Best Portable Pizza Ovens Reviewed – 2017 revised list.

Looking for the best portable pizza oven? I had one once.  But actually, it wasn’t portable. The last house I owned had a fabulous outdoor pizza oven. Wood-fired. All the neighbors would smell it cooking and come on over, especially if I set up the big-screen TV during peak sports days. Then we sold the house. Fortunately sold to an Italian family who didn’t even think of demolishing this mosque-like construction. But how I miss it! But that wasn’t a portable pizza oven. It was built-in. So, there was no way this was going to the tailgate party! Which got me thinking: isn’t it better to have a pizza oven you can take anywhere? So I’ve done the research and put together this list of the best available portable pizza ovens reviewed.

So here’s my pick for best portable pizza oven of the bunch!

Mobile / Portable Wood Fired Pizza Oven “Maximus”

Maximus Portable woodfired Pizza Oven

Woodfired Maximus Portable Pizza Oven

Yummm pizza rolls Mobile wood fired pizza oven 'Maximus'

Here’s the grand-daddy of them all and you may want to check this one out if your tailgate parties attract large groups of people. The Maximus is probably better than the best of the best portable pizza ovens. But it’s not for everyone.

It is a pro model, imported from Portugal, wood-fired, which is something many parking lots do not allow, and would be the basis of a nice little tailgate party pizza service – a little business on the side, provided you have all the necessary county paperwork. Or you could just GIVE the pizzas away to your friends. A few of you could club together to buy this one, the price of which is a tad over three times more than the 30 inch Artisan oven but it cooks more pizzas simultaneously.

Can cook a pizza in 2 minutes or quicker.

Can reach temps of 900 degrees F.

Made of industrial grade stainless steel and aluminum with a ceramic blanket of insulation in between and terra cotta tiles as the heat bricks, it is 120 pounds of grunt waiting for you to slide your home-made, custom-topped pizzas into its hungry, fiery belly. As it is, you will need to supply 8 pounds of wood per hour to keep it alight.

It takes 2 people to move this, plus just 30 minutes of burning to reach the optimum, steady cooking temperature (depending on the chilly weather to some extent). Just remember that a brick/masonry oven takes almost 2 hours of burning to reach 700°F. And a lot more firewood. There’s a stainless steel chimney, oh and it comes in red or black. Very smart. The front of the oven (decor bricks) is made from LaFarge refractory cement which not only looks great but is practical. The door is 15.55″ at the bottom and 9″ high.

The cook surface area is around 27.5 inches square. On the diagonal, you could cook four small pizzas at a time but you are probably better off cooking one large one and feeding the troops as fast as possible. This oven can produce 30+ 12″ pizzas in 1 hour, according to the manufacturers.

This deal is a good one as it includes the pizza peel and terracotta cooking pan.

OK, so there’s no stand (buy as an optional extra) or cover (recommended to keep it pristine and smart looking) and my pal who owns a very popular LA mobile pizza service has his mounted onto a trailer with a hitch and leaves room for his logs and fire equipment. Looks pretty smart. He is available to do parties of all kinds, even tailgating.

Unlike a brick oven, this will cool down to a manageable level for transporting in a couple of hours once you turn it off.

You will receive in the shipping crate the oven, a pizza peel, a metal divider to keep charcoal away from the food, a wire for easy fire starting!

As far as a base is concerned, a few concrete blocks arranged in a brick weave would be fine unless you can cough up the funds for a small cargo carrier and a trailer hitch and cook directly on a layer of concrete blocks laid out on that. Which is what my friend does. The trailer below can carry up to 500 pounds weight so he puts his firewood on there and some other accessory boxes and his tailgate parties are awesome (and take place in areas where fire is allowed).

How to get the pizza oven to the parking lot

Transporting pizza oven to parking lot

Transporting pizza oven to parking lot

ransporting pizza oven to parking lot

Why pizza?

