How To Determine The Right Wine Refrigerator For Your Needs


You know how important it is to have conducted in-depth research prior to selecting and purchasing your wine refrigerator.  Allow me to discuss with you the different types of wine refrigerators, also known as wine coolers, that you will find in my reviews. This article will be of great help in identifying which wine refrigerator best suits your needs and lifestyle.

You see wine refrigerators come in a very diverse range of types, brands and models.  You may find it confusing and difficult to decide if you are not familiar with the varieties. As I’ve said in many other posts, it is not wise to instantaneously pick out a particular brand without considerable research. You need to consider your needs, lifestyle, the space you have for it and your budget to find the most suitable model.

This is where you will find this post handy.  I will be elaborating on the different types of wine refrigerators, also known as wine coolers, that you can choose from. Here, I will be breaking down your options into groups to further assist you in making an informed decision.

To go directly to your topic of interest, you can click on an item at the table below.

Capacity

Most wine enthusiasts would outright look for the capacity of their prospective cooler. It is the very first thing anyone shopping for a wine refrigerator will likely consider. Wine refrigerators come in a wide range of sizes. You will find units that hold as few as one bottle to several hundred and full room wine cooling systems. For the purpose of this review, let me just present them in five groups as enumerated below.

Single Bottle Wine Cooler

This type of wine cooler can only hold one bottle of wine at a time. They come in handy that you can bring them anywhere you like be it at a party or at your office. However, this single bottle wine chiller is designed only to keep your wine perfectly chilled as you serve it. As such, it is not for long term storage purposes.

Best Use: This Portable Wine Cooler is a great choice for wine lovers who are always on the go. It allows you to bring about a bottle of wine to its perfect temperature anywhere, anytime.

Dual Wine Cooler

A very good example of this type of wine cooler is the Eurocave Wine Art, which I have to say is among my personal favorites. Under this type of wine cooler you get to keep two bottles of wine at a time. They usually have two individual compartments with independent temperature controls. This dual wine cooler allows you to cool two different or similar types of wine in the same instance.

Best Use: Cooling two different or similar bottles of wine at the same time. Ultra portable that you can bring it anywhere you go.

Small Wine Cooler

These are wine coolers that can hold at least 3 bottles of wine to as many as 20 bottles. A counter top wine cooler is the best example as you can easily find a space for it to occupy. A Slim Wine Cooler such as those that belong under this category is usually single zoned because of its slim and small built.

Best Use: This is a great type of wine cooler for occasional wine drinkers who wants to keep few bottles of wine for personal consumption or for occasional visits from friends, family or colleagues. It is an excellent option for use in small living spaces such as condominiums and as it is space efficient.

Medium Size Wine Refrigerator

If you have a growing collection of wine that would probably amount from more than 20 bottles but less that 38 bottles then this type of wine cooler is your best choice. There are quite a lot of wine refrigerator brands and models that fall under this category for the reason being that most people are buying wine refrigerators around this capacity. At this size range, you already have a great deal of options to choose from, such as single zone temperature wine refrigerators, to dual zone and even up to beverage centers that can hold a variety of your refreshments.

Best Use: This type of wine refrigerator is the best option if you have a growing wine collection. It can hold a variety of  wine bottles in an organized fashion.

Large Wine Refrigerator

When you feel that your wines are now becoming a passion more than just for personal or entertainment consumption, then perhaps it’s about time for you to have a dedicated space for your wine refrigerator. At this point your wines no longer fit into your standard undercounter wine chillers and you would need a bigger refrigerator to house them in.

You can have your prized vintages held up inside a freestanding wine cooler or have it flushed inside a customized cabinet. 50 Bottle and above wine refrigerators would generally fall under this category as it demands bigger capacity and space.

Best Use: These high capacity wine refrigerators are for you if you have an enormous wine collection that will need a dedicated space and a cooling unit for your growing priced vintages and require a much longer storage time.

Application or Installation Options

There are basically two ways you can make use of your wine refrigerators and coolers. You can have them flush inside a cabinet or freestanding on your counter top or floor area.  The guiding factor to consider which among these two would be a better choice is the space you have dedicated for your cooler and any aesthetic reasons.

Built-In

This is where your wine refrigerator built-in capable unit falls under. These wine fridges are crafted specifically for flushed in applications with features that enable the unit to adjust into confined and tight spaces. Wine refrigerators for built-in applications need front ventilation to channel the heat away from the unit. These units are sometimes known as zero clearance units or undercounter wine refrigerators as they are designed to be built into your existing cabinetry.

