Whether you're looking to cut down on your weekly spending or you've recently set up a garden or garage bar, an at-home beer tap is an investment you won't regret. From dispensers that transform cans into draught pints to keg machines that keep litres carbonated for a whole month, beer tap systems bring the pub to you for less.
Between capacity, cooler types and knowing what systems are compatible with which kegs, it can be tricky to decide between products. But worry not! This guide will walk you through the home beer tap essentials and rank the best buys in the UK to order from Amazon and eBay, featuring bestsellers from Krups, Blade and Philips's PerfectDraft range.
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Like many appliances, at-home beer dispensers can be costly. Before you buy, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the different types available and the features that distinguish them. We'll go over everything you need to know below.
Not all at-home beer taps are the same, so you'll want to make sure you select one that best suits your needs. To help you decide, we'll first take a closer look at keg machines, growlers and towers.
The first thing you need to decide on is which type of beer tap you want. The different styles range considerably in price and features, so let's start from the top with the most comprehensive of the lot – the keg machine.
These systems plug directly into the mains and will keep the keg you slot inside carbonated and chilled as long as they're switched on. Fitting anywhere from 2 to 8 litres, they are fairly simple to use and produce professional-quality pints – once you've mastered pouring one, that is!
Some require CO2 canisters to maintain pressure, but these are inexpensive and easy to find.
Towers can be either a simple container that you pour beer into and dispense via a tap at the bottom or a machine that you load up with a can. The pints might not be as pub-worthy, but they're cheap and will appeal if you just want something for the odd party that can also be used for drinks other than beer.
Growlers don't have built-in coolers either but can come vacuum insulated, much like a large flask with a carbonation system and a tap on top. This makes them great for camping, picnics or outdoor events as they don't require a power supply nor special kegs. They also keep (or make) your beer carbonated, which will appeal to homebrewers.
While you can pour anything you like into towers and growlers, the same can't be said for keg machines. This is a really important thing to consider before you invest in one of these systems, as it will determine how easy it'll be to source the kegs and which beers you'll be able to drink.
Most of the machines produced by top names like Philips and Krups are only compatible with their own specific-shaped kegs, plus they've partnered with Heineken, which means you'll only be able to find kegs from Heineken brands. However, don't let this put you off, as they can be ordered easily from Amazon or sites like Beer Hawk and Beerwulf.
The other option is to look for a universal system that can be loaded with any 5-litre mini keg. This barrel type can be found on many beer websites, shopping sites and even at your local supermarket, craft pub or brewery.
If you're into your beer, you'll know that different types are best enjoyed at certain temperatures. For example, lagers and pilsners are infinitely more refreshing when well chilled to around 3 degrees, while some heavier, darker beers are intended to be served at 8, 12 or even 14 degrees.
With that in mind, it's worth checking what temperature, or range of temperatures, your dispenser can reach. If you'd like to try out multiple beer varieties, look for machines with an adjustable gauge that you can control. Some specialist kegs state the degrees they're best chilled to, which can be really handy.
A final specification to check is how long the dispenser will keep your beer fresh and carbonated. Think about the size of the kegs and how long it might take you to drink them. Some dispensers promise freshness for 7 days, with others up to 30, and you don't want to have to sip through litres of flat beer because you didn't drink it in time – or worse, have to throw it away.
Click to purchase
PerfectDraft Keg Machine｜HD3720/25
6-Litre Keg Dispenser With Adjustable Temperature and Freshness Counter
Baridi Universal 5L Beer Dispenser
Great Mid-Range Buy With Universal Keg Attachment and 30-Day Freshness
The Sub Heineken Draught Beer Set
A Top-Rated Starter Bundle With Four Kegs
BeerTender, Loft Edition｜VB700E00
A Stylish Addition to Your Home Bar Chilled Down to 4 Degrees
New Generation Professional Beer Pump
A Premium Tap for Professional Pints With 8-Litre Kegs
Skal Beer Dispenser
Berlin-Made Dispenser With 6 Temperature Settings
Mini Keg Beer Dispenser｜PKBRTP110
Keeps Your Beer Fresh for 3 Months
Goods & Gadgets
XXL Beer Tower
Simple, Affordable and Perfect for Parties
uKeg Go Beverage Dispenser
Carbonate Your Homebrew or Take Beers on the Go
The Beer Tap, Black Edition
Turn Your Favourite Cans Into Pints
Ticking all the boxes in terms of features, value for money and countertop appeal, our top recommendation is the latest model of the PerfectDraft by Philips. It expertly balances size and practicality with its 6-litre capacity and sleek design, which also features a clear LED display with adjustable temperature and freshness counter.
