The Pros and Cons Of The Different Types of Kegerators

January 06, 2020

If you’re considering buying a kegerator and you have no idea where to start, don’t worry, grab a beer, and start reading because we have you covered. We’re the beverage and beer industry leaders in kegerators and beverage dispensing equipment.

We know when it comes to investing in a kegerator, gathering research and knowledge can be overwhelming. So we’ve taken the time to simplify the decision-making process.

Before you learn about the different types of kegerators, you need to determine exactly what you’re looking for in a kegerator. Answer these questions to yourself:

  • What do I need a kegerator for? Is it for everyday use? Entertaining? If so, how many people and how often do you entertain people?
  • Where do I want my kegerator at my home? Indoors? Built-In? Freestanding? Or outdoors?
  • What am I serving and how much do I want to serve?
  • What is my budget?
  • What features do I want it to have?*

*Prices vary from brand to brand and depending on the purpose

*Compatible kegs vary by kegerator. See our Keg Size Guide and Compatible Kegs Guide for more information


Mini Kegerator

Mini Kegerator

This is the smallest and most affordable option, other than building your own kegerator, that is available. It is only compatible with mini kegs, which is best for personal use and casual drinkers because it doesn’t dispense a lot of beer but it will still give you that fresh draft beer taste. While it isn’t ideal for large parties, it will work for small parties and portable applications.

A mini kegerator gives you the draft beer experience with little maintenance and is best for the occasional drinker. These mini kegerators are very specialized and the options for beverages are very limited, which makes this option less popular than full sized kegerators.

Pricing: $50-$500* - most affordable option

Serves: 1.32 gallons / 169 ounces - approx.10 pints

Compatible Kegs*: Mini Keg

Ideal locations: Ideal for limited or small spaces, sits on the countertop and takes up very little space, good for small parties

Purpose: Best for the casual drinker, those with limited spaces and budgets

Pros: Affordable, compact, portable minimal maintenance

Cons: Limited beverage options available


Freestanding Kegerator

Freestanding Kegerators 

Freestanding kegerators tend to be the most popular option because they are the most versatile and customizable. Freestanding kegerators easily plug into any standard wall outlet in your home and require minimal assembly. They also have the widest selection of beverages and types of kegs available.

These freestanding units often come with wheels and allowing the unit to be moved about and placed anywhere inside a home. There are many options for features in this category including size, number of faucets, and finishes. A multiple tap kegerator can serve a variety of beverages or types of beer simultaneously. Additionally, there are premium options available, like stainless steel finishes and digital temperature control, which will all factor into the overall price of the unit.

Keep in mind that these freestanding kegerators are NOT meant to be built-in and need proper ventilation, at least two to five inches of space around the unit, depending on the unit. There are specific kegerators meant to be built into countertops, which we will go into next.

It is very important to keep your beer lines clean after each keg in order to maintain that fresh taste so, a  beer line cleaning kit is essential for any kegerator you choose to purchase. It is recommended that you clean your lines after each keg.

Pricing: $600-$3,000* - depending on the size and style

Serves: 1.32 gallons / 169 ounces - approx.10 pints to 15.5 gallons / 1984 ounces - approx. 124 pints, depending on keg size

Compatible Kegs*: mini keg, sixth barrel keg, quarter, slim quarter, half barrel/full size - depending on the capacity of your kegerator, you may be able to fit multiple kegs

Ideal locations: Ideal for home bar, kitchen, game room, man cave, anywhere in the home

Purpose: Best for daily use, entertaining large parties or events, serving multiple or variety of beverages, serving homebrew

Pros: Customizable with many options, more affordable than built-in or outdoor options, no installation needed

Cons: Higher costs than mini or conversion, requires large area for proper ventilation, requires more maintenance 


Built In Kegerator

Built In Kegerators 

Ideal for a full kitchen remodel or upgrade, built in kegerators can be seamlessly integrated into a countertop. A  built-in kegerator is a great option for adding a kegerator to your home without taking up additional space in your home. These can be built-in indoors or outdoors but we will be discussing outdoor kegerators in depth next.

Built-In kegerators tend to be a more expensive option overall because of the unique design and the additional cost of installation. Unless you are especially skilled, you may need to hire a contractor to install your unit, which will add additional costs. Additionally, because of the need for a built-in ventilation system, the cost of built-in kegerators are generally higher than freestanding units.

Built-In kegerators are desirable because what is normally a large appliance, can be seamlessly incorporated into a kitchen or bar space instead of taking up space in the home. These units can also be used as freestanding units if you’d like.

