11 Best beer dispensers to bring the pub home in 2023
By Owen Gough
The only way to guarantee a perfect pint is to pour it yourself. Here are our favourite at-home beer dispensers you need to buy this year.
Consider yourself a bona fide beer aficionado? If you know your IPAs from your stouts, chances are you've considered setting up an at-home bar of some sort to enjoy your brews away from the local watering hole. It should go without saying that tabletop beer dispensers are growing in popularity – much to your local barkeep's chagrin – and even if the weather is winding down to winter and BBQ season is over, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy a good sup from the comfort of your own sofa.
A proper at-home beer-dispensing unit is vital to any house party, weekend wind-down or even just as an accoutrement to your dinner plans, delivering crisp, tasty pints into your favourite glass and also saving yourself a few quid on an overly expensive beer from the pub. The best options offer a belly-tickling array of flavours and types of beverage, with some of the more premium options automatically cooling the keg or ordering you a replacement when you get to the dregs and there are plenty of alcohol delivery services ready to keep a steady supply of top-tier pints flowing past your lips.
Easily the best beer machine we've seen, this Pro dispenser rivals your local boozer for convenience. With automatic cooling that can be adjusted to suit the beer of choice, smart features to let you know when you're running out of lager, and the ability to order more right from the app, this should be your first choice every time.
Know a Guinness lover? If your tins of Guinness are sub-par away from the pub, then the only way to level up your pouring is with the Nitrosurge. A small, rechargeable gadget to release the nitrogen built up in your beer for a supremely smooth two-pour pint.
When hosting a summer knees up, sometimes simplicity is the recipe for the day, and you really don't want to be messing around with complex machines and cooling temps, so it doesn't get easier than the BeerTower XXL. Simply pour your favourite tipple into the canister and pull a tasty pint every time.
It's every beer-lover's dream to brew and enjoy their own brand of brew, so the ultimate choice for any hop-related tinkerer is the Pinter 3. Simply pour some water into the drum and wait patiently for 10 days. You'll be rewarded with six delicious pints, and there are plenty of flavours and brands to choose from.
Skip to: How we test the best beer dispensers | What is a beer dispenser? | What do I need to have a draught beer at home? | Where do you buy beer dispenser kegs? | How to pour the perfect beer
We've ensured that only the finest beer dispensers pass through our hands so that we can recommend just the premium devices fit for a beer hall. In all cases, we've poured at least a few pints – it's a tough job, but someone's got to do it – assessing the cost, the physical size of the unit and the compatible beers/kegs available to ensure a wide range of popular, quality brews are open for consumption. We tested out the ease of pouring, how simple it is to set up, replenish and clean once done and the overall quality of the build.
Before you gut the cellar of your home to accommodate a pumping system, you should know most at-home beer dispensers are kitchen counter-friendly devices that house anything from a few tins to a full keg dispenser. Some might have a cooling system to chill and keep your beer fresh and at the optimum drinking temperatures, a built-in nozzle with dedicated Co2 cartridges for smooth pouring or even smartphone control so you can kick your feet up and relax without fiddling around with settings.
Many of our favourite beer pumps below are part of a subscription service, meaning you can get monthly top-ups to mini-kegs or cans so you’re never short on sesh day, with the largest kegs holding eight litres or roughly 14 pints. Alternatively, you can buy your chosen poison elsewhere to keep costs down.
Either way, you owe it to yourself to enjoy a perfectly poured pint at home – the Winchester may be back open, but these clever kitchen gadgets will be the pride of garden parties and matchday viewing sessions all year round.
Every beer lover’s dream is to have a perfectly pulled pint right at home. The pub is great and all that, but imagine not even having to unlock the front door to get a crisp, ice-cold pale ale in your own frosted pint glass. The beer dispenser is your best bet for achieving this alcohol-soaked nirvana, but there are a few things you need to get.
It goes without saying you’ll need to select your chosen dispenser from one of our favourites below, but you’ll also need to get the right beer to slot into your dispenser that suits your beer tastes. Many of the more expensive options take kegs directly from brewers (often called kegerators) that are pressured and will shoot out the golden nectar for you, complete with microfoam heads right in your own home, but others just need beer cans or bottles to be slotted or poured in.
