The Ultimate Guide in Shopping for the Best Wine Coolers
Whether you prefer to do so while watching Netflix at home or in the company of friends, there’s no denying that we all prefer to have wine that’s chilled instead of warm. Wine that is taken straight out of a cooler tastes a lot more on the crisp side.
And although we’ve been accustomed to drinking white wine chilled and red wine in room temperature, you would want red wine to be chilled so that you won’t be able to perceive the alcohol that much.
Moreover, temperature of wine can affect its longevity. When it is subjected to temperatures higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, wine will age faster and this will affect its taste. And if gets exposed to overly hot temperature, it may get “cooked” that can result into a flat aroma and flavor.
That’s why people who love wines and have wine bottles at home invest in wine coolers. The best wine coolers can keep your wines at optimal temperature without burning a hole in your pockets.
However, you should know that a wine cooler is different from a walk-in wine cellar. The former, also called a wine refrigerator, is designed for short-term storage. It’s where you place wines that you are to serve during your upcoming party, for example.
At the most, a wine cooler can keep your wines cool for a year. And it is a lot better than the standard food refrigerator in keeping wine at consistent, cool temperature.
On the other hand, a walk-in wine cellar is for long term storage. This is for long-term storage. If you love wines and you intend to keep yours for years, then you should invest in a wine cellar as it can maintain a consistent temperature.
Of course, a wine cooler won’t cost that much as a walk-in wine cellar.
Before you shop for a wine cooler, you must be familiar first with the different types of wine chillers. There are three types of wine chillers—free standing, countertop, and built in.
The countertop wine cooler is considered the cheapest of the three types. It’s compact and quiet. However, it doesn’t have a lot of features aside from having a very small capacity. This is an entry-level wine storage that should suit you if you see yourself storing only a handful of wine bottles.
The built-in wine chiller is arguably the most popular of the three. It can be installed under a countertop, just like a dishwasher. It has vents at the bottom, with exhaust to the front. Most of the built-in wine coolers have lots of features to satisfy demanding consumers.
Lastly the freestanding type of wine cooler can store more than 250 bottles of wine. It however needs around two to three inches of clearance on all sides.
Things to Consider in Buying a Wine Cooler
In looking for a wine cooler, you should know the qualities that make a good wine refrigerator. There are many things to look for in a wine cooler but the following are arguably the most important:
Wine coolers vary in sizes. Some are small enough to store just six bottles of wine, while others are large enough to hold 100 or more bottles.
The rule of thumb is to invest in a wine cooler that can accommodate at least double of the bottles you have at home. The reason is that you will likely fill the storage quickly especially if you are on the lookout for good quality wine.
Moreover, you will save more in the long run if you have a large wine storage cabinet. It’s a lot more practical to buy one instead of getting two or three wine coolers for your growing wine collection.
If you only drink wine occasionally, then it is not a bad idea to get a single bottle wine cooler, or even a double bottle wine cooler.
Uniformity of temperature
A wine cooler is far from a refrigerator. It needs to be at a consistent temperature level, as wine can degrade when it is stored in a cooler with wide temperature swings.
The ideal storage temperature would vary depending on wine density. For instance, whites, reds ,and sparkling wines are best put on a fridge with temperatures ranging from 45 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
There are certain features you want to see in a wine cooler. One is thermoelectric cooling technology, which allows the cooler to be noiseless and vibration-free while in operation.
The number of temperature zones in the cooler is another feature you will consider. A dual zone wine chiller, for example, has two segregated compartments. Each compartment has separate temperature controls, so you can set a different temperature for storing red wine and another for whites.
Outdoor placement is something you need to consider if you have plans of using the wine cooler outside your house, like in your kitchen patio.
You must also be concerned with door insulation. Wine coolers that have glass doors aren’t the best when it comes to preventing warm air from the outside to get into the fridge. Thus, you would want the cooler to have double pane, tempered glass doors.
You can also go for a wine cooler with a tinted glass door as it can prevent UV rays from spoiling the quality of the wine.
Automatic defrost is also another feature that you would want to have in a wine cooler. This feature avoids frost build-up. Most advanced wine coolers do have an energy saving defrost system that can monitor the appliance’s usage, and the amount of time needed for the evaporator coil to become frost free.
Most wine coolers can only accommodate the standard 750 ml wine bottle. You should check the type of shelving of the cooler that you are interested in, particularly if you plan to get wines that come in non-traditional bottles.
