Keg tap


Buying guide for best keg taps

Maybe your team just won the big game and it’s time to celebrate. Maybe you’re throwing a big party for family and friends. Whatever the occasion, a keg is an apt choice. It’s more environmentally friendly than grabbing several cases of beer — there are no beer bottles and caps to deal with, and if you choose, you can take the keg back for a refill in the future.

When you get a keg, you need a keg tap. Sure, you could rent one, but if you throw more than one or two parties a year, it makes more sense to buy your own keg tap than to rent one from someone else.

There are some considerations to keep in mind when you get your own tap: size, type of keg, and ease of setup, to name a few. You also need to understand some of the basics about pressurizing the keg and using the tap. 

Key considerations

System type

There are six major types of connectors for beer pumps. Most American beers use a D-system connector. European taps use S-system connectors, and German taps use A-system or M-system connections. Be sure to get the correct type of keg tap for the beer you’re drinking. The wrong type will not fit, and your party will be over before it starts.


There are two main types of kegs for which you need a keg tap. Kegs are not standardized, so the numbers below are approximate and may vary from one beer distributor to another.

Full keg: A full keg is equal to about half of a barrel of beer, holding 15.5 gallons.

Pony keg: This size holds roughly a quarter of a barrel of beer, about 7.75 gallons.

If you get a keg smaller than a pony keg, it probably comes with a gravity-assisted tap at the bottom, and you won’t need a keg tap for it. These small kegs, under 7 gallons, are usually recyclable.

Pump vs. gas

Beer keg taps may be pump operated or gas operated.

Pump-operated taps must be pumped by hand to maintain pressure inside the keg. They are generally 7 to 8 inches high in addition to the coupler itself. These are sometimes referred to as portable or picnic taps. They are complete by themselves and don’t require anything extra, except for the keg they’re attached to.

Gas-operated taps are shorter and have two line connectors on them: one line for dispensing beer and one for introducing CO2 or nitrogen gas into the beer keg to pressurize it. Different beers require different gases.

Pump size

The pump on a pump-operated keg tap stands higher than it does on a gas-operated tap. If you’re trying to put your keg in the refrigerator, you’ll have to remove shelves to make room for the pump. 

It’s also worth noting that transporting a keg with a pump tap attached and sticking out leaves it vulnerable to being hit and broken off. Keep the tap and the keg separate until you reach your destination.



A keg tap has to maintain pressure on the beer keg while allowing the beer to release in a controlled fashion. For that, a tap needs to be constructed from metal that can withstand the pressure. Keg tap pumps are made from stainless steel, which is often chrome-plated to keep it shiny and clean. The bases are made from nickel-plated brass or chrome-plated stainless steel.

Rubber and plastic are used for the gaskets, O-rings, tubing, and faucet.

Locking lever

Most keg taps have a lever on the coupler, just above the base. This is a locking lever that locks the keg tap in place once it is seated. Without this, random jostling of the keg could cause the tap to pop off. Some budget-priced keg taps don’t have this lever; they simply rely on pressure to keep the tap in place.


Most pumps on keg taps are cylindrical with a ball handle on the end. A few pumps have a wide push valve that resembles an oversized button.

Pressure vent

A nice feature we wish more keg taps had is a pressure relief valve or vent. Some keg taps do have one, and it helps stop the formation of foam when you’re pumping up the pressure. As a result, you don’t waste as much beer with unnecessary foam.


Keg taps don’t require you to be a muscleman to put them in place, but a little elbow grease is required. You’ll have to push down against the internal pressure in the keg to get the coupler seated. Once it’s down, rotate it a quarter turn to secure it. Then, engage the locking lever. It shouldn’t take more than a minute to seat the coupler and secure it.

Did you know?

At temperatures above 50ºF, bacteria growth begins taking place in beer, changing the taste.




Replacement faucets: Wrewing Plastic Picnic Keg Tap Faucet
On keg taps, the faucet for dispensing the beer takes lots of use and abuse. This pack of four from Wrewing will connect to most standard keg taps and prevent frustration if a faucet breaks in the middle of a party.

Keg cooling bag: Cool Brewing LLC Keg Cooler Bag
Keeping your keg chilled from top to bottom won’t be a problem with this insulated cooling bag from Cool Brewing LLC. Put in a layer of ice, put in the keg, and pack ice all around it. Zip it up and let it chill. There’s even a small zipper opening on top for the keg tap.

Keg tap cleaning kit: BACOENG Advanced Hand Pump Pressurized Keg Beer Cleaning Kit
Sanitation is a must for your keg tap. This cleaning kit from BACOENG has all the cleaning equipment and brushes you need to keep your tap in pristine condition between uses.

