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What questions should I ask myself when buying a beer dispenser?

You are reading this article because you are probably about to purchase a beerdispenser. To make a good choice, ask yourself some questions.

What type of beer dispenser do I need?

There are three types of coolers under counter water bath, dry cooler and hybrid coolers. The type of dispenser you need depends on how you are going to use it.

Under counter water bath

Under counter water bath coolers, like the name suggests, use a water bath to cool your beer. This water bath takes about 1,5 to 2 hours to cool down giving them a longer start up time. This together with the water bath having to be filled with water makes them less useful for mobile use. A big advantage of under counter water coolers is the option to cool a lot of different types of beer at the same time. Some under counter water bath coolers can be delivered with up to 8 cooling coils, giving you the option to cool 8 different types of beer at the same time! Water bath coolers are therefore most used in bars as under counter cooler.

Dry coolers

Dry coolers use air to cool your beer. They only need a short time, about 10 minutes, to get to the right temperature. This short cooldown time and because they don’t need water makes dry coolers perfect to use as a mobile beer dispenser or rental beer dispenser. You can also use a dry cooler as an under counter cooler, for example in a mobile bar. Dry coolers come with a maximum of 2 cooling coils.

Hybrid coolers

CWP-type coolers use techniques of both under counter water bath and dry coolers to create a powerful hybrid cooler. These coolers use both a water bath and air to cool your beer. This gives them advantages of both types of cooler. They have a short cooldown time, are easy to use as mobile beer dispenser and have a higher number of cooling coils. Hybrid coolers are therefore very flexible and can easily be used where and when you want.

For what group size am I going to use the dispenser?

Group size is an important factor in determining what type of beer dispenser you need. For a party of 200 people you need a much stronger beer dispenser than for a small garden party for 10 people. The capacity of beer dispensers is given in litres of beer per hour. To calculate the number of litres of cold beer you need to serve your party, bar or restaurant you need to know how many people you will be serving and how much beers they will be drinking in one hour.

For example if you host a party with 100 people who will be drinking an average of 6 beers an hour you need to be able to serve 600 beers. You can serve 4 beers with a litre beer* so you need a beer dispenser with 600/4 = 150 litre per hour capacity.In short the formula you should be using is:

(amount of people drinking beer x amount of beers they drink per hour) / 4

Take note that the beer dispensers on our site use the term maximum tap capacity. You can only reach this maximum when using the beer dispenser in optimal conditions with reasonably cold kegs. If you plan on using the beer dispenser in a warm location, for example when it is 30℃ in the summer the cooler in the dispenser has to work a lot harder and you will not reach the maximum tap capacity. If you expect to be using the beer dispenser close to its maximum capacity it might be safer to buy a stronger one.


* We assume you use 0,25l glasses. With a different size glass you can adjust the formula accordingly.

Do you want to use air or CO2 to pour beer?

There are some dry coolers that can be used without the need for CO2. These coolers have an inbuilt air compressor. There are different pros and cons for using CO2 for these we would like to refer you to our information page on air or CO2.

Completing your beerdispenser

If you want to pour beer you need more than just a beer dispenser. The most important thing you need to think about is what type of beer you are going to pour. Breweries use different types of connections on their kegs. To find out what keg coupler you need we would like to refer you to our information page. There we have a list of different breweries and what type of keg coupler you need.


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