Upgrading to kegged beer is one of the most satisfying investments I made. Nothing beats grabbing a pint and pouring a nice cold beer into it from the comfort of your home.
But before that happened I had many questions about what would be the best for me. That led me to discover keezers. That sounds like a cool and unique project that I could do, but should I?
First I wanted to find out the pros and cons of both, I hope this information can help you decide!
Keezer vs. Kegerator: What’s the difference?
In short, both store kegs, keep them cool and dispense beer through a tap. Ultimately, a keezer has more benefits than a kegerator, because you have more options for kegs and how many beer taps you could add. As a home beer brewer, you will definitely enjoy that. However, a keezers downside is you have to load the kegs 3-1/2 feet off the ground, that can be tricky depending on the size and weight of your keg. A kegerator is easier to load kegs into, with only having to lift them about 5 inches.
I have both, but I keep the keezer at the bar in my basement because of all the benefits I just told you about, my reason is the keezer is quieter than the kegerator.
Let’s go over the options.
It is a modified chest freezer that anyone could make for half the cost of a kegerator. You can really custom make this to your style, the options are unlimited.
Basically, you make a collar out of wood and glue it down to the chest. You screw the top lid onto the collar and a drill a couple of holes for your tap lines. To control the temperature so it’s not freezing I use a plug and play thermostat. That uses a temperature probe that sits in the keezer and turns on and off to whatever temperature you set it to.
The cost for my very first keezer was around $200. I made it in my apartment using a hand saw and a drill for the holes. I really mean it when I say anyone can do it.
How many kegs can it fit?
That depends on the size of the chest freezer, they make them small medium and large. You could put 8 or more corny kegs the biggest or 2 at the minimum.
The one I have is small only 5 cubic feet. I’ve had 3 quarter barrels in it at a time. The leftover space I used for cans and bottles and some storage for food.
A 1/2 barrel is not going to fit in the smaller chest freezer, but it can in the bigger ones. The reason this probably won’t work is that they are about 160 pounds, even with someone helping, it’s extremely difficult to install.
Customize it how you want It
Yes, a keezer is a tiny bit of work, but trust me it is worth it.
I have seen some really beautiful keezers being built and that is one of my favorite things about them. The basic part is the collar, from there you can do whatever you want to the body.
Some great keezers I’ve seen have done some of these:
- Build a tower tap system
- Use Barn wood to wrap the body
- Add chalkboard pain and update your beer list
- Install your digital thermostat on the collar (looks professional now)
- Decorate it with your favorite sports team
- Add LED lights
It really is endless, and that is what makes a keezer truly unique to you.
What kind of tools and skills do I need
I am not a handyman at all but let you know how easy this was, I built it in my apartment with a hand saw and a drill.
First thing I did was removed the lid, super easy. I then measure the inside of the lip, then I went a bought a 4X8 board. Measured it and made the cuts.
I drilled two screws into onto each of the sides a total of 8 screws.
Then I used construction caulk and glued the collar down to the freezer. I put the lid on the top with some weight to hold it down for 8 hours. Then I screwed the lid to the back, and it held perfectly! I was impressed with my self, but I wasn’t done yet. I had to make the holes for the tap lines.
I used a 7/8 ” spade drill bit for the shank whole, a nice snug fit.
I also made the same size hole for the Co2 line on the side, my plan was to a male shank on both ends to make that work.
- Affordable -$175-$400 (You can always find a used one on craigslist for super cheap)
- Customizable – (Make it basic or make it awesome)
- Keezers Are quite – Barely noticeable
- More Beer – You can add different kinds of beer, depending on the size of the freezer
- Electricity – Yearly cost is under $75 to run, keep it full of beer and it could be lower!
- Not Heavy – Compared to a kegerator, chest freezers are really lightweight
- Save money – Buying in kegs is cheaper than by the can and taste better
Overall the main cons would be its a chest freezer so you need to modify it, but it isn’t difficult.
- You need to cut some wood and drill some holes (Skill level is minimal)
- You need to modify the thermostat, that is an easy fix using this.
- Loading beer over the top, kegs can be heavy and hard to move on your own
- The extras needed – Tap lines, Faucet, Co2 tank, regulator, distributor) That could be an extra $100
A kegerator is a commercial beer cooling unit with a built-in tap tower and drain spout. You see these in black and more common in stainless steel. The look really sharp
For the home user, you can get a one tap, two, three and even a 4 line system. The more tap lines you add does limit the size of the kegs going into it. Meaning, if I have the one tap line, I could also use 1/2 barrel as the largest keg in the fridge. If I want to upgrade to a two tap on up I will be using 1/4 or 1/6 sized kegs.
Kegerators are designed for cooling and distributing the air all the way up through the tower, and they do a great job of it.
The kegs are easier to load in because they are almost ground level.
Overall, a kegerator is a great way to dispense beer. These are a bit of an investment, but satisfying none the less. You can see our top 9 picks over here.
- Ready to serve beer almost – most new kegerators come with everything you need, gas lines, coupler, etc. But they won’t come with Co2 gas
- Super Cold – Keeps beer real cold
- Drain – Over pouring will catch in the drain, but that drain will need a bucket at the bottom
- Easy Load – Get kegs in with less lifting
- Pour level – I like that the tap and cabinet are comfortable to serve, no bending over or reaching up high.
- Heavy – Make sure casters come with
- Loud – The compressor is always going, so it creates more noise
- $$$ – These can range from $500 to $3500
- No Gas – You have to buy Co2 as well
Having a kegerator has been amazing, I stand by the pros and cons, my biggest complaint is the noise. It’s not terrible, but I did notice having to talk a little louder when I had people over.
I would recommend one for your home bar or man cave.
Both run on your standard 120-volt plugin in. That is nice, no extra wiring needed, you can plug right in and it will start. But which uses more energy.
To run a kegerator for a full year it is estimated to roughly cost $125 according to kegerators.com, but I think it’s probably more like $200.
A keezer is going to be different because of how it’s built. It’s basically a large box with the bottom and all edges getting cold vs a condenser blowing cold air. But also, it’s now been converted to be a refrigerator, so it’s turning on more frequently. But still, as far as cost to run per year, it’s about $5-8 a month, so just under $ 100.
Still, a pretty fair price to have draft beer in your house.
Keezer vs. Kegerator My Pick
Both serve cold beer, but both are a little different. Me personally, as a home brewer of beer, would recommend you go with the keezer, it’s such a satisfying project. But, if you just want to have one or two kegs that are purchased from a store, I would recommend kegerator.