PerfectDraft kegs are readily available too, with more than 40 classic and craft beers to sample including everything from Leffe, Stella and Tennets to those by smaller British breweries like Tiny Rebel. Simple to set up, operate and clean, it's the best way to enjoy beer at home!
Because you can adjust the carbonation pressure and temperature (the latter from 4 to 12 degrees), your lager, beer or ale will always taste just right. Plus, the dispenser operates with standard 16 g CO2 canisters, three of which are supplied with your order.
As the demand for at-home beer taps rises, it's great to see more bundles like this one on offer. The Sub by Krups is highly rated as one of the best on the UK market, and is a fantastic smaller option that keeps 2 litres of beer chilled for up to 15 days.
Once you've gotten through the four 'Torps' of Heineken that come included, re-ups are readily available online. Owing to the dispenser's popularity, there's a wider range than many, from fruit beers to lesser-known craft lagers and even good old Strongbow!
Unlike other big-name dispenser systems, the BeerTender is compatible with top-connecting 5-litre kegs from a range of brands and breweries. You'll need to purchase a tube or hose to connect kegs to the dispenser, but these can be easily added to your order.
If you're looking to invest in a premium product with a larger capacity, Blade's beer tap is as good as it gets. Attractively designed and able to keep 8-litre kegs fresh for 30 days, it's a must-have if your home bar is the new go-to venue in town.
You'll have to order Blade-specific kegs online, but there's a decent range as they're owned by Heineken, including IPAs, German blonde and wheat beers, and Apple Fox cider. Offering easy setup, user-friendliness and professional quality in one, this is a great tap if you've got the cash to spare.
Berlin-based brand Klarstein always offer a fantastic quality-to-price ratio when it comes to their household products, and their beer dispenser doesn't disappoint! Using a quiet thermoelectric cooling system, you have the choice of 6 temperature settings, so you can chill to an ice-cold 2 degrees or enjoy darker beers at 12 if you prefer.
It also comes with a universal 5-litre keg fitting, including an adaptor for Heineken barrels, as well as adjustable CO2 pressure. The only thing that lets it down is that once tapped, kegs will only stay fresh for 7 days.
With its three-month carbonation and freshness guarantee and 3.7-litre capacity (about 6 and a half pints), NutriChef's growler-style keg is ideal for smaller households or those who only drink beer occasionally.
You'll have to keep it chilled in a fridge, but it's very compact and has a pressure gauge to keep an eye on the PSI. This dispenser is popular with homebrew makers as well as those who like to fill up at a local micropub, though it might be a little too small for some.
Cheap, cheerful, and with multicoloured LED lights thrown in for good measure, this tower is the perfect party companion. The cooling element can be filled with ice to chill without diluting the contents, or removed to maximise the capacity. It's really easy to use and clean up afterwards too.
Sure, it's not going to appeal to serious beer buffs, but if a multipurpose dispenser you can use for various drinks and occasions seems like a wiser way to spend your money, this may well be just what you were looking for.
Growlers – those American-style glass containers used to take beer home from a pub or brewery – are a great alternative to grabbing a crate of cans for a party or a few bottles for a picnic. Enter the uKeg, a double-wall vacuum-insulated steel growler that keeps beverages chilled for up to 9 hours.
Better yet, it'll keep your beer fresh and carbonated for weeks thanks to a CO2 charger (which you will need to buy separately). So, not only is it ideal for taking on the go, but it's a great way to add some fizz to your homebrew – even if it is a little pricey for what it is.
Not looking to spend a lot, but still want the draught beer experience at home? Powered by two AA batteries, this beer tap transforms your favourite 330 ml, 440 ml or 500 ml cans into a pub-worthy pint.
Seeing as there's no keg involved, it's also much more compact in size than many – you could even pack it in the car for a camping trip. The only thing to be aware of is that it won't chill your beer for you, so you'll have to make sure any cans of lager or cider are already cold.
Lager, cask ale or IPA, whatever your preferred beverage, we're sure this article has left you feeling a bit parched. To help quench your thirst as you await your new at-home tap, we've linked some of our favourite beer-related articles below. You could even have a go at brewing your own!
Whether you live a few miles from the nearest pub or you just prefer having people over for a couple of pints at home, beer taps and dispensers are a brilliant way to enjoy your favourite brews while saving a bit of money too. Choose your tap based on size and features, and you'll soon wonder what you ever did without one!
Author: Natasha Dziubajlo
No. 1: Philips ｜PerfectDraft Keg Machine｜HD3720/25
No. 2: Dellonda｜Baridi Universal 5L Beer Dispenser
No. 3: Krups｜The Sub Heineken Draught Beer Set
No. 4: Krups｜BeerTender, Loft Edition｜VB700E00
No. 5: Blade｜New Generation Professional Beer Pump
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