Wine coolers, wine chillers, wine refrigerators are used interchangeably for refrigerators that are specially designed to cool different kinds of wines. So don’t be confused when you see any of these names — they all refer to the same thing.
But why is a wine cooler (or *insert your preferred variation of the name*) necessary?
A wine cooler is necessary to not just cool your wines but to also cool them at the right temperatures necessary to preserve the quality of the wines.
Often times, those who don’t know that they can and should store their wines separately just use their regular residential refrigerator. While doing that can damage your wines, if you haven’t experienced it already, wine bottles in your regular refrigerator will rob you of space. And as you keep adding more bottles, even your food and groceries will eventually get choked out of the fridge.
You don’t need to have to deal with unpleasant events like not having a place to store your favorite and necessary things. It is better to go for a wine cooler to take the burden off your main refrigerator.
Also, you may damage your precious wine if you store it under the wrong conditions. And who knows how much those wines cost and how important they are to you?
Oh, and just in case you thought only the great sommeliers should own one, we should let you know that the everyday wine enthusiast will appreciate the art of wine collecting even more when they have a good wine cooler.
If you are a wine enthusiast, whether you have a few bottles or a truckload of wine bottles, this buying guide will help you find the best wine cooler for you.
Benefits of Having Your Own Wine Cooler
One major benefit of having a wine cooler is to preserve your wines at the right temperature and have them ready for consumption anytime you have guests around or you simply want a glass for yourself.
Here are some other benefits of having a wine cooler:
Having your own wine fridge is simply having more space to store other valuable things. It simply means that if you have been storing your wines in your regular fridge, you can enjoy more space. Foods and drinks in your main fridge can now have more breathing space. And if you want to add more food to the now empty space, the room is all yours when you have a wine cooler.
You may have been considering the possibility of expanding your winery to accommodate more bottles. The job will be hassle-free if you have the perfect wine cooler. Collecting newer wines won’t be a problem either if you opt for a bigger wine cooler.
Fresher and Longer-lasting Wines
When wine is stored at the proper temperature, it tends to last longer. Wondering why and how people still have wines from the 20th century? It is because those wines were properly stored. If you are keen on wine preservation for posterity sake, for instance, getting a wine cooler is a sure way to make that happen.
You can even leave a legacy of your taste in fine wines to your great-grandchildren long after you have left the earth. Plus the wine cooler will help to preserve the taste and unique flavor of your wines.
More Than a Wine Cooler
Not everything may be able to go into your conventional refrigerator. So, you can take advantage of the extra space that you may have when you own a wine fridge.
Notice that we said ‘may’. This is because you may decide on a cooler that has enough space to take all your wine bottles. Once the cooler is full, you may not be able to store other things.
If, however, there’s still room, then you can store other items like vinegar, oils, and other beverages in the refrigerator.
Types of Wine Coolers
The task of finding the perfect wine cooler can be so stressful; especially because there are a million and one of them in the market. Trust us when we say that the search could become quite overwhelming.
Not to worry, we will give you the 411 of the types of wine coolers and how each one differs from the other. This information should give you a stress-free shopping experience.
Single Zone Wine Coolers vs Dual Zone Wine Coolers
When it comes to wines, more often than not, it is either white or red. Now, some people do both and that’s absolutely fine. In fact, if you run a bar business of any sort, you are more likely to store both red and white wines.
However, when it comes to wine storage you’ve got to make the right choice.
You may already know that the serving temperature of red wines differs from the serving temperature of white wines. This is where zoning comes in.
A single zone wine cooler will be perfect if you are particular about just one of the two wine types. If, however, you store the two, then a dual-zone wine cooler will be a better option to go for.
We should also let you know that apart from brand-effect which plays a role in pricing in some cases, dual-zone wine coolers tend to be more expensive than the single-zone models of the same capacity. Understandably so, if you ask us.
Thermoelectric Wine Coolers vs Compressor Wine Coolers
If you have a compressor refrigerator already, then you should be familiar with the humming sound that it makes. There are also wine coolers with compressor-based systems. They produce similar sounds.
Thermoelectric wine coolers are quieter than compressor wine fridges because of the technology they use. However, thermoelectric wine fridges do not get as cold as the compressor wine fridges. This is primarily because the internal temperature of thermoelectric fridges often depends on the ambient temperature.
So, a certain thermoelectric wine fridge may cool better in a particular area than in another area because of weather differences.
All that being said, a thermoelectric fridge will be perfect for you if the temperature in your home is fairly constant. You should also choose it if you want to save energy, need a small wine chiller, and you can’t stand humming sounds from a compressor model.
A compressor model will be the better of the two options if you don’t want something noisy. If you are also keen on a wine cooler with large capacity and you are not really sure about the temperature consistency in your home then a compressor model will be better.
More so, it is more likely that you will find a compressor wine cooler with a capacity as large as what you want than it will be to find a thermoelectric model with a large capacity.
Freestanding .vs. Built-In Wine Coolers
A built-in wine refrigerator is often installed between cabinets or under the counter. It can also stand on its own as a freestanding unit if you want. A freestanding wine cooler, on the other hand, can only be installed in a place where there will be ample space around it for ventilation.
