You’re not still storing wine in the refrigerator, right?
Wine has an optimal storage and consumption temperature, which is why wine coolers exist in the first place.
Whether you’re entertaining guests or just enjoying your after-work time, having your beverages chilled to the perfect temperature makes it more enjoyable from start to finish.
The right range is just around 45°F – 46°F, where you can enjoy the crisp flavors of wine without the cold numbing your taste buds.
Your refrigerator is set to stay between 32°F and 41°F to remain food-safe, which is why we’ve found the best wine fridge and best wine coolers out there, so that you can have the perfect way to enjoy wine without messing with your fridge settings.
Best Wine Coolers Reviews For 2020
Best Overall – Frigidaire Stainless Steel Countertop Wine Cooler
As the original refrigeration company, Frigidaire is still producing the highest-quality appliances out there. In our quest to create the best wine refrigerator reviews, we constantly stumbled upon them time and time again, and the results spoke for themselves.
You can hold six bottles in here, with plenty of space on the rack for them to move around (or accommodate for larger or more awkward wine bottle designs by those fancy brands), and it gives enough air between all of them to chill wine to the perfect temperature in as little time as possible.
The racks are very sturdy, so you won’t have to worry about overloading them and seeing any sway or dip in the material. There are stabilizers along the front of both shelves that hold everything in place.
The exhaust port on the back allows plenty of heat to escape, without making your room feel like a sauna. Because the temperature range on this is 45°F up to 65°F, you’re not throwing off as much heat as a full-sized refrigerator.
Frigidaire knows a thing or two about hitting all the sweet spots that we want in any refrigeration or chilling unit, which is why we’re happy to say that this thing is truly whisper-quiet.
You’re not going to know that it’s there, unless the room is dead silent and you’re seeking it out. This light level of noise just blends into the background.
So, where’s the catch?
Well, there’s no handle here, so you just have to use your finger strength to pry the door open. Other than that, it is a dust magnet by all accounts. Right around the exhaust vent, you’ll see a lot of dust gather around the edges.
While the interior LED light is gorgeous and allows you to see your expensive wines, it also showcases any dust that gets inside the unit, so you’ll be on your toes cleaning this out for sure.
Your temperature is accurate within two degrees, so setting it to 54°F ensures you’re getting at least 52-56°F, even in uncertain times or temperature fluctuations in the room.
We’re not dealing with a compressor here: it’s all thermoelectric, so you won’t have to worry about a compressor overworking and running up your electric bill. Frigidaire hits just about every nail on the head.
- Size: 11” x 7.5” x 13”
- Volume: 20 liter
- Power: 110V / 70 watts
- Weight: 20.9 lbs
Runner up – Magic Chef
Next on our list is Magic Chef and their glorious, high-end, totally stainless steel wine cooler. If you think this looks fantastic now, you just have to wait to get it into your kitchen.
With a total capacity of twelve bottles, you’re going to have plenty of space for wine to age as your events come up. Bringing a bottle as a gift, hosting a dinner party, and relaxing on a Friday night all in the same week?
There’s enough space for that.
While making these wine cooler reviews, we paid special attention to the air around each wine bottle and the available space that isn’t taken up by the racks.
Well, there isn’t as much air room between these bottles as we would like to see. If you’re stashing six bottles right after you plug this in, you should alternate their placement to allow optimal airflow and quick cooling.
Putting in twelve warm bottles all at once will drastically increase how long they’ll take to chill.
Overall, Magic Chef is nice and quiet, and doesn’t give you a run for your money. However, the hinge on the door does protrude from the top just a little bit.
It’s going to give you some logistics problems if you’re looking to install this in your kitchen. These can be stored in cabinets in your kitchen, so if you want to position it so that you just open a cabinet door to see the front of it, that would work as well, you just won’t have the aesthetic of it.
The entire unit is fairly lightweight at 26.4 lbs. Thermoelectric cooling keeps this quiet, while the LED display lets you know what’s going on inside without having to use a thermometer to individually test the bottles inside.
As a heads up, it can take a few hours for you to reach a temperature that you’re satisfied with after plugging this in. Give the unit about four hours to reach anywhere from its 54°F to 66°F range before assuming any issues.
On the same note, leaving the door open for an extended period of time (30 seconds or more) will cause a temperature shift, meaning you’ll have to wait for the unit to cool the air again.
- Size: 14.2” x 19” x 20.1”
- Volume: 40 liter
- Power: 110V / 70 watts
- Weight: 26.4 lbs
Alternative – Whirlpool 25 Bottle Wine Fridge
Whirlpool has been on every commercial and advertisement for the last decade, premiered as one of the best in-home appliance brands out there.
