Using a mini-fridge for a kegerator is a great idea, especially if you’re a homebrewer or frequent entertainer. Finding the best mini fridge for kegerator conversion, though, can be a trick. Not all mini-fridges are appropriate for this project.
Luckily, there are plenty of affordable mini-fridges that are perfect candidates. Read on to learn about our top kegerator conversion picks.
Pressed for time? We think that theDanby Designer DAR044A4BDD-6 4.4 Cu.Ft. Mini Fridge is the best option for most people.
A kegerator is a combination of a refrigerator and keg, hence the name. It’s a popular piece of equipment for small bars, homebrewers, and amongst those who love to entertain.
Though typically used for beer, kegerators can technically hold any beverage you want chilled and on tap, including wine, cocktails, or even soft drinks.
A kegerator does more than keep your favorite brew chilled. It also retains pressure, so the carbonation lasts longer, giving you the perfect, bubbly mouthfeel with every sip. If you want to learn more, here’s all about how kegerators work.
Since kegerators are the size of a mini-fridge, they fit in most drinking-ready locations. Garages, workshops, and dormitories are all ideal spots for housing a kegerator. They also fit under standard bar tops.
You can purchase a kegerator ready-made, but it’s much more affordable to build one yourself. With a mini-fridge and a kegerator conversion kit, building one isn’t difficult, especially if you’re handy with a drill.
How To Pick the Right Mini Fridge for Kegerator Conversion
Of course, you’ll need the right mini fridge for your kegerator conversion to be successful. Picking out a mini-fridge for your new kegerator means you’ll need to pay attention to a few things. Size, features, and your budget will all play a role. We discuss each of these factors in detail below.
Mini fridges and kegs come in different sizes. The trick to building a kegerator is finding a mini-fridge that will accommodate the keg size you want to house. The refrigerator will also need to fit a CO2 tank, and though those aren’t very big, it’s important that the fridge interior has enough space to accommodate it.
Keg sizes vary, but most of the ones you’d use in a home space are below 25 inches tall. We’ve listed a few common keg dimensions and capacities below so that you have specifics. We’ve also included when you’re most likely to use each keg type so that you can plan your kegerator design around your lifestyle.
- Mini kegs: 9 ⅞ ” x 6 ¾”, holds 1.32 gallons, common for at-home use
- Cornelius kegs: 23″ x 9″, holds 5 gallons, common for homebrewers
- Pony kegs (also called quarter barrel kegs): 13 ⅞” x 16 ⅞”, holds 7.75 gallons, common for entertaining
- Half barrel kegs: 23 ⅜” x 16 ⅛”, holds 15.5 gallons, common for entertaining
When choosing a mini-fridge to house your keg size of choice, be sure to look at interior space, not just exterior dimensions. Watch for fans or thermostat controls that might take away from the width or height, and make sure any shelves or drawers are removable.
Of course, you also want to ensure the fridge will fit in your space, whether that’s a garage, workspace, or den.
Keep in mind that refrigerators work best when they’re not directly against a wall. Most fridge manufacturers recommend leaving at least an inch of space. This ensures the refrigerator receives proper ventilation, which will help it run more efficiently.
Mini refrigerators often come with extra features, like controllable thermostats, LED lights, and sometimes a freezer compartment. The lighting and the thermostat are great features for kegerators, but a freezer can cause problems.
Most kegerators have a beer dispenser at the top of the fridge. So, to construct one, you need to run tap lines through the fridge’s top. If there’s a freezer, it can get in the way, and you may need to alter your kegerator’s design by running tap lines through the door instead.
That said, many homebrewers find a kegerator with a freezer compartment to be useful. It’s ideal for storing hops. So, whether to buy a mini-fridge with a freezer or not is up to you, but for most kegerator conversions, freezers add complications that aren’t worth the hassle.
More often than not, building a kegerator is cheaper than purchasing one, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Mini fridges can vary in price from $200 to the thousand dollar range. A conversion kit typically costs a couple of hundred dollars on top of that. So, if you’re not careful, your DIY kegerator could end up costing more than a ready-made one.