Best Use: This type of wine refrigerator is the best option if you have an existing space in your undercounter. It is also a better choice if you live in a smaller living space such as a condominium or apartment, as it won’t take up any space from your floor area.

Freestanding

As opposed to built in wine refrigerators, this particular type of wine chiller gives you the freedom to place it anywhere you want, with the exception of course of undercounters and cabinets. They usually come with vents on their backs and rear thus the need to keep it within a space that will allow the unit to breathe in fresh air. Some of the models you can find under this category are wine cooler bench top designs that you can literally place anywhere you please.

Best Use: If you have an extra space to accommodate an additional appliance then this type of wine cooler will definitely be a great option. Just keep them off your carpets as it’s moisture will promote the growth of mildew. These fungi can harm both your wine cooler and your wines and are generally unhealthy.

Can freestanding wine coolers be used for built in applications?

Freestanding wine coolers can be used for built in applications if, and only if, you can provide enough clearance at its back and rear. Remember that these coolers are not built to withstand the heat the confines of a cabinet and undercounters may bring about to your cooler. it is always advisable to read the  product manual that comes with your cooler to know exactly how you can have your unit installed.

What happens if you have your freestanding wine coolers installed built-in?

Obviously your cooler is at risk of a malfunction especially if you don’t take heed of the necessary guidelines in having these units installed for built in applications. You would need at least about five inches clearance at it’s rear and back for this type of wine cooler to operate under your counter or inside a cabinet.

Number of Temperature Zones

As you know there are generally two different types of wines, red and white. Each type has its own temperature requirement for it to mature and to be stored under optimum condition.  This being the case, you cannot keep two different types of wine within similar temperature environments if you want to preserve its full taste and structure. Fortunately, you have the option to choose from a range of wine coolers based on the types of wine it can keep with regard to their temperature requirements.

Single Zone Temperature Wine Coolers

These wine coolers are those that can keep only one type of wine at a time. It only has a single compartment with sole temperature control that you can adjust to your liking. These units however usually have a wide temperature range that allows for easy temperature setting for both red and white wines.

Best Use:  These wine refrigerators are best if you have a preference towards either red or white wine. 

Dual Zone Temperature Wine Refrigerator

If you love both your reds and whites, this type of wine refrigerator cooler would be your best choice. It is able to hold two different types of wine within the same unit but under different temperature conditions. It usually has two separate compartments with independent controls that you can adjust depending on the type of wine it holds. Some models have different temperature ranges for each compartment, while some has the same.

Best Use: This type of wine cooler is your ultimate choice if you who have a comparable appreciation for both red and white wines.

Beverage Centers


Beverage centers are those that can keep variety of your favorite refreshments. It can cradle your sodas, beers and wines within the same unit at the same time.

Most coolers under this category however only have one thermostat, meaning you can only have one temperature setting for all of your beverages inside.  It may be critical for your wines because as you know wines are very temperature specific.

However, if your purpose is just for short term storage or for keeping your wines chilled before they are served, then this type of cooler will still serve you well.

Best Use: You will make good use of this cooler by cooling your wines for a short period of time.  This is also great for parties and events as it keeps all your drinks in one place.

Technology

Wine refrigerators and coolers chill in two ways.   The cooling methods are either by using a compressor or a thermoelectric system. Both technologies have been found very efficient in bringing out your wines to their perfect serving temperature.  However, each type has its own and pros and cons and you will need to decipher which among the two would best serve your needs.

Thermoelectric Wine Cooler

Wine Coolers under this category utilize an electric current to cool. With the absence of a motor, most people find this unit quieter and relatively vibration free as compared to it’s compressor cooled counterparts.

A thermoelectric wine cooler is more ideal for use in small living spaces and for cooling a relatively few number of wines. It basically needs more space to breath and thus requires a decent amount of clearance for it to function to its full potential.

Pros:

  • It’s silent and vibration free.
  • More energy efficient and eco-friendly.
  • Cheaper than compressor cooled wine refrigerators and coolers.
  • No moving parts, fluids and refrigerants.
  • Easy to install.

Cons:

  • Less powerful than a compressor and so cannot be used in larger capacity wine refrigerators.
  • Heat sensitive and cannot be used in extra warm environments.
  • Easily influenced by its environment, as external heat immediately affects it’s cooling capacity.