Well, they’re not wrong. This massive 2.7 cubic foot wine chiller is designed to hold onto twenty-five bottles, so you can store and age your wine with ease. Normally, with a high capacity like this, we would see temperatures just for aging.
However, Whirlpool has actually set the lowest temp here at 39°F, which is pretty fantastic. If you want to chill your wine to use later in the week or month, this is the way to do it. Now, even though this is one of the top rated wine coolers on our list, there is one major problem with that storage.
If you notice in the sales page photos, the top rack of wine is very jammed. If you actually want to hit the full twenty-five bottle capacity, it’s going to take a while to chill them all because of the way the air hits them.
This is more viable as a twenty-one bottle cooler, which is still a high capacity especially in this price range.
You get a slick stainless steel frame on the door, with a slight tint to the glass to prevent light from heating up its confines. The wooden racks inside work nicely to hold onto your wine with a bit of traction along the packaging near the cork.
There’s a very narrow handle tucked away on the side of the frame, but it gets the job done.
Overall, Whirlpool gives you more than twice the capacity of some of these other chillers, a lower available temperature range, and all without going crazy on the price. While the hinge top does protrude just a little, you can definitely install this if that’s what you’re looking to do.
It also works well as a standalone unit. Whirlpool includes a one-year warranty, which is very limited to just manufacturer defects, but it’s better than no protection at all.
- Size: 20.9” x 16.1” x 18.9”
- Volume: 2.7 cubic feet
- Power: 110V / 60
- Weight: 48.5 lbs
Alternative – Koldfront Free Standing Dual Zone Wine Cooler
Next on our wine fridge reviews, you’ve got the Koldfront eighteen-bottle storage unit.
This comes in with a relatively similar price to everything you’ve seen so far, but with more room between the bottles to allow for faster cooling. If you’re grabbing a bottle on your way home and need to chill it in a flash, this is what you want.
Six shelves each house three bottles, and display them rather aesthetically, I might add, With an LED temperature control and screen, you can access both nine-bottle zones of your dual-zone unit with ease.
These zones give you two separate temperature ranges, the top being 54°F to 66°F, and the lower zone allowing for 46°F up to 66°F. Some for now, some for later.
You have a wide handle on the left side, which gives you plenty of power when you pull this open. The gasket does a fantastic job of sealing everything off, so you might need to tug a little bit to get what you want.
With a wide frame and light wood shelves, the contrast is nice and aesthetic, so if you want to install this where everyone can see, you’ll know that it’s going to look great.
These shelves are very specific, and made to accommodate 2.75” Bordeaux bottles, meaning if you want to store anything with a larger diameter, you actually have to remove one of your shelves. That’s a bit of a pain, especially if you like to have variety in your wine.
The only other issue with this is that the stainless steel on the frame spots easily, even after you wipe it down. If you want fingerprints and smudges to disappear, you have to be meticulous and apply more elbow grease than you should have to.
Last but not least, you have a one-year manufacturer’s guarantee on the parts, but only ninety days on labor, so be vigilant and detect problems as soon as possible.
- Size: 25.3” x 14” x 22.2”
- Volume: 60 liter
- Power: 115V / 60 watts
- Weight: 35.3 lbs
Alternative – Vinotemp Dual Zone Touch Screen Wine Cooler
The last on our list isn’t exactly a cheap option. Vinotemp created this high-end, high capacity 46-bottle, dual-zone wine cooler.
Apart from that massive storage, you have operable temperatures from 40°F up to 72°F. The only catch there is that because of how big this unit is, chilling your wine can take about three to four hours.
Despite the bottle storage system requiring you to put many bottles directly on top of one another, your bottles will all equally chill over the course of those few hours. This is a heavy unit at just over 103 lbs, and with most large units, you get a compressor cooling system instead of thermoelectric.
That means you’re going to hear when this kicks on. Most wine coolers detect the air temperature in your wine fridge, turn the compressor off, and when it reaches a point outside of an acceptable range, the compressor floods the unit with cold air.
There’s no way to sugarcoat this, but when the compressor kicks on, you’re going to know it/
Utilize the dual zones for chilling soon-to-be consumed wine, and letting some bottles age. You get a bright blue LED readout to monitor the current temperatures, and pull-out metal shelves to make retrieving your wine that much easier.
- Size: 23.7” x 23.4” x 32.9”
- Volume: 10 cubic feet
- Power: 120V / 100 watts
- Weight: 103.4 lbs
Wine Cooler Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Look for in a Wine Cooler
Are you installing this, or is it going to sit in an area in your basement?
Are you going for showmanship and matching your refrigerator and dishwasher, or does that not matter?
The size is going to be a big deal if you’re carving out a special place in your kitchen for it, just keep it in mind. Account for a little bit of wiggle room as well.