To avoid that problem, look for a mini-fridge in the $200 to $400 range. Above that price, and you’re better off buying a kegerator that’s ready-made.
Top Mini Fridges for Kegerator
Now that you know what to look for in a mini-fridge for your kegerator, let’s look at our top picks.
The Danby Designer mini-fridge features a whopping 4.4 cubic feet of internal space. At 33.16 inches tall and 20.16 inches wide, it’s an ideal size for holding your choice of keg. Available in sleek black or with a stainless steel finish, this fridge will look great in your den, basement, garage, or workspace.
It has adjustable and removable wire shelves as well as a mechanical thermostat so you can keep your favorite brew at the perfect serving temperature. The door hinges are reversible, so you can fit the fridge in any space, and it doesn’t have a freezer making a kegerator conversion that much easier.
Best of all, the Dandy mini-fridge is environmentally friendly and energy-star compliant, which should save you a bit on your electricity bills. It’s available at a reasonable price as well.
This mini-fridge is one of our top picks for a kegerator conversion, but it does fall short in a couple of spots. It doesn’t have leveling feet, which makes it difficult to place. It also is a bit noisy compared to other options.
Weight: 64.7 lbs
Dimensions: 20.16 x 20.16 x 33.16 inches
Capacity: 4.4 cubic feet
Annual energy consumption: 268 kW hours
- Large capacity
- Energy star compliant
- No freezer
- No leveling feet
- Noisy compressor
Black + Decker is a well-known brand, and their mini-fridge option doesn’t disappoint. It comes in black, stainless, or white and features 3.2 feet of interior space. It runs very quietly, so it won’t interrupt your socializing, and it features adjustable temperature controls. It also has leveling legs and a reversible door, so you can place it just about anywhere.
Unfortunately, its quiet operation seems to point to a less powerful compressor. This mini-fridge has a tough time holding temperature through extreme fluctuations. If you’re keeping it in a den or basement, this probably isn’t a problem. But in a garage, where there’s less insulation, this fridge might not be the best choice, especially if you live someplace hot.
There’s also a freezer compartment, which means you’ll have to run your tap lines through the door. This isn’t a problem for some kegerator owners, but it’s important to be aware of it.
Weight: 50.7 lbs
Dimensions: 19.29 x 17.52 x 32.72 inches
Capacity: 3.2 cubic feet
Annual energy consumption: 219 kW hours
- Whisper-quiet operation
- leveling legs
- reversible door
- Issues holding temperature
- freezer compartment
With a stylish glass door and sleek stainless steel frame, the NewAir Beverage Cooler certainly looks nice. Of course, whether you want a glass door on a kegerator is a bit controversial. Some would rather not put their keg and CO2 canisters on display.
If you like the look, though, this mini fridge won’t disappoint function-wise. It features a capacity of 3.4 cubic feet, has a very quiet compressor, and front leveling legs.
The NewAir cooler does have a thermostat, but it doesn’t give temperatures. You have to pick a level between one and seven, which isn’t very exact. It also has an LED light, but it’s not automatic. You’ll need to turn it on or off manually. For a kegerator, though, that might be a plus. There’s probably little need to have the light on unless you’re tapping a new keg or checking the Co2 canister.
Weight: 65.9 lbs
Dimensions: 18.4 x 18.9 x 32.9 inches
Capacity: 3.4 cubic feet
Annual energy consumption: 650 kW hours
- No freezer
- Quiet operation
- Sleek design
- Temperature gauge isn’t exact
- May not want a glass door for your kegerator
The HOmelabs Mini Fridge features a top-notch cooling system and sleek look. The cooling system utilizes a small convection fan, supplying uniform temperatures throughout the fridge. There’s no doubt that this model will hold the temperature you set.
It has a glass door, which you may or may not like, but with 3.3 cubic feet of capacity inside and a 33-inch height, you won’t have a problem fitting any keg you desire.
There’s no freezer compartment to worry about, but there are removable chrome shelves. Though you probably won’t use them once your kegerator is set, it’s important to note that if you wanted to, you probably couldn’t, at least not for anything heavy. The shelves have a design flaw; they’re too narrow for the fridge and tend to fall down when loaded.
