Mini Kegerator Reviews 2020: Pros, Cons, and What to Look For

Last updated on June 17th, 2020

Time to Read: 8 minutes

So you want to take your tailgate bar to the next level with a mini kegerator. We’ve got you covered with a list of our favorite mini kegerators for your tailgate. We’ll cover those first, and then we’ll take a deep dive into what a mini kegerator is and what features to look for before you buy.

Best Mini Kegerators for Your Tailgate

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:


EdgeStar KC2000 Full Size Kegerator and Keg Beer Cooler

If you’re looking for a kegerator for a large group of people, the EdgeStar Full Size Kegerator is the perfect option. It’s essentially a mini-fridge with a beer tap built into the top. You can load 1/2 or 1/4 barrel kegs into it, and it’ll keep your beer cold indefinitely, as long as you have a power source, of course. You’ll need to bring a generator to power this kegerator. 

The outside is a gorgeous black stainless steel. Included with this guy are a spanner faucet wrench, NSF-approved beer line, faucet (plated brass), column draft tower, single gauge regulator, empty carbon dioxide tank, tap handle, and a drip tray.

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Powerful thermostat that can be set to the low 30s
  • Slimmer width compared to standard kegerators, but it is still able to hold large kegs
  • Has rolling casters on the bottom that make it easier to roll around your tailgate, compared to other kegerators this size
  • The CO2 tank is external, so this leaves more room on the inside
  • Sleek black design
  • Comes with a great installation and user manual with pictures that walk you through assembly and use
  • Manufactured and assembled in the US
  • It can be converted into a refrigerator by using the removable shelves.
  • Self-cooling

Cons

  • Large
  • Expensive
  • The thermostat is prone to failure, making it difficult to maintain your desired temperature
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KRUPS and HEINEKEN B100 BeerTender

As the name suggests, this mini kegerator made especially to work with Heineken beer. It is only compatible with Heineken, Heineken Light, and Newcastle Brown Ale. It’s born from a partnership between Krups, a leading manufacturer of electronics, and Heiniken, a top beer company. 

This is the easiest to use on our list. You simply put in one of their DraughtKegs and pull the tap. That’s it – no messing with CO2 tanks or cartridges and worrying about temperatures. It does have cooling built-in (which you’ll need a power source to use). The cooling system keeps your beer at an ideal temperature of 37.4 degrees. When your keg runs dry, you can swap out a fresh keg in a matter of minutes. No cleaning required in between.

Pros

  • Compact and easy to transport
  • Easy setup
  • Easy to clean (there is no cleaning!)
  • LED temperature display
  • Volume indicator
  • Self-cooling
  • No need for CO2

Cons

  • You are limited to just three beers available in their DraughtKeg form
  • DraughtKegs can be difficult to find
  • Expensive
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GrowlerWerks uKeg Carbonated Growler

This is a growler from the heavens. 

To use, you fill it with your beer, insert a CO2 cartridge in the top, seal the cap, and you’re good to go. It’ll hold 128oz of beer, so about 10 beers. There’s also a 64oz version if you don’t need to bring much beer with you.

It has no self-cooling mechanism, so you’ll need to chill the whole keg before you’re ready to drink. The uKeg has insulated walls, so it will hold in the cold for a while. Sit the uKeg on ice, and your beer will remain cold until the last drop.

The uKeg is available in stainless steel, copper, and black chrome, and it’s really a beauty to look at. You can adjust the CO2 pressure simply by turning a knob on the top of the tank, and there’s a tube (called a sight glass) on the outside that shows you exactly how much beer is left.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to transport
  • Adjustable cap on the top makes it easier to change carbonation to your liking
  • Built-in sight glass shows you exactly how much beer is inside
  • Insulated outer covering keeps your beer colder long
  • CO2 cartridges are more convenient than CO2 tanks
  • Unique design

Cons

  • Prone to leaking
  • It’s difficult to clean
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NutriChef Pressurized Growler Tap System

This is similar to the GrowlerWerks uKeg. Here, you have a 128oz container that you fill with your desired beer, screw in a CO2 cartridge on the outside, adjust the PSI to your desired carbonation level, and enjoy! There’s also a 64oz version if you don’t need as much beer.

Like the uKeg, you’ll need to chill your beer beforehand and keep it cold somehow (keep it on ice). This one has no insulation built-in, but there is an insulation jacket, essentially a huge koozie, available for purchase.

