Once you decide that you want to buy a wine refrigerator/cooler, choosing one can be a daunting task. Like with most appliances these days, there are multiple sizes, colors, functions, and features to consider before making a purchase.
If you’re going to make the investment in a specialty product like a wine fridge, it’s essential that you find one that meets all of your needs.
Important to keep in mind as you search is that wine coolers, while effective in maintaining accurate temperatures, should only be used for storing bottles up to one year. If you are a wine connoisseur with a large collection, you will want to also invest in a wine cellar-type space for long-term storage.
Most newer models are thermoelectric as opposed to compressor-based. Compressors cycle on and off, so you actually hear that happening as well as the refrigerant as it circulates. Thermoelectric styles have no moving parts, and are often quieter and vibration-free as a result. Although, some owners of compressor models say they are no louder than their regular refrigerator and don’t find them any noisier than the appliances they already have.
There are coolers that are exclusively freestanding, which usually means that you need a 4-5 inch clearing all around the appliance for proper ventilation. If the external space gets too hot, it will greatly impact the appliance’s internal temperature and compromise the quality of your wine.
Spending money on a high-end model that holds lots of bottles may initially sound appealing, until you realize that it only has one temperature setting. If you keep a smaller amount of wine on hand that includes both reds and whites, a single temperature cooler won’t allow you to maintain optimum serving temps for both.
There’s also the wine cooler’s finish to take into consideration. If you have stainless appliances in your kitchen and plan to keep this in that same space, you may prefer your cooler to be stainless as well. In addition, you’ll find single and double door options, coolers with locks, models that accommodate larger bottles, and those with stronger UV protection.
With so many factors to consider, we’ve put together a list of wine fridges that are best in their class, give you the most valuable features for your money, and look good all at the same time.
Top Cheap Wine Cellar to Buy
First on our list is the Avanti AWC-1201. It holds 12 bottles and consistently receives positive reviews. This model is thermoelectric and freestanding with sleek platinum accents.
Perhaps the best feature on the Avanti is that in addition to the typical horizontal shelving most coolers have, this model also accommodates up to four bottles vertically. Having the capability to store open bottles upright is invaluable to many wine enthusiasts.
Best 12-Bottle Wine Cellar to Buy
The Haier Dual Zone Cooler also holds 12 bottles but has the added benefit of allowing you to set different temperatures for the top and bottom spaces. That way if you drink both white and red regularly, you can easily set this cooler to keep both kinds at their optimum serving temperatures.
This model has a touchscreen LED display, a curved door to better fit larger bottles, and smoked glass doors for better UV protection.
Both of these 12 bottle sized coolers usually cost less than $200, and often, you can find them for even less.
Best Value Larger Wine Cooler
The NewAir AW-281E is a freestanding, thermoelectric refrigerator that comfortably holds 28 bottles of wine. It has sliding, chrome-plated racks that are removable. That makes getting the bottles in and out and customizing the space for atypical sizes easier than most.
This is a popular brand that owners love to recommend to those looking to purchase their first wine cooler.
Best Slim Wine Refrigerator
The slim design of the Wine Enthusiast 18 bottle Slimline cooler sets this model apart from the others. If you have a narrow space between cabinets or alongside an island, this is the cooler for you. It features dual temp touchscreens for setting ideal conditions for both red and white wines.
One frequently made comment is that due to it’s smaller construction, if any of your bottles differ in size, it will significantly alter the amount this cooler can hold.
Best Wine Fridge for the Money
The Edgestar CWR361FD is a high-end cooler that offers the flexibility of either functioning as a freestanding refrigerator or can be built-in to your space.
This model holds 36 bottles and has French doors with sturdy stainless steel handles. While the price tag on this wine cooler is higher than all the others listed here, you are essentially purchasing two separate coolers in one space-saving design.
Each side of the cooler has its own temperature control, LED display, carbon filter, internal fan, racking system, and door lock. This Edgestar model is a wise choice for those wanting to invest in a cooler with a larger capacity and cutting-edge features.