If you have a growing wine collection or are simply looking for a new wine cooler, then this is a must-read article! Not many people realize the importance of having a proper wine cooler.
Not only do they de-clutter your counter and fridge, but they allow you to serve wine at its optimal temperatures to enhance its flavors and other characteristics.
They will also help prolong their shelf life and protect your wine from light, oxygen, and fluctuating temperatures.
So, are the best bottle wine coolers? The best wine coolers generally tend to be single-zone wine coolers, meaning the entire cooler is kept at one consistent temperature. Compressor-based coolers also tend to be higher quality and more durable as they keep the internal temperature consistent, which helps prolong the life of the wine.
Today, we will be looking at everything wine cooler, but more specifically, how to choose one best suited to you. We will look at how they work, their features, their design, and finally give you our top recommendations.
What Are Wine Bottle Coolers?
No, we are not talking about the delicious wine and fruit juice mixed drink, but rather the cooling appliance used to refrigerate whole wine bottles.
You will find that these appliances are labeled as wine refrigerators, wine vaults, wine chillers, and also simply wine coolers.
Wine bottle coolers are appliances made to help chill and store your wine collection. This can include red wines, white wines, sparkling wines, or virtually any type of alcoholic drink that needs to be kept cool.
Wine Bottle Coolers Vs Refrigerators
Wine coolers are not refrigerators and differ in design as well as the temperatures they run at.
First of all, refrigerators are designed with shelves so that ingredients and other products can be kept upright and neatly packed.
Wine coolers are specifically designed to allow you to keep the bottles on their side, horizontally.
Storing wine this way is crucial, especially for long-term storage, because it ensures the wine keeps the cork moist which prevents it from drying out. A dry cork allows space for air to enter and oxidize your wine.
It is also an extremely efficient storage space as there is a ton more room available and you can very easily access all of the bottles without having to move everything.
The second big difference between a fridge and a wine cooler is the temperatures they run at. Refrigerators are much colder than wine coolers and average between 30-40°F.
Wine coolers on the other hand have temperatures between 45°F-65°F, significantly higher.
The other big difference is that refrigerators are designed to decrease humidity. Once the humidity decrease (the amount of moisture in the air), the cork can dry out which will then allow oxygen to enter the wine and oxidizing it.
Do not store wine in a refrigerator. They are constantly opened and closed because of the food you keep inside, which will then cause fluctuations in the temperature and ultimately affect the quality of your wine.
Wine Storage 101
This may come as a surprise to you, but not all wines can and should be kept at room temperature. Half of all existing wines, if not more, should actually be kept at cooler temperatures, not even at room temperature.
That is what makes a wine cooler so great! You can keep those wines at the correct temperatures, anywhere between 45°F-65°F for months! This will also allow you to age your wine in the best possible conditions.
When storing wine in a wine bottle cooler, there are a few factors that have to be taken into consideration.
First and foremost, you have to think about the temperature you want or need to store the wine at.
If you want to age your wine the temperature should be higher than 70°F – this is usually higher than your average wine cooler can go, but some can provide this consistent temperature.
If you simply need a place to keep your wine chilled, then the optimum temperature is 45°F-65°F.
Whichever temperature you choose should be stable – higher temperatures help age your time while cooler temperatures retard it.
When storing your wine, regardless of the temperature, you also need to keep it away from light and make sure there is high humidity.
Buyer’s Guide For Wine Bottle Coolers
Buying any sort of new or unknown appliance can be very overwhelming. What do you choose? Which is best suited for your wines? Are some brands better than others? Is that price tag ridiculous or totally worth it?
Well, luckily that is why we are here! We’ll help guide you through all of your wine cooler questions and concerns.
To choose the perfect wine cooler for your needs, you have to first ask yourself a few questions; perhaps most importantly, what do you want to use it for?
With so many types available on the market, this question will automatically filter out a ton of products and lead you in the right direction.
