Updated January 2023
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Best of the Best
GrowlerWerks uKeg 128 Pressurized Growler for Craft Beer
uKeg 128 Pressurized Growler for Craft Beer
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Durable & Rugged
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Great material to keep beer cold, very affordable, and carbonation settings are easy to use.


Can keep your beer fresh, cold, and carbonated for up to 2 weeks. The tap handle is interchangeable, making it easy to customize your beer the way you like it. Comes with a 1-year warranty and a lifetime of customer support. Easy to transport if needed.


Tightening the regulator too much and the ring easily moves out of place, causing carbonation to seep out. CO2 bulb is on the small side.

Best Bang for the Buck
Yaebrew Stainless Steel 1.6 Gallon Mini Ball Lock Keg System
Stainless Steel 1.6 Gallon Mini Ball Lock Keg System
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Best for Small Setups
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A great option for users who are just getting into beer making thanks to its compact size.


The 1.6-gallon capacity allows the keg to hold a good amount of beer for small groups of people. Has an easy-to-use pressure adjustment system to carbonate your beer just right. The ball lock system ensures that your beer doesn't go bad quicker than it should.


Some users noted that it is on the thinner side as far as build quality.

NutriChef Pressurized Beer Mini Keg System
PKBRTP299 Pressurized Mini Keg System, 128oz
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This stainless-steel keg has a large capacity and a CO2 regulator to keep your homebrew fresh.


Build quality is great and ensures that it will not rust or corrode. The keg can keep your beer fresh for over 2 months thanks to the CO2 regulator that provides carbonation. The regulator can also monitor and adjust the pressure on the fly.


CO2 is not sold with the keg.

BeerDroid Fully Automated Beer Brewing System
Fully Automated Beer Brewing System
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Most Comprehensive
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This cutting-edge keg is the future of homebrew technology with automated brewing features to create your ideal beer.


Brew up to 2.6 gallons of quality beer inspired by the world's most popular brews. Ingredients are 100% natural with no additives or preservatives. WiFi capabilities and an LCD screen allow you to monitor and control your brew with push notifications.


Price is double a regular home brewing keg and going automatic has technological flaws when WiFi is down.

NutriChef Pressurized Beer Mini Keg System - 64oz
Pressurized Beer Mini Keg System - 64oz
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Miniature Option
Bottom Line

A mini-keg home brewing system that is perfect as a gift or for brewing the perfect beer at home.


Offers a capacity of 64 ounces. Ideal for smaller home brews or for beginner brewers. The CO2 cartridges can output about 128 ounces of beer each. Claims to keep beer sealed and fresh for up to 8 weeks. Small enough to fit in the refrigerator.


Not ideal for seasoned home-brewers.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best kegs for home brew

Near the end of the home brewing process, you’re faced with a choice: bottle or keg your beer. It isn’t a trivial decision. Sure, your home brew will taste as good out of a bottle as out of a keg, but there’s a lot of sweat equity involved in bottling your own beer, and the results aren’t interchangeable with kegging. Kegging can be simpler and more straightforward.

Kegging beer takes place during the last stages of the home-brewing process. It allows you to carbonate the beer under a pressure greater than that produced in the fermentation process without adding more sugar. And by carbonating and serving out of a keg, you sidestep the work involved in bottling. While you might lose the thrill of seeing your own brew in bottles, you gain the ability to dispense your product fresh and fizzy from a tap. A keg is also a more efficient way to transport your brew compared to cases and cases of glass bottles.

Ready to keg your home brew? A good buying guide can help you understand more about using kegs, and a list of curated recommendations gets your shopping started.

a keg and other home brew tools
Home brew can last up to a year in a keg as long as it’s properly refrigerated and carbonated.

How to buy the best keg for home brew

Keg types

There are two types of kegs available to the home brewer, corny kegs and Sanke kegs.

Corny kegs: Also known as Cornelius kegs for their original maker, Cornelius, Inc., these are by far the most common kegs used in home brewing. Originally used by soft drink companies, corny kegs have two separate ports for gas intake and content outflow. These kegs are stackable, easy to clean, and come in sizes up to 15 gallons. They come with either ball lock or pin lock connections.

When the major soft drink companies stopped using kegs, a vast number of used corny kegs became available to the home brew market. Used kegs in good working order are a staple of many home brewing setups and cost less than new kegs.

Sanke kegs: Also known as Sankey kegs, these are less commonly used by home brewers, but they are standard for commercial breweries. These have a single valve through which both gas and liquid flow. They excel at keeping beer fresh and uncontaminated, but they need special cleaning and decontamination, as well as a special coupler for home brew use and dispensing.


Kegs for home brew are measured in gallons. The most common sizes are 5, 3, and 2 gallons or smaller. Two-gallon and 1.5-gallon kegs are often called mini kegs and can also function as growlers.


The ports on kegs have either a ball lock or pin lock.

Ball locks use ball bearings in the connectors. These kegs are typically a bit longer and narrower than pin lock kegs of the same capacity. They have a manual pressure-release valve on their lids.