Pizza is a real staple at parking lot tailgate parties but those soggy- pick-up-on-the-way- boxed offerings bear no resemblance to the freshly cooked ones tailored to your own taste.

Who knew that there were so many ways of cooking a crusty, delicious pizza outdoors, beer in one hand, game in progress …. Ahhhh, what a perfect combo, especially in cold weather. Or hot! With leftovers for next day’s breakfast.

I’ve been doing the research for a while now and I was skeptical at first. Heck just a call to Domino’s and they’ll deliver to the tailgate party. A couple of friends swear by the DIY model and honestly, their pizzas are awesome. Mozza standard.  Mario Batali, eat your heart out!  The main questions are, do these small, portable gadgets reach a high enough temperature? What is their power source? Are they independent or do they just sit on a way more powerful grill? I have many answers below. FYI there is also a list of what I now know to be essential accessories for cooking a crispy-crust pizza. And more. It’s worth wading through as I have collated a heap of my findings below.

Note that they are all surprisingly affordable, running between $150 and $300 plus some great accessories. You can make this back in savings just at one tailgate party.

The list is in no particular order as I love most of these pizza ovens. But the Pizzacraft does come in at Number One as it is from a company really dedicated to Pizza and their accessories are terrific and oh, the price is right. Plus it fits on a trailer with the portable kegerator and a couple of coolers so, honestly, what more could a tailgate party fan want? There are a lot of people who would consider the Little Caesar’s pizza pizza to be the best portable pizza oven.

Smaller portable pizza ovens

Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven

Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven

Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven

Camp Chef Pizza Oven

Camp Chef Pizza Oven with gas bottle (extra)

There is a small version of the Italia Artisan Pizza Oven that will just sit on another grill unit but I am assuming that you want a pizza that is sized to accompany a couple of rounds of beer pong. That means I will cut to the chase here and review the 30 inch (exterior measurement) model which is almost 3 times the price of the small version. Worth it though as the larger models is one of the best portable pizza ovens.

This is the model most people talk about that is as close to a brick oven as you can get. That of course, comes with a bit of a learning curve on the part of the user and some variations. You get better at it as you go along, trust me. The double layered ceiling and walls have been designed to keep that heap circulating the way it should.

Fifteen minutes pre-heat is required to reach the magic 700°F. Some pizzas are OK to cook at 600°F so again, test this before the tailgate party. You can reduce the guess-work in the cooking process by getting used to the built-in valve ignition/micro-adjust valve which controls the flame from super low to high. The temperature gauge helps you monitor the internal air temperatures. This is also regulated through the ventilated door and that has a nifty handle. Specially designed burners and micro-adjust valves give you heat control and responsiveness to cook perfect artisan pizza with crispy crust and moist toppings. But practice makes perfect, so invite the neighbors in and experiment till you can sling those pizzas like a pro. Capacity is 2 small pizzas at one cook. You can buy the dough at Trader Joe’s. Or Wholefoods. Or any supermarket that has a bakery.

It is also remarkably easy to clean.

Technically, it is rated as 17,000 BTU and you can run it on a one pound propane canister. A 5 foot hose and regulator are INCLUDED so that you can buy a 30 pound tank if you prefer. (I would!).

It weighs 47 pounds which is really manageable at a tailgate party. The on-off knob has a built in ignition but you have to twist it to exactly the right place to light it. It can take a few tweaks after you change gas tanks.

Don’t forget a generator if you are in a non-powered situation.   Most tailgate parties are held in parking lots and it is rare to have power. So a genny is a good investment. Oh, and so many people will want to rent it from you that you will get your money back in no time. Oh, stand by for the results of my research on that in the next weeks.

Woodfired pizza ovens are NOT permitted in most places and this is a really good substitute. Bear in mind that you can also use it to heat up that mac’n’cheese, to crisp up some chicken wings, make bread or scones or do anything a normal oven will do, but do watch that temperature!