Many services will come and collect your complete kegs once you're done with them, which is a nice bonus for the ecologically-minded, and some like PerfectDraft will give you money off your next order when returning your used canisters. Aside from that, you'll need a pint glass to enjoy your drink in. Luckily, most retailers offer at least one glass as part of a bundle deal so you're never short of something to drink out of.
In all cases, you can shop for your chosen beer on the multitude of beer delivery websites available, from PerfectDraft to Beer 52, to get your drinks sent right to your door. For a full range of options, check out our guide to beer subscription services, and our gifting ideas for men if you're in need of some inspiration for an upcoming celebration.
Now you've got the gear, you need to have an idea of how to use the darn thing. Getting a perfectly poured beer requires some patience and a lot of practice –devastating, we know– but if you follow these simple steps, you'll be a bona fide bevvy God in no time.
Prepare your chosen beer in the dispenser, ensuring it's at the optimum drinking temperature for a crisp finish. Each type of beer requires a slight variation in the chill, so get prepared and know your temps. For example, an IPA excels at around 5 degrees Celsius. Grab your pint glass and chill it, either in the freezer or run it under a cold tap.
Hold the edge of the glass under the tap at a 45-degree angle and pull your pint, ensuring the tap spout stays out of the drink as your glass fills up. Slowly begin to straighten out your pint as it fills to ensure a foamy head. Some dispensers will have dedicated head-finishing features that polish off the perfect pint, but in most cases, simply pull the glass away and enjoy it responsibly.
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We liked: Supreme pouring | Self-chilling | Wide selection of beersWe didn't like: Expensive | Requires internet connection
Hands down the best beer machine we’ve tested, the PerfectDraft Pro is a truly exceptional dispenser worthy of any kitchen or garden party, chiefly because it’s a smart bit of kit. Connecting to our smartphone, we set the optimum temperature for a huge range of beers, from Vocation IPAs to a classic Stella (with recommendations guiding us on what temperature to set the unit and what food goes well with our new pint). It pushes notifications to the app to warn you when you run low on your beer and you can simply purchase more in-app to be delivered to your door. The simplicity of this device, despite its large price tag and powerful pouring capabilities, took us by surprise.
There’s a staggering range of kegs to choose from (including stouts, ales and crisp IPAs), and the set-up is quick so we didn’t miss out on any vital drinking time. Cleaning up the drip tray and dispenser tap is easy, as they are fully replaceable and recyclable and if you trade in any empty 6L kegs of beer back to PerfectDraft, you get £5 off your next order. Oh, and free delivery when you buy right now. Dreamy. From £429 £369. At perfectdraft.com, argos.co.uk & currys.co.uk
We liked: Next-level Guinness pouring | Rechargeable (up to 100 pints poured) | Easily storedWe didn't like: A bit of a gimmick | Can only be used on Nitrosurge Guinness cans
If you find your at-home Guinness lacklustre, then the only way to level it up is with the Nitrosurge. This special device clips on top of specialised Nitrosurge cans to deliver targeted micro-vibrations to release the nitrogen as you pour for a smoother finish, elevating our pouring technique from mediocre to professional. A few simple tins of Guinness were transformed from a reasonably OK-ish pint to pub-quality and all we had to do was press a button. It's worth noting that we did notice a difference once we got the knack of it, so it will require a few tries to perfect –what a shame, eh?
While it's not technically a beer dispenser –it's simply a conduit to improve the quality of the beer as you pour – and the specific Nitrosurge Guinness cans are significantly pricier than the bog-standard edition, it's still a worthy addition to your beer-related arsenal. It's also worth noting that Amazon currently has a cracking deal on a Nitrosurge collective deal, offering the device itself, a can and a glass to get you started all for £59. Wonderful. £30 £27. At amazon.co.uk & tesco.com
Read GQ's Guinness Nitrosurg review
We liked: Brew your own beers | 20 beers to choose fromWe didn't like: Requires patience | Fiddly to clean | Additional costs are inevitable
We cover the wonders of the self-brewing Pinter 2 below but if you're after an upgrade, the 3rd iteration of the popular at-home beer-making kit brings all the fun of making your own beers but takes it one step further. Where's the new stuff? An active pour tap that extracts the brewer's beer with precision, drawing out foam, notes and bubbles for a perfect draught every time. This tap will adjust itself to the pressure built-up in the keg so you don't end up spurting it everywhere, and there's a range of fun colourways that are certain to catch an admiring eye at this year's BBQ.