Pin locks use sets of pins in the connector. These kegs can be converted to ball lock kegs relatively easily. Both ball lock and pin lock corny kegs tend to have interchangeable lids.

Smart home brewing systems

The popularity of home brewing has encouraged the introduction of home brewing systems that include kegs as well as a system for brewing and dispensing. Some of these all-in-one kits have electronics to automate and regulate the home brewing process. It’s a great way for beginners to try their hand at brewing their own beer.

Ball posts and pin posts date from the use of kegs during the soft drink cola wars. Pepsi used ball post kegs and Coca Cola used pin post kegs.


Features to look for in kegs for home brew


Ports: The ports are the openings through which gas and liquid pass through. Kegs for home brewing have one or two ports depending on whether they’re Sanke or corny kegs. Sanke kegs have a single port for both functions, while corny kegs have separate ports.

Lid: On the top each keg is a lid, which you remove to pour in your brew for carbonation and dispensing. The lid has an O-ring to help ensure a good seal, and it should fit and secure tightly.  Corny keg lids are generally interchangeable, which is helpful if you need a replacement.

Pressure relief valve: The PRV allows you to release pressure inside your keg if it gets too high. Ball lock corny kegs typically have a replaceable pull-ring PRV. Sanke kegs have valves on the couplers.

PSI rating

Kegging home brewed beer involves keeping it under pressure for carbonation. The pressure a keg is able to withstand is measured in pounds per square inch (psi). The top limit of a keg should be at least 60 psi, but you can find kegs that are around 120 to 135 psi. Home brew is usually kept at 8 to 15 psi.

Weight and portability

How much a keg weighs determines its portability. A 5-gallon keg weighs 10 pounds empty and 55 pounds full, which is the largest you can use and still reasonably handle alone.

a keg for home brew
Never use bleach to sanitize a keg. Bleach can damage stainless steel and leave microscopic pitting that can harbor bacteria.

Accessories for home brew kegs


Temperature is a key aspect of the kegging and carbonation process, but most people don’t have the space to fit a full 5-gallon keg in their refrigerator. A kegerator is a refrigeration unit designed to hold kegs and keep them at the proper temperature. It typically offers a port so you can dispense beer straight from the keg via the kegerator.

CO2 tanks

You need CO2 tanks or cylinders to carbonate and pressurize your kegs. Small mini kegs and growlers can use small CO2 cylinders, but large kegs need larger tanks. If you have trouble finding CO2  tanks, you can try welding supply shops.


The regulator controls and maintains the flow of CO2 to your keg. It allows you to set the pressure for carbonating your particular recipe and keep it at that level for the necessary amount of time.

Keg tap

A keg tap system allows you to serve your home brew from the keg. It can use either a pump or gas to propel the liquid.

Home brewing kit

If you don’t quite know where to start with brewing your own beer, or you want the convenience of having equipment and ingredients ready to go, a home brewing kit is for you. A kit includes most of the equipment for the major beer-making steps before kegging, and many come with recipes and ingredients for various types of beer.

How much do kegs for home brew cost?


The most affordable kegs cost as little as $40 for reconditioned used corny and Sanke kegs, including larger sizes. Mini kegs cost between $35 and $100.


New full-size home brew kegs cost between $100 and $200 each.


New large kegs cost $200 to $250 and more each. This price range includes kegs appropriate for commercial breweries and the higher end of complete home brewing kits and smart keg systems.

You can bottle and keg the same batch of beer by filling the keg first and leaving enough to bottle afterward. Bottle and keg on the same day to preserve the character of the beer.



  • Don’t rush the carbonation process. The right amount of carbonation adds effervescence and quality to home brew that might be spoiled if you try to rush it.
  • Avoid exposing the beer to air. Oxidation affects the quality of the beer. Minimize splashing when kegging your home brew.
  • Watch the pressure. Be careful when pressurizing. Use the regulator and the pressure valve. You don’t want to risk damage to your system or injury to yourself.
wooden keg for home brew
A mini keg and a growler are not identical, although they’re sometimes interchangeable. A growler is a vessel for transporting and serving beer, while a keg is a vessel for carbonization. Some growlers offer pressurization like kegs.


Q. Can a keg be used as a fermenter?

A. Yes, you can use a keg for the fermentation stage of home brewing. Kegs are suited to the low-pressure secondary fermentation and clarification stages, and some home brewing enthusiasts also use them for the primary fermentation stage. Fermenting in a keg usually means transferring the home brew into a second keg for carbonization and serving.

Q. Is kegging easier than bottling?

A. Due to the amount of labor involved in bottling, kegging can be more convenient. Home brewers who want to bottle their beer need to clean, sterilize, fill, cap, and label the bottles, which can be a laborious and time-consuming process. Carbonating bottled beer can also be challenging because it relies on feeding the yeast just enough sugar to achieve the desired result. With kegging, the keg only needs to be sanitized and filled once per batch of beer.

Q. Can I ferment in a mini keg?

A. It’s possible to ferment home brew in a mini keg smaller than 2 gallons. People who do this see the benefit of having a single vessel to both ferment and serve from. However, you probably will need to filter any sediment or residue left from the fermentation process if you want to serve straight from the same mini keg.


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