When deciding how to dispense and store your beer, you might find yourself choosing between a keezer and a kegerator. Understanding the key differences between the two will help you make an informed choice that suits your needs. Essentially, keezer is a chest freezer transformed into a beer cooler, whereas a kegerator is a refrigerator designed to fit one or more beer kegs.
A keezer generally offers more space for multiple kegs and can be customized with a variety of tap setups. It is less power-hungry, thanks to the efficiency of chest freezers, which makes it a good pick if you’re energy-conscious. Kegerators, on the other hand, are tall and narrow, taking up less floor space, making them a preferred option if you’re tight on room.
You’ll want to consider convenience as well; keezers require you to hoist the kegs over the top to load them, which can be cumbersome. Kegerators allow for easier loading at waist height. Your decision might come down to how much you value ease of use versus customization and efficiency.
Understanding the Basics
When you’re diving into the world of at-home draft beer, you’re likely to encounter two popular systems for keeping your beer cold: kegerators and keezers. Both have their unique features tailored to meet the needs of beer lovers, but it’s essential to understand the basics of each to decide which is right for you.
What Is a Kegerator?
A kegerator is essentially a modified refrigerator designed specifically for storing and dispensing beer. With a kegerator, your draft beer is kept consistently cold and ready to serve. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Structure: Tall and narrow, utilizing vertical space.
- Mechanism: Equipped with a tap on the top for easy dispensing.
- Conversion: Can be store-bought or homemade using a conversion kit.
What Is a Keezer?
On the other hand, a keezer is a chest freezer that’s been converted to serving draft beer with the help of a conversion kit. They have certain qualities that distinguish them:
- Structure: Horizontal layout, usually with a greater footprint.
- Temperature Control: Offers precise temperature settings to keep the beer at optimal freshness.
- Energy Efficiency: Typically uses less electricity than a kegerator.
Remember, both beer dispensers are designed to give you that refreshing pub experience right from your home, but they do so in different styles and capacities.
Comparing Keezers and Kegerators
When you’re looking to serve draft beer at home, choosing between a keezer and a kegerator is a key decision. Each has unique benefits tailored to different spaces, aesthetics, and beer storage needs.
Space and Size Considerations
Keezers generally offer a larger footprint due to their chest freezer origin, ideal if you’re not limited by space and prefer more capacity for kegs. In contrast, kegerators are typically taller and narrower, resembling a standard refrigerator—perfect for fitting into tighter spaces in your home. With a keezer, you might need a significant floor area, but a kegerator could slide into a corner or undercounters more easily.
Design and Customization
As for design, kegerators often have a more modern look that blends seamlessly with other appliances. Keezers, however, provide a wealth of customization options. You can add a wooden collar to mount taps or even personalize the faucet handle to match your home decor. A kegerator might be the choice if you desire a clean, professional-grade appearance with minimal fuss, but if you’re into DIY and making a piece uniquely yours, a keezer could be your canvas.
Temperature Control and Quality Preservation
Both units are designed to keep your beer fresh and at the right temperature range. Kegerators may have more precise temperature controls, maintaining consistent cold for your beer lines. Keezers, although adjustable, can vary based on how well the original freezer was designed to modulate its interior environment. Proper temperature is essential for preserving the quality of your draft beer, so both types have systems in place to protect against temperature fluctuations.
Practical Aspects of Ownership
When you’re deciding between a kegerator and a keezer, it’s important to consider the practical responsibilities that come with each. Think about the setup, ongoing upkeep, how much you’re willing to spend, and the various uses each can accommodate.
Installation and Maintenance
Kegerator: As a modified refrigerator, kegerators typically come ready to use with minimal assembly. You’ll usually just need to set up the CO2 tank, pressure regulator, faucets, and hoses. Maintenance mainly involves cleaning the lines and faucet to keep your beer tasting fresh.
Keezer: A keezer, which is a converted chest freezer, requires more upfront installation work. You’ll need to attach a temperature controller to avoid freezing your beer. To serve multiple kegs, installing additional faucets and balancing the pressure regulator is key. Regular defrosting and cleaning are also a part of maintenance.
Price of Kegerators:
- Entry-level: $400 – $600
- Mid-range: $600 – $1,000
- High-end: $1,000 and up
Price of Keezers (not including the freezer):
- Budget DIY conversion kit: $150 – $250
- More complex setups: $250 and up
Kegerators are more affordable for immediate use. Keezers, though, can be more cost-effective in the long run if you’re handy and willing to invest time in assembly. Remember, the larger the setup, the higher the cost for both options.
Intended Use and Versatility
Your specific needs will greatly influence your choice. A kegerator is often sufficient if you only want to dispense one or two types of beer. However, for those with limited space, a keezer can be a practical solution due to its compact and efficient cooler footprint. If you’re looking for versatility and customization—like dispensing multiple types of beer or beverages—a keezer often has the edge, allowing for more kegs within the same space. Both will keep your beer chilled and ready to serve, so your personal intended use should guide your decision.