It gets super ouchy hot so allow plenty of time for it to cool down before packing in your truck. That heat takes quite a while to dissipate so you can use it to keep stuff warm or shove a bread stick in there pre-slathered with garlic butter and wrapped in foil. Nibbles all afternoon.

Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven Accessory, 16-Inch

Camp Chef Italia Pizza Oven Accessory

Camp Chef Italia Pizza Oven Accessory

Here then, for those who will be toting that grill anyway for the ribs, is the 16 inch accessory version of the same oven described above. Not one of the best portable pizza ovens but a handy size and very portable for tailgate parties. This one sits on top of the grill and is a cordierite ceramic pizza stone with a stainless steel cover. The design and air flow are the same as the 30 inch free-standing model but the heat source is your grill and therefore, not as controllable. You DO need to rotate the pizza several times for even cooking as the bit near the door burns cooler than the rear.

Cooking Surface Diameter is15″ x 20″ (300 sq. in) which is not a massive area, but for one at a time 14 inch pizza service in addition to running your grill, that’s a good food service for any tailgate party.

Pretty much everything applies in the same way as the free standing 30 inch model except for the heat source. It has a built in temperature gauge and is as well-equipped as its big brother and can reach 700°F if properly pre-heated and door is closed. It will fit on any Camp Chef grill (they are marked with compatibility) or a three burner grill of any kind really.

You will find that the predictability of this oven is great for cooking and Ms. Rawhide has made it her thing to bake a batch of bacon, tomato, chives and egg muffins to get us started when we arrive at breakfast time. Again, turn the pan once or twice for even cooking.

Thin crust pizzas will cook in a bout 5-7 minutes with the oven set on high to medium high.

Some very simple assembly is required – just screw in the stone.

It is very cheap, simple, easy to store when you are not in pizza mood (oh, really? Such a time exists?)

Camp Chef Home Somerset 3-Burner Cart Stove

Camp Chef Italia Somerset 111 Stove

Camp Chef Italia Somerset 111 Stove

When Camp Chef designed the accessory Pizza Oven it was for the 3-Burner cart stove.

This has a chef’s style grid on top and is quite solid-state which it needs to be for the pizza oven to sit on. So take that into consideration. But of course, it will fit on any 3-burner grill with a perfectly flat top and the power to heat it.

Check out your existing grill, for instance. Is it equal to three x 30,000 BTU per hour burners; range 90,000 total BTU? That’s the kind of power you will need to get the accessory pizza oven up to the temperature of 700°F.

In my book, there’s a case for packing one of the smaller grills and buying the larger stand-alone portable pizza ovens instead. Just remember that they are versatile cookers and you can even smoke ribs in them (be careful of the spatter though).

Blackstone 1575 Outdoor Oven

Blackstone Outdoor Portable Pizza Oven

Blackstone Outdoor Portable Pizza Oven

Pizza from the Blackstone Outdoor Pizza Oven The Blackstone Outdoor Pizza Oven roasts too

Small is good for tailgating and, because of that, this very small unit gets a big thumbs up from me. It fits on a patio but even so, offers a 60,000 BTU burner for quick and even heat, an easy push button igniter and durable steel handles PLUS a battery-powered rotisserie motor to rotate the pizza stone for accurate and reliable brick oven results. It will, once pre-heated, cook a 16 inch pizza crispy on the base and bubbling cheesy on the top in around four minutes flat. In a lot of ways you could consider this to be the best portable pizza oven if you are thinking homegating, tailgating, camping or trips to the beach.

The company is quick to respond to any issues and will replace or repair your unit as required. It also does way more than pizza. This sort of oven is really versatile and wow, in my Utopia, parking lots around stadiums would have one of these at the end of every row. Report any problems fast – eg. The pizza stone has occasionally cracked in shipping and if parts do not look like perfect seals, call the company for a replacement. Send them some photos of any damage and they will tell you exactly how to fix/replace the part if necessary.

