Kegerators are your trusted friends for keg storage and dispensing. Whether you are a homebrewer or simply a draft beer lover like us, setting up and stocking a kegerator ensures you have a continuous supply of chilled beer – just a quick pour away.
What is a kegerator?
Kegerator is simply a refrigerator for beer kegs. The control unit allows choosing the appropriate temperature for your brews. So you will always have a cool fresh beer waiting.
Not just storage and cooling spaces, kegerators also have the dispensing assembly – from beer and gas lines to beer faucets.
Complete kegerator systems are offered by various manufacturers. Available in different designs, sizes, tap configurations and features, you have many to choose from. A quick look at The Home Depot online store shows over 90 kegerators!
For a simpler understanding, let’s broadly categorize the various kegerators available out there.
This is the widely available and most popular type of kegerator. Hence you’ll find a myriad of options in this category. They are very efficient at cooling and have vast choice in sizes, number of taps, finishes, etc.
Freestanding kegerators also offer more flexibility for placement. You can place it anywhere in the house and easily use it with any standard wall outlet. Most of them come with wheels so you can simply push and move them around.
Remember to keep some space around the kegerator (about 3-5 inches) for proper air venting. Don’t stick them to the walls and definitely not use them as built-in units.
Directly installed into the countertop, built-in kegerators are amazing space savers. Mostly considered during kitchen remodeling and upgrade since it is to be fitted completely into the countertop and takes additional installation to use.
These kegerators are more expensive because of their special design and added installation costs.
The air venting system is specially placed on the front so these models don’t need space clearance on the other sides. This is also the reason why you can’t have a standalone kegerator in its place.
Designed to withstand the effects and changes of natural elements, outdoor kegerators have added protective features for use in backyards or poolside’s.
Here again, there are two options – freestanding and built-in.
That’s a short note on the kegerator types to get you thinking about one that suits your needs best.
Kegerator Conversion kits
So when you have kegerators with lots of options and features readily available why then, are these build-your-own kegerator kits popular too?
We asked our customers the same question about their preference for kegerator conversion kits and this is what they said:
- Conversion kits work out cheaper than pre-fabricated full kegerators.
- Gives a second life to an old refrigerator.
- Have the freedom to customize and build according to their requirements.
- Can choose the quality of components and go for premium ones if needed.
- Love building things themselves.
If you have set your mind on making your own kegerator, we are here to help you in the journey!
What are the refrigerator types you can use to convert to a kegerator?
Whether you have an old one lying around or want to buy a used one to start off, both standing fridges and chest freezers can be considered. Described below are a few details of each type.
Standing Fridge: Most kegerators are made out of these standing fridges since they are the easiest to convert. They are also more readily available in homes.
Stand-up fridges are convenient to move kegs into and out.
Chest Freezer: Fancy the tower style kegerator? Then that’s a chest freezer conversion you’d want to do. With a top opening door, they have a better cooling efficiency.
Chest freezers are the go to ones when you want to use it for keg storage as well. You may also mount faucets near the top edge instead of having a tower. Depending on the size, you may line-up 6 or more taps too.
Overview of how to build a kegerator:
For a standing fridge model, use the Door Mount Kegerator Conversion kit.
Remove all trays and baskets generally present inside the fridge.
Prepare a solid base to place kegs and CO2 tank.
Select a point and drill a through hole and mount the faucet, either on the door or the wall (make sure you are not running into the coolant lines in the process)
With chest freezers, the Tower Mount Kegerator Conversion kit is preferred.
Locate the central point to make a hole large enough to mount the draft beer tower.
If using the door mount kit, to line up a series of taps, drill as many holes as the number of faucets (keeping adequate space between each of them) you intend to mount closer to the top edge. This avoids most coolant lines but check before you begin.
For detailed instructions, read the specific installation guide that comes with the kit. You can also watch a few videos for a better understanding and then start off.
Also if your setup needs a separate temperature controller, seek professional help to avoid any issues.
Once the kegerator is ready, move the keg into it to cool. Connect the beer and gas lines to the coupler and attach to the keg. Make sure you have the same keg – keg coupler system (more on this later). Adjust the gas pressure and open the valves and you are ready to pour a glass of your favorite beer!
Few other things you might want to add your purchase list:
Also known as spill pans, drip trays are must have draft beer accessories. Installed right below the faucet, they immediately capture faucet leaks and overflows while dispensing beer. This gives a clean and mess-free experience.
Beer drip pans come in many sizes which you can choose according to the number of taps you have. For a single beer faucet, a 4” x 6” should work well while for a 2-tap setup, a 12” x 4” drip tray would be appropriate and so on.
Beer Tap Handles
Tap handles are used to control beer tap opening and closing. Allows a convenient grip and easy movement of the faucet lever. There is again a huge variety of beer tap handles in terms of size, shape, finish and material.
You may also get a custom tap handle with the design you choose, especially if you have a theme to match with.
There are 6 major commercial keg valve systems used by breweries across the world – A, D, G, M, S, U.
A Keg coupler is the key that fits the valve of the keg – called keg tapping. This opens the keg to pump in gas and push out beer into the beer line. Couplers are not universal as they need to fit the specific keg valve they are made for. Hence it is important to know your keg spear system to tap your keg with the right coupler to enjoy your favorite beer.
In the USA, most breweries use the D system.
Homebrewers mostly use Ball lock or Pin lock kegs (aka Cornelius or Soda kegs). These kegs have separate gas and liquid line connections and use different fittings for tapping.
This is a crucial bit of information since you can quickly calculate the typical number of and type of kegs you want to store and dispense regularly. This will determine the size/capacity of the kegerator you want to buy or the refrigerator you want to start converting.
|Sixth Barrel/Sixtels||Quarter Barrel/Pony keg||Slim/Tall Quarter Barrel||Half Barrel/Full keg|
|Capacity (in Gallons)||
|Height (in inches)||
Also see that you have enough clearance between the keg top surface and kegerator roof to account for the keg coupler with attached beeline height. This would need about 6”.
There you go!
We have tried to cover all aspects of kegerators – from the types, installation overview and factors to consider before choosing to go with either a complete kegerator or converting a refrigerator yourself.
With so many options and choices available, it all boils down to your needs – whether you want a private bar to enjoy drinks yourself or host a large group of friends, etc., this in turn determines the size to want to go with.
So we suggest you take cues from all sections of this post, think through each of them carefully and come up with your own list of must-have things in your dream kegerator.
Then find the one that suits best or build one!