Choose A Type Of Wine Cooler
As with almost any type of appliance, there are many different forms of wine coolers too. The biggest types you will find are single-zone chillers or dual-zone chillers.
Single-Zone Wine Bottle Coolers
Single-zone wine coolers are coolers that only give you one temperature at a time. So if you set it to 45°F the whole cooler will be at that temperature.
There aren’t any compartments or dividers that will keep different wines at different temperatures. This naturally means you can and should only keep one type of wine in the cooler; for example, only white wines.
Single-zone wine coolers have many benefits. They are the best option if you are looking to only keep one type of wine and can provide you with a very steady single set temperature.
And an even bigger bonus is that they come at a much more affordable price tag compared to other types!
The downside to single-zone coolers is the exact reason that makes them great; the single temperature setting. If you want to store both white and red wines, you either have to buy two or buy a dual-zone cooler.
Dual-Zone Wine Bottle Coolers
You guessed it! These are wine coolers that have two compartments.
You can set separate temperatures for each meaning you can store different beverages – white on the one side at a low temperature and red on the other side with a higher temperature.
The biggest benefit of dual-zone coolers is that you don’t need two separate coolers but only one stylish one, making it much more cost-effective if you want to store different types of wines and alcoholic drinks.
But of course, no appliance is perfect. Because they have two compartments to manage, the temperatures are not always very stable and you may run into some problems.
They are also often much larger compared to single-zone coolers and are still more expensive – especially if you only want to store one type of beverage.
Compressor-Based Vs Thermoelectric-Based
The next part has to do with the mechanics of the coolers – the engine if you will. We could go all mechanic on you, but we will try to simplify it as much as we can.
The simplest way to explain compressor wine coolers is that external air is compressed and released inside the cooler.
This creates a quick drop in temperature while hot air is released in the back. When the internal temperature rises again, the compressor starts up again and helps cool the inside once more.
Compressor coolers can quickly cool the wine, don’t affect the external environment, can effectively cool to any temperature regardless of single or dual-zone coolers, and can cool larger wine chillers very effectively.
The biggest downside is that they can be noisy to some people, have slight vibrations (which move sediment inside the wine and reduced shelf life), it uses more electricity, and is generally heavier, making it more difficult to move.
This system uses electricity to create a specific temperature based on the external temperature.
What this basically means is that whatever the room temperature is, this system will lower the internal temperature by about 10-12 degrees compared to the external temperature.
This is arguably the biggest con if you need specific temperatures. You have to store the cooler in a very cold room (like a basement or garage) to get a very cold internal temperature that will fluctuate.
So, on hot days the internal temperature will also rise.
These mechanisms can also only cool smaller coolers and they take considerably longer to decrease the internal temperature.
The upside to these systems is that they have an extremely low noise level, don’t use a ton of electricity, and are very lightweight, making them easier to move.
Of course, we need to discuss size as this will have a massive impact on your price and ultimately even the energy consumption. Larger coolers will consume much more energy, unless you look for an “energy-efficient” or “eco” one.
The size is indicated by the number of bottles you can store inside it. Your average at-home wine bottle cooler will hold anywhere between 16-34 bottles.
Any larger appliance is referred to as a wine fridge, which is able to hold a lot more! Most wine fridges hold an average of 81 wine bottles. Then you get wine cabinet chillers which are even larger and can hold hundreds of bottles.
For today’s article, we will only be looking at some at-home wine coolers.
Of course, you have to look at quality, regardless of the mechanics and design works for you. There is no point in having a cooler that won’t last.
After canceling out all of the mechanical questions like single or dual-zone, compressor, or thermoelectric-based, you can look at the design of the cooler, the materials used, and of course, the price tag.
If you have found an appealing design, look at the material used to create it. In our experience, appliances made from plastic aren’t always the most durable, but they do come at a more affordable price tag.
You can also look online for different reviews, but it is crucial to look on different sites to get a more unbiased opinion.