Otherwise, it's the same gig, add in your ingredients, suffer through a few days of patient waiting and then enjoy responsibly. We opted for a fruity Tropical Haze, which had a suitable punch and tang without being overpowering. £99. At pinter.co.uk
We liked: Professional design | Big enough for 5L kegs | Easy to use and cleanWe didn't like: Quite loud and bulky
Setting up your own at-home bar? You'll want a proper beer dispenser that looks the part as well as delivers the goods when required. The Salter is a sophisticated barkeep fit for any party, with the capability to store and pour larger 5-litre kegs from a variety of brewers. It's one of the bigger options on this list, but it also pulls pints efficiently with three CO2 cartridges that dreamily pour out your drink with a frothy, chilled finish every time.
Its built-in cooling system can be controlled on the device itself or through an app, and it's easy to clean after, though you'll need a fair amount of luck to set the thing up, as the instructions manual is as long as a car's. £180. At amazon.co.uk
By Scarlett Baker
By Yang-Yi Goh
By Daisy Jones
We liked: Great design | Huge selection of beer kegsWe didn't like: A weaker alternative to the Pro edition
This slick-looking ‘non-pro’ draft beer dispenser works with selected 'perfect draft' kegs that require no messing around with gas canisters. Plug the keg in, allow it time to cool down to a frosty three degrees, and let it grace your glass with an exquisite pour. With around 40 different supported beers (from Amstel and Heineken to exotic IPAs) and a specially designed pump that preserves both taste and freshness, this handsome bit of kit ranks as a kitchen essential for both you and your authorised drinking buddies. £229. At perfectdraft.com, aldi.co.uk, argos.co.uk & amazon.co.uk
We liked: Holds up to 2l at a time | Affordable | Wide beer choiceWe didn't like: Fairly loud
With the ability to store two-litre torps (just over three pints) at an optimal 2 degrees Celsius for up to 15 days, The Sub is a compact draught beer dispenser that won’t take up too much room on a kitchen counter or when stowed away until party time. There’s a wealth of choices (from Birra Moretti to Heineken) and you can sign up to get monthly top-ups straight to your door. It’s only available in black but we do love its mechanical pump handle for delivering a crisp pint every time. Is this one too big? Might we interest you in a discounted, smaller Sub Mini for £125 instead? £149. At beerwulf.com & amazon.co.uk
We liked: Lightweight and easy to manageWe didn't like: Can't chill your beer | Pretty basic
Away from pulling off shoeys and boot pints, the Hi Beer Tower is an excellent addition to any beer-soaked party, simply because it's a bloody massive tower of your chosen tipple. It's got a counter so you can see how many pints you've managed to guzzle your way through and, while it can't chill or optimise your pints, it can easily pour it out for you with reasonable confidence. Is it the highest-tech option around? Absolutely not, but it will serve you beers all the same. £126. At amazon.co.uk & vidaxl.co.uk
By Scarlett Baker
By Yang-Yi Goh
By Daisy Jones
We liked: Brew your own beers | 20 beers to choose fromWe didn't like: Requires patience | Fiddly to clean
Want to brew and drink an ale that Bilbo Baggins and Co would be happy with? Then look no further than the Pinter 2, a proper barrel of fun (and alcohol) to elevate your session with mates.
