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Old 02-13-2013, 09:34 PM   #1
SchillingBrewing
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Default DIY kegerator or store bought kegerator?

I just want to hear some opinions on who feels that a better kegerator would be store bought or homemade. What are the possible pros and cons?

Right now I'm looking at a used mini fridge for $35. It is big enough to fit one (maybe two) corny kegs plus a CO2 tank.

But then I have to buy the kegerator kit. I would prefer a tower tap kit.

The new one I'm looking at is an igloo kegerator. It comes with everything but the keg. It is about $400 but it looks nice and is professionally made. And it can fit a full keg if I ever want to go that way.

I'm just juggling options and want to know what everyone else thinks.


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Old 02-13-2013, 09:42 PM   #2
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One thing to keep in mind with a store-bought kegerator is that it's going to be set up for sanke connections, not ball-lock or pin-lock connections. This is only a minor hurdle, as you can easily swap those out, but in the case of that Igloo you're looking at you've now got a 1 tap (presumably) kegerator that you could fit multiple cornies inside of... Kind of a waste of space.

With a DIY set up, you can get any sized fridge or freezer you want, any number of taps you want (well, limited by the amount of kegs you can hold, obviously), and its appearance is only limited by your skills as a DIY'er. And if that fridge happens to crap the bed (mine did about 14 months ago after an extended power outage), it's no big deal to go on Craigslist, find a replacement, and move all your gear over to the new one, since you already know how it all goes together.

The other thing to consider, that not everyone does: look at full-sized, fridge on the bottom, freezer on the top models. That extra freezer in your house (assuming you've got the room in your basement or garage) can be invaluable. Want to store some extra meat from the butcher shop? No problem! Want to pick up a couple pounds of hops and store them long term? You're all set! Ice for the beach in the summer? Why not! And you won't get that option from a store bought kegerator either.


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Old 02-13-2013, 09:51 PM   #3
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In my experience, a DIY is going to be cheaper but at the end of the day it won't be that much cheaper. You'll think it will be at first, but by the time you get to the end and figure out your expenses, it's not going to be much.

If you're a DIYer, go ahead and build your own. It's a fun little project and you can save a few bucks.
If you're not big on DIY, just buy a pre built one and swap out the connections. You're not spending that much more.

Besides that, you're not getting anything different. Both use mini fridges (a lot of companies even have commercial kegerators that are made from the same models that a lot of us use) and both have the same hardware mounted to them.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:14 PM   #4
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Good info in the above posts. I went DIY and through the door on a mini fridge (frigidaire model that can hold 2 ball locks + 5# CO2 tank).

Another thing to keep in mind with commercial kegerators is that they usually have very crappy faucets. If you DIY you can opt to purchase perlicks.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:13 AM   #5
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Ive built two,never owned a store bought.I found a commercial undercounter stainless fridge with built in fan that holds a half barrel for $180(craigslist)The fridge is bullet proof and fully rebuildable(will last forever)Got a tower with perlick flow control tap And a cutout stainless drip tray for $220.A victor 2 stage high purity reg from a member here for $45
180+220+45=$445-the $70 optional drip tray=$375 Total
Everything is top of the line that you will never get in a store bought, for less money
BUILD IT!!!
Ive heard store bought towers dont get that cold eithers

The best part is if you buy quality used parts and get out of kegging you can allways part it out,pass the savings on to someone here and get most or all of your money back...its what keeps the beer flowin!!!
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:44 AM   #6
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Great advice and info everyone! I definitely love to build stuff myself (More pride in the final product) but I'm worried about selling a hole for the tower and hitting a Freon line or something. Does anyone know of a way to find where those lines run so I don't strike any vital parts when selling through the top of the fridge? Or if it is safe to drill anywhere on the top of the fridge.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:16 PM   #7
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Check out the Danby 440 mini fridge if you want one that will hold 2 ball locks and a 5lb co2 tank. A lot of us have had success converting that and it's pretty easy to miss the wiring on the top. There's a couple threads on the conversion.
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Old 02-15-2013, 05:45 PM   #8
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Cool! Well I went ahead and bought a mini fridge from craigslist that was in the same town I live in. Since the guy was moving he was prerty desperate to sell out so I got it for $20. I'm not sure what the brand is but it works great. I probably won't be able to fit two kegs in it but I guess I'm happy with just one for now.

As for finding the refrigerant lines, I've been doing a bunch of research on that. Apparently the lines heat up when the fridge is on so I can make a solution of corn starch and rubbing alcohol, mix it till it is the consistency of paste and then paint it on the top. The heat from any line will dry the paste mixture a lot faster than air drying and that should give me some indication as to where the lines are.

I'm going to give this a shot and if I mess it up at least I'm only $20 down.
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Bottled: Blueberry Cider, Apple Cider
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Old 02-17-2013, 03:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchillingBrewing
Cool! Well I went ahead and bought a mini fridge from craigslist that was in the same town I live in. Since the guy was moving he was prerty desperate to sell out so I got it for $20. I'm not sure what the brand is but it works great. I probably won't be able to fit two kegs in it but I guess I'm happy with just one for now.

As for finding the refrigerant lines, I've been doing a bunch of research on that. Apparently the lines heat up when the fridge is on so I can make a solution of corn starch and rubbing alcohol, mix it till it is the consistency of paste and then paint it on the top. The heat from any line will dry the paste mixture a lot faster than air drying and that should give me some indication as to where the lines are.

I'm going to give this a shot and if I mess it up at least I'm only $20 down.
Good job researching. I was gonna tell you the same thing. You could also google the make and model # and see if there are wiring diagrams or whatever. Call the manufacturer if you can track down there number. Good luck with your project
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Old 02-17-2013, 03:47 AM   #10
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Good luck.

I see a DIY keezer in your future. Perhaps a big one. With a dozen taps.

If you ever need it, keezer sizing information and layout drawings are in my sig.


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