Best Use: A thermoelectric wine cooler is best used in cooling a few number of wines within areas with favorable temperature conditions. It is a great option for those have small living spaces and don’t have enough space for bigger wine refrigerators.

Compressor Based Wine Refrigerators

If you are living in an area where temperatures can be rather erratic and relatively warm, then I suggest that you go for a compressor based wine refrigerator. Compressor cooled wine refrigerators have been found to be more efficient in adapting to sudden temperature changes.

It can easily reach and maintain the desired temperature at a rapid pace keeping your wines under stable and favorable temperature conditions at all times.

Pros:

  • Can be set to a wider temperature range.
  • Easily adjusts to sudden temperature changes and environmental stress.
  • Can cool larger number of wines at a time compared to thermoelectric wine coolers.
  • Replacement of parts is possible thus may serve you longer than a thermoelectric wine cooler.

Cons:

  • Reduced mobility due to it’s build and components.
  • Gives rise to noise and vibration most people don’t find sexy.
  • Consumes a lot of electricity and makes use of certain chemicals that can release CFC’s.

Best Use: This type of wine cooler is best for use in temperate areas where temperature conditions suddenly changes.

Budget

This is probably the main driving force on how you will make your choice. Knowing how much you can afford to spend can narrow down your search as wine refrigerators and coolers can vary in price from a couple of hundred dollars to a few thousand.

Whatever your budget, you will certainly find a wine chiller that is within your price range. However cost efficiency doesn’t always mean making affordable choices, it’s about getting the best value out of your money and above all that the unit will what you need.

Like anything….you get what you pay for!

Design

In order to get the most value for your wine cooler, it also pays to take in to consideration it’s design.

Look for ergonomics as much as you look for it’s aesthetic value. Choose a design that would seamlessly fit in, or better yet upgrade your home interior decoration.

There are various designs to choose from, ranging from stainless steel black, standard stainless, soft interior lighting, beech shelving and tinted glass doors.

Which Is Your Option?

Only you can tell which model or brand would best fit into your lifestyle. If you have been doing your homework or perhaps took some time reading my other posts then you will be in a far better position to make an informed choice.

Still, let me provide you with a step by step procedure on how to come with your best option;

Reconnaisannce

  1. Review your home setting, look for a particular spot where you plan on setting up your wine cooler.
  2. Once you have found that sweet spot, identify whether the space you dedicated for your wine cooler warrants built-in or freestanding type of wine refrigerator.
  3. Measure the area you have allocated for your wine cooler.

Know Your Options

  1. Scroll down the list of wine cooler brands and models you think will perfectly fit into your space. Don’t forget to include an allowance for any clearances that may be required for built-in types.
  2. From there, carefully think of how many bottles of wine you intend to keep. Remember to get the correct size, especially if you are mindful of your budget. Some models tend to be priced depending on their capacity.

Consider Your Preference

  1. Now that you have come up with the size of your wine cooler, think of your wine preference. If you want to keep both red and white wines, go dual zone. But if you have a preference towards only one type of wine then the single zone temperature is your best option.
  2. Depending on your wine cooler’s capacity, your tolerance to noise and on the temperature conditions in your area, decide on whether getting a compressor cooled wine refrigerator or a thermoelectric wine cooler.
  3. Look for interesting features that you would want you wine chillers to have. Perhaps you should consider getting a wine cooler with lock just to keep your wines safe from unauthorized access.
  4. Carefully scan through your options and see which among those you haven’t crossed out are still within your budget.

Extra Features To Look For

Apart from considering the type of wine chiller you want to have, you may want to look into some of the most interesting features of wine coolers you can have as a plus. Remember though, not all brands and models have them, so you need to determine which among these attributes would enhance your experience;

  • Reversible door hinge
  • Alarm and Sabbath Mode
  • Dedicated button for lighting
  • Wine cooler with lock
  • Automatic Defrost System

Reputable Wine Refrigerator And Wine Cooler Brands

During my research I have found that the brands below are the most reputable and popular on the market.  Here I give you a brief summary on each brand and to assist you with your selection.

If you wish to read the full review, feel free to click on the link below each summary.

Eurocave

These are high end wine coolers that can be rather expensive yet promises to deliver premium results at all times. They come with highly efficient products equipped with cutting edge technology and design making them among the favorites of upper class wine aficionados.

