For wine lovers, taking care of your wine collection by storing it in the ideal temperature is important for fully maintaining its properties. A wine fridge will be an important addition to your household, both for entertaining guests as well as enjoying all the nuances of your wine.

The following guide will introduce you to the world of wine coolers, which are essentially  refrigerators that safely store wine bottles in optimal condition. Here, we cover the different types of wine fridges for all your wine storage needs.

Key Facts

  • Wine fridges or coolers are specialized refrigerators designed to store and preserve wines at ideal temperatures.
  • Various types of wine coolers are available on the market.  The two main categories of products are engineered based one of two main systems: thermoelectric or compressor-based.
  • Your wine bottles should be kept at a temperature and an atmospheric humidity appropriate for their preservation.
  •  Key aspects to consider before buying a wine fridge are the bottle capacity, the fridge model and its energy efficiency.

Ranking: The best wine fridges on the US market

The US market has a range of wine coolers on offer. Certain models are designed to preserve everyday-wine, while others can keep your long term collection at different temperatures. In this ranking, we discuss our selection of the best wine coolers available, all of which are both high quality solutions and affordable.

No. 1: NutriChef PKTEWC180

The NutriChef is at the top of our list due to its excellent features and affordable price. It is a thermo-electric wine refrigerator that comes complete with temperature control, integrated LED light, a built-in circulation fan and ventilation grill. It has a capacity for 18 bottles, so it is ideal for homes with a high wine bottle turnover.

Temperature control can be viewed and modified with digital touch display in Celsius or Fahrenheit. The unit includes integrated LED light with power control. The fridge also comes with a reinforced glass door with an air-tight seal.  Additionally, this cooler does its job quietly!

  

No. 2: NutriChef 12 Bottle Thermoelectric Wine Cooler

Another masterpiece wine cooler by Nutrichef. This 12 bottle cooler, similar to the 18 bottle unit comes equipped with high precision thermo-electric cooling technology. Like its sister unit, it also has adjustable temperature control, integrated LED lights and a built-in circulation fan and ventilation grill. It has a sleek appearance with an elegant, reinforced glass door with air-tight seal. Given its small capacity of 12 bottles and a free-standing design, this refrigerator is versatile and can be used on the floor, table or under the counter.

With its touch screen control, you can turn the LED lights on or off and adjust the temperature (Celsius and Fahrenheit selectable) at a simple touch of a button and without letting all that chilled air out.  With an advanced cooling system that will keep your beverages at the right temperature without making a noise, this wine cooler is perfect for use at home or the office. The unit comes complete with contoured, polished chrome wine racks and special placement for standing bottles. This premium wine cooling unit is backed by a 1-year quality warranty of complete satisfaction.

No. 3: Danby 36 Bottle Freestanding Wine Cooler

The Danby 36 Freestanding Wine Cooler, is an excellent option for wine enthusiasts who have larger collections.  It has a variety of advanced features, and this comes at a higher price compared to the previous options we discussed. This spacious unit offers 3.3 cubic feet of cooling space which is designed to store up to 36 bottles of your wines on well designed black wire shelving units. Your collection will also look great with the blue LED interior lighting which beautifully showcases the bottles through the elegant tempered-glass door.

The bottles will always be at the temperature you prefer since the range of the wine cooler lies between 43°F and 57°F. The glass door is designed to protect your collection from potentially harmful ultraviolet rays. This appliance features a stylish recessed pocket-style handle. The reversible door swing enables you to open it from the left or right-hand side. This wine cooler also comes with a 12-month warranty on parts.

No. 4: NewAir AW-121E 12 Bottle Thermoelectric Wine Cooler

The New Air AW-121E 12 bottle thermoelectric wine cooler is an excellent wine storage solution for the new wine collector, or for anyone who wants to keep a few bottles of wine close at hand. It is a freestanding unit that is designed with contemporary stainless steel. It is silent and has an efficient thermoelectric cooling system which stores your wine at the perfect temperature of 55°F.  The external digital control panel makes it easy to monitor and maintain cooling conditions.

The unit includes 3 chrome-plated shelves that cradle your wine and slide-out for easy access. Additionally, the unit has an attractive blue LED light that brightens the interior and highlights your collection.  12 bottle units are probably the minimum size you should go for. For enthusiasts who enjoy regular drinking as well as growing their collection, you might prefer a larger unit.

No. 5: Kalamera 50 Bottle Compressor Wine Refrigerator Single Zone with Touch Control

 

The Kalamera with a capacity of 50 bottles, is for the more advanced wine enthusiast.  This wine cooler will enable you to develop a respectable collection as well as hold enough bottles for regular hosting.  This is the largest unit from our selection, and the most expensive. It is beautiful, designed with black and silver stainless steel, a smoked glass door in front, and blue LED lighting, to elegantly showcase your wine.

