We previously looked at the best whiskey glasses, in this article we are going to cover something a little different: our choice of best mini kegerators available today.
We use only the best mini kegerators here especially when we’ve made our own brews! These are awesome pieces of kit – a combination of a refrigerator and a small keg that keeps your beer fresh and carbonated for up to two months. The best mini-kegerators hold between 64 oz and 128 oz volume and are generally supplied with one or more carbon dioxide cartridges.
Some of our chosen systems are not ‘real’ kegerators in that they don’t have an in-built cooling facility and rely on being placed within your fridge to be cooled. However, they are still pressurized and well-insulated so that they will keep your beer cold for several hours once taken out of the fridge.
Best Mini Kegerators
TMCRAFT 128oz Pressurized Insulated Growler System
Starting off at the more budget-friendly end of the spectrum we have the surprisingly good TMCraft Growler system. This is the large 128 oz capacity model, but it measures 7.7” x 5.3” x 18.3” (L x W x H) so it fits in most fridges.
The new TMCraft model has had a few tweaks since the original model; it now boasts an upgraded regulator that allows you more control over the CO2 pressure. The regulator helps you perfect the carbonation level and the size of head you give your beer.
This unit takes the standard CO2 cartridges, the ones with the 3/8” thread, but not are provided with any in the box. A 16g cartridge will tap the full volume of this keg. The body of the TMCraft is made from food grade stainless-steel which won’t rust during its lifetime. We like the matt black finish to the exterior, it’s a welcome change to the typical metal finishes though it is available with the stainless-steel finish too if you prefer.
The insulation offered by this model is good enough to keep your beer ice cold for nearly three hours indoors which we think is pretty good going for our great value choice.
NutriChef PKBRTP100 Pressurized Insulated Growler System (128 oz)
Our next choice in our roundup of the best mini kegerators is this great example from NutriChef. This growler is also a 128oz device and has a top of the range pressure system to keep your beer carbonated for up to two months. Considering your non-pressurized growler would allow your beer to go flat within 24 hours of opening, this is no mean feat.
The NutriChef uses standard CO2 cartridges but although none are supplied it will accept any brand you choose. A 16g cartridge is sufficient for a full 128 oz keg of your favorite draft beer.
Size-wise, it will fit in most fridges. The mini-kegerator measures 7.5” x 6.9” x 19.5” (L x W x H). Following a design trend over recent years, the NutriChef also has an improved regulator gauge and mechanism to help manage the 30 PSI pressure giving you perfect carbonation and a fantastic-looking head every time.
The NutriChef is a quality product, made of heavy duty stainless steel. And this same grade of food-grade steel is found throughout its tap and faucet assembly and a brass tap. There are a few extra touches that this model boasts too. Little things like a laser-etched mark at the fill level or the pressure release valve that allows you to dismantle the faucet assembly safely. The NutriChef has a handy metal screw-on lid to aid easy portability.
SPT BD-0538 Mini Kegerator and Dispenser
Our first system which has built-in cooling; an authentic mini kegerator, is made by Sunpenten International, a company approaching a 30-year heritage. The SPT BD-0538 uses standard five-liter kegs and the pressurized Heineken mini kegs. Thanks to its thermoelectric cooling technology your full kegerator will be chilled to between 36 to 53 degrees within a day.
The device’s dimensions are 10.7” x 16.3” x 16.9” (L x W x H), so while free-standing it doesn’t take up too much space in your home bar. The pressure settings are easy to control and this unit is supplied with three carbon dioxide canisters. The temperature is also straightforward to program and check on with its LED temperature display. The power cord is 4 ft which we think is a decent length for most households.
In operation the SPT is reasonably quiet, at just under 38dB(A). It draws around 65W so isn’t power hungry either. It’s a handsome mini kegerator with stainless steel and matt black finish. All the usual refinements like food grade beer tubes, cleaning bottle and connectors are supplied as standard.
NutriChef PKBRTP299 Pressurized Mini Keg System (128oz)
Our second entry for NutriChef is the PKBRTP299. This is a double-walled stainless-steel vessel with a healthy 128 oz capacity. As you might expect this high-quality food-grade brushed stainless-steel, and the seem material is used in the tap and faucet assembly too with the tap itself being made of brass. The PKBRTP2 will keep your carbonated beer fizzy for a couple of months without trouble. You do need to keep this keg in the fridge though but due to its clever design fitting it in there shouldn’t be a problem. It measures 7.9” x 8.8” x 15.7” (W x L x H).
We like the hexagonal screw cap on the aluminum, adjustable pressure regulator which makes it easy to grip and fine tune the CO2 flow to just how you like it. The gauge bears a laser-etched ‘full’ mark to help you judge its present volume. The tubing is your regular food-grade silicone so you can be confident that the beer will be safe to drink and – just as importantly! – tasty.
Once chilled, your beer will stay cool for about eight hours due to its impressive insulation, but it should be noted that this only applies if the vessel is out of direct sunlight.
GrowlerWerks Copper uKeg Carbonated Growler (128 oz)
Our final mini kegerator is the uKeg from GrowlerWerks. With it’s beautiful, clean lined design finished in copper this is a fantastic-looking talking point for your home bar. And its beauty isn’t just skin-deep; this has great functionality too. While not having a built in cooling unit and requires you to cool it in a fridge, once out it keeps your chilled beverage at freezing temperatures for most of a day. If you want to serve chilled beers in your home or outside then the uKeg is for you.
At its heart this is a growler but at its soul is a case study in innovation. If your favorite beers are from microbreweries or friends’ creations, you need a way to get them home safely and the uKeg makes this a breeze. It will keep your beer fresh, carbonated and cold long enough for you to transport it back to your safe harbor.
Its carbonation cap automatically regulates the pressure to your desired level all the way up to 15 psi. The custom tap handle is designed for you to be able to swap out the logo so you can display your own or your favorite brewery’s. This also makes it a useful buy if you produce several different beers and would like to keep several on tap at any one time. Speaking of the tap, it boasts a locking mechanism to avoid those accidental mishaps and spillages.
Another great feature is the sight glass that allows you to see exactly how much beer is left in the uKeg. We also like how the CO2 cartridge is concealed, it lifts the aesthetics of the mini kegerator.
One thing the best mini kegerators have in common in our list is that they are surprisingly easy to assemble even for someone with no prior experience. These models are also easy to get into to clean. And if we can say one more thing to convince you to buy one of these then it’s this: Nothing beats an ice-cold beverage on a hot day!