Discussion in 'Home Bar' started by michman, Jan 22, 2013.

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  1. michman

    michman Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2005 Illinois

    I am in the market for a kegerator for my apartment in chicago. I wish I could have a whole home bar like some of you but that can always be a goal down the road. I had a few questions before I made a purchase. What brand or size would you recommend? OR would you suggest building my own? my only issue with that is my lack of space and tools etc in my small apartment to be building one. i can always head to the gf's in the burbs to do so if that would give me the best overall quality for a unit, but if there was a reliable brand to purchase even if a little more money, id consider that route as well.

    I appreciate your help!

  2. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (304) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    Many (most?) of the people who frequent these forums build their own. Many save oodles of money over a factory built unit, while many spend about the same, but end up with better functionality and/or better quality parts - multiple stainless steel forward sealing faucets, better quality regulators, bigger CO2 tank, etc. Then there's the added benefit of being better equipped to troubleshoot problems (foam, for example) because you're forced to read up on this when designing the plumbing. The tools required to do this are minimal.

    Among the more common formats is a chest freezer - as big or as small as you like. There are dozens, if not hundreds of websites that detail the process. A big consideration when choosing this option is the size of the kegs you're likely to be buying, since you'll need to lift it 3' or so to get it into the freezer (a full half barrel weighs somewhere around 150 lbs).

    Then there's the ever popular 'dorm fridge'. These are roughly the same size as a store bought kegerator. Again, there are plans on the internet that include choosing the correct type, and with all the appropriate warnings about locating cooling lines, etc.

    Another option is a used (or new, if you prefer) upright refrigerator/freezer, or even a dedicated refrigerator or freezer (with an external temperature controller). This involves not much more than drilling holes in the door for faucet(s).

    As for brand recommendations, I've not researched ready made units, so I can't help you there. However, there are only something like three manufacturers of consumer lever refrigerators and freezers in the world. The big brands, for the most part, simply slap their badge on a commodity product. This can be useful to know when comparing brands.
  3. mattafett

    mattafett Initiate (0) Mar 9, 2009 Iowa

    This isn't even remotely close to true. As an appliance repair tech, I can give you 10 MANUFACTURERS right off the top of my head. However, you are somewhat correct when it comes to freezers, both upright and chest. The DOMESTIC market uses a manufacturer out of Canada to build them. Throw in Danby (a Canadien company made in china), and Haier, and you get 3 options in the U.S..
  4. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (304) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    I stand corrected. Perhaps I heard that comment in a context that led me to believe it applied to refrigerator/freezer combos, as well. (Like the way I blamed somebody else for my mistake? :wink:)
  5. BigStein88

    BigStein88 Disciple (310) Nov 5, 2007 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

    If size is a concern, a ready made kegerator is likely the best bet. Check out, lots of choices. I highly recommend one with a tower fan, but you can always add that to the cheaper ones...
  6. biglite351

    biglite351 Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2010 Pennsylvania

    I got a Danby that can handle 1/2's at Costco for $240. No issues so far. I am not sure how much cheaper than that you can really go buy building your own and it still looking good. An olg fridge or freezer tends to look like an old fridge or freezer...
  7. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (304) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    Depends on the look you're going for. An old fridge or freezer can look pretty classy in the right setting. Indeed, there are companies that make brand new 'vintage' appliances, even kegerators:

    It's worth noting that these things don't come cheap. These particular fridges range from $4,200 to $5,600, plus another $800 for the draft system. When I was building my bar a few years ago, I was considering a VFW look. I even thought about faking cigarette burns in the bar top (though I guess I'm glad my wife talked me out of it). Retro, vintage, distressed can be quite desirable. It's nice that when you build your own, the rattier the cheaper -- and it's the real deal!
  8. biglite351

    biglite351 Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2010 Pennsylvania

    True, if you go with he complete theme in the entire room old would fit right in. However, if you have a newer looking room with an obviously old fridge in the corner...
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