The 4 Best Bottle Wine Coolers Of 2021
Now we get to the fun part! Let’s go do some shopping! We have looked far and wide for some of the best wine coolers available on the market in 2021.
We will only list sizes that will be convenient for your home; however, as we mentioned before, there are bigger coolers available.
|1.||Ivation 18 Bottle Wine Cooler||Best overall wine bottle cooler|
|2.||Koolatron 12 Bottle Dual-Zone Wine Cooler||Compact, convenient design|
|3.||NewAir Compressor 27 Bottle Wine Cooler||Adjustable temperature|
|4||Phiestina Dual-Zone Compressor 33 Bottle Wine Cooler||Great design with wooden shelving|
1. Ivation 18 Bottle Wine Cooler
This is one of our favorite wine coolers available to date – we literally don’t even know where to begin!
This is an 18 bottle wine cooler that has a single-zone design and that works with a compressor system.
This means that you only have one temperature setting, which can be either a pro or con depending on how you want to use the cooler.
The compressor system means that you have extremely stable and accurate temperatures that won’t fluctuate with the external temperature.
The built-in fan will also help circulate the temperature to maintain consistency and to ensure that all the bottles are the same.
Compressor systems are a bit noisier, but depending on where you store the cooler, it isn’t necessarily a problem.
This model has an adjustable temperature setting of between 41°F-64°F. The shelves are removable and adjustable so you can store larger bottles inside as well.
It definitely has a very sleek and effective design. The cooler is fitted with a dual-pane smoked glass door that has an extremely tight seal, ensuring no additional moisture enters the cooler.
The panel also blocks out any UV light which may affect the quality of your wine.
There is a very soft LED light to gently illuminate your wonderful collection. This is a beautiful cooler that will easily fit into any home and in any area.
2. Koolatron 12 Bottle Dual-Zone Wine Cooler
This is a very compact dual-zone cooler that is perfect for small kitchens, condos, apartments, or simply occasional wine drinkers.
The dual-zone design creates two compartments in which you can have different temperature settings.
This basically means you can store a few bottles of red at one temperature, and a few bottles of white wine at another.
The design itself is more elongated to take advantage of unused “air” space in your kitchen. It is fitted with a tight door seal, removable wire racks, and even adjustable legs.
It also has a UV-protected door with a soft blue LED light on the inside.
This is a thermoelectric cooler, meaning it is very energy efficient and makes a lot less noise – really the perfect appliance in tiny apartments.
Usually, thermoelectric coolers have problems with the technology used in this model ensures that you can accurately set and adjust the temperature between 46°F-66°F.
3. NewAir Compressor 27 Bottle Wine Cooler
Of course, we have also included a larger cooler for our dedicated drinkers or collectors. This cooler holds up to 27 bottles and can be placed virtually anywhere you like.
Its design allows it to be either built-in or freestanding.
Although this might not be the sleekest and most modern-looking wine cooler, it is definitely effective in its functions.
It is fitted with a double-pane UV-protected and insulated glass door, protecting your wine from foreign objects, moisture, added oxygen, and of course, sunlight.
It also has a soft LED light that doesn’t emit any heat which could affect the temperature.
Despite being a compressor-based cooler, it runs extremely quietly and without much vibration. And the best part, it has an adjustable temperature range between 39°F-64°F.
4. Phiestina Dual-Zone Compressor 33 Bottle Wine Cooler
We simply couldn’t resist putting this cooler on our list. Not only is it an extremely effective cooler, but it looks awesome!
This is a dual-zone cooler so that you can keep different wines at different temperatures.
And because it uses a compressor system, the temperatures are extremely stable, easily adjustable, and cool very quickly.
The inside has a very futuristic design. All of the wooden shelves slide out to make it much easier to remove any bottle.
It is also fitted with a beautifully soft and gentle LED light and a UV-protected glass door.
The top compartment holds 15 bottles and has a temperature range between 40°F-50°F. The lower zone holds 18 bottles and has a temperature range between 50°F-66°F.
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