Chromed wire rack is often found in most wine coolers. The downside to this type of racking system is that it would bend over time, and could also accidentally damage the labels of bottles. The high end models have metal racks with a wood front, while others have wooden shelves. While wooden racking systems are nice, they tend to eat a lot of space, so there’s less room for your wide wine bottles.
Like in any product you purchase, price will always be a factor in choosing a wine cooler. In fact, it can be argued that this could be the deal breaker, so to speak.
Of course, you may know that cheaper appliances aren’t as reliable as their pricier counterparts. The same goes true for wine coolers.
To give you an idea on how much you will have to shell out for a certain type of wine cooler, a wine fridge with a capacity of six to 20 bottles will range in the lower 3-figures. Wine chillers with a medium capacity would demand higher 3-figures, while you should expect to pay lower 4-figures for large wine chillers.
Other Tips in Choosing a Wine Cooler
Aside from those five things to look for in a wine cooler, there are other things that can influence your buying decision such as:
Noise won’t be a cause of concern if you live in Timbuktu. But it is a factor when you place it near living areas. You don’t want a loud model as it can bother your family members or even your neighbors if you live in an apartment.
Because you’ll be spending a substantial amount for the wine cooler, you should ensure that your purchase is guaranteed. Check the length and terms o the warranty. What parts are included in the warranty? Most wine cooler makers and retailers are notorious for stating warranty terms, so it pays to ask before making any purchase.
In case you’re buying a wine refrigerator that is to be placed in a bar or restaurant, you ought to buy one that has a door lock and key. It’s also a feature that you would want in the cooler if you have kids at home, and you don’t want them to access your wines.
Here’s something you likely don’t know—unlike refrigerators, wine coolers are not rated by the Federal Energy Star program. That’s because wine coolers aren’t really known for being energy efficient. But you should still strive to look for a model that would cost only around $10 a year to operate, with per kilowatt-hour costs of 10.8 cents on the average.
You may not know it but the area where you intend to place the wine chiller should also be considered. This is very much true if the wine cooler you are getting is too distracting that you don’t want to put it in the dining room or family room. Moreover, kitchen, garages, and pantries are notorious for temperature swings which may force the appliance to work harder to maintain a consistent cooling.
Top Five Wine Coolers
Taking into consideration the aforementioned factors in shopping for a wine cooler, we present the five best wine coolers today:
The EdgeStar CWF340DZ is a freestanding wine cooler that can accommodate up to 34 wine bottles. It is a sturdy, advanced wine chiller with a compressor type cooling unit.
It also has dual cooling zones, making it a great choice for wine lovers who want to cool both white and red wines. It can also keep its temperature to as low as 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
This cooler is capable of maintaining temperatures at its various parts. For example, the upper zone has temperature ranging from 41 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s where you should place your white wines.
The lower part, on the other hand, has temperature ranging between 54 to 64 degrees. This is where you ought to place your reds.
What’s more, the cooler can maintain the temperature levels on a consistent basis. Many online testimonials indicate that the temperature inside the cooler remains the same regardless of the time and day.
In terms of design, there aren’t a lot of things you will like about this wine cooler. Its stainless steel trimmed door, for instance, gives it a very stylish look.
The same goes for its towel bar handle. Its wood trimmed wine rack, meanwhile, lets you show off your wine collection to your friends.
And you don’t have to worry about your collection because there are factory installed locks in this cooler. There is also an internal LED lighting inside so you can see your wines but not to the point of overexposing it to too much light as this could damage the quality of your collection.
Although it can maintain temperature consistently, this wine cooler doesn’t have humidity control. It is also a bit of a challenge to take out the wine bottles because of the small size of the wine cooler.
Avanti 12 Bottle Thermoelectric Counter Top Wine Cooler
This is the wine cooler that you ought to buy if you don’t foresee yourself collection more than 12 bottles of wine in any given period.
It’s an entry level counter top wine cooler that measures 25 inches x 10 inches x 20 inches. It is compact but could easily accommodate 12 wine bottles.
This cooler uses a thermoelectric cooling system. It’s the kind of wine refrigerator if you live in a condo or apartment because it is ultra quiet and vibration free. Operation is a breeze, what with its digital display and soft touch controls.
With a platinum finish and its concave door, this cooler should give your kitchen or bar a sophisticated look. It certainly doesn’t look like an affordable wine cooler given its elegant and attractive appearance.
When inside the cooler, the bottles are to be kept standing upright. This is an advantage because you can return to the cooler the bottles that have already been opened without fear of spilling.
