The Best Wine Coolers and Refrigerator Reviews
Thinking of starting your own wine collection? Storing some wine to age them and get the best possible value from your purchase? Or perhaps you think nothing of sticking a bottle of wine in the door of your refrigerator. If you’re in a hurry, you might stick a white wine in your freezer to cool it down rapidly. The best wine coolers and wine refrigerator reviews will show that you might not be maximizing the flavors of your favorite wines. A small investment into one of these appliances could give you a lifetime of wine enjoyment. We’ll show you how.
The Best Chart for Wine Coolers and Refrigerators
Is the size of your wine cooler important? Do you need an appliance that provides consistent cooling? Is having ambient environment cooling the best option for you? The chart below will take you through the comparison process to help you find the right cooler or refrigerator to meet your needs.
|Danby 36 Bottle||3.5||$$$|
|Avanti 12 Bottle||4.1||$$|
|NewAir 28 Bottle||3.8||$$$|
|Koldfront 24 Bottle||4.3||$$$$|
|Kalamera 12 Bottle||4.3||$$|
|AKDY 32 Bottle||4.3||$$$$|
What Is a Wine Cooler? What Is a Wine Refrigerator?
There is a lot of confusion in the home bar market today as to what a wine cooler and what a wine refrigerator happens to be. If one is confused with the other, there is a strong likelihood that the purchasing experience is going to leave a bad taste in one’s mouth. Here is the key difference between the two:
A wine cooler is designed to cool down the interior air of the appliance based on what the outside ambient temperature happens to be. Using thermoelectric technology, a fan cools down the air as it passes from the outside to the inside. Vents then discharge away. Most wine coolers will cause the temperature to lower between 20-30F degrees, so if you maintain a 72F home environment, you can potentially have your wine be at 42F.
A wine refrigerator doesn’t necessarily use refrigerant, but there is a compressor involved that artificially cools the air to maintain a consistent temperature. Unlike a wine cooler which simulates more of a cellar or basement environment, a wine refrigerator maintains one specific temperature when it works properly.
If you live in a colder northern environment, a wine cooler will often meet your needs except maybe in the warm months of July and August if you don’t run air conditioning in your home. For those who live closer to the equator or in the desert biome, a wine refrigerator is absolutely necessary, even under air conditioning, because one failure can burn your wine. When it’s 90 degrees outside, the best a wine cooler can do is make your wine be 60F.
Many people purchase wine coolers expecting them to operate as wine refrigerators. That’s not going to happen. If you want a specific temperature for serving and short-term storage, you must have a wine refrigerator. For long-term storage or short-term storage and serving in cooler environments, then a wine cooler is suitable.
The Advantages of Owing a Wine Cooler or Refrigerator
For the average household, sticking a bottle of wine in the refrigerator is no big deal. There’s enough room in the door for vertical storage or on a shelf for horizontal storage. You’ll probably be drinking that wine in a day or two, so all is good.
The advantage that wine coolers and wine refrigerators provide is more for those households that have a home bar. When you’re expecting to entertain family and friends and wine is involved, there just isn’t enough room in your kitchen fridge to make sure your wine is properly stored. Home bar owners also tend to collect wines more often and will need a way to make sure any sediment in the wine doesn’t trigger bitter flavors.
The wine cooler or wine refrigerator therefore becomes an essential barware item. You just pull out the bottle of wine when you’re ready to pour a glass. When you’re done, many of these appliances offer a vertical storage option so you can stop up the wine and have it be ready for another glass in an hour or a day from now and it’s still going to taste great.
These appliances are also typically smaller than your average refrigerator, but can give you the cooler storage temperatures that wine needs without interference. From 4 bottles on a counter top to 32 bottles in a simulated cellar, you’ll be able to meet whatever need you happen to have thanks to the innovations wine coolers and refrigerators are able to provide.
Common Questions Asked About Wine Coolers and Refrigerators
Q: Do I need to have a dual zone wine cooler or wine refrigerator?
A: No. It’s a common misconception that different types of wines should be stored at different temperatures. All wine should be stored at an average temperature of 55F. Where the dual zone appliances provide a benefit is when it comes to the serving temperature. White wines should be served about 10 degrees cooler than their storage temperature, while red wines should be served around 10 degree warmer than their storage temperature.
Q: Which is better? A thermoelectric unit or a compressor unit?
A: There are three issues to consider here. Thermoelectric units tend to operate more quietly than compressor units. Compressor units generally provide colder temperatures than thermoelectric units. Compressor units also generally need less clearance space than thermoelectric units. The question isn’t which type is better for your wine. It’s what factors are the most important to you when it comes to storing your wine. You should purchase the unit that best meets your specific needs.