Keg tap prices

Inexpensive: The low price range for keg taps is $24 up to about $40. These taps are plastic or simply of lower quality. The main problem in this price range is the inability of the tap to keep the keg pressurized.

Mid-range: The medium price range sits between $40 and $60. These are mostly stainless steel, chrome, and brass taps that do the job for American and European beer kegs.

Expensive: Over $60 is the high price range where you’ll find quality construction as well as A-system taps for German beers.

Did you know?

American D-system keg taps are difficult to visually distinguish from German A-system keg taps, so double-check the product specs if you’re not sure.




  • Remember to chill the keg tap for at least an hour before using it. Otherwise, your beer will lose carbonation when it contacts the warm tubing in the system.

  • Keep in mind that the first two or three glasses of beer from a fresh keg will be mostly foam. Don’t keep adding beer to them. Set them aside and let them settle.

  • Keep your glass tilted at an angle when pumping beer into it. Otherwise, you’ll create excess foam.

  • Don’t over-pressurize the keg. If you do, you’ll wind up blasting out more foam than beer, creating a huge mess in the process.


Q. How often should my keg tap be cleaned?
A. Most manufacturers recommend cleaning it every two to three weeks or every half keg.

Q. Why did beer come out of the keg tap before I started pumping it?
A. The natural carbonation of beer creates pressure inside the keg. Once you attach the pump, that pressure will fill a glass or two before you have to start pumping.

Q. How do I know if I’ve got the right pressure on the keg?
A. You’ll know the pressure is right if it takes about six to eight seconds to fill a 16-ounce cup.


Keg Tap Pumps

How Do Party Pumps Work?

Unlike a typical bar setup wherein a pressure-dispense system delivers beer with the help of carbon dioxide canisters, a portable draft pump can be used to dispense beer stored in kegs even without the CO2. In a pressure-dispense bar tap, beer stored in kegs are forced out of the container using external pressure from a carbon dioxide (or occasionally nitrogen) cylinder. This forces the beer out of the keg and up to a narrow tube to the bar, into the beer tap, and finally into a mug or glass. In the case of picnic pumps, portable beer pumps work by first attaching the pump to the keg. After the pump is attached to the keg, the faucet is opened, and the natural pressure inside the beer keg is released. The portable tap is then pumped, putting pressure into the keg, and by pressing on the beer tap handle, beer is released.

One important thing to remember, though, is that beer dispensed using a picnic pump should be consumed within twenty-four hours. Unlike beer systems used in bars, party pumps cause air to enter the keg, and when air is mixed in with beer, it naturally loses its flavor and tends to go flat.

Pump Up Your Outdoor Party or Picnic with Rapids' Picnic Pumps

We have a wide selection of portable beer pumps perfect for any outdoor event, party, picnic, or other functions that require serving draft beer straight from beer kegs. We have a variety of portable draft pumps from trusted manufacturers that include American Beverage, Taprite, Perlick, and more. Our simple but effective keg hand pumps fit any beer keg and are easy to attach, so you have a lot less time to worry and even more time to party!

Although our keg pumps fit a variety of beer kegs, please make sure that you have the right tap to match the beer you purchased. You can ask any of our friendly Sales Representatives here.

  1. Sentinel technologies
  2. Best spyderco folder
  3. Lincoln county arkansas courthouse
  4. Volvo penta outdrive lower unit

By Allen Foster


May 29, 2020 at 9:03 AM

Your keg tap should be cleaned every time you change the keg.

The greenest way to package a beverage is in a keg. A keg is returnable, refillable, and recyclable. There is no waste -- unless you don't finish the contents of the keg, that is. However, in order to access the beverage contained within a keg, you need a keg tap.

Keg taps are not standard. The one that you need to buy is dependent on the type of beer you like. Our favorite is Bev Rite's Heavy-Duty D System Beer Party Pump Picnic Keg Tap because it is built to last and works with most domestic brewers. To learn more about this model or the features to look for in other quality keg taps, keep reading.

Considerations when choosing keg taps

The most important aspect to bear in mind when choosing a keg tap is that they are not universal. Different breweries use different systems. The bulk of North American beer companies use a D system, while many imported beer companies use an S or an A system. You must match the tap (or coupler, as it is also called) to the keg in order for it to work. Currently, there are eight different types of systems in use in the U.S.

A pump-operated keg tap requires the user to manually pressurize the keg via pumping. These devices pump oxygen into the keg and are only meant for short-term usage situations such as a party or a picnic.

Instead of manually pressurizing the keg with a hand pump, a gas-operated keg coupler uses a canister or a cartridge of pressured carbon dioxide to keep the beer flowing. When the gas runs out, you will need to refill or purchase a new container.

