Having a home bar is great, but adding draught beer to your home bar is even better. A kegerator is one of the easiest ways to get draught beer at home. But is it cheaper to buy or build a kegerator?
Building a kegerator may sound a bit daunting, however it is easier that in sounds. You don’t have to be an engineering expert and you don’t need a lot of equipment either.
Is It Cheaper To Buy Or Build A Kegerator?
A purpose built kegerator is the perfect solution for draught beer. They look good and are set up ready for a keg of beer. However they will leave a big hole in your pocket. Whereas building your own kegerator will only leave a small hole in the pocket. They may not look as pretty, but that are a lot cheaper and do the job perfectly.
So when it comes down to cost, building a kegerator is the winner.
What Is A Kegerator?
A kegerator is a refrigeration unit that is set up to house a keg of beer. Inside the unit will be a beer line, air line and fitting to connect to the keg.
The top of the unit houses a beer tap, and a C02 tank normally connects at the back of the unit. Just like a fridge, there will be a temperature control.
Purpose Built Kegerator
A purpose built kegerator is just what is says, it is manufactured as a kegerator unit. Basically a fridge that is designed to house a full sized keg of beer and dispense beer from a tap.
The same size unit can also have a twin beer tap, meaning it can still house a full size keg which will only use one of the taps. Alternatively it can house two corny style kegs and make use of both taps.
This will give you two different beers on tap.
Kegerators come as free standing units or built in units. A free standing unit which normally has casters can be moved around to suit. A built in unit can become part of a kitchen or built into a bar, however they are more expensive.
There are bigger units available too, which can house two or three full sized kegs and have two or three taps.
It all sounds great, however the downside is the cost. A purpose built kegerator is an expensive bit of kit. Starting from around £600 at the time of writing this. However they can go up to several thousand pounds depending on the model.
On top of that, more often than not you have to buy the C02 tank too (although some do include a tank).
Build A Kegerator
The cheaper alternative is to build your own kegerator. It will cost a lot less than a purpose built kegerator. However the cost will depend on whether you buy a new fridge for this or use an old fridge or second hand one.
But it could be done for as little as £200 at the time of writing if you shop around for all the parts needed.
- Beer Tap
- Tap Handle
- Tap Shank
- Beer Line & Connectors
- Air Line & Connectors
- Beer & Airline Clamps
- Keg Coupling
- C02 Tank
These can be bought separately or in kit form.
Kegerator Conversion Kit
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As it has become more popular to convert a fridge into a kegerator the parts needed are now sold in one handy kit.
Even kegerator suppliers sell conversion kits. They are also available from some homebrew stores as well as online retailers like Amazon.
A kit will come with all the parts you need to convert your fridge to a kegerator.
Conversion kits can be bought with or without the C02 tank, which gives the option of buying the tank separately.
A few simple tools are needed to convert a fridge into a kegerator.
- Power Drill
- Hole Saw
- Hex Wrench
- Flathead Screwdriver
Once you have all the parts and the tools the conversion is pretty easy.
How To Convert A Fridge Into A Kegerator
First make sure your fridge is not plugged into the wall socket. Second make sure your fridge is prepared, by emptying all the shelves inside and on the door.
A fridge that has a freezer compartment is not really suitable as most kegs will not fit. So make sure you get a fridge that doesn’t have one.
- Drill a hole through the door at the required position to accept the tap shank.
- Feed the tap shank through the hole and secure.
- Fit the tap onto the front of the shank.
- Fit the tap handle.
- Attached the beer line to the back of the shank and tighten the clamp.
- Fit the other end of the beer line to the keg coupler and tighten the clamp.
- Connect one end of the air line to the regulator and tighten the clamp
- Connect the other end of the air line to the keg coupler and tighten the clamp
Your fridge is now converted to a kegerator.
Although it is relatively easy to convert a fridge into a kegerator, bear in mind you are altering an electrical appliance. That being said I am not recommending this conversion, just explaining that it is possible.
It is certainly cheaper to convert a fridge than to buy a kegerator. Conversion kits are readily available and plenty of how to videos too.
It is also possible to convert a freezer too, which is aptly named a keezer. But that is a subject for another day.
I recently purchased a second hand fridge to convert to a fermentation unit, which is a similar procedure. However I stupidly forgot about the freezer compartment. Yes, it had one and I expressed a few choice words.
So remember to get a fridge that does not have a freezer compartment.
Related: Flash Cooler Or Kegerator