The shelves are also removable so you can remove the second shelf from the top to fit taller-than-average wine bottles. Because the wine cooler is compact, it can save space in the kitchen or dining room.
This wine cooler is far from perfect, though. It can only take in the standard 750 ml bottles. You can’t store 1.5 liter champagne bottles inside it. Another concern is that it is a single zone wine cooler and thus you can’t store both red and white wines at their ideal optimum temperatures.
Despite those drawbacks, the wine cooler’s reasonable price tag makes it a very ideal choice for wine lovers who aren’t inclined to spend much on a wine refrigerator.
AKDY21 Bottle Dual Zone Thermoelectric Freestanding Wine Cooler
If you need more space for your wine bottles, then this free standing wine cooler could be the one you need.
It has space for 21 bottles, plus it runs silent. There’s also no vibration while it is in operation, thus it won’t disturb bottle sediment.
This wine chiller has dimensions of 10.5 inches in width, 13 inches in length, and 28 inches in height. There are seven wooden shelves that pull out for ease in access to the wine bottles.
You will also love that it has a double paned, glass door frame that not only gives it a stylish look, but also prevent heat from the outside to get inside the chiller.
You can ensure that your whites and reds are stored in optimal temperature in this cooler. The upper zone has temperature ranging between 44 and 66 degrees Fahrenheit, while the lower zone has temperature ranges of 50 to 66 degrees F.
The LED lighting inside it lets you see your wine bottles easily, and the removable shelves would let you place taller wine bottles when needed.
Like the other wine coolers in this list, this wine chiller has its flaws. One is that it won’t go back to its previous temperature settings after a power outage. So there’s a risk that the quality of wine will be affected because of a power interruption.
The design of the racking system is also not perfect. The shelves, for one, are quite too close to each other. Many users have observed that there is no adjustment in the racking system, too.
But what if you plan to stock up on wine bottles? Certainly, wine chillers designed for 20 or 30 bottles won’t be enough.
If you think you can stock up on 70 plus bottles, then this unit from Danby should be on your shortlist. This one can accommodate 75 wine bottles.
This 11 cubic feet wine cooler is almost six feet tool, and has a lot of room for your wine collection. The wooden shelves and black sides give it a classic look, and its tempered glass door helps seal in the cold inside the unit.
This Danby unit has a reversible door meaning you can open it both from the left or ride sides. It also has defrosting capability. It would start to defrost any ice buildup when the cold control is turned off.
You don’t need to worry about temperature control as this chiller does a fine job. In fact, it can retain the cold inside the even if the power goes off for an hour. But you still have to reprogram the temperature settings when the power comes back.
The major problem with this wine cooler is that it is noisy. If you’re thinking of placing it inside the house, then you should be able to cope with the noise it makes. The spacing between the rows of bottles is also very tight.
Aside from those miscues, Danby still has one of the best wine coolers in the market today with this monster of a wine chiller.
Avanti WCR682SS-2 166 Bottle Wine Cooler
For wine collectors who have more than 100 bottles in their collection, this freestanding wine cooler should be on top of their list.
It can accommodate an impressive 166 bottles, and its stainless steel frame door gives it a very contemporary look.
Because of the capacity of this Avanti wine cooler, it looks very imposing. Suffice to say, it would become the centerpiece of your bar, dining room, kitchen, or wherever part of the house you intend to place it.
Its black cabinet with stainless steel door frame and handle further enhances its beauty. The glass in the door is tempered and clear. This allows you to see all the bottles that you have stored. You can turn on or off the interior LED light with a touch of a button.
You will also love that its door has a security lock, thus there’s no chance that you will lose your precious wine bottles. It is one feature you would love if you have teenagers who may be eager to taste your wines.
Because of its capacity, the Avanti free standing wine cooler will take up a lot of space in your home. Keep in mind its dimensions so you’ll have an idea of how much space you need to allot for it: height of 71 inches, width of 23.5 inches, and depth of 26.7 inches. It weighs 240 pounds.
Wine coolers are a great investment if you are in love with wines, and you want to share it with your spouse, family members, and guests. It is definitely a lot cheaper than building a wine cellar. Most of the wine coolers in the market today are also well designed that you will appreciate adding them in your kitchen or dining area.
But as you may have noticed, not all wine coolers are created equal. There are too many considerations in shopping for a wine chiller, from its style, features, capacity, and price. After reading this article, you should have a better idea on the things you need from a wine cooler. This would help you choose the right wine chiller for you.