However, because of their engineering, built-in wine refrigerators tend to be more expensive than the freestanding models.
It is important to note that unlike the built-in models, freestanding wine coolers require some clearance on the top, sides, and back of the unit for ample ventilation. As you may already know, these units may overheat and get damaged over time if there isn’t ample ventilation.
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How To Choose The Best Wine Cooler
Here are a few things that we think you should consider before you make a choice:
One of the first things you need to factor in is the location. And by location, we mean where would you be installing the wine cooler? Do you have enough space to install your most preferred wine cooler?
Wine coolers come in different sizes. So, each one requires a minimum amount of space for it to be installed.
At this stage, some people will go for the built-in models. The reason is obvious. Built-in models don’t take up so much floor space. But even the cabinet space to install a built-in wine fridge has to be sufficient.
Not sure you have enough space? Then you should measure your available space and try to match it with the cooler’s dimensions. You may also check with professional installers for a second opinion.
While you are keeping tabs on how big, small, or simply size-perfect that wine cooler is, be sure to keep an eye on capacity. You need to know how many bottles the wine cooler can accommodate. Missing this important factor will mean taking whatever the wine cooler offers.
First, you need to ask questions like ‘how many bottles will I be storing?’, ‘Can this wine cooler meet my space needs?’.
When it comes to capacity, don’t sweat it. You have lots of options. You may choose to go for a 120-bottle wine cooler or a 10-bottle wine cooler as long as it is within your budget.
And just in case, you are looking for a wine cooler for just one bottle, you’ve got options too. Yes, you guessed right: there are single-bottle wine coolers as well.
Once you are able to settle the capacity, then you are well on your way to owning your own wine cooler.
But you’ve got to consider price tags too, you know.
The price of wine coolers varies for a good number of reasons.
But you can already tell that the price of wine coolers will tend to increase with an increase in capacity. This means you’ll need to pay more for large models.
Also, more technology means more bucks. For instance, if you decide to choose a dual-zone model, you should be prepared to pay more than you will for a single zone model with the same capacity. In spite of the extra cost, that’s some added benefit. So the difference is sometimes justified.
There are some countertop wine coolers that sell for less than $10 while some other small freestanding wine coolers may cost you between $100 and $300. You’ll probably need to pay $200 extra to get a built-in model within the same size range, while large and sophisticated ones can come at $1,000 or even more.
You may also want to factor in shipping costs as well as energy costs. So, you may want to consider cheap shipping options or a seller that offers free shipping and also ensure that the wine cooler you choose is energy-efficient.
If the primary purpose that you hope the wine cooler will serve is storage then it’s best to keep the operating temperature at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. And just like we mentioned earlier, the ideal temperature for serving will then depend on the type of wine that you’ll be storing. It could also depend on your own preference.
Typically, wine coolers have temperature ranges of between 45 degrees and 65 degrees so that you can set the operating temperature to suit your needs.
You may want to play it safe by opting for a dual-zone wine cooler to accommodate a wide range of temperatures.
We totally love the fact that technological advancements have brought ease and functionality to our homes and businesses. But along with the appliances that make their way into our homes comes the humming sounds and noises.
Some can deal with it. Others can’t even stand it. And if you already have a refrigerator in your home then you should be familiar with the noise. Wine coolers, especially compressor models, tend to do the same – produce humming sounds.
If you fall into the category of people that can stand the noise, then we advise you to go for the thermoelectric model. But as we said before, these models aren’t the best for everyone. So you should determine what you can handle and what you can’t. Then you can make an informed decision on what to go for.
Also, the best way to put an estimate on the noise level of a wine cooler before you buy one is to check people’s reviews on different models. Extremely loud ones will be annoying enough to warrant a user’s negative comment about them. You can’t miss that.
Any appliance that will be making a home in your space should at least be stylish. Simply put, it should add aesthetic value to your space.
There are a good number of stylish ones in the market. And there are the not-all-that types as well. Pictures should guide you on the style to go for.
You may also choose to go with something that features LED lights. These lights could add that chic look to your kitchen as they are cast on the different wine bottles.
You may want to look out for a wine cooler that comes with a digital thermostat. The idea of a thermostat and a digital one at that is to make checking and setting the operating temperature easy.
If you’ll be storing wines for a long time, then we recommend a wine cooler that offers humidity controls. If, on the other hand, you are likely to consume them in a short period, then a humidity control won’t be necessary. Humidity controls are necessary for those who want their wines to age a little longer with the intention to consume the wine at a later time.
If UV rays get to the wines directly, the wines could get damaged with time. This is one reason that some wine coolers come with tinted doors.
Buying a wine cooler that comes with tinted doors is a smart investment. But much more than that, we recommend going for models that come with doors that are UV-protected.
Now that you’ve been armed with all the information you need to have about wine coolers, you can go shopping without worries. And while you are at it, you may want to look out for renowned brands like Avanti, EdgeStar, Eurocave, Koldfront, Frigidaire, Danby, U-Line, and Summit among others.