The “best wine coolers” term is too generic. In order to find a wine fridge that best suits your wine storage needs and budget you need to consider what features are the most important to you.
When the features are clear in your mind (it’s best to make a list of them) you can do a targeted product research.
Firstly, decide on size or bottle capacity of the unit! Think also about how much space you have and where exactly you will be placing the wine cooler.
If you drink wine only occasionally then you probably need a small wine cooler to keep a few bottles at serving temperature in case you have guests.
- Small wine coolers (4-24-bottle models) are also the logical choice if you live in a tiny apartment and don’t have much space for large appliances.
- If you already have a sizeable collection of wines then you probably need a good, capacious refrigerated wine cabinet or a home wine cellar. There’re of course medium capacity wine cooler refrigerators when you’ve grown out a smaller unit but you’re not ready to invest in a large wine cellar.
- You might also consider building your own wine cellar from scratch or buying a custom wine cellar.
Small Wine Storage Units
Small-capacity models usually hold 4-24 bottles of wine. The compact size of a small wine storage unit allows easy placement on kitchen countertops, or if it’s a zero clearanace model, then you can build it in the kitchen cabinetry.
Even if it’s a small wine refrigerator you want to buy, look for a unit that has a well-built cabinet with sturdy shelves.
TIP: Opt for a wine cooler with aluminium interior because it conducts temperature more effectively than one with a plastic interior.The majority of models have glass doors so you have a good view of your wines but it also has the disadvantage of less adequate thermal insulation over solid doors.
Important Features to Look For
Manufacturers are aware of this weakness so they use double pane glass doors in order to maintain constant temperature inside the cooler cabinet.
Besides high temperature, UV light can also spoil wine if it’s exposed to direct sunlight for a longer period of time even if the wine is in a dark bottle. To protect your wines from UV light buy a wine cooler with tinted glass door that filters out ultraviolet rays.
The insulation of the cabinet itself is important too.
Compressor or Thermolelectric?
Vibration is also the enemy of wine because it disturbs sedimentation that occurs naturally in wines. Many small wine coolers use thermoelectric cooling that ensures vibration-free, silent operation as opposed to compressor-run kitchen refrigerators.
A compressor in a refrigerator might cause vibration and noise when it starts a cooling cycle which isn’t harmful for foodstuff you keep inside but the regular shaking would spoil wine.
The latest compressor operated wine fridges don’t vibrate much though due to dampening techniques and more advanced compressor technology.
TIP: Read more about thermolectric wine coolers. Besides its many advantages, a thermoelectric wine cooler has weaknesses you want to know about before buying.
For effective cooling and to achieve constant temperature inside the appliance, you have to place the cooler in a room where the temperature doesn’t exceed 77°F (25°C).
If you have more trust in traditional, compressor operated wine refrigerators then check whether the model you want to buy is equipped with some kind of vibration eliminination system:
- Rubber dampeners on the compressor,
- special coating on the wine racks to absorb most of the vibration caused by the running compressor).
If you’re looking for a cheap but fairly good small wine cooler refrigerator then lookat brands like Avanti, Allavino, Wine Enthusiast, Danby, Haier, Vinotemp or Chambrer. They offer the widest selection of small wine coolers in the $100 – $300 price range.
Top Rated Small Wine Cooler Refrigerators
Haier 6-Bottle Wine cellar
The Haier HVTEC06AB is a 6-bottle compact, countertop wine cooler that takes up very little space while providing proper storage for wines and adding an attractive item to your kithcen appliances.
You can store 6 traditional size bottles (750 ml, Bordeaux-style) on the 2 pull-out wire shelves.
You can easily set cooling temperature by a touch of a button (the digital control panel is in the top part of the tinted glass door) in the 46 – 66°F (7.7 – 19°C) temperature range which is quite a wide range allowing you to chill whites.
The electronic display indicates the temperature (either in Fahrenheit or in Celisus) in blue that goes well with the black cabinet color.
Compact size, silent thermoelectric cooling, takes up little space on the kitchen counter – these are the main pluses mentined by owners of this model.
Placement: freestanding only
- Height: 20.6″
- Width: 10″
- Depth: 14.2″
Weight: 30 lbs. Price: cc. $100 ($16.7 per bottle). Warranty: 1 year parts and labor.
Allavino 8-Bottle Wine Cooler
This thermoelectric fridge holds 8-bottles on 3 pull-out, chrome-plated metal shelves. The all-black cabinet with the darkened glass door and digital display looks very sleek.
The unit has a small footprint so it won’t crowd the kitchen counter. Simple to use touch buttons let you adjust the desired cooling temperature between 51°F and 64°F (11°C – 18°C).
Low noise/vibration and power consumption are the two other strentgths of this compact model, on top of the affordable price (available for around $140/17.5$ per bottle). See reviews of other countertop wine cooler models.
Compare Small Wine Coolers
Here are links to comparison charts on low-end small size wine cooler refrigerators to help you choose one that best suits your needs and budget.
- Best Mini Wine Coolers – compare 4-Bottle Haier, Chambrer and Koolatron Models.
- 6-Bottle Wine Coolers Comparison – compare popular 6-bottle countertop wine fridges.