If you can afford to invest on more expensive wine cooler brands then by all means consider getting one from Eurocave. They remain to be among those who continue to provide us with Top Rated Wine Coolers.

To read my review on Eurocave Wine Coolers, click here.

Danby

If you have a very limited budget for your wine cooler then Danby will make a great alternative to more expensive brands. Danby has a lot of products to choose from that more than you can afford can give you multiple options with regards to placement, temperature settings and capacity.

As affordable as these products may seem, you cannot question the quality output these wine coolers can give you.

To read my review on Danby Wine Coolers, click here.

Edgestar

When it comes to multiple product options and space efficiency, no one can ever doubt EdgeStar’s ability to cater to the needs of a wide range of market.

They have wine coolers that can hold as few as 18 bottles to as many as 332. You can even find models that can hold a variety of beverages in one single unit.

You can have your beer, wine and other favorite refreshments such as soda all in one place. What can get better than getting a handful of options to choose from.

To read my review on EdgeStar Wine Coolers, click here.

Vissani By MagicChef

No one can deny the ease of use Vissani Wine Coolers from Magic Chef can bring you. They have a very affordable range of products to choose from that work as good as they look.

They may have quite a limited range of models but I assure you that what they have is more than enough to give you the satisfaction and comfort of having an efficient wine cooler.

To read my review on Vissani Wine Coolers, click here.

Haier

If what you seek is a highly affordable wine refrigerator that holds a promise to perform as well as the more expensive counterparts then Haier is a very good choice.

They have a complete line of products built to cater to the different demands of both budding and professional wine refrigerators and coolers alike. Their products are a great embodiment of quality and cost efficiency.

To read my review on Haier Wine Coolers, click here.

Koolatron

These wine cooler products are essentially for those who are into quieter and eco friendly appliances.  Koolatron’s range of products is comprised mainly of thermoelectric wine coolers that are more energy efficient as compared to compressor cooled wine refrigerators.

They too have a few compressor cooled wine cooling systems yet the thermoelectric still remains their flagship.

It will be interesting also for you to know that they have a wide range of products to choose from with regards to the number of wine bottles their wine coolers can hold.

To read my review on Koolatron Wine Coolers, click here.

What If You Can’t Afford The Time To Do The Research?

If you haven’t been able to decide which is the right wine refrigerator or cooler to suit your needs, I have compiled all of my findings to come up with my personal Top 5 Choices for each category.

Click on the particular model to find further information.

These choices not only involve features and reliability but I have also made the evaluations based on customer feedback and reviews;

My Top 5 Single Zone Wine Coolers

  1. Danby 27-Bottle Silhouette Wine Cellar DWC276BLS
  2. EdgeStar 121 Bottle Single Zone Built In Wine Cooler – Stainless Steel Black (CWR1211SZ)
  3. Haier HVCE15BBH Built-In or Freestanding 26-Bottle Wine Cellar
  4. EdgeStar 30 Bottle Built In Wine Cooler Stainless Black (CWR301SZ)
  5. Danby 36 Bottle Freestanding Wine Cooler DWC93BLSDB

My Top 5 Dual Zone Wine Refrigerators

  1. Eurocave Wine Art
  2. Haier 18-Bottle Dual Zone Curved Door with Smoked Glass Wine Cellar HVTEC18DABS
  3. Koolatron 45 Bottle Dual Zone wine cellar WC45
  4. EdgeStar 36 Bottle Built-in Dual Zone French Door Wine Cooler (CWR361FD)
  5. Danby Designer 38 Bottle Dual Zoned Wine Cooler DWC114DLSDD

My Top 5 Beverage Centers

  1. Edgestar 26 Bottle + 80 can Side by Side 30 Inch Wide Wine Beverage (CWBV8026)
  2. Danby Silhouette Built-In Beverage Center DBC056D1BSSPR
  3. EdgeStar 24 Inch Built In Wine and Beverage Cooler with French Door (CWB1760FD)
  4. Haier HBCN05EBB 96 can/46 Bottle Wine and Beverage Center
  5. Danby 24 Inch Stainless Steel Beverage Center DBC2760BLS

Further to the My Top 5 lists above, I have also written a post on the Best Built Wine Coolers which you can Read Here.

Final Word

Now that you know the different types and features of wine coolers, I hope you would be able to apply your knowledge to find the unit that would best suit your needs.

Obviously there are a lot of options to choose from and I surely hope you are able to work through all of the information to make an informed decision and become the full bottle on wine refrigerators.