This wine refrigerator has several state-of-the-art functions.  These include compressor cooling system that provide silent functionality. Your bottles will lay on beech hardwood slat shelves that allow cold air to circulate around each bottle.  This design prevents the bottles from shifting and bumping.  If you are looking for a larger wine cooler, the Kalamera could be the option for you.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about wine fridges

Until recently, wine fridges were exclusively designed for the wealthy. However, over the years, prices have come down as popular demand has grown. It is now possible to find models for your home at affordable prices. In this section, we’ll discuss at the most frequently asked questions by past users to help you make the right decision.

For true wine enthusiasts now is the time to protect your collection and invest in a wine cooler.
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What is a wine fridge exactly?

Also called a wine cooler, it is a small, advanced refrigerator designed to preserve wines. These appliances enable you to control humidity changes and isolate the wine from light sources in order to protect the wine’s properties.

Wine fridges also include a thermostat to help you regulate the temperature. Some models integrate shelves with different temperature levels to let you hold both white and red wines in the same unit.

Victor HugoFrench Poet & Novelist

“God made only water, but man made wine.”

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a wine fridge at home?

Wine coolers offer a series of advantages and weaknesses. In the table below, we’ve listed the main benefits of having your very own wine fridge at home, as well as its potential inconveniences:

Advantages
  • They prevent bad odours by having specifically designed filters.
  • They maintain the relative humidity of the wine.
  • They protect the wine from light sources in your home, be it ultraviolet radiation or artificial light.
  • They keep the cork moist by holding the bottles horizontally.
  • They regulate the temperature of the wine according to its needs.
  • They let you optimise the storage of your wine bottles.
  • Some wine fridges allow the wine to age in the best conditions.
Disadvantages
  • They require a small investment, the most affordable costing around 150 dollars.
  • These devices need to be left on permanently, increasing your electricity bill.
  • If it contains filters, you’ll need to change them once a year.
  • Models integrated into your furniture require an installation.

Is it necessary to put wine bottles horizontally?

Yes, your bottles should never be placed in an upright position. The cork of the wine must remain moist to keep the properties of the wine intact. Placing them horizontally also protects your bottles from other problems, such as vibrations, light or temperature.

Until recently, enjoying wine in optimal conditions was still a luxury that few could afford.
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What sizes and types of wine fridges are there on the market?

Among domestic wine fridges, you should opt for a small model, with a capacity ranging from 6 to 20 bottles. However, there are other ways to classify these appliances. In the table below, you’ll discover the different types of wine coolers by size, operation and design. This should help you choose the one most tailored to your needs.

By size Small Medium Large
Size Capacity ranging from 6 to 20 bottles Capacity ranging from 24 to 50 bottles Capacity of 50 bottles and up
By operation Thermoelectric Compressor-based Mixed
They cool the wine via a chip placed on one side. They use a coolant in a closed circuit. They combine both systems but are more expensive. They are designed for professional use.
By design Counter-top Built-in Wall-mounted
Domestic or counter-top wine fridges are small and ideal to preserve your bottles at the same temperature. They are generally slotted into a space in your living room or kitchen to naturally blend in with your home decor. They can be compressor-based or thermoelectric, but their ventilation needs to be located in the front end. These models are like cabinets used to exhibit your wines. They take up a lot of space and are commonly found in places designed for wine tasting.
By temperature Single temperature Multi-temperature
Single temperature wine cabinets keep all bottles at the same temperature. These models features different zones for each temperature, ideal for preserving both red and white wine.

Are thermoelectric or compressor-based models better?

Thermoelectric wine fridges are the best option for keeping red wines at a stable temperature. These appliances tend to have set temperatures. However, there are other factors to consider when choosing a wine cooler for your home. You can find out the main advantages and disadvantages of each option in the following table:

Type Price Functions Temperature
Thermoelectric wine fridges They are generally small and affordable. They are more specifically tailored for red wines, improving their quality. They may overheat if they do have a space to ventilate at the back. They are silent. The temperature ranges from 12 to 18 degrees. They do not require refrigerant gas.
Type Price Functions Temperature
Compressor-based wine fridges They are more expensive as they require greater power and feature a larger storage capacity. They maintain and preserve all types of wines due to their greater range of temperatures. Their refrigerant gas circulates in a closed circuit. They can make noise and produce vibrations like traditional refrigerators. They are precise and usually feature a thermostat. Unlike thermoelectric models, the external temperature has no influence as there is no direct dependence.

What is the ideal humidity level for a wine cellar?

