outdoor kegerator.
This unit has two taps, a reinforced steel floor, and a digital thermostat display inside and outside the kegerator itself. It is expensive, so this is best for someone looking to invest in building an outdoor bar for a pool or outdoor patio area.
Best Portable: Coldbreak Jockey Box
Works with any keg
Doesn’t require electricity
Easy to transport
Needs a lot of ice
Will need to monitor and replenish ice
For cold beer on tap anywhere, the roto-molded Coldbreak Jockey box doesn’t need electricity to operate; it only needs CO2 and plenty of ice. This device works with various kegs and has 50 feet of stainless steel coil to make sure that your beer stays cold.
You will need to have a lot of ice on hand for this portable kegerator to work. The CO2 keeps the line pressurized and the beer flowing, but ice is required to make sure it is cold.
Our top pick is the EdgeStar KC1500SS 15" Built-In Stainless Steel Kegerator which features a powerful refrigeration system, has a slim profile, and smart features. For something more budget-friendly, consider the Koolatron Outdoor Single Tap Mini Kegerator, which boasts a remarkable cooling capacity for its value. You can also use this kegerator on a countertop indoors or outdoors.
What to Look for in a Kegerator
Cold temperature and pressure consistency
Excessive beer foaming is one of the biggest challenges you'll face when using an at-home kegerator. Seitz explains that too much foam comes from either a change in temperature or a change in pressure.
"This is slightly counterintuitive, but gas (like CO2) dissolves into liquid more easily when that liquid is cold, so keeping your beer cold is of paramount importance, and having a thermometer will help guide you," says Seitz. He adds that setting the pressure between 5-10 PSI is usually a best practice. In general, the longer and more narrow the tubing is between the keg and faucet, the less foaming you'll have. You also want to check that your beer stays cold as it moves through the tubing.
"You want to make sure cooling from the refrigeration basically "hits" the tubing all the way to the faucet if possible. Inevitably in the life of a kegerator/refrigerator, the cooling mechanism will become dirty and dusty, and reduce the cooling effectiveness. If you are handy and can get to the cooling coils, you can lightly dust off the coils with a soft painter's brush," he adds.
Number of taps
Most kegerators can have between one and three taps, with the dual and triple options often costing quite a bit more. This means that you can have multiple types of beer or other beverages available at once, depending on the size and capacity of your kegerator. Single tap kegerators are generally easier to find and more affordable.
Compatible keg size
Before choosing a kegerator, make sure that it works with the size of the keg you intend to buy. Some specific brands, such as Heineken, have specific keg sizes that may not work with all kegerators. Keg size indicates both the base and height of the keg, not just the capacity.
"Even our highest-consuming customers always ordered beer in 5.1-gallon keg sizes (also called a "sixtel" because it is one-sixth of a barrel (common unit of volume measurement in the brewing world)," says Seitz.
"The reason why these super-fans always order in 5.1-gallon keg sizes is because they know that fresh beer (especially hoppy beer) always tastes better fresh than old stale beer that has been sitting in a keg for too long."
He adds that ideally, you want to be turning over a keg once a month, so pick the smallest container size you feel comfortable with, turn your kegs over often, and support your local brewery when you can.
Free-standing kegerators are easy and portable but often require some clearance to properly ventilate and keep your beer cold. Built-in kegerators have front ventilation but can’t be moved. For the best of both, look for a front ventilated kegerator with caster wheels, should you want to move it later.
How do you clean a kegerator?
It's imperative to clean the beer line, according to North Carolina-based bar manager Brent Michaelwoods. Not only does this keep things sanitary, but it also ensures that the remnants of previous beverages don’t impact the taste once you tap a new keg. You should also make sure to clean the tap as well as the drip tray and wipe down all surfaces with a mild cleaner or wipes.
How does a kegerator work?
Kegerators use carbon dioxide, CO2, from a canister to push beverages out of the keg, up a line, through the faucet, and into your cup. Most use forced-air refrigeration to keep the interior of the kegerator, where your keg is stored, cold. Kegerators usually include any necessary accessories, but you may need to purchase or refill your CO2 cartridges separately.
How do you fill up a CO2 tank for a kegerator?
You will likely need to refill or replace your CO2 tank every two to four kegs, depending on the size of your canister and kegs used. You can do it yourself using an air compressor or have them refilled at a welding shop or homebrew or beverage supply store. This can be one of the most costly and inconvenient aspects of using a kegerator, so make sure that you find a reputable place nearby or learn to DIY it before you decide on a kegerator.
Why Trust The Spruce
This article was researched and written by Katie Begley, a freelance writer specializing in home and family products. Katie has been writing for The Spruce since 2019. She spent hours testing, researching, and compiling data on kegerators for this roundup. She considered each model's ventilation, refrigeration system, and portable design.
For this article, she also included reviewer feedback, personal experience, and expert insights, including those of veteran bartender and North Carolina bar manager Brent Michaelwoods. Additional insight was provided by Michael Seitz, co-founder of Barebottle Brewing Co.