Nostalgia Electrics KRS2100 Kegorator Fridge
I knew going into this that the directions were not well written, but for the price - I figured I would give it a shot. Once the fridge is up and running, it is fantastic - I haven't had any issues with it. I have a keg in there now and it is hovering between 34 and 36 degrees without having to make any adjustments.
I am new to the kegerator game, so I wasn't sure how filling/exchanging CO2 tanks worked. The fridge comes with a tiny 2.5 lb capacity (5.2 lb tare weight) aluminum CO2 canister, which is cute, but pretty much worthless. I looked around in my area to find a place that re-fills CO2 tanks, but they all have to send them out to be refilled, and can't refill them at their shops. That turnaround time is 1-2 days. Not convenient. The beer distributor where I bought my keg has 5 lb capacity steel CO2 canisters on hand that they will do exchanges with. So rather than try to refill the little canister, I put down a deposit on one of their 5 lb canisters, and when its empty I just have to take it back and pay like $11 for a full one again. No need to send my tank out to be filled and wait to get it back. I was able to fit the 5 lb capacity steel CO2 tank and a keg in my kegerator without any issues. You can't use the little included tank strap (because the tank is larger in diameter than the stock tank), but a bungee strap will suffice to hold it in place.
As far as the unit itself, it did take a bit to set up, as I found myself cross referencing the written directions, the exploded diagrams and what I had in front of me. If I can offer any advice on assembly it would be this:
1 - Even though they are not well written, read the directions. There are parts you must remove for some reason. Not sure if that is because of packing for shipping, or because they are no longer used due to a redesign, but there are things in there that must come out for this unit to function properly.
2 - When in doubt, refer to the exploded diagrams in the directions. They offer more info than any of the written directions, IMHO.
3 - Anywhere you have metal touching metal, and you have to twist those parts together, there should be a gasket or o-ring involved in that connection. Most of my gaskets were pre-installed, however, I did need to install a few myself. No gasket means air leak, which means you lose CO2 and/or pressure.
4 - If you have a "wobbly tower", you did not install it properly. The unit comes with a "plug" that you can use if for some reason you want to remove the tap handle from the system - and make it into a normal fridge. Now this is completely undocumented, but if you look at that plug in its fancy little bag, it has a large gasket packed with it. You must remove that gasket from the plug and place that gasket between the top side of the fridge and the underside of the tap handle tower before you twist the tap handle tower into place. If you do not do this, the fit of the tower is loose and wobbly and you will lose cold air through this gap which is probably why most people have cooling issues. This part of assembly is not easy, and takes some force to get it twisted on correctly with the gasket in there. You can apply some soap to the gasket to make it easier to turn the handle tower into place. You will probably fail the first few times, the fridge will move around on its casters and hit you in the legs, and you will say to yourself that I have no idea what I am talking about - there is no way the tower will twist into place with that gasket in there. Be persistent and get it on there. Nobody likes a whiner.
Assembly aside, it works great. And remember, you only ever assemble it once. So once that is over with, you have a good product at a cheap price that works like a champ.