Pricing: $800-$5,000* - depending on the size and style

Serves: 1.32 gallons / 169 ounces - approx.10 pints to 15.5 gallons / 1984 ounces - approx. 124 pints, depending on keg size

Compatible Kegs*: mini keg, sixth barrel keg, quarter, slim quarter, half barrel/full size - depending on the capacity of your kegerator, you may be able to fit multiple kegs

Ideal locations: Ideal for home bar, kitchen, outdoor barbeque area, patio, installation into a countertop or under a countertop

Purpose: Best for daily use, entertaining large parties or events, serving multiple or variety of beverages, serving homebrew

Pros: Customizable with many options

Cons: Higher costs, large unit, requires installation, maintenance is higher and more difficult


Outdoor Kegerators

Outdoor Kegerators 

If you enjoy spending the majority of your time in your backyard or patio area, you may want to invest in an  outdoor kegerator. Specifically designed to withstand the outdoor elements and conditions, outdoor kegerators are designed to work optimally despite extreme conditions. Of course, all kegerators have its limitations so, not all geographical locations can maintain an outdoor kegerator.

Outdoor kegerators also have a shorter lifespan because of the conditions it is often exposed to. These units come in both freestanding and built-in styles, depending on your needs. They tend to have higher costs because of their specialized design to be able to maintain cool temperatures despite the hotter outdoor temperatures. This is especially essential for beer kegs, which will lose their high quality and fresh taste if they’re not maintained at the correct temperature.

Some people prefer an outdoor kegerator even if they plan on using it indoors because of their powerful cooling systems and hearty components.

Pricing: $1,800-$5,000* - depending on the size and style

Serves: 1.32 gallons / 169 ounces - approx.10 pints to 15.5 gallons / 1984 ounces - approx. 124 pints, depending on the capacity of your unit

Compatible Kegs*: mini keg, sixth barrel keg, quarter, slim quarter, half barrel/full size - depending on the capacity of your unit

Ideal locations: Ideal for outdoor home bar, barbeque area, patio, garage

Purpose: Best for personal use, entertaining large parties or events, serving multiple or variety of beverages, serving homebrew

Pros: Works outdoors or indoors, can withstand extreme temperature fluctuations, can be built-in or freestanding, customizable

Cons: Shorter lifespan, higher costs, may require installation, does not work for all climate zones


Commercial Kegerator

Commercial Kegerators 

These kegerators are intended to be used by bars and restaurants and often include more than just the beverage dispensing system. They may include additional full sized keg storage space and extra refrigeration for bottles or cans.

These commercial kegerators tend to be very large and include premium parts and features, which makes the price significantly higher than residential models. However, these many of these kegerators can be used for both residential and commercial purposes. Many people prefer these commercial units because they tend to have powerful cooling systems and the extra storage space is perfect for homebrewers.

These units come in both freestanding and built-in models. Also, indoor and outdoor application options. The versatility of these kegerators makes them popular options for commercial and residential purposes.

Pricing: $600-$5,000* - depending on the size and style

Serves: 1.32 gallons / 169 ounces - approx.10 pints to 15.5 gallons / 1984 ounces - approx. 124 pints, depending on the capacity of your unit

Compatible Kegs*: mini keg, sixth barrel keg, quarter, slim quarter, half barrel/full size - depending on the capacity of your unit

Ideal locations: Ideal for restaurants and bars, large spaces

Purpose: Best for commercial use in restaurants and bars, entertaining large parties or events, serving multiple or variety of beverages

Pros: Versatile and easily customizable - indoor and outdoor options, can be used commercial and residential, freestanding and built-in models, additional storage available, many features

Cons: Significantly higher costs, higher maintenance, may require installation


Conversion Kit

Conversion Kits

If you’re not looking to splurge on a kegerator yet or maybe you’d like to customize your beverage dispenser, conversion kits allow you to create your own custom kegerator. Also, those of you looking for an affordable alternative to buying a kegerator, may want to try building your own. By making your own, you can customize your beer dispensing system to your specific needs. However, keep in mind that while the process is quite simple, it does take a lot of time and work.

Using a kegerator conversion kit, you can turn a freezer into a Keezer, which will work very similarly to the purpose-built kegerators discussed above. It is very important to be sure the refrigeration unit you use will reach low enough temperatures to maintain your beverage’s quality and makes sure it stays fresh. You will ideally want the temperatures ranging from 32 degrees Fahrenheit to ideally, zero degrees Fahrenheit.

To learn how to make your own converted fridge or freezer, read our step by step guide.

Pricing: $30-$300+* - depending on the quality of the parts and if you have to purchase a refrigeration unit

Serves: 1.32 gallons / 169 ounces - approx.10 pints to 15.5 gallons / 1984 ounces - approx. 124 pints, depending on the capacity of your unit

Compatible Kegs*: mini keg, sixth barrel keg, quarter, slim quarter, half barrel/full size - depending on the capacity of your unit

Ideal locations: Ideal for home bar, kitchen, indoor, outdoor, anywhere - your unit is custom made to suit your needs

Purpose: Best for personal use

Pros: Fully customizable, low-cost option

Cons: Requires time, skills, tools, can be difficult to change out or install kegs





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