The purpose of the pump on a keg tap is to build up pressure inside the keg so the beer flows freely. Because of this, the best models will be manufactured using metal so they can withstand the pressure. Additionally, durable internal gaskets are needed to help protect the unit from leaking. Affordable materials might bring the price down, but they will also compromise the keg tap's durability.

This component is a lever that drops down and locks in place to hold the keg tap in the keg. It needs to be made of metal and should be easy to operate (both lock and release), otherwise, frustration will quickly set in.

The pump on most keg taps resembles a bicycle air pump -- a cylindrical object that can range from roughly 4" to over a foot tall. If you are storing your keg in an area that doesn't have much room or in an area where you are afraid that a taller pump could be bumped and damaged, you may want to opt for a shorter pump. Always remove the keg tap from your keg before transporting, so it doesn't get damaged.

For less than $40, you can purchase an inexpensive, plastic keg tap. These models are not as effective at keeping the keg pressurized as a stainless steel model, which may cost closer to $50. If you would like a high-end model, one which features the most durable construction, you will be looking at spending $60 and up.

Q. Why is the beer coming out of the keg so foamy?

A. The number-one reason for excess foam is too much pressure. This happens when the keg tap is pumped between each and every pour. If your keg becomes over-pressurized, the only way to fix the situation is to keep pouring until the pressure inside the keg reduces.

Q. Why does the beer in my keg go flat so quickly?

A. Most home keg taps use oxygen instead of carbon dioxide. The more oxygen that is pumped into a keg, the quicker the beer will go flat. The average picnic keg will only last 12 to 24 hours before going noticeably flat.

Our take: A durable 8" metal D system keg tap.

What we like: This keg tap is easy to install, and it is made of chrome so it is able to withstand a good bit of pressure. The durable build allows it to hold up under even larger, 100-person parties.

What we dislike: Rarely, a consumer runs into a model with leaky spout.

Our take: An affordable D system keg tap that is priced to fit within even a modest budget.

What we like: Compact design that moves a high volume of air, which allows you to pressurize the keg with a minimal effort. Features a quick install and easy cleaning.

What we dislike: Care must be taken with the plastic parts as they are not as durable as the metal base of this unit.

Our take: A sturdy, stainless steel D system keg tap.

What we like: This solid 8" keg tap features an impressive lever handle lock with a no-leak internal gasket. Company offers a 100% money back guarantee.

What we dislike: Other than an occasional shipping mishap, there are no real issues with this well-built, durable keg tap.

Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Mini Keg with Ball Lock Tap System

The Best Beer Taps to Keep Your Brew Fresh and Frothy

Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.

If you’re the kind of person who finds themselves in frequent need of a reliable beer tap for a keg, first, can I come over? And second, you’ve probably noticed the poor quality of pump that comes with the rented keg. They can be difficult to use and attach, they leak, they can’t control pressure. If you need a reliable tool for rental kegs, or if you actually have your own kegerator at home and you need a new coupler (please can I come over?), you can purchase beer taps separately.

As with most things beer-related, there is a plethora of technical details that come with beer taps, with varying styles, mechanisms, shapes, and materials according to the type of keg, kegerator, and beer. Also like most things beer-related, you probably don’t need to overthink these things.

What to Consider When Buying a Beer Tap

We’re going to keep it simple, and isolate three of the most important factors to keep in mind when looking for the right pump or beer tap for you. It mostly comes down to efficacy and the type of keg you’re tapping.

Keg: First things first, are you looking to tap a rental or freestanding keg or are you looking for a coupler to attach to your home kegerator system? There’s less to think about when it comes to a basic beer pump, but with a beer coupler you need to take your entire system into account, including pressure source and the type of beer you’re storing.

Sealing and PressureFunctions: Some pumps provide a better seal when attached to the keg, thus keeping air and beer from leaking. Another common issue is a keg with too much pressure, leading to overly foamy beer. A pressure relief valve is useful for, well, releasing pressure, and can actually be used to help troubleshoot a leaky keg.

Ease-of-Use: This concern is mostly for the rental keg crowd, who will need something that’s uncomplicated to attach, detach, and clean (which can be a pain).