Q: How big of an appliance am I going to need?
A: As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to shop for a wine cooler or a wine refrigerator that has at least 25% more capacity than you currently need. Some home bar owners may wish to up that to 50%. If you currently own 16 bottles of wine, therefore, you might need to shop for a 32 bottle wine cooler or wine fridge. Where the appliance will be installed will also dictate its size. In-cabinet options tend to be smaller than freestanding units.
Q: Does the environment really affect my wine?
A: Absolutely. There are 4 things that will dramatically change the quality of your wine: temperature, light, humidity, and vibration. The best wine coolers and fridges will help to provide the consistent environment you’ll need to protect your wine investment. Look for LED lighting, no vibration models, and smoky glass doors to prevent UVB light penetration. If you’re on a tight budget, then just find a dark corner with enough clearance and you can avoid many of these issues.
Q: What is meant by long-term wine storage?
A: Most people don’t have a need for long-term wine storage. Long-term storage is generally defined as keeping a bottle of wine for 5 years or more. If you want to age your wine, then you’ll want to look for a wine cooler that can simulate the environment of a cellar for storage. Then you’ll just need to follow the rotation and shifting principles to help each bottle age properly. Anything below 5 years is considered short-term storage and an appliance that maintains a consistent temperature without vibration is your best choice.
Q: Do I need an upright storage shelf?
A: Maybe. Upright storage shelves are best used for bottles of wine that have not been completely consumed. If you’ve opened up a bottle to have a glass of wine, instead of letting the bottle go to waste, the upright shelf lets you store it in a cool place. Use a replacement cork to maintain the quality of the wine and prevent spills for the best possible experience.
Q: Should I purchase a major refrigerator or cooler brand?
A: Each brand has some specific strengths which are worth considering. Some brands are built for long-term durability. Others provide a better overall cooling experience. Sometimes the actual exterior design is the greatest strength of a brand. Depending on where your cooler or fridge needs to go and what it needs to do, every brand has something to offer. That’s why the best wine cooler and wine refrigerator reviews are so important to have on-hand.
What Are the Prices of Wine Refrigerators and Coolers?
Most coolers tend to be a little cheaper than refrigerators. With that being said, high-end wine coolers tend to have the same price point as entry-level wine refrigerators. Therefore knowing what your needs happen to be and how you intend to use the appliance will help you to decide which one to purchase.
Wine coolers tend to be priced in the $150-$250 range. Cheaper models are available that only store a handful of wine bottles. More expensive models may approach the $400-$600 price point, but these are designed more for commercial use than for the home bar.
Wine refrigerators tend to be priced in the $250-$350 range. You can find models reaching the $800 price point if you’re looking for dual zone climate control and other advanced features. Most of these appliances are designed to sit within cabinetry or enclosures, whereas wine coolers need some space to operate because of their venting design.
What Do Our Reviews Have To Say?
One of the issues we’ve found when examining wine chillers is that many of them have cooling units which cause a slight vibration. Think about when your refrigerator kicks in and how you can feel the motor running with your hand on the door and you’ll get an idea of what many wine coolers do. That’s bad news because the vibrations can alter the wine, even potentially causing it to spoil. The Haier 12 bottle wine chiller is one of the few that offers a vibration-free experience.
The thermoelectric cooling system is very consistent, which means the results are good even if you wind up blocking the venting mechanisms by having the unit right up against the wall. For best results, we’ve found that it is necessary to have about 2 inches of space between the back of this wine chiller and the wall so that the cooling feeds work as they are intended. With less than 1 inch of clearance, you’ll find that the temperature on the inside of the unit may rise by 7-10 degrees.
This wine chiller doesn’t offer a dual zone temperature control option, but you can change the internal storage temperature so red or white wine can be properly stored. You may not wish to mix the types of wine you purchase when filling up this small wine chiller, but having 4 bottles of white or 4 bottles of red on hand and ready to serve happens easily when this appliance is in your home.
You can also use this chiller to store the smaller bottles of wine, like the individual serving size bottles, to provide a little more variety while entertaining if you prefer. For a smaller wine chiller, it has a remarkable amount of versatility.
Why is this Danby model one of the best wine coolers available today? One of the best features this appliance offers is the blue LED lighting that turns on when you open the door using the recessed hand grip. The LED lighting doesn’t add heat to the environment, which means your wine isn’t going to be subjected to severe temperature changes just because you’re trying to grab a bottle to enjoy. The recessed handle also prevents accidental bumps that could inadvertently change the quality of the wine as well.
