With the wide variety of kegerators on the market today choosing the best one can seem difficult at best and almost impossible at worst. A little information and planning can help greatly reduce the chance of making a disappointing purchase. Just knowing a few things will make the choice a much easier one and save possible problems in the future.
Size is the first consideration you should take into account. How much do you think you will be using your Kegerator? There are two basic sizes from which to choose first is a mini kegerator which uses the 5 liter mini kegs that many brewers are now offering. If you are not planning on needing larger quantities of beer then a mini is a great choice.
Starting with mini's the first thing you notice is the small convenient size. Most Mini's will easily fit on a counter top and usually use the newer 5 liter keg systems many brewers have begun using. One popular line of mini kegerator is the Beertender line from Krups and Heineken. This system is designed to use only the Heineken Draughtkeg system and will not work with any other brewers kegs. There are also mini kegerator systems from Edgestar, Vinotemp and Avanti and these will work with almost any 5 liter keg system so you have many choices in mini kegerators just be sure your favorite brewers product is able to be used in the one you decide to purchase.
Standard size kegerators offer a much wider variety of beer to choose from as they are designed to use the standard keg design which can range from the 1/6 and 1/3 pony kegs to a full 15 gallon keg. Most brewers offer their product in at least one if not all of these sizes. With the smaller 1/6 pony keg close to the same volume as the 5 liter mini kegs the primary difference is size.
There are many different companies manufacturing kegerators along with conversion kits if you want to convert a refrigerator or even a mini fridge or chest freezer. Two popular brands are Danby Kegerator and Haier Kegerator both of these manufacturers offer many models from which to choose and have a proven history producing kegerators for both home and commercial use. The standard size can be broken down into three basic parts. A refrigerator, a tap system and a CO2 system each of these parts work together and most are pretty standard across manufacturers. Both the refrigerator and tap systems are pretty standard as the refrigerator is usually just a mini fridge and the tap system is designed to work with a standard keg setup. One helpful skill to develop is drawing from a tap and that is also pretty standard and easy to pick up.
The part with the most variations is the CO2 system and it is usually the pressure gauge system that is different as a CO2 tank is pretty basic and most are designed in the same way with the only variation being either steel or aluminum construction. The gauge however is a very important and often overlooked item and can make the difference between a well working system and one that never lives up to expectations.
The double gauge type is the better of the two as it will tell you not only the pressure being sent to the keg which is important for a good flow of beer and can vary depending on type of beer you are serving and temperature along with altitude so know the serving pressure is vital to proper operation of your Kegerator. The advantage a double gauge system brings is it will not only tell you the serving pressure but also tell you the remaining pressure in the CO2 tank. This can help avoid running out of CO2 and causing the Kegerator to stop working. This is the primary reason a double gauge system is preferred to the single gauge systems.
Another consideration is will you be using it mostly inside or outside as outdoor models need to be specially designed to withstand the outside environment and many of the min kegerators do not work in the higher temperatures usually found outside in the summer time.
Once you have decided which type and style will work best for you it is much easier to finally choose a Kegerator that will give you many years of service and provide the best draught beer on tap for your specific needs.
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