1. Bev Rite Beer Keg Tap

We find this basic beer pump perfect for tapping a keg at parties or events. Not only is it easy to set-up, users are impressed by the pump’s spring lock function and how well it seals and maintains pressure in the keg. When the party’s over, it’s easy to clean as well.

bevrite beer keg tap


Buy:Bev Rite Beer Keg Tapat$58.95

2. Jansamn HCx2 Type Kegerator

For kegs and kegerator systems with a CO2 leakage problem, users say this stainless steel coupler with pressure release valve and included hardware is a life saver (or beer saver, rather). The coupler fits American kegs perfectly, and comes with two tailpieces as well as a hose clamp to firmly secure the tap to the keg.

jansamns kegerator


Buy:Jansamn HCx2 Type Kegeratorat$27.99

3. Taprite PP601 Keg Pump

Another excellent choice for parties, we love this portable pump system which is compact in size and comes with a sturdy tapping base, pressure release valve, and conveniently enormous button on the faucet which makes it easy to pour.

taprite keg pump


Buy:Taprite PP601 Keg Pumpat$67.95

4. NutriChef Pressurized Growler Tap System

So this isn’t just a beer tap, but rather an entire kegerator system, and we love it for a few reasons. For starters, it is made of high-grade stainless steel and comes with all necessary hardware included (which fit perfectly). Secondly, unlike similar systems, this kegerator set’s CO2 delivery system is valve-controlled, which offers more control. Meanwhile the CO2 pressure gauge lets you know exactly where the pressure is at all times (and keeps you from blowing a literal gasket).

nutrichef pressurized growler tap system


Buy:NutriChef Pressurized Growler Tap Systemat$129.99

Tap keg

Labor Day weekend is coming up and you or someone you know is throwing a party. So while everyone else is figuring out how to buy the perfect ratio of hot dogs to buns, one-up them and bring the keg. Besides, nothing screams "Back to School" like a keg party. But merely showing up with a keg won't warrant undying love from your friends, you'll actually have to get the beer into their cups.

If you've never tapped a keg before, follow these tips. You'll be everyone's hero.

What You Need:
• The keg of beer
• A tap system (make sure you have the right one, different kegs may require different taps, so double check here)
• Ice

Step 1: Ice Your Brew

One of the most common causes of excessive foam is warm beer. The exact ideal temperature varies from beer to beer, but your standard American macrobrew will be tastiest around 35˚F. This means you'll want the beer chilling at least two hours ahead of time, and ideally four to five hours. Whoever designed the typical keg bucket made it only about half as tall as a standard keg. So in order to ensure that the entire surface area of the keg is cooled (not just the bottom half) place a plastic garbage bag in the bucket, and then put down a thin layer of ice before dropping in the keg itself. Continue to pack ice inside the garbage bag until you cover the top of the keg. Check periodically and add ice as needed.

Tip: Cool down the tap too. The amount of carbonation the beer holds goes down as temperature increases, so letting cold beer hit a warm tube will guarantee an avalanche of foam. Fortunately, the solution is pretty easy: Just leave the tap on ice with the keg an hour or so before you decide to tap.

Step 2: Tap That Sucker

Most taps have a handle that pushes down to lock the tap onto the keg, while others have dual-flanges that you twist about a quarter-turn. In either case, make sure that the handle or flanges are not in the engaged position. If they are, beer will spray out as soon as you put the tap on the keg.

Seat the party pump on top of the keg, making sure not to push down on the spring-loaded ball valve (another way to spray beer in your face). Lock the pump onto the keg by rotating it clockwise, then engage the tap by pulling the handle out then pushing it down, or by twisting the flanges. If you see bubbles or foam forming around the tap, something's not seated correctly, so disengage the pump, take it off, and try again.

Step 3: Master Your Pour

No matter how carefully you've followed these steps, the first glass of beer out of a keg will always be foamy. Pour foam into a spare glass until beer starts flowing. Foam begets foam, so you'll waste more than you'll drink if you try to pour beer into a foamy glass. Also, you don't have to pump before the first pour, since the keg is already under a great deal of pressure.

A pour from a keg that's too fast or slow will create foam. You can regulate the speed by how much you pump. It should take 10 to 15 seconds to pour a pint with an inch of foam.

For the first few pints (when the keg is still under pressure), you may want to slow down the flow of the beer. You can do this by elevating the tap and glass above your head. Then, if you want the flow to speed up, start pumping more. Some taps also have a small pressure release valve, which you can open by pulling the metal ring attached to it.

Since there's no rule of thumb for the proper number of pumps per pint, it's easiest to do this with a friend rather than alone. One person should hold the glass at a 45-degree angle and point the spigot toward the side of the glass. While the pint is filling up, gradually turn the glass vertical to avoid spilling. The other person should give the keg a few pumps anytime the glass starts to get too foamy. Just don't overdo it, too many pumps will—you guessed it—create foam as well.

This How-To was originally written by WIRED contributor Brook Wilkinson. It was originally published on a wiki, so it contains edits and additions from WIRED readers.

Craft Beer on tap with a Sodastream


You will also be interested:


181 182 183 184 185