For a kegerator, the HOmeLabs Mini Fridge is a great pick; just don’t try to use it for anything else. Their customer service is iffy at best, and the design flaw in the shelves is less than ideal.
Weight: 68.3 lbs
Dimensions: 17.3 x 18.9 x 33.3 inches
Capacity: 3.3 cubic feet
Annual energy consumption: 288 kW hours
- No freezer compartment
- Fantastic temperature control
- Quiet compressor
- Major design flaw with shelving
- Iffy customer service
If bright colors are part of your home bar design, the RCA IGLOO is for you. This fridge is available in purple, green, red, black, or bright blue, making it a stand-out piece. It features a 3.2 cubic feet capacity, and at 45 lbs, it’s very lightweight and easy to move.
The RCA fridge is also energy-saving and very affordable. Unfortunately, it does have a freezer compartment that you’ll have to workaround. It also runs a bit loud.
We wish the thermostat allowed for precise temperature control rather than a high-low dial, but that’s a minor complaint. Overall, the RCA mini fridge is a perfect candidate for a kegerator.
Weight: 45 lbs
Dimensions: 20 x 18 x 32 inches
Capacity: 3.2 cubic feet
Annual energy consumption: 5 kW hours
- Bright colors
- Very affordable
- Very lightweight
- Freezer compartment
- Runs loud
The Midea compact refrigerator is closer to a standard fridge, like the one you likely have in your kitchen, than it is a true mini-fridge. It has a freezer compartment with a separate door, which isn’t ideal for most kegerators, but you can work around it, and for some homebrewers, it may be desirable.
Available in stainless, black, or white finishes, this fridge is energy-star compliant and runs quietly. It has an adjustable thermostat, removable shelves, and LED lighting.
Unfortunately, though the shelves are removable, you can’t adjust them. Sometimes, even with a kegerator in place, it’s nice to have the option of a top-shelf, but since these aren’t adjustable, that’s probably not a possibility here.
Weight: 52.2 lbs
Dimensions: 18.5 x 19.37 x 32.95 inches
Capacity: 3.1 cubic feet (without freezer)
Annual energy consumption: 80 kW hours
- Exceptionally efficient and energy saving
- Very quiet operation
- Good at holding temps
- Freezer compartment
- Shelves aren’t adjustable
How To Turn a Mini Fridge Into a Kegerator
Turning a mini fridge into a kegerator isn’t all that difficult, but you’ll probably need more instructions than we can provide here. This is just a brief overview, so you have an idea of the next steps once you purchase your mini-fridge.
First, you’ll remove the top of the fridge by using a putty knife against the seams. Underneath the lid, you’ll likely see a mass of insulating foam and a nest of cooling lines.
You’ll drill into the insulation to create a space for the tap. When you do this, you need to avoid hitting any of the cooling lines, as that will ruin your fridge. Once you have a hole, you can run your Co2 lines through it. You’ll want to reinforce the lines with conduit; PVC pipes work well.
Then, you’ll drill a matching hole into the fridge lid and put it back in place on top of the fridge. Finally, you’ll attach your tap to the CO2 lines coming out the top of the refrigerator and connect your keg to the same lines on the inside.
If there’s a freezer compartment, the process is similar, but you’ll be running the CO2 lines through the fridge door rather than the lid.
The Bottom Line
Finding a mini-fridge for a kegerator conversion is simple as long as you pay attention to a few things. You need a fridge that’s the right size and doesn’t cost too much. You’ll also probably want to avoid a freezer compartment unless you know you’ll use it for other things, like storing hops.
TheDanby Designer DAR044A4BDD-6 4.4 Cu.Ft. Mini Fridge should work great for most people. Alternatively, look at the RCA RFR321-FR320/8 IGLOO Mini Refrigerator for a more stylish, bright-colored mini fridge.
Once you have your mini fridge, you only need a kegerator conversion kit and a little elbow grease (unless you hire someone for the job), and you will have a perfectly functioning kegerator.
All of the mini-fridges on this list are well suited for kegerator conversion. What you choose will depend on your space and personal sense of style.