Don’t forget that you need a hex screwdriver for assembly and also remember to buy AA batteries for the ignition and the motor requires two D batteries so that the tray rotates for even cooking. Advice from many users is to insert the batteries before doing the final assembly of it to the oven and remember which way they go in so that next time you need to insert them, you will not be confused. Hey, time away from beer pong and dizzy bat is totally wasted at a tailgate party!

Some good hacks include investing a few bucks in a thrust bearing to smooth out the rotation of the tray, protect the motor from a rough rotation and another is to add a small tray of wood chips in the back corner to add that smoky flavor (don’t overdo this though).

Buy a cover if you are storing this outdoors. Just remember that most covers are not fireproof and don’t put it on while the oven is still hot. Go off, have a few beers, watch the game and by then it will be cool.

In terms of carrying this with your tailgate party gear, it is a no-brainer. It is compact and smart-looking and the stand comes with it.

Bakerstone Bx/Pizza Oven

Bakerstone Portable Pizza Oven

Bakerstone Portable Pizza Oven

Bakerstone Pizza accessory

A low end, economical accessory to a BBQ it needs to be used with a 3-, 4- or 5-burner grill with a stable, flat top to reach optimum temperature but is cheap and very handy. You sit it on the top, crank up the heat and wait. It takes over 30 minutes to reach its highest temperature and when it does, go bam! Put the pizza in to cook and four minutes later it is cooked.   It does take an age to get hot enough and will cool down fast. Any spatters are difficult to clean, but then maybe that’s not a great problem. Most pizza ovens are stained in time. Not one of the best portable pizza ovens but a quick and easy substitute if you don’t want too many appliances and already have a BBQ.

Its pros are the cool look, the even cooking, the light weight (a distinct advantage to people transporting gear to tailgate parties) and the economy yet effectiveness of walls in its heat handling. It’s almost as big on the inside as on the outside. It’s easy to assemble too. The pizzas it makes have the moisture locked into the crust so that it is crispy on the outside but still nice and doughy inside, not just crispy cardboard.

Get a cover! An iron sizzle plate is good for some dishes too.

So basically, if you are already taking the grill to the tailgate party, then this accessory is the most compact on the market and maybe you could give it a go.

Remember, do a rehearsal at home before taking on the tailgate party.

Pizzaz pizza Counter Top Oven Cooker

Presto Pizzazz Pizza Maker

Presto Pizzazz Pizza Maker

OK, don’t laugh but I include this electric portable pizza maker in this review because it is small and for some people, it’s all they want or need from a pizza. Here’s the thing – It costs less than $100.

Plus you can buy in a heap of Costco frozen or premade pizzas and heat them up using only a small battery pack that can run electrical appliances for an hour or more.

Duracell 1300 battery pack

Duracell 1300 battery pack will run the pizza oven

You can cook frozen or fresh pizza, battered fish, tacos and all kinds of things on it. It does have a tendency to blow a fuse if you continually cook on it but users swear by them. Then go and enjoy the chilly contents of your kegerator!

Just for good measure, here is an alternative one of these electric thingies.

Hamilton Beach 31700 Pizza Maker

Hamilton Beach cheap portable pizza maker

Hamilton Beach cheap portable pizza maker

This one is even cheaper than the one above and you can almost look at it as a disposable product as it is so low end. Hand to have and again, use it with the battery pack. Ok – not even close to being the best portable pizza oven but, if you’re thinking quick and easy, portability and price… this may be the one for you!

There you have it. The BIG review of the best portable pizza ovens. There should be something here for everyone and they are all a good choice depending on your needs. And, as a bonus, I’m giving you a list of all the essential accessories you’ll need for pizza making once you’ve found the best portable pizza oven for you.