It only comes in stainless steel and is not quite as attractive as the uKeg, but it’s just as functional. It pressurizes with disposable CO2 cartridges, and pressure is easy to adjust. The cartridges hang off of the top instead of fit neatly inside like with the uKeg.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to transport
  • CO2 cartridges are more convenient than CO2 tanks
  • Pressure is easy to adjust
  • Comparable to the uKeg at a lower price point

Cons

  • Does not hold temperature very well, but you can add an insulation jacket to keep things cold
  • It’s difficult to clean
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What is a mini kegerator?

Let’s break down the term mini kegerator.

Mini = small

Keg = carbonated beer vessel

‘erator = refrigerator

A mini kegerator is a small, carbonated beer vessel, in a refrigerator! This is not always true, but it does cover the basic premise of mini kegerators. It is a way for you to offer cold, draft beer yourself, on the go. With a mini kegerator, you can have a beer tap at your tailgate.

How does a mini kegerator work?

There are different styles of kegerators, as you’ll see in our top list above. All of them share the following common components:

  1. A keg or container to hold beer
  2. A method of pressurizing that beer to maintain carbonation 
    1. CO2 or Nitrogen
  3. A method of keeping the beer cold
    1. Either through active refrigeration or through an insulated container
  4. A tap to dispense the beer

The kegerator design and how it goes about delivering these four things will differ, but all kegerators cover those four elements. 

A traditional kegerator is literally a keg inside a fridge connected to a tap coming out the top of the fridge. This is what the EdgeStar and Krups BeerTender represent from our list. They’re mini kegs placed inside of a small refrigerator with a tap on top.

There are others that approach things a bit differently, like the GrowlerWerks uKeg and the NutriChef Growler. These basically consist of large (64oz-128oz in this case) growlers that are pressurized with disposable CO2 cartridges. These growlers have a tap on the top of them rather than an open mouth for pouring. This is what keeps the beer fresh and fizzy. These don’t have active cooling or come with their own mini-fridge. They are insulated and intended to be used pre-chilled and kept on ice.

Why should you get a mini kegerator?

draft beer

There’s something about beer out of tap. It just can’t be beat. The freshness and the mouth-feel are hard to duplicate in a can or a bottle. The taste alone isn’t the only reason to consider a mini kegerator. 

Mini kegerators are a good way to bring craft beer to a tailgate that is difficult to get your hands on. Craft beers have exploded in recent years. Micro-breweries are everywhere, but sometimes it can be difficult and expensive to get your hands on their cans or bottles. What you likely can do, however, is swing by a local brewery and ask them to refill your keg(s). Many of these breweries have their beer on tap, and you can refill there rather than resort to cans or bottles. Once beer goes into your pressurized keg, it’ll be good and fresh for at least a month or two, sometimes longer.

Mini kegerators save space and are cheaper in the long run. If you’ve got a large group of beer-drinkers, you can either lug around huge coolers stuffed full of cans and bottles, or you can bring a mini keg or two. Those kegs will take up less space than the equivalent cans or bottles. And they’ll be a lot cheaper too, in the long-run, at least.

Lastly, a mini kegerator is a conversation piece that will set your tailgate apart. They’re a real head-turner at a tailgate and would look great displayed on one of your tables. Few things impress quite like a mini kegerator, not just to the people in your party, but rival tailgaters also.

What should you look for in a mini kegerator?

There is a lot to consider when shopping for a mini kegerator, but here are some of the most important factors:

  • Size & capacity
    • You need to have enough beer to meet your party’s demands, but not so much that you’re hauling around too much beer.
  • Ease of transport
    • This goes without saying, but you need room in your cargo to bring this thing. And some kegerators can be huge.
  • Effort to clean
    • This is sometimes overlooked until it’s too late. Before you get a fancy kegerator, investigate what’s involved in cleaning it, and make sure you’re up for the task.
  • Power source
    • Some kegerators require 110-volt power and, therefore, a generator. Some require no power. And some even run on batteries.
  • Temperature control
    • Some will have adjustable controls, whether a physical knob or a digital display. Some of no temperature control and just need to be put on ice.
  • Pressure control
    • Most kegerators are going to come with a knob to adjust the pressure of the container. This will change the level of carbonation in your beer. Not only pressure control is equal, however. Some are easier to control than others.
  • Compatible kegs or containers
    • The larger kegerators tend to accept standard kegs, while the smaller ones only take certain size mini-kegs, growlers, or cans/bottles. And some, like the Krups, only accept a few proprietary kegs. Ensure that whatever you get will work with your beer of choice.

There you have it – our definitive guide on mini kegerators for your tailgate. We hope that this has provided you with a considerable upgrade option for your tailgate. Bottoms up!