By Rebecca Martinson
Few activities are as relaxing as pouring yourself a glass of wine, and keeping your bottles properly chilled is a surefire way to improve the experience. The best wine coolers and fridges keep your red and white wines at separate temperatures — but there are quality affordable models that maintain one temperature throughout, too. You'll also want to keep your available space and the size of your collection in mind.
White wines should stay around 42 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas reds should be kept anywhere from 54 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you enjoy both, a unit with dual-zone temperature control might be your best option. These models allow you to divide the inside into two sections with separate adjustable temperatures, and most — but not all — are able to get cold enough for sparkling wines (which you'll want to keep those at about 41 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit). However, a single-zone unit will usually be cheaper.
Next, consider your space and how many bottles you'll be storing. Wine fridges are typically larger than coolers. Refrigerators are generally able to hold 30 or more bottles, whereas most coolers have a maximum capacity of up to 18. The larger capacity, however, means that they also have a larger footprint. Many brands design their refrigerators so they can be integrated into your cabinetry to help save space, though some which require ventilation are meant to be freestanding. Some are versatile enough for both installation methods.
Whether you drink red for the health benefits or take your chardonnay on the rocks, the best wine coolers and fridges can make your glass even more refreshing. Here are my top five picks.
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The Best Wine Coolers
If saving space matters more than bells and whistles, wine coolers are your best best. They're small enough to fit on your countertops, yet large enough that they can hold more than a dozen bottles of wine each.
1. The Overall Best: This Cooler With Dual Temperature Zones
Koldfront Wine Cooler
- Holds up to 18 bottles
- Dual temperature zones
If you're looking for a versatile wine cooler, this one's can hold up to 18 standard bottles and features a tempered glass door that helps keep your bottles properly insulated. Plus, the shelves glide out for easy access. While it doesn't get cold enough for sparkling wines, the dual-zone temperature controls offer a temperature range on the top of 54 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit (suitable for most reds), and on the bottom of 46 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit (suitable for most whites or some more reds). You can easily control the temperature from buttons near the LCD display screen, and there's a safety lock to keep the cooler closed. This cooler is meant to stand on its own — not built inside a cabinet system.
What fans write: "It is so nice to have the dual temperature option. One area for Reds and another for Whites. We use this cooler every day, but will be especially useful when the holidays are here. Each of the wooden "shelves" slides towards you to place bottles in the cooler. The temperature controls are extremely easy to use. Up arrow, down arrow."
2. A Smaller Option That Can Fit On Your Countertop
NutriChef Wine Cooler
- Holds up to 15 bottles
- Single temperature zone
While the previous wine cooler is designed to be freestanding on the floor, this smaller option from NutriChef can be kept on your countertop without taking up too much space. It doesn't have slide-out shelves, but it's able to hold up to 15 bottles. This cooler features an automatic lock to prevent children from gaining access. However, it only offers a single temperature zone (set it at 41 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit). However, it can get cold enough to properly chill sparkling wines.
What fans write: "The set-up directions were simple and easy, and I was able to get my new wine cooler set up and running immediately with no problems. It is so quiet you don't even know it is running. It accommodates different sized bottles, which is great, and it is esthetically a beautiful piece I have added to my dining area. There is even one place to stand a bottle up, which is a plus."
The Best Wine Fridges
Wine refrigerators typically have higher capacities than wine coolers — but they're also more expensive. Similar to coolers, though, they can also be installed one of two ways: built into your cabinetry or left freestanding.
1. A Dual-Zone Wine Fridge That Can Hold Up To 51 Bottles
AAOBOSI Dual Zone Wine Fridge
- Holds up to 51 bottles
- Dual temperature zones
This heavy-duty wine fridge — which can be built into cabinetry or remain freestanding — can hold up to 51 bottles of wine. The dual temperature zones are able to get cold enough for red, white, and sparkling wines, as the top portion cools from 41 to 55.4 degrees Fahrenheit and the bottom from 55.4 to 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Plus, the sliding shelves are made from luxe beechwood, and it features a sturdy tempered glass door. There's also a safety lock within the door. While the price may seem a little steep, this model sets itself apart from the rest with its unique carbon filtration system that purifies the air inside of the cabinet to help your wines stay as fresh as possible.
What fans write: "Frost free, no odor and most importantly can preserve red and white wines together. Wooden slide out shelves fully extend with bearing tracks making them side easily. They are sturdy, moisture proof and can be fully removed to store larger items."
2. A Wine Fridge That's Less Than $500
EdgeStar Freestanding Wine Refrigerator
- Holds up to 44 bottles
- Single temperature zone
At less than $500, this wine refrigerator can still store up to 44 bottles. The sliding metal shelves have wood faces to maintain a luxe look, but it only has a single temperature zone. (The single temperature range goes from 40 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.) And unlike some other picks which can be built into your cabinets, this one is only intended to be left freestanding. However, like others that I've mentioned, the door on this one locks for safety.
What fans write: "I have owned several and this is the best I have owned. It was very easy to set up, cooled very quickly and is exceptionally quiet. The pull out trays are a plus. You do have to pull out the gasket to install the handle, but it was not at all difficult. It holds temperature very well. It also looks nice. Although not technically a con, you do have to have space around the unit. Some heat is vented through the sides, which get very warm if you don't have the required airspace. As soon as I gave it the required space, it worked perfectly."
3. A Wine Fridge With A Door Alarm In Case It's Left Open
AAOBOSI Wine Refrigerator
- Holds up to 28 bottles
- Dual temperature zones
This wine refrigerator may only hold 28 bottles, but it also offers a slew of handy features like a memory function, which means this fridge will automatically revert back to your designated temperature if the power flickers. There's also a door alarm that helps you prevent too much of the cold from escaping.
Similar to some other options, it's made with a stainless steel frame and double-tempered glass door. It's cold enough for sparkling wines and features dual-temperature zones for your reds and whites (41 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit on top, and 54 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit on the bottom). If you're looking for a reliable built-in that can also be left freestanding, this one can't be beat.
What fans write: "The wine cooler has an elegant appearance, stainless steel handle, and features a mirrored glass treatment. The internal lights are perfectly showing off your wine collection.The top zone gets to a lower, white wine drinking temperature. The bottom zone is perfect for red wine drinking temperatures. Happy with the cooler."