Are you on the fence about buying a kegerator for your man cave? A kegerator is like a man cave status symbol. But is it a good idea to get one? This post takes a look at the pro’s and con’s of kegerators so you can make the right decision.
A kegerator is a great addition to a home bar. Check out more information about building your own home bar here.
What this post covers;
- What is a kegerator?
- What are the benefits of a kegerator
- Are there any drawbacks to a kegerator?
- Neutral factor
- Should you get a kegerator?
What is a kegerator?
Clicked on this article just because you wanted to know what a kegerator is? Here’s your answer;
Keg=metal barrel with beer (or other carbonated drink).
Refrigerator= appliance which is artificially kept cool and used to store food and drink.
Keg refrigerator ->Keg refrigerator -> Kegerator
So, a kegerator is a refrigerator for a keg. What makes it different than a normal fridge other than it fitting a keg? There is a tap on top so you can tap your own beer at home at any time you want. You can see how that makes this a very attractive appliance for your man cave. But should you get one? There are some things to think about, keep reading below.
What are the benefits of having a kegerator?
Why not just put some beers in your fridge instead of buying a whole new appliance? There are some big benefits to getting your own kegerator. Here they are;
Many people prefer the taste of a draught beer over bottled and certainly canned beer. Often, draught beer tastes smoother which is what most people prefer. Why is that? Check here.
Whatever the reason, if you prefer the taste of draught beer, having the possibility to have one at home is awesome.
2. Bragging rights
You won’t be the only one who likes a kegerator. Your friends will certainly like it as well. Once word gets out that draught beer is available at your house, you might want to start limiting admittance or charge an entry fee.
3. You need a smaller fridge
If you’re the type of guy where the man cave fridge would only contain beer for 90% of the time, you’re a good candidate for a kegerator. So if you haven’t bought a fridge for your man cave yet, think about getting a kegerator instead of a big fridge. In reality you probably still need a small fridge to put snacks in, cool other things and maybe make ice for other drinks. The buying price of small fridge + kegerator isn’t necessarily too far off from buying one big fridge.
If you want more information about the best fridge for your man cave, read this article.
4. Environmentally friendly
Kegs are a better option for the environment compared to bottles and especially cans. It takes less energy to fill a keg. You need less packaging materials and kegs are recycled after use. Kegs are also more efficient to transport meaning you need less fuel to transport the same amount of beer.
When using a kegerator, you just have to wash the glasses. No need to clean up all the cans or bottles the next day. You have to go to the supermarket fewer times and don’t have to worry about having enough beers in the fridge at the right time.
Are there any drawbacks to having a kegerator?
While there are some great benefits to having a kegerator, there are some drawbacks as well.
1. Keg Expiration Date
Kegs have an expiration date. That means, to get the best tasting beer, you have to consume the whole keg before it expires. If that’s a problem depends on how much you consume and how big the keg is. Kegs can last 2 months up to 6 months from production date, depending on the type of beer.
In the end a kegerator is an appliance. You need to put it somewhere. As we’ll cover below, there are different types but they all take up space. Most kegerators have their tap on top. This means you can’t really stack anything on top of them unlike a fridge. Most people will actually have both a fridge and a kegerator so you need some extra space, although you can save space by going for a smaller fridge.
Kegerators require a little bit of maintenance and cleaning. It’s not too much since the only absolutely necessary maintenance is cleaning the lines when replacing the keg and replacing the CO2 caps. While it’s not a lot or very difficult, it’s still a drawback compared to just getting a bottle from the fridge.
4. Limited beer choice at one time
An opened keg can’t be closed again and it takes quite a while to cool to the correct temperature. That means you can’t change your brand or type of beer quickly. If you like to drink one brand and you know that. Then this isn’t a problem.
If you’re someone who likes to drink different types of beer then this is a drawback.
Of course you can compromise and do both. A main beer you like for most of the time in the kegerator. Next to that you put a few special beers in the fridge for if you feel like it. No problem, as long as you can finish the keg before it expires.
There are also kegerators that can handle two or more kegs at one time.
Kegerator Financial Pictures
This might come as a surprise. Why don’t I list the financial part as a pro or con? You would think that buying your beer in kegs would be cheaper than getting boxes. It’s a little more nuanced than that however. There are a few factors that play into the financial picture of owning a kegerator.
As you might have noticed, costs are not mentioned as a benefit or drawback. That’s because it’s not so clear cut.
Money is a big motivator for many people. Let’s see what drinking from a kegerator costs with everything included. There are different parts to this equation so let’s identify those first.
- The kegerator itself
- The keg
I’ve chosen to exclude electricity costs. Since we’re comparing to using a normal fridge and they use about the same amount of energy. How much energy exactly depends on the model of kegerator and fridge so it’s very difficult to compare anyways.
A kegerator can cost roughly between $150 and $5000. That’s a pretty broad range. We’re talking about kegerators for man caves. Most man caves are at home. That means you don’t need a commercial triple keg kegerator. A basic kegerator for a full size keg starts at about $400. The top end for home kegerators is roughly $1500. Let’s say the average kegerator buyer will spend around $700 for the kegerator plus some accessories like a cleaning kit.
The keg is another variable. If you’re a home brewer, you can get a special keg for that purpose. This will cost you around $75 for a 5 gallon keg. Of course you then still need to take the cost of brewing your beer into account.
A keg from a commercial brand runs from about $120 for 15.5 gallon of Budweiser to +-$125 for a 5 gallon craft beer keg. http://kegguys.com/product/budweiser-keg/
A case of 24 cans of Budweiser costs about $19.
As you can see, the difference is actually quite small. Just about $10 savings per keg. That would mean 70 kegs before you break even on an average $700 kegerator. For me that isn’t a big enough saving to make a difference. The choice to get a kegerator is not a financial one. Of course there are plenty of other good reasons to get one.
Should you get a kegerator?
If you’ve got the space, money, often have people over, like to drink the same beer often and prefer draught, Go for it. For people that like to change up their beers often and don’t consume about 165 beers in 2 months, you’re better off just putting bottles in a fridge. Those are the most important considerations.
Financially, it doesn’t really matter over time although you need the cash to buy the kegerator up front. In the end you should make your own decision. Hopefully I gave you enough to make a decision one way or the other.