Essential accessories for your portable pizza oven

Ok, so you are all set with the items below, and I really think that all are required (plus a pizza chef’s hat and apron and a red checked t0wel) …

Pizzacraft Pizza Folding Peel & Stone Brush

Pizza Peel in portable pizza oven

Pizza Peel in portable pizza oven

Pizza Peel and Steel brush

Pizza peel and stainless steel brush


The ‘peel’ is kind of a long spatula. It has a long handle to keep the user away from the heat and so that you can transfer pizzas, delicate breads, pastries and food into an oven where placing them directly by hand could break them. Without the peel, the pizza will be a gluggy lump. The brush is for keeping your pizza stone clean. Clean it after use but don’t use detergents which will add a cross flavor.

Pizzacraft Wood Rolling Pin with Silicone Dough Rings

Pizzacraft rolling pin with silicone rings

Pizzacraft rolling pin with silicone rings

The other side of that skill is to roll the pizza to a consistent level. This nifty rolling pin has sized bands on each end to make that process easy. Pastry chefs also use this technique. Yeah, Ms. Rawhide watches all those crazy cooking shows on TV so she told me how this works.

Ateco Dough Docker

Ateco Dough Docker

Ateco Dough Docker

The dough docker stops the bread dough from rising up big and unevenly which can ruin your pizza’s cooking rate and final appearance. This can be done at the tailgate party. Impress your friends by your professional skills out there (but in that case, don’t be using one of those electric pizza ovens above). You’ll ruin the illusion completely.

Culina Pizza Cutter 14″ Wooden Handle (Walnut)

Culina Walnut pizza cutter

Culina Walnut pizza cutter

Ok, so this is just a pizza cutter. Up to you, but I prefer these over the rollers. Though the rollers are great for larger sized pizzas. Somehow these look more pro. The Culina has a walnut handle and you can use it to mince herbs, meat or anything. It is way more versatile than the roller cutter, and I’m all for using implements with more than one use as transporting a whole kitchen to the tailgate party is a bad trip.

Finally some Tailgate Party Pizza recipes and hints.

Look, the sky’s the limit for a pizza recipes list.

It takes a simple bread dough:


3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling and a little cornmeal to sprinkle around to avoid it sticking. The rule is bread flour for crispy crust, all-purpose for chewy crust.

  • 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
  • 1 envelope instant dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water, 110 degrees F – the temperature is crucial
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a splash to rub on the dough in the process.

Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine using a dough hook. While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, a bit at a time, till the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, a splash at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface (onto parchment or a silicone mat to avoid mess) and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.

Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with a cleam tea-towel and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, at least 1 hour. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface punch it down and divide it into 2 equal pieces. (Cut it in half with a sharp knife , don’t drag it apart.) Cover each with a clean tea- towel or plastic wrap and let the balls rest for 10 minutes.
Take these balls (in your cooler) to the tailgate party,

Once you are there, sprinkle the tray with cornmeal, roll the dough out into desired circles and run the dough docker over the circle lightly to punch some indentations in. Then set aside till the oven is at 700°F. Slide the cornmeal sprinkled pizza peel under the dough. And while it is on the peel, put on your toppings.

Brush on Olive oil first.

Then spoon on a yummy Tomato sauce.

Toppings (salami, artichokes, peppers, goat cheese, figs, etc. etc.



Be creative – pick whatever your tastebuds desire – oysters, calamari etc. etc.

You just need a combo of garlicky olive oil, tomato sauce, cheese and garnishes in that order (olives, meats including bacon of course, green stuff, goat cheese for The Ladies, and I always throw a couple of random cans of things like artichokes into the box.

Then slide the made pizza onto the tray and cook till half done. Rotate and cook the other side (unless you have a motorized one in which case skip that step).


Note that Trader Joe’s has great ready-made dough but also most supermarkets with a bread bakery department will sell you a ball of dough really cheaply. I have even pulled that one off in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (see Mega stores or even Wal-Mart).

Don’t over-stack toppings until you have experimented with them so that you know how long each combo takes to cook.

Use cornmeal to stop your dough sticking to your hands, the tray or anything. Keeps it neat. Clean it off the stone or tray at the end of the day.