Try and maintain the relative humidity between 65°C and 70°C. A lower humidity level may lead to the corks of the bottles drying out and the liquid deteriorating. If the humidity level is too high mold may appear and the labels will dry out.

It is recommended to always choose 75°C over 60°C. Finally, you are encouraged to purchase a hygrometer to assess the relative humidity in the event that your wine fridge doesn’t include a humidity sensor.

Remember to follow the basic rules in order for your wine to remain intact.
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Where should I place my wine fridge?

You should strategically pick the place where you’ll set your wine cooler so that temperature changes do not affect your bottles. Remember to follow the basic rules in order for your wine to remain intact:

  • Avoid direct exposure to sunlight: It is essential to keep your bottles away from the sun and high temperatures.
  • Do not place it next to other appliances: In particularly those that produce vibrations, such as refrigerators. This could generate overheating and waste energy.
  • Avoid placing it in bedrooms: While the manufacturer may promise that your wine cooler doesn’t make any noise, there is always a little bit. This can be annoying when you’re trying to sleep.
  • Well ventilated rooms away from the heat: Wine fridges are best placed in ventilated rooms, which should never exceed 30 degrees.

What is the best temperature for a single temperature wine fridge?

Bottles placed in single temperature wine coolers should be kept within a range of 12 to 15ºC.  Multi-temperature wine fridges are ideal to accommodate white, rosé and red wine.

Latin Proverb

In vino veritas (In wine lies the truth).”

What care does my wine fridge require?

Regularly clean your wine cooler, is the most basic requirement. In the list below, we introduce you to additional key measures to increase the useful life of your appliance:

  • Ventilation space: Make sure to give a space of at least twenty centimetres between the wine fridge and the wall for ventilation.
  • Location: We mentioned this point earlier already, but it is key to make sure it is away from the sun and other appliances.
  • Filter: If your appliance has a carbon filter, it needs to be regularly checked and changed once a year.
  • Unplugging for cleaning: Make sure to disconnect your wine fridge and remove its shelves before cleaning it.
  • Water, mild soap and baking soda for the interior: In a container, mix water, mild soap and two spoonfuls of baking soda per litre of water. Use this to clean the interior of your wine fridge.
  • Water and detergent for the exterior: When cleaning the shelves and exterior of your wine cooler, use a blend of water and mild detergent to wipe with a damp cloth.
  • Removing the water from the evaporation tray: Compressor-based wine fridges include a tray that collects water. Wipe and clean periodically with a damp cloth.

Shopping Criteria

You should already know a great deal about wine fridges at this point.  There are still several essential criteria that you’ll need to consider when buying the best model. In the following section, we have a look at these criteria to help you make an informed decision:

  • Type of wine
  • Capacity
  • Energy efficiency
  • Thermoelectric or compressor-based
  • Reviews and ratings

Type of wine

Single temperature wine fridges will suffice if you only plan on keeping red wine bottles. However, you will need a multi-temperature model if you also want to include different types of wines (i.e. white, rose and red). While these wine coolers may be slightly less affordable, you’ll be thankful for your decision in the long run as these appliances tend to have a greater useful life.

Make sure that your wine is always stored horizontally so that the cork is always in contact with the wine.
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Capacity

Think about how many bottles you want to fit in your wine fridge before choosing a specific model. If you simply want one to store a selection of wines to entertain your guests, a small wine cooler should be more than enough. On the other hand, you’ll want to buy a larger model if you plan on building a large wine collection.

Galileo GalileiItalian Philosopher, Engineer & Astronomer

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”

Energy efficiency

Your wine fridge constantly uses energy. Make sure that your wine cooler is energy efficient. Otherwise, you will risk unfortunate electric bills.

Thermoelectric or compressor-based

We have already analyzed the main differences between these two types of wine fridges. Caterers generally use the latter models, as they are suitable for all types of wine and are efficient even in the hottest of places. These wine coolers are slightly more expensive, although you can now find some with more affordable prices.

Storing your bottles in a wine fridge will keep your wine intact and in good condition.
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Reviews and ratings

We recommend studying customer ratings of the products that interest you. Their comments may come in handy to help you make your decision. They may discuss  aspects that you were not aware of regarding the model you are interested in.

Summary

Wine fridges are necessary for storing wine in optimal condition. If you are passionate about wine now is the time to invest in a wine cooler. You can find affordable models and take hosting guests to a higher level.

Until recently, few could afford a wine fridge. The growth in demand has brought prices down quickly. Nowadays, all you need is the right space to set up your own wine fridge, and preserve your collection.

If you liked our article, feel free to share it on your social media. You can also leave us a comment in the section below with any suggestion or question you may have. Cheers!

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