Review: Head-to-Head: Kegerators — Sanyo vs. Edgestar

Beer. What would college be without it? If you’re lucky enough to have a budget capable of handling it, a kegerator is the ultimate beer storage, cooling and delivery system.

tested two commercial kegerators, one that you can pick up for around $700 and one that goes for as little as $425. Our reviews are below.

If your ambitions — and your budget — are a little bigger, take a look at some extreme kegerators, including several with built-in videogame consoles.

Too rich for your dorm’s entertainment budget? Make your own: took a free fridge found on craigslist, installed a $200 kegerator conversion kit, added a flowmeter connected to Twitter, and turned it into Beer Robot, the ultimate kegerator. You can do this, too: Read how to make a kegerator on get-gadget’s How-To Wiki.

Sanyo BC1206

Something about a kegerator makes me want to be a man with a cave. Not that a woman can’t have a cave, it just doesn’t sound as good. “Woman cave.” Am I right? Anyway, the Sanyo BC1206 kegerator (photo shown above) would be a good candidate for my cave, regardless of what it’s called.

This kegerator performed flawlessly for us, and looked good while doing it. Obviously the most important feature of a beer dispenser is the successful dispensing of cold beer, and the Sanyo was pouring perfect pints of tasty White Lightning American Wheat from Speakeasy Brewery in San Francisco within minutes of assembly. It managed to get the beer almost too cold with the dial just halfway between its midpoint and coldest setting. But it also looks nice and solid and has a certain quality that says, “Come, have a beer. You deserve it.”

Other than some mildly frustrating labor involving stubborn screws for the guard rail and wheel casters, putting the unit together was easy. However, this may be because it was the third kegerator we had assembled, rather than because the directions were crystal clear: they were not. All the parts, as well as the fully assembled product, felt good and sturdy. The wheels roll almost too well, and might require a stopper of some sort once you’re through wheeling it through your house (or office).

The kegerator measures 37 inches tall (plus another 15 inches for the tap tower), 24 inches wide and 25 inches deep, which means it isn’t going to tuck away easily in the corner. On the other hand, that means there is a good amount of surface area for glasses, beers and of course beer pong paddles. Anyway, who would want to hide this sleek black (or stainless steel) kegerator, which is obviously the central feature of one’s cave? In fact, we would consider going the other way and pimping it out with a nice paint job, flames maybe.

While we’re at it, we’d upgrade to a double-tap tower, because you can fit two five-gallon corny kegs and two five-pound CO2 canisters in the Sanyo. Why be forced to choose between a dark beer and a darker beer? Have one and then the other. Good. And if you have two kegs, the chances of going dry at a critical moment — say in the fourth quarter when your team is beating the Lakers — are lower. (This is why you should also have a spare propane tank for the grill you will clearly have to buy to complement your kegerator.)

The one hitch may be the price. And we say “may be” because really, at what price cold beer? The Sanyo lists at $950, but most online retailers sell it for $650 to $700. You can certainly get a cheaper kegerator such as the Edgestar KC2000 below, or convert an old fridge. But we recommend shoveling a few extra bills into the cave for the Sanyo and making up the difference by serving your friends a cheaper brew at the cave-warming party you know you’re gonna have once you buy this thing. And unless you need more volume or really want to show off, there’s no need to buy a fancier model than this one.

$950, us.sanyo

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