Get a high quality pizza peel. It is, of course, intended to slide under your doughy food and lift it off without it breaking or collapsing. It needs to have a long handle so that you can keep your hands away from the fire.

Cold fermenting your dough (ie. Making the dough up to three days before the tailgate party, forming it into the balls and allowing a slow rise in the refrigerator) works really well. Pop it in Ziploc bags a pizza sized ball per bag, then shape and roll out on site.

Try a Baking Steel instead of a Pizza Stone:

It’s less likely to be dropped and broken and the Pizzacraft is made for its oven.  You could even buy some slate tiles from Lowe’s/Home Depot or your local stonemason.  Buy a few though as they tend to crack.  Great for cooking steak as well.

Use this Pizza Steel instead of pizza stone

Use this Pizza Steel instead of pizza stone

OK, so have you got all that?  Finally, what beer goes best with pizza??

Aw heck, you know the answer to that one.  EVERY brew under the sun. Yes, even weak old Pacifico is OK on a hot day.

Happy Tailgating!

Review: Best Portable Kegerators For Tailgate Parties.

One of the questions I am asked constantly is ‘what’s the best portable kegerator available that I can take to a tailgate party?’ It seems to be a perennial problem for most of my hard-partying, beer-swilling funster-dude friends.   They obsess over the details. Me, I used to be quite OK with slinging a few freshly filled growlers in a cooler and keeping life simple. After all, at the end of the day when the beer is warm and flat, you are generally in no condition to notice the quality of the brew. Oh, you are? Really? Well, OK then. The answer to keeping your brewski chilled, fresh-tasting and on tap is to transport it in a kegerator that you can set up in the shade (never in the sun) and fill it with a keg or two of your favorite beer.

There are not so many options in truly portable units so here are my three picks in large, medium and small size with a bonus improvisation that I recommend to the budget-challenged among us.

Let’s start at the ‘Go big or go home’ level. This assumes ownership or access to a Silverado or equivalent and maybe a canopy to erect to create shade over your dining experience. It also assumes that you will be sharing the tailgate party with a mob of your rowdiest friends that the designated driver is content to scrape up the remains of the party at the end of the day and hand out the hangover cures.

Tailgate Party

Raise your hand for the best portable kegerator!

Yeah, well that’s most people isn’t it? Here’s the best one on the market. It is also a little pricey, but you will save its price in beer in just one sporting season if you are a committed Beerophile. You may even qualify for an environmental warrior award in some states, say, Portland Or. – just by virtue of the fact that you will be avoiding using so many bottles and cans. Your drinking is doing the world a favor ….

The Best Portable Kegerator – High Budget

Some might call the Summit Stainless Door Portable Beer Dispenser the ultimate in portable Kegerators. For some it’s aspirational. To us, it’s just simply the best portable kegerator and it’s perfect for outdoor tailgate parties.

The Summit Portable Beer Dispenser / Kegerator (SBC500SSST) is a freestanding full size beer dispenser with a stainless steel top and wrapped fingerprint resistant stainless steel door. It is very definitely portable and has been designed using really tough casters on which you can roll your kegerator to wherever you want it.

Summit Stainless Door Portable Beer Dispenser

Best Portable Kegerator: Summit Stainless Door Kegerator

So for starters, you may need to invest in a dock plate, which can be adjusted as a ramp to wheel all the gear onto your truck.

BLUFF All-Aluminum Dock Plates

BLUFF All-Aluminum Dock Plates

This will make loading and unloading your gear an absolute breeze and really doesn’t cost much at all. You will find lots of uses for this nifty ramp around the party site.

The cheaper ones like the Eagle 1795 are made from heavy duty plastic but are still very durable.