With enough space to pour out ten pints, the Pinter 2 unlocks many a man's life-long dream of brewing their own beer. Simply add one of Pinter's Fresh Press packs (of which there are plenty to choose from) and add water. All you need to do then is be patient – it takes four to ten days – and you'll have ice-cold homemade pints ready to pour. There are more than 20 beers to choose from – including everything from European-inspired lagers (Fresh Republic) to American Pale Ale (Stars & Stripes), Brown Ale (Lost in Translation) to moreish cider (Whole Nine Yards) – and you can stand proudly next to your keg as your friends admire your brewing. Curious to learn more? There's also the Pinter 3 above, which is well worth exploring if you're taking your own home-brewing sessions more seriously. £90. At pinter.com
We liked: Simple | Great for pouring individual cans We didn't like: Basic | Pricey for what it does
Fizzics' clever little machine elevates regular bottles and cans by enhancing the natural carbonation already present in beer to bring out its full textures and aromas, with a far finer and purer foam head to boot. It's a simpler solution than crafting your own brew or sorting out replacement keg deliveries, and an ideal choice for those looking to dip their toes into pouring their own pint without committing to bulkier and more expensive solutions. Plug it into any USB port for an instant beer delivered right into your glass – a perfect gift for beer lovers. £99 to £149. At amazon.co.uk, lakeland.co.uk, firebox.com & menkind.com
We liked: Simple | Low-tech | Holds plenty of beerWe didn't like: Basic | Unsightly if you want it on the kitchen countertop
Perhaps a little on the low-tech side compared to its Philips and Krups counterparts, but you can't knock the barbecue-friendly appeal of this ice-cooling beer column. Holding enough for a round with the broskis – the easy-to-use pulldown dispenser provides the behind-the-bar feel, while an optional cooling element can either be filled with ice cubes or removed to make way for more beer. Not your poison? As there are no custom kegs required, it'll also work a treat for Pimm's or punch. £49 £39. At amazon.co.uk
By Scarlett Baker
By Yang-Yi Goh
By Daisy Jones
We liked: Up to 8 pints in one keg | Wide selection of kegs availableWe didn't like: Bulky | Expensive
The Beerwulf Blade sounds like an exotic weapon from Norse mythology that douses your enemies in delicious golden nectar, but thankfully it's far more practical than that. This stainless steel beverage dispenser is much larger than The Beerwulf Krups Sub above and capable of pulling four times more pints from a single keg. The catch? It’s quadruple the price. If hops-induced decadence is what you're after, plug it in, hook up a compatible eight-litre keg from the likes of Tiger, Stella Artois, Heineken and Birra Moretti and more, and pour away from your own at-home bar. £399. At beerwulf.com
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18 essential craft beers from GQ
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Charlie Stein’s best wines to buy
A gentleman's guide to craft beer
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By Rhalou AllerhandBest beer dispenser overall:Best simple beer dispenser:Best mid-tier beer dispenser:Best beer dispenser for most people:Best beer dispenser for Guinness lovers:Best beer dispenser for at-home beer brewers:Skip to: How we test the best beer dispensers | What is a beer dispenser? | What do I need to have a draught beer at home? | Where do you buy beer dispenser kegs? | How to pour the perfect beerFor more fashion, grooming and technology releases delivered straight to your inbox,sign up for our GQ Recommends newsletterWe liked:We didn't like:Best for:Weight:Type:Dimensions:Where to buy beer:From £429 £369. Atperfectdraft.com, argos.co.uk & currys.co.ukWe liked:We didn't like:Best for:Weight:Type:Dimensions:Where to buy beer:£30 £27. At amazon.co.uk & tesco.comRead GQ's Guinness Nitrosurg reviewWe liked:We didn't like:Best for:Weight:Type:Dimensions:Where to buy beer:£99. At pinter.co.ukWe liked:We didn't like:Best for:Weight:Type:Dimensions:Where to buy beer£180. At amazon.co.ukWe liked:We didn't like:Best for:Weight:Type:Dimensions:Where to buy beer:£229. Atperfectdraft.com, aldi.co.uk, argos.co.uk&amazon.co.ukWe liked:We didn't like:Best for:Weight:Type:Dimensions:Where to buy beer:£149. Atbeerwulf.com & amazon.co.ukWe liked:We didn't like:Best for:Weight:Type:Dimensions:Where to buy beer:£126. At amazon.co.uk & vidaxl.co.ukWe liked:We didn't like:Best for:Weight:Type:Dimensions:Where to buy beer:£90. Atpinter.comWe liked:We didn't like:Best for:Weight:Type:Dimensions:Where to buy beer:£99 to £149. At amazon.co.uk, lakeland.co.uk,firebox.com&menkind.comWe liked:We didn't like:Best for:Weight:Type:Dimensions:Where to buy beer:£49 £39. Atamazon.co.ukWe liked:We didn't like:Best for:Weight:Type:Dimensions:Where to buy beer:£399. Atbeerwulf.comNOW READThe best beer subscription services for the perfect at-home pintThe Nitrosurge has transformed us into a Guinness god, and we love it18 essential craft beers from GQAlcohol-free beer and low-alcohol drinks that actually taste goodCharlie Stein’s best wines to buyA gentleman's guide to craft beer