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Old 10-19-2007, 02:50 PM   #1
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Default Kegerator - Buy New or Build?

Ok, so I'm definitely going to be getting into kegging here by early November at the latest - maybe earlier. However, I'm torn between paying a little more for a new kegerator with dual taps and building my own out of the Sanyo 4912.

I figure buying the new kegerator with dual taps and a set of 3-4 corny's is going to cost me $750-850 range. Building a Sanyo 4912 with dual taps will cost me about $500. In all honesty, I'm not all about sparing expense to get this done, so if money wasn't an option, which would you do? There are things to consider like a warranty on a purchased kegerator (none on the 4912 with a hole in top!), cooling capability of the 4912 (is it up to the task?), prepurchased has the nice top with glass guards, etc. etc.

Here is the one I was looking to purchase outright - it can be purchased ready for the homebrew setup (less kegs of course). Is Summit an alright brand? They have similar ones made by Haier, Sanyo, etc. but for some reason I got the feeling that Summit was a solid brand. Total cost with shipping, plus some HB kegs is probably close to $800:

http://www.beveragefactory.com/refri...c500bv-2.shtml

Or the other option is to buy the 4912 ($200) and this ($300) double keg, double tower setup from kegconnection.com. Looks like it comes with all quality parts (less Shirron taps) - possibly better than the parts on the summit (as far as regulators, etc. go). Total cost would be about $500 and some labor:

http://stores.kegconnection.com/Detail.bok?no=55

Like I said, not too worried about the $300 difference, which would be better quality and overall better for someone new getting into kegging!? And before i get preached to, I know you can build a 4912 for much cheaper if you buy it on sale and piece it together, but I don't have the time or patience for doing that to save $100-150... I've also been scouring Craigslist for used kegerators to no avail. All of the affordable ones are ugly and beat up. I want something nice and I want to be kegging like it's last week!

Thanks for any insights!

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Old 10-19-2007, 02:59 PM   #2
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Old 10-19-2007, 03:01 PM   #3
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If you have the space have you considered getting a chest freezer and converting it to a kegerator? If you want to have 3-4 kegs ready to go this is the way to do it. I built a 4912 and love it but I also live in an apartment. If I had a house with a garage or basement I would defiantly get a chest freezer.

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Old 10-19-2007, 03:03 PM   #4
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I can't speak specifically on the models that you might be looking at, but I've heard people complain about the quality of the "pre-made" kegerators; crappy faucets, etc. I'd be inclined to build it myself - not just to save money, but so that I knew that every piece that went into it was high quality, that there weren't any corners cut in the manufacture. If I were to buy one, I'd just be really cautious about seeing how well it's put together before plunking down the coin.

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Old 10-19-2007, 03:09 PM   #5
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How much room do you have? I'd be much more inclined to start with a small chest freezer if I were building from scratch; four kegs is better than two, and it would give you room to have a couple on tap and a carboy lagering.

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Old 10-19-2007, 03:29 PM   #6
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If money's not an option, get a chest freezer and convert it. You will be much happier with something that can hold more than 2 kegs. I bought a mini fridge and converted it myself, the fridge was 75 bucks used. It held two kegs. I just bought another fridge that is getting delivered today. I full size that will hopefully hold more than 2 more. Anyway, it's much nicer to have 4+ kegs on tap than just 2 Gives you a variety.

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Old 10-19-2007, 04:57 PM   #7
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Saw these already. I believe both of these will leave much too big of a footprint for my liking... that's why I want to go with a mini-fridge sized kegerator. Thanks for looking for me though, I hadn't checked the CL in a few days!

EDIT: I see a lot of people asking about my living arrangements, etc. and suggesting chest freezers and whatnot. I currently rent a small house, but I don't think I want to take up the room for a full fridge (100% sure i don't want another full-size fridge)... a small chest freezer (are there any 6.0ish cf ones?!) mighhhht work.
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Old 10-19-2007, 05:01 PM   #8
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What else is involved in converting a chest freezer? I really do only want two taps right now, but I wouldn't mind being able to lager a corny or two at a time also...

Are there any 6.0ish cf chest freezers people convert?
Must I build a collar?
Do I need a ranco (sp?) temp controller?

Any help would be appreciated.

Other than considering this, I suppose I will just build the 4912 and pass on a pre-built one. Then I can be sure I get a good quality unit as suggested by bird...

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Old 10-19-2007, 05:05 PM   #9
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Other than likely making a collar (no big deal; a couple 2x6es, a chest freezer shouldn't be any more difficult. You'll need the temperature controller ($50 - $60 for the analog Johnson Controls). You can use a tower or put the taps through the collar (cheaper and easier). Personally, I'd go as big with the chest freezer as I had room for; maybe not one of the ones you can keep corpses in, but find one where you can keep some stuff conditioning and have a few different styles on draft.

I'm pretty sure the heart of BP's gorgeous setup is a chest freezer that he built around.

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Old 10-23-2007, 07:10 PM   #10
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So, I decided to build the 4912 conversion due to its minimal footprint and a nice looking design. The 5 cuft chest freezer was also a nice design and would hold 3 kegs, but the SWMBO didn't like the looks of it... I haven't bought the 4912 yet, but I did work with Todd and kegconnection and got a pretty nice set-up of quality parts coming by way once I pay this paypal invoice. I got the following parts for $410 (plus shipping of course):

2 Reconditioned Corny Kegs
5# CO2 Tank
Dual-Body Regulator - 3 Guages ($49 upgrade - will allow different PSI per keg)
Dual Shut-off Valves
Quick-connects
All Necessary Tubing
Stainless Double Tapped Tower
Upgraded both Normal Faucets to Perlick F.S. Faucets ($48 upgrade total)
Two 6" Stainless Drip Trays (Discounted as they didn't have a 10" tray)

This thing should be pretty sweet once it is complete. IMO you can't beat a brand new, unused dual-tap kegerator with these quality parts for about $650 (figuring in the parts above @ 410, shipping of 40 or so, and 200 for the Sanyo 4912).

Heck, the 2-Tap Summit I posted in post one above would have cost me $750 delivered to my door and I would have had to purchase perlicks and hb kegs in addition - so probably $900 total to do it that way.

As I said before, I understand I could have gotten off cheaper buying a used fridge, freezer, etc. and piecing together my kit, but I'm happy with this decision and the fact I'll have all high-quality, brand-new, show-quality kegerator flowing homebrew in a couple weeks when I get around to getting and drilling the 4912.

Now to reseach tower cooling...

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In Planning Stage: Farmhouse Saison and Something Oaked.
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