But back to the kegerator. It is sleek and contemporary and will fit in with any décor so you can use it at the tailgate party, take it home and put it back in the man cave. By the way, in referring to ‘man’ cave, I am being in no way sexist. I appreciate that many women are great tailgate party givers and participants and have a beer-cetric corner in their mostly Martha Stewart kitchens. So please don’t judge me. It is just common terminology for a haven, a chapel to malt and hops. But I digress,

The Summit SBC500SSST Beer Dispenser/Kegerator comes with everything to enhance pulling a beer: a 5 pound CO2 tank, a Regulator, a Draft tower, a Sankey American tap which you can switch out for one of your liking, say a team logo tap or something cheeky or just one of those chalkboard taps where you can write the name of the brew, a top guard rail, wooden keg slats, drip tray and basic cleaning kit.

The SBC500SSST accepts half, quarter or mini kegs and allows you to serve ice cold beer on tap and the beer stays fresh for months. It is 100% CFC Free!

Oh, and just remember that if you are in the company of folk who recognize the name ‘Summit’ these are people of QUALITY. And if they recommend you upgrade to this little (or, should I say “big”) beauty, they are even more likeable IMHO.

The Summit SS Outdoor Serving Cart w/ Kegerator is probably better than the best portable kegerator in features and size. It outclasses them all – but, it’s also expensive! So, it can’t really take the place of the Summit SBC500SSST for poll position in the race for best portable kegerator. But, if you have the money… by all means – get this one!

Summit SS Outdoor Serving Cart w/ Kegerator

Summit SS Outdoor Serving Cart w/ Kegerator

The Summit company has a good name too and they stand behind every kegerator they make with a 1 year ‘parts and labor/5 years compressor’ warranty.

You supply the keg of your choice from the sizes mentioned – half, quarter and mini keg only. Don’t try to force a larger one into the interior as if you don’t keep the door shut snugly, you will never be able to keep the beer chilled. The result – one foamy mess. The appliance is quiet while operating and has been designed to run economically with an adjustable thermostat and regulator. I would highly recommend shelling out for a really great cleaning kit and build the cleaning regimen into your keg-maintenance routine. The other recommendation would be to make sure you have something soft (removalists’ blankets for instance) to protect it while on the road. I also would plug it into a battery pack to keep the cool happening till you set up at the tailgate party site.

The weight is 150 pounds without the beer and dimensions are 35 x 23 7/8 x 25 ¼ so you’d better have that Silverado as it won’t fit in a SmartCar.

Now let’s scale down to a small kegerator. This one may just squeeze into a SmartCar.

The Best Portable Kegerator For The Money – Low to Medium Budget

The Koolatron Beer Mini Kegerator

Koolatron Beer Mini Kegerator

Koolatron Beer Mini Kegerator

From time to time, you see an average-good appliance that has attracted some vicious negative reviews on selling sites. And other people have nothing but praise. In the kegerator world, the handling of the appliance is as important as the choice of which to buy. You need to keep them out of the sunlight, keep the lines and so on spotlessly clean and maintain it.

In other words, teach the designated driver some of these skills and most kegerators on the market, at any price point, will give you good service. Many problems could just be a maintenance/rough handling issue. Read the instructions and remember that cleanliness is next to beeriness.

So back to the Koolatron. It is neat, compact and eminently carryable. Will fit in the back of a car. My advice is to pack it in a box, cover that box so that sun doesn’t heat it up and also keep it plugged in during the journey to the parking lot. You can do that by purchasing a battery pack. We have a Duracell PowerPack and it runs for hours.

You will find this little beauty will keep any small kegerator chilled so that you will avoid the foaminess associated with a rise in temperatures. Handy as a light source and will charge your phone too.

But I digress …. The Koolatron Mini Beer Chiller is just 9.5 x 9.5 x 17.8 inches. It doesn’t hold a heap but gives you beer on tap. It has a removable drip-tray. It runs quietly and has been nicely designed with a bit of style to it. Only weighs 11.7 pounds without the beer so it’s a natural for a small car, small tailgate party. Will fit a mini keg.

The Best Portable Kegerator – Medium Budget

The similar sized Avanti 2 Mini Keg Portable Party Pub is such a great price (under $300) that everyone could bring their own when there’s large tailgate party happening. It may not be the best portable kegerator but, what it lacks in features, it makes up for in price! The Avanti is very popular for those who don’t want to make a massive investment in their kegerator and it will definitely get the job done without breaking the bank.

Avanti 2 Mini Keg Portable Kegerator

Avanti 2 Mini Keg Portable Kegerator

The company claims that you can bring the party with you wherever you go with the Avanti Portable Party Pub (CB350S-IS). Two (2) mini-kegs can be stashed in this little cutie and they can be different beers. Interior LED lighting with an on/off switch will light up the Avanti inside to make setting it up really easy. Some other kegs do not have this feature and it makes it quite hard to set up. Not for the Avanti which is a breeze! There’s a glass storage shelf to chill mugs/glasses and that is a really useful feature. The design is pretty nice and while there is a stylish draught style handle and tap for convenient pouring, you may like to switch that for something that supports your team. Hey, if you are tailgating, then dress your kegerator to match your party.

You’ll love the digital temperature control for easy temperature regulation. As it is really vital to keep the temperature chilled and constant, there’s a safety latch to ensure the door stays closed while you’re dispensing your brewski. Plus, it also has a see-through window to showcase and identify your beer menu as you can clearly see the side of the keg. It makes a good storage space for the kegs and so this means that when those ‘2 for 1’ offers happen at your beer store, you can take advantage of the cheap price and keep the beer a-coming for months. The CO2 regulator and pressure gauge may take a little bit of adjusting but all instructions are included. Do a test run before featuring this at the tailgate party.

Some users have reported problems with the Avanti. As with all others in this range of portable kegerators, I must emphasize that keeping the unit clean, out of the sun, plugged in at all times and chilled will avoid most of these dramas.

The warranty will ensure that any parts that may snap off (well, some of your drunken buddies may not be as gentle with the unit as you, the proud owner, are …) can be replaced by the manufacturer so keep all your paperwork handy.

Dimensions are 21 x 18.25 x 20 x 25 by the way and the input voltae is 115V/60 Hz. It weighs 35 pounds empty.

I think that this is a really great little unit suited particularly for a tailgate party where you may have guests who like different beers. You can give them a choice of two. At a low cost, this is a step up from the smallest unit but is not a massive outlay. A nice gift for that guy in your life as well. (Pick me, pick meeeee!).

Bonus round – the Low Tech Version: A Portable Growler Bag from KegWorks.

KegWorks Insulated Beer Growler Bag

KegWorks Insulated Beer Growler Bag

KegWorks Insulated Beer Growler Bag

The Best Portable Kegerator – Low Budget

From time to time, growlers come on the market at really low, low prices or in such cool shapes as to make them irresistable such as this cutie that looks like a real keg.

While it is not as awesome as having draft beer on tap with your own kegerator, it’s is a low cost insulted growler tote that keeps your beer at a reasonable temperature for the duration of the tailgate party. Sure, it’s not the best portable kegerator but, for some it’s better than the best of the best portable kegerators because it’s simple, ultra-portable and very convenient. You can buy a few of these and sling them over the back of your car’s headrest, but we all know that in most states of the US of A, this is a no-no. So here’s a warning to young and old, do pack these in the trunk of the vehicle as you cannot carry an open (or even refillable) bottle inside the car as it is against the Highway Code.

Stainless Steel Keg Style Growler

Stainless Steel Keg Style Growler

I know folk who take these when they go on micro-brewery crawls in the Portland Or. area, buying a growler or three on the way. One for each bottle of course. Anyway, they do keep the beer cold and require nothing in the way of power or technology. The dimensions are 7″W x 12″H x 6″D. Logically, you could sling a whole range of these into your picnic box and gently transport them to a parking lot where the merriment and beer menu will make your tailgate party memorable.

Ultimately, though, the beer is not a patch as good as draft beer no matter where you source it and the only way to get draft out on location is to transport a portable kegerator. The choice is yours as is the maximum fun!