Operating Temperature Range
Different wine chillers are used for different things, which is why you’ll often run into some with a total range of 56°F to 66°F.
Those are used for aging wine. If it goes down into the 40s, then it’s used for chilling wine for the time being, to be consumed in the not-so-distant future.
You have two types to choose from: single-zone and dual-zone. We’ll explain more about them later.
Just know that a dual-zone unit generally costs more than a single-zone unit, so expect to see that during your purchase decision-making.
Max Bottle Storage
How’re you going to use your wine cooler?
For short-term use, such as chilling wine to be used within the next month or so, a six-bottle unit should do just fine.
If you want to chill multiple bottles and age them, a twelve-bottle unit will give you enough room to add more to your collection as time passes.
The higher your temperature, the cheaper it is to keep things cool. If you’re just chilling wine between 56°F and 66°F, it’s not going to be that expensive to run.
This is why dual-zone coolers end up costing more to operate. Look out for cheap annual energy costs on these coolers, and pay attention to that temperature range.
Is a Wine Cooler Worth it?
It depends on what you’re planning on using it for. Is this going in the basement, or in an out-of-sight, out-of-mind setting where you don’t have to worry about aesthetics and quick access?
Deciding on the best wine chiller first requires you to ask yourself why you want it.
If you are aging wine and want to do it at the optimal temperature, and this is something you plan on doing for years on end, then a wine cooler is worth the investment (as you’ve certainly spent more on the wine than any of these coolers).
If you’re just chilling bottles for a week or two until you crack them open, but you drink wine at least four to five times a month, then you could still get proper use out of a wine cooler.
The only time I would say it isn’t worth it is if you’re barely ever reaching into the wine cooler, like if you drink it once every few months or so. At that point, it would be better to put it in the cabinet and let it age at room temp.
Are Wine Coolers Expensive to Run?
It depends on what you’re using your wine cooler for. The majority of people are storing wine so that they can enjoy it later in the week or month, so they want to keep it chilled for a while until it’s time to pop a top.
But the funny thing is, even if you have the best small wine fridge, using it for short-term chilling for consumption runs more electricity than keeping it for chilling wine long-term to let it age properly.
That’s because running it for short-term chilling usually means you’re putting it at a lower temperature, which costs more electricity to maintain.
You’ll also be opening it off and on to retrieve and deposit wine, and then the thermostat registers the change in temperature, and kicks the compressor on to restore the air temperature once again.
As a general rule, whether you’re running a compressor-based wine cooler or a thermoelectric unit, you’re looking at around $130.00 up to $170.00 on an annual basis, or around $10.83 to $13.16 per month.
These have to run all the time, otherwise you’re just wasting money buying one in the first place. Keep the average annual cost in mind as well.
What is the Optimal Temperature for a Wine Cooler?
Straight up, it’s 55°F. This sits right in between 53°F and 57°F, which is where wine will age properly, and still be chilled enough to enjoy at your discretion.
However, if you want to store your wine that you know you’ll be drinking within the month, 43°F up to 52°F will keep things chilly and enjoyable.
The majority of people who have wine coolers aren’t waiting years for them to age, so that lower temperature is good enough to be able to enjoy your wine without issue.
Are Wine Coolers Reliable?
More often than not, they’re very reliable within a total of two or three degrees. While no wine cooler is going to be a Godsend, you can expect most to stay between 56°F and 58°F if you set it to 57°F.
Wine coolers generally come with digital thermostats, which tell you temperatures down to the decimal.
They’re perceptive and as exact as they can get without too much interference from the compressor heat, room temperature, and other external factors. Wine coolers are reliable.
Do I Need a Dual-Zone Wine Cooler?
No, you absolutely don’t need a dual-zone wine cooler, unless you’re buying this for a restaurant. There’s this old myth, and I don’t know how it hasn’t been quashed yet, but it says that you should store your reds and whites separately at separate temperatures.
Well, you don’t need to. Wine should be stored between 43°F and 52°F if you’re planning on enjoying it within the next month, but if you’re storing it so that it can age properly, then you’re going to want to keep it between 53°F and 57°F.
The reason that restaurants use dual-zone wine coolers is for one specific reason.
Serving. Some wine can be stored for use within the week, while others can age and then be moved over when it’s time to serve.
While the serving temperature of reds and whites might differ, which is another reason as to why a restaurant might do this, it’s not necessary for in-home use. One temperature is enough to store, chill, and serve up to enjoy.
Chilled to Perfection
Chilled or cooled, never cold. Wine has an optimal temperature, and deserves the optimal equipment to bring its temp down to the perfect range.
After all, this is your down-time, what you serve to guests—it should be as enjoyable as possible every single time you open the bottle.