When you see this wine cooler for the first time, you’ll smile because it looks both professional and beautiful. It makes a perfect addition to any home where wine is enjoyed on a regular basis.
We really enjoyed the overall design of this particular wine cooler. It’s been designed with a flush back and adjustable legs so that vibrations are kept to the bare minimum. You can keep it up close to your wall as well, something that other appliances won’t allow you to do, so you’re not stuck with wasted space that collects dust.
If you store the Culinair wine cooler next to a heat source, it will register the warm air as the ambient temperature and this will cause the internal temperature to rise. You must maintain your home’s temperature consistently to achieve good results. You simply control how much cooling action occurs from that base temperature.
So many countertop designs tend to cause the wine being stored to vibrate. It’s not a major vibration, of course, but it can be enough to cause sediments in the wine to alter the flavor or consistency of the wine you prefer. The Avanti 12 bottle wine cooler is literally vibration-free. You don’t even notice the unit is running unless you happen to open up the door to grab a bottle. Then you’ll feel a refreshing rush of cool air.
The shelving unit is removable, but the top shelves and the bottom assembly are separate from one another. This means to get to the 12 bottle limit, you always need to have 4 vertical bottles. Select wines that can be stored vertically to counter this issue.
What we really loved about this particular model was the design of its shelving. You receive 6 heavy-duty chrome shelves that pull out to make it easier to access your wine. A seventh storage area along the bottom of the appliance brings you to the 28 bottle level of maximum storage. This is based on 750ml bottles, so those who use magnum bottles may find their experience to be a little different.
You’ll need about 4 inches of clearance on all sides of this wine cooler for it to operate properly. As long as you can provide that, you’ll find yourself enjoying what this NewAir wine cooler is able to do.
Of course the Koldfront 24 bottle wine cooler is stylishly attractive. With stainless steel highlights around a black cabinet, this is one beautiful appliance. What we particularly liked about the design, however, was that the door actually incorporates a locking mechanism. This way you can limit access to your cooler and not worry about a bottle or two going missing. Both zones of this wine cooler can be easily controlled thanks to the design of the LED control panel.
For wider bottles, we found that the capacity tends to be reduced by about 25%. The 24 bottle count is for the standard slim 750ml bottles you find at many stores. Custom or local wine bottles may not always fit as intended.
This little Wine Enthusiast 18 bottle dual zone wine cooler might look small at first sight, but it definitely seems bigger on the inside. You not only receive horizontal storage options, but also vertical storage in this rather quiet unit. If you’re ready to see how easy it is to store your wine safely and at the proper temperature, then you’re ready to see what this appliance could do for you.
We liked how easy it was to remove the shelves on this wine cooler. If you’re storing larger bottles of wine you’ll be able to do so with this Wine Enthusiast model without worrying about scratching your labels. Of course this will change the total number of bottles that can be stored, but you’ll also be able to safely store just about any bottle of wine that you prefer – including Champagne.
How we store wine can have a direct effect on its quality when it is time to pull the cork. The AKDY electric wine cooler and chiller allows you to store up to 32 bottles of your favorite wine at a cooler temperature so you can let the wine age naturally instead of burn out because it is too warm.
The thermoelectric design of this particular wine cooler and chiller keeps it virtually silent when running. You’ll hear it in a silent room or if you press your ear up to it, but that’s about it. This makes it a pleasant addition to the home environment.
Many thermostats on wine coolers today tend to be dials. Even if they are LED models, you’re still pushing buttons on a dial to raise or lower your preferred temperature. This thermostat also offers a push-button experience, but with a twist. The up and down buttons are situated right on the front of the wine cooler, just above the door. You set the thermostat and the Kalamera wine cooler does the rest of the work for you.
The shelves within this wine cooler are removable so you can vertically store bottles of your favorite beverage if you prefer.
Ultimately what makes this an attractive wine cooler is its portability. You can plug it into virtually any outlet and have a cool interior in just minutes so your wine can be properly stored. Because of its compact size, you’ll notice some temperature changes happen when you open the door of this cooler to take out a bottle of wine, but it will quickly correct itself once the door has been closed.
The best wine refrigerator and cooler reviews will help you to find the perfect appliance that meets the unique needs of your home bar. Take the time to read each review carefully to make sure the appliance can keep your wine at the appropriate temperature you want. Keep this guide in mind as well when you shop so you can select the right appliance the first time around. A tough day deserves a perfect glass of wine at the end of it. These appliances will help to make that happen.