- 8-bottle Wine Cooler Comparison – compare various 8-bottle electric home cellars.
EdgeStar 30-Bottle Built-In Wine Cellar – Great Value for Money
This is one of the best-value wine coolers with built-in capability, high-end category features and look. The temperature range is quite wide (40 – 65°F) so you can keep whites at the low end of 40 °F or store reds at 55 °F.
The wood-trimmed, slide-out metal shelves hold bottles securely. Another great detail is that you can lock the door if you wish to keep your wines securely closed.
With its slim 15-inch-wide design this small wine cellar in the Luxury Series by Marvel fits perfectly in narrow spaces.
The model offers a range of unique features such as the temperature alarm that warns you if the temperature exceeds or goes below the set value.
The top-of-the-line compressor offers efficient cooling while the special vibration neutralization system eliminates vibration providing safe and peaceful storage conditions for your wines.
The 6 racks with clean, white maple fronts can be pulled out smoothly. The maple fronts can be custom finished to your preference.
The built-in safety stops prevent accidentally pulling the racks all the way out and causing the bottles to drop.
Wide Temperature Range, Digital Controls
The touch pad control allows simple temperature setting between 40 – 65°F. The amber display indicates real-time temperature.
The Marvel Luxury Series models are equipped with the innovative MicroSentry™ temperature monitor system ensuring constant and precise temperature inside the cabinet.
The dual pane glass door is filled with argon for increased thermal insulation.It’s also tinted to provide protection against UV light. The direction of the door opening can be reversed and you have to open the door to only 90° to be able to fully extend the racks.
You can opt for custom door overlay that is very simple to install. The Marvel 30 WCM wine cellar is available in 3 colors:or:
- monochromatic black with black interior,
- monochromatic white with white interior, and
- black cabinet + black interior with stainless steel-framed glass door.
Dimensions – Marvel Luxury Series 30 WCM Wine Refrigerator:
- Height: 34.25″,
- Width: 14.88″,
- Depth: 23.63″
It is a fine compact wine cellar perfect for built-in, undercounter installation. The clean, elegant design and the unique advanced features make the Marvel 30 WCM one of the best small wine refrigerators available on the market.
cc. $1350 ($58.69 per bottle). TIP: The U-Line Echelon Wine Captain wine cooler is also a good choice. The unit can hold 24 bottles in 3 temperature zones.
More Similar Products:
- Take a look at Reviews of other Marvel Wine Refrigerator Models.
- Marvel Chateau Collection Wine Coolers
- 15-Inch Wine Cooler Refrigerators
- More Under-the-Counter Wine Coolers.
Best Dual Zone Wine Cooler Refrigerators
Dual zone wine coolers and wine refrigerators have two distinct, individually controlled temperature zones, one for storing red wines and the other for chilling whites and sparkling wine.
A two-zone wine cooler is recommended for wine lovers who drink both reds and whites and want to have a wide selection of perfectly cooled wine on hand all the time.
When searching for a twin zone wine refrigerator always check the capacity and the temperature range of the two zones.
TIP: N’FINITY wine coolers by Wine Enthusiast offer good value dual zone home cellars. Capacity ranges from a small 23-bottle unit up to a large 340-bottle wine cabinet. All N’FINITY wine cooler models have two temperature zones with digital thermostat and display.
Some Good-Value Dual Zone Wine Coolers to choose from:
- Avanti Dual Zone Wine Refrigerators – wide choice in storage capacity and styles.
- Avanti 46-bottle 2-zone wine cooler, Model WCR5104DZD – suitable both for built-in and freestanding placement
- Danby 2-Zone Wine Cellars – affordable dual-zone wine fridges in various sizes and decors.
- Vinotemp Two-Zone Wine Cooler Refrigerators – wide range of models suiting to every taste and budget.
If you started to collect your favorite wines then you’d better purchase a medium capacity wine refrigerator that can accommodate 40 – 60 bottles of wine.
- See our list of the Best-Value Electric Wine Cooelrs Under US$ 500.
- The page on the top 40-50 bottle wine cooler refrigerators gives you an overview of the best-selling mid-size wine storage units.
- If you’re a serious wine aficionado already owning a sizable collection of precious wines then you might consider investing in a high-end wine cooler or a luxury, refrigerated wine cellar like Le Cache wine cabinets or EuroCave wine coolers.
- Viking also offers excellent medium capacity wine refrigerators like the Viking Undercounter or Freestanding Wine Coolers which are elegant, slim wine storage units.
- Read review of the U-Line Echelon Two Zone Wine Refrigerator, that can accommodate 43 bottles of wine in its two drawers.
There are some very capacious refrigerated wine cabinets available on the market that can accommodate a couple of hundred bottles of wine.
See our page about the Best Large Wine Coolers and Wine Refrigerators for more details.
For low-cost wine storage units within the 100 – 500 bottle capacity range check out reviews of Vintage Keeper Wine Coolers. Read review of the most capacious model, the Vintage Keeper Nuvo VP 500 Wine Cellar.
TIP: See also a comparison chart on 3 popular 150-160-bottle wine refrigerators under US$ 2000. If your collection of wines exceeds 500 bottles and you can’t resist to add more of your favorite vintages then consider installing a walk-in wine cellar in your home.