Like most appliances, buying a wine cooler will involve, at one point or the other, asking the timeless question – “Where are we going to put it?”. A freestanding model can go anywhere so long as the space isn’t too confined, whereas an in-built model will tuck in under your counter, but two features we’re constantly juggling around for a compromise are space-saving and capacity – preferably healthy doses of both without an unfortunate trade-off. This often becomes difficult when considering that many compact wine coolers, while functional for holding your standard 750 ml bottles, might not cut it for a bottle of Pinot Noir or Magnum. And as much as giant capacity coolers are a solution, they’re less so considering had we had all that space, we may as well have invested in a cellar. But not all hope is lost – there are space-friendly coolers out there with generous enough capacity to hold large bottles, and we’ve shortlisted our favorites.
Koldfront 18 Bottle Free Standing Dual Zone Wine Cooler
This cooler ticks all the right boxes to earn its spot at the top of this list – with the foremost of things it gets right being its 18 standard Bordeaux bottle capacity with sliding, removable wooden racks that let you make way for larger or irregularly shaped bottles. To that, add that this cooler is dual zone – allowing you to control the temperatures of two sections of the cooler so you can keep your red and white wines in their respective ideal temperature ranges for serving. The top section has a range between 54 to 66°F, perfect for your reds, while your whites will be ready to serve at any time while stored in the lower section programmed for a range of 46 to 66°F.
The unit combines rustic and contemporary chic into one good-looking cooler that can hold your bottles for ages, with minimal vibration (as movement can hurt how well your wine ages) and noise, giving them the right chilled and steady environment they need to mature. The interior also comes decked with LED lighting to let you pick out your choice of poison, without emitting so much harsh heat or light as to damage the wine. The cooler is also lockable, so you can rest assured that your valuable aged wines and collectors’ editions are safe.
Though compact, with a design that won’t take up too much space wherever you situate it, this is still a freestanding unit, meaning the heat of operating the device escapes from the back. To avoid overheating, it’s important not to situate it in narrow or confined spaces.
KEN’S BUDGET PICK
Haier 8-Bottle Bottle Wine Cellar
Compact and affordable, this is the wine cooler to go for if you’re looking out for options you can keep in your condo or flat, without using up too much counterspace and for convenient, frequent use. A freestanding model, the unit can hold 8 standard sized, 750 ml bottles and with a little rearrangement, larger ones too. Sleek and modernistic, we love that this budget option does not skimp on features even though we don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for it – the cooler, though single zone, lets you maintain a constant temperature between 46 to 66°F, letting you keep both your reds and whites at the optimum chilled environment they need to rest and mature.
Intuitive, digital controls let you set the cooler to your desired temperature, the soft interior lighting ensuring you don’t accidentally speed up or alter your wine’s maturation, while the tinted glass helps you out on this mission by keeping daylight and harsh electrical lighting out as well. Another handy feature we love is the double-paned build of the glass – this keeps condensation and frost from building up on the inner pane, keeping your wine well away from fluctuating external elements.
Whynter 20 Bottle Thermoelectric Wine Cooler
This may not be a dual zone cooler, but it makes up for that in plenty of other departments to warrant a spot on this list. Despite not letting you set separate temperatures for separate sections of the cooler, the unit as a whole lets you regulate temperatures steadily anywhere between 46 to 66°F. Since the ideal temperature for storing all wine clocks in at a constant 55°F, this makes the Whynter perfect for storing your wine for months and even years on end until you’re ready to pour out a glass.
One of the things we love about the sleek, modern design of this unit is the tinted black mirror glass – not only does it make the cooler look great, but also lets you stick it in your brightly lit kitchen without worrying about sunlight and UV rays filtering in through the glass and disrupting your wine’s aging process. It also comes with soft LED lighting to let you peruse your bottles without risking exposing them to harsh lighting, the compact build of the freestanding unit letting you plonk it on top of your counter, an end-table or on the floor without eating up too much space.
Functionality wise, the cooler is built to hold 20 standard sized bottles, though the metallic racks are removable to make way for larger bottles. The thermoelectric cooling system, unlike many others of its variety, also runs quietly and efficiently, so you never have to worry about constant whirs and buzzes getting on your nerves, with no vibrations to upset your wine’s beauty sleep.
Kalamera 12” Wine Refrigerator
The slender design makes this a great space-saving option without neglecting capacity, capable of holding 18 average Bordeaux bottles in classic, sliding beech racks you remove to make space for bigger or irregularly sized bottles. The versatile design makes this both ideal for freestanding and built-in installation, the compact construct letting it slide right in under a floating counter.
Though single zone, the digital controls let you set a constant temperature anywhere between 40 and 66°F, letting you store both red and white wines by maintaining a steady 55°F at all times. The unit is built to minimize noise and is all but vibration-free, meaning your wine won’t get shaken around and frothed up. The dark, double-paned glass and blue non-heat-emitting LED lighting also help protect your wine’s integrity, keeping it safe from elements that might otherwise alter its composition.
- Wine Cooler Direct: https://learn.winecoolerdirect.com/wine-refrigerator-features/
- Whynter: https://www.whynter.com/
- Wine Enthusiast Catalog: http://www.wineenthusiast.com/learn/wine-refrigerators/thermoelectric-wine-fridge-or-compressor-wine-fridge.